Myanmar’s new found open policy for tourism is rapidly gaining momentum. Thousands, of course, go to see the mysterious temples of Bagan and Yangon. However, an increasing number are discovering that Myanmar’s two thousand kilometres of coastline has got some amazing beach areas as well. There has never been a better time to see these totally unspoilt beaches, they resemble a Thailand of twenty years ago. Totally undeveloped, they represent a type of beach life that is getting increasingly difficult to find.
- Things to know before coming to Myanmar
- Myanmar Tourism: There is not only the pagodas
- Myanmar (Burma) Tour Packages
The finest beaches are the ones along the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, where the beaches face west which virtually guarantees amazing sunsets. Here are just a few of the very best of what Myanmar has to offer.
This idyllic, seven kilometre stretch of pam tree-lined, white sand is blessed with completely crystal clear turquoise sea. Legend has it that it takes its name from Naples, in Italy. A homesick , prominent Italian living here years ago gave it its name and it stuck. It has already become by far the most popular beach in the country, probably due to the several daily flights from Myanmar’s capital Yangon, 45 minutes away. It is possible to reach by road, but at the moment this is closed due to political problems in the area.
The beach is quite upmarket due to the fact that visitors have to fly in, this keeps the backpacker numbers down. Its remoteness also means that it is more suited to stays of several days rather than just a day or two. Travellers tend to come here, switch into chill-out, beach mode and relax.
Accommodation ranges from small beach huts to expensive villas, and the seafood is beautiful, with many seaside places serving the freshest of produce. The tourism industry has got off to a flying start here and many vendors offer water sports such as snorkeling, scuba diving and sea kayaking. Cycling and golf has also taken off in the area.
A little more developed than some of the other beaches, it is though, still worthy of inclusion on this list.
Ngwe Saung (Silver Beach)
Silver Beach is even closer to Yangon; it lies to the South of Ngapali Beach and is little over ten years old, in terms of development. Again the trademark crystal clear sea is to be found, however this is a less developed area completely. There are daily flights from the Capital 35 minutes away, but in many ways it is just as easy to make the road trip. The scenery is worthwhile and for those who really have time to spare the 16 hour boat ride from Yangon is definitely the way to go.
There is a small island at one end of the beach and a causeway at low tides enables you to walk. This is a popular place for scuba diving also. The beach in its entirety is some 15 kilometres long and hiring a motorbike facilitates exploration superbly. In places the sand is hard enough to ride on, in other stretches it is possible to just use the beach road.
The seafood here is as good as you will get anywhere. All many of fish species and other seafood to tempt the palette are caught daily. An early excursion to the beach will result in you witnessing the day’s catch being brought ashore. During the high season it is possible to hire boats in order to explore the surrounding islands. Don’t forget to bring your own snorkel.
Myanmar hosted the 2013 Southeast Asian Games and the beach volleyball and sailing events were held here. It has become popular with middle class Burmese who like to come out from the city of Yangon on short breaks. Whilst the sand is not as perfect as Ngapali Beach, it is still very good and the ramshackle nature of the beach front hotels adds a certain charm that certainly appeals to many. Some of the villas here have very good swimming pools but in all honest, it seems a shame to use them, the sea is so perfect.
This is a delightful yet popular beach that is within easy reach from Myanmar’s capital city Yangon. Its popularity among the rich and famous from Yangon, have already given it something of a reputation. It is a suparerb place to come and chill-out.
Ngwe Saung Beach
This is many people’s favourite but probably will not remain so, as it becomes a victim of its own success. It is totally unspoilt and undeveloped. A real throw-back to the days when Idyllic beaches could be found all over Southeast Asia. There is no water sport activity, no shopping to speak of, just four and a half kilometres of golden sand and clear seas.
Hotels are available and you will not encounter any trouble trying to get a room, however advanced booking is an issue and this means that you will have to rely on your sense of adventure when visiting. The beach lies about 100 kilometres to the south of Ngapali Beach.
It is important to remember that all Myanmar’s beach resorts close during the monsoon season which runs from May to October. Between November and April is the right time to visit. By April the sea has become warm, just in time for the Water Festival in April which is worth seeing. The waves are quite small, which is making it an attraction for newbie surfers, the arrival of pre-monsoon winds creates a potential for some bigger surf.
Myanmar is still a country that has certain restrictions and modest attire is deemed important. T shirts and jeans are the normal dress code on the beaches and even in the sea. Locals often wear pyjamas; for them bikinis are not on the agenda. It is permitted for foreigners to wear bikinis and swim wear, but be aware of local sensibilities. Wearing G strings and going topless is out.