Finding the perfect Beach Bungalow near Dawei
We had spent 2+ weeks traveling around Myanmar and now had less then 1 week left. Mostly good times but the travels thus far were not exactly relaxing. We needed to relax. On a beach.
- getting to them was said to be a challenge due to distance and bad roads
- only two were rumored to have accommodation
We had our motorbike, so day-tripping to the beaches was an option. But like I said, we wanted to relax. Maybe wake up at a beach.
There was a flyer for Sin Htauk Beach Bungalows at our hotel in Dawei (Shwe Maung Than Hotel). Sin Htauk was one of the two beach bungalow places we had heard about (the other being Paradise Beach bungalows, further south). We talked to some other backpackers who advised us that email was the best way to get ahold of Sin Htauk.
A few hours after we sent Sin Htauk an inquiry we got an email back. We wanted to stay there for two nights if possible. They said they had a “comfort” bungalow available. Great, we’ll take it. We also asked them about the road to the bungalows. which we’ve read were not the best or safest. They said the road was fine if you were a competent driver.
We told Shwe Maung Than Hotel that we would be leaving the next morning and coming back in a few days for one last night. Shwe Maung agreed to let us leave a bag while we were gone, so we packed everything we needed in one backpack to bring with us.
The basic directions were: motorbike south for a couple of hours. Turn right at the “Sin Htauk Beach” sign. Follow the road and drive slow (as this is the rough section). Arrive at mangroves. Park the bike and walk the rest of the way to the beach.
Getting to Sin Htauk Beach
We rented our motorbike from Focus rental service down the street from our hotel as they were a little cheaper then the hotel. The nice woman there gave us coffee while we talked. We picked out a semi-manual bike, (you change gears manually but without a clutch). Very easy.
We filled up on petrol on the way out of Dawei and cruised south. The drive was nice and the road was very good. Still fairly early in the morning, it was cool out as we passed through villages and farm lands. Forests of palm trees blew by and we kept going, not stopping for over an hour. Finally we pulled over to rest and had some tea at a little roadside place.
Back on the bike and through one more village, we came to the turn off for Sin Htauk, marked by a sign on the road.
The dirt road
We headed down the road. It became a little hilly with some loose dirt and rocks. On these steep downhills it was especially bad, any braking would send the bike into skids. Lena had to get off a couple of times on these hills while I biked them myself. I kept my bike in 1st or 2nd gear going down the hills so I didn’t have to use the brakes and then would gun it going up. Besides the hills, the road was in good shape.
As we got closer to the mangroves we met 4 backpackers on motrobikes heading back the way we came. They were staying at Sin Htauk and were going to find beer to bring back (as the beer at Sin Htauk was too expensive). They told us to that the tide was out, making it possible to just ride through the mangroves. No reason to leave the motorbike and walk.
A few minutes later we were at the spot where you would normally park your motorbike. On top of a hill, the path to Sin Htauk was down the steep path into the mangroves. A small group of local teenagers were there on their motorbikes. Though communication was hard, they tell us to leave our motorbike here and walk. We park the bike to get ready to walk. Then the kids tell us to just ride our motorbike and they all zoom down the hill and away.
Ok, so we will drive the motorbike. Lena got off the bike and let me take it down the hill solo. A very steep paved narrow road. We follow this path to the mangroves. Through deep sand and puddles, the bike actually got flooded and went dead. It took a few tries but we got it running again and kept going all the way to the beach where we parked it.
We walked over past the bungalows to the main building where the restaurant is located and checked in. Other travelers lounged around the restaurant which was on the beach. Next to the restaurant is a shady chill area with hammocks and tables.
There were 10 “comfort” bungalows which are larger bungalows with their own bathroom. Also 2 cheaper bungalows that used shared bathrooms. We were shown ours.
Though in the back row of bungalows it had a nice view and was perfect. A front porch with two bamboo chairs and a table. A large bed with a mosquito net. And a nice bathroom and shower with a stone floor.
We spent the the next few days doing what you do at a beach… relaxing, swimming, reading and playing cards. We walked to the next beach south, only a 10 minute walk on a trail with noisy moneys in the trees. A much larger beach compared to the cove that is Sin Htauk.
The following day we took the same walk but kept going all the way to the lagoon, about an hour walk. On the other side of the channel where the ocean flows into the lagoon is Grandfather beach, a beach rumored to be one of these nicest around. No way to get to it from here unless you swim across the channel, which even at low tide didn’t look like a good idea.
We also noticed that sin Htauk offers a snorkeling trip. We didn’t know about it until we saw a group of people pile into a boat and jet off. We later saw this sign:
The restaurant was good. You can choose the set meal which changes day to day or can order various fried rice or fried noodles dishes. Lunch and Dinner cost 4,000 each. Breakfast was 1,500 each. Beers were 2,500 each. Water is 500 a bottle. We had french toast one morning. A whole fried fish for lunch one day. And coffee and tea were always available.
sin htauk beach, the bad
Sin Htauk turned out to be a highlight of our trip to Myanmar so we have hardly anything negative to say about the place. Our main complaint would be the generators behind the bungalows that fire up for a few hours every evening pumping exhaust into the bungalow. What can you do though? Power is needed.
The prices for food and drinks are obviously more expensive then the normal Burmeset towns. Being so isolated means you rely on them for everything. I thought the food was a good value but in hindsight we wished we brought more snacks with us (and maybe a bottle of whiskey).
We noticed that there seemed to be a high demand for sleeping space. While we were there, 4 tents appeared in front of the restaurant because of overbooking issues. We actually asked to stay an extra night but couldn’t do to the bungalow being booked. So its definitely a good idea to book well ahead with this place.
Now that we had gotten here ourselves we felt confident about the ride home. What we didn’t think about was the tide, now that our bike was here on the beach. After check out at 11am, the tide was too far in to ride them back the same way was came. The guy who worked there explained there was another way to get back, bypassing the mangroves. From the normal trail back, you take a left fork and follow that. Its not nearly as sandy this way but there are a few challenging hills.
We cruised back to Dawei and civilizatin feeling content. We had got our beach time in. And now it was time to leave Myanmar. Tomorrow we would take a taxi to the border and make our way back to Bangkok.
TOTAL COSTS for two:
- 2,600- Breakfast in Dawei: cappuccino x2, chocolate cake, chicken bake
- 800- large water, tea x2, sponge cookie
- 40,000- beach bungalow rental
- 8,000- lunch: rice/squid/veggies, noodle/squid
- 1,500- large water, coffee x2
- 8,000- dinner: rice, veggies, egg and veggies
- 7,500- Large beer x3
75, 400 Kyat TOTAL
- 40,000- beach bungalow rental
- 4,500- breakfast: french toast, coffee x3
- 8,500- lunch: fried fish/veggies/rice, water x1
- 8,000- dinner: squid/rice/veggies
- 2,500- beer x5
69,500 Kyat TOTAL