Published/Last edited or updated: 24th June, 2016
Palautonetone is a low-lying island a few kilometres north of Kawthaung. It's conveniently linked to the mainland by a bridge. Following a geographical pattern set by many of Mergui’s islands, the land-facing east side is mangroves, while the sea-facing side boasts a long sandy beach. The island is also home to a lively fishing village. The island, village and beach all take the name of Palautonetone. It's probably a corruption of the Malay word for island, Pulao.
After the mangroves, the road weaves through the busy village; while it’s rustic and picturesque, it’s also seriously grubby. They don’t see many foreigners in these parts so you’ll need to put on your best Queen of England impersonation as you weave past gob-smacked locals and excited kids. (If you want to attract a crowd, stop at a village tea shop.) The large village, clustered around a bay on the island’s north, is a mixture of Bamar Buddhist, Chinese and Muslims. A small Buddhist pagoda tops a low hill just west of town.
Before the end of the village, a dirt track turns off left to circumvent some low hills and lead you to the beach on the island’s west side. Sticking to the usual Burmese beach template, there’s a string of seafood restaurants, beer stations and cafes, plus snack, hat and T-shirt vendors, and inner tube renters, where the access road hits the sea. Then kilometres of empty casuarina-lined sandy beach stretches into the distance, broken only by the occasional fishing boat or wading reef egret. The water’s murky — it’s close to the mainland — but the yellow sand beach, especially away from the cafes, was ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 200 words.)
Based in Chiang Mai, Mark Ord has been travelling Southeast Asia for over two decades and first crossed paths with Travelfish on Ko Lipe in the early 1990s.