Just a one hour flight from Yangon, Ngapali was long ago named after Naples in Italy. With its pristine beaches, warm, lapping waters, swaying palm trees, infinite opportunities for adventure and ultimate laid-back vibes, it’s not hard to see why Ngapali has become Myanmar’ s premier beach destination. This stunning stretch of idyllic powder soft sand is nestled on the shores of the Indian Ocean on the Bay of Bengal and sits in the state of Rakhine. Boasting a sub-tropical climate and year-round sunshine, Ngapali promises holiday makers and locals alike, the ultimate exciting beach experience. Close to the town of Thandwe if you need a break from the beach and brimming with fun activities, Ngapali has something to offer everyone.
Ngapali is bursting with chilled out, beach vibes and although buzzing during peak season (November- March), it is by no means a party destination, but more of a place to laze around; taking in the stunning surroundings and practicing self love. During the rainy seasons (May-October), the place is still beautiful, although it’s worth considering that many hotels and restaurants completely close down or close early for family vacations or renovations.
Life in Ngapali is built around the beach. While away days relaxing with a good book, sip on happy hour cocktails or try your hand at a variety of thrilling water sports. The stunning coral, located close to the shore line offers endless opportunities for spotting colourful fish and other exciting marine life. The local fishing villages are within walking distance from the beach and provide the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself into local life. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, it’s easy to find a boat to take you out to explore the unmissable nearby islands of Zalat Htone and Pearl Island.
Tucked away behind the stretch of hotels occupying the shore line, lies the traditional fishing village of Jate Taw. Actually one of many local villages in the area, this one is the easiest to get to by foot and is a beautiful representation of what Ngapali once was. Locals here are friendly and curious and a walk around the village offers the perfect opportunity to see how local life is here. There are a few more villages further south; a bicycle is the perfect way to explore them.
A mecca for water sports, Ngapali offers everything from snorkeling along stunning coral reefs to scuba diving, kayaking and fishing. During the monsoon season, even surfing is popular here.
A popular morning or afternoon trip from Ngapali is Pearl Island. If you want to experience ultimate isolation and peace and quiet then it is easy to hire a boat and spend a few hours exploring this stunning island, relaxing on pristine sands and swimming in warm waters.
If it’s a more active day out that you’re after, hire a bicycle in Ngapali and take a cycle to the mystical black sand beach of Zalat Htone. A trip to these unique sands is perfect coupled with a stop in nearby villages Rakhine and Kinmaw where locals make clay pottery and other traditional artifacts.
A major seaport, this ancient town was once called ‘sandaway’ during the colonial era. The area is mountainous and the hills, littered with sparkling pagodas to explore. It is also home to a bustling daily local market which provides the perfect opportunity to shop for fresh local produce including fruits, fish and noodles, as well as a chance to indulge in homemade cuisine and enjoy eating like a local. The cultural immersion, hiking and daily life in Thandwe make it well worth the visit for a morning away from the beach.
Food and Drink
Local caught fish including barracuda, squid and snapper is in abundance here, as well as fresh juices made from locally grown fruits and refreshing, straight from the tree coconut water. A popular dish is traditional Burmese curry, often made with coconut and shrimp and served with rice; lobster is also a popular choice. An array of Burmese Asian fusion food is available in the many popular restaurants and unsurprisingly, due to the soar in tourism and hotels, western diets are well catered food. Most restaurants in the area come with stunning vistas across the bay, and offer visitors the perfect sunset views and an unrivalled tropical ambiance.