When it comes to island getaways in South East Asia, Indonesia and Thailand gets all the love from tourists. Yet there’s another South East Asian country worth looking at for island holidays: Myanmar. Towards the South of Myanmar lies the Mergui Archipelago, which is a collection of over 800 mostly-uninhabited islands scattered throughout the Andaman sea.

Thanks to the seclusion of these islands, they are home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, and are ideal destinations for water activities such as snorkelling and diving. While most of the islands in the Mergui Archipelago are uninhabited, there is one particular spot worth visiting that is slowly developing: MacLeod Island.

Virtually unspoiled, this island is home to only one resort, leaving tourists and its inhabitants the rest of the island to themselves. Fringed with trees, white sandy beaches, and clear blue waters, MacLeod Island is your oyster. Spend your days diving or snorkelling to explore the clear waters, or hiking to the highest summit of 173 metres.

We got the chance to explore MacLeod Island recently and can testify to its unspoiled nature. Whilst disembarking from the Star Cruises Superstar Libra and heading towards the island, we were gradually greeted by sparkling blue waters and a white beach, while lush trees stood high in the background. It was truly a private island worth visiting. Here’s why else you need to make MacLeod Island your next beach destination.

1
The rich, indigenous culture

As MacLeod Island currently only has one resort, the island still maintains its rich local culture. If you’re lucky, you may also chance upon the nomadic Sea Gypsies of the Andaman Sea, a minority group of the Northern branch of the Austronesian people who live on boats. Be enthralled by the colourful dances that welcome you onto the island.

2
No shortage of nature activities

When you’re not indulging in water activities, there are plenty of nature-related activities that you can do on the island as well. Take a literal hike through the forest and go all the way up — the view is great from the highest peak of 173 metres. Thanks to the diverse flora and fauna, try bird watching for unusual species or just looking at the different greenery around the island.

3
Great diving spots

The Andaman Sea is home to beautiful underwater scenes and marine life, and the weather is warm for most parts of the year. This makes MacLeod Island a great diving spot with much to see underwater. During our time there, we were able to spot massive schools of fish underwater!

4
Clear, blue waters

Snorkelling in MacLeod Island is also a great activity to do, thanks to the clear waters and abundance of marine life underwater. Imagine a world that’s completely different to the one above when you plunge your head into the clear waters — that’s the one you’ll get to experience in MacLeod Island.

5
You can get there with Star Cruises

Getting to a small island so far off the main coast would usually warrant an extensive travel plan, but it won’t be the case this time around. Star Cruises has recently partnered up with Tint Tint Myanmar Group to jointly develop cruise facilities at MacLeod Island, making Genting Cruise Lines the first international cruise line to dock here. Star Cruises and Dream Cruises will now have itineraries that will offer you an opportunity to cruise to MacLeod Island.

PohNee Chin
Editor, Kuala Lumpur
Poh Nee is the editor and writes about travel and drinks. When she's not living out her holiday dreams via Google Earth and sipping on an Old Fashioned down at the local bars, you can find her snug at home bingeing on Netflix and mystery fiction.