Chaungtha Beach

Last weekend Dave and I had a three day weekend and since we don’t have too much time left in Myanmar we thought we would take advantage of our time and head for the beach.

The beach is only 115 miles but it takes 6-8 hours to get there because of the terrifying, winding / I thought I was going to die roads. We took an overnight bus that left at 9:30pm and arrived at 3:30/4am ish in the morning. Thankfully the resort we stayed at let us check in at 4 in the morning and didn’t charge us for an extra night. That is what I call an extra free night! =)

The beach is very local and I think we counted a total of 5 foreigners, ourselves included. There were 2 restaurants to pick from (other than our resort) and they were super local too. We ate twice at the same place. I have to say the locals in that area were incredibly kind, helpful and friendly. There was a young couple on our bus ride that spoke excellent English and took us under their wing. They helped us figure out bus details, invited us to their ocean view porch to visit and helped us order a local meal of crabs, rice and veggies. They live in Yangon so we are hoping to get together with them again at some point.

We did arrive at 4am so the first thing we did was zonk out. I think I slept maybe 1 hour (if that) on the bus ride because of crazy roads + rain + they would stop and remove tree branches, etc. I was terrified you guys. So rest was a must!

I woke up and roamed around the area a bit and headed straight to see what the beach was like. The first thing I came across was this nice man who made coconut leaf hats. For $1 how could I say no?!

After breakfast Dave and I rode horses, which I LOVED!!!! I had heard you could do this here and I was super excited that it was a real thing! The cost was only $2 a person for a ride.  The owners seemed to really take care of their horses so that was good to see too.

A funny story - there was this guy on a horse and we could tell he didn’t know what he was doing. He was trotting by us and he said , “This is my first time to ride a horse!!!”  We smiled and told him we hope he enjoyed it but you guys, he was not nice to that horse and the horse knew! That horse took off, ran up on a sand mound, the guy fell off, landed on a fence and flopped over into the sand. The guy was fine and the horse ran away. I’m sure they got the horse eventually but Dave and I didn’t feel too bad for that guy and it was quite entertaining to watch the whole ordeal.

After people watching we walked up and down the whole beach. It was neat to see the local life: from kids playing on the rocks, to soccer matches, to vendors selling crabs and shrimp. 

To be honest, seeing how the local people lived was really humbling for me. So often I have computers and phones and things and these people had very little but were so happy. 

The kids were bursting with excitement and laughter just to slide around on the rocks, play a little game in the sand and just to laugh together. It was pure and simple joy.

It's harder than it looks people! But this picture of Dave cracks me up =)

I also couldn’t figure out what the locals were doing in the water but I figured out they were collecting ‘ocean snails’ to cook and eat. Here I was vacationing and they were working so hard to dig for shells with snails in it. They were hard workers. I was impressed.

They also sold fireworks on the beach and Dave and I went out one night and bought a pack of fireworks. I had tears in my eyes; not because of the fireworks but because we bought them from a dad and his son. They were waiting on the beach and when they saw us they were so excited that we would buy fireworks from them. Dave and the young boy, who was probably 7 or 8, shot the fireworks off together and that little boy was so so excited! We were their first sale of the night and I know they were so thankful for that. I told Dave I wanted to buy a bunch more just to support them.

If I had to sum up this trip I would say it was eye opening and humbling. Seeing how the locals lived put things into perspective for me and I definitely needed that. It’s easy to get consumed with me, me, me. I also thought over and over “I wonder if anyone is living here and sharing the gospel?” and I don’t know you guys. I’m going to have to ask around and see if there are Christians in that area.

Where we stayed: Belle Resort

Dave and I had two on-line options when booking ahead: a super local rattan place with a fan only or this resort. We splurged and booked the resort. It was $75 a night but we did get that free night so I’m saying it was $50 a night. ;)

Now it is rainy season and power is minimal out there so power was only on from 1-3pm daily as well as from 6pm – 3:30am ish. It was cloudy the whole time so it wasn’t too hot. The resort was clean and the staff was incredibly helpful and friendly.

Also, bunnies! They had four rabbits on the premises and I named them: Peter, Paul, Jack and Jill. =)

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