For over half a century the country has been isolated from the rest of the world by its political regime; and it was only in the last few years that the Mergui Archipelago, an area encompassing ten thousand square miles, was opened to outsiders.
In 1997, after three years of lengthy negotiations, South East Asia Liveaboards (SEAL), based in Thailand, finally received permission from the Myanmar government to escort tourists into the Mergui Archipelago. Even today the area is considered so remote (it cannot be found on most world maps) that the only existing charts are those drawn by the British shortly after World War II (the British ruled Burma from 1862 to 1948).
The area covered is broad, reaching as far afield as South China, the Austronesian-speaking Yami people of Taiwan, and the Sepik river basin of Papua New Guinea, and embracing diverse types of society, from large centralised states to marginal groups such as the nomadic Moken of the Mergui Archipelago
. While the majority of contributors are anthropologists, also included are an agronomist, a linguist and an ethno-botanist.
Running trips in the best spots of Thailand (namely Surin and Similans Islands) and of Myanmar (also known as Burma, Mergui Archipelago
is a new destination offering wonderful dives to the adventurous divers.)