Is Burma worth considering for a beach holiday?

Saturday, 3 August 2013 7:01 AM

When thinking of ideal beach holiday destinations, Burma isn't usually one of the first places to spring to mind. However, that doesn't mean it isn't an excellent choice, and below we take a look at why to go there - and what beaches you should hit.

Why choose Burma?

A country with a troubled political past and a wealth of splendid cultural treasure troves doesn't immediately sound like the place for a beach holiday. But Burma does have a lot to offer when it comes to relaxing on the coast - and the fact that is has some glorious beaches is only the beginning of the story.

One of the best reasons to go on this kind of holiday to Burma is to escape the crowds. Tourism to the country has only recently become possible again, and the nation is still one that's off the radar for many travellers. What's more, most people who come here do so to discover its cultural attractions, which means that you can look forward to having the shore almost to yourself.

This is a huge contrast to the common beach holiday hotspots - such as the Spanish costas and the Algarve in Portugal - where having to battle for a spot on the sand isn't uncommon. The dearth of crowds generally makes for a more tranquil break, so if it's peace, quiet and relaxation you're looking for, Burma certainly ticks all the right boxes.

Another good reason to choose Burma is if you're keen to split up time on the beach with days spent exploring other kinds of attractions. For example, if you're happy to travel around the country, you can divide your trip between soaking up the sun on the prettiest stretches of coast and discovering the cultural treasures in places like Yangon and Bagan.

Best beaches to visit

The most famous - and arguably the best - stretch of sand in Burma is Ngapali Beach, which is in Rakhine State. Backed by palm trees and with wonderfully clear water, Ngapali sits on the Bay of Bengal.

It is utterly unspoilt and is known for both its natural beauty and cleanliness. Particularly popular among surfers, it has decent waves and is perfect for sunbathing too. Meanwhile, the local area is home to some charming local fishing villages that are well worth exploring.

Chaungtha Beach is another good option, and you'll find it in the Ayeyarwady region. This relaxing slice of coastline is particularly worth considering if you're a bit of a foodie, as it's famous for its seafood which, as well as being delicious, has a reputation for being reasonably priced.

While you're here, hire a bike and pedal through some of the local fishing villages. Doing so is a great way not only to soak up some culture, but also to find some small secluded bays.

South of Chaungtha is Ngwe Saung Beach, a 14.5 km stretch of sugar-white sand fringed by forest and palm trees. This beach has a good infrastructure with plenty of hotels and activity options, including sailing, scuba diving and other water sports.

These are just some of the great beaches to be found in Burma. Remember, it's always worth spending the occasional day or few hours away from the sand to discover the nation's rich and fascinating heritage.

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