The Irrawaddy

Escape the City Traffic — Relax at Ngwe Saung Beach

Ngwe Saung beach.

NGWE SAUNG BEACH, Irrawaddy Region — Ngwe Saung beach is one of Myanmar’s most famous beaches, popular with foreigners and locals alike thanks to its silvery sandy, cleanliness and peaceful environment. It’s also a good place to swim and take a long walk along the beautiful beach.

Everybody loves the beach, and so do I. Last week, me and my friends went to Ngwe Saung beach to escape the city traffic for a while.

This beautiful beach is in Irrawaddy Region, about 260 km from Yangon. The road is not straight, but it’s better than before.

The drive takes about five hours but depends on your mode of transportation. We rented a Toyota Alphard for 300,000 kyats ($226) for a two-day round trip. The minivan can hold up to eight people including the driver, more than enough for our group of five.

The van picked us up at 4 a.m. and we left town still sleepy. At that early hour, Yangon was still quiet and cold. Old Myanmar classics were playing softly on the radio.

Ngwe Saung beach. / Lwin Mar Htun / The Irrawaddy

Amid the peace and quiet, we soon fell back to sleep. When I awake, it was about 8 a.m. and we were entering Pathein District. The thick mist on either side of the road gave the impression that we were riding through a cloud. Love it.

We grabbed breakfast at a teashop in Pathein and got back on the road.

An hour later we arrived and were at the Sunny Paradise Hotel by 10 a.m. Some guests were having breakfast in the dining area behind the reception and we could see the blue sea through the open lobby.

We had booked a sea-view room. But the last guests hadn’t checked out yet and we had to wait until noon. But we didn’t mind because we couldn’t wait to hit the pretty beach, so we left our luggage at the reception desk and were off.

The hotel has an amazing infinity pool, as if it’s connected to the sea.

Some guests were swimming in the pool and I took a seat on the deck to gaze out at the blue sea. It’s a breathtaking view I could never get tired of.

Ngwe Saung beach. /Lwin Mar Htun / The Irrawaddy

The place was quiet and the weather was good. At that hour, it was quiet enough to hear the sound of waves crashing on the shore.

On one short stretch there are a lot of shops selling coconut milk and grilled seafood and others offering horse rides and renting scooters, so this part of the beach is a bit noisy and dirty.

After checking into our room, we took a five-minute drive to a nearby village for lunch. There were plenty of good seafood restaurants and the prices don’t vary much.

We chose Sea King, placed our orders and waited a few minutes while they prepared our meals. The seafood was delicious, fresh and not very expensive.

The beach is a place to relax and laze, so when we got back to the hotel we spent the afternoon sleeping.

By about 4 p.m. the sun had begun its slow descent, a perfect time to swim and take a long walk on the beach.

Walking along the beach without slippers was so comfortable and I found lots of beautiful seashells. Some tiny crabs were crawling in and out of their holes in the sand. How cute.

At that moment, I had forgotten all about my problems and busy job and felt so relaxed.

Watching the sunset from the hotel pool was superb. It was my favorite part of the trip.

If you like water sports, there are some shops along the beach to serve your needs. You can also take boat tours to Bird Island or Lovers Island.

But there’s not much to do. So just chill on the beach, enjoy the view, sip some fresh coconut milk and fall asleep to the sounds of the sea.

Between November and March is the best time to go. So if you want to get away from the city traffic for a while, book a room.