When researching Myanmar for my vacation I really wanted to fit in some beach time. What was a Myanmar beach even like? When I researched it, I found out that there were in fact beaches in Myanmar, but the problem was that all the good beaches were to the south. I wouldn’t have time to make it down south if I wanted to see the main highlights of the country such as, Bagan and Inle Lake.
I found one beach on the northern west coast called Ngapali beach that was supposed to be amazing and even offered diving (although not the best diving). However, when I looked up accomodation prices at this Myanmar beach they were ridiculous and was out of my price range. The beach was full of fancy resorts- not what I was looking for as a backpacker. As well, to get to the beach it also looked like you had to hire a private car to get there.
I dug in some more into my research.
I ended up coming across Ngwesaung Beach. This looked to be about five hours away from Yangon, totally do-able. They had resorts on this beach but also one guesthouse that was very cheap and had great reviews.
I ran into another problem. It seemed like every blog wrote about how difficult it was to get to this beach. You had to bus into one town and then bus from there to the beach. Or even if the bust said that it was five hours it was really more like eight and only went every few days.
I decided that despite this I was going to fit this beach into my vacation.
When I got to Yangon, Myanmar the first thing that I did was book a bus ticket through my hostel to Nwegnsaung Beach. Well- that was easy. It was a night bus so we ate some dinner before hoping on.
We caught the bus from the street directly in front of the train station. To get the best price on your bus ticket you can book directly at the train station and make sure to ask for a return ticket because that will give you the best rate if you plan on coming back to Yangon.
We were very excited about how easy this bus ride was going to be and that we didn’t have to go through the whole ordeal that other travel bloggers seemed to have gone through.
When we got on the bus though it was a bit disappointing. For one, the blasted the air conditioning to the point that I was freezing. I remember one point in the night my friend and I, curled up in every piece of clothing we had, opening our eyes and looking at each other as if to say “I’m going to die.”
Then the bus stopped at about 11 p.m. at night at a roadside restaurant. Everyone had to get out and eat. But since the bus left after dinner nobody needed to eat and we just sat around for about half an hour.
Then the worst part came. We suddenly arrived at our destination.
Wait. Isn’t this the good part?
Not when it’s 4 a.m. it isn’t.
Luckily, the owner of Dream Guesthouse was used to this and was already outside waiting to greet us. We were all in a bit of a blur and shock. We had just assumed that a night bust would arrive in the morning. It could have easily left later so that we could have arrived at a decent hours.
Some Germans that were on out bus, being the prepared Germans that they are, had actually booked accommodation for that night so they were able to go into their room and catch some zzzz’s.
Our guest house owner was kind enough to lay down a mat for my friend and I on the porch and give us some blankets to sleep out there. It was a bit chilly but I was very thankful for his kindness. There were also some hammocks out on the porch that some other travelers slept on. As well, he offered us complimentary breakfast when we woke up which was much appreciated.
After we were awake, ate breakfast and checked into our room we were feeling better and we decided to head to the beach.
What Did We do in Nwegansaung?
The beach was about a ten minute walk from where we were staying. I couldn’t believe it- there was no one on the beach. It was hard to pick where to sit because there were so many options on this beach that stretched on for miles and miles.
When we walked out into the water the sand was also nice and smooth with no rocks or seaweed. It took forever until you got deep enough that you could no longer touch the water. My friend who isn’t a confident swimmer brought her swimming ring but didn’t end up needing to use it.
It was crystal clear turquoise waters or anything but I was in heaven.
There were a few restaurants around for eating when we got hungry or needed to buy more water. The only downfall is you had to walk through a pathway with littered with garbage to get to the main road.
Around 4 p.m. that day we walked off of the beach into the main street where we hired a motorbike taxi. We both hopped onto one bike and the man took us to Snake Temple. This was too far away to walk to.
When we approached this ‘temple’ I hate to say that it wasn’t too impressive. There was a long wooden pathway that takes you out there since the temple is built out on the sea. The temple, however, is more like a snake statue. Just as I was feeling underwhelmed, out motor bike diver called us over and told us to come and take a look in the rocks. There were snakes! Curled up in the cracks of the rocks there were snakes sleeping. Okay, this place is pretty cool.
From here, our driver took us to a fishing village. The village had houses made of sticks and straw. You find these huts all over Myanmar and I love that they haven’t given up this tradition style for their houses. I find that these huts blend in so much more beautifully with nature and make for a peaceful and modest place to live. In such a hot climate, what more do you really need?
In front of the village colourful fishing boats were docked in the ocean and children were playing with each other in the sand- beating each other with sticks and wrestling. They were very friendly and full of smiles.
Our driver got us back at the perfect time to let us hp off at the beach near our hostel to enjoy the vibrant sunset. The sunset washed away the freezing bus journey that it took to get here.
After the sunset we ate at the most amazing restaurant. The son is taking it over from his sick father and you can tell that he has so much passion for this restaurant. His English is perfect and he has a huge heart. Oh yeah- I guess it’s worth mentioning that the food is delicious too. And the often have super cheap drink specials! It is located right next door to Dream House Guest House.
The next morning we decided to spoil ourselves and we headed to Emerald Sea Resort where you could pay about $5 USD and get to use the pool and their WiFi. WiFi is a VERY rare occurrence in Myanmar. We took a motorbike taxi there for dirt cheap.
At the resort we just lounged around for the day pretending that we were living the high life. We ordered water melon juice and fresh salads throughout the day- never having to leave our perfect set up from under the umbrella. In the end they never even ended up charging us to use the pool- they either forgot or waved it since we were ordering food and drinks from them.
The last thing that we ordered from the resort was a beer. We took the beer and walked down to the ocean front where the resort had cabanas set up and we sat there drinking our beer as we watched yet another beautiful sunset sink into the ocean.
After we decided to it up the one and only bar in Nwengsaug. Not only was it the only bar in Nwegsaung but we were the only people in it. Awkward.
Maybe it was the wrong night of the week or we were too early. Apparently they have fire dancers and other sorts of entertainment. The bar does have a pool table if you want to play and can be chill place to grab a dink and meet a few other people who come by- there were some more people who came just as we were leaving.
My one recommendation is to nor order food from here. We ordered a simple plate of french fries and they were soggy and absolutely dripping in oil. It’s almost as if they tried to cook them in a frying pan filled with vegetable oil. Who messes up french fries!?
The next morning we were expecting to have another full beach day before we headed back to Yangon but it turns out that the only bus back was around 10 a.m. We had already spend two days there and had one more before we left so we really didn’t want to have another day there. I asked if there was anywhere on the way that we could go instead? The woman from out hostel told us that we could go to Pathien.
The bus to Pathien didn’t leave until later in the day so this gave us the morning to spend at the beach and the opportunity to see a new city.
It turns out that our ‘bus’ was actually a mini can jam-packed with locals plus me and my friend. It wasn’t the most comfortable ride but it was only a couple of hours so it was fine. When we arrived at the bust terminal we just got a motorbike taxi to take us to buy our bus tickets to Yangon for the next day and then find us a place to stay. Sorry- but I am not going to recommend where we stayed to you. If anything I wish I could remember the name to save you from the trouble of possibly ending up there.
So don’t let other blogs deter you from adding some beach time to your trip in Myanmar. Visiting a Myanmar beach is totally possible and highly encouraged!