I tell you what, Myanmar’s beaches are something else. What a hidden gem – I’ve never even heard anyone mention them before but they are fabulous. White sand, blue, clear waters and vast stretches of untouched beauty (mostly) you can explore and relax in. All surrounded by lush green jungle and mountains.
Following Shanon & Gunner’s recommendation (from my tour), I spent five days at Ngapali Beach on the west coast of the country at WEStay Chillax hostel. Here I hung out with some British Ex Pats I met at the airport and was lucky to meet an awesome group at the hostel too. We all hung out at the beach, ate seafood, watched sunsets and drank Myanmar beers. I got hideously sunburnt one day and poor Celia had to rub lotion onto my burnt back (thank you for the biafine, this is a famous French cream that is great for everything I was dutifully informed by her and Sam). We took hilarious sunset photos on a palm tree and bared all during a game of “I have never”. The truth of everyone’s sex lives was out 😂!
Following another recommendations I took to Dawei for my next stop, on the night bus from Yangon. VIP style I was equipped with a blanket, pillow and snacks for the 13 hour journey (British coach and bus transport really needs to up its game I tell ya). Headphones in (I left my earplugs in my luggage), and bandana over my eyes (I’ve lost two eye masks haha ffs), I managed a half sleep during the whole journey – only to be woken for food, teeth brushing and passport stops. My favourite moment has to be when the border control guy at a state / region crossing shouted “PASSPORT” at me so loud and woke me up. I was the only foreigner on the bus but everyone was so sweet making sure I knew was what going on haha!
Upon arrival into Dawei my guesthouse got my room ready for me by 7am so I was able to sleep that morning. Spent Saturday exploring the town and eating / drinking at local café’s whilst sweating profusely in the 32, feels like 38 degree heat. Lunch for 500 kyets (25p), coffee for 300 and then I even managed to blag a free ride back to my guest house from a local – win!
I spent the next day at Maungmagan Beach – I’d heard it was popular with the locals but a little dirty. The rumours were right so I did a 2 minute beach clean having seen fellow blogger Biffin’s Kitchen do the same in India. One waste bin of rubbish from outside a resort alone and another full bag from the beach was thirsty work so I stopped at Yaou’s Freedom Beach Bar. Here I had a coffee, watermelon juice, cocktails and ended up playing cards and hanging out with Yaou himself and other locals for the rest of the afternoon! A beautiful sunset and a cocktail later, I was speeding back through the mountain on the back of my motorbike taxi.
The following day I had a relaxed morning and then met my new pal Yaou for coffee. He offered to show me another beach that wasn’t so popular. We took another 30 mins down the road by motorbike to “unnamed beach” (that’s what he told me haha), parked the bike and had to walk through a rubbled path, which had previously been a road that was washed away during rainy season. It was so worth the scramble though, just one fisherman beside us and the vast sand stretched out in front of us. We ate takeaway noodles on the rocks and spotted jumping fish in the water. Back to the bar for sunset 🤙🏼.
The next few days I spent offline at Paradise Beach, sleeping in tents and wooden bungalows. Met Lara in Dawei (who I’d briefly met in Kalaw and saw again in Ngapali), and we took a crowded mini van to a small village about 2 hours south of Dawei. From here we sped through the jungle on motorbike taxis for 15 mins, to find the beach bungalows. We spent three days relaxing with beautiful views, hot sunshine, bonfires and NO INTERNET which honestly I’ve loved haha! Really kept me focussed on my murder mystery reading.
As per my opening comment, who knew Myanmar had such amazing beaches. The whole of Dawei peninsula is lined with white sands and blue waters – a total hidden gem.
As you might have gathered this past two weeks has been pretty chilled and positive. On 12th Feb it would have been Grandma’s 93rd birthday so I said my goodbyes (following the funeral the week before), at the beach that evening. I wrote a short letter, read the words I wrote that Rach had read on my behalf, and burned the letter leaving the ashes in this beautiful spot in Ngapali. It’s really not easy to be so far from family during this time, but I feel like this particular moment was special for me in a way that suits my environment and the lifestyle I have at this time. Thanks to Ellis for the inspiration to say goodbye in this way 🙏🏼.
Watching: In Dawei I spent a lot of time watching Netflix, the whole season of Sex Education in fact. Loved the mash up of Brit – American style, with all the language of a British secondary school but with an American style logo, preppy swim team jackets and the varying fashions of each character. For light hearted sex humour amongst teenagers who are learning the ins and outs of what it means to be sexually active, it’s entertaining if not addictive. Recommend.
Reading: without any internet distractions I read “Close to Home”, by Cara Hunter in just two days at Paradise Beach. The classic “who dunnit” crime thriller set in Oxford – little girl goes missing, are the parents to blame?
Pretty mammoth entry there!! It’s been two weeks where I didn’t really do so much but it feels like a lot happened haha!
Hope you guys have all had a good couple of weeks?