Welcome to the Virgin Island of Manaung, a Place of Tourist Attraction

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Myanmar abounds in places of scenic beauty. In the far north, there are snow-capped mountains. Visitors—both local travellers and tourists—can come to enjoy the beautiful landscapes and wonderful sea sides in all three seasons—the hot season, the rainy season and the cold season. In the south and southwest, there are long coastal areas, which can attract tourists from around the world. The eastern and northern borders of Myanmar are lined with mountains and forests, which serve as natural barricades. As Myanmar is rich in natural resources and as it possesses cultural heritage, tourists are interested in visiting Myanmar.
The Rakhine coastal areas and Taninthayi coastal areas have beautiful and clean beaches. What makes the tourists fascinated with Myanmar’s coasts is that the islands are not created floating islands — they are natural islands with scenic beauty. The tourists coming to the Taninthayi archipelagoes can not only enjoy the beauty and freshness of the islands and beaches but also observe the lifestyle of the Salon ethnic people, who are the greatest divers; they can stay under the water for almost an hour without the aid of the oxygen cylinders.
In Rakhine State, visitors can come to the beach known as Ngapali, which is said to have been named after Napoli in Italy. Nonetheless, Ngapali Beach has been visited by both local travellers and tourists for much more than half a century, and thus, the quality of the beach cannot be comparable to the virgin island in Manaung. Rakhine State is contacted with the Ayeyawady Region, which is again linked to the City of Yangon. This strategic geographical location of Rakhine makes it accessible by motor road. As known to all, most travellers and tourists are using the motorway to reach Rakhine State.
Manaung Island in Rakhine State has an area of 202.05 square miles whereas the town Manaung has an area of 0.75 square miles only with Rakhines, Bamars and Chins numbering more than 68,000 in toto being spread over five wards and 36 village-tracts constituted with 136 villages. When compared to the big city of Yangon, Manaung is a very small island town; nevertheless, Manaung is clean, fresh and beautiful in addition to having an abundant supply of paddy and seafood. The mountains and forests in Manaung have wild animals and birds, surrounding the island besides the beach, coral reefs and palm trees. There are also plantations where seasonal crops are cultivated. In the morning, visitors will be greeted by the sun rising above the blue sea, and in the evening, they can watch the sun sinking to the western horizon. Guests will be relaxed by the scenic beauty of the sea, having escaped from the congested cities. Rest and recreation in a clean, fresh environment will create peace of mind. Therefore, the readers are recommended to visit the virgin island of Manaung to enjoy the vacation.
There are guesthouses and hotels on the island, which are overlooking the woods, the hillocks, the golden paddy fields, the coral reefs and the neighbouring islands in the sea. The Water Festival held in 2021 attracted travellers and tourists, and this has created job opportunities for the local people and enabled the local businesses to earn a good income. To arrive at the Island of Manaung, one can use two routes. The first route is taking a flight from Yangon to Kyaukphyu, from which one can proceed to Layhtaung Port via the coach arranged by the hotel he will be staying at. From there, he can proceed to the island, riding in a speed boat. The second route is taking a bus or riding in one’s own car from Yangon to Taungup. Then, staying overnight at the port of Taungup, one can proceed the next morning to Manaung Island, riding in a speed boat. November is included in the open season when people go round for recreation and relaxation. To facilitate the visitors, hotels and guesthouses on the island are offering one-stop services. The guests wishing to travel to Manaung can use the online booking services to buy the package tour tickets.
The guests can circumambulate the island to enjoy the scenic beauty of the island. Most travellers would visit the coral reefs at the shore of Pyinkauk village, watching fish and prawns under the sea. They would also drop in at Letphet Island Lighthouse as well as pay a visit to Thaik island and Ye island near Manaung Island.
The writer of this article has interviewed General Manager U Tun Lin Auk of Manaung Kan Chay Hotel. When asked about the general situation of the island and the travellers, he said, “True to its name, the virgin island started to receive guests only last year. This is the second season. The guests are seen happy, enjoying the scenic beauty of the sea from sunrise to sunset. They also have a good chance to observe the cultural mores and the lifestyle of the local Rakhine people. Last year’s Water Festival was thronged with guests and local people, who threw the water onto one another at the pandals and on the beach. The fresh seafood was cooked by the seasoned chefs, and local cuisines were prepared by the Rakhine chefs, who served the guests themselves. In the days under the rule of the British colonialists, there were foreigners who came to rest and recreate. Mount Taungni and Mount Nagabwet were both famous for having special characteristics. A double room costs K60,000 with a complimentary breakfast. Those who dare not swim at the seaside can swim in the swimming pool at the hotel. There is a bar, too. Tourists and travellers can breathe in the fresh air.”
The current government is encouraging the tourism industry for the latter to flourish. Taking this golden opportunity, hoteliers are promoting their businesses, creating more attractive tour packages for new destinations, and the newest one is the tour of the virgin island in Rakhine State.

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