Ngapali beaches are Myanmar’s most famous beach destination. They are located on the west of Myanmar facing the Bay of Bengal. While often referred to as Ngapali beach, Ngapali is actually not a single beach, but it is the name of an entire stretch of beaches on the west coast. We stayed at the beach called Zi Phyu Kone, which turned out to be great! We also explored other beaches in the neighborhood, but we found that Zi Phyu Kone was the nicest since it had a wide stretch of white sand and was long enough not to be overcrowded. Zi Phyu Kone has a variety of affordable hostels and guesthouses to choose from, which is great for budget travellers. There are some more pricy resorts at other beaches that have their own pools facing the ocean and private beaches. When we say pricy, it is still cheaper than other destinations in South East Asia.
There are two ways to get to Ngapali Beach – you can either take a local flight from any of the major cities or you take a bus journey. We decided to take the bus because we did not trust the local airlines because of their questionable rating according to European standards (www.airlineratings.com) and because it was the cheaper option. Also, it might be that you are forced to take the bus as airplanes could be full for the days you are planning to take your trip. We took the bus from Bagan but what nobody told us is that the trip will be in total 25 hours long! Yes, 25 hours – a full day of your life on the road. And let us tell you, it won’t be the most comfortable hours of your life! Read more on our journey to Ngapali here.
BUT, as the title suggests, we did not regret to go through this torture as the reward was wonderful. These are 5 reasons why Ngapali is worth your nerves and a long journey to get there.
1. There are hardly any less untouched places left in the world
Myanmar is not a beach destination for tourists, which means that not many tourists make it to the beautiful Ngapali beaches. The positive is that we almost had the entire beach for ourselves. Comparing to beaches we have been to in Thailand, Malaysia, and India, Ngapali beaches were definitely the most relaxed. We are of course not the only ones that enjoy beautiful beaches and therefore, it is difficult to almost impossible to find secluded non touristic places.
This makes Ngapali extraordinary special as it has been able to keep its authenticity and natural beauty. Besides a long-tail boat here and there, the beach lacks touristic distractors such as water sports rentals and other tourist attractions. You will find some simple restaurants, massage shops, or kiosk, but besides that, the beaches are there for pure relaxation and enjoyment of nature. We imagine that Ngapali is what Thailand used to be many many years ago. We hope that the Ngapali beaches will remain free from crowds and pollution for a long time!
2. You will relax at the most beautiful beaches
Beaches cannot get much more untouched and beautiful than in Ngapali. Wide stretches of white sand, softly embraced by dense populations of tall palm trees and surrounded by green mountains. Relaxing and sun-tanning during the day and enjoying the sunset over delicious and ridiculously cheap cocktails – perfection! In the evening, all restaurants light up their lanterns and shine in the most beautiful colours and patterns – absolutely magic!
3. You will eat the cheapest and most delicious seafood of your life
Where else in the world do you get fresh fish and seafood right from the grill for under 5 Euro? An absolutely delicious and healthy closure of the day! Prices are very comparable across restaurants and the quality is overall outstanding. If you are not in the mood for bbq, you can choose among the various options of seafood and fish curries or fried seafood rice or noodles. These options are even cheaper and definitely no less in taste!
We had breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the beach for an average price for a meal of 4000 Kyats (a bit over 2 Euros). All the restaurants offer fresh sea food, which they prepare in a variety of ways. One of our favorite was the seafood noodles. For 1500 Kyats (less than a Euro), you would get a huge portion of various seafood and vegetables mixed with noodles. This is definitely a meal to go back for.
We have selected our 4 favourite restaurants in Ngapali Beach. Read more over here.
4. You will see Myanmar from a totally different side
Myanmar is like no other place to dive into authentic Asian culture and see breathtaking pagodas. Wherever you go in Myanmar, you will find locals wearing traditional longis and make-up chewing on betel nut and golden temples all around you. Ngapali, on the other hand, will show you a whole new other side of the country. You will be welcomed by a more laid back local life and after a couple of days you will feel so comfortable that it will be hard to leave again.
5. There’s no better place to get closer to local life
Ngapali is a popular holiday destination for Myanmar locals, especially from Yangon. Many families come here to enjoy a relaxed weekend or a holiday get-away from the busy city. Life is happening outside and you are in the middle of it! Be it the family fathers, uncles, and sons killing their first whisky bottle over lunch, or the entire bunch jumping excitedly up and down in the water, or the evening karaoke by the beach, you won’t get a closer insight into the local way of having a good time. And you are always welcome to join!
6. There are options for snorkelling
There are fisher boats that offer to take you snorkeling in the nearby islands (mini islands). The cost is about 15 Euros per person after negotiating. We eventually decided not to go, but we heard that the corals are beautiful and you see a variety of sea life.
New Years Eve 2019 in Ngapali Beach
We spent our 2019 new year’s eve at Ngapali Beach. It was the perfect location for us. There are no crazy parties that go on all night, but the restaurants and bars on the beach surely do appreciate the western new year’s eve and through some good parties. The larger resorts have dinner buffets with unlimited drinks and a party for the price of 50 Euros per person. We decided to go for one of the restaurants, and had a fish platter on the beach at one of the restaurants on the beach. Afterwards we headed to the Yoma Cherry Lodge that was throwing a big party. At midnight there was an extensive fireworks show, and the hotel lit up a “Happy New Year 2019” wooden sign on the beach.
All in all, Ngapali beaches are great if you are in Myanmar and need some beach time. They are commercialized enough for you to have a choice of food and drinks on the beach, but not crowded that you can’t find a spot on the beach. For us it was the perfect mix.