Myanmar - Getting to know Ngapali Beach
Ngapali Beach (pronounced Na-pal-ly) is that tropical beach - the quiet one, that none of your friends have been to, that still has fishermen pottering about on it (along with - rather randomly - ox-drawn carts), and boasts vast stretches of pure, soft, white, virtually empty sand. It’s no wonder Ngapali is known as Myanmar’s prominent beach getaway.
Ngapali isn’t completely untouched by tourism, and recent years have seen a slight surge in construction, but its idyllic coastline of rustling palm trees is punctuated by little more than bungalow-style resorts and it still enjoys a relaxed fishing-village vibe, free from noisy beach bars and pushy hawkers that sadly taint other Asian beach destinations.
The facilities available seem like 'just enough', and never 'too far gone'. There are snorkelling opportunities, a reasonable golf course, boat trips to uninhabited islands and several nearby villages where you can observe traditional artisans in action - clay pottery in Kinmaw and hand weaving in Thandwe, Ngapali’s closest town. There’s a lovely variety of restaurants, both in the hotels along the shoreline and along the road inland; all of which, unsurprisingly, serve excellent, ultra-fresh seafood.
What to do at Ngapali Beach
- Away from the beach lie vast areas of untouched jungle and forested hills, which are best viewed from a hot air balloon. As the morning mist lifts, take in the panoramic views of jungle clad mountains and meandering rivers, dotted with temples; the coastline in the distance. As you might imagine, hot air balloons are quite a novelty in this region and you may well have intrigued locals stopping to watch proceedings.
- If you don’t mind an early start, watch the fishermen bring in their daily catch at dawn on the beach close to Yoma Cherry Lodge (just south of Ngapali Golf Course).
- Which leads us nicely to our favourite Ngapali Beach pastime…eating seafood!
Around Ngapali Beach
- Located about four miles inland, the small town of Thandwe is worth a ramble for a change of scenery. Three modest hilltop stupas offer fantastic views over the town, and its thriving market, held in what used to be a British jail, sells all manner of regional produce, clothes, fabric, and even some locally produced souvenirs.
- Take a boat trip (and a picnic lunch) to nearby Pearl Island or to Pirate Beach and spend your day relaxing on the pristine white sand beach and snorkelling in the clear waters. Alternatively Zalat Htone is a black-sand island that can be reached by bicycle.
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Good to know...
During rainy season, which runs from June to October, most Ngapali hotels close, and flights operate only once a week.