Myanmar is not yet a popular seaside destinations – luckily. Along the almost 2000 kilometers coast you can find hidden corners blessed by crystal clear water, huge palms and white sand. Most of these beaches still aren’t open to mass tourism, just like Thailand was 20 years ago, so they are not easy to reach. The same goes for the many islands off-coast, most of them still unnamed (this is not an invitation to go and explore them, and even less to create a secret society like Leo did on The Beach). Don’t worry though! You can still reach without problems some of the best beaches in Myanmar.
Let’s begin with Ngapali Beach, a 7-kilometers-long beach with extra white sand, turquoise water and palms facing the Bay of Bengal. According to the legend, it was an Italian man from Naples who named the beach after his homeland many years ago. Ngapali can be easily reached with a 45 minutes flight from Yangon. If you want to go there overland, it’s better to first ask our travel desks for information about the road access, because some stretches might be closed. The hospitality industry is well developed, so you can choose between small guest houses and luxury resorts. The best season to visit Ngapali is from November to March.
This is with no doubt a perfect destination for those who want to spend some days relaxing on the beach, feet dipped in the warm sand, gaze lost between the blue of the sea and the sky.
South of Ngapali, closer to Yangon, there’s Ngwe Saung, a place that earned the nickname of Silver Beach thanks to its incredibly white and fine sand. Lately it has become a favourite seaside destination for the wealthy citizens of Yangon, without losing its attire for backpackers. Here they can find a place to relax thanks to the low rates applied by the local accomodation facilities. One piece of advice: don’t forget to taste fish on the beach!
Even closer to Yangon is Chuang Tha, the closest thing to a classic seaside town for the Burmese population. It’s the place where locals go to play and have fun on the beach. The main activities? Rolling on the sand on big rubber rings, having long horse-ride walks, wonderful guitar concerts, exuberant football and volleyball matches, picnics and – why not? – even firework shows to end the day with a bang. It is the most popular beach in high season, so if you want to avoid the crowd you can rent a small boat to explore the area in tranquillity.
Then there’s Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State, located right where the Kaladan river meets the Bay of Bengal. It’s a town more densely populated, so it can offer much more than a simple day at the beach. Indeed, many markets of different kinds animate the city. After a pleasant stay in town, you can easily reach Mrauk U, a must-see archeological site, second only to Bagan.
Last but not least, if you want to stay away from the classic tours, you should visit Gwa and Kanthaya beaches, located between Ngwe Saung and Ngapali on the Bay of Begal coast. These destinations are still undeveloped, so they don’t attract tourists. For the adventurers, however, they will be a warm and pleasant surprise!