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I can’t even describe how badly John, my travel mate, and I wanted to get to the beach after four weeks of breathing dust and hiking through mountains. But there was a long drive ahead of us first. We were still in the middle of nowhere, to be exact, in Mindat, a small town located in the mountains in the north of Chin State. First, we had to take a minivan to Pakkoku, a place near Bagan, where we had already been before. After that 8 hour drive, we were jumping into another van to get to Pyay where we only arrived after midnight. Our next bus to Ngapali was already leaving at 8 the next morning but we decided to spent at least a few hours in a hotel to get some sleep instead of waiting at the bus station. The next bus ride was going to be the worst one in Myanmar yet. Not only that the 20 hours we had spent sitting without any leg room were already taking its tall on us, of course our van had to break down somewhere on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere after we almost hit a motorcyclist. So, we were standing in the boiling hot sun for a while inspecting our minivan. After half an hour our bus driver managed to turn on the vehicle again. Now we were driving with 10 km/h up and down the mountains while a lot squeaking noise was annoying us.
It felt like forever until we reached a town where someone was supposed to repair our minivan. Again, we were waiting and waiting until someone gave us the okay to drive on. There were still a few hours ahead of us and it was dawn already. And as if all this wasn’t enough yet, there was an oil leak in the trunk and our backpacks were soaked. Well, eventually we made it to Ngapali Beach late that evening after almost not finding our hotel.
The owners, an older spouse, was already waiting for us and was showing us to our cosy room. They offered us tea and bicycles that we could use for free which was great. The next days we just enjoyed the warmth of the sun and the empty beaches surrounding this little town.
To be honest, I don’t even know what I expected before coming here but I totally felt overwhelmed. Ngapali Beach was definitely one of the best places I had seen in my life. The people were absolutely amazing and kind and we spent days just cycling through small streets and alleys.
Also, the food was amazing. Our homestay had a great breakfast and every time we returned from the beach or a tour, the owners had tea, coffee and fresh fruits prepared for us. Just amazing.
In the evenings we enjoyed great food in the luxury resorts nearby and also a cocktail or two. The long and hectic drive to get to this amazing place was long forgotten. I would definitely come back any time. I’ll just let the photos speak.
TO DO IN NGAPALI BEACH
Explore: Rent a bicycle and explore the area and different beaches. It is worth checking out the small alleys around the main fishing area. Great vibes and amazing people!
Beach time: In case Ngapali is your last stop like it was mine you probably just want to enjoy the warmth of the sun and the great white and empty beaches!
Snorkelling: There are some companies offering snorkelling tours around Ngapali. It usually includes visiting some islands around and is definitely worth checking out!
Food: There are many luxury resorts in Ngapali. We usually went there for dinner to enjoy three courses and awesome cocktails for a bargain. Also, we usually sneaked into the resorts during the day to hang out by the pool and use the tanning beds by the beach.
HOW TO GET THERE AND AROUND
We found it quite annoying to get there to be honest (even though it was totally worth it). By bus it is possible to reach Ngapali Beach from Pyay and from Yangon directly though. The drive is not very comfortable and there are several checkpoints with heavily armed men. There is also an airport. Flights are not cheap though.
WHERE TO STAY
Our guesthouse was absolutely lovely and called Golden Sea. The owners were very helpful and always surprised us with fresh fruits and coffee during the day. As mentioned already, there are many luxury hotels located in this area which are also worth checking out. Some of them have great deals!