Thandwe (formerly named Sandoway) is a pretty and ancient city in Rakhine State, the westernmost area of Myanmar. If the reputation of Ngapali Beach beautifully attracts you, then it is also ideal to stop by Thandwe.
Thandwe in Myanmar functions as a major seaport in Rakhine State (or Arakan). The antique town itself covers an area of 9800 square kilometers. In the mountainous area, Thandwe is pictured with the high peaks, the attractive streams, the rice and tobacco fields, rocky ranges, etc. Some of the peaks in the northern area might reach over 4,000 feet. As this destination has the tropical monsoon climate, the annual rainfall is sufficient. For example, the rainfall in 1905 was estimated to be 230.49 inches (5,854 mm). Together with farming, Thandwe is rich in tourism thanks to the revered pagodas and the captivating Ngapali Beach. It is the Ngapali Beach that makes Thandwe the amazing stopover before enjoying a memorable beach vacation with activities of kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, fishing, hot-air ballooning, and more.
What to see and do in Thandwe Myanmar
The town and market of Thandwe
The first highlight to see in Thandwe might be its town and market. The history of the town is strongly influenced by the colonial period which leaves it the name of Sandoway. While the town looks very ancient and mysterious most of the time, the market area is busy and crowded, and the busiest time is surely the early morning. Therefore, if wanting to join the local authentic living atmosphere, just spend some time playing at the market to take pictures, find various goods, and interact with the Burmese merchants.
Shwe Ann Daw Pagoda
This religious construction lies on the top of Mount Wathura (or Pathura) in Thandwe. The Shwe Ann Daw Pagoda is, of course, impressive and revered. It’s believed that the pagoda enshrined the relics of Buddha for ages. While the so-called relics grant the pagoda with the respectful feeling, the top location gives it a fascinating look. People might come to do homage to the Buddha, enjoy the uninterrupted view of the town beneath, and take the shining photographs.
Shwe Nan Daw Pagoda
Lie on the summit of Mount Rohakuhta in Thandwe, the Shwe Nan Daw Pagoda is also captivating and holy. The pagoda is said to enshrine the relics of Buddha and does attract numerous pilgrims out there. So, if you travel to Thandwe, the short stay at this valuable pagoda teaches you much about the Burmese traditional religious architecture, the local spiritual belief, and the complete peace of mind.
Ngapali Beach travel information
Nagapali Beach is positioned 7 km from the town of Thandwe. This beach is one of the most beautiful and well-known beaches in Myanmar. As noted, people mostly take Thandwe as the stopover before they head towards the private and unspoiled Ngapali. The beach has the stretch of 7 km overlooking the Indian Ocean. Being filled with an impressive hospitality system, Ngapali beach hotels and resorts are highlighted by Bayview Ngapali, Amazing Ngapali, Amata Resort, Anawa, etc. The tourism industry here helps provide income for the villages throughout Ngapali as well as Thandwe.
Traveling to Ngapali Beach, you enter a pristine beach world of the white sandbank, the palm tree-lined coast filled with various resorts, and the simple fishing villages. In fact, entertainment is infinite in this premier beach because the tourists can do whatever they like on the beach and also the surroundings. While some people choose to kayak and scuba diving, the others enjoy fishing and snorkeling. On the land, the rest of the tourist flocks might be interested in cycling, motorbiking, and especially hot-air balloon. Every activity makes your relaxation in Ngapali just perfect!
Jate Taw (Gyeik Taw) Fishing Village
For a glimpse of the local fishermen’s life, the visit to Jate Taw fishing village is practical. This village is built along the Ngapali Beach and is the favorite address that everybody in Thandwe loves to explore. The fishing life here is different from your modern senses, and sometimes you might be surprised much at how simple their life is. The real slices of the local life in the fishing village leave people with the good lesson on gratitude and the practical experience in the Burmese fishing techniques. Some rustic aspects of the countryside Myanmar can be clearly found. As usual, most boat trips in Thandwe or Ngapali Beach bring you the some of the local fishing villages; so, just enjoy!
The large hilltop Buddha
This is the revered attraction in the south of Ngapali. If you can reach the location of the massive hilltop Buddha, expect to feast the eyes on the panoramic views of the whole bay and even out to the sea! People can choose to arrive at the site by walking, bicycling, or motorbiking (only for the adventurous individuals or thrill-seekers). One the way up the hill, please keep in mind that the final region is quite steep and rocky, which requires the high attention. As the Buddha is visible from almost every corner of the Bay, the direction towards the Buddha is very obvious.
How to get to Ngapali beach and Thandwe
Thanks to Thandwe Airport, the tourists today can easily reach Thandwe at leisure. In fact, all of Myanmar’s internal airlines including Myanmar Airways, Yangon Airways, Air Mandalay, Air KBZ, and Air Bagan offer the frequent flights to the town of Thandwe from the majority of their destinations. Nearby the airport is a rich system of hotels and resorts that the travelers can use. Once you land in Thandwe, it is convenient to hire a motorbike or take a taxi to the stunning Ngapali Beach, just 7 km from Thandwe. As already noted above, you have several outstanding addresses to explore in Thandwe and its surrounding.
When to visit Ngapali beach
With the tropical monsoon climate, Thandwe is warm all year round. Anyhow, if you ask for the distinct seasons, then the dry winter season is November – April and the summer wet season is May – October. In the wet period, the torrential rainfalls last from June to September which might unexpectedly influence the outdoor tourist activities. But if you still ask for the best time to visit Thandwe, the answer is November – February when the weather condition is pleasant and cool; it is neither hot or wet so that every soul is encouraged to boost their stress-free spirit during the holiday time. Nonetheless, please notice that November – February is the peak tourism season in the whole Myanmar. This means you’d better book the accommodation or any other necessary hospitality service in advance.
In particular, for the activity of hot air balloon, it is mostly offered from the end of November to mid-March; this period is called the ballooning season. The highest number of people travels to Thandwe and then visits Ngapali Beach at that time (the reference price for this service is US$275 per person). With ballooning, you enjoy the bewitching views of Ngapali Beach as well as the surrounding coastline. After all, whenever you visit Thandwe in Myanmar, you don’t want to miss the opportunities to spend time relaxing at Ngapali Beach. Both the two sites make your trip to Burma valuable.