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Central Myanmar

THANDWE & NGAPALI

Global Mark : 12.65

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
4 5 1 2 1 3 5 1 1 10.22

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
14 100% 57% (8) 100% 8 to 20 15.07


Description :
An old charming transit village plus the nicest beach in north open Myanmar

Comments : After arriving, take one hour or so to walk the village and market before heading toward coconuts' paradise...

What to do ? Check your legs conditions by walking the nice market set up in an old jail / Check out your mental condition by asking all the bus companies the same questions : where do you go, what time do you leave and how much is it ? / Then reserve your seat out (possible to modify the date later) / Store on snacks / Then enjoy an half an hour bumpy ride until you smell & hear the sea / Say wow when you finally see it / If full of dollars, get massage, do water sport (windsurf, catamaran, kayak) or play golf at Bayview Hotel / See some coral at the opposite island / Have a drink at Pleasant View Islet during the low tide / Walk the beach toward fishing villages / Say "bye bye" to the kids / Scare a few of them / Eat jellyfish or more regular seafood / Play football with local kids on the beach / Imitate the dead fish : dry in the sun / Get up early to watch fishermen coming back from work at 6-7am / Watch sunset by a cold beer / Sip a coconut (K50) / Visit the beach exhibition of sandy crabs drawings / See how locals are bathing in the evening

What you may not like ? Always hearing the same answer from the bus companies / The impossibility to sleep in Thandwe as the GH have no license / The limited budget accommodations plus the limited & rather expensive food in Ngapali / The Government electricity there from 18 to 2am only / The very dirty fishermen village / Spotting a jellyfish under water / Having to climb a small rocky hill without shoes because there is a Chedi on top (throwing rubbish seems OK) / The barking or poor looking dogs / Falling asleep while drying in the sun and waking up the same color as the shrimp / The mosquitoes / 

How long ? Until well tanned or well disposed to go on with your trip


Where to stay ? 

- Only one recommendable place for backpackers so it might be worth booking in high season :

  • Linn Thar OO Lodge (tel : 10 or 19 or in Yangon 229928/220414) / Nice setting in huge area / Single start at $5 in house or bungalow with shared shower (two rooms share one inside shower) / Dbl start at $8 in house or $10 in bungalow, in house w. shower $15, private bungalow $20 or $25 (bathtub) / Quad $30 / Bike K800 per day or K200 per hour / Inner tube K200 per day / Go there for the cheapest prices, the great setting by the great beach, the good restaurant
  • The only other budget option is much further away (south) in Kyiktaw village but the setting is far from being as nice as the above, even so it is nearby the interesting fishing village : Royal Beach Motel (tel : 21) / Small room in house $7(1) or $10(2), Sgl room in bungalow $5 / Not so clean

- Other places are more to much much more pricey :

  • Silver Beach Hotel (tel : 25 or in Yangon 294587) / Room in bungalow w. AC & HW bathtub $30(1) or $36(2) / 24 hours lights by 2001 / Free transport / Go there for the cheapest AC & the good looking rooms / What you may not like : the not so charming setting around a small garden by the great beach
  • Bay View (in Yangon 514471) / Dbl w. AC, TV (satellite plus in-house free movies, fridge, HW) $45 LS (June to Sept) but $90 HS / Superb setting with swimming pool, table tennis & lots of expensive activities / 24 hours electricity / Free bikes for guests / Buffet breakfast $5 (free guests) / German management / Go there to feel rich
  • Ngapali Beach Hotel (240244), near Mya Pin Village / Bungalow $30(1) or $36(2), Room in superb house by a flower garden $54(1) or $66(2) / Popular with local people so rather noisy and not so nice setting. Besides, the cheapest rooms lack charm & freshness. 
  • Sandoway Resort (in Yangon 294612), near Kyiktaw village / Great two floors wooden apartments in luxuriant vegetation $130 (in the back) to $170 (beach front) / Italian management / Simply superb and original but, at this price, AC, TV, Jacuzzi and free massages would be appreciated !


Where to eat ? The restaurant of Linn Thar OO Lodge is tasty, well served and as expensive as the small restaurants before Silver Beach Hotel or Ngapali Beach Resort. Some basic food stalls can also be found in the fishermen's villages. 

Snorkeling ? The opposite island apparently offer some coral sceneries. GH or hotels charge about K3500 for a boat and snorkeling equipment. It should however be much cheaper to rent the mask & tuba (K200 per day) and negotiate a boat ride at the fishermen's village opposite the island. And what about swimming up to there ?

The beach ? People who come here to spot exotic fishes or to surf will be disappointed. The main interest of Ngapali beach is to be quite long, quite sandy, quite exotic with its palm trees and, best of all, rather deserted. A great place therefore to relax. The few waves also do provide some fun when not lying on the sand... 

 << Discover some aspects of exotism

 


Bus Schedules :

TO COMPANY TEL COST TYPE TIME DURATION
Yangon via Gwa (1) Dwarawaddy 134 2000 ordi 15:30 15
Yoma Thit Sar Exp 87 2000 ordi 15 15
Yangon via Pyai (2) Aung Thitsar Exp 249 2000 ordi 14:30 18
Taungup (3) na na 500 ordi 6 to 8 3

Notes : (1) arr Gwa 10pm / (2) can pick you up from GH / (3) from there boat to Sittwe / Also bus to Yangon via Pyai


The trip to Pyay : SSS then night / L / K1800 / 12 hrs / window 
Another interesting trip from the culture shocks point of view. If you remember the precedent chapter, I was a bit annoyed by the fact that all the bus companies were claiming to leave at the same time (2pm) toward Yangon via Pyay. Indeed, I do not usually enjoy arriving in one place at 2am. Having no choice, I bought the 2pm ticket. The bus was supposed to pick me up at this time at the GH on Ngapali beach. I waited two hours until it finally showed up, then another half an hour until the 5pm official departure time from Thadwe. I did not mind the delay but would have rather spend the waiting time on the beach rather than at the GH's reception...
The first stop arrived fast : immigrations control 15mn after departure. No need to get off : the conductor pick up the ID cards & passports. Pure formality... 
We arrived at Taungup 3 hours later, having enjoyed nice sceneries on the left side, a good sunset and the sound of vomiting local girls. Indeed, the road was bad & twirling and the bus full of smelly fish. Dinner time ! 
Three minutes after departing, immigration control again. This time, everybody get off the bus. We wait half an hour. Then the local get back on the bus, one by one, at the call of their name, to receive their ID Card back. As I am getting on the bus, the officer start a polite conversation and ask me if I wish to eat something. - No I'm fine, thanks. So he gets off and come back two minutes later with an hand full of candies, shake vigorously one of mine and declaim "Welcome to Myanmar !"
It is the night so there aren't much to do in the dark bus except to try to get some sleep. As for the scenery point of view, there wasn't much to spot anyway as the road is bordered by vegetations and/or rocks. It continued to turn all the time and the bus suspensions continued to be solicited all the time but everyone somehow managed to fall asleep, driver excepted thanks to his hurling music... We were however all waken up at 2am for another immigration control. Another half an hour for red tapes, to be followed by a last one at 3:45. Poor people ! 
We arrived in Pyay at 4:45 but spent half an hour getting rid off the smelly bags of fish (by this time, every personal belongings had been impregnated by the delicate perfume). I finally got off at 5:30, leaving my companions continue their hard journey toward Yangon...

See also the trip from Yangon