How to Travel to Ngapali Beach, Myanmar?
Ngapali Beach is a long beach accessing the Bay of Bengal. It is among a few top beaches in Myanmar tour. Because of its otherworldly beauty, it is a mandatory stop for many visitors that travel to former Burma.
Located in the Rakhine state, near the town of Thandwe, Ngapali Beach features turquoise waters, lush tropical vegetation, almost white sands, and diverse accommodation options.
Traveling to Ngapali Beach from Main Myanmar Destinations
You can find the beach of Ngapali in the western portion of Myanmar. When observing the map of the country, you will find the seaside resort northwest of Yangon and southwest of Naypyitaw, the capital city.
As one of the prime tourist destinations in ex-Burma, Ngapali features connections to other chief points of interest throughout the country. So, let's see how you can travel there from various top tourist destinations in Myanmar.
Getting from Yangon to Ngapali
Bus service and combining airplane and some sort of ground transport are the main options for getting from Yangon to this heavenly stretch of sand. You should consider taking a bus if you are a budget traveler or have ample time for a Myanmar tour. If time, but not money, is a limiting factor to you, opt for a flight.
Speaking of the bus, you should note that these travel long, usually around 16 hours, despite the road distance being just 400km/250mi. Moreover, most services are overnight, and road conditions aren't the best, to put it mildly. Therefore, you are likely to have a long and tedious ride when choosing this option.
As of specifics, you have a choice of several daily departures. Of these, only one bus departs Yangon in the morning, while others depart during the afternoon. They travel to Thandwe, where you can hire a taxi (a few USD) if you haven't arranged a pickup with your hotel.
Yangon to Ngapali by bus
The average bus fare for a trip from Yangon to Ngapali is around $15. To secure a ticket, you can make an online booking or purchase at the bus station.
Flying to Ngapali Beach
Thandwe, which we have mentioned before, has an airport handling domestic flights. However, the airport is closer to Ngapali than to the town, ideally positioned for a quick transfer to the premium Myanmar beach.
The average flight time from Yangon to Thandwe is around 50 minutes. Airline fares in one direction are typically between $90 and $110. Several airlines are flying on this route, and you will have as many departures a day.
Yangon to Ngapali by air
Once you land at Thandwe Airport, you may benefit from free shuttle services offered by most high-end and middle-range accommodation providers. Otherwise, a taxi transfer costs a few USD.
Traveling from Bagan to the top beach of Myanmar
Just like from Yangon, you can travel from Bagan to Ngapali Beach by air and bus. In accordance, a bus is a convenient option for budget-conscious visitors who don't mind being "slightly" uncomfortable during the journey.
Regarding a faster and pricier option, you can opt between direct and connecting flights. If you wish to visit other destinations in former Burma, Inle Lake (Heho Airport) and Yangon are good alternatives with flight connections available.
Unlike Yangon, Bagan doesn't have buses that run between the old Pagan capital to the beach on a predetermined schedule. Due to the fact, the route including Pyay, which is, more or less, about eight hours away from Bagan, is the most convenient.
Traveling from Bagan by bus
When you change buses in Pyay, a journey of roughly 12 hours to Thandwe is still ahead of you. From the last bus stop, you are a short few-dollar transfer away from the turquoise paradise. As for the average price of the Bagan-Ngapali journey, it is approx. $25.
Direct flights from Nyaung U Airport (Old Bagan) to the beach resort cost $120 or so in one direction in high season (October-April). Fares for available connecting flights during the off-season are double that amount.
The journey takes around 50 minutes, in general. Departures typically take place during morning hours, from 7:30 am to 11:35 am.
Traveling from Bagan by air
If you wish to visit Yangon during the journey, the flight schedule is ideal for a short city break. You can stay overnight in the city and catch a connecting flight to Ngapali in the morning.
From Thandwe Airport, you are a short ride away from the beach resort. Taxi fares are a few $, while mid-range and luxury establishments offer free transfers to their guests.
Mandalay to Ngapali Beach Journey
Unless you are a hard-core adventurer, there is only one option for traveling from Mandalay to the Ngapali beach resort. And that would be by air.
Traveling by airplane
At present, there are two direct flights available from Mandalay to Ngapali (Thandwe Airport) a week. These take place on Friday and Sunday, the former during mid-morning and the latter around noon.
Mandalay to Ngapali by air
The average fare is approximately $130, and the duration of the flight is around an hour. As for connecting flights (via Yangon, for example), the price of the ticket is $200 or over. From the airport at Thandwe, to which Ngapali Beach is closer than the town, you are a short ride away. Taxi fares don't exceed a few USD, while free transfers are on offer from upscale and moderately-priced establishments.
Hitting the road by bus
If you are more interested in admiring the countryside of Myanmar up close instead of from above, you'll enjoy a bus ride. Note, however, that there is no direct bus line between the old royal capital and the premium beach resort of ex-Burma. Therefore, you will need to travel via Pyay, where you change the buses.
Before you make a decision, note that the journey from Mandalay to Ngapali Beach takes up to 48 hours. So, you are bound to spend a night or even two onboard the bus. The price of the journey is around $20.
The average time the buses take to get to Pyay is between nine and 12 hours. From there, you should get to the beach of Ngapali in next 12 hours.
Inle Lake to Ngapali
Speaking of this particular route, the only feasible way of traveling is by airplane. There are several daily flights available from Heho (Inle Lake) to Thandwe that cover the distance in around an hour.
As mentioned earlier, transfers from the airport to the beach of Ngapali are short and affordable, if not free. Average flight deals range from $100 to $130, and departures take place from mid-morning to late morning hours.
As for traveling between the most famous lake and beach of Myanmar, it is virtually possible only via Yangon and Mandalay. Unless you intend to spend some time in any of these cities during the tour, you should plan your Myanmar itinerary differently.
Traveling to Ngapali Beach Tips
•When traveling from Mandalay or Bagan to Ngapali Beach, consider an overnight stay in Pyay. Traveling by road is much more exhausting in Myanmar than the distance suggests. And it will be more so after extensive sightseeing in either top tourist destination in Myanmar.
•Before taking a land route to Ngapali, make sure there aren't ethnic conflicts in the Rakhine state. The seaside destination hasn't been affected so far, so choose flying over the bus in case of ongoing disputes.
•If you are having some health issues, postpone your trip. Healthcare in Myanmar needs quite an improvement, to put it mildly. So, if you start experiencing discomfort, you will have to go to Yangon, maybe even to Bangkok (Thailand), to receive adequate care.
•"Beach code" in ex-Burma is probably more conservative than you would think, especially if you are from the West. Therefore, you should cover yourself as much as possible when sunbathing, even swimming. Hotels that cater to foreign visitors, though, don't impose such restrictions.
•Ngapali Beach is a safe tourist destination. Virtually all you need to do to avoid inconveniences is keeping an eye on your belongings.
•The best time for enjoying the premium beach in Myanmar is from October to April. Rainy (monsoon) season takes place during the rest of the year, featuring heavy precipitation, storms, and floods.
•Travelers fond of fresh fish and seafood relish this beach resort. Gourmands should try prawn curry with coconut, in particular.
•The beach is long, and you would need a vehicle to get between the points. However, you will have to satisfy yourself with a bike since motorbikes are off-limits to travelers.
Besides Bagan, Mandalay, Yangon, and Inle Lake, Ngapali Beach is the top tourist destination in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Therefore, you should include this seaside destination in your ex-Burma tour outside the wet season.
Besides cherishing white sands, palm trees, and pristine waters of Ngapali Beach up close, you can admire its beauty from a balloon. While ballooning, observe the neighboring intact rainforest, catch a glimpse of an exotic bird, and spot some other wildlife. The ballooning season runs from December to March.