In a land that is teeming with alluring natural attractions, one beach stands out as the premier beach destination – Ngapali Beach of Myanmar. Myanmar or Burma may not be in many people’s list as a top beach destination in the world but many people are mistaken. Myanmar is an enchanting country in Southeast Asia that has the most peaceful and pristine beaches in the continent.
Sandwiched between China, India, Bangladesh, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand, Myanmar has a long coastline facing the Bay of Bengal, and thus home to several stretches of powdery white sand shores. Ngapali Beach is a leading example. It is a 3-kilometer stretch of palm fringed white sands on the clear, blue and picturesque Bay of Bengal. The turquoise waters are not only attractive but also very productive. They produce an abundant supply of fish, offering to local villagers and visiting tourists the most delicious sea foods in the country.
Known as the “Naples of the East”, many consider Ngapali as the best beach destination in Myanmar, or at least many place it on top of their list of the best beaches in Southeast Asia. The region attracts millions of tourists and beach lovers every year since it is home to the most inviting and popular beaches there are in the planet such as Thailand’s Phuket, Malaysia’s Malacca, the Philippines’ Boracay and Indonesia’s Bali. Myanmar’s Ngapali can certainly hold its own. It is an unspoiled, unpolluted beach that stretches along a crystal blue sea with clean, blinding white sands and flanked by lush coconut groves. It simply is the perfect picture of Paradise on earth.
What really sets Ngapali apart from the other leading Southeast Asian beaches is what it does not have that the rest of these beaches do – Ngapali does not have pollution, noisy beachside bars and hawkers. It offers only peace and tranquility that allow its guests to be one with nature and leisurely take in the beauty of the area. There are no beachside parties that keep vacationers awake until the wee hours of the morning, no rows of sunbathing bodies on the beach and no persistent vendors pressing vacationers to buy sunglasses and souvenir items or to take a boat trip or to be tattooed. Tourists are allowed the time to be by themselves on the idle seaside waiting for Mother Nature to paint its beautiful sunset.
Ngapali Beach is found on the northern coast of Myanmar’s Rakhine State, approximately 35 minutes away by plane from the major city of Yangon. When traveling on land, the 14-hour drive to Ngapali is very picturesque and quite an adventure as it passes along a narrow winding road over the Rakhine mountain range and across the Ayeyarwady River. Also nearby is an 18-hole golf course, about 15 minutes from the beach. There is also a traditional fishing village in the area that allows foreign tourists to see the urban Myanmar lifestyle and experience local culture. The beach is open from October through May. The nearest other tourist destination is Mrauk U and its ancient temples.