Dawei is situated in the southern part of Myanmar. In January 2016 the route from Mawlamyine to Dawei was serviced by a standard 12 meter bus with a long history, but the approximately 310 km is travelled in only 8,5 hours. At this time the bus came from Yangon and stopped in Mawlamyine around 1800 and left again at 1830, it arrived in Dawei just after 0300 in the morning. As always you will find taxi drives – almost fighting over the passengers – ready to get you the last mile.
There is not many attractions in the city it self. But the city has its charm. It seems less noisy than other cities in Myanmar, and one thing that makes it stand out is the presence of garbage bins on the side walks. Some places it’s just a bamboo basket and other a yellow iron contraption. The effect of these baskets is significant, there is much less plastic floating in the streets.
When you walk the streets of Dawei you will certainly create some attention, and you don’t meet that many foreigners. Just smile, wave back and say Mingalabar. You will be rewarded with a lot of happy faces along your route and sometimes someone wants to chat a little with you.
In the centre of Dawei you find a shopping centre or department store. It’s like taking a trip 30-40 years back in time to enter due to an old fashioned interior design. At the roof of the store you find a small cafeteria which actually serves good coffee at fair prices. While you drink your coffee – or other refreshment – you can enjoy a view of the city.
You can find a rather big pagoda in the city, it’s named Shwe Taung Zar Paugoda, and you find the Lawkamaryazain Buddha statue near by.
And at Nyaung Pin Gyi Road you’ll find a rather big standing Buddha statue. When you have seen the Buddha you can follow Nyaung Pin Gyi Road towards west, and when you meet the river you’ll find some Beer stations where you can sit at the river bank for a refreshment.
If you follow Seik Kan Thar road north you can find places where fishermen land and sort their catch. It’s interesting to see that they are not only catching one or two species of fish, but several. When I was looking at the sorting and packaging of the fish I was approached by a man who wanted me to see how they sorted craps. So I followed him into a house where a couple of guys were sorting craps One sorted them according to size, the other used a ordinary lamp to look through the shell – probably to check whether they had eggs.
According to Lonely Planet Dawei is renowned for its beaches, especially Maungmagan Beach is mentioned. Maungmagan is precisely where all the Burmese from the area is going to the beach.
The large amounts of people gives support for quite a few restaurants at the beach. They are lined up on a row along the coast dirt road, between the restaurants and the beach cars will park. The beach itself is a rather steep stretch of sand towards the sea. Unfortunately there is no trash cans on the beach, so the Burmese visitors just litter their bottles, bags, sandals, left overs etc. on the beach and in the water. This makes a visit less pleasant.
Some of the restaurants is actually good and serve sea-food dishes and barbecues fish. Prices are a bit high, as it tends to be places like this.
If you are looking for a less annoying experience you should go the extra 10 km to San Maria Bay, south of Maungmagan.
The last approximately 5 km is on a rather poor road, but we could get a Thoun Bein driver to go there with no objections, and we saw ordinary cars on this part of the road as well. At San Maria Bay you find a small pagoda and monastery on it’s own island, the island is reach by a concrete bridge.
500 meters before you reach the pagoda you find a nice deserted beach at the left side of the road. The sand is flat and even, in the water you’ll find few rocks, nothing to worry about. You do not need to take food or water with you as the stalls at the road side or at the pagoda can supply it.