This spiritual land of gleaming pagodas and buddhist monks, is also blessed with an idyllic coast packed with sandy paradises. Dwelling in the shadows of other Southeast Asian destinations such as Bali, Myanmar, and its wealth of coastal marvels, have flown under the radar. Keeping its 2,000 km of shoreline in mind, our list of the best Myanmar beaches ensures that your time is dedicated to more pressing matters when heading to the seaside, like what cocktail to start with.
Scattered with palm trees and pristine white sands lapped by turquoise waters it ticks off the paradise checklist with staggering ease. Free from hoards of beach sellers, Ngapali is incredibly tranquil and just the ticket for those craving a bit of peace and quiet. Don’t worry there are still a few bars to ensure you have a drink in hand to help you truly soak up the blissful surroundings.
If you fancy being a bit adventurous clamber up the hills sitting behind the Strand Beach Hotel, where you will find a cobalt blue lake, reserved for fishing and birdwatching. In the winter months this lake welcomes hundreds of migrating water fowls, wild ducks and teals. If trekking uphill, or along the beach for that matter, seems too much of a chore ponies are available for riding along the sands. We highly recommended jumping into a motorboat to get to the islands off the coast and try your hand at a spot of fishing with the locals. At sunset head for Blue Skies Beach Bar, to sample delicious seafood and delightfully strong cocktails while watching the sun sink into the glimmering Indian Ocean.
Chaung Tha Beach
The lively buzz of Chaung Tha caters for young couples with fun high on the agenda. Throngs of youthful locals travel up to five hours from the bustling city of Yangon to this weekend hotspot. Rubber tyres, horse rides and vendors selling freshly grilled shellfish on sticks provide ample entertainment whilst working on that tan. A rather odd feature of this hangout is the obscure sand that packs so densely that you can easily ride a bike next to the ebbing waves of the Indian Ocean. A day out here gives you an authentic glimpse into Southeast Asian life – further backing up its reputation as one of the best beaches in Myanmar.
Translated as silver beach in Burmese, Ngwe Saung is a sleepy beach town coming to terms with westerners meandering up and down its shores. Although being a relaxing haven for those aiming to do anything else apart from the bare minimum on holiday, we advise you to take a short walk up the sands to gaze at two iconic pieces of Buddhist architecture: The Twin Rock Stupas. These gilded pagodas sit on opposite rocks and have become emblematic of Myanmar’s coast.
When the tide rolls out cross the sands by foot to Lover’s Island at the southern end of the beach for some stunning panoramic views. Dip into the inviting waters surrounding the island to discover a hive of colourful marine life weaving through the island’s coral reefs. End the day with a trip to the village of Ngwe Saung at the north of the beach to tuck into the local delicacies of fresh prawns, crabs and lobster. Once you’ve had your fill, do as the locals do and flag down a motorbike taxi to whisk you back to the hotel.
The Islands of Myeik Archipelago
The 800 islands of Myeik Archipelago are the epitome of tropical island hopping. Home to some of the best Myanmar beaches, coral reefs and frequent cruises these treasure troves are yet to be tainted by western tourism. Under the sea starry triggerfish and powder blue surgeonfish float around a backdrop of glowing hues of pink and orange reefs that attract divers from all over the world. Western explorers exploring the depths armed to the teeth in diving gear may feel perplexed upon witnessing the exploits of the locals. The Moken people, also known as the Salone, have honed their bodies to become the masters of freediving. The average Moken is able to focus their vision while underwater and hold their breath for a whopping 13 minutes.
Many of the Moken people reside on Lampi Island, the largest of over the 600 islands inside Lampi Marine National Park. The main island boasts a staggering wealth of biodiversity: tropical lowland wet evergreen forest, mangroves and rare tree species that grow over 80 ft tall.
Flee the beaten path to find a tropical refuge of immaculate shoreline lapped by serene turquoise waters. The lack of development can be seen as a blessing or a curse by tourists looking for the best beaches in Myanmar. The surrounding shallow waters are perfect conditions for snorkelling; however, don’t expect a diving centre to rent equipment. The locals in this region are extremely friendly and always looking to make a little money from the relatively small amount of tourists that frequent the area; if you fancy a boat ride, your best bet is to ask one of the fishermen. The easiest way to arrive at this sandy haven of seclusion is to rent a car from Ngapali and drive down the coast for 4 hours – nobody said getting into heaven would be easy.
Tips for visiting Myanmar beaches
The coast of Myanmar may have tonnes of sandy paradises but take into account that the monsoon season in Myanmar is in full effect from around May to October. The heavy downpours close many beach resorts so the ideal time to visit is in early spring or winter.
Burmese people are rather conservative in comparison to the west and usually swim in full clothing. An exception is given to foreigners on the beaches, but be aware of this when strolling around the towns.
Check our unforgettable escapes to this jewel of Southeast Asian to sample some of the best coastal landscapes in the world.