The unexplored southern coast of Myanmar attracts few visitors, but for those who do venture down here there is much to explore. Dawei in particular draws our attention and is a 2 hour flight south of Yangon. While it is known in Myanmar for its spectacular beaches, it is far less established then the more popular destinations of Ngapali Beach and Nyaung Shwe, but in our opinion, it’s much more beautiful.
The downside for visiting Dawei is there are no 4 star beach resorts here yet, but for those looking for an adventure off the beaten path, it’s a gold mine. Here you will find stunning untouched beaches with golden sand, beautiful scenery along the coast and friendly faces greeting you wherever you go. It might take a while to get here, but boy is it worth it.
Beaches of Dawei
Dawei is situated right at the northern point of the Mergui Archipelago, which contains over 800 islands. This area is known for the incredible beaches where you’ll see barely any visitors and can enjoy the scenery all to yourself.
On one of most developed beaches in the area, Maungmakan, you’ll find 30 minutes from Dawei. Here there are restaurants, souvenir stalls and shops with equipment for water sports. But that’s about it. The rest of the beach is yours to enjoy by yourself.
Going further south along the peninsula, the beaches are even more empty and you’ll only find a few locals having a drink or catching fish. Set off along the coastal road (you can hire a care, motorbike or catch a bus from the centre of Dawei) and you will travel through villages on the way to some of the most pristine beaches in Myanmar. The further south you go, the more adventurous it gets.
In the south of Myanmar, life is centred around the sea and fishing. Take a simple walk on the beach and you’ll probably see families laying out fish to dry, unravelling fishing nets, or preparing the boats for the next days journey.
The fishing generally takes place in the early morning, even before the sun rises, and if you are lucky to wake early enough, it’s possible to see the horizon tinkling away with lights from the boats that are out fishing. Everyone in the village contributes with the women preparing the fish to be cooked or dried, and the children helping to prepare the fishing equipment.
Everyone is really friendly so don’t be shy to say hello (Mingalabar) and ask what they are doing.
At one point in history, Myanmar was the richest and most powerful country in Southeast Asia, and Dawei was a port-of-call for traders and fishermen, though a largely undeveloped one.
Today, it’s more of a “sleepy” or “laidback” coastal town. With its traditional houses and colonial-style stucco buildings, lovely beaches, polite people, and absence of traffic jams, it is a lovely destination to experience a bit of calm while in Myanmar.