Myanmar’s premier beach destination, Ngapali Beach is a perfect destination for travellers in search of a place to relax with its clear blue sea and pristine white sand.
The relaxed pace with the fantastic fresh seafood and cocktails make it a popular feature on the Indochina tour packages, although it is less attractive to the tourists travelling independently. It is located in Rakhine State on the Bay of Bengal coast. One of the main reasons for this is the high cost of the local hotels and guesthouses. Plus, it isn’t the easiest place to reach which takes an 18 hour bus journey or 55-minute flight from Yangon. However, for the tourist that does make the effort to reach Ngapali Beach, there is certain to be no reason to regret it.
For the truly relaxing experience on the Myanmar tour packages, there a few sites on the beach offering a massage service which costs in the region of $5-$7, while other popular activities on the beach include snorkelling at $12 which is usually organized through the hotel or guesthouse. Plus, the boat trip that takes out the snorkelers can also include a stop at a secluded beach.
There are plenty of resorts in the local area that are quite close to the traditional fishing villages, plus there are the new beachfront hotel developments which are relatively easy to reach from the airport.
The preferred time to visit Ngapali Beach is throughout the high season, which takes place from November to February. The weather during this time is first class and varies form warm to hot with a temperature range of 27° to 33° C.
Even though this region is busy during the height of the season, it does slow down from about March or April until late October with most of the restaurants and hotels closing. A major reason for this is the weather (heavy rainfall and high winds) which can make parts of the region inaccessible.
How to get there
The most practical transport route to Ngapali Beach on the Myanmar tour packages is by air with the Thandwe Airport only about 8 km from the main beach resorts. This part of the journey is easily complete by taxi within a period of 10-15 minutes. Most flights arrive from Yangon and Ngapali with the journey time taking 50-55 minutes.
Because Thandwe Airport is for domestic flights only it would be necessary to first fly to the international airport at Yangon from other SE Asian countries before moving onto Ngapali Beach. Also, there are usually plenty of cancelled flights throughout the rainy season, which makes it more difficult to reach this part of Myanmar at this time of year.
A regular bus services are available from Yangon to Ngapali Beach. The time to compete this trip is in the region of 14 hours, but with the condition of many of Myanmar’s roads the journey is certain to be quite bumpy in certain areas.
Where to stay
Even though this destination was once a backpacker’s paradise with plenty of low-cost guesthouse, the accommodation has since seen an upgrade with limited budget-friendly accommodation now available. Many of the hotels are now starting with a minimal cost of $65-$75 per night.
One of the places in the local area with the cheapest rooms includes the Rivertop Lodge, which is a short walk from the beach with the accommodation priced at about $65 per night.
A stay at the Ngapali Bay Villas & Spa is certain to be very pleasant with its close proximity to the beach and Thandwe Airport. The rooms in the villas are cosy, spacious and comfortable with guests having access to a private swimming pool.
Eat and drink
Because of the beachfront location, most of the restaurants offer a delicious fresh seafood menu, with fish curries, barracuda, snapper, lobster, king prawns, fried squid and more.
A visit to the Ngapali Kitchen is appreciated for its high-quality fresh seafood menu with serves plenty of local specialties and curries.
The Golden Rose restaurant is well located on Ngapali Road which makes it conveniently located for the beach and within a short distance of most of the finest hotels. It serves a varied menu with a lot of seafood on the menu and available at the quite reasonable prices.
There are plenty of art and souvenir shops to be found in the Myanmar travel guide that relate to the local Ngapali area with most located on the road running parallel to the beach. Most of the best shops are located within a short distance from the Silver Beach hotel.
Things to see and do
Jate Taw Fishing Village
The small fishing village of Jate Taw is located close to the south tip of Ngapali Beach. This is a great spot to watch as the local fishermen bring back their daily catch of fish in the early hours.
Pearl Island is not far from the southern tip of Ngapali Beach and a very attractive destination for travellers on short outings. There is regular boat traffic from Pearl Island and the main beach which means this location is relatively easy to reach. The clean waters and untouched beaches make this a perfect destination for those travellers that love to go snorkelling on the Myanmar tour packages.
Beyond Pearl Island there are plenty of sites to explore for the snorkelling trip. Most areas of the beach are clear and rich in sea life – although the most impressive marine life is reserved for Pearl Island.
Boat trips are available to several destinations along the coast of Ngapali Beach include many of the local fishing villages. Use one of the local travel agencies to help organize the boat charter for sightseeing or fishing. Most of the charter boats are hired on a per day basis.
The nine-hole golf course at Ngapali Beach is a fun way to spend some time while in the local area. It is a great place to go for the morning or afternoon – but try to avoid playing midday when the sun is the most intense.