This is the place where the 2013 Asianic Games were held, so I had high hopes that I would be greeted with a lot of very posh but now abandoned hotels that would be cheap yet still luxurious and just happy to see tourists. That would be a nice luxury few days by the beach, might even get some 24hr electricity…. erm no. The posh hotels were there, well a handful of them, but they were not within the budget of a regular backpacker, or even flashpacker.
The minibus from Yangon (well actually from Pathein but that is another story you can read here) dropped us on the road just outside the main village. A couple of minutes walk to the right and you find the Ngwe-Saung township with a few little tourist shops, a sprinkling of hotels and some holes in the wall from which to buy snacks and canned food. But we wanted to be right on the beach so headed across the road to the sand and towards the first hotel we could see, the Lux. We’d been on the road now for over 24hours and eager to just get our bags down, we walked to reception all positivity and happiness hoping they would have a room, just image our jaws dropping to the floor on hearing that the price of a room was minimum $220 a night! Ouch.
Direction North smelt like fish, so we decided to carry on heading South on the beach, and tried every place along the way, getting the same response each time, just too expensive. It was getting dark now, as was my mood, and we finally settled on a wooden shack on the beach, part of the Pearl Ngwe Saung hotel, for $30 a night. The view was nice, everything else, not so much. The wooden hut consisted of a damp mattress, holey mosquito net, fan that worked occasionally during the day and night when electric came on and ‘ensuite’ bathroom with cold shower over bucket toilet in a part of the shack with no windows or light. You can read more on my rant about our Ngwesaung accommodation in this post.
Our wooden hut on Ngwesaung beach
If you are on a backpacker budget you will need to stay south of the beach as the northern part, closer to Ngwe Saung main village, is mostly more expensive hotels. But that’s not all bad, sure being near the village is convenient if you want to buy some peanut brittle or walk to the bus station but that’s about it. The beach is actually a bit smelly and not as pretty as down south, and it is also much busier. Also, just because it looks like an upmarket hotel doesn’t mean you will get 24hour electricity either, so double check that if it is important to you. The morning after arrival we went for a look for ‘better’ accommodation than our beach shack, the ‘All Seasons Hotel’ smack bang in the middle of the village looked the part, and they were even offering rooms for $35 a night, the room was for sure more modern than our shack, but again no electricity most of the day, and this time no windows.
My recommendation for the best place to stay in Ngwesaung is the Shwe Han Tin Hotel. it’s really done everything right with mid range decent bungalows, good atmosphere, on a nice bit of beach, and great helpful staff. Unfortunately it was fully booked for the whole time we were there, so do ring up and book in advance.