It's a sea journey with potentially deadly consequences: drowning, or a slow torturous death by thirst, exposure and starvation.
But it's a risk hundreds of Rohingya men have been willing to take to reach Malaysia, where promises of work and relative freedom from persecution await.
But the stakes have been raised.
For the first time, Rohingya desperate to flee Myanmar's troubled Rakhine state are making plans to take their wives and children on a risky weeks-long journey to chase the elusive reward of potential asylum.
It also confirms the worst fears held by Thai officials, who now may face an unprecedented new wave of boatpeople.
'The persecution of the Rohingyas sees no end,' a dry fish trader, Haji Kamaluddin, said by phone from Godusara village near Maungdaw in the Rakhine state.
'Life for all of us is extremely unsafe here. Along with my wife and children the boat voyage to Thailand will be very risky. Yet I am taking the risk because I almost don't have any income now and I fear being attacked or even killed by Buddhists and security forces.
'We hope Thailand will be sympathetic and let us proceed to Malaysia. We also hope that Malaysia will grant us asylum on humanitarian grounds.'
Kamaluddin said a Bangladesh-based agent would charge about two million kyats (HK$17,280) to take his whole family to Malaysia. Until 2010 nearly all boats sailed for Thailand from Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh. However, Bangladesh imposed stricter security on its border, and plans were being made by snakeheads (people smugglers) to deploy boats from Myanmar's Rakhine coast, Kamaluddin said.
One Cox's Bazar-based agent known as Maung Ki said she would help at least five Rakhine-based Rohingya families reach Malaysia later this year, when sailing conditions were more favourable.
'Many are inquiring about our charges to take their whole families to Malaysia. Two of these five families failed to enter Bangladesh last month after they were turned back by border guards,' she said.
Chittagong-based Rohingya rights activist Nurul Islam said Myanmar's border guards were encouraging Rohingyas to take boats from Maungdaw and Alethangyaw in exchange for bribes of 10,000 kyats per person.
'The sea voyage is extremely risky,' Islam said. 'All Rohingyas know how some hundreds of Malaysia-bound men died in the sea three years ago. They are saying that death in the sea would be less painful than dying in the hands of Buddhist Rakhines and security forces.'