Myanmar is worldwide known for thousands of temples and Buddist monuments in Bagan; or the unique fishermen in Inle Lake – the second largest lake in Myanmar. But it will only be a full experience of Burma once you travel to Ngapali; which has been told as a tropical paradise with pristine beaches and blue-mint turquoise water.
Ngapali beach in general
Located on the west coast of Myanmar – the Rakhine State, Ngapali Beach is about 300km northwest of Yangon. The best and quickest way to Ngapali from Yangon is by plane; since there is an airport near to the beach which is called Thandwe. Averagely there are 3 flights operated a day by Myanmar National Airlines, Air KBZ and Hahn Air, mainly from morning to noon. Each direct flight will take about 50 minutes; then you will need 20 minutes more to get to Ngapali beach from Thandwe airport. So in general, quite a short journey! You can also take bus or private transfer from Yangon, however it will swallow more than 14 hours of yours. Not highly recommended but suitable for budgeted travelers.
About the weather, the dry season is between October to April with sunny days, warm temperature (30-32 degree Celsius) and blue sky. Other than that, rainy season is not an ideal time because travelers may suffer heavy rains and high winds, causing multiple flights to be cancelled. So it is quite a hit-or-miss experience. Besides, October to April is also a good time for exploring other parts of the country like watching sunset/sunrise or experiencing the hot air balloon.
Where to stay in Ngapali beach
There are plenty of accommodations in Ngapali have direct beach access and private swimming pools. Those are from 4 to 5-star standard. Some nice options for Ngapali accommodations are as below:
- Amazing Ngapali Resort (5*): Almost all villa and suites are with sea view, some beach front options are available
- Hilton Ngapali Resort & Spa (5*): The only international brand in this beach and also one of the most expensive. Surprisingly, it does not offer beach are with sand since it was built on the elevated land. However, a concrete wall is there to prevent the tidal waves, especially in the rainy season
- Amara Ocean Resort (4*): Offers bungalows with private terrace looking onto the beautiful beach
If those beach accommodations are above your budget, there are options of guesthouses located two-three blocks away without direct beach access. Below are some suggestions with good reviews:
Things to do in Ngapali beach
Boat trip and snorkel
An interesting and refreshing adventure is taking a boat trip to visit the offshore islands of Ngapali. It is pretty easy to book a boat here since there are number of fisherman around the center area offer a tour on their boat. The tour may include visiting islands, one of the fishing villages (Gyeiktaw for example) and to go fishing then have your catch back to the mainland to cook. Snorkeling is also a highlight here though it cannot be expected to have vibrant marine life here. One of the favorite places for travelers is around the Pearl Island which has clear and unpolluted water.
Explore Ngapali by bicycle
Almost all hotels, resorts and guesthouses in Ngapali offer bicycles for rent at the price of US$3.5-4 per day. Ngapali is a quiet area plus the terrain is so flat, you can hop on the bike and go explore on a road that wraps around the coastline – about 10 km. Beside the fact that it is the cheapest way to discover the beaches, you can also have chance to witness the friendly local people conduct their lives here.
Visit Jade Taw fishing village
Just outside of Ngapali Beach is Jade Taw fishing Village which is a typical example of a traditional Rakhine village. This is one of the main seafood supplies in Ngapali Beach. You will need to get here early in the morning if you wish to see the fishermen unloading their catch. On a visit here also make sure to walk through the village where you will see small fish which are spread out on straw mats and left to dry under the sun before being made into local snacks.
Climb up Amata Mountain
This mountain is located near to Jade Taw fishing village, you can combine with this activity as it is quite convenient. It is famous for the large standing Buddha statue – the important Buddist place for local people in Ngapali Beach where they come to pray and thanks the Buddha for the protection. Situated on top of a hill right on the coastline, you can take the panorama view over the rest of Rakhine State.
Beside all of the above things, hot air balloon is quite new in the place. But you will definitely have a unforgettable experience here – 45 minutes to a hour on the ride watching the sun going up, passing through the main sightseeing of Ngapali, stretching your vision to the Bay of Bengal. The hot air balloon is allowed to operate from the late November to March due to the good weather.
Some other suggestions for your Myanmar travel
In general, you can spend about 3 to 4 days/nights in Ngapali beach to truly relax and to put a wonderful end of your Myanmar tours.
Daniel Nguyen – Travel Specialist