There are three main beaches, all facing due West with potentially fantastic sunsets over the Bay of Bengal. The furthest North, some three miles from the airport on a dirt road is a wonderful sandy beach but very, very remote and is the setting for the Amara Ocean Resort but other hotels are planned.
Just South of the airport is the beach where Amazing Ngapali Resort is situated. Whilst the hotel gets very good reviews, TA being actively promoted to guests by the management, the reviews constantly comment on the lack of restaurants locally with some regretting they did not stay at the main beach with its wide choice of restaurants. Two other hotels are under construction near Amazing ,including a super luxury Eden Resort and no doubt other restaurants will open up soon. The beach is sandy with some rocky outcrops and there is a good view of the aircraft approaching the airport but there is no noise pollution.
Between this beach and Ngapali Beach is the golf course and Linthar village where you will find Yoma Cherry Lodge and Crescent Cove Resort but their beaches are for use of the local fishermen, not for lounging on!
The main Ngapali Beach is a three km crescent shaped beach which is sandy and gently sloping with only a few rocky outcrops-the better sand quality is in the Northern and Central part but does get a bit muddy to the South towards Pleasant View resort and Diamond Ngapali.
Starting from the North the beach is sandy and rock free in front of Silver Beach and BayView hotels. The next two hotels, Lin Thar Oo and Memento Resort have some rocky outcrops and then as the back road joins the beach there is a half built building backing onto the road which has recently been partially converted and opened as the Arakan Land Resort. There are then 8 local beach fish restaurants just before Thande Beach hotel.
The Central part of the beach is dominated by four luxury hotels either side of the Mermaid statue and they have the best rock free beach frontage. After Thande the four are the new Jade Marina Resort ,then Aureum Resort then the derelict (soon to be redeveloped) Ngapali Beach hotel opposite the mermaid and then the new Ngapali Bay Villas and finally Sandoway.
The further South you go the more the tree line shades the morning sun and the further down the beach the loungers are dragged.
After Sandoway comes Amata, the largest on the beach then the budget Laguna Lodge followed by the private area owned by a German lady who has donated a library and school to the local village.
Finally at the Southern end of Ngapali Beach is the Royal Beach Motel, then more local fish restaurants, Pleasant View Resort and beyond a creek the new Diamond Ngapali hotel. The sand quality is at is poorest at this end of the beach and there can be a strong smell of fish as this where the fishermen pull up their boats and land their early morning catch.
What makes the whole resort so attractive to many is that it is not truly commercialised and many compare it to Thailand some 30 years ago, however it is no longer a backpacker venue and all the new hotels are aimed at the top of the market. There are still rooms to be had for $50 in peak season but for the better hotels expect to pay $225-450.
Detailed reviews can be found here:-
The hotels, starting with most expensive are listed here:
Luxury -Ngapali Bay Villas, Sandoway, Aureum Resort, Amara Ocean Resort and Jade Marina.
Amara, Amazing, Bay View
Silver Beach, Thande, Pleasant View
Yoma Cherry Lodge ,Crescent Cove ad Diamond Ngapali
Lin Thar Oo and Memento.
and finally Laguna Lodge, Royal Beach and Arakan Land Resort.
Do note that Myanmar is a Buddhist country where modesty prevails and, whilst bikinis are fine, thongs and topless is very much frowned upon so if you see someone topless walking along the beach-embarrass them. I have only come across this a few times -generally an Italian poseur who had no respect for local customs and should have known better.
There are beach restaurants owned by local fishermen in two designated beach areas, the souvenir stalls are limited to the gaps between the hotels and the fruit sellers are not allowed within 10m of the hotel loungers so you have to go to them to chose and pay for our fruit. A few of the beach restaurants have massage beds. You will not pestered by hawkers-the only approach you will get whilst walking the beach is from locals enquiring whether you want a boat trip or elephant ride.
There are no nightclubs, no discos, and no motorised motorsports.
Long may it continue.