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Culture and Coastline - Mrauk U to Ngapali Beach

This 9-day journey visits two of Myanmar’s most captivating locations - the ancient city of Mrauk U and the idyllic coastal getaway of Ngapali Beach. You begin in Sittwe, on the Bay of Bengal, where you’ll cruise along the Kaladan River to the ruins and relics of Mrauk U. After exploring the fascinating history of this ancient kingdom via its centuries-old temples, palaces and pagodas, you’ll make your way to the beautiful Ngapali Beach. Here, you can kick off your shoes for a few days and enjoy a lazy beach lifestyle on the Bay of Bengal. 

Highlights   Pricing
  • A luxury river cruise from Sittwe to the ancient kingdom of Mrauk U
  • A tour of Mrauk U’s most prolific historic sites, visiting temple complexes, palace ruins and museums
  • Visiting the Chin villages of Rakhine and delving into their fascinating culture
  • Downtime on Ngapali Beach, enjoying pristine sands and crystal clear seas
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Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1

You’ll begin your 9-day luxury Myanmar itinerary in the capital, Yangon. After being escorted from the airport to your hotel by your guide, you have the evening free to spend at your leisure. Yangon has some fantastic historic hotels - we recommend The Strand, a colonial mansion from 1901, and the traditional Burmese-style Governor’s House, both of which offer luxurious accommodation. In the afternoon, consider visiting the spectacular Shwedagon Pagoda, one of Myanmar’s must-see sites.

Day 2

This morning, you’ll transfer to the airport for your flight to the coastal city of Sittwe, arriving in the early afternoon. Here you’ll enjoy a half-day sightseeing tour, including a visit to Rakhine State Cultural Museum with its Rakhine-style Buddha statues and relics from the Mrauk U historic period. You’ll also see the stunning Payagyi Temple and tour the city’s various mosques. At sunset, you’ll enjoy the best views in the city at a place called “the point”, a platform overlooking the mouth of the Kaladan River where it merges with the sea. Check into your hotel in Sittwe for the night.

Day 3

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before embarking upon a luxury cruise up Kaladan River to Mrauk U, the exotic one-time capital of the powerful Mrauk U Kingdom. The journey takes a leisurely six hours, and along the way, you’ll pass through quiet scenery and sleepy fishing villages, spotting golden spires piercing the treeline here and there. In Mrauk U, you’ll check into your hotel, and then enjoy a half-day tour of this 15th-century kingdom, visiting the Shittaung Pagoda, the Andaw Pagoda, and the Dukkanthein ordination hall - all remarkable examples of ancient architecture. For sunset vistas, you’ll head to Haritaung Pagoda hill, where you can enjoy amazing views over the city. In Mrauk U, we recommend staying at the Mrauk Oo Princess, a luxurious resort built in traditional Rakhine style.

Day 4

Today you’ll see more of Mrauk U’s fascinating historic sites, exploring the ruins of Ko Thaung - an ancient palace where the remains of walls and stone carvings can still be seen. You’ll also visit Mahabandola Monastery, home to a collection of bronze and Rakhine-style Buddhas, as well as the “plate pagoda” - Laungbankpyauk Pagoda - so-named after the colorful tiles that line its front wall. Today you’ll also have the chance to visit some local Rakhine villages and see their traditional wooden houses. At sundown, you’ll head to top of Shwetaung Hill - the perfect vantage point for viewing the city as the sun sinks beneath the horizon. Return to your hotel in Mrauk U for the night.

Day 5

Today you’ll visit a few different Chin villages, a 2.5-hour cruise away along the Lay Myo River. The are some 50 Chin villages in the southern Rakhine region, maintaining a distinct culture and traditional lifestyle. Today, you can meet the infamous tattooed-face Chin ladies and visit local weavers keeping this ancient tradition flourishing. After arriving back in Mrauk U via boat, you have the rest of the day free to spend at your leisure. The city is a trove of architectural relics, and there are plenty of temples, pagodas and even colonial ruins to discover.

Day 6

Enjoy an early breakfast at your hotel, then travel back to Sittwe by luxury boat. Sit on the deck and watch the scenery change as you draw nearer to the Bay of Bengal. In Sittwe, you have time to explore the main market to watch local fisher families and farmers ply their wares, before making your way to the airport to take the short flight to Thandwe. On the ground, you’ll be transferred to your resort in Ngapali Beach, a long stretch of golden sand fringed by palm trees and clear blue waters. Here, we recommend staying at the Amata Ngapali Beach Resort, the Amazing Resort or the Sandoway Resort, all offering direct beach access.

Day 7

For the final days of your journey, enjoy free time on the beach. Ngapali Beach offers the type of tranquility that’s becoming increasingly difficult to find in Southeast Asia, and most guests here relish the opportunity to simply relax.

Day 8

Enjoy more beach leisure time today. Alternatively, for those seeking activity, the Bay of Bengal offers sailing, snorkeling and fishing, you can take a tour of nearby villages with a private guide, there are mangroves to explore, and there’s golf. If desired, we can help organize a romantic dinner on the beach.

Day 9

Today is the last day of your Myanmar journey, so be extra good to yourself. At your resort, you can also indulge in spa therapies, enjoy cocktails by the pool You’ll be transferred to the airport where you’ll catch your departing flight to Yangon.


Suggested Accommodations

Belmond Governor's Residence, The Strand

Belmond Governor's Residence

Located in a lotus garden not far from the Shwedagon Pagoda is The Governor's Residence. Once a governor's mansion, it has since been converted in to a 49-room hotel, a 30-minute drive from Yangon airport (RGN). Located in the hotel are two restaurants; the Mandalay Restaurant serves Asian and European cuisine and the Mindon Lounge is a comfortable spot to sit indoors overlooking the garden, or outdoors, and enjoy a refreshment. While there is a swimming pool and massage treatments are offered, there is no spa. The Governor’s Residence has a fitness center and WiFi is available anywhere on hotel grounds, in addition to having a business center for Internet and email access.


The Strand

This elegant 32-room colonial palace, built at the height of the British rule in Burma, is reminiscent of the romantic era of Graham Greene and W. Somerset Maugham. It remains an oasis of tranquility in an ever-changing and bustling Rangoon. The Strand was previously part of the Aman group, and is still of Aman caliber in its splendid suites, delicious food and superb service. It is now a part of the GHM Group, which is an Aman affiliate. The hotel offers two dining options, The Strand Café, which features Burmese cuisine, and The Strand Grill, which is said to be one of Yangon’s finest dining venues. A business center is available for Internet and email access with professional secretarial services. The hotel has The Strand Boutique for shopping and The Strand Spa Suite for spa treatments. The hotel is a 30-minute drive from Yangon International Airport (RGN).

Royal Sittwe Resort , Shwe Thazin Hotel

Royal Sittwe Resort

Enjoy a seaside retreat at Royal Sittwe Resort, the only beach hotel along Sittwe beach on Bay of Bengal in Myanmar (Burma). Guests may choose between a standard room or a junior suite, all of which feature spacious balconies with incredible ocean views. With a choice of spending days walking the hotel grounds, relaxing at the beach or swimming in the hotel pool before enjoying a scrumptious traditional seafood meal and taking in an authentic performance of Rakhine Traditional Dance, guests will find their time easily filled. The hotel can also provide an expansive conference area for corporate groups. 


Shwe Thazin Hotel

Located in the heart of Sittwe, Myanmar (Burma), Shwe Thazin Hotel provides easy access to all the city’s sites - including the incredible beach - with a comfortable, three-star home base. Guests may choose between a Superior Twin, Superior Double, or Deluxe room, each offering 24-hour room service. The hotel also provides 24-hour security services to allow guests to feel as relaxed and assured as possible. 

Mrauk Oo Princess

Mrauk Oo Princess

This hotel has previously been described as one of Burma’s best kept secrets. The Mrauk Oo Princess superbly balances luxury and unpretentiousness. Situated on the banks of Mrauk Oo River, the hotel is surrounded by magnificent views of the blue mountain ranges, green rice fields and large pools punctuated with pink lotuses. The structural inspiration for the property was taken from the traditions and culture of the local Rakhine people. The hotel is laid out in the style of a traditional Rakhine village; each house boasts an eye-catching thatched, monastery-style, 7-tier roof. From the well-appointed spacious rooms, guest can look out from their own veranda to romantic views of the rice paddies, ponds and river. Rooms are furnished with traditional Burmese furnishings made from rich teak and other woods. The large bathrooms have his and her’s sinks and a separate bath and shower. The restaurant serves traditional Rakhine, European and vegetarian cuisine, and private candle light dinners are also available on request. The hotel has a delightful bar with an extensive wine list and signature cocktails. Those wishing to relax and indulge may head to the spa, which offers a range of treatments, using local aromatic and healing herbs. The hotel also offers guest the chance to try something different with their wood or stone carving lessons with local artisans.

Amazing Resort, Sandoway Resort

Amazing Resort

Amazing Resort is located on a prime stretch of Ngapali Beach. All villas in each of the three room categories (24 Deluxe Seaview villas, 10 Suite villas and three Amazing Suite villas) come with air conditioning, private baths with hot and cold showers, international direct dial (IDD) phones, satellite TV, a private verandah, and other standard in-room amenities. Recreational facilities include a swimming pool, the Spa Thukha, a 9-hole golf course located five minutes by car from the resort, bicycles for rent, and more. Dining options include all-day dining at Zee Phyu Gone, where the focus of their Burmese and international cuisine alike is on fresh local ingredients, including seafood from local fishermen. Bar El Mar, meanwhile, offers panoramic views out over the Bay of Bengal. The Amazing Resort is just a five-minute drive from Thandwe (Sandoway) Airport, which itself is about a 55-minute flight from Yangon (RGN).


Sandoway Resort

This sumptuous resort is shaded by coconut palms on the relatively un-spoilt sands of Ngapali beach. The 50 spacious villas and cottages set on six acres of land look across over tropical gardens to the glistening Bay of Bengal. This resort, designed in traditional South East Asian style, offers an idyllic escape from other, more bustling parts of the country. The stunning rooms do not have televisions or telephones to ensure complete relaxation. Built using local materials, various kinds of hard wood, stone carving and marble, guests will feel as though they are residing in a Burmese coastal palace. The resort even has its own cinema with comfortable seating, as well as a piano lounge bar and tranquil library. The onsite restaurant serves up delicious Italian, traditional Burmese and international cuisine and fresh seafood in an open-air veranda. Local activities include sailing, golf, fishing trips, boat excursions, snorkeling, cycling and sightseeing in the local town.
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Our co-founder Jay Tindall has been visiting Myanmar since 1993. He prefers to escape to remote areas such as Loikaw & the Chin State, as well as sailing in the Mergui Islands.
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