Sunday, August 7, 2016

Day Trip Outside Yangon - Chaungtha and Ngwe Saung Beaches

Beach bliss only a bus ride away
Local Fisherman
The beach resort towns of Ngwe Saung and Chaungtha represent two halves of the same coin: Similar in many key ways but vastly different in execution.

Both are roughly six hours by bus from Yangon (at least when the roads are in good condition); both are in the same part of the country and offer similar beach scenery and weather.
But the difference, as the saying goes, is in the details. Where Ngwe Saung was built with foreign tourists firmly in mind, Chaungtha has long been a resort popular with Yangonites looking for a beach getaway. As a result of their development the towns are very different – Chaungtha is blessed with a large town that includes a big market, plenty of shops and restaurants, while Ngwe Saung is more confined to the resorts and hotels, although things on that front are beginning to change.
If that makes Chaungtha sound like a much better destination, think again-its popularity with domestic tourists mean that people chew betel nut and set off firecrackers at night. There’s also a lot more hotels and guests around.
But there’s another upside to the large number of domestic tourists – people approach you on the beach offering to sell you plates of king prawns, fish or lobsters that they cook at home and bring you to your room. The hotels, of course, shun the practice but are more or less powerless to stop it, meaning you can enjoy a home-grilled lobster in the comfort of your room for far less than it would cost you in a restaurant or a hotel.
Chaungtha also boasts a small island off one end of the beach, Hpokkala Kyun, which is separated from the mainland by a distance of about 100 meters. But the warned – the waters that surge through the gap are deceptively strong and it’s a much safer option to hop about the small long-trail boats that ferry passengers across for about K1000 each. Beyond exploring the island’s coastline, there’s a hilltop pagoda to check out.
Another island option at Chaungtha is Whitesand Island, which is a K3000, one-hour boat ride from the beach. There isn’t that much to do on the island beyond a little swimming, snorkeling and inspecting the obligatory pagoda but you can always sit back and enjoy a cold drink or two.

fresh seafood

Local People enjoying the beach life

Horse ride in Chaungtha

Monks procession in the Chaungtha village

Oxcart ride in Chaungtha

Pagoda in Chaungtha

Coconut shop in Chaungtha

Native Business in Chaungtha
Souvenir stalls in Chaungtha

Native family in Chaungtha
Ngwe Saung counters the charm and options of Chaungtha with much cleaner water – there are fewer river outlets nearby – and sandy beaches devoid of cast-off firecrackers and the red betel nut stains.
It’s also a much longer beach than Chaungtha at nearly 15 kilometers, which means it’s much easier to find some space for yourself, although more resorts and hotels are opening up every year.
Both beaches offer some seriously high-end (for Myanmar anyway) resorts priced at or above $100 a night but there are also more affordable accommodation options as well in the $50-a-night range or less.
The only problem with either destination is a good one – book yourself in for a weekend trip and you will not want to come back after two days.
ref; Simon Whiting

View of Ngwe Saung

Ngwe Saung Beach

Ngwe Saung Town


Local fishermen

Sunset in Ngwe Saung

Romantic Sunset in Ngwe Saung
Bird Island in Ngwe Saung

Day Trip Outside Yangon - Thanlyin

Thanlyin Bridge
Thanlyin a short drive from Yangon across the river of the same name. Where Yangon is a bustling city of more than five million inhabitants, a pretty sleepy towns that can be reached by car and it's closer to Yangon than Twante and highlights that the development of the area surrounding the city remains limited, even as little as 45 minutes from downtown by car.
Portuguese adventurer and brigand Philipe De Brito used Thanlyin as his base during the late 16th and early 17th centuries, launching raids against Bago and Yangon. Of interest to tourists is the Kyaikkhauk Pagoda that is believed to contain two Buddha hairs. A famous meditation center where you can practice, a Nat Shin Hnaung Monument and a short 1,500 ks boat ride from Thanlyin in Kyauktan is Yele Paya, which sits on a small island in the river. On the way back to Yangon, you can also visit the National Villages where you can see the different styles of houses and culture from different state of Myanmar.
ref; Simon Whiting
Shan Village at the National Races Village

Nat Shin Haung Memoral Temple 

Kyauk Tann Yele Paya

Meditation Center

Portuguese Church

Portuguese Church Inside