Burma, Myanmar. Ngapali. Possibly one of the most beautiful beaches in Southeast Asia – miles long, white sands, here and there soft rocks in the shore, a dense palm forest and a sea in any existing shade of blue. A gentle light in the morning and evening, a hard sun during the day that always seems to be at its zenith. At night the fishermen at sea.
Life on this beach seems to have followed this rhythm for many generations: the fishermen go out late in the evening, lure their catch with lights on their small boats, visible in the dark at the horizon, and return to their village at dawn. Then the tiny fishes lie all day in the zenith sun on nets which blue correspond with the sea. In the evening: harvest of the dried animals, gatherings in the huts, children play and run at the beach, repairs on the boat or the nets.
Today, tourists in skimpy bikinis and tight swimming trunks with large cameras crop up in this scenery – gazing at the villagers while the villagers are astonished by the strangers. They come from resorts built just north of the village along the beautiful beach. They are tall, tanned, well-fed from the all-inclusive. The nearby airport was expanded for their arrival. Contrasts arise the colors of Ngapali are unable to produce.
It might be called development and perhaps the fishermen’s families also benefit from the strangers. Nevertheless, this jewel is also threatened by tourism through waste, water pollution and, last but not least, the loss of an authentic identity.
Ngapali has possibly one of the most beautiful beaches in Southeast Asia – to see it, it might be better to never visit it.