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Home >> Burma Destinations >> Dawei

Dawei

Formerly named ‘Tavoy’, Dawei is a coastal region lies in the southern part of Myanmar with an area of over 6,734 square kilometers. It was first established as Thargaya Town around 1256 years ago. It is accessible with all means of transportation. Upon your preferred transportation and budget, you can access this place by plane or by boat. If you choose plane, there is a newly opened air connection between Yangon Dawei Myeik Kotaung with Air Bagan. Otherwise, if traveling by boat, you will start the voyage at Sittwe or Kotaung. Dawei is a very beautiful and pleasant area.

Dawei Quick Fact:
- Location: 614 km south of Yangon, on the northern bank of the Dawei River
- Status: capital city of Tanintharyi Region
- Population: 139,900 (estimated 2004)
- Area: over 6,734 square kilometers

To form the area today, Dawei went through many interesting historical phases. From the 11th to 13th centuries, Dawei was under the Pagan Empire. From 1287 to 1564, Dawei became part of the Sukhothai Kingdom and its successor Ayutthaya Kingdom (Siam). And from that point to 1594, Dawei belonged to the Toungoo Kingdom of Burma. Siam temporarily regained the city since 1594. After 340 years, Dawei became the southernmost city of Burmese authority, and was backed by a Burmese garrison. In the late 1740s during the Burmese civil war of 1740–1757, Dawei along with the northern Tenasserim coast was taken over by Siam. Burma regained the city in 1760, and extended its control over the entire Tenasserim coast in 1765. After independence in 1948, the city became part of the Tenasserim Division, which also included in the present day Mon State. In 1974, Mon State was carved out of Tenasserim, and Dawei became the capital of the truncated Division. In 1989, the city’s English name was changed from Tavoy to Dawei, and Tenasserim became Tanintharyi. That is the reason why Dawei nowadays is the habitat of various ethnicities such as Bamar, Mon, Kayin, Rakhine and Shan.

This region is also home for thousands of unexplored and unspoiled island clusters. The coast is dotted with islands including the Heinze group, the Maungmagan group and the Mergui, which comprise more than 800 splendid and attractive islands. The Maungmagan Beach is now being developed and upgraded just for 8 miles northwest. This is home for people who are familiar with the life on water, earning life by fishing near beach. Maungmakan Beach is thus alive with fisherman and their fishing boats returning after a night’s fishing at the sea and implement preparation mentally and physically to go out to the open sea again in the evening. Therefore, the fishermen of Maungmakan are familiar with the splendid sea when happily carrying out fishing skillfully as their living by tradition.

Sea-fish and prawn are sufficient enough not only for local consumption but also for the international market. The majority make their living by trading in regional goods. The main products which are brought to trade are rubber, oil palm, cashew and mango plantation, and also paddy.

Besides the life of the local, Dawei is also covered the beauty of a wide arrange of pagodas. The most venerated pagodas are the Shin Motehti Pagoda in the south of the town, Shin Datweh Pagoda in the north and Shin Maw pagoda on the Dawei promontory. Shin Motehti Pagoda is one of the most revered by Dawei pilgrims. It is reputed to exist for some 600 years.  Another attracted place is Lawka Tharaphu Pagoda. Many experienced people say that the most interesting site of Dawei is 74 meters long, 21 meters high huge reclining Buddha located at this pagoda.