5 Things to do in Ngapali

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Ngapali is a beach paradise, not unlike those of Thailand or Vietnam; the only difference is that it is still relatively unknown and uncrowded – at least for now.  It is easily accessible from the major airport hubs around the country like Yangon, Bagan or Mandalay via a short domestic flight.  This untouched destination is known for its crystal clear water, fluffy white sand and fresh seafood.  For more information on Ngapali beach, check out our other post.  Below are five things to do while you’re in Ngapali Beach.

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1. Walk along the beach –  The first one is pretty obvious, taking long walks along the beach is one of my favorite things to do (isn’t it everyone’s?) The palm tree-lined beach in Ngapali stretches on for miles and miles, it is the perfect place for a run or a quiet stroll.  This seaside town reminds me of Zanzibar, another beach destination that I absolutely love. The only difference is that people here are more laid back. There are no touts and hawkers, in fact you’ll be hard pressed to find people at all on certain parts of the beach.  The calm, clear water is always inviting if you want to cool off during a hot day.  During low tide , the water recedes leaving the exposed rocky crevices where the locals scavenge for snails.

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2. Boat Trip –  If walking is not your thing, consider hiring a private boat to explore the nearby islands.  The boat can fit 4-6 people and cost around $30 USD for a half day trip.  It takes you exploring the nearby Pearl island and snorkeling in the Bay of Bengal. Snorkeling equipment and life jackets are provided onboard. 

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Bright and early in the morning, we got on the boat at Ngapali beach and headed towards Pearl island.  Unfortunately, this area did not have any fish or coral so we continued over to the other side of the island where we could actually see the fishes.  Our excitement quickly diminished when we saw all the garbage floating around in the water.  This area is near the fishing villages which explained all the trash. It really breaks my heart to see beer bottles and plastics drifting along the current. I even saw a bag of instant noodle settling down onto the ocean floor. We left quickly because it was freaking me out. We ended our trip with a visit to the uninhabited uninhabited Pirate beach, where we stopped in for a few drinks.  Personally, I did not enjoy the boat tour.   Until the area is cleaned up, I don’t think it’s worth the money or effort to go out because the only thing you’ll see is garbage.

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3. Visit a Fishing Village – Along the coast, there are several authentic fishing villages. If you go early enough, you’ll see the fishing boats return home with a hold full of fish ready to be spread out and dried under the blazing sun. It was only 8 o’clock, but the place was already buzzing.  Kids were running down the road, rolling a wheel with a stick, easily entertained.  Women at the market were buying fresh produce to bring home.  Everyone was busy with their own things but they all looked up as we walked by.  We were a curious sight that was out of their ordinary routine. Their face lit up as they smiled and waved at us.

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4. Visit Thandwe – When you’re tired of the water, head further inland towards Thandwe, a little town located 7 kilometers from the coast. It has a bustling market and a few golden pagodas situated on hilltops, offering spectacular views of the surrounding area. Every year on the night of the full moon in November, everyone in Myanmar celebrates Ta Zaung Dine, a festival of light.  Away from the glare of the neon lights, the big orange moon shines extra bright. Each house was lit up by candles,  lanterns, and strings of colorful lights.  People of all ages gathered to see the paper lanterns floating down the river.  Occasionally fireworks and sparklers would go up to the cheering crowds.  By the market, the atmosphere is even more festive where families bring their kids out to eat, buy new clothes, and play games.

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5. Watch the sunset – I usually try to end my grueling vacations with a visit to the beach to unwind and relax before heading back home.  And there is nothing more relaxing then watching the sunset over the water.  There is something soothing about sitting by the shore, watching the sun slowly disappear trailed by an explosion of vibrant colors. It’s proof that endings can be just as beautiful as beginnings. It doesn’t  matter if you are at a bar at Ngapali beach, walking  by the shore, or sitting at your hotel, the view is amazing everywhere. Living in the city, we don’t get to see sunsets like these too often, so the experience always feels special.

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