Exploring the Beaches in Dawei and the Dawei Peninsula
Although Myanmar’s tourism industry has ballooned (excuse the pun) in recent years, due to curious backpackers making their way to the formerly-isolated nation, Southern Myanmar and its wonderful Dawei Peninsula are still relatively undiscovered gems, that have yet to make it on the tourist trail.
The many beaches in Dawei, make the Dawei Peninsula a wonderful tropical destination for anyone looking to spend time on empty beaches, in relative isolation, with little to no infrastructure. Do note however, that isolated as they may be, the beaches in Dawei, are in no way as remote or stunning as those in Mergui archipelago, despite such reports from travelers who have not actually made it to the Mergui archipelago.
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Crossing the Mergui archipelago by boat has, however, its disadvantages being pretty expensive for the average backpacker. Thus, for those who are looking for more affordable destinations in Southern Myanmar, the beaches in Dawei and the Dawei Peninsula make for a pretty pleasing alternative!
We have put together this guide to help you navigate the best beaches in Dawei, including tips on transport and accommodation on the Dawei Peninsula, but first something about Dawei town itself.
The town of Dawei is one of the main cities in Southern Myanmar, and on our trip up from Kawthoung to Yangon, we decided to stop in Dawei for a few days so that we could experience the best beaches in Dawei and take a ride around the Dawei Peninsula.
Dawei itself is a typical Southern Myanmar town with friendly people, some hotels and restaurants and a handful of expats. There’s not much to do in Dawei itself, but the beaches in Dawei, starting a few km out of town make up for any lack of attractions within town.
Where to stay in Dawei
We stayed at Shwe Moung Than Hotel and cannot recommend it enough. The staff was helpful and the rooms were clean. Service was top-notch for a budget hotel. We paid €14/night for a room with private bathroom and continental breakfast.
Where to eat in Dawei
Our favourite restaurant in Dawei is hands down Tavoy Kitchen. Their chicken coconut noodles were to die for!
We thought that this little place was just ok, but if you’re craving European food, you will find it at Le Bistrot. Our fish and baked potatoes were tasty but not amazing, and we felt that the portions were a little small, but hey they serve good wine!
Find it on a map! – Le Bistrot
More like a snackbar than a restaurant, as we only got some pad thai and fruit shakes here, which were sufficient to fill us up whilst we made arrangements for hiring a scooter.
Find it on a map! – Dawei Panorama
Explore Moscos Islands
Some companies based in Dawei, such as Dawei Panorama, offer day trips to the Moscos islands, a small group of islands east of Dawei, in the Mergui archipelago. If you haven’t actually traveled to any of the islands of the archipelago, this might be an interesting trip out of Dawei, however if you’ve been to the more remote islands, you may wish to dedicate your time to other places to visit around Dawei .
The Moscos islands are about an hour’s boat trip away from Dawei. A full-day tour typically includes breakfast and lunch, snorkeling, and some time on the island itself, and would cost about €55 per person. You can contact Dawei Panorama for further information if you’re interested. A zone fee of 10,000 Kyat (about €6.50) will need to be paid separately.
If you’d like to explore the remote island of the Mergui Archipelago on a multi-day trip, read up on how to organize such a trip!
Beaches in Dawei
So, we’ve already established that the greatest draw in the area are the unspoilt and often totally empty beaches in Dawei. There are many to choose from and if you’re limited with time, it will be difficult to go to each and every beach! The following are some of the best beaches on the Dawei Peninsula which are worth trying to fit into your itinerary!
To access the beaches in Dawei and make your way down the Dawei Peninsula from the northernmost set of beaches, you first need to take the road going northwest to Maungmakan beach. This is not one of the best beaches in Dawei, but definitely one of the more accessible ones. Nabule beach further up north is easily more beautiful but far off, whilst San Maria, south of Maungmakan is pretty enough but does not compare with the beaches further south in the Dawei Peninsula.
The road going southwest from Dawei, heads to Launglon town from where a group of beaches can be accessed, including Pa Nyit. The road heading south from Launglon is the gateway to the Dawei Peninsula, and several beautiful beaches and fishing villages can be accessed from various tracks leading off this road.
Let us guide you along the best beaches in Dawei lying along the Dawei Peninsula!
Pa Nyit Beach
If you’re short on time, Pa Nyit is one of the first beaches you should head to, if you’re making your way to the best beaches in Dawei. It is very likely that you will find the stretch of golden sand beach to be almost empty, and you should be aware that there are no tourist facilities, but there’s a pretty pagoda on the north side of the beach. There is apparently another smaller beach, across the lagoon on the south side of Pa Nyit beach, which we did not look for, due to lack of time.
Find it on a map! – Pa Nyit Beach
This pretty little beach is home to a tiny fishing village right on the sand and is really very ‘local’. On our visit, we were the only tourists around, but there was lots of activity on the beach as the fishermen were bringing in their catch, whilst little kids were swimming around holding onto planks of wood. We didn’t swim here, since we enjoyed observing the ongoing activity more, but the water looked amazing!
Sin Htauk Beach & Tha Yaun Beach
This was by far our favourite of the beaches in Dawei, and we enjoyed the beach even more than the well-known Grandfather beach, further down on the Dawei Peninsula. Firstly, getting there is quite the adventure (we will explain further down in the following section) and secondly, this beach is one of the only two beaches on the Dawei Peninsula with accommodation, so you can spend the night there.
The beach itself is wide and pretty, and, with only the few guests at Sin Htauk beach Bungalows using it, rather empty too! Adjacent to Sin Htauk beach is another white sand beach called Violin beach or Tha Yaun. It can be accessed from a path leading from Sin Htauk (follow the signs to Violin beach) and again, we were the only people walking on the many km-long white sand beach packed with crabs observing us suspiciously. Tha Yaun beach is actually one half of a very large beach, with Grandfather beach making up the other half!
Grandfather Beach (Po Po Kyauk)
Grandfather beach is the most famous of all the beaches in Dawei, and because of this, the most commercial too. It is supposedly the most beautiful beach on the Dawei Peninsula and there’s absolutely no doubt that it is stunning, but we though that the views were spoilt by large groups of noisy day trippers and stalls leading to the beach. Whilst the beach atmosphere was not ideal, we actually enjoyed walking around Nyau Pyin fishing village (on the way to Grandfather beach), a lot more than the beach itself!
Paradise Beach (Zat Sar Aw)
Further down the Dawei Peninsula is Paradise beach, the second beach which is home to some accommodation. Paradise beach is the picture-perfect tropical beach surrounded by tropical jungle. It really is the perfect getaway for a few days!
Myin Kwa Aw Beach
This is the southernmost beach of all the beaches in Dawei, and not the most beautiful either, though it is close to the Shin Maw Pagoda. We suggest to only consider going all the way down to the tip of the Dawei Peninsula if you intend visiting the Shin Maw Pagoda too, otherwise going there solely for the beach is not worth the detour.
Planning a two-day itinerary around the Dawei Peninsula
So, now that you know which the best beaches in Dawei are, how should you get there and where in the Dawei Peninsula should you stay?
One of the best ways to tour the Dawei Peninsula is by scooter or motorbike. The beaches are rather remote and not easy to get to, so you would really need to organise your own transport ideally. There are some join-in tours from Dawei, on which you can access the main beaches though, but more on that below.
We suggest that you contact Dawei Panorama to provide you with the information you need to tour the Dawei Peninsula.
There are only few accommodation options near the beaches in Dawei and they are typically booked weeks in advance. Dawei Panorama will also organise a scooter and provide you with a comprehensive map showing the Dawei Peninsula and the best beaches in Dawei.
You will need to decide on how many days you wish to spend on the Dawei Peninsula. Sadly, we could only afford two days with just an overnight stay, but once we were settled in our beach hut at Sin Htauk, we realised that we should have stayed longer. Well, what better an excuse to go back to spend at least a week there, relaxing by the beach?
If you’re tight on time like we were, here’s is how to explore the Dawei Peninsula over two days by scooter.
We rented out a semi-automatic scooter from Dawei Panorama for 10,000 Kyats (about €6)/day. A fully-automatic scooter cost 12,000 Kyat (about €7.50) /day. It was then time to decide which of the attractions and beaches on Dawei we wanted to visit.
We had already booked a night’s stay at Sin Htauk Beach Bungalows a couple of weeks before. The second accommodation option on the Dawei Peninsula on Paradise Beach was already fully booked. One night at Sin Htauk in a Type B Bungalow cost 50,000 Kyat (about €30.50) with 5,000 (about €3) surcharge since we only booked for one night (a minimum two nights’ stay is required) and can be booked here. There are 4 types of accommodation options at Sin Htauk, ranging from 40,000 Kyat (about €24.50) to 80,000 Kyat (about €49) with Type C being the cheapest option featuring shared bathrooms.
Paradise beach bungalows on the other hand, range from 45,000 Kyat (about 27.50) to 65,000 Kyat (about €40) for 2-persons, with different rates for 1 person or 3 persons.
Dawei Panorama can actually book both options on your behalf. There is no data signal at either accommodation, although a faint signal may be detected a 15-minute walk or so away. Power services are supplied in the cabin with some sockets available. Meals and drinks can be ordered at both options though they are more expensive than taking similar meals in town. Breakfast was included in the room rate.
We decided that in 2 days we had time to bike to Pa Nyit, followed immediately by Sin Htauk so that we could maximise our time on the beaches of Sin Htauk itself as well as on Tha Yaun Beach. The following day we would leave after breakfast and head to Grandfather Beach whilst visiting the fishing village of Nyau Pyin en route.
That would be followed by a short stop at Paradise Beach and Tizit Beach on our way back to Dawei. We realised that going all the way down to Myin Kawa Aw, the southernmost beach on the Dawei Peninsula would be too stressful in just two days, though certainly possible.
We set off from Dawei after collecting the bike from Dawei Panorama which we had organised on the previous day, and headed straight to Launglon village from where we would take the road leading to Pa Nyit. We should tell you that the last part of the road going down to it is really steep and our scooter (which had front brake issues) almost let us down! Do check that your scooter is running decently before making the trip around the Dawei Peninsula!
Next up was Sin Htauk after going back to Launglon village and taking the road south. We expected the diversion to Sin Htauk to be an awful road (as we had read elsewhere) but it turned out to be a pretty decent, perhaps recently widened road after all!
You cannot go all the way down to the beach by scooter. The scooter needs to be left in a purposely built parking lot at the village just before the steep, downhill path leading to the mangroves before the beach. You will possibly notice a few other scooters lined up by a wall, belonging to the guests at Sin Htauk Beach Bungalows and you can leave yours adjacent to theirs. We wondered whether we would find it whole the following day, but we worried unnecessarily. We understand that the parents of the owner live next to the parking lot, and keep a watchful eye on the properties.
A short steep hill leads down to the mangroves through which a 1-2km path eventually leads to the gorgeous beach. The path is full of water during high tide (which was pretty much happening during our walk), to the extent that we were walking waist deep in warm water during parts of the trek. Be sure to carry all your items in a waterproof bag. It’s also a good idea to remove your shoes before getting into the water, even though walking barefoot on the muddy, soily path is not pleasant at all!
Soaking wet, we arrived at the main reception of Sin Htauk Bungalows where our hosts were expecting us. Once again, be sure to book your accommodation beforehand! Our (pre-booked) bungalow was the only unoccupied one!
Sin Htauk beach was lovely with its vast expanse, but we enjoyed Tha Yuan (Violin Beach) even more. A quick trek across some jungle brought us to one end of Tha Yuan just in time for a long sunset walk across the white sand packed with largish crabs. We were the only people on the beach, except for a fisherman or two, and a dozen crabs, and it truly felt a lot like a private paradise! We only wished we had more time to spare in order to enjoy the beaches as well as the beach cabin, which was far more comfortable than we expected.
We woke up early the next day and walked back to our bike. Low tide meant that we didn’t have to wade through deep waters; it was a more comfortable, but a less adventurous walk! We made our way straight to Grandfather beach but stopped at Nyau Pyin fishing village on the way.
There were SO many fish left drying on every flat surface in every part of the village and an extreme fishy smell, which we didn’t mind at all, though I guess some people might call it a stench. The beach in front of the village, was more of a fishing beach with scores of fishing boats and lots of fish being unloaded off them. We really recommend you stop here to get a glimpse into local fishing village life!
Grandfather beach itself is a spectacular crescent-shaped beach which was the most commercial of the lot, in that there were shacks selling food, fruit and souvenirs and groups of what we assumed were package tourists. After a short walk along the water, we headed off to spend some more time in the village and started our way back to Dawei with a stop at Tizit Beach.
We would have loved to go up to the Golden Rock (not to be confused with the more famous Golden Rock at Kyaiktiyo further north) and take in the view of Grandfather beach, but sadly we felt that our scooter was not up to the very steep incline. If you’re riding a better scooter, do go up though, the view is said to be phenomenal!
Tizit beach was very much a local ‘fishing’ beach with lots of fisherman and small kids carrying fish, hanging out on the beach. You need to cross a small plain of sand to get there, which can be a little tricky on the bike. The very charming beach is worth going to though and you should definitely put it on your list of beaches in Dawei.
Visiting the Dawei Peninsula without a bike
You will not get very far without your own set of wheels, but visiting some of the beaches in Dawei is possible by either taking a tour, some of which are offered by Dawei Panorama, or by trying to figure out the local minibus system, which includes stops on the main road on the Dawei Peninsula. You would then need to get to the actual beaches which can be far off from the main road and not necessarily within walking distance.
Biking around the Dawei Peninsula and the beaches in Dawei, was one of our favourite experiences in Myanmar, second only to sailing the Mergui Archipelago. If you’re looking for a slice of unexplored Myanmar, head over to the Dawei Peninsula!