Dawei is one of those in between Myanmar towns – enough travellers venturing there to provide some  creature comforts, like a good cafe or two, and a wider variety of dining options, while retaining a friendly, casual atmosphere of somewhere less visited. And it has a great ice-cream shop (depicted above), reminiscent of one I frequented in Mandalay when there in 2011 and 2013. I became particularly partial to their durian ice-cream (in both shops!).  

Drawing people to Dawei are out-of-the way, pristine beaches yet to suffer the over-development occurring in neighbouring countries. 

I failed to venture out of town, however, due to a motorbike ban closing down the main hiring shop (apparently two Americans had an accident, and were found to be on drugs: the latter a big no-no in Myanmar), finding out information too late, and time restraints, not to mention errors of planning on my part.

Though, I also concluded beaches are what we have plenty of in Australia, so to bypass them here wasn’t a great disappointment, and I had just experienced bungalow beach life on Koh Chang Noi. There is also a direct route from Bangkok to Dawei now, which makes a future return visit viable.

The local beach near Dawei is apparently not so special: most travellers are coming to admire the ones situated 70 kilometres to the south, two of which have limited bungalow accommodation. Paradise Beach is the most accessible, though further away. Sin Htauk requires navigating steep terrain and is not for motorcycle beginners. I was told there are local buses from Dawei plying the route south. Hello Dawei Tours is a good source of information and can also book accommodation at the bungalows and check availability. They’re next to Dream Journey Cafe & Bakery.

From Dawei you can head north to Ye, Mawlamyine, Hpa An and further afield, or travel south to Myeik, Kawthaung and border-cross to Thailand. I would suggest the former option. Kawthaung, for instance, while an enticing contrast to Ranong, can be visited without a visa and done as a stand-alone destination.

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