Nagpali Beach is the cherry on top of our time in Myanmar. So what makes a country a perfect 10?
It must have a collection of super cool relaxed cities to visit. And, if you are able to throw in a superb beach, that is what earns a country rating of a perfect 10. Being the beach bums that we are, the nomadic travel rule applies. No Beach, No 10…. No Dice.
I did not do any real research on Ngapali Beach prior to arrival, nor did I look at any photos online. I just knew it was the top beach town in Myanmar and that was enough to include it on our itinerary. I wanted our visit to be a complete surprise with no expectations. Since Ngapali and Myanmar itself are both so rarely visited, I could not get any first hand scoop on this beach area from anyone that I knew. I would bet that you could not tell me anyone that you know that has visited Ngapali Beach.
From what I have heard, there are other small islands and beach areas dotting the Myanmar coastline, but they are apparently closed off to tourists as the political situation is still far from perfect. I am sure once this situation gets rectified a few more hidden gems will be discovered.
Ngapali is our 4th stop in Myanmar. It was perfect timing after being on the move constantly and allowed us to just be able to plant our butts on the beach. What I found most surprising and a bit disconcerting, it was practically impossible to get a room at a guesthouse or resort in the area. Yes, it was Chinese New Year but regardless, the sudden influx of visitors is causing some problems, as the infrastructure struggles in vain to keep pace. Hotel rooms can be near impossible to find in high season and certain hoteliers have taken advantage by whacking up prices. This should change once the new hotels currently in construction begin opening their doors.
Despite the difficulty in booking a room and being high season, the beach still appeared shockingly empty. You rarely get to see such a wide sweeping beach in Asia that is spotless clean, with no vendors, no flocks of tourists and crystal clear blue/green ocean water to top it off. It actually reminded me of the Hawaiian beaches, particularly Big Beach in South Maui. Same color ocean and lush tropical backdrop setting. Now, that is a statement. Just make sure you stay in the right section of this beach as they are by no means equal and you would not have the same experience. Also, most places close down in low (rainy) season and this beach area is probably best avoided at this time of year.
I would like to elaborate more for this blog post and provide some more cultural details of our experiences in Ngapali Beach. However, we basically just chilled on the beach, jogged on the beach, stretched on the beach, rode bikes on the beach (yes, bikes), watched sunsets on the beach, ate fresh fruit and seafood on the beach. All while letting our minds flatline listening to some Grateful Dead and a bit of Neil Young music on the beach. Oh, there is one other thing that I did on Ngapali Beach. I marveled at my perfect 10 on my Loose Stools Index. I could single handily put toilet paper companies out of business if this continues.
Silver Full, Thande Resort, Blue Sea, Royal Beach Hotel, Saw II.
LOOSE STOOLS INDEX – 10
(Feeling like a champ but staying level headed because the last time I got too cocky, the stools gods came down hard on my ass. In the seafood capital of Burma, I ate freshly caught snapper 2X per day at the beachside shacks. My mother always encouraged me to eat more fish and maybe I am being rewarded with super solid stools for listening. Who said, mothers know best?)
Beaches Visited –
Nagpali Beach – 10
There are a bunch of resorts to base yourself and different stretches of beach. In my opinion the best stretch of beach by far is the one Thande Resort sits on. The best beachside seafood restaurant shacks are here as well. A gem of a beach.
THRU THE BINOCS –
Southeast Asia has always been my favorite region of the world to visit. Over the past 25 years, I have made numerous trips to Southeast Asia and on each visit the locals are always quick and very forthcoming proclaiming their love for their favorite American. The conversation usually goes something like this and its proceeded by a huge smile and thumbs up sign.
1996 – MY THAILAND VISIT
Thai Guy: “Where you from”?
Thai Guy: “America good. Mike Tyson good”
1998 – MY BALI VISIT
Balinese Guy: “Where you from”?
Balinese Guy: “America good. OJ #1”
2001 – MY VIETNAM VISIT
Vietnamese Guy: “Where you from”?
Vietnamese Guy: “America good. Michael Jackson good”
Let’s, spring ahead to the current day.
2016 – MY MYANMAR VISIT
Burmese Lady: “Where you from”?
Burmese Lady: “America good. Obama good”
Obama gets the thumbs up from all Burmese citizens. Despite the fact there are little to none African Americans in SE Asia, the locals always seem to equate their love of America with a Black American favorite. Just curious why, no love for Bush Jr., no love for Trump, no love for Bieber, no love for Boehner and no love for Kardashian in Southeast Asia.