Ngapali Beach (Burmese ငပလီ) is in Rakhine State, Western Myanmar.
Ngapali Beach is a beach 7 km from the town of Thandwe in Rakhine State and is the best beach in Myanmar. However, Ngapali is a seasonal destination and, as a result, most jobs are seasonal and unemployment is extremely high during low season.
There's a increasing number of resorts around along the beach, though it is still relatively quiet and untouched. Most resorts cater to foreign tourist as Ngapli is considered a more expansive destination that only more well off locals can afford.The hotels usually of the high end such as Bayview Ngapali, Amata Resort, Amazing Ngapali and the government-owned Anawa, but there is a few budget accommodations available. The southern stretch is more recommended, due to the range of dining, sleeping and other options there.
Ngapali used to have private bungalows, but these were pulled down in the late 1990s to make way for the development of hotels. The hotels and small tourism industry help to provide income for the villages around Ngapali and also Thandwe. There is also a 9-hole golf course nearby. Myanmar's political climate made Ngapali not as well-publicized as other good beaches of Southeast Asia, but it's changing.
Ngapali caters mostly to foreigners while locals tend to opt for other beaches. Resorts cover parts of the main beachfronts. Thandwe is the nearby town at the highway.
From there you can easily get onward transport for the last 6-12 km to Ngapali, depending on where you want to go along the stretched beach. Local pickups or shared vans are 500 kyat from/to Thandwe. There is no tourist accommodation available in Thandwe itself. Tickets for the ferry in Thandwe are sold at the Bayview Beach Resort.
A trip by taxi can be a little less time consuming and convenient alternative, especially if shared between 3 or 4 people.
Apparently, some buses go directly into Ngapali:
- Yangon &ndahs; From Aung San Highway Bus Station, 11 hr, 21,000/19,000 kyat for VIP/standard overnight bus.
- Bagan &ndahs; 24 hr with a change in Pyay. 30,000 kyat.
However, make sure, if you book them and pay the extra charge that they actually drop you in Ngapali.
Ngapali Beach stretches along 12 km of coast line.
In case you stay close to the 1 main junction or at the southern stretch of Ngapali, most places and restaurants, north even the airport, can be reach by foot.
By (moto) taxi
For a taxi or motorbike expect to pay 2,000 kyat to either end of the beach.
You might be able to rent a motorbike, but there are rumours regarding the legality of this. However, there are not really many sights, like for example in Hpa-an, for which you would need a motorbike. E-bikes can be rented for 15,000 kyat per day (low season 2017).
Local pickups or shared vans are between 300 and 500 kyat along the beach or to Thandwe.
You might even try water transport via long-tail boat, but bargain hard.
For the ones not already satisfied with the beautiful beaches, a few sights are available.
- 1 Pearl Island (just off the coast at the southern end of Ngapali Beach). 2-3 hr. Most hotels organise snorkeling trips to the island. But you can also ask restaurants and other shops, which will probably give you a decent bargain. Trips can include snorkeling and fishing. There is even a restaurant on the island, Lobster Bar, the only one, which serves drinks and food. About 15,000 kyat to rent a boat.
- 2 Black Sand Island (Zalat Htone) (far north beyond the airport at the outlet of Sandoway (Thandwe) River). Another interesting place to enjoy a picnic and the sunset, or take photos of the picturesque surroundings. This island climbs up to about 40 m and can be reached by bicycle.
- 3 Amata Mountain. Start early to Jate Taw/Gyeiktaw Village in the south. In the morning you can watch the local fishermen unload their catch from the night before. Afterwards, from the village walk up the mountain. There you will find a standing Buddha (21 m) and a meditation centre to relax and spend some time. Afterwards go on to Abe Village, famous for the mangrove forest and authentic people.
Also, checkout the sights, dos and buys in and near Thandwe.
This is one of the most beautiful beaches in Myanmar. You can see and do various things in Ngapali, but you might want to pick only the most interesting ones: there are far more exciting things waiting in the rest of Myanmar. So relax and enjoy the calm and leisure.
- 1 Andrew Bay (Andrew Bay starts at the southern end of Ngapali). Rent a bicycle and explore the area by yourself, especially Andrew Bay in the south. Have a tea and watch the busy locals. Ask a local fishermen to take you for a tour onto and even across the bay. The way back, in case you decide not to take the boat, along the road north passing by Thandwe is 41 km, so either have a good bicycle or take a local pickup. Bicycle 2,000 kyat, boat 5,000 kyat..
- 2 Ngapali Golf Course (In the middle of Ngapali). Can be under water. Go early to avoid the heat and spend 2 hr or so. The old building is the so-called clubhouse. No golf shoes required. 9 holes are US$20, caddie 3,000 kyat.
- Kayaking. Ideal to explore the numerous bays and mangrove forests around Ngapali. Ask at your hotel or the village for renting the kayak, or try Bayview Beach Resort or Art of Sand Beach Bar.
- Ballooning (Best booked with your hotel or travel guide of choice). Explore the area around Ngapali and Thandwe. Could make more sense to save the ballooning money for Bagan if you go there. US$200-400, depending on the number of people.
- Massage. There are several massage options both attached to the resort and informal tables on the beach. 12,000 kyat for 60 min at Head to Toe resort massage..
- Trekking. From Ngapali to the countryside, jungle and mountain with incredible views, local knowledge and lunch. Ask around for the best deals.
- Several options exist to rent a boat
Some places accept card payments but may also add a 3% surcharge. ATMs are available outside the Bayview Hotel which charge a 6,500 kyat fee for up to 300,000 kyat maximum withdrawal.
There are a collection of shops near the main junction and along the southern stretch. Local people specialise in coconut handicrafts. There is an art gallery on the road side.
Items for sale on the 'pop up' beach shops include river pearl jewellery, teak handicrafts, painted umbrellas. Large conch shells and coral are for sale which is damaging the marine environment.
Ngapali is famous for its seafood. There are many options, especially along the southern stretch of the main road. Otherwise, many of the hotels and resorts also cater for non-guests, but you might want to try the cheaper but not less delicious restaurant that can always be found opposite or just outside of the resorts.
Besides coconut handicraft, Ngapali also provides the traveler with delicious fresh coconuts for 1,000-2,000 kyat from the beach hawkers, that carry several coconuts, pineapple and watermelons on their heads. The women will cut open the coconut for you as well.
- 1 Two Brothers Restaurant (opposite the Amata Resort). Serves delicious barracuda, snapper and white tuna.
- 2 Min Thu Seafood Restaurant (south of Aureum Palace, at the road). Seafood is the point about this restaurant. If you definitely aim for fresh fish, go here. Family run and around for a while now.
- 3 Ngapali Kitchen (south of Aureum Palace, at the road), ☏ . Locally run and authentic. 3,000-5,000 kyat.
- 4 Sea Queen (just before Amazing Ngapali Resort, at the northern stretch of Ngapali), ☏ . In case Min Thu is too far away, try this highly recommended restaurant. You will choose your fresh fish outside, which is then prepared in the kitchen inside. From 5,000 kyat.
Beach bars are popping up all over. After having explored the area by bicycle or taxi, you will know where to find them, mostly at the southern stretch or near the main junction. Happys hour during dusk are common. Most hotels and resorts charge western prices.
- 1 Green Umbrella, ☏ . Lovely restaurant right next to the street. Some people complain about the drinks, so probably go for a beer. Otherwise, delicious seafood and Burmese food, as well as friendly staff.
- 2 Sunset Bar, 205 Hgnet Pyaw Khaung Kwin, ☏ . Seafood, Burmese, Thai and western food. Highly recommended. Good for a relaxing drink in the evening, but you can also enjoy the food.
Budget options in Ngapali are rare. There is no tourist accommodation available in Thandwe at the highway. Only Taungup, another 85 km north from Thandwe, has some guesthouses.
- Baptist Christian Guest House (towards the airport, ask the locals). Fan, shared bathroom, simple rooms in bungalows. US$6.
- 1 Royal Beach Motel (next to Amata Hotel (could also be beyond it)), ☏ , , . Clean and comfortable, maybe a little small rooms. Nice gardens and surrounding and beautiful beach. Decent breakfast. Try the restaurants across the street, they are better value for money. US$15/30/55 single/double/upstairs.
- 2 Lin Thar Oo Lodge, +95 1 -397395, -226605, +95 9 5088555, +95 9 795088555, +95 9 5181911, +95 43 42426, +95 43 42322, ✉ email@example.com. Simple bungalows, stretched along the beach. Very friendly, restaurant, bicycle rent, laundry service, free airport transfer. The rooms with fan are a little dated. (Also try firstname.lastname@example.org). Single US$15-30, double US$25-40.
- 3 Silver Beach Hotel (at the beginning of the southern stretch of Ngapali), ☏ , , , , ✉ email@example.com. AC, shower, including breakfast, neat bungalows. US$35-45.
- 4 Sandoway Resort (in the middle of the southern beach), ☏ , , , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. This resort is a dream with a tropical garden, AC, shower, TV, minibar. Spa and breakfast. Cottages or rooms. Could be closed between May and October, so double-check. US$130-170 (plus 20% for New Year's Eve).
- 5 Amazing Ngapali Resort (about 1 km north of the main junction), ☏ , , , ✉ email@example.com. Als try firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org .. US$150-250.
- 6 Hilton Ngapali Resort & Spa (less than 1 km south of the airport), ☏ , . Large rooms, sea or lagoon view. Has fast internet and includes a delicious breakfast. Including spa and a beautiful pool next to the ocean. Western ambience with a soft Asian touch.
- 7 Aureum Palace Resort & Spa, ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. Also try firstname.lastname@example.org .. US$180-225.
- 8 Pleasant View Resort (at the southern stretch of Ngapali), ☏ , , ✉ reserve@PVRngapali.com. One of the newer resorts in Ngapali. 26 bungalows, all on the beach front. Including restaurant and breakfast. US$50-335.
- 9 Bayview Beach Resort (in the middle of Ngapali), ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. On Ngapali Beach. 45 bungalows and rooms are all either directly on the beach or in a beautiful garden under palm trees. Serves international, Asian and seafood cuisine accompanied by a large variety of wines. Germans have even reported sights of pork schnitzel here. US$150-400.
- 10 Merciel Retreat & Resort, Ma Zin Village (between Hilton Ngapali Resort & Ngapali Paradise), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. US$110-140.
Many people will fly in and out of Ngapali directly from Yangon, Mandalay or Bagan. Other options exist, and road transport will become more and more popular in the coming years as road conditions are improving. Another rare option is the boat to Sittwe.
- Mrauk U – Famous for its ancient sights of the past kingdom and traditional, surrounding villages of Chin people.
- Pathein – Famous for its handcrafted umbrellas.
- Pyay – Famous for the nearby and ancient Pyu city.
- Taungup – Can be a convenient hub for trips to Pyay, Mrauk U and Sittwe, e.g. by boat for the latter two.