Mingle Around the Beach with Locals
February , 2016

Myanmar has few beach resorts to spend vacation such as Chaungthar, Ngwe Saung, Ngapali, Satsel, etc. Among them, Chaungthar Beach is more commonly known among the locals because it is relatively more affordable than the rest and close by Yangon. It is also more crowded and unfortunately, less clean than the two more expensive and better-maintained beaches, Ngwe Saung and Ngapali, typically reserve catering for foreigners. Chaungthar received its name from the small stream “Chaung” which flowed along the western part of the village. “Thar” means pleasant in the Myanmar language. Thus, Chaungthar literally means pleasant stream. Chaungthar itself is a village and beach resort located in Ayeyarwady Division. It is about 40 km west of the capital city, Pathein. The beach is opened from October to April every year.

How to get there?

By Bus

Buses usually leave around 9pm from Yangon and it takes around six hours to reach Chaungthar. The buses stop at 2 to 3 scheduled restaurants along the way. The bus journey costs 18,000 kyats per person for the return trip. Return buses leave Chaungthar between 6am and 10am. The roads are much to be desired further away from Yangon. After crossing the Pathein river, it will take an hour drive further along a road will include a crossing over western Rakhine mountain range about 1500 feet above sea level. The bus takes the visitors to the designated hotel at the beach.

By Private Car It takes around 5 hours to arrive at the beach.

Places to Get Around

Nearby fishing villages and mangrove forests are popular among visitors. They can visit a fishing community on a nearby island where villagers sun-dry their daily catches of fish and shrimp for their own consumption or for sale.

Speedboats are available for rental to visit small islands in the area.

A short trip away from the Chaungthar beach is an island called White Sand Island (Thel Phyu Kyun), about 15 minutes by boat, costing around 3,000 kyats per person. On the way, visitors can also stop and visit Phoekalar Island. Those adventurous enough can go for a banana boat ride for 5,000 kyats per person or a jet ski at 50,000 kyats per half hour. Chaungthar has reasonably clear water, soft, greyish sand and is fringed by palm trees. There is paddling in the water, floating about on rubber rings, ponies ride, boisterous beach football games and happy family picnics. In the evening, the visitor can enjoy natural beauty of the sunset. A major attraction is a small pagoda built on a limestone boulder at the southern end of the beach. Thel Phyu Island and Phoekalar Island are particularly beautiful at dusk.

The visitors can also ride horses and bicycle for a fee. There are food stalls, restaurants and hawkers offering freshly caught seafood, local cuisine and various types of dry fishes. Drinking fresh coconut juice while relaxing on a comfortable (plastic) chair is also one common way to pass time there, white lazily gazing at the people or waves from the sea.

Accommodation

As the numbers of foreign and local visitors grow, the hotels are upgrading their facilities to attract them. There are 13 hotels along the beach side. They are Amazing Hotel, Lai Lai, Khine Chaungthar hotel, Golden Beach, Thiri, Grand hotel Chaungthar, Belle Resort, Shwe Hin Thar, Hotel ACE, Ayarwaddy Hotel, Ambo, Diamond and See Saim. Chaungthar beach may not have the most awe-inspiring coastline, but if you want to breath fresh sea air, see breath taking sunset into the sea and most important of all, mix around with the locals, it is a relatively convenient and affordable place to be

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