Myanmar is magic. It is adventurous, timeless, enlightened, friendly, raw.
The country and its people touched me deeply.
As there is still very little reliable information about the country and traveling there, especially in zones which are/were off limit to tourists, it is easy to travel off the beaten track, discover small villages and their friendly, interested inhabitants, as well as untouched nature.
One of my favorite spots in Myanmar- the visa is only for 28 days, way too short for such a big country- is the area around Maungmagan. It’s a sleepy beach town, around 20 km away from Dawei. Dawei is easy accessible by a short flight from Yangon, which costs around US$ 100, one way. From the airport you are only a 30 min tuck tuck ride away from paradise. It is also possible to go to Dawei overland. On my way back up north I took a night bus from Dawei to Mawlamyine. And I met a few people who got to Dawei overland from Thailand. Go there and discover!
Maungmagan means beach! There is not a big choice of accommodation. The Coconut guesthouse is the place to be. It’s a 10 minutes walk from the beach, bungalows under palm trees, a very social common area where delicious food is served. The menu changes daily, depending on the catch of the day of the French owner Julien. His wife makes sure that the lovely Burmese staff gets right whatever extra wish you may have. The bungalows are spacious with nice porches. The rooms are a little less expensive and more than ok. Don’t expect air con or a hot shower. As usual in Myanmar, accommodation is overpriced. You can rent a motorbike (US$ 10/day) and snorkeling gear (US$ 5/day) at the guesthouse.
Knowing the situation now and depending on how much adventure you’re seeking, I highly recommend renting a bike in Dawei for a few days, discovering the beaches, especially on the peninsula, sleeping there and enjoy.
The beach in Maungmagan itself is a long, wide stretch of white sand, the sea goes in flat. Numerous granite boulders add a wild touch. The sunsets draw incredible colors in the sky. The fishing boats of the village are beautiful with their colorful flags. There are many food stalls were you get food. On weekends this place gets really crowded with locals coming down from Yangon for some beach time.
Maungmagan town is a picturesque south burmese village with pretty houses, a colorful morning market, definitely worth a visit, a few tea shops and gas stations.
Nabule, my love
This is the beach you have been looking for all your life! Around 30 kilometers north of Maungmagan, this place is accessible on a bike. Riding on dirt roads over adventurous bridges, through small towns, the jungle, and wide plains gets you there. Park your bike at the pagoda, which is the locals’ place to be on weekends. Looking down from the pagoda, you will see one first small bay, super scenic with white sand, granite boulders, and 2 small food stalls. Walking along the beach, you will reach a second bay. Don’t stop here, climb over the boulders, walk on the small path in the jungle and find yourself on the most stunning beach you have ever seen! White, fine, squeaking sand, crystal clear water sparkling in all shades of blue and turquoise, the lush, green jungle which provides shade- look at that:
Bring good people, a pick nick, and a volleyball. We weren’t lucky with the visibility, so the snorkeling wasn’t the best. Still, I saw one really big school! You can easily spend a whole day here, bathing, walking, reading, playing. Or maybe even camp for the night. Enjoy! Especially as Nabule soon will be gone. This beautiful spot of nature will be sacrificed to a deep sea port.
You are looking for more untouched beaches, windy roads, native fishing villages and dense jungle? Discover the Dawei peninsula! It is incredibly much fun riding on these bumpy, curvy streets, being welcomed by the locals wherever you go and live adventures after every turn.
Make sure to go down to the southern most tip of the peninsula. The colors of the Dawei river entering the Andaman sea are incredible and best seen from the Shae Moe pagoda. You find untouched beaches and mangroves all along the way.
On the road between Dawei and Maungmagan you see a pagoda on top of a hill. Go there! But only if you are a very good driver who likes steep, rocky paths. The last part of the way up you have to walk a steep jungle path. The place actually is a sunrise spot, the reason why the only monk up there invited us to stay for the night. A very unique experience!
Have fun discovering magic Myanmar!
I happily answer your questions about traveling there.
All photos © GVD
Useful information: www.southernmyanmar.com