Quick to smile, content in their lives, curious about the outside world and incredibly generous with their time and with their possessions, the people of Ngapali and the neighbouring town of Thandwe have welcomed me and family with a genuine warmth that is hard to find nowadays. In a world where the saying “nothing is for free” is so usually true, here it is not the case. There is no catch when they stop to talk to you, we have not been asked once whether we want to buy something and we have been encouraged to be part of their daily lives with them wanting nothing but our company in return.
We are staying in one of the few budget accommodation places here in Ngapali called Power Guest House. Situated only 2 minutes walk from what is known as the local beach, it is run by a charming family who go out of their way to accommodate their guests. There are a range of rooms with either fan or air conditioning to suit your budget and bikes to rent if you want to explore the local fishing villages and surrounding beaches. They also have a great little garden restaurant attached which produces consistently stunning food - both visually and taste wise! - and an extensive cocktail menu to round of your day perfectly.
And there is plenty to do apart from sitting on the beach while you are here. The local markets sell handicrafts including beautifully woven baskets and sarongs, Ngapali Water Sports run scuba diving trips and river cruises, you can visit the nearby mountain range for stunning views and temple visits or even volunteer some of your time to talk with the local school children as they have their English lessons.
But get in quick. Flash, new resorts are springing up on every patch of spare land and it won't be long before the secret of Ngapali is spread far and wide. And while an increase in tourism will bring a much needed boost to the local economy as fishing, their current mainstay of income, is getting tougher due to diminishing fish stocks, I fear that the charm that Ngapali now has may also diminish as more and more tourists descend on this little patch of paradise.