Burmese Beach Days

Chaungtha Travel Blog

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Bamboo house in rice paddies

10/18/06

So we were picked up early at the Royal White Elephant hotel and hopped in the Hyundai with the Mins for our final journey in Myanmar to Ngwe Saung beach which ended up being about a six hour drive.  Min Min told us at lunch that Ngwe Saung means something about Silver Beach because of the 10 kilometer long stretch of pristine white sands but that it also is slang for "bring the money" which seemed kind of funny.  The road to Pathein where parasols are made is pretty good, but after that, the road is windy and potholed until you finally get to Ngwe Saung village and on to the dirt road leading to the few hotels and guesthouses.

View from our Bungalow at Ngwe Saung Beach

New - This is a video of the locals laying out rice along the roadside so that the cars drive over it and they can then easily de-hull the rice.  Pretty smart! Rice on the road to Ngwe Saung Beach

We ended up staying at the Shwe Hin Tha Resort Hotel which was all the way at the end of the beach near “Lover’s Island” and actually ended up being a really great place.  Apparently, there was a huge storm earlier this year that decimated a lot of the properties at Ngwe Saung and luckily, Shwe Hin Tha was only moderately affected.  We opted to spend the extra five bucks for the beach front bungalow instead of the bamboo ones set back a bit.

After settling in and checking things out, we strolled ten minutes down to Lovers Island which is a small sometimes peninsula, sometimes island with a large mermaid statue in front of it.

Temple Rocks at Ngwe Saung Beach
  We were taking a picture of me on the mermaid when some guy came up on a scooter with what looked like something he had printed at the internet cafe claiming a 500 Kyat “photo fee” which we decided was a scam and refused to pay, telling him that we had no money on us.  Considering that the “entrance” fee to climb up the island was only 50 Kyat, I think we were right. 

We ended up having a beer at a fancy resort where it seemed no one was staying before heading back to our bungalow to get in some sunset bodysurfing.  The water is really nice - clean and warm (even Cindy is body surfing!) and the atmosphere of Ngwe Saung in general is very laid back and, at least for now, completely uncrowded.  Seems like the perfect way to end our trip!

There is no electricity in Ngwe Saung so the resorts have generators but really only turn them on from about 6:00-11:00pm so we had room service dinner of prawns and Myanmar beer on our private balcony, all delivered by the cute little girls who work here.

Purple Clawed Crab on Ngwe Saung Beach

10/19/06

Banana pancakes for breakfast started the day (not the best in the world but edible) and, after a quick swim, we decided to walk to Ngwe Saung village which is about 45 minutes down the very warm beach. It is a nice walk and the temple on the rocks in the middle of a desolate stretch of beach is pretty cool.

By the time we got there, I was nearly dead of heat exhaustion and dripping sweat.  We went to a small shop to buy essentials (extra instant coffee and whiskey!) and then sat at a restaurant guzzling water to try to cool down before the walk back.  The village is a dusty little one street affair but cute and the people seem nice.

The walk back was a little overcast so we didn’t die and got to see the very cool crabs scurrying around the beach.

Sunset on Ngwe Saung Beach
  I like the one with the purple claws in the shot above.

We spent the afternoon lazing around and body surfing a bit before the rain suddenly broke out with lightning and thunder (not that this kept me out of the water...).  Dinner on the patio was nice and we ended up talking to our neighbors, two Dutch girls who have been traveling around Burma too.  The only bad thing here is the bungalow has the world’s worst pillows and smells a bit of moth balls.  Hard to complain though when you have a beautiful beach, virtually to yourselves.

10/20/06

Another lazy beach day filled with body surfing and building Sand castle pagodas (hope that doesn’t offend the locals).

Dragonfly on Ngwe Saung Beach
  Reminded me of my teen years hanging at the beach playing Frisbee, building sand castles and bodysurfing.  Much better than working!

The Dutch girls and I were fascinated with the billions of dragonflies zooming around the bungalows.  They seemed to congregate in the trees and were very calm and tame so we played around taking there pictures all morning.  Also, we got some new neighbors last night - two Spanish women and two French guys, kind of weird couples.  The older of the two women came over to talk to us and asked me if it was OK for her to go topless since she is from St. Bart’s now and I guess they all run around half dressed.  I told her it wasn’t going to bother me (and might make up for her boyfriend running around in “tightie whities” - apparently they didn’t realize they were going to the beach and had no bathing suits) but the locals might not like it.

We managed to hook up the Dutch girls with Min Ko for a ride back to Pathein tomorrow which is good since he isn’t really making money sitting at the beach.

Cindy on Ngwe Saung Beach

Later in the afternoon, I wandered down the beach snapping pictures of a Fisherman casting his net out into the waves and headed out for more body surfing.  This place is relaxing :-D

10/21/06

Hmmm what can I say, more of the same today - bodysurfing, Sand Pagodas and relaxing!  The good thing is no demos, no software, no problems!  I could get used to this!

The girls from the resort came by this morning with fresh lobster which we ended up having for lunch.  Very tasty and the perfect complement to Myanmar Beer!  We spent the afternoon in the rain bodysurfing with the Mins.

Coconut Girls on Ngwe Saung Beach
  They are very funny about going in the water (and Min Min says he can’t swim) but they seem to be relaxing and enjoying it.  They apparently got really worried when I swam way out to a rock reef (probably only 3-400 yards out but they told Cindy that “nobody here swims that far!”).

We drove into the village for dinner at a local restaurant with the Mins which was pretty good seafood and we ended up chatting with a Belgian couple who is traveling with Min Min’s friend Ah Oon whom we have seen pretty much in every place we have been.  Ah Oon just got married to a girl he claims is 18 - he is 38 the salty old dog...

10/22/06

Our last breakfast at Ngwe Saung was Papaya Pancakes, a nice change from the banana ones.  We wandered out to Lover’s Island with a rented, leaky mask and snorkel and I cruised around a bit.

Ngwe Saung Beach
  The diving was OK but there were lots of jellyfish in the area plus apparently it is baby squid season and there were trillions of tiny little gelatinous things floating around - kind of freaky.

An hour or so of our last body surfing on Ngwe Saung beach and then we piled in the car for the drive back to Yangon.  We stopped for lunch in Pathein and had some really excellent Myanmar food before heading over to the Parasol factory where we saw the process of making bamboo parasols. Another few bumpy hours drive and we checked ourselves back into the Royal White Elephant and had our last dinner in Burma.  Tomorrow it is back to Bangkok and, unless something intervenes, back to the US on Thursday.

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Bamboo house in rice paddies
Bamboo house in rice paddies
View from our Bungalow at Ngwe Sau…
View from our Bungalow at Ngwe Sa…
Temple Rocks at Ngwe Saung Beach
Temple Rocks at Ngwe Saung Beach
Purple Clawed Crab on Ngwe Saung B…
Purple Clawed Crab on Ngwe Saung …
Sunset on Ngwe Saung Beach
Sunset on Ngwe Saung Beach
Dragonfly on Ngwe Saung Beach
Dragonfly on Ngwe Saung Beach
Cindy on Ngwe Saung Beach
Cindy on Ngwe Saung Beach
Coconut Girls on Ngwe Saung Beach
Coconut Girls on Ngwe Saung Beach
Ngwe Saung Beach
Ngwe Saung Beach
Fisherman throwing net at Ngwe Sau…
Fisherman throwing net at Ngwe Sa…
Burmese Lobsters at Ngwe Saung Bea…
Burmese Lobsters at Ngwe Saung Be…
Parasols in Pathein
Parasols in Pathein
Chaungtha Hotels & Accommodations review
Beach Bungalows in Myanmar
The Shwe Hin Tha Resort Hotel, Ngwe Saung Beach - Myanmar The Shwe Hin Tha Resort at Ngwe Saung Beach (near Chaungtha Beach and Pathein in Wes… read entire review
Chaungtha
photo by: Cho