Paradise Beach (resp. Zat Sar Aw or San Sa Aw) is a stunning beach on the Dawei Peninsula in Myanmar. It was by far my favourite beach and the name 'Paradise' is totally deserved. The name 'Paradise Beach' was given by the owners of the 'Myanmar Paradise Beach Bungalows'. In early 2016 they finished the first bungalows and opened this spot for tourists. It is still off the beaten track and not listed in any travel guides, except for a handful travel blogs.
The great thing about this place is not just the beautiful beach itself, it is the whole experience. Getting there might not be as easy as getting to the popular 'Ngapali Beach', but entirely worth it and already an adventure.
As soon as you arrive you will get a dreamlike beach, countless palm trees around you, no phone service, almost no electricity and a bonfire under the clear starlit sky at night. Go for a midnight swim and you might even encounter bioluminescence (glowing plankton). Then go to sleep either in your wooden bungalow, tent or hammock.
how to get there
Since most people will most likely travel to Paradise Beach from Dawei, I will also give the directions with Dawei as the starting point.
Getting to Dawei is easy. There are buses operating from all directions (Yangon, Myeik and even Bangkok). Just ask the guys at your reception or at a local bus station. You could also fly to Dawei from Yangon or Myeik. For flights I would suggest using skyscanner.com or kayak.com to get an idea of the available flights.
Now getting to Paradise Beach is a little bit trickier. You have different options.
- Bus/TukTuk: No matter if you decide to take the bus or rent a tuktuk, the journey will take you about 2,5 - 3 hours. Also the route you take will be about the same.
- There are two routes you can take to reach the beach:
- Inform the bus/tuktuk driver that you want to get off at Autcha What village (see the map below). After arriving in the village you can either walk to the beach (there are signs along the way; ~45mins) or take a motorbike taxi (~15mins). Note that the way to the beach is uphill and sometimes very steep for motorbikes. Especially if you carry heavy luggage it might be better to get a second motorbike taxi just for the luggage.
- Another option is to get off the bus at Nyaung Pyin Village (see map below) reach the beach with a traditional fisher boat. However this is only recommended if it is not too windy. It might take you some time to find a fishermen who takes you to the beach as they are usually asleep during the day. The boat ride will cost you around 20'000 - 30'000 Kyats, which is of course more expensive than the motorbike taxi, but in return you get a scenic ~30mins boat drive to the beach.
- Bus: According to 'Myanmar Paradise Beach Bungalows' you can take a bus from the Htee Khee Bus Station in Dawei or call the mini bus company directly to help you arrange the bus ticket. Their number is 09-259-888-203 or 09-780-080-479. A one way ticket costs 2500 Kyats.
- Tuktuk: In case you are travelling as a group or you manage to get a group together, renting a tuktuk with a driver would also be a good transport possibility. You can find several tuktuk drivers around the market or the bus station in Dawei.
- Motorbike: In my opinion renting a motorbike is the best option to go. It is the fastest option and the one which gives you the most freedom, meaning that you can make stops on the way or do daytrips from Paradise Beach more easily. There are several places to rent motorbikes in Dawei. You will be able to choose between automatic and semi-automatic bikes, the automatic ones cost more. It is not necessary to negotiate the prices as the locals normally do not overprice (yet). If you negotiate you might only make a profit of 1$ or 2$ anyways and for the locals that is a lot of money, whereas for you it is not. Make sure to always wear a helmet, the roads are not well maintained.
- Directions: Take the main road from Dawei in the direction of Launglon. Then just follow the main road for about 2-3 hours. You really just have to stay on the main road and then you will reach Autcha What village. As soon as you arrive in Autcha What village, you will pass a football field on the left. Shortly after you pass it, the main road continues with a turn to the right. Here you need to leave the main road and continue left. Drive a few meters further and you should see a turn to the right with a sign saying 'Paradise' (if you pass the monastery on the right you passed it and drove too far). The way uphill is very steep, drive carefully. On top of the hill you will see another 'Paradise' sign pointing into the jungle. If you feel uncomfortable you can leave your bike at the bottom of the sign, lock it and continue walking through the jungle which takes about 15mins. You can of course continue with the motorbike if you want to. Just follow the way, you can not go wrong and inside the jungle you will find another 'Paradise' sign. A few hundred meters later you reached your destination!
where to sleep
Well, there is only one place to stay. The Myanmar Paradise Beach Bungalows. You can choose three different types to get your sleep.
- Bungalow: double bed, bathroom (with bucket shower), mosquito net, balcony. Costs per night: 25'000 Kyats.
- Tent: on even ground, enough space for two people, direct seaview. Costs per night: 15'000 Kyats.
- Hammock: comfy, with mosquito net(!), directly on the beach under the trees. Costs per night: 10'000 Kyats.
My personal favorite is the hammock. I slept great in it and waking up the next morning with trees above and a sandy beach below you is like a dream.
To make a booking you can either call or write an email. If you are booking rather spontaneous I suggest you to make a call instead of writing an email. The email response could take some time. Furthermore I highly recommend you to actually make a booking and not just to show up, as it is often fully booked.
- Myanmar Paradise Beach Bungalows; www.myanmarparadisebeach.com // firstname.lastname@example.org // phone: (+95) 09 498 51 256
where to eat and drink
Myanmar Paradise Beach Bungalows has a restaurant with very tasty food. Furthermore they offer drinks and snacks throughout the day. Water refill is free of charge.
How about a fresh coconut from one of the palm trees around you?
Or just grab a cold beer, sit next to the bonfire and enjoy the starlit sky at night.
what to do
Relax. Swim. Read. Play. Converse. Whatever you feel like doing. Enjoy this paradise!
Furthermore you could visit the village Autcha What (resp. Aw Cha Wut) and sometimes boat trips are being offered. For example for fishing or to visit the nearby 'Grandfathers Beach'.
some other tips
- when I was there, I had no service with my Myanmar SIM-card at Paradise Beach
- no WiFi available
- solar power only - therefore I highly recommend you bringing a power bank, in case you need electronical gadgets while you are there
- take cash with you, there is no possibility to pay with credit cards and as far as I know there is no ATM in the nearer villages
- bring a torch for the night
- for more information visit: www.myanmarparadisebeach.com and also follow them on facebook to always get the news www.facebook.com/MyanmarParadiseBeachBungalows