When you think of visiting Myanmar, beach resorts may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, if you are looking for some rest and relaxation at the end of a trip full of adventures and exploration, look no further than Ngwe Saung. Located 48 km west of Pathein, this beach resort is a five-hour drive from the city of Yangon.
Don’t expect the beach party experience that is typical of Southeast Asia though. I was looking for some pure relaxation when I visited Ngwe Saung, and that’s certainly what I found here. I loved the laid back feel of this area and did my fair share of sunbathing and swimming!
This quiet fishing village now has many hotels along the beautiful seafront which makes it accessible for travellers. If you’re heading to Ngwe Saung, read on for my top tips on where to stay and what to do!
Also see – If you’re looking for beach-time in Myanmar, you may also be thinking about visiting Ngapali Beach, which is a little more difficult to get to than Ngwe Saung and many decide to take a flight here. As Ngapali is the more popular and well-known of the beach resorts in Myanmar, you’ll find a slightly less local feel here than in Ngwe Saung, but both are equally as beautiful. If you’ve been to both – tell us – which is your favourite?
Where to stay in Ngwe Saung
There are a variety of accommodation options in Ngwe Saung, but only a couple at the very low-budget end. The hotels and resorts in the area stretch along the beachfront, but it can be almost an hour walk from the southern resorts to the village, so keep that in mind when you are choosing where to stay.
For shoestring backpackers…
If your funds are tight, I’d recommend the family-run Dream House Guest House & Restaurant, which has clean, spacious rooms, good daily breakfast and a friendly, easy-going vibe. It’s possible to hire scooters and bicycles here and the couple who run the guesthouse are really helpful and speak good English. The guesthouse is situated just 10 minutes walk from the beach.
Another excellent budget option is Soe KoKo Beach House & Restaurant, a friendly family-run guesthouse that’s located just a few minutes walk (250 metres) from the beach at the North end of Ngwe Saung. The accommodation consists of rustic bamboo style bungalows which are clean and charming with comfy beds. The resort is run by a German guy called Andy and his family who are super helpful and welcoming. The food at the restaurant is also delicious and very well priced for Ngwe Saung.
Finally, Lover View Pool Bar and Bungalows (currently closed, but hoping to reopen soon), located about 4km south of Ngwe Saung Village is the place to stay for backpackers who want to party!
For livin’ it large backpackers…
If you are willing to spend a little more, your money can go far in this part of the world. A couple of great mid-range options include the EFR Seconda Casa Beach Resort and the Ngwesaung Yacht Club & Marina.
If you are celebrating a special occasion or looking to really treat yourself, luxury hotels are still only around the $100 US a night mark in this area. Top choices in this category include the Bay of Bengal Resort. Even backpackers need a treat every now and then, right?
Things to do in Ngwe Saung
Visit the beach
Of course, the main attraction here is the beach! The beach stretches for many kilometres and offers beautiful white sand. Towards the north end of the beach is the village of Ngwe Saung. This is a lovely area to visit at night and there are many seafood restaurants and shops selling local souvenirs and gifts.
Depending on where you are staying, it can take up to an hour to walk along the beach from the southern resorts to the village. I’d highly recommend taking the walk at sunset, to enjoy the beautiful views over the Bay of Bengal. This was one of the highlights of my time here!
If you don’t fancy walking back to your hotel afterwards, you can get a motorbike taxi, or you may even want to hire your own motorbike.
There is a small island located towards the south of Ngwe Saung, which you can visit on foot when the tide is out. I really enjoyed the view of the beach from here and seeing the ocean around us from the top of the island. This is also a really popular area for snorkelling and boasts both amazing corals and fish.
There are a few other islands located a couple of miles from the shore, and these offer fantastic swimming opportunities. You can take a boat trip with a guide to snorkel in the crystal waters.
Explore by motorbike
Hiring a motorbike is a great idea if you want to explore the whole area of Ngwe Saung. There is a tarmac road that runs parallel to the beach, which you can drive down if you like.
If you have a bike, consider heading even further south than the main resort area. Here you’ll find the beach is even quieter, and when you reach the isolated fishing village, you can enjoy a beer at the beachfront refreshment point.
Try some water sports
For water sports fans, the best place to rent equipment is the Ngwe Saung Yacht ClubWater Sports, located in front of the Yacht Club & Resort. This is the only place you’ll be able to rent surfboards, boogie boards and skimboards. The surf here is not the best, but around dawn, the waves start to break a little more.
For those looking to explore further, you can visit the city of Pathein, which is about a three-hour drive from Ngwe Saung. The scenery is mostly made up of jungle with little villages dotted along the route, so it makes for an interesting journey.
Another option nearby is to head to the beach resort of Chaung Tha, about two hours away. You will need to take a short ferry journey to get there.
Where to eat in Ngwe Saung
There are plenty of great restaurants to eat at in Ngwe Saung, so you will be spoilt for choice come dinner time! Home Food & Drink is one of the top picks in the area, offering seafood and local Asian cuisine.
Table 5 offers similar cuisine and served one of my favorite meals of the trip. For excellent lobster and crab, I’d recommend the Garden Breeze Restaurant & Bar. The food here is fantastic and is priced very reasonably. Finally, if you are looking for something a little more European, Casablanca Restaurant offers a slightly different menu to other restaurants in the area.
The main selling point for foodies in this area is definitely the fresh seafood, so if you enjoy fish, you’ll be in your element with the restaurant options here!
Looking for nightlife? Check out this article for info on the best bars and pubs in Myanmar.
Getting to Ngwe Saung
The main difficulty in getting to Ngwe Saung is that it can only really be accessed by road. This leaves you with two choices: car or bus.
Buses depart from Yangon at the Hlaing Thar Yar bus station. It’s important to note this is a different bus station than the one which serves most of the other routes across the country. The bus stops in Ngwe Saung village for your drop off point.
Some hotels offer to pick you up from the bus stop if you contact them in advance. Otherwise, a motorcycle taxi can take you to your hotel, and shouldn’t cost much more than K1500. Be prepared for the bus stop to be a bit hectic when you arrive. This is where the touts hang out, trying to sell you hotels. It can be a bit overwhelming as they vie for your attention!
To continue exploring Myanmar, you will need to make the return journey by bus or car to Yangon. From Yangon, it’s easy to travel to the other major cities and towns in the country.
Yangon: It’s the largest city in the country and a great introduction to the culture of the country. Enjoy experiencing the must-see attractions, including beautiful pagodas and religious sites.
Bago: You can visit Bago on a day trip or for an overnight stay from Yangon. In Bago, you will get a fascinating look into the Buddhist culture and religion.
Bagan: The iconic image of Myanmar. It has the largest group of temples and pagodas in the world and is the favourite part of the country for many. You can also explore the river and take a day trip to Mount Popa from here.