ALTHOUGH it’s not renowned as a beach destination, Burmese beaches are actually quite beautiful and culturally interesting to visit.
I don’t make a habit of visiting beaches but during a recent trip to Yangon with a weekend free I ventured out to Chaungtha to see why Yangonians head here for their holidays.
Here are five things I didn’t know you could do on a Burmese beach.
1. Ride a horse
Horse riding is a popular past time on Burmese beaches. Come mid afternoon horses can be spotted at all popular beach spots, carrying young children, teenagers and adults out for a few minutes of fun. The horse owners even paint some of them to look like zebras.
2. Cycle a bike
Bicycles are also popular along the beaches. Those renting them even apply some sort of oil or rust proof solution to the chains and other mechanics throughout the day to counter the effects of the salt.
3. Rent a tube
Inner tubes and inflatable boats line the beach shores in Burma. The boats are particularly popular with adults with small children, while older children and teenagers love the tubes. As most people don’t swim so strongly they are a safe way of negotiating the waves.
Tubes are a popular past time on Burmese beaches. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com
4. Buy some fish
Women and children with prawns on sticks and grilled fish regularly wander the sands plying their wares. The best way to enjoy this is usually with some local beer. Small groups of people can often be seen enjoying small seafood feasts on the sand.
5. Visit a pagoda
Burma, also known as Myanmar, is of course a Buddhist country and just because you’re at the sea doesn’t mean you escape from the endless number of pagodas. The shores along Chaungtha are liberally sprinkled with pagodas so you can get some prayer time in between swims. These form a rather striking backdrop to the sands and sea.