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Ngapali Beach, one of the best known beaches in Myanmar, located 7 kilometers (4 miles) from the town of Thandwe (Sandoway), southwest of Myanmar (Burma), has become one of the major and popular tourist destinations in this country.
With the increasing attention of the government of Burma to the tourism industry, more and more hotels and resorts are being built along the beach in Ngapali. These will let you have a good accommodation experience as well as enjoying the sunshine and the beach.
As one of the famous beaches in Southeast Asia, Ngapali Beach will inevitably be compared with Thailand's beaches by travelers before or after their visit. Because of the relatively earlier development of tourism in Thailand, tourism facilities in Thailand’s beaches are more improved compared with Burma’s.
Of course, Ngapali Beach is still good. There, you can not only get away from the noise of the traffic and enjoy the rare quietness but can also take a look at the most primal rural surroundings.
Here are some comparison results of the beaches in Ngapali and in Thailand. You can clearly see the similarities and differences of the beaches in these two places.
|Ngapali(Comfort)||Thai (Phuket, Koh Samui, etc.)(Luxury)|
|Price||Generally high||From low to high|
|Water||Warm and crystal clear||Some quiet beaches are good|
|Sand||Soft sand and calm waves||Sand on some beaches with stones (not good for walking)|
|Activities||Few choices: fishing, kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving||Many choices: island boat trips, surfing, motorcycling, cycling, diving, snorkeling, evening shows, bars|
|Transportation||Some domestic flights from other cities. Myanmar only departs to Yangon.||Many domestic flights from Thailand and international flights from Asian countries|
|Resorts||Most are 4–5 stars, direct access to the beach||From hostels to luxury resorts|
|Food and restaurants||OK||Many choices|
|Local people||Very nice||Nice, many people are not ethnically Thai|
|Travel type||Read a book, relax||Have fun, enjoy sports activities|
Ngapali Beach is situated on the Bay of Bengal in the south of Rakhine State and is 282 kilometers (175 miles) northwest of Yangon, the capital and transportation hub of Myanmar.
Thandwe Airport (SNW) is only about 10 minutes from Ngapali Beach and most of the star hotels or resorts will provide transfers from the airport to the hotel and they also have their own desk at the arrival area to welcome their guests.
If you didn’t arrange for a transfer in advance, taxis will be available and the price will vary depending on your hotel's position but should not be more than K5,000.
Every day from 6:30am to 2pm, there are at least six flights from Yangon to Thandwe, but not all flights are direct. Some of them may stop at Nyaung-U, Heho, or Sittwe. Moreover, some flights are not daily. They will operate two to four days a week and they can be canceled due to adverse weather conditions.
From Bagan (Nyaung-U Airporst)
Every day from 7:45am to 10:40am, there are at least four flights from Nyaung-U to Thandwe, but there are no direct flights and they are frequently canceled during the rainy season.
From Inle Lake (Heho Airport)
From 8:40am to 11:45am, there are at least four flights from Heho to Thandwe. They are all direct flights without stops and it takes about 50 minutes to 1 hour. Flights are frequently canceled during the rainy season.
At 9am and 9:50am, there are only two flights from Mandalay to Thandwe and the flight at 9am is only available on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday; they are frequently canceled during the rainy season.
There is at least one flight from Sittwe to Thandwe every day.
There are only flights from Thandwe to Yangon and Sittwe, so arranging to visit Ngapali at the end of your Burma trip is a good choice.
Unlike Thailand and other travel industry developed countries, it is very unusual to travel long distances by road (including trains and cars) in Burma. Poor road conditions will erase all the travel passion.
For example, a journey from Yangon to Thandwe took 12 to 14 hours on very bad roads through the jungle of the Arakan Range, and was considered as one of the worst in Myanmar by backpackers who have undertaken this trip.
To save your time and ensure a good travel experience, traveling to Ngapali Beach by road will be the least recommended option.
Ngapali Beach is a rarely-seen, pristine beach along the long coastline with limited accessibility. As such, the standard of its accommodation might be a little bit different from other places. There are about 70 mid-range to high-end hotels in Ngapali Beach (not including backpacker lodges, hostels, or guesthouses). But there are less than 20 5-star hotels.
In Thailand or other countries where the tourism facilities have been perfected, visitors can choose their own hotel in different beach areas according to their preferences. But in Ngapali, because the tourism facilities are not that perfect, the choice of the hotel, the hotel facilities, as well as the service play a very important role in your trip. It might even be the key to your travel experience.
We, at Asia Highlights, have handpicked five hotels according to these standards and a good cost performance to ensure you have a comfortable stay.
Star rating: 5 stars
Number of rooms: 40
Room type: cottage, log cabin
Introduction: There will be intervals between every cottage to ensure your privacy. You might be woken up by the sound of the birds in the garden, and when you open the window, a fresh breeze from the sea will blow in your face.
A restaurant and bar have also been built on the beach, so you can enjoy your meal at the sea view restaurant. Southeast Asian cuisine, Western-style food, and Japanese cuisine are all available for you.
There is an outdoor swimming pool in the hotel. Guests staying in the executive cottage have a private pool. All the rooms are more than 90 square meters and they can all accommodate an extra bed, which meets guests’ needs with a big family.
The Aureum Palace Hotels Group is a company with 20 years of history, and its hotels in Burma have the best management. They hire British and Swiss staff to ensure professional Western management and service.
The hotel can arrange all kinds of day tours, such as fishing trips, village tours, boat trips to Pearl Island, cooking classes, and more.
Recommendation: Guests who are fond of privacy and quiet should choose the Garden View Cottage. It is about 1 minutes' walk through the garden to the beach. Guests with kids can choose the Ocean View Cottage, which directly faces the sea.
Star rating: 4 stars
Number of rooms: 45
Room type: 12 deluxe view rooms and 33 garden bungalows
Introduction: Located in a small bay, the hotel boasts a private beachfront stretching for several kilometers. The waves are relatively calm and the sand is softer than elsewhere.
The rooms are set in tropical landscapes and are wooden structures without too many overly-flattering decorations. The palm tree garden creates a natural and quiet environment.
All the rooms can also utilize a babysitting service and all rooms can accommodate an extra bed so are suitable for families with kids.
The deluxe room is 48 square meters, the bungalow is 44 square meters while the 110-square-meter executive beachfront room has two bathrooms and is suitable for a family. Each room and bungalow has its own private balcony.
There are many helpful designs (such as wheelchair access) and environmental protection designs in this hotel. The hotel can arrange all kinds of activities (for an extra cost, such as a barbecue). When you eat in the restaurant, you can not only enjoy the stunning sunset but can also see the fishermen returning home.
Asian food and Italian food are available in the restaurant. The hotel has German management with more than 120 employees who are all very attentive and pay attention to details. The staff members react quickly to guests' requests.
Recommendation: The hotel is more suitable for guests who love quietness and enjoy leisure. The children’s menu, children's recreation facilities in the pool, as well as the nanny service (upon request) make this hotel the first choice for guests with kids.
A family with less than 4 people can stay in a deluxe beach room while the executive suite will be recommended for a family with more than 4 people (two rooms only, early booking required).
Star rating: 4 stars
Number of rooms: 59
Room type: deluxe room with garden view, beachfront cottage, sea view villa
Introduction: The fabulous setting of this hotel is its key feature. The hotel is situated right on the beach. The beach is great for swimming and sunbathing. The structure is wonderfully designed and surrounded by a beautiful garden.
The villa is amazing with fantastic decor and an excellent sea view. It is so charming and cultured that it makes you feel like you're at home. Every room has its own assigned beach beds! Every detail is nicely conceived.
A beautiful salt water pool overlooks the beach. The staff light up the pool with candles at night. Spa treatments are on offer. A cinema and library will relieve your fatigue. The hotel can also organize day trips around the local area. The staff members at the hotel are incredibly friendly and very professional.
Accompanied by the sound of the waves and the warm smile of the service staff, it is a natural place to relax. Even if you don't do anything, it's the best place to recharge your batteries.
After a tiring journey in Burma, this is a perfect place to rest and recover before going home. The restaurant offers a great selection of Asian and Mediterranean flavors. The breakfast menu offers a great local flavor.
Recommendation: The beachfront cottage will be suitable for couples while guests with kids are recommended to stay in the beachfront villa.
Star rating: 3 stars
Number of rooms: 56
Room type: deluxe room and bungalow
Introduction: A good location facing the sea. The resort is well designed and is on one of the best stretches of beach. Some may not view it as a plus, but the resort's proximity to the fishing village to the south gives you the realization that you are still in Myanmar and it is great for taking photos.
The spa there is excellent and massages are available. You can get cheaper massages in the street at the back of the resort, but it is worth paying a little bit extra to have them at the resort.
The rooms are lovely; they are wooden and fairly contemporary in design. There is air-conditioning and comfortable verandas.
Recommendation: The rooms are about 48 square meters while the bungalow is about 40 square meters. All types of room can accommodate an extra bed. If you prefer quietness, the deluxe room with a garden view will satisfy you. Lively people will prefer a deluxe beachfront room with a sea view.
Star rating: 3 stars
Number of rooms: 61
Room type: standard room and deluxe room
Introduction: After arriving at the airport, you will be met in the arrivals hall by a member of the hotel's staff displaying your name on a board. He/she will help you to collect your luggage and escort you out to a waiting a/c minibus.
You will arrive at the hotel 25 minutes later to be met by the happy and smiling reception staff. The great service will continue throughout your stay.
In general, Ngapali cannot compete in terms of value and money with beach locations in other Southeast Asian countries — but the Thande Beach Hotel offers good value for money within Ngapali. You will feel like you are getting more for your money if you choose to stay in Thande Beach Hotel.
Recommendation: If you prefer a little more privacy, you can choose a deluxe room with a garden view, which is situated at the back of the hotel.
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