Ngapali Beach
ngapali beach

Ngapali Beach is a remote and upscale beach destination in Myanmar, perfectly complemented by the clear blue waters of the Bay of Bengal.. The beach is 7 km of soft white sand bounded by coconut palms, crystal clear calm waters and natural and unspotted beauty. As the most famous beach in Myanmar, it is an ideal location for relaxation, sunbathing as well as recreational activities such as scuba-diving, fishing, strolling, kayaking, cycling or play a round of golf. As modern resorts and hotels continue to pop up in response to increasing tourist traffic, its fishing-village roots are still preserved through the small fishing boats that can be seen on the horizon, and ox-drawn carts ambling along the beach. Today, the bulk of the local fishermen’s catch is served up in the restaurants and hotels.

It is also fascinating to take a stroll on Ngapali Beach. You will find tiny red crabs along the quieter side of the beach, digging holes. (It’s a fascinating sight for us city people.) And closer to noon, fishing boats will arrive at the beach with their catch. And groups of women will be sitting under the shade, waiting for the fishermen to bring in the fishing nets so they can pick out the fishes and crabs stuck to the nets.

Travellers flock to Ngapali during the peak season between November to February. Accommodation is pricey during this period but the weather will be perfect to hit the beach. If you are not willing to splurge on expensive accommodation, we would recommend visiting Ngapali during the off-peak season, between mid September to October, when the season is in transition from the intense monsoon to the pleasant and calm winter. There will be occasional showers during the day or if you are lucky, consecutive days of sunny and warm weather. Just cross your fingers and wish for sunny days! Joking aside, as a precaution, we would suggest calling up the hotel or resort in Ngapali before booking your trip. The advantages of visiting Ngapali during the off peak season is that you get to enjoy attractive accommodation rates in high end resorts, full attention from the hotel staff (as there won’t be many travellers during this period) and peace and quiet. In one of the memorable moments during our trip to Ngapali in September 2014, we visited the local seafood wholesalers and came back to the resort we were staying in with 3 lobsters, 1 kg of tiger prawns and 9 flower crabs for under US$50. The kitchen staff in the resort were nice enough to prepare the seafood and serve them for us for dinner at their beach front restaurant with minimal charge. If you prefer to dine outside, there are plenty of foreigner-friendly restaurants along the main strip.

There are a few ways to get to Ngapali. Currently Golden Myanmar Airways, Air Mandalay, Air Bagan and Yangon Airways operate flights to Ngapali. The journey by flight takes about 45 minutes. If you have time to kill and are up for an adventure, you can also hire a driver or get on a bus to get there on pretty rough road. Bus journey can get you there in 16 hours and private vehicle can get you there slightly quicker, approximately 10 hours. On the way to Ngapali you will get to enjoy the beautiful Rakhine State mountain range and meet villagers going around their daily lives. Bring some chocolates and candies if you opt for the road-trip. There are many kids from the mountain villages who would appreciate a little treat. And if you are lucky you will get to encounter wild animals i.e. elephants.