The Boat from Kawtaung to Myeik
There is a boat from Kawtaung, the very southern-most town in Myanmar to Myeik and from there on to Dawei. The Lonely Planet says so.
Two fellow Cuso volunteers and I flew down to Kawtaung to travel on that boat. The hotel in which we stayed there has a large poster showing the boat, but the lady behind the reception desk said: “no, no boat today. Too much wind.” The representative of the Myanmar Tourist Office confirmed that there is indeed a boat to Myeik. The 03:00 hour sailing time is inconvenient, but the boat sails regularly. But sorry, not today. “too much wind; maybe tomorrow.”
Asking around with hands and feet, smiles and pictures of boats at the ready, we heard that the boat sails regularly; that it hadn’t sailed in a month; that a man with a megaphone would go around town in the evening before it really sails; that it would sail tonight; that a bureaucrat somewhere decides daily if it sails or not, depending on the winds over 35 knots. "Negative profit opportunity" said the man in the hardware store that sells tickets to the boat.
Kawtaung has reversed the typical Myanmar answer of “yes” even if “no” is the answer and no yes action will occur. In Kawtaung, the answer is always “no,”
But the weather in Kawtaung was steady and glorious; never a storm cloud on the horizon. There is a bit of a smuggling atmosphere there, amplified by billboards addressing human traficking and drugs. We developed a sneaking suspicion that there are boats sailing between Kawtaung and Myeik, but that the authorities would rather not have foreigners on board. What would we have found if we would have showed up on the jetty at 02:30 hours.