Photo: Maungmakan beach.

Maungmakan and surrounding beaches

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The forested hills of the scenic Dawei Peninsula separate Dawei town and its eponymously named river from the Andaman Sea and coast. From Maungmakan, a weekend picnic and bathing spot highly popular with the locals, a string of superb and largely untouched sandy beaches stretch north and south. If someone was making a movie set in 1970s Phuket before the resorts and tourists arrived, this would be a shoe-in for location.

The one sealed access road departs from the bridge just north of Dawei town and winds up and over the hills to reach the coast at Maungmakan village and beach, 12 kilometres distant. This is where, for now, you’ll fine the only signs of development if you can call the ubiquitous tea shops, beer stations and bamboo seafood restaurants development, though there is also one half-decent beach resort and even a Thai-style garden guesthouse — with more under construction as of early 2016.

Off for today's catch. Photo taken in or around Maungmakan and surrounding beaches, Dawei, Burma_myanmar by Mark Ord.

Off for today's catch. Photo: Mark Ord

Snack vendors and inner-tube renters dot this section of beach while to the south lies a small fishing village and above stretches the casuarina-lined sand of north Maungmakan, interrupted only by the occasional longtail pulled up on the beach.

At the far northern end, a rocky outcrop separates the beach from less popular and less accessible beaches further up the coast, including the spectacular white sands of Nabule Beach around 15 kilometres north. In the other direction, a reasonable, partially sealed track follows the coast south to more bays and fishing villages. The first rocky headland south also holds a small pagoda, Myaw Yit, reached by a footbridge connecting it to the mainland.

Beach snack anyone? Photo taken in or around Maungmakan and surrounding beaches, Dawei, Burma_myanmar by Mark Ord.

Beach snack anyone? Photo: Mark Ord

From the Maungmakan beach area, head back to the village and take a right turn on what passes for the main road. Continuing south, you’ll get glimpses of the pagoda and rocky outcrop from time to time, so just look out for a dirt track on the right. This takes you a kilometre or so past a tiny but very picturesque fishing village to a small carpark for the pagoda.

The small pagoda, popular with local visitors, contains the usual collection of nat shrines and chedis and offers some fine sea views as well as ones back across the bay to Maungmakan. For more great views and excellent seafood dishes there’s a small restaurant on stilts right at the land end of the bridge. Back past the fishing village, which does have a couple of very friendly tea shops, turn right again and a short hop will find you at the stunning wide bay of San Maria.

By the beach grazing. Photo taken in or around Maungmakan and surrounding beaches, Dawei, Burma_myanmar by Mark Ord.

By the beach grazing. Photo: Mark Ord

The shallow bay bordered by casuarina trees, behind which lie forested hills, can get a bit rocky and muddy at low tide but when the sea’s in is truly spectacular. When we visited it was totally deserted. The track continues south to more distant bays, culminating in Dawei Point at the southern tip of the peninsula. The track gets rough, so don’t bite of more than you can chew if you’re on a rental bike.

Fishing fleet at the ready. Photo taken in or around Maungmakan and surrounding beaches, Dawei, Burma_myanmar by Mark Ord.

Fishing fleet at the ready. Photo: Mark Ord

Tuk tuks from Dawei will take you as far as the pagoda and San Maria, but for a day tour of the area you could probably do worse than take Go-SouthernMyanmar’s Explore Dawei Peninsula day tour. We didn’t do a tour but rather explored by ourselves on a hire bike. The area is home to very friendly locals, picturesque fishing villages and gorgeous untouched beaches. We wonder what it’s going to be like in 10 years’ time.

Maungmakan and surrounding beaches
12km from Dawei

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Location map for Maungmakan and surrounding beaches

Popular attractions in Dawei

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Dawei.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda
 Read up on where to eat on Dawei.
 Check out our listings of other things to do in and around Dawei.
 Read up on how to get to Dawei.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Dawei? Please read this.
 Browse tours in Burma Myanmar with Tourradar.

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