2-Day Ayeyarwaddy Dolphin Discovery

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Tour type

Tour Level: Relaxed / Easy

Tour Comfort: Standard

Tour Period: 2 Days

tour highlights

  • Sleep on board a wooden fishing boat
  • See locals and dolphins work together to catch their prey
  • Visit stilt villages, temples, and markets, including the largest bronze bell in the world
  • Enjoy local food and living traditional culture

tour details

Witness dolphins frolicking in their natural habitat while interacting with the people that live near them day in and day out. Journey to Shein-ma-kar village by private boat and visit a small bazaar. Then, reach another stilt house village and see locals at work and rest. That evening, you’ll board a fisherman’s canoe and search for Ayeyarwady dolphins, who ‘work together’ with local fishermen to catch their dinner. Sleep on the boat and wake up early to see more dolphins in action. Then, another village beckons, this one specialising in elderly care and meditation. After lunch, you’ll head back to Mandalay, visiting the 87-ton brass Mingun Bell, the largest in the world. You’ll also visit Hsinbyum Paya and the massive, unfinished Mingun Pagoda.

Morning pick-up from your hotel and departure from Mandalay jetty by private wooden boat. After a 3'bd-hour sail up the Ayeyarwady River, we reach Shein-ma-kar village. Stop here for a short visit to look around a small bazaar at the river bank. Lunch will be served on board.
In the afternoon, we arrive at Myit-kan-gyi village by the riverbank. We can stroll in the charming village which is full of small stilt houses, village monasteries among the trees, and crop fields. From the village we can see Sa-Gyin Hill, a major source of white marble slabs which are exported throughout Myanmar and to China. In the evening, board a fishermen's canoe, hoping to closely observe Ayeyarwady dolphins and cast-net fishermen 'working' together to eat and catch what they need. Enjoy sunset from the Ayeyarwady riverbank. Overnight on board your wooden fishing boat. (Non air-conditioned boat)
We hope to see more dolphins 'at work' with fishermen from early this morning. Also visit Kann-phyu village, opposite to Myit-kan-gyi, where there is a home for the elderly and a mediation centre. Sail back towards Mandalay (3 hours). On the way, we visit the Mingun Bell, which at 87 tons is the world's largest intact bronze bell. Continue to the beautiful Hsinbyume (Ma Thein Tan) Paya and the unfinished, mighty Mingun Pagoda (built to be the world's biggest). Lunch will be served on board. Arrive Mandalay jetty in the late afternoon and transfer to your hotel.


Our tour prices are included of:

  • Transfer services with private air conditioned car/coach as detailed in our itinerary
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch and D=Dinner)
  • All entrance fees for the places as mentioned in the programme
  • Transfers and tours with English-speaking locally-stationed guides
  • Service charges, room tax and baggage handling
  • Accommodation on board or at a monastery inside the village (mattresses, beds, pillows, mosquito nets, bed sheet and blankets will be provided)
  • Filtered drinking water and wet towels during the tour


Not included are:

  • Domestic airfare
  • Myanmar visa fee
  • Surcharges for throughout guides (English and other languages)
  • Personal expenditure, such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities etc.
  • Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme
  • Drinks with meals
  • Compulsory gala dinners during festive seasons and peak season surcharges which will be advised at the time of booking
  • Peak season in general is between 15 December to 15 January and 13-17 April
  • Early check-in and late check-out at hotels, if not mentioned in the programme
  • Travel insurance (cover against all cancellation costs, medical expenses, including repatriation, in the event of accident or illness)


Important notes for ayeyarwady dolphin-watching:

  • Be cautious and courteous: approach areas of known or suspected dolphin activity with extreme caution. Look in all directions before planning your approach or departure.
  • Slow down: reduce speed to less than 2 knots when within 300 metres of the nearest dolphin. Avoid abrupt course changes.
  • Use only row boats to observe human-dolphin fishing activity
  • Wear a life jacket while in the row boat.
  • Keep clear of the dolphins' path. If dolphins approach you, cautiously move out of the way.
  • Reduce your speed and cautiously move away if a dolphin surfaces within 10 metres of the row boat.
  • Do not approach or position your row boat closer than 10 metres to any dolphin.
  • Do not approach dolphins from the front or from the side. Always approach and depart dolphins from behind, moving in a direction parallel to the direction of the dolphins.
  • Do not try to swim with, touch, or throw things at dolphins.
  • Keep your boat on the inshore side of the cooperative fishing boat.
  • Do not ride on the cooperative fishing boat. Passengers are not allowed on these boats. They are unstable and cannot be manoeuvred with the extra weight.
  • Limit your viewing time to a recommended maximum of one hour. This will minimise the cumulative impact of dolphin-watching boats and give consideration to other viewers.
  • Allow no more than 2 rowboats to observe the human-dolphin cooperative fishing at any one time.
  • Be quiet. Use only sign language during cooperative fishing.
  • Do not throw things into river which are not biologically degradable.

Tour code: MDLDM2ADT

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