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Ngapali Beach

Located in the southern state of Rakhine, Ngapali Beach is a 15 mile stretch of beautiful coastline, dusted with fine golden sand and fringed with palm trees. This tropical paradise is lapped by the crystalline and balmy waters of the Bay of Bengal, and Ngapali is the perfect place for people to get away from it all.

A little-known fact is that Burma (Myanmar) actually has the longest coastline in Indochina, and Ngapali, so named years ago by a homesick Italian reminiscing about Napoli, is just a small but glamorous fragment of that coastline. With an array of sophisticated hotels dotted along the bay, the destination has a justified reputation as Myanmar's premier beach getaway. Most of the hotels have their own access to the beach, along with beach loungers and butler service, often with restaurants and pools overlooking the bay. One can walk the full length of beach totally uninterrupted, and whilst there is plenty of space, hotels do sit very close to each other, and more are planned in the coming future.

But Ngapali is certainly no Phuket, and although it is no longer as secluded and undiscovered as it once was, it remains close to its fishing village roots. As you watch from the shore at sundown, the small fishing boats are heading out of the bay to catch the fresh bounty that is served up to visitors each day. There are a few locally run simple restaurants along the coastal road, managed by charming residents, serving Burmese dishes and plentiful amounts of fresh seafood. This is definitely worth exploring as a change from hotel cuisine for those who are staying in the area for longer periods.

Peak season is from November to March, and it gets extremely busy over Christmas and New Year, with fireworks and celebrations planned. However, despite the festivities, Ngapali is an early-to-bed place rather than a riotous beach-party destination. The hotels are closed during the rainy season (from May to October), and many of the hotels close for renovations for this time. Flights to Thandwe are regular from all areas of Burma, so it is easy to add into any part of an itinerary (although we recommend it is added either at the start or end of any itinerary), and the hotels are between a 10- and 30-minute drive from the airport.

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My favourite thing is to go where I've never been.
Diane Arbus

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