Posted by: David Stewart | April 22, 2009

The Beach … Burma style!

We usually say, when asked, "well we’re really not beach people."

Ngwe Saung beach, Myanmar

But Myanmar has some fantastic beach locations. And we were almost guaranteed to have small crowds because

  • The high season is December too February, and we were going in March.
  • The general state of the world economy is pretty bad right now.
  • Tourists don’t usually come to Myanmar in the best of times because of it’s various reputations.
  • Since hurricane Nargis and various other political troubles, tourists have been even more sparse than usual to Myanmar.
  • We were going to a beach with pretty bad access. (More on this in a minute).

What I wasn’t expecting was that we would have the beach, and the hotel, absolutely to ourselves.

Ngwe Saung, Myanmar (Burma)

Our hotel, the Sunny Paradise Resort, probably could have 200 guests. But it’s sun loungers stood alone, the infinity pool empty, the swim-up bar stools were without drinkers.

Ngwe Saung beach, Myanmar Ngwe Saung beach, Myanmar We had great beach front bungalows for which we paid $80 per night, including breakfast.

 Ngwe Saung beach, Myanmar

The breakfast was an impressive international spread with a few Myanmar touches like "Mohinga", which is rice noodles in a fish broth soup and seasoned with various condiments and crunchies.

Ngwe Saung beach, MyanmarRoom at Sunny Paradise Resort, Ngwe Saung, Myanmar

The white sand beaches were immaculate, like every inch was swept clean. The emerald green waters of the Bay of Bengal were warm as bath water at the beach and then cooled gently further out.

 Ngwe Saung beach, Myanmar

Actually, there was one other couple staying there, a German couple that spent all day in their sun lounger or in the ocean. They would sometimes wander down the beach to the shack where local folks were selling barbequed fish. These were simple and fantastically season with lime juice, garlic and a little salt and spices, and grilled over a fire with a skewer through it long ways. Simple and perfect.

100_0645

 

In town, the many great restaurants had fantastic seafood. In one, The Comet Restaurant, had beachside access. They made us a fantastic spread which included some barbequed jumbo prawns with a simple soak in lime juice, garlic and chili.

100_0638

 

One afternoon we decided to try out the pure decadence of the hotel’s spa. We ordered whole body massages with either Thai or Myanmar style. The spa had a treatment room with four floor-level cushions, so we were all four able to be kneaded, stretched and walked on at the same time. One hour massages cost $15.

Instead of just hanging out at a bench and absorbing the sun’s rays, I like a good exploration on holiday. So one day, we took an off-road motorcycle tour down the back roads of Myanmar’s coastline. We arranged the trip by walking into town to Sandalwood Excursions where Tom Tom arranged our trip.

Ngwe Saung, Myanmar (Burma)Ngwe Saung, Myanmar (Burma)

 

The next morning at 8AM, we were met at our hotel by Tom Tom and our moto drivers.

Ngwe Saung beach, Myanmar

We each rode behind a skilled off-road driver who took us south past the hotel zone and onto a dirt track that took us through little villages and ended up in a fishing village, called Simha, which means "Elephant".

Ngwe Saung beach, MyanmarNgwe Saung beach, MyanmarNgwe Saung beach, MyanmarNgwe Saung beach, Myanmar

At Simha, we wandered the beach and collected a number of nice seashells.Ngwe Saung beach, MyanmarNgwe Saung beach, MyanmarNgwe Saung beach, Myanmar

Then we chartered a small boat out to a little island with incredible wind-blasted rock formations and tide pools with scuttling crabs and even more shells.

Ngwe Saung beach, MyanmarNgwe Saung beach, MyanmarNgwe Saung beach, Myanmar Ngwe Saung beach, MyanmarNgwe Saung beach, Myanmar Ngwe Saung beach, Myanmar

 

Finally we returned to the mainland and after a stop in a village teashop, we remounted our bikes and returned to our hotel by driving up the beach.

Ngwe Saung beach, MyanmarNgwe Saung beach, MyanmarNgwe Saung beach, Myanmar

A terrific 5 hour excursion for about $12 per person.

Fantastic food, relaxing and fun times. Very few people and very little money. Could we really be beach people after all?

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Responses

  1. amazing how deserted the place was.

  2. Correction: *you* usually respond that we’re not really beach people.

    I love the coast–but perhaps what you mean is the stereo-typed, consumerist American ideal of a beach?

  3. Ahem, yes. Well, it’s hard for me to spend vacation time totally relaxing, which is the best way to appreciate a beach. I usually need to be up and about and exploring.


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