From city to shore
The journey to Ngwe Saung is a pleasant half-day drive. Due to the urban traffic issues of Yangon, an early morning start is recommended–and most buses choose to leave at around 05:00! On the outskirts of the city, you cross the Yangon River and can catch one last glimpse of the Shwedagon Pagoda glimmering in the distance. Then the terrain starts to change as you reach the edges of the sprawling Irrawaddy Delta. Vibrant green rice paddies, swaying palm trees, and wooden houses replace the concrete-filled streets of Yangon.
After traveling around two hours, you will reach the town of Pathein. Take a short break here, stopping to try halawa, a regional specialty. The dense semolina cake is a favorite souvenir for local travelers to bring back to their families. Continue to a workshop to see the production of another Pathein specialty: umbrellas. Made entirely of natural materials, the handmade umbrellas are not only beautiful as decorative items but they would also be useful at the beach for sun protection! Back on the road, continue on towards the coast. The last stretch of the trip takes you over rolling hills before finally dipping down to the seaside.
Local rhythms of life
Unlike Thailand’s beaches, Ngwe Saung’s coast is still home to local fishing villages and seaside communities who have lived there for generations. Instead of beach bars and luxury villas, the town’s streets are lined with small traditional restaurants and a handful of shops selling dry goods and a few souvenirs. The majority of visitors to Ngwe Saung are, in fact, Myanmar residents so the businesses are all aimed at the local market. This is both a blessing and a curse–you will find no air-conditioned bars that stay open late or western-style cafes with extensive menus; but you will, on the other hand, get to enjoy authentic local food at a good price!
Fun in the sun
A Myanmar beach break is all about having fun. And Ngwe Saung has plenty to offer for those who enjoy summer-time activities. Whether by the pool or on the sand, Ngwe Saung is the perfect place for catching a few rays. From late October until the end of April, the beach is blessed with sunny days that are usually accompanied by a pleasant sea breeze. Thanks to the latitude, the sun is not as intense as at many Thai beaches; yet, it is plenty enough to leave you with a nice, healthy tan after a day on the sand. If simply sunbathing is too boring, grab a bike and go for a ride through the neighboring villages or head inland for a bit of bird-watching in the surrounding hills.
Out to sea
Tired of being on land? The Bay of Bengal beckons you! Of course, going for a swim in the tropical waters is a big treat–what better way to cap off a Myanmar vacation than floating over saltwater waves. But, there are also more adventurous options. At the far end of the beach lies the Ngwe Saung Yacht Club which offers paddleboarding, surfing, kitesurfing, and more for your leisure. Or, opt for a boat trip, hiring a wooden motor boat to cruise to quiet, uninhabited islands and prime snorkeling spots. Fishing excursions can also be arranged on request with the prizes being grilled up on the barbeque that evening if you wish!
Speaking of fishing, Ngwe Saung has some of Myanmar’s best seafood. Every day the local fishermen venture onto the seas in hopes of catching fresh fish, prawns, squid, and other delights. In the early morning, the villages are home to small markets where the seafood is sorted and sold to distributors from around Myanmar and to local families, hotels, and restaurants. At its most simple, barbequed Ngwe Saung seafood is found everywhere, but more elaborate Rakhine-inspired dishes, such as fish soup and spicy seafood curries, can also be found.
Rain or shine?
Ngwe Saung is affected by seasonal typhoons, so it is suggested to check the weather before coming. The best months are November until March when there is little precipitation and wind. However this is also the most crowded. If you want to avoid the weekends and any major Myanmar holidays, you are likely to find Ngwe Saung blissfully quiet! In April, the beach attracts lots of locals who come to celebrate the Buddhist New Year on the sand. It is a lively time to travel but the roads can be very, very crowded. Then, from May onwards the rains begin to set in and many restaurants close. It can still be very sunny but the weather is unpredictable so you may need to prepare some “rainy day” activities during this period.
Returning to Yangon at the end of your Ngwe Saung beach break, you will once again experience the dramatic contrasts that make Myanmar so unique. Perhaps no country in the world offers the sheer diversity of sights in such a relatively small area–from quiet beaches to emerald-green rice paddies, rolling mountains to bustling riverside cities–Ngwe Saung has what you were dreaming of. But no matter where you go in Myanmar, the hospitality and kindness of the local people is one of the most magical parts of visiting. And hopefully your Myanmar Diaries are filled with pages of fond memories of the people you met at the beach and the natural beauty of Ngwe Saung.
Ei Phyo Pai (Ms.)
Your dedicated travel consultant
You can contact me in English, in French, or in German.
I believe that I can help you experience the best that my country can offer. Myanmar is a destination where you can truly capture memorable moments which will last a lifetime.
Phone number: +95 (0) 926 163 3366
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- Taking sunset walks down the silvery sands of Ngwe Saung
- Cooling off with a swim in the Bay of Bengal
- Relaxing on the soft sands of Ngwe Saung
- Enjoying the solitude of the coast
- Dining on freshly caught seafood at a local restaurant
- Watching skilled craftsmen make umbrellas in Pathein
- From November to March
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Take advantage of the experiences on offer and get a truly unique beach stay that is sure to create memories that will last a lifetime!