Kanthaya Budget Travel Guide
Kanthaya Beach is a beautiful part of Myanmar, untouched and undiscovered by tourists. The whole beach itself used to be a resort (Kanthaya Beach Hotel and Resort) that was opened in 1995 the golden jubilee of the armed forces . However, the resort did not stay open for long and now all that remains are some small ruins sparsely found between the road and beach. Now it is a wonderful quiet place to relax and chill, where electricity is only available between 6pm and 9pm and Wi-Fi is non-existent. The area is very small, with one road, a few guest houses and restaurants, and between the outstretched white sandy beach is a coconut tree forest where the resort used to be. If you are searching for paradise, this is the place! Although unfortunately this won't be for long, as planning has been given the go ahead for yet another resort.
Kanthaya can be reached either from Yangon or Ngapali. From Ngapali, the bus (which is a large bus and air-con) departs at either 6-7am or 2-3pm for about 10,000KS, arriving in Kanthaya at 11am. The bus (Large air-con bus) from Yangon costs around 13,000KS and takes about 11-12 hours to get there. Unfortunately I don't know what time the bus leaves Yangon, but many guesthouses should be able to book it for you.
Where to Stay
There are four guesthouses located in Kanthaya. I would recommend staying at Shwe Mate Satt... Bungalows, located between the beach and the road next to the large seafood restaurant and opposite the pagoda. For a double fan room, you can expect to pay about 30,000 KS, which is the cheapest price you pay in this area. The rooms are owned by a very friendly guy called Ako. He speaks excellent English and is happy to share his knowledge of the area. The rooms are clean, a fan room, en-suite, breakfast included and in an excellent location.
The second place I recommend is Sakawar Guesthouse, located opposite the Kanthaya Beach Hotel and Resort Sign. Again, the price is 30,000KS for a double room, but I didn't like the atmosphere very much here. The rooms however are very clean, have a fan, en-suite, breakfast included and the location is in the most perfect position! They also serve delicious food at a reasonable price.
Where to Eat
For such a small place, there are surprisingly quite a few places to eat, ranging in different prices. There are cheap local stalls serving up noodles and the seafood restaurant opposite the pagoda serves a fresh fish with vegetables for 1500KS each (extra for rice). Shwe Mate Satt, the restaurant owned by Ako serves probably the most delicious food in the area. Ako lives in the fishing village and has close connections with the fishermen, meaning all the fish he serves is all freshly caught that day! However, with the most delicious and freshest food, also comes a more expensive price. For example, a prawn dish (for 2 people) costs around 10,000 KS.
What to Do
Kanthaya is small, meaning there isn't an awful lot to do here, other than enjoy a beautiful white long sandy beach all to yourself, swim in the incredibly clear and warm sea and enjoyed tottering around in a bikini (or trunks if you're a guy of course!) without a queue of locals asking for your picture or telling you they love you (Like in Ngapali Beach).
If you want to hire out some snorkelling masks, Ako rents them our for 10,000KS for the whole day. For about 30,000 KS you can rent out an entire boat and get taken to Duck island or Monkey island to the North of Kanthaya. We have been told this is a great place to snorkel, although cannot say whether or not we agree as we did not do this.
In the backroads of Kanthaya you can find the many fishing villages nestled behind the coconut trees. Not frequently visited by tourists you will get some stares, but I loved seeing the local life and watching them tending to the stinky tiny fish being dried out on nets. There is also a reservoir which is great for bird-watching - just so long as you can stand smelling the potent fishy smell and getting hassled by swarms of flies! Mdkyno Mountain (which is more like a hill) is also a pleasant walk and at the top provides some beautiful and peaceful views of the area. However, we did not complete this hike and cannot say our own opinion of it! The pathway to the top is located five minutes away from the fishing villages.
You can rent a bicycle from Sakawar Guesthouse, although the price is much steeper than anywhere else in Myanmar at about 5000KS for the whole day. However, still a great way of seeing and exploring the paradise of Kanthaya!