We finally made it to the beach in the South of Myanmar. It was absolutely perfect. The weather was just warm enough to make you want to go into the water, with a nice cool breeze. And the water was cool enough to be refreshing but warm enough to stay a while and float along the calm waves. Ngwe Saung means Silver Sands in English. The sand was pretty fine and nice for walking or playing frisbee on. The beach is lined with tall green coconut trees, which makes it look like a tropical paradise.
We had a break for another Myanmar full moon holiday. Ta-Zaung-Dine is a festival of light. Many, many candles are lit at businesses, temples and homes. Some balloons/lanterns with a candle inside are lit and fly into the night sky. Also, many displays were parade around on the first day for kahtain, a ceremony of offering robes to monks.
We’d heard the beaches were gorgeous but hard to get to, including a vomit-inducing bumpy bus ride. We wanted to visit last year, but Noa hurt his back so rather than go on a bumpy bus ride, we went on a major 5-day motorbike journey, because it was… less intense? Than laying on the beach? 🙂
Anyway, this year, we decided to really do it: really take the taxi to the bus to another taxi to another bus to the beach (17 long hours of travel). The overnight bus to Yangon was like a dream- it was so comfy and smooth (20,000 kyat each with a few snack/pit stops). We woke up in Yangon feeling pretty refreshed. We got a taxi (8000 kyat) to a different bus station where we only had to wait one hour to make a connection to the 8am bus to Ngwe Saung (6000 kyat each). The bus was crowded and allowed travelers to sit on plastic stools in the aisles. We had expected a 6 hour windy road, but it was 6 ½ in the end. I slept through the majority of it and felt no major bumps. The return trip with a different bus carrier took only 5 hours! (We’ll look for them next time!)
Ngwe Saung was a sleepy little town with one main dusty road lined on both sides with quaint local restaurants and shops full of shells and T-shirts. My favorite shop was the Kokonus- with eco-friendly gifty items. I got a coconut wind chime and a hammock. Much of the town still operates as it would without tanned tourists strolling through. From our hotel, the walk to the beach went right by some bamboo homes and a pig sty.
The beach itself is gorgeous and stretches on forever and ever (truthfully, about 9 miles). It’s lovely for those “long walks on the beach.” It wasn’t crowded at all. Interestingly, the difference between high tide and low tide was pretty drastic.
Along the beach, there are some “restaurants” (plastic furniture set out under an umbrella near a bamboo hut) that serve fish, rice, tea leaf salad, eggs, beer, etc. There are also vendors that tromp the beach selling fresh shrimp and fish. Motorbikes and bicycles selling fresh coconuts also roll by. When you buy one, they’ll wait for you to drink the water so they can hack it open so you can also eat the flesh inside. On the beach, you can rent a motorbike or a horse. In the water, you can rent jet skis, take a banana boat ride or ride a motorboat out to a nearby island. I also have to recommend the Lotus Bar. The owner, Tor, is super nice and helpful. And the bar has a really cool vibe: live music, great food, and nice cheap cocktails.
In my family, for Thanksgiving, my grandma hosts a turkey making contest. You can make it out of anything you like, for example, paper, clay, leaves, candy, rice krispy treats, or even a song! I sent in my submission for the contest via email this year. It was a massive sand turkey. He looked pretty funny from afar, just perched on the beach.
There’s also a local parasol factory you can visit as well as a few temples. We didn’t make it far from the sand though. We stayed for 3 days and really enjoyed it. I was perfectly sun-drenched and relaxed when it was time to leave. I’d definitely recommend a visit and hope to go back soon, maybe next Spring!