Tropical paradise and premiere beach resort. Ngapali Beach is a tropical paradise of pristine sand, clear blue waters and groves of picturesque coconut palms. Over 10km of white sand beach runs along the Bay of Bengal, with a smattering of only a dozen or so resorts to create a sense of seclusion and hidden discovery. The limited development and small number of visitors means the beach never feels crowded, a dream come true for lovers of the sun, sea and sand. Besides the usual sunbathing and swimming, leisure activities include snorkeling, sailing, scenic walks and bike trips.
Far away from tourist crowds, Ngapali Beach is still a truly undiscovered paradise. The long beach is dotted with charming boutique style resorts built in local materials, the architecture blending harmoniously with the natural surroundings. There are no high rises, no noisy roads, no booming discotheques, no jetskis and no packed rows of oiled bodies baking in the sun. The stretch of white sand, natural beauty of the blue sea, swaying palm trees and quiet privacy are guaranteed ingredients of an exquisite beach holiday.
Active visitors can choose from visiting the colourful local market in Thandwe (Sandoway), biking along the coast to surrounding villages, or hiring a boat to go fishing or sailing against the coastal backdrop of the Rakhine hills. An early morning’s bicycle ride to Ngapali’s nearby fishing villages – where hoards of small fishing boats return home from the night’s catch with baskets of fish ready for the women to spread on the beach for drying in the sun – will provide an insight into the local life and ample opportunities for photography. And as the sun drops below the horizon, out over the waters, gorgeous sunsets are a pleasure to watch with a cocktail or two back at the hotel’s intimate beach bar.
There also are several local restaurants within walking distance where local dishes are served, in particular fresh fish and sea food. Here, visitors will be able to enjoy some of the largest, most flavorful and most affordable lobster, crab, giant prawns and a variety of ocean fish in all of Asia. All hotels offer a choice of restaurants serving Western and Asian cuisine as well. In short, all the creature comforts of home are on offer, but in an environment of tranquility rarely encountered in the modern world.
Thandwe (the British called it Sandoway) was a trading seaport of historical significance for hundreds of years in the Rakhine State. Nestled within gentle valleys at the mouth of the Sandoway River, Thandwe was reputed to have once been the capital of an ancient Arakan empire. Located 10km north of Ngapali, it offers glimpses into British colonial times buildings of colonial design and invokes a sense of frozen time.
The atmospheric central market is set inside a former British prison and has colorful displays of local produce, textiles and hardware. For the curious, a small village 8km from Thandwe holds the body of a revered Buddhist monk whose remains have defied nature for over a decade. A pagoda enshrines his gold leaf covered body.