Wa Ale Resort

In southern Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago, there are almost as many islands in the Andaman Sea as there are clouds skimming across the sky. Jungle-clad hillocks extend in every direction, their sugar-white sands dissolving into waters rich in coral reefs and marine life. The surprise of these stunning islands is that they lie at the very heart of the earth’s most crowded continent, halfway between India and China, yet so few are inhabited, much less troubled by tourism. Wa Ale Island Resort, a low‑impact, high-style resort opened last October within the Lampi Marine National Park, Myanmar’s only marine conservation zone. From the port town of Kawthaung, it’s an exhilarating two-hour speedboat ride to reach Wa Ale’s mangrove bay of milky-blue water. Guests alight at a jetty of pastel‑striped planks salvaged from old fishing boats.

The main pavilion, with its pitched roof of recycled hardwood and pandanus-fringed deck above the caramel sweep of Turtle Beach, is positioned perfectly for sunsets and sea breezes. Wa Ale’s 11 tented villas were custom-made in South Africa then assembled and arranged on the beach against a palimpsest forest of trees crusted in epiphytes and draped with vines. White-bellied sea eagles soar overhead; macaque monkeys caper along the shore. Three treehouses rise into the canopy on tall stilts, their balconies and alfresco bathrooms shaded by a towering banyan. A river café, clad in colorful wooden windows and shutters gathered from more than 100 old Burmese houses, serves hot coffee and cold beers beside a mirrored black stream. The farm to table cuisine, is a fresh and healthy fusion of Southeast Asian and Mediterranean influences. Dine with a view of the Andaman Sea and the island’s tranquil river with the kitchen strives to cook with fresh produce harvested from the island or local farms and serve only sustainably caught seafood from the Archipelago.

Barefoot Luxury Meets Bohemian Chic here at Wa Ale. There are 11 tented beach villas and 3 intimate tree houses, all with spectacular view of the Andaman Sea. The 11 luxury state of the art tents with unobstructed ocean views can accommodate up to 4 guests. Each family sized villa has a king size canopy bed and a sofa that can convert into 2 single beds. Relax in the unique and intimate treetop villas perched in a canopy of trees with a private veranda. The king bed villas have an outdoor shower and can comfortably accommodate 2 guests.

Opening next season for those who are looking for unique private vacation with family and friends, the new Beach House and Beach Bungalows. Children of all ages can stay here whereas the main resort only allows children who are 10 and above.

There will be one Beach House and three Beach Bungalows, located by a 10 minute boat ride from the main resort. This is another spectacular beach around a rock formation neighboring Turtle Beach. Just under one kilometer, this white sand beach has clear, calm waters that are yet another setting for guests to relax, enjoy nature and explore. The large Beach House is an ultra-exclusive property that is very private.

The four bedroom Beach House and three bedroom Beach Bungalows include private butlers and in-house dining. 



A paradise of activities, Wa Ale is an aquatic and jungle wonderland awaiting discovery. In water or on land, guests rarely encounter other humans. The first rate dive center arranges outings to newly discovered local sites and beyond – to North Twin’s manta rays, to whale sharks at Black Rock and the submerged mountaintops of Burma Banks, Myanmar’s most coveted dive site. As you kayak through mangroves on the national park’s Crocodile River, there are only kingfishers for company. On a dawn hike, giant squirrels shake the branches above you and mouse deer bark alarm calls in the undergrowth. Elusive pangolins and civets lurk somewhere in the jungle beyond. Enjoy daily yoga classes and enjoy a private massage in your villa.

From the outset, the owners aimed for their solar‑powered, sustainably built resort to not simply showcase its rare surroundings, but to protect and nurture them. Under the terms of their lease with the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry, 20 per cent of annual net profits and two per cent of room revenues must be spent on conservation and social welfare projects in the Lampi Marine National Park. The Lampi Foundation was created to provide free education and a medical clinic for the 200 or so local villagers and establish a sanctuary on Wa Ale for threatened hawksbill, green and leatherback turtles. (Turtles nest on the beach directly in front of tents; guests can opt for wake-up calls in the night to watch hatchlings scamper into the sea.)