DAWEI, THE UNSPOILED PARADISE
The unspoiled paradise around Dawei
The unexplored southern coast of Myanmar attracted my attention and I ventured to explore Dawei peninsula. Beaches around Dawei are certainly less visited than the more known Ngwe Saung or Ngapali, but they are equally, if not more beautiful. Warning: those looking for 4 stars beach resorts won’t find them here. Instead, what you will find stunning untouched beaches with golden sand, beautiful scenery along the coast, friendly faces and fresh seafood. As it is usual in Myanmar, some of the most incredible places are only accessible by a long bus ride or a bumpy train.
Life in the fishing villages
In the south of Myanmar, life is centered around the sea and fishing. Taking a simple walk on the beach, we saw many families coming to fetch the fish and getting ready to sail away again. At night, the horizon tinkered with lights of boats catching fish at night. Women would rush to the boats getting the fresh catch to preserve or sell. Fishermen would tirelessly put their nets into the sea and children would be running around screaming and playing. Locals would often invite us to grill fish on the beach, accompanied by playing guitar or music from their phones.
Dawei itself feels more like a village than a city and we heard Hey friend, where are you going? Mingalapar! and Hello! every time we walked around. Dawei people speak a different dialect but a even a little Burmese language skill will get you far, not to mention that your Mingalapar will brighten faces of many children you’ll meet. For pagoda lovers, Dawei is famous for 9 pagodas, called Shin 9 Shin Pagodas that can be found in the nearby mountains, forests and towns.
Exploring the beaches via the coastal road
On one of most developed beaches, Maungmakan, I found local restaurants with ice drinks, souvenir stalls and shops with equipment for water sports. That was it. Going more south on the peninsula, the beaches were more empty and only a few locals were having motorbike races or catching fish. Going around on a motorbike is the most ideal; you can rent them in Dawei. Set off for the coastal road and it will take you through villages and some of the most pristine beaches in Myanmar. The more south you go, the more adventurous it gets. There is a truly beautiful coastal road, but requires a relatively good riding skills as it turns into gravel, forest path or no road at times. Very few locals would take this old road nowadays as they have a better road.
World of Robinson Crusoe
There is no Internet or phone reception, so one can really go back in time and try living a life of Robinson Crusoe. In times when everyone is connected, it’s nice to take a break and connect with locals or fellow travellers who are staying for the night camping or in simple bungalows. With a good book, company and an endless appetite for swimming, such holiday is a dream.