Ngapali (pronounced Napally and said to be named after the Italian city of Naples) is Myanmar’s premier beach destination. Located on the Bay of Bengal coast in Rakhine State, its main feature is an idyllic stretch of white sand and palm tree-lined coast, with a number of resorts spread out next to traditional fishing villages.
There are also some new hotel developments on the beaches nearer the airport (which is named Thandwe after the nearby inland town, but is in fact located closer to Ngapali – about six kilometres north of the main beach).
Ngapali is about relaxing and enjoying the sun, but other activities include taking trips on local fishing boats; kayaking; snorkelling or scuba diving amongst the brightly coloured fish; and cycling or motorbiking down the beach and around some of the local villages.
To find out more about water sports, go to the Ngapali Water Sport Centre website. Ngapali also has an 18-hole golf course which is located between the main beach resorts and the airport. Surfing is possible during the monsoon season, which is the quietest time of year in Ngapali. This can be a lovely time of year to visit, but the choice of hotels is restricted – and it can rain for extended periods of time. Also, swimmers should be aware that currents can be dangerously strong at this time of year.