Leaving Yangon behind there are kilometers of wet flatlands in front of our eyes, where the green of the rice fields is interrupted every now and then by a lagoon or a wide river of slow and brown waters. For hours a rural landscape fills the window of the bus, with small groups of houses made from bamboo break the monotony but reveal a lifestyle where nothing appears to have changed in the last century.
But the last part of the journey, a few kilometers from the coast a succession of hills, rises between the plain and the sea, forcing the road to bend and narrow. But this break in the monotony of the landscape does not bring a pleasant image.
Here and there some isolated trees of impressive size attest that before there was a forest of a dense canopy, destroyed by the timber business that leaves the ground free for the rubber tree plantation.
Ngwen Saung… a small dot on the Myanmar map, before a small fisherman village, is stand up now to become one more resort area, competing with Ngapali. But despite being a tourist-orientated place where the fishing becomes a secondary activity, Ngwe Saung still offer a long stretch of almost empty sands, attracting both Burmese and foreigners. The first ones looking for a break away from the intensity of Yangon, and the others looking for a relax place to chill or a special treat at the end of the vacations, in a place where the warm and still waters are a pleasant place to swim.
During the low tide the beach the hard and flat sand surface is used by local population as kind of shortcut between the nearby villages, offering a more pleasant way than the road, with the quiet landscape crossed by motorbikes and horses.
There is not much to do or see around Ngwe Saung, and the two nearby villages, don’t have much more to offer than restaurants and souvenir shops. So, the best is just enjoy the almost ten kilometers of beach, where the low tide reveals a wide beach of grey-brown sand, making every visit to the sea long walk under the strong sun.
But with the sunset comes a fresh air, inviting for long walks enjoying the change of the light and colours of the vegetation that surrounds the beach… or join one of the groups that are playing chinlone, the traditional burmese game, played with the feet and a bamboo ball.
Where to sleep in Ngwe Saung:
Despite being focus in large budget tourist, is still possible to find cheap places (according to Myanmar accommodation prices) suitable for backpackers at Ngwe Saung
One of the options is the Forest Home Resort where the word resort in not the best to catalog a group of bungalows spread along a slope. The Bungalows are big, modern and very clean, and the breakfast in included, changing everyday between a mix of continental food with Burmese food. The staff is friendly and helpful.
The name of Forest Home Resort bring us the image of a shady green area, full of vegetation… but the forest already was gone and the place now is a dry area, exposed to the intense sun.
A double room, with toilet inside (no hot shower), and breakfast cost around 20 USD, depending on the length of the stay and your bargain skills. There is no wi-fi.
If you want to make a reservation is better text them by fb page: //www.facebook.com/FOREST-HOME-Resort-1428700997435689/
Where to eat in Ngwe Saung:
At the Ngwe Saung village are several restaurants, from the ones that belong to the hotels and resorts with Burmese and international food, to the more simple ones serving rice and noodles dishes where the seafood (fish, squid and prawns) dominates the menu.
If you stay nearby Forest Home Resort, you can find nice food for an affordable price at a small hut located almost at the beach, but inside the area of the Shwe Hin Tha Resort (Silver Coast Beach Resort). The place doesn’t have a name in western characters, but from the beach is visible a small hut on piles near the sand.
In front of “Lovers Island” a big rock forming an island that is accessible in the low tide, there are a group of small stalls with parasols and chairs, serving food and drinks, and where is also possible to seat and enjoy the seafood sold by ladies and children that walk along the beach.
Along the road to Ngwe Saung there are a few more options, but you need to walk or take a taxi or moto-taxi (the most popular option here). If you walk south, along the beach until Lovers Island, you’ll find a small fishing village with a few restaurants.
How to reach to Ngwe Saung:
Ngwe Saung is located on the west coast of Myanmar, about 260km from Yangon, which means around 5 hours by bus. The road from Yangon until Pathein is flat and the bus runs smooth with a couple of breaks for food and rest (usually 30 minutes each). But from Pathein until Ngwe Saung, the roads gets narrow and with many curves and turns, make the last part of the trip look harder that the rest.
Most of the long distances buses departure from Aung Mingalar Bus Terminal, but if your destination is the west coast, like Ngwe Saung or Ngapali for example, your bus probably will depart from Dagon Ayeyar Highway bus station.
Dagon Ayeyar Highway Bus Station is located about 22 km far from Yangon city center, on the side of the Yangon-Pathein Highway (west from Yangon, after crossing the Yangon river). A taxi from Yangon to Dagon Ayeyar Bus Station costs about 8.000 kyats.
- The bus from Dagon Ayeyar Highway Bus Station to Ngwe Saung cost 9.000 kyats, around 7 a.m.
- But there is also a daily bus departing from Yangon Train Station, in front of the travel agencies located on the opposite side of the railway building. The round trip cost 18.000 kyats (Asia Dragon Travels) and departure from Yangon at 5.30 a.m… the bus is small and not that comfortable but save you the annoyance of catching a taxi and to go to the Dagon Ayeyar Bus Station!!!
How to buy bus tickets in Yangon:
Leaving Ngwe Saung:
The bus company where you bought your ticket will pick at your hotel/resort.
The buses to Yangon leave around 12 noon.