Burman ladies walking back along Ngapali beach at sunset. Tom Godber/Creative Commons
A beautiful stretch of beach down the coast from Thandwe once reminded a home-sick visitor of the Naples beach in Florida, the U.S. As the formerly nameless beach gained recognition, it also received a name that recalled the visitor’s remark: Ngapali Beach.
During the dry season between October and May, visitors from Yangon make the short air hop to visit Ngapali. The attraction is easy enough to understand, once you see it: a pristine white-sand beach stretching for kilometres, the Bay of Bengal on one side and little villages clustered under the shade of the palm trees on the other.
Life goes on for most residents as it has for hundreds of years, with fishermen shuttling between sea and coast and their wives drying the catch on bamboo mats near the shore.
The laid-back lifestyle in Ngapali leads beachgoers to compare it favorably against other beach destinations in the region. A Ngapali beach vacation has no crowds, no loud parties, no hyper-expensive food or drinks. The food is reasonably-priced and very fresh: Rakhine curries, steamed crabs with dipping sauces, lobster, and sashimi are easy to find at one of the low-profile restaurants along the beachfront, and are all delightful when washed down with cold beer or wine.
The crystal clear waters are perfect for snorkeling, and the beach is made to relax on with a good book or with just your own thoughts. After dark, you can retire to one of the bungalow-style hotels that have cropped up along the beachfront, then repeat the process the next day.
Island near Ngapali Beach, Myanmar. Si Thu Win/Creative Commons.
Lounge chairs facing Ngapali Beach, Myanmar. ReflectedSerendipity/Creative Commons.
Family walking along Ngapali Beach. Charly Leporc/Creative Commons.
Similar Southeast Asia Experiences
For other Southeast Asia beaches you can catch some sun in, explore the Philippines’ El Nido, Malaysia’s Langkawi, Indonesia’s cruise from Bali to Flores islands, and the luxury experiences in Phuket, Thailand.