Laid Back in Ngwesaung

The thing with travel is that the more you do, the more you realize there is to see.  We came to understand this through our previous stints abroad—both for work and pleasure—and really, it’s what brought us to take this journey in the first place. In the six weeks since we left New York City, we have taken in Instagram worthy views, experienced environmental phenomena out of a Netflix nature documentary, and eaten all types of cuisine, some in unexpected places from mouthwatering Mexican in Australia to modern Mediterranean in Thailand. We are truly grateful for all that we’ve been able to do, especially our favorite pastime of catching up with old friends who’ve settled throughout Asia and the Southern Hemi, and although barely into our yearlong trip, it’s pretty incredible what we’ve already done (thanks to Martin’s late nights spent planning). 

But six weeks in, we were also very much delighted to take a few days’ rest in Ngwesaung, Myanmar, where we didn’t do much but lay in the blistering sun, take long walks with our toes in the sand, and drink water from coconuts cut down from the swaying palms. Admittedly, we had some initial guilt about the extravagance of doing literally nothing for four days (Isn’t there a pagoda we should visit? Shouldn’t we check out one of the fishing villages?), but we soon moved past feeling shame as we settled into the laid-back lifestyle of Ngwesaung. 

About 245 KM from Yangon—or six hours by bumpy bus—, Ngwesaung is located on the Bay of Bengal on the west coast of Myanmar and boasts some of the most panoramic sunsets we’ve ever seen. The area’s expansive beach has plenty of room for privacy amidst the bustling “highway” of motorbikes, bicycles and galloping horses that zoom past on the sand all day long. Each morning, little cafes pop up near the water with small plastic chairs and umbrellas, perfect for a late afternoon beer or fresh fruit juice (or some grilled fish, if you’re brave), and within a quick walk or short motorbike ride, there are many open-air eateries, our favorites being HOME Thai and Ume Restaurant with its nightly fire dance.

As we were beginning our trip, a former colleague warned Trey of the perils of fast-paced travel, especially the tendencies of Americans to “try to see it all”. We laughed off this counsel because the pace of our travel plans felt manageable, if not slow, at least on paper (or should we say, Excel), but we soon realized that our American optimism, “can-do” spirit, and let’s be honest, the typical lack of vacation days that breeds a fear of losing out, had us ready for this quiet beach break. Ngwesaung, which truly felt far away, taught us to slow down and let it all soak in as we continue on our journey and make plans for the rest of the year ahead.