One of the more interesting countries in South East Asia is Myanmar, also known colloquially as Burma. The country’s government has invested heavily in tourism since 1992, but Burma remains off the radar for many holiday travellers. That’s a shame because there is so much to offer. For example, some of the best Burma beaches can rival those of other countries in the Indian Ocean and Caribbean.
Though people have lived all across the territory as far back as the early ninth century, the Western world didn’t know much about Burma until the British colonisation era. Burma gained independence in 1948 but still struggled through internal strife until 2011. The Burma of today is politically and economically stable and is a great place to visit.
I would personally recommend Burma if you are planning a holiday to South East Asia. It is a country that is very accessible and because it is not as popular as Thailand and China, prices tend to be a bit more affordable. And, of course, the best Burma beaches provide plenty of reasons to visit. So after you are finished with things to do in Phnom Penh or the Vietnam tourism thing is done and dusted, head to the beaches of Burma for something different.
The Best Burma Beaches for Your Next Holiday
Okay, so I’ve mentioned Burma’s beaches twice now. I suppose it’s high time to start talking about some of them. Bear in mind that Burma has nearly 1,300 miles of pristine coastline to work with. You are going to find plenty of great beaches along with affordable accommodation virtually everywhere you look.
Among all the best Burma beaches is Ngapali, perhaps the most well-known and most visited beach in the country. It looks like something right out of your favourite romantic film featuring gorgeous sunsets and pristine white sand. The beach is about 4 miles outside of Thandwe; it’s easily accessible by car or bicycle. Be advised that this is not a beach for backpackers. Though remote and out of the way, the accommodations and dining facilities are relatively up-scale.
Down the coastline from Ngapali is another resort beach known as Ngwe Saung. It tends to be less crowded compared to Ngapali, yet the water is just as clear and the sun just as bright. This is a good beach for lying out in the sun for a few hours or going snorkelling in the pristine water. If you are looking for one of the best Burma beaches that caters to people of all income levels, you will find it in Ngwe Saung Beach. The northern end of the beach is dominated by pricey resorts and tourist attractions; the southern end is where the backpackers and hikers hang out. Don’t worry; the 13 miles of coastline here include ample room for everyone.
Kanthaya Beach is a remote and unspoilt beach about a third of the way down the coast on the Bay Biscayne. You will not find any accommodations or a long list of expensive restaurants and cafés. You will find a few locally owned shops selling food and souvenirs. If you want an out-of-the-way beach where the only goal is to lay out and relax, this may be your choice.
Maungmagan Beach was the principle place for leisure among the English during British rule here. Now the beach and its few resorts and shops are dominated by the local Dawei people. The shallow waters here make Maungmagan Beach ideal for swimming with kids. There are also water sports, beach football, and lots of little waterside huts to sit under and relax.
Most people discussing the best Burma beaches probably would not mention Sittwe, and for good reason. First and foremost, Sittwe is actually a town rather than a beach. But second, it was the site of some pretty intense sectarian violence a few years back. As such, the town is raw and real. But if you want to beach where you can let loose and interact with the locals, give this one a try. It’s all about the sand and water rather than resorts, shopping, and restaurants.
Nabule BeachNabule Beach is considered one of the best-kept secrets in southern Burma. Click To Tweet It lies about 12 miles north of Maungmagan, and it features golden sand rather than white. It is spectacular against the clear blue water. On Nabule Beach, there are numerous granite boulders large enough to create natural separations that allow for some privacy. This is a secluded paradise well worth checking out.
Marcus and Dome Islands
Last are the Marcus and Dome Islands off the coast of Burma. It takes about two hours to reach them by boat, but the trip is well worth it. The islands are home to numerous resorts and miles of gorgeous sand. Even more surprising is the fact that resort owners have managed to protect the pristine nature of the islands even with development in place.
The best Burma beaches are waiting to be visited. If you are planning a trip to South East Asia, plan to spend at least some time along the Burmese coast. You’ll be glad you did.
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- Beach Ladies: https://www.flickr.com/photos/masochismtango/
- Ngapali: By Stephan Fussan (https://www.flickr.com/photos/derfussi/5943291135) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- Ngwe Saung: By Go-Myanmar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- Kanthaya: exoticvoyages.com
- Maungmagen: https://www.flickr.com/photos/78989877@N02/
- Sittwe: https://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g739114-d8342643-i137432976-Sittwe_Beach-Sittwe_Rakhine_State.html
- Nabule: http://www.southernmyanmar.com/cities/maungmagan-beach/dscf4303/
- Marcus Island: https://www.travelfish.org/sight_profile/burma_myanmar/southern_burma_myanmar/tanintharyi_region/myeik/3587