You are confusing database management system with a database user interface - in every database management system you have to build an interface to prevent the user working with the actual raw tables, if you want a sensible, safer system. Ever seen oracle at the command line for example? MySQL is just the same.
How you build your user interface to MySQL is up to you; most people use PHP to present the data the way they want it displayed in a web browser. You could use Access to interface with MySQL from a desktop within a company (works quite well, also works well with oracle). The point about the user interface is that YOU control what you will let the user do and see. phpMyAdmin gives the users way too much power, and you have almost no control over what havoc they can wreck on your database. The database administrator for your system should be the only one who gets to play with phpmyadmin, or any similar tool.
PS Excel is a spreadsheet, a calculating device, not a database, although many people use its column layout to simulate a database.