Sandoway Resort
Your chariot (circa 1923) awaitsWe were met at the Thandwe airport by the vehicle pictured at the left, an honest to goodness working bus dating from 1923. For all we know, Somerset Maugham could have ridden in it! It was a loud and breezy ride to the resort, as the windows were missing from the bus, and clearly so was the muffler. The bus itself is not a simple curiosity piece; hundreds of these are still in use in the Myanmar mass transit system in cities such as Yangon and Mandalay. They are held together by spit and glue, and all of the parts have to be fabricated by hand--where there is a will, there is a way.

The entrance to the Sandoway ResortThe walkway to the reception areaTo the left is the beautiful entrance to the Sandoway resort, an avenue of carefully manicured shrubs and plants opening onto a teak entry hall. The Sandoway distinguishes itself by its elegance and simplicity of design. As you can see from the photo  to the right, the entryway is constructed in traditional fashion, with teak beams supporting the traditional thatched roof. Along the center of the top beams is a textile runner that gives a more "finished" look to the entryway, while the sides are lined with potted plants. At the end of this entrance hall is the reception area.

The bar at the SandowayIndoor dining and lounge areaFrom the reception area one walks down a shorter hallway similar to the entryway pictured above. This takes you to the lounge area. The photo to the left shows the bar area (in the center of the photo) with its distinctive tiger bench. The room has the same white linen textile suspended from the ceiling, and in the glass cases are memorabilia from Ngapali and the surrounding area. In the center of the room is a traditional Burmese fishing craft, filled with carvings of cats. Beyond the boat is a lounge and indoor dining area. On the walls are historic photographs of Yangon, Bagan, and Mandalay.

Outdoor dining and boardwalk areaThe beach from the boardwalkAmenities notwithstanding, the real reason for coming to Ngapali is to enjoy the beautiful beaches and the crystal clear aquamarine waters of the Bay of Bengal. The photo to the right completes our tour of the basic common facilities of the Sandoway, showing the outdoor dining area and the boardwalk with the teak deck chairs facing the water. The photo to the right is shot from slightly further down the walkway and shows the beautiful beach area. As this is the only major resort at this end of the bay, it is a quiet and peaceful place to get some sun and catch up on your reading.

Our bungalow The accommodations at the Sandoway Resort are all private bungalows. To the left is a photo of the bungalow in which we stayed. They are two storey dwellings, with a small living room and bath on the first floor, fronted by a deck facing the water. The upper story is a loft with a king-size bed and a small landing looking out toward the Bay of Bengal. By clicking on the arrow at the lower left of the photo below you can take a guided slide show tour of the bungalow. Our impression of the accommodations was mixed. On one hand they are absolutely beautiful, and the interior layout is stunning. However, they have no air-conditioning and, even worse, almost no cross ventilation. In the hot season (we were there in March) they are absolutely stifling during the day. There is an evening breeze, but to open the doors and windows too close to sunset is to invite hordes of mosquitoes. It was a beautiful place to see, but rather uncomfortable. to live in. We were told that the designer was an award-winning architect. I can only surmise his other award-winning designs were saunas. It might be a different story when the weather is cooler. I hope so, because it was a gorgeous bungalow.

Click on the Bungalow for a tour

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