When researching for a places to visit in Myanmar, the obvious options were Bagan, Mandalay & Yangon. I was about to do the same but the thought of traveling with many other tourist around did not appeal to me. A quick search on beach options gave me Ngapali, Ngwe Saung & Chaung Tha. A random analogy to describe the three would be: too hot, just nice, too cold. (not in literal sense)
I would not say Ngwe Saung is as beautiful as some of the beaches in Thailand. This place has its own charm, laid-back, not crowded and faces the Bay of Bengal. It was just nice.
GETTING THERE FROM YANGON
Taking a flight would be the fastest option but taking the bus would be the cheapest.
Cost: 9000 Kyat (S$12 / USD$7)
Duration: About 5hrs
Location: Hlaing Thar Yar Bus Terminal or ask your taxi driver. They will drive you there and point to counter. There will be vague signs around so keep your eyes open. If you want to get to Ngwe Saung early, get to the terminal at about 5.30am to secure a seat. My bus left on time at 6.30AM. They have different buses leaving at different time so do enquire.
I set my alarm for 4am on vibrate mode, worrying that I would wake others up (I was in a hostel and was sharing a room with 3 others.) Turns out that I was waking up to the sounds of people heading to the toilet or dogs debating by the streets. I was at the top of the bunker bed and I managed to give myself a wedgie while climbing down. I hope the hot girl below did not see my exposed balls but realised the room was dark and I was dark…..so do the math.
The taxi ride to the bus terminal was about 30 minutes and cost 5000 Kyat. After purchasing the tickets, I had about 45 minutes to spare so I ploughed myself down in a dingy looking eatery. Actually all the shops there looked the same. Managed to order 2 oily bread rolls and a bottle of water through sign language. English totally did not help.
While the flies and I were eating to our hearts content, a local man walked in looking at me. He sat at a table behind me and ordered a glass of whiskey. 5 minutes into his drink and I heard him puke on the floor. No one seemed to be bothered. He came over to my table and looked at me. I looked at him. He bent down and took a bin from under my table and went back to puke. I was impressed. He looked sober and was able to navigate around well.
Bus ride was like any other. They provided us with a bottle of water and a strong-scented wet tissue. There was air-condition. Ride was bumpy at some points but I was able to get some sleep. There was a 20 minutes break to have some food and toilet stop.
But there was one problem. The locals seem to get motion sickness easily. Throughout the journey, you would hear a cacophony of people vomiting or forcing their vomit out. Every seat has a small plastic bag for this definite occasion. At some point someone might tap you shoulder asking for that bag. I was very lucky to get a pregnant lady to sit beside me. She puked into her bag an orange concoction. She kept going at it and when she was done she held the bag near me. I tested my mental ability to control myself but I gagged a little before the bus stopped and the driver said it was my stop. *Thank you God*
Step foot out of the bus and I was swamped by a group of guys wanting to take me to my hotel. Just what I needed but there was a problem. I forgot the name of the hotel and I think I didn’t write it down (what was I thinking!?) Those guys were resourceful. They showed me a map and I easily pointed out the Shwe Hin Tha Hotel. I thought it was a car ride but nope, it was a bike ride without a helmet. My left leg was used to support my bag with my left hand. Journey was about 10-15 minutes. Cost was 1000 Kyat.