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The world’s most under-rated beach: Ngapali in Myanmar

The UK magazine Wanderlust recently named Myanmar as it’s top tourist destination, yet after spending five days at Ngapali Beach I’m still surprised by how (pleasantly) quiet it was. Most people don’t associate Myanmar with Hawaii-toppping beaches and gorgeous resorts, so to address this I decided to post a few photos – and let you be the judge! I’ll add a little bit of commentary along the way…

My husband, in paradise
My husband, in paradise

Despite the hype about Myanmar as the new “it” destination, there’s not another soul on the beach, as you can see. The snorkelling was amazing – both at the rocks close to shore, jumping off a boat (great fishing too) and on a nearby island. Rumour has it that ‘Ngapali’ got its name from a sailor homesick for Napoli…

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Happy Hour on Ngapali Beach means two hours of half priced drinks, from 5pm – 7pm. Before dusk, the sun is a huge ball of electric pink fury and when it finally dips out of view, the lights on the squid fishing boats twinkle on the horizon. Very romantic. Every cocktail imaginable is on offer and the restaurants (such as Ngapali Bar) that aren’t attached to a hotel are super cheap. My husband ordered a barracuda that was so big it was chopped in half and brought out on two plates – and it cost about 3000 kyat (US$3.40). I ate seafood at every meal for five days…

Luxurious living
Luxurious living

This is a bedroom at Amata Resort and Spa – there was also an adjoining living area with a television, fridge, desk and so forth. The room was flanked by bamboo trees and a gecko the size of a football ran across the window at night once (a true beefcake). Other than a push-mower and a fishing boat, I never heard the sound of anything with a motor. It’s subliminal relaxation at its best. The service at Amata was faultless. The massages were expensive so I can’t vouch for them, but I’d be surprised if they weren’t awesome. There are some cheaper options (under $100 a night) closer to Thandwe airport. A friend also recommends Oliver’s Resort.

Amata's swimming pool
Amata’s swimming pool

I never got enough of this – after an afternoon of swimming, my husband and I relaxed in here until happy hour. And the hotel’s breakfast was as good as this looks!

No fighting over sun lounges
No fighting over sun lounges

Just to reiterate that crowds aren’t a problem in Ngapali.

Lazy and active as you like it
As lazy or active as you like it

Renting a fishing boat for a four hour trip to a nearby island – stopping along the way for fishing and snorkelling and a bbq fish lunch (the fishermen were generous with their catch because we caught one small fish between us) costs K25,000 ($28). It’s also possible to hire one person or two person kayaks – the tide is gentle so it’s an easy spin.

Ngapali Beach
Ngapali Beach

It’s not deserted by any stretch (pardon the pun) but this here looks like an under-rated beach. And it’s just a 40 minute flight from Yangon.

The cliche sunset shot
The cliche sunset shot

Please, put Ngapali Beach on your bucket list – I couldn’t think of a better ending for a holiday in Myanmar.