Dec 15, 2017
Bordering the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, Myanmar’s coastline – which stretches for some 2,000km – is blessed with stunning beaches, without the tourist hordes. And for the intrepid seeking the perfect expanse of sand in the middle of the ocean, the country’s Mergui Archipelago, comprising more than 800 islands, lies unblemished.
For family fun: Ngwe Saung
Wider than an eight-lane highway and about 15km long, this beach (main photo) is a spacious option for families and groups. Take a leisurely stroll along the coastline, or explore it on a rented motorbike or ATV (all-terrain vehicle).
Alternatively, take to the waters; the expansive, flat shore is one of the few in Myanmar that sees a steady swell of waves, which, while not quite big enough for surfing, are perfect for bodyboarding. Other water activities such as jet-skiing and windsurfing are offered by resorts such as Ngwe Saung Yacht Club & Resort (above) – a nautical-themed property with a good variety of family-friendly accommodation options (below), from villa suites to garden tents.
Though Ngwe Saung is one of the most-developed beaches in Myanmar, it is far from overcrowded. Hotels radiate from a well-equipped town centre, where local eateries such as West Point (Ngwe Saung Village; tel: +95 9 42248 3141) serve up the day’s catch.
Saltwater treasures: Expect to find real bargains at the village – think lustrous, albeit unevenly shaped, pearls. Myanmar’s pearls are famed for being particularly high-quality, with the golden ones fetching tens of thousands of dollars at auctions. At Ngwe Saung, you can find natural ones in hues of pink, gold and grey from the Andaman Sea. Compared to cultured pearls, these are not uniform in size or colour, and are more highly prized.
Getting there: Take a six-hour bus ride from Yangon, or hire a private car or van; the journey takes five to six hours.