Fully booked hotels in Yangon

My Myanmar holiday has nearly come to an end now. I have a couple of days left, so I decided to travel to Ngwe Saung Beach in the Bay of Bengal. To reach my destination, I made a stopover in Yangon again. Even though I had reserved a room, nothing was available anymore when I arrived at the hotel yesterday. Other hotels in the area also turned out fully booked too. Luckily I could get a bed for one night in Bruce`s room, an American who teaches English here.

miniature temples at Ngwe Saung beach

A tiring bus ride to Ngwe Saung Beach

I wake up at half-past four in the morning, as I have to be at the bus station at six at the latest to get a ticket to Ngwe Saung Beach. The bus ride itself is – again – a hellish journey, far too little legroom, and no space to put my backpack away conveniently. Six hours later, I arrive exhausted. Fortunately, I immediately get a hike to my preferred resort; by someone who works at the place.

cart at Ngwe Saung beach

Taking precautions against mosquitoes and other insects

I rent one of the more expensive rooms, a concrete structure. That provides at least more guarantee the room is more or less closed in comparison to a bamboo hut. After all, it is a malaria area here. And by the way, those aren’t the only insects that fly around you in the evening here at Ngwe Saung Beach. I take my precautions with anti-mosquito repellent and incense.

fishermen arriving at Bay of Bengal in Myanmar

Ngwe Saung Beach has little in common with the Culture of Myanmar

The resort itself has little to do with the culture of Myanmar. You are at a few meters distance from the beach, in a sort of closed-off location. Too expensive for the ordinary Burmese people, you will only find western sun-lovers here. Not my most prominent point of interest; I think it is way too hot during the day anyway. But I have to admit that the sunset brings me in the right mood, and once the sun has disappeared, I can really enjoy the sound of the breaking waves on the beach.

Ngwe Saung sunset

Dinner served on the terrace of your room

Buddhist twin temples at Ngwe Saung beach

But as said – and although I am still on Mynamar territory – there is no link with the local culture. The town of Ngwe Saung itself is located a few kilometers away. So late afternoon, one of the staff members comes to take your order for dinner, which then, later on, gets served on the terrace in front of your room. There is still an elephant camp nearby. As I am not a sun-bather nor a swimmer, I will definitely visit that camp tomorrow.

mahout cleaning his elephant at Padaung elephant camp

A family-run elephant camp

preparing to saddle an elephant at Padaung

The elephant camp is located at the village of Padaung, which is less than an hour’s drive inland into the jungle from Ngwe Saung Beach. The camp is incomparable to the popular elephant resorts, training, and conservation centers found in Northern or Northeastern Thailand.  It is run by a small family, trying to make some money by showing tourists the daily routines of taking care of these animals. You can see how they are washed, saddled, fed, and brought to the forest to rest. It is definitely worth a visit if you want to see the natural interaction between mahout (caretaker) and elephant.

local delicassy at Padaung

Myanmar has tons of charm

evening view at Ngwe Saung beach

Back at the resort, while drinking a beer, I conclude I do not regret my decision to have come here. Compared to the relative roar of Yangon, you can enjoy the silence and the breaking of the waves at Ngwe Saung Beach. It was an incredible journey; Myanmar is a top destination, in its own way, with tons of charm.

Padaung elephant camp