This picture is the perfect answer to the question for me. It was me in the photo and felt utterly blessed to have witnessed one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to in my whole life – the Grandfather Beach of Dawei peninsula in Tanintharyi Region, Myanmar.
As a travel enthusiast, it would be an understatement to say I love my own country. Most people, if not all, who have been to Myanmar will recall golden pagodas or Buddhist temples rather than other hidden treasures the country possesses. This is totally understandable considering the fact that even a local Burmese will barely know where exactly in Myanmar the above picture was taken. Looking on the bright side, because of unpopularity, such heavenly natural environments benefit from being void of harmful human interruptions to a certain extent.
The Dawei peninsula arguably holds many pristine beaches comparable to world-class beach resorts elsewhere in ASEAN and other parts of the world. What’s more, the beaches in Dawei are mostly, if not completely, unknown and inaccessible to the general public. Hence, you might end up being the only visitor on long stretches of sandy beaches. As the temptation to not leave such captivating soul-free places is quite high, it is advisable to have a partner who would insist you to go back home at the end of the day. However, it does not mean every beach will be deserted. Some of them are inhabited by humans and you will be able to experience the local fishing industry and have some interesting interactions with the villagers.
At this point in time, you might be wondering where this peninsula is and how you could get there. It is located in the southern part of Myanmar which many Burmese would describe as the tail/leg of the country. The best starting place to venture the peninsula is Dawei, the capital city of Tanintharyi Region. With a regular express bus, it takes about 14 hours from Yangon, the commercial city and former capital of Myanmar and the tickets cost around 20-30 USD per way.
Like any other parts of Myanmar except Yangon, there is no public transportation in the town; you will have to rely on motorbike taxis or cabs unless you can ride one yourself. Motorbike rentals are widely available in Dawei and many foreigners can hire a bike at a considerably cheap price, giving them an opportunity to explore the beaches at their own pace. The only setback in the whole process is the lack of proper accommodation options for non-local visitors especially foreigners who are not allowed to camp in the wild or on the beaches. Up until now, there is only one licensed hotel along this 20-ish km long peninsula for tourists excluding the hotel resorts at “Maung Ma Gan” beach, a rather popular crowded tour destination. Because of this scarcity of over-night choices, many tend to do day-trips to those untouched white sandy beaches. Who knows you could spot an utterly unidentified beach along this magnificent peninsula!
By Thein Min Swe, ASEAN Correspondent from Myanmar