Best beaches in Myanmar (Burma)

Although not as famous for its beaches as neighbouring Thailand, Myanmar is home to a few glorious, lesser-known, stretches of golden sand. Read on for our top picks...
Beach in Ngapali, near Thandwe, Myanmar.
Beach in Ngapali, near Thandwe, Myanmar.

Ngapali Beach, near Thandwe, Myanmar. Photo: Shutterstock


Taking a holiday to Myanmar: how to get started

Insight Guides can help you with planning, organising and booking your trip to Myanmar. Simply, get in touch and share your budget, interests and travel style. Our local experts will create an itinerary exclusive to you and your requirements, which you can amend until it's just right. Alternatively, browse and modify ready-made holidays to create your dream trip today. For more inspiration, take a look at our online guide to Myanmar to plan your visit and discover when's best to go, the top attractions, historical highlights and some of the best cultural features.


Kyun Phi Lar, Mergui Archipelago

Kyun Phi Lar is one of the hundreds of tiny islands in the Mergui Archipelago, located off Myanmar's south coast. Until recently, tourists were not permitted to visit the archipelago. Today, the islands remain protected and largely undeveloped. Kyun Phi Lar is so undeveloped that its beach doesn't have a name. Despite its lack of a name, this patch of untouched sand is one of the finest in Myanmar. Looking out over the Andaman Sea, this idyllic beach stretches for 4km (2 miles). There isn't so much as a footprint to disturb its heavenly white sand, except for perhaps the odd monkey. To get to Kyun Phi Lar island, you can catch a boat from Victoria Point (Kawthoung).


Idyllic beach on the Mergui Archipelago. Photo: Shutterstock 


Ngapali, Rakhaing State

Ngapali is Myanmar's only fully fledged beach resort. Sitting 10km (6 miles) south of Thandwe, Ngapali is centred around a tranquil, palm-lined bay. Its soft, white shell sand, translucent water and wonderful fresh seafood offer a welcome respite from the dust and humidity of inland travel. There are several hotels dotted along the beach. Despite this, the atmosphere remains peaceful, with plenty of space on the sand. Fishermen from nearby villages far outnumber tourists. Their boats bob around offshore, unmolested by jet-skis and powerboats. Snorkelling and fishing trips offer alternatives to lounging around on the beach. Most hotels are at the north end of the beach. It is certainly worth walking around the headland to the south, and to the picturesque fishing village of Gyeiktaw, which is strewn behind a south-facing cove.


Chaungtha, Delta

A five-hour drive from Yangon is Chaungtha Beach, an up-and-coming resort. Chaungtha Beach is a favourite with Yangonites, who flock here at the weekends to paddle, take pony rides and dine on fresh seafood. For this reason, we advise that you visit in the week, as the beach is quieter and more peaceful. There's a good selection of well-priced hotels and restaurants here too, mostly set in simple bungalows. If you tire of lazing around on the beach, local boatmen will be happy to take you to the nearby White Sand Island. Here, the water is clearer and the crowds non existent. Alternatively, turn right at the beachfront and walk for 1km. Keep going past the sandy outcrop, until you reach a stretch that's almost always deserted.

Chaungtha beach Photo: Patrik M. Loeff/Flickr


Ngwe Saung

A short drive down the coast from Chaungtha is Ngwe Saung (literally meaning Silver Beach). Ngwe Saung is the Delta's other premier beach destination. Ngwe Saung is slightly more upmarket and exclusive than Chaungtha. It attracts a mix of affluent Yangonites on the one hand, and intrepid backpackers on the other. The former stick to the swanky resorts at the north end of the beach. And the latter press on to the more isolated south side. Here, a selection of small guesthouses provide cheaper accommodation. Comprising 14km (9 miles) of gently shelving, golden sand, backed by casuarina and palm trees, the beach itself remains gloriously unspoilt for the time being. However, new, high-end resorts are springing up each year, equipped with pools, spas and water-sports facilities. A short wade at low tide takes you to Lovers' Island, just off the centre of the bay. The island is surrounded by picturesque translucent turquoise water.


Kanthaya Beach

Roughly 8 hours to the northwest of Yangon is the small coastal town of Kanthaya. The surrounding stretch of coast is full of seemingly endless idyllic stretches of sand. With Ngapali to the north, and the Ngwe Saung to the south, this area stands out as being completely undeveloped. You are unlikely to bump into any other tourists here, giving it an authentic, off-the-beaten track feel. In 1995, a luxury beach-side resort was built here to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Armed Forces. However, it was abandoned before long. Its ghostly buildings are free to explore, and sit between the beach and the road. The idyllic palm-lined golden-sand beach stretches for 5km (3 miles), and the sea is shallow and calm. There are a handful of small restaurants in the the town Kanthaya, on the main road, which runs parallel to the beach. At the south of the beach, there is a bar that serves cold beer and offers great views of the beach.


An undeveloped beach near Kanthaya. Photo: Shutterstock/ Juriah Mosin


How to plan your trip to Myanmar:

From beachside-budget to luxury spas: where to stay on your holiday in Myanmar

While you're there: explore the country's best Buddhist monuments

Let Insight Guides plan your trip: check out itineraries online now

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