Getting to Chaung Tha Beach from Yangon
Getting to Chaung Tha Beach from Yangon
Chaungtha received its name from the small stream (Chaung) which flowed at the western part of the village. Tha means pleasant in the Burmese language. Thus, Chaungtha means Pleasant Stream in Burmese.
The sand isn’t the whitest you’ll see, and it isn’t kept as clean as you’d probably like, but Chaung Tha Beach isn’t a bad place to relax. What’s more, if you show up at the weekend or during holidays, then joining the locals at play is a cultural experience in itself.
The few foreigners who visit mostly hide from the sun on loungers under palm-frond shelters, while local kids run into the sea clutching huge inner tubes as flotation devices. Meanwhile, teenagers play football around the food vendors who cross the beach selling grilled crabs and prawns on skewers to their parents.
Because of its natural beauty and proximity to Yangon, Chaung Tha has enormous potential to become one of Burma’s major tourist destinations. At the moment, however, the town is very much underdeveloped. Footpaths are in bad shape and there’s no electricity; the resorts must rely on power generators at night. The situation appears to be changing and many of the town’s hotels are expanding or have plans to add additional rooms.
The beach is accessible via bus from Yangon and is a five- to six-hour ride. Be warned, though, that the second half of the journey consists of sharp twists and turns through some of the steepest groups of rolling hills in the Ayeyarwady Delta. Motion sickness pills are available at the bus station.
There are 13 top class hotels in Chaung Thar to cater to their every need. Some of the well-known ones are Max Hotel, Lai Lai Hotel, Ambo Hotel and Khine Chaung Thar. Those who find the atmosphere of cities stifling, the pressures of work stressful and the responsibilities of modern life becoming burdensome, may shed their manifold worries for a while by visiting and enjoying a restful holiday interlude at Chaung Thar.
While listening to the whispering of the wind in the trees and among the palm fronds and to the regular sleep inducing beat of the oceanbreakers as you relax in your rattan chair amidst the balmy breezes you will find yourself visibly relaxing and your cares and tensions slipping away.
Chaung Thar’s nearby Islands
THE’ PHYU ISLAND
Also known as the white sand island. About 15 minutes walk to the ferry boat stand from your hotels. 25 mintues engine-boat ride for 1,000 Kyats/person. Life vests are provided to the passengers and tickets are required to buy at the ferry stand. There is a temple on the island. The island is white because of the dumping of the dead seashells to the shore. There are lots of rocky white stones.
PHO KALAR ISLAND
There is a temple, a monastery and many coconut trees. You can drink fresh coconut juice for 100 Kyats/coconut. 2 minutes engine-boat ride for 200 Kyats/person. No need to buy tickets. The water is quite shallow. There is a small village on the island selling coconuts and dried fishes. The water is clearer on that side of the island. You can find many red and green crabs running around.
KYAUT MAUNG NHAMA
You can take a walk (takes about 3 hours) or ride a bicycle (takes about 2 hours) or ride a motor cycle (takes about 1 hour). The road is bumpy. But the rocky shores are beautiful. There is one temple on top of a big stone.
And Ngwe Saung Beach
There are no ATMs in Chaung Tha Beach so bring enough cash with you. Several of the guesthouses in town offer free WiFi. If you’re already in town and internet access is essential, it may not be a bad idea to test the guesthouse’s WiFi before you agree to book the room. The restaurant located inside of the Shwe Hin Tha Hotel offers reliable WiFi to both hotel and restaurant guests.
The shops across from the Golden Beach Hotel sell umbrellas (a necessity during rainy season) for 2,000 kyat. ‘Chaung Tha Beach’ souvenir T-shirts are also available for just 1,500 kyat. In that area you’ll also find a very basic pharmacy selling a small selection of medicine and toiletries.
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