Monday, July 11, 2011

The Shores of Ngwe Saung

I just came back from a nine-day holiday in Myanmar with Lara Stone. I spent 4 1/2 days in Yangon and 4 1/2 days in Ngwe Saung. I have a lot of things to say about Yangon so let's set that aside for the moment, shall we? For now I'd tell you about Ngwe Saung, a beach town east of Yangon.

The five-hour trip took us through the Ayeyarwady Delta. The scene along the way was of endless plains of rice fields and the occasional village made of thatch houses. The delta was devastated by Cyclone Nargis a few years back but I didn't see any trace of the destruction.

We reached a town called Pathein, 29 kilometers away from Ngwe Sau. So we hopped on motorbikes for an hour's trip through winding roads over hills. Several times I thought I was about to die, thankfully we arrived safe in a guest house by the beach facing the Bay of Bengal.
As it was the low season, we had the resort pretty much to ourselves. The moment we arrived at the beach, Lara and I explored it while the tide was low. We walked towards a tiny rocky island that sits a few meters away from the resort. It was a bit cloudy, being monsoon season; and the waves were humongous.

The sound of the waves crashing on the shore easily put me on relax mode. I spent most of the time there sleeping, sipping coconuts or drinking beer, and then going back to sleep. It rained occasionally, and along with the soft breeze, the weather was just perfect for sleeping and nothing much else.

One morning, Lara Stone and I played in the waves. And then we rented motorbikes to explore the small village behind the row of expensive resorts occupying the village's beach front. I was surprised to see such swanky resorts there, it looked like Thailand instead of what I thought were unspoiled beaches of Myanmar.

At low tide, we rode our motorbikes on the shore, heading towards the fishing village. It was just the most exhilarating part of our time on the beach. We sped on the moist sand that reflected the cloudy sky. It felt like we were gliding over a sheet of glass, the salty air sweeping our faces.

After crossing a couple of small streams, which required our motorbikes to be loaded on wooden boats that brought us to the other side, we stumbled upon a couple of fishing villages. Fishermen were unloading nets from boats surrounded by a frenzy of ladies grabbing fish and piling them on small pails that they put on their heads as they walked towards the village. Some ladies were crouched on the beach, untangling shrimps from nets. We bought some of those shrimps and had them for dinner.

The rainy weather, the huge waves, the towering palm trees, and the scrumptious sea food in Ngwe Saung all reminded me of Siargao Island where I spent my childhood summer holidays at my grandmother's house.

Lara Stone and I were also very fortunate to stumble on Shwe Hin Tha Resort where we stayed for four nights. The people there were very accommodating and charming, they completely made us feel at home. The food is good overall, and they were even willing to bring our meals over to our hut. It helps a lot as well that they have the perfect spot on the beach with beautiful views and sunsets.


Lyka Bergen said...

What's next? Bhutan?

I'm Not Most People! said...

i'm "shore" u had a fantabulous time in the Golden Land! (",)


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