Moscos Islands, Myanmar

Photo: Viggo Berg via myanmarburma.com
Photo: Viggo Berg via myanmarburma.com

What’s next for Myanmar? Since the Southeast Asian country opened its borders, travelers have flooded Yangon and Bagan, Inle Lake and Ngapali. Now tourists—in their big groups—are following. So those original explorers are heading elsewhere. They’ve probably reached the Moscos Islands by now.

As a wildlife sanctuary, the Moscos Islands are technically off-limits. The 70-kilometer-long island chain sits in the Andaman Sea off the south coast of Myanmar. Except for temporary fishing settlements during the dry season, the four island clusters are uninhabited—at least by people. Barking deer and wild boars roam the thick, tropical evergreen forests that cover the islands. Swiftlets nest among the steep, rocky shorelines. While sea turtles, who live among the surrounding coral reefs, use the pristine sand banks as their nesting grounds.

The Moscos Islands first became a game preserve under British rule during the early 20th century. It was named the Moscos Islands Wildlife Sanctuary a few years later. While the South Moscos Islands, where the vibrant coral reefs are located, has since been proposed as a marine national park.

Since theses beautiful, undisturbed islands are only 15 kilometers off the coast of the Tanintharyi Region, it’s no surprise that they’re on the radar of travelers already. It’s rumored that fishermen will transport you to remote islands, empty beaches, and virgin snorkeling spots. If the islands become a marine national park, day trippers could soon be allowed. Eco lodges and scuba-diving operators would follow. Hopefully the Moscos Islands—and Myanmar—can handle the changes that are certainly coming.

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