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Ngapali Beach: The Least Crowded Beach in SE Asia. Your Next Holiday Spot?

Ngapali Beach Myanmar

Have you ever heard of Ngapali Beach? Not many people know about amazing beach located in the North East part of Myanmar. It was voted in top 10 beaches around the world in 2018 by TripAdvisor. In the next years it not catch the top anymore not due the fact that it lost the glamour but due to lack of tourists due to situation in Rakhine State. That means a more empty  beach, only for you, no? Sounds to be good to be true but it is!

With just under 200 cases and less than 10 coronavirus deaths, Myanmar has emerged as one of the few countries Southeast Asian to manage to limit the impact of coronavirus in Myanmar , ahead of major Southeast Asia nations such as Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines that are still under various degrees of lockdown.

Domestic flights are now back in operation from 15th May with limited flights at this moment , as are bus and train services.  International flights are due to resume no later than 15 June.

Advantage of Myanmar versus Thailand & Vietnam Beach Resorts 

We are all hoping for the tourism and the international tourism to be open. With tiny steps at the beginning of summer and then fully opened gradually till the end of the year where is the peak of tourist coming in South East Asia for their winter holiday and their escape of the European & North American harsh winter.

Thailand is still hoping to attract more than 15 million tourist, at least in the last quarter of the year which will make Thailand a very crowded destination  and beach full and the social distancing hard to be implemented on the beach. And taking into consideration that more than half of those tourist will be from China and we know the anti-chinese sentiment is on the rise after the Wuhan Virus it would be difficult to attract the European customers which are looking for less crowded places & beaches in South East Asia.

Vietnam is a popular destination for European & Russian market as well. Being neighbourned by China, the influx of Chinese tourists will be as well huge for the vietnamese market. Vietnam has plenty of amazing beaches to offer but in these time it would be difficult to navigate and to find one which are not popular with the chinese tourists.

 

How to Get To Ngapali Beach

Getting to Ngapali is easier and there are many means of transportation available.

By Bus

The hard core option is by bus. There are no VIP buses are JJ or other excellent buses which can make the trip to Ngapali Beach. There are normal and clean buses but the road it would be an adventure. Buses can take you to Ngapali from Yangon and can take up to 16 hours. The other option is to get in and from Ngapali to Bagan by bus. Time riders 12 hours and both are evening buses. Roads are not upgraded in years and after the rainy season in Myanmar they do get worse for a few month till they get some repairs.

By Private Car

This option is mainly used if you travel from Yangon. Still can take up to 10-12 hours to arrive to Ngapali but it’s a bit more comfortable compared to the bus. Plus if you are traveling part of a group the price can be lower as well plus it’s more fun and can be a nice road trip in Myanmar!

By Flight

Even if it is the most expensive option to travel to Ngapali it is the most used one for the tourists due to the time and comfort to use the flight to Ngapali.  There are daily flights from Yangon to Ngapali (mostly in the morning and early afternoon) and flights back from Ngapali to Yangon (mostly in the late afternoon). You can reach Ngapali by flight from Inle Lake as well – but only in one way (from Heho to Ngapali only). If you want to return to Inle you must to it via Yangon.

From Bagan to Ngapali there are no direct flight but only with a stop in Inle Lake. There is only one flight per day with limited seats (70 seats) and seats do get sold fast in the peak season.

The other town where you can reach Ngapali is Mandalay; good thing is that the flight is round trip (Mandalay-Ngapali – Mandalay).

Most of the above flights are being operated by Air Kbz, one of the most trustful airline in Myanmar.

Best Time  to visit Ngapali Beach.

When is the best time to visit Ngapali Beach in Myanmar?

Ngapali Beach  is an not all-year-round holiday spot. During the monsoon season which starts in June and ends in late September most hotels are closed for renovation and there are not too many flights available

The weather is really pleasant most of the time and there are lots of things to do in any kind of weather.

Throughout the year, the average temperature is about 27-28°C which make is almost to perfect. Water temperature is around 30°C in the hot season (April-May) and around 22-23°C in the dry and cold season (November to March)

Generally, there are three seasons on Ngapali Beach in Myanmar: dry season, hot season and rainy season.

Rain is at it’s highest in July and August when wind speed and wave can reach high levels as well.

November and March are the sunniest and driest months in Ngapali.

During cold season (December-January) morning can be a bit cold but it’s perfect for a morning running and the perfect sunrise on the beach.

 

Dry season (October to March)

In the dry season, the weather on Ngapali Beach is amazing.

Peak season is from mid-December to beginning of January and with a second peak during the Chinese New Year.

If you’re planning your vacation during these months it’s recommended to book in advance due to the limited availability of the hotels and taking into consideration that the period is in big demand from the local travels & expats in Myanmar

Ngapali is not too  developed with limited accommodation, and the best hotels, bungalows and villas might be fully booked.

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Hot season (April to May)

In the hot season, you can expect hot daytime sunshine followed by cooling afternoon rain showers.

Because of the Myanmar New Year holidays (mid-April), April is a popular month to visit Ngapali Beach and very crowded with the locals and sometimes can be a bit noisy; taking into consideration this aspect we don’t recommend going to Ngapali during the Water Festival in Myanmar.

But May is the a great month to visit Ngapali; as it’s considered a low month in terms of tourist visiting Myanmar, prices are at their lowest and not too many tourists which make is almost a perfect month to visit Ngapali: very hot outside and close to the beach & cocktail and a lot of swimming all day long!

Rainy season (June to September)

It rains quite a lot from June to September with July and August being the rainiest months.

Most of the high end hotels are closed for the renovation; only a few hotels in Ngapali are open during those months. Sometimes  the rain & wind is so strong and waves are more than 5 meters in high!

But in the same time you will also have many hours of dry and sunny weather even if it’s rainy season.

As always, there are pros and cons to visiting Ngapali Beach in Myanmar during the rainy season

It’s much less crowded and you can be lucky to find great deals on accommodation.

If you like the rain on the beach then it’s a good option for you to come to Ngapali during the monsoon season in Myanmar. But take into consideration that flights are available only from Yangon and not so many airlines do fly to Ngapali in the rainy season.

 

Where to stay on Ngapali Beach

Ngapali Beach (pronounced Napally) is one of our favorite beaches in South East Asia or is trying go be again in the top 10 beaches around the world. If you ask me can easily me in top 10 for sure!

With less than 60 hotels available to be booked in Ngapali and will less than 10 with a star category of 4 & 5* will mean the best hotels in Ngapali will be sold out fast in case there is a demand during your desired tour in Myanmar.

Jasmine Ngapali Resort

Direct beach access, clean and spacious rooms, gym, spa, swimming pools in and great breakfast all make Jasmine Ngapali Resort a 5-star resort worth considering if you want to stay comfortably in Ngapali. All units at the resort include air conditioning and a wardrobe. The accommodation offers a 24-hour front desk, airport transfers, an ATM and free WiFi throughout the property. With a very modern resort with nice big pool overlooking the sea. Wide beach for sunrise or sunset strolls are available.

Jasmine Ngapali ResortJasmine Ngapali Resort

Hilton Ngapali Resort and Spa

Offering an outdoor pool and a spa and wellness centre, Hilton Ngapali Beach Resort is located in Ngapali. Free WiFi access is available in all areas.

The accommodation will provide you with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV and a DVD player. Featuring a shower and a bathtub, private bathroom also comes with free toiletries and a hairdryer. Extras include a sofa seating area and an electric kettle.

Downside of the Hilton Ngapali Hotel is the beach which is very rocky and we have to take a free shuttle to other beaches. The resort is huge and might take 5 to 10 minutes to get from your room to the breakfast area. Hotel is very close to the Ngapali Airport (less than 5 minutes).

River Top Lodge 3*

With a 10 minutes’ drive from Thandwe Airport, River Top Lodge is located in Ngapali. This property features a restaurant and a free airport shuttle service. During the stay, guests have access to free WiFi.

Offering air conditioning and garden views, each room comes with a flat-screen cable TV and a seating area. The rooms are also fitted with a desk and a safety deposit box. Completed with a shower, en suite bathrooms are equipped with a hairdryer and free toiletries.

Hotel is not located on the beach (walking distance is less than 5 minutes) which make is a great 3* hotel in terms of price and services. Room and clean & staff is well prepared and it’s located in a quite area with many restaurants nearby.

Amazing Ngapali Resort 5*

Amazing Ngapali ResortAmazing Ngapali Resort

Offering an outdoor pool, private beach area in Ngapali beach and a spa, Amazing Ngapali Resort is located in Zi Phyu Kone. It features a garden, sun terrace and accommodation overlooking the sea. Free Wi-Fi access is available throughout. Free airport transfer is offered and well and free shuttle to the Ngapali Market & Fisherman village (in the morning on fix hours)

Amazing Ngapali is a true 5* hotel and most important is family friendly.  Most of the rooms are in bungalow type with a nice terrance and distance between then is big make the hotel feel more relaxed and not too crowded.

Amata Resort & Spa, Ngapali Beach 4*

Amata Ngapali ResortAmata Ngapali Resort

Located in Ngapali Beach, Amata Resort & Spa, Ngapali Beach offers an outdoor pool. Guests enjoy a spa and wellness centre. Free Wi-Fi access in all areas. Free airport shuttle service is available.

Located 30 minute away from Thandwe Airport, guests can visit nearby attractions include Thandwe Market (60 minute drive) and Fisherman Village (30 minute drive).

We recommend staying in the Cabana Cottage to get the best view to the sea. Breakfast is excellent and being located to the a local village there are plenty of cheap & great restaurants nearby. It has one of the best beaches in whole Ngapali!

Yoma Cherry Lodge 3*

Yoma Cherry LodgeYoma Cherry Lodge

This 3* boutique hotel is perfect for family stays. Staff is amazing and food is considered one of the best in whole Ngapali. Beach area is more natural with many boats located nearby which make the area more natural & friendly and photogenic as well.

With Ngapali Beach reachable in 550 metres, Yoma Cherry Lodge offers accommodation, a restaurant, a bar, a shared lounge and a garden. The lodge features both WiFi and private parking free of charge.

If you want to explore the area on your own a bicycle rental service and a private beach area are offered at Yoma Cherry Lodge.

Bayview – The Beach Resort 5*

BayView NgapaliBayView Ngapali

With German management and a great big swimming pool this hotel in Ngapali is number one in case if you travel with kids in Myanmar.

Overlooking the Bay of Bengal, Bayview – The Beach Resort is a 35-minute drive from Thandwe Market. It is a 15-minute drive from Thandwe Airport.

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Opening out to garden or sea views, spacious rooms feature cane fittings and wood flooring. They come with a private balcony, seating area and a safe.

Free wired internet is available at the business centre. Relaxing massages and beauty treatments can be enjoyed at the spa and salon. The resort also houses a local art gallery, a library and water sports facilities.

 Things to do in Ngapali Beach Myanmar

 

Boat Trip to Pearl Island

Take a sightseeing boat ride to the Pearl Island. You can do swimming, snorkeling, fishing  and also stop for your meal / BBQ and cocktails on the Pearl Island.

Ngapali is one of the places in the world where you can take the balloon ride and see the sea from above; it’s a unique experience and there are not too many places in the world where you can see the ocean from above in a balloon ride. Oriental Ballooning is the only balloon company in Myanmar which offers balloon rides in Ngapali as well in Bagan, Inle, Loikaw and Hpa An.

 

Excursion to Fisherman Village – Jaketaw

Wake up in the morning and visit the fisherman village – Jaketaw – which is located on the southern-end of Ngapali Beach and explore the bustling life of fisherman while sightseeing other villages on the way. The overnight working fishing boats returns home early in the morning with full of loads of daily catches and the fisherman families are bus with unloading, selling and drying  fishes on the beach. You can reach there by by-cycle,, cheap TukTuk of your hotel can offer free shuttle in the morning.

Ngapali 9 Holes Golf Course Myanmar

For tourists who love to play gold, there is a 9 hotel golf course next to the Amazing Ngapali Hotel . The scenic beach front Ngapali 9 hotels golf course is situated on a hill lock overlooking the Bay of Bengal, only 5 minutes drive from the Amazing Ngapali.

Check with your hotel prior to your arrival if you can rent there  the golf seats.

Group Beach Dinner with Bonfire

If you are traveling with your friends, one of the best way to have a night to be remembered  is to organize an unforgettable group beach dinner with bonfire. The menu can be arranged according to your need as well the entertainment plan. Just talk to your hotel to see if they can arrange it for you!

A visit to the Thandwe Market, Traditional Weaving Workshop & Ancient Pagoda

A visit to Thandwe if worth as you may visit the Thandwe Community Market, Traditional Weaving workshops and ancient pagodas at the same time. Thandwe Community market is situated at the town center. You can find foodstuff as fresh vegetable, fruits, meats and fresh seafood as well as the local souvenir items. The market if opened except Sundays from 7.00am to 4.30pm. The weaving workshop is situated nearby the community market.

You can observe how bamboo sticks and cotton threats are weaved intertwined to make traditional placemats, under-liners and curtains. Three well known ancient pagodas are situated on three different hill tops engulfing Thandwe  with wide panoramic view of the town. You can go to visit the market and the sites in the morning as it’s best time to see more activity and interact more with the locals. 

Strolling along the beach

While you stay in Ngapali do not lose the chance to stroll along the legendary Ngapali beach, probably one of the most natural and unspoilt beach in Asia with its miles of white and, transparent turquoise sea waters and green palms making it the most picturesque destination in Myanmar. Best time for a stroll along the amazing beaches of Ngapali is just before sunset and Myanmar has one of the best sunsets on the whole world!

Lobster Dinner

Rakhine region and Ngapali has the best  & fresh seafood in whole Myanmar. Being just caught makes it very fresh and since there are no cost for transportation the price is incredibly low compared to the western countries!

For seafood connoisseurs, their stay will not be perfect without the lobster dinner. The freshly caught live lobster will be prepared to your liking: grilled, barbecued, steamed or cooked with your choice of sauce and other spicy condiments.

Honeymooners Romantic Beach Dinner

Dinner table on the sandy beach: beautifully decorated with traditional umbrella and lights and romantic setup. Can be the perfect night out and one of the best dinner which you had!

Walking streets and night markets

Being more a rural village not much activity happens in Ngapali after 7pm. Some restaurants are close to the hotels and can go outside and have dinner. At this moment there is no night market in Ngapali.

The lack of extra activities during the evening and night might not make attractive the resort but it’s the perfect place if you want to escape de lousy & sometimes dirty beach & full of tourists in Thailand or even Bali, Indonesia.

Sport activities in Ngapali

Going to the seaside does not mean just not doing anything. There are plenty of outdoor activities which can be done in Ngapali.

Yoga

There are few hotels which have started to hire professional Yoga teachers.  One of those hotels is Amata Resort and they they the program called: Yoga Amata is the most well-known yoga studio in Ngapali beach and accepts students of all levels. Other hotel is Laguna Lodge which offer for their guest the Yago classes free of charge.

Ngapali is located close to a few mountain ranges and there many trekking routes which can be made from half day to full days trekking.

Cycling Around Ngapali

Beaches are not only for just laying all day long and just swimming. One of the best way to discover Ngapali is by bicycle.

It is very interesting to sightsee around Ngapali and explore the busy life of fisherman villagers with bicycles.  There are several villages along the Ngapali Beach road from the airport to the Jake Taw fisherman village – Mazin village, Zeephygone village, Ngapali Village, Wah Htaungwin village,  Lin Thar oo village, Mya Byin Village and Jake Taw Village

Elephant Camp Ngapali

Most of the elephant camps in Myanmar are not the same as in Thailand where you can ride them and make harm to them. In most of the elephant camps in Myanmar you only feed & bath with them and they are called sanctuary elephant

Where to eat on Ngapali

Rakhine Food – spicy & see food! Just these 2 things to remember when we will visit Ngapali Beach. Rakhine food is the most spicy one compared with other dishes in Myanmar as Kachin or Shan Food. They have amazing spicy sauces which goes excellent with the fresh seafood form fish, prawn, octopus and many more!

If you want to taste outstanding seaseafood, you’ll have to go either to Queen Zein Restaurant in Ngapali or Sea Queen Restaurant. Have tested food in both places and food was excellent and with a very good price as well!

Burgers and pizza

There are a few restaurants  of burgers and pizzas on Ngapali. We recommend going to Jane Pizza.

European Food

If you are not a big fan of seafood or burgers and want to try european cuisine we can go for dinner to one of the few 5* hotels as Aureum Ngapali, Ngapali Bay & Villas or Hilton Ngapali.

Cafés

Rainbow Bakery & Cafe  is one of the few cafes in Ngapali which serves decent coffee; don’t except a great coffee place in Ngapali for the time being.

It’s very affordable and the cool interior left us feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.

 

Local markets

For the freshest and cheapest fruits and vegetables on Ngapali, you have to visit the local markets.

Apart from greens, this is also where you’ll find many food stalls catering to locals with wonderful snacks and different burmese and local dishes. Thandwe Market, once a prison during the British colonial period is the most important market in Ngapali area.

 

How to get around Ngapali

Unfortunately, Ngapali is very undeveloped and public transportation is close to 0.  hasn’t really prioritized public transportation on the island.

Almost everyone has their own motorbike or car.

It’s possible to rent either a bike or a TukTuk with less than 5$ a day. 

Our best tips for visiting Ngapali

  • The electrical outlets in  Ngapali generally feature mostly 2 pin plugs, fitting both most European and Asian appliances as well as the flat prongs of USA and Japan. The standard voltage is voltage of 230V with a standard frequency of 50Hz. Power cuts are quite often and even if most of the hotels do have generators it is better to have some extra power bank with you!
  • How long to stay on Ngapali is a difficult question to answer – you can see the highlights in a few  days or spend weeks eating your way through all of the delicious food and exploring area. Minimum would be at least 5 days in Ngapali.
  • Be sure to book your accommodation well in advance if you’re travelling in the high season (April, December and January to March). With less than 70 hotels available,  many of the best hotels and resorts get fully booked months ahead.
  • Wifi on Ngapali is only in hotels and  some cafés & local restaurants.. It’s usually quite  slow.. If you need to stay connected while on the road, consider buying a local SIM card with data. It’s rather cheap and the process is simple ( you do have to register with your passport but it’s an easy process if made at the Yangon Airport: for Ngapali better go with MTP)
  • Ngapal is super family-friendly. Local Kids will easily interact with your kids and they will have a lot of fun!
  • The sun is strong. UV is very strong in Myanmar: most of the time above 10! Remember your sun protection!
  • Credit cards are not very  used (most of the hotels and if you want to pay we might add to the bill an extra 4% credit card fee). So better carry cash for most restaurants, shops and services.
  • There are no to many  ATM and/or a place to exchange money. Try to have it already exchange from Yangon. ATM’s are close  to the hotels but due to the power instability might not work all the time and it’s not the best place to have your credit card blocked!
  • As regarding hospitals, clinics and dentists in Ngapali: just to put it straight. Better have a very strong travel insurance (in case of bad accidents as you might need to be fly out to Bangkok!)

FAQ Question for Ngapali

How long is Ngapali Beach?

Ngapali beach is situated on the Indian Ocean and is more than 20 kilometres long.

 

Is Ngapali Beach Safe?

It is safe for foreigners to visit Ngapali beach and there are no travel restrictions in the area. Since there are not so many tourists, pity crime is as well very limited and close to 0 which makes Ngapali one of the most safe beach destination on Southeast Asia!

How do I get from Singapore to Ngapali Beach?

The cheapest & fastest way to get from Singapore to Ngapali Beach is by flight. There are no direct flights from Singapore to Ngapali. We have to book  2 flights from Singapore to Yangon and then from Yangon to Ngapali. Since most of the flights to Ngapali are in the morning and afternoon best way is to stay one night in Yangon before your trip to Ngapali. From Singapore to Yangon you have many airlines which operates from Singapore Airlines, JetStar or Myanmar National Airlines. Price vary from airline to airline and can cost you up to 250$ per way to go from Singapore to Ngapali Beach.

How do I get from Bangkok to Ngapali Beach?

way to get from Bangkok to Ngapali Beach is to fly which takes 3h in total  and costs 150$ per way to get to Ngapali. There is no direct flight from Suvarnabhumi Airport to 

The bestfromtois to fly which takes 3h in total and costs 150$ per way to get to Ngapali. There is no direct flight from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Thandwe Airport . But there are many flights daily from Bangkok to Yangon (more than 16 flights per day) and then you can connect to your flight to Ngapali in Myanmar.

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