Scenes from Ngapali Beach and Village

April 17, 2014

___PuttingBoat2Sea_smallThe week is winding down here. Today’s my last full day in Ngapali, and then it’s a short 30 minute plane flight up the coast of the Bay of Bengal to Sittwe where it’s back into the fray of piecing together our operations after the March 26th and 27th riots. I’m feeling like I’ve had enough of Ngapali. Remember I said that and tell me, “I told you so,” when I’m writing about needing another break shortly after I return to Sittwe. I understand the reality of the situation that I face, but I was sent here to lead a humanitarian operation and I want to get back to it. Whether the Myanmar government cooperates and provides us with the travel authorizations, the security and the guarantees to deliver our humanitarian aid is a whole other issue.

Yesterday the air was not as thick and humid as it’s been these past few weeks. It’s the middle of the hot season and the heat is truly unbearable most of the time. The monsoons are on their way. The dense humidity and searing heat are a foreshadowing of the drenching rains that usually arrive in May or June. Rakhine State is the wettest region in Myanmar, receiving over 200 inches of rain during the monsoon season. I don’t look forward to it. My one international work colleague is from Puget Sound, Washington, so she says she’s ready for it. I’m curious to see how a Northwest coaster deals with the rains. Having experienced the monsoons in other locations in Asia I know what’s coming – pounding deluges and seemingly endless grey days, one after another, after another.

But yesterday was different. It was mild, relatively speaking. I took the opportunity for a short bike ride with my camera strung over my shoulder to visit the village down the road. Quite a contrast from the hotel I stayed at for two days and even a contrast to the more humble abode I now reside in. Around sunset I strolled along the beach and took more photos. Ngapali is soon a time of the past; Sittwe awaits.

Enough said. I hope you enjoy.

Billboards and advertisements all over Myanmar always show these incredibly white models. I’ve never seen so many white Asians in my life. Yet everyone around me is brown.  Hmmmm……


Just down the road from the resorts lies a dusty town with a crumbled infrastructure.


Fish dry in the sun… and dust.


With most people living in hovels.


But some still have satellite TV.


At the edge of the village, just beyond a few huge shade trees overhanging the road…


I rode around a bend in the road and discovered a cove filled with fishing boats and a huge Buddha statue on a hillside overlooking the bay.

Port and Buddha


It was beautiful. But at closer examination I realized the bay and beach were trashed, polluted.


Garbage was strewn everywhere along the coastline.


There were men collecting shellfish. It reminded me to not order shellfish at the local restaurant.



On my way back to the hotel I stopped and observed some children playing on steps leading to a Buddhist temple.


They wanted me to take their picture. I have a digital Polaroid camera, so I snapped an individual shot of each of them and printed them a picture. They ran off totally elated.


Back at the tourist side of town, I strolled the mostly clean and pristine beaches and took more pictures as the sun set.












All content copyrighted © Stephen Tavella


8 thoughts on “Scenes from Ngapali Beach and Village

  1. Loved this post Steve, especially the little young faces. When you talked about the endless gray days ahead, it reminded me of the endless winter we had here in New England. I’m glad you had a chance to recharge. Your jobs sounds frustrating and rather dangerous!! Stay safe! Cathy

    • Thanks, Cathy! I heard about the endless snow this past winter. My family and friends were sending pictures. In the midst of this heat I’m debating which I’d prefer. They say the grass is always greener…

      Hope you and Chuck are well! Please give him my best.

  2. I heard of its,but never see it with my own eyes.
    You are the lucky man to see and learn the real situation,dark side in Burma.

  3. Garbage on that beach notwithstanding, what an idyllic place–all these beaches and that gorgeous resort! And those adorable children, at the temple and on the sand. Just shows you within a few hundred miles you can have heaven juxtaposed with hell. Philosophically, it’s amazing to contemplate. Even that town nearby with the hovels looks like a decent place to grow up – near the ocean, sleepy, overhanging trees. Poor, yes but apparently peaceful. Steven, you’ll never forget this place. Your photographs are fantastic.

    • The contrasts are ever-present, Schu. Thanks for the compliments on my photography. I’m mostly shooting with a Nikon D3100 SLR, using various lenses. See my equipment link on my menu for details.

      Miss you, brother!

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