This place really is ‘amazing’. So few people here, so we are loving the seclusion. As the layout of the resort runs along the beach, and we are towards the far end of the main action, we have very little foot traffic past our fishbowl glass doors, unlike the other villas we gawk at as we walk to lunch or dinner! As there are lounges all along the beach, the ones directly opposite our rooms are always free. Looking out to sea, there is no one in your sightline, only fishing boats anchored close by and bobbing, their masters already finished for the day and gone home. Amazing Ngapali Resort
This morning we walked south to the end of the beach, basking in the solitude and sashaying through the soft sand. As we neared the end of our stroll we saw a little girl about 7 years old (so she was probably about 10 or 11!), playing on the beach in traditional make up and mauve satin…with 2 military guards in tow! They were very sweet and friendly with her and waved in greeting to us. Beyond them, away from the water on the grass under the palm trees, was a military truck, and more soldiers – her father must’ve been very important!
On our return journey we diverted through Ngapali Village (which lies between our resort and the headland). We crossed a ‘knocked together’, fragile looking bridge to get from the beach to the road, but tried not to look down – one glimpse was enough – no water to be seen, only rubbish! So we kept our eyes raised and feet moving. Many villagers were smiling at the pale tourists saying ‘minglabar’ to them with big grins!
One thing that jars a tad in the idyllic environment created by the resort, village and beach are the sounds from the nearby monastery blasting out several times a day, sounding like propaganda over the loudspeakers – especially the offensively brash one on the truck that drives along the main road, scaring the life out of you as it zooms past a metre from your chair at dinner at the local restaurant. It’s hardly noticeable at the resort, though – big plus…really encourages you to stay put and not explore much, though!
In the morning and early evening a smoky haze drifts through the resort – not someone ‘burning off’ but rather the vigilant tending to the guests in protecting them from the bugs, flying and crawling. Spent pretty much all of the day on the beach, punctuating the reading under the palm-fronded umbrella with the occasional dip in the warm water. Bliss.
Decided to get a ride to Ngapali Beach proper for dinner (the beach we are staying at is actually separated from Ngapali Beach by a headland and quite some distance). It turned out to be bit of an ordeal, though. We chose our restaurant on TA and called the reception to book for us. I was clear in my request of ‘Ngapali Kitchen’ and I was put through to the restaurant directly and made a booking for 7pm. Over happy hour cocktails at 5:45pm we requested a car for 6:30pm. He didn’t arrive till 7pm, charged 18,000 kyat return (about $19 USD) for a relatively short trip and then took us to the wrong restaurant. It appears that the hotel thought I meant Htay Htay Kitchen, and so that is where I made the reservation. We instructed our driver to take us to the place we actually wanted to eat at, and they only had one couple sitting there. We were so glad we insisted on pushing on for several reasons – the food was outstanding, and very cheap, obviously our custom for the evening made a financial difference to their week, and the service was great. We had chilli and bean barracuda pieces and an avocado salad – perfect! They also treated us with our first ever freshly made crisps – really! They were slicing them out back, we heard them frying, and they arrived toasty warm. The others had whole red snapper sweet and sour (which was real sweet and sour, with real fruit), that they then deboned as requested, some stir-fried vegetables, and some home made fish fingers. They even gave us complimentary fruit for dessert. The owner brought her little girl out to meet us (completely adorable with old, wise eyes, lots of waving and blowing kisses goodbye – reminded us of Alexander). The owner also told us that if we want to come back, to ring her before 5pm and she can get us a driver for 12,000 Kyat – bargain.
Stopped at the other restaurant on way home, which was also a big shop in a happening, lively part of the stretch (no restaurant lacked customers there), and bought a fresh water pearl choker in greys and purples. Very nice. Don’t think we’ll go there for dinner, though – they ‘mislabelled’ the necklace and then tried to tell us it would cost more. I put it back saying I wasn’t interested and they made it the same price as the cheaper, artificially coloured ones on the next shelf (but really, who knows if the ones I bought were original colour???).
We also stopped at an art gallery – a well lit, 2 sided, high ceilinged shed, open at 9pm (!) – and our friends made another purchase to add to their growing Myanmar collection. Again, there was some lovely stuff, in a range of styles, by a range of artists (Gallerie Htein Lin Thar). Might be tempted to pop back and a closer, less bleary-eyed look tomorrow.