Few travellers to Myanmar resist the allure of a beach break at the end of their tour – and with good reason. Bona fide resorts may be thin on the ground, but the powder soft sand, transparent water, backdrop of coconut palms and luxury hotels provide the perfect antidote to the heat and dust inland. Moreover, compared with better known locations in South East Asia, they’re refreshingly low-key and unsophisticated and, the seafood is simply sublime.
The country’s premier coastal retreats sit around is Ngapali, whose prominence derives from its string of idyllic, turquoise bays, gleaming white shell sand, backed by a wall of gently rustling palm trees. Development here has been held in check by the Burmese government to preserve the essential tranquillity of the place, and most of the accommodation is in beautiful boutique hideaways nestled under the coconut trees. Getting to Ngapali involves a short flight from Yangon, Bagan or Heho to the town of Thandwe. Recommended properties include Sandoway Resort, Bayview -The Beach resort and Hilton, Ngapali Resort and Spa.
Further south, Ngwe Saung is the pick of the coastal resorts reachable overland from Yangon (5hrs drive). Development here has lagged behind that of Ngapali, but some find the atmosphere all the more charming as a consequence. Most of the clientele on weekends are well-heeled Burmese city dwellers, but during the week, much of the sweeping beach remains blissfully empty. Recommended hotels here are the Aureun Palace and Resort and the Ngwe Saung Yacht Club and Resort.