It seems there is a tendency for visitors to Myanmar to overlook Ngapali Beach. We are baffled. What is there not to like about a long, wide, fine sandy beach, with gently lapping warm turquoise waters and superb seafood?
Unlike Burma generally, Ngapali – supposedly named years ago by a homesick Italian reminiscing about Napoli – doesn’t offer endless cultural temptations, but that’s no bad thing. Most people are at the point of cultural overload by the time their journeys around the country are drawing to a close. So what could be better than flying to Thandwe on the remote western coast and letting your mind drift off whilst your body tops up on some vitamin D?
Ngapali Beach Hotels
Like all tropical beach destinations, Ngapali accommodation options range from simple beachside shacks to luxury beach hotels. Our chosen Ngapali Beach hotels are undeniably the best in town. With wide beach frontages, superb food and excellent rooms , by Burmese standards, you’ll have a stunning beach component to add to your Myanmar holiday.
Located just a couple of miles from Thandwe airport in Rakhine state, the main beach at Ngapali is spectacular. The fine white powder stretches in an arc for 3kms. The waters of the bay of Bengal are calm, warm and bountiful. And owing to its west-facing position, the sunsets are stunning.
If you only do three things in Ngapali beach…
- Walk to the southern end of the beach to see the fishing boats dock and thousands of fish being laid out to dry in the sun.
- If you’d like a traditional Burmese foot massage, of the robust variety, then Ngapali beach is the perfect place. There is a row of massage tents in the middle of the beach with expert masseuse.
- Ngapali tiger prawns are famous for being large and succulent. Our favourite dish is tiger prawns with chilli and tamarind.
Ngapali bay is sheltered by Pearl Island, so named after its shape although locals claim the precious natural treasures can still be found. This is one of the few spots in Asia where time seems to have stood still. But it won’t be for long. The secret is out and the current fishing village vibe won’t last forever.
Out and about
Ngapali is all about the beach. Come here to chill out, kick back and relax. The beach road, in the southern part, has some simple shops and restaurants which could be of interest if you need to pick up any last-minute presents or just want to wander for a while.
Eating and Drinking
There are some superb, but extremely simple, beach restaurants along Ngapali beach. Don’t expect The Ritz. You’ll be sitting on flimsy plastic chairs and eating from driftwood tables with the sand between your toes, but if you like fresh seafood, you’ll be in heaven. It’s cheap and granny will almost certainly be the main cook in the kitchen but that’s just an indicator that the food will be authentically good. Don’t be tempted to eat in the many hotels along the beach – you’ll be missing out.
There is also a plethora of restaurants along the beach road. They have to work harder to draw people away from the beach but if you hit the jackpot you’ll be richly rewarded with delicious curries. There is an interesting trend amongst these restaurants to invite clients into their kitchens. These are basic but the point is to demonstrate that they are clean and that the ingredients are super fresh.
Ngapali is generally an early-to-bed place. Unlike many beach destinations in neighbouring Thailand, there aren’t any late night bars of note and there certainly aren’t any clubs… not yet at least. And be thankful of that.
Thoughts on a postcard
Little-known Ngapali is a little slice of beach heaven. We had a few fantastically relaxing few days recharging our batteries after touring this jaw-dropping country.
OUR FAVOURITE PLACESYangon / Bagan / Inle Lake / Mandalay / River Cruises / Ngapali Beach / Kalaw / Pyin Oo Lwin /
Ngapali Beach : The map
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