Ngapali Beach sounds pretty much the same when spoken as Napoli, but there ends any relationship to the Italian city. (Please note Ngapali cannot be driven to from Yangon, as can the two beaches mentioned below. It’s a short flight). Ngapali is the best choice for Myanmar luxury travel on the beach, with some fabulous properties right on the sand, including Sandoway Resort and the Amazing Ngapali Resort. It is in a sense upscale and working class, with Westerners lounging under swaying palms sipping fruity cocktails while local fishermen fish, monks stroll under parasols, and oxcarts trundle along the beach-break. Of course there are mid-range accommodations as well.
Peak for all Myanmar beaches season is from early November to about mid-March, when it starts to get too hot and humid to enjoy the sun. This is Myanmar, so don’t be thinking Ngapali is South Beach in Miami or anything remotely close. Ngapali, even in high season is laid back and peaceful. During low season from May to about mid-September, the place is almost a tourist free zone. Flights are reduced to two a week, and many hotels close or keep only skeleton operations going.
Ngwe Saung may only be one 12 mile stretch of beach, but it definitely has more than one style. On the southern end is a backpacker’s delight dotted with cheap bungalows. On the north end you’ll find plenty of Yangon’s wealthier types enjoying luxury time away from the city in a long row of upscale beach properties. Still, it’s a long way from Miami Beach or Waikiki, and as most everything in Myanmar, carries a substantial amount of “natural quaint”.
Chaung Tha Beach, though not as nice as Ngwe Saung or anywhere near Ngapali in the natural beauty department, does offer the cheapest accommodation and an authentic Burmese beach experience. For budget and authenticity, Chaung Tha is the place, at least for a good while. New hotels are starting to go up, but just how many this less than spectacular beach will be able to support in the long run is anybody’s guess.