We decided to spend that last few days of our trip through Myanmar relaxing at Ngapali Beach, and that we sure did. Even from the moment of our arrival at Thandwe airport, we knew that this was the place to be in Myanmar if you just wanted to do nothing for a few days. After all our wandering the streets of Yangon, spending days cruising around Inle Lake, and exploring the temples of Bagan, we enjoyed a few days by the beach before heading back to reality. Ngapali Beach is one of the most popular and most touristed beach in the Bay of Bengal, on the western side of Myanmar. But unlike other beachside resorts in South-East Asia, Ngapali Beach is unusually quiet and laid-back – although it was their peak season, there seemed to be no one around. It’s definitely not the place to come if you want to party into the early morning, but rather a place to relax, go swimming, take long walks along the beach, visit the small seaside villages and enjoy the freshly caught seafood. We were lucky enough to find accommodation on a small stretch of beach, just north of the main beach. All that was here was our lodge, a small fishing village consisting of no more than a dozen homes, two small local beach ‘restaurants’ (a ‘kitchen’ made from local bamboo and palm leaves, plus two or three tables in the sand) and a few fishing boats swaying in the water. If you really want to get away from it all, I can’t think of a better place.
We spent our first day here walking the stretch of the main beach and visiting the fishing village at its southern end. Of course, being by the seaside, we enjoyed an endless supply of fresh locally caught seafood, which by Australian standards, was incredibly cheap. Grilled prawns, tuna steaks, squid, grilled whole fish… you name it! We also tried the famous Myanmar tea leaf salad during our stay at Ngapali Beach. I wouldn’t quite say it was delicious, but it was very interesting, and had great unusual flavours.
Since the Bay of Bengal faces west, we enjoyed some incredible sunsets, usually whilst sipping a cocktail or two.
Again, if you want to same time and hassles, ditch the bus and fly to Thandwe airport, which is located about 10km north on Ngapali Beach. Most hotels should organise a pick-up service as taxis are virtually non-existent in this area.
Our accommodation at Ngapali Beach was probably our favourite in Myanmar. We stayed at Yoma Cherry Lodge, located in a small bay just north of the main beach. Excellently run by an English lady called Sue, there was nothing that we could find fault with. The room was large and clean and looked out onto the beautiful tropical gardens. The dining area overlooked the beach and was perfect for that sunset cocktail. The staff were friendly and the restaurant food tasty. We felt as though we were staying at a friend’s beach house. And the location was excellent – we were the only lodge, bar one, on this secluded beach, located near Lin Tha village. If you want to get away from it all, this is the perfect place.