22-Day Best of Myanmar Birdwatching

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Tour type

Tour Level: Moderate

Tour Comfort: Superior

Tour Period: 22 Days

tour highlights

  • Visit world's wonder Shwedagon Pagoda
  • Drive to Hlawgar Wildlife Park for bird watching
  • Bagan temples sightseeing and enjoy bird watching on the Ayeyarwaddy river
  • Four night stay in Kampelet and visit Natmataung National Park to watch colorful birds that cannot be seen very often
  • Overland drive to Bagan and enjoy the picturesque rural area on the way
  • Two-nights cruise towards Mandalay on RV Paukan
  • Mandalay sightseeing and observe the local industries
  • Sightseeing around Kalaw with an easy hike to Myinmahti village
  • Full Day birdwatching in Kalaw
  • Long tailed boat trip in Inle Lake
  • Extended relaxing stay in Ngapali and enjoy the quality moment at the best beach in Myanmar

tour details

Your tour begins at Myanmar’s most famous attraction – the Shwedagon Pagoda – before continuing to the fascinating Hlawga Wildlife Park, home to scores of species. You’ll be sure to spot a diverse array of birds. As you continue to Bagan, you’ll visit such amazing sights as the Shwezigon Pagoda, Ananda Temple & the Gubyaukgyi Temple. You’ll also have plenty of time to continue bird watching in this historic city. Undoubtedly a highlight of your tour will be your visit to Mount Victoria National Park – home to dozens of endemic and near endemic species. From here you’ll return to Bagan where a breathtaking hot air balloon ride awaits. Other highlights include cruising the Ayeyarwady River and bird watching at both picturesque Inle Lake & Kalaw. You’ll conclude your tour in historic Yangon.

Tour with Departure: Every Sunday and Wednesday

Arrive Yangon and transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon, drive to the Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the world's most spectacular religious monuments, best seen in the late afternoon when the light is at its most magical. The golden dome of the Shwedagon Pagoda rises 98 metres above its base, is covered with 60 tons of pure gold and is the very heart and soul of Buddhist Myanmar. Make sure to spend time here watching the Burmese come to pray and make offerings; it is an unforgettable experience.
Accommodation at Chatrium Hotel (Deluxe ROH Room) or similar, Yangon.
In the morning, drive out of Yangon one hour to Hlawga Wildlife Park to enjoy some bird watching. The Park is home to the rare Pale-capped Pigeon, Racket-tailed Treepie, Red Junglefowl; Green, Blue-tailed and Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters, Green-billed Malkoha, Lesser Racket-tailed and Greater Racket-tailed Drongos, White-rumped Shama, Black-headed, Black-crested, Red-vented, Red-whiskered, Stripe-throated with red eyes and near-endemic Streak-eared Bulbuls, White-crested and Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrushes, Puff-throated and Chestnut-capped Babblers, Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, Ruby-cheeked, Olive-backed and Purple Sunbirds, some water bird species such as Oriental Darter, Spot-billed and Lesser Whistling Ducks, Cotton Pygmy Goose, Common Moorhen, White-breasted Waterhen, Red-wattled Lapwing, Little Ringed Plover and others. You might also see wintering bird species such as Osprey, Black-naped Oriole, Spotted Redshank, Painted Stork, Asian Openbill, Black-naped Oriole, Black-winged Cuckooshrike, Oriental Reed, Greenish and Yellow-browed Warblers and Forest Wagtail. Packed lunch is included. Drive back to Yangon in the afternoon.
Accommodation at Chatrium Hotel (Deluxe ROH Room) or similar, Yangon.
Early morning transfer to Yangon Airport for domestic to Bagan. Scattered around a 26-square-kilometre plain surrounding the Ayeyarwady River are the magnificent red brick temples and pagodas which are testament to the religious fervour of the Kings of Bagan during 1057-1287 AD. In addition to the impressive architecture, inside are colourful murals and exquisite Buddha statues, and from the summit, awesome views of the immense expanse of the Bagan-era temples. Upon arrival, start your tour at the busy local market, continuing with visits to a diverse selection of the most important pagodas and temples in Bagan. These include the Shwezigon Pagoda, a huge gilded structure built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century; Gubyaukgyi (Wetkyi-Inn), a 13th century temple with exquisite murals of the 'Jataka tales' (scenes from the life of the Buddha) and the beautiful Ananda Temple; one of the finest and largest temples with a 51-metre shimmering gold tip, four huge standing-Buddhas and numerous seated figures arranged around the interior gallery.
In the afternoon, you will be birdwatching by wooden boat along the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River, looking for White-tailed Stonechat, Sand Lark, Long-billed Pipit, Spot-billed Duck, River Lapwing, Small Pratincole, Pied Kingfisher, thousands of Plain and Sand Martins, Laggar Falcon and others. You can also look for wintering bird species such as Ruddy Shelduck, Northern Shoveller, Northern Pintail, Common Teal, Great Cormorant, Grey Heron, Grey Plover, Spotted Redshank, Common Greenshank, Temminck's Stint, rare Greater Spotted Eagle, Harriers, Common Kestrel and Peregrine Falcon. Return to Bagan.
Accommodation at Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort (Deluxe Garden View) or similar, Bagan.
Drive to Mount Victoria (approximately 8 hours) for a four-night stay. Lunch at local Restaurant. Birding stop on the way to see (if you can) Jerdon's Minivet and the Hooded Treepie, together with near-endemic White-rumped Falcon, White-eyed Buzzard, various species of Woodpeckers, five species of Parakeet (Alexandrine, Rose-ringed, Blossom-headed, Grey-headed and Red-breasted) plus Small, Scarlet and Rosy Minivets, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch and others. Dinner at local restaurant.
Accommodation at The Floral Breeze Hotel (Deluxe Room) or similar, Kampelet.

Notes:
A trip to Mount Victoria must be regarded as an adventure tour because of the prevailing travel conditions: substandard accommodation with infrequent electricity supply, bad roads and of doubtful road worthiness. Itineraries may have to be changed on the spot because of weather, transportation problems, etc. It is essential that all guests visiting Mount Victoria are fully aware of travel conditions as described above.
Birding at Natmataung (Mount Victoria) National Park. This site is a major focal point of your tour. Here you should be able to see White-browed Nuthatch and Burmese Tit (recently recategorised, from Black-browed Tit), Myanmar's fifth and sixth endemics which are known only here. Other speciality birds that might be seen on this area are near-endemics - Mount Victoria Babax (recently recategorised, from Chinese Babax), Chin Hills Wren-babbler (recently recategorised, from Long-tailed Wren-babbler), Assam
(recently recategorised, from Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush), Stripe and Brown-capped Laughingthrushes, Green Shrike-babbler, Buff-breasted Parrotbill (recently recategorised, from Black-throated Parrotbill), Bar-tailed and Hume's Treecreepers, Black-throated Prinia (recently recategorised, from Hill Prinia) and Whistler's Warbler, together with rare and Hodgson's Frogmouth, Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, Grey-sided Thrush, Indian Blue Robin, Spotted Forktail, White-tailed and Chestnut-vented Nuthatches, Black-bibbed, Green-backed and Black-throated Tits, Striated Bulbul, Chestnut-headed Tesia, rare Broad-billed and Bush Warblers, Blue-winged Laughingthrush, Crimson-faced Liocichla (recently recategorised, from Red-faced Liocichla), Rusty-fronted and Streak-throated Barwings, Grey Sibia, Himalayan Cutia, Sickle-billed Scimitar, Streak-breasted Scimitar, Scaly-breasted Wren, Pygmy Wren, Black-eared Shrike and Black-headed Shrike Babblers, Bar-throated and Red-tailed Minlas, Blue-winged Siva, White-browed, Rusty-capped and Nepal Fulvettas, Stripe-throated Yuhina, Spot-breasted Parrotbill, Fire-tailed Sunbird, Spot-winged Grosbeak, Yellow-breasted Greenfinch and many more. Packed lunch is included and dinner at local restaurant.
Accommodation at The Floral Breeze Hotel (Deluxe Room) or similar, Kampelet.
You will be birding for a second full day at Mount Victoria (Natmataung National Park). Packed lunch is included and dinner is at local restaurant.
Accommodation at The Floral Breeze Hotel (Deluxe Room) or similar, Kampelet.
You will be birding for your final day at Mount Victoria (Natmataung National Park). Packed lunch is included and dinner is at local restaurant.
Accommodation at The Floral Breeze Hotel (Deluxe Room) or similar, Kampelet.
Full day drive back to Bagan via Saw. On the way, you stop for a picnic lunch. You pass by two elephant camps and depending on the season of the year, you might be lucky enough to see them working. Arrive in Bagan in the late afternoon.
Accommodation at Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort (Deluxe Garden View) or similar, Bagan.
This morning there is time to explore the Myingaba village area either by bicycle or horse cart. First visit Gubyaukgyi Temple (Myingaba) to admire the fine stuccowork. Continue to Nanpaya Temple, built in the Mon style with intricate stone carvings, and said once to have been Manuha's residence. See the four Buddha images in Manuha Pagoda and later, visit Pyatsashwegu, built in the 11th century, with frescoes with ancient Mon captions on the interior walls. Stop at Myazedi stupa to see Myanmar's 'Rosetta Stone', bearing inscriptions written in four languages.
In the afternoon, visit Moe Moe lacquerware workshop to watch craftsmen skilfully making this most famous of Bagan handicrafts. After that visit Abeyadana Temple with frescoes representing Bodhisattvas and the gods of Indian mythology. Continue to Dhammayangyi, a massive temple dating from 1170 AD that is famous for its interlocking mortarless brickwork. Next, visit Sulamani, one of Bagan's great two-storied Bamar style temples, which has four seated-Buddha images. Enjoy the sunset from the top of the one of the temples.
Accommodation at Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort (Deluxe Garden View) or similar, Bagan.
Early this morning, enjoy a balloon flight over the Bagan temples. Around 05:30 hours the Balloons over Bagan shuttle bus will pick you up at your hotel and bring you to the launch site for the balloons. While the team makes the balloon ready to go, you enjoy some refreshments, and if you like, take pictures. Then, depending on the wind, you will over fly Bagan for about one hour, and enjoy spectacular views of the ancient Kingdom from your hot air balloon. The tour ends'85..wherever the wind has brought you. A glass of sparkling wine ends this fantastic event, and the shuttle bus then brings you back to your hotel.
Transfer to RV Paukan, berthed on the Ayeyarwady River at Bagan Aye Yar jetty. Embarkation is at 11:30 hours. Enjoy a welcome cocktail on the Saloon Deck, and cast off at 12:00 noon. Lunch will be served at 13:00 hours. In the late afternoon, stop in a typical river village. Dinner on board.
Accommodation on RV Paukan (Main Deck Cabin).
Cruise all day with stop en route in the morning to visit Yandabo, a typical river village specialising in pottery manufacture, where the peace treaty of the First Anglo-Burmese war was signed on 24 February 1826. Lunch on board. Moor overnight nearby in a village (Ywar Thit Gyi or Pauk Myaing Pauk Taw) a few miles away from Ava Bridge.
Dinner on board.
Accommodation on RV Paukan (Main Deck Cabin).
You will disembark at Sagaing jetty (Thursday only) or Gawein jetty (Sunday only) at around 09:30 hours and start your comprehensive sightseeing in Mandalay which includes Mahamuni Pagoda with its spectacular Buddha image covered with thick layers of gold leaves, a visit to a craftsman's workshop to see kalaga tapestries being stitched, plus Shwenandaw Monastery, a superb example of a traditional wooden Royal Palace building, and Kuthodaw Pagoda (known as the world's largest book), consisting of 729 marble slabs engraved with Buddhist scriptures. End the day with a sunset view from Mandalay Hill.
Accommodation at Hotel Shwe Pyi Thar (Deluxe Room) or similar, Mandalay.
This morning drive on a scenic route to Shwebo, located northwest of Mandalay between the Ayeyarwady and the Mu Rivers. In Shwebo visit some of the earthenware workshops, and continue to Kyauk Myaung (about 45 minutes), famous for the manufacture of large glazed earthenware pots and jars. Walking through the many workshops where locals are busy moulding pots, you will be able to observe this very traditional craft. Drive back to Mandalay and your hotel.
Accommodation at Hotel Shwe Pyi Thar (Deluxe Room) or similar, Mandalay.
Transfer to Mandalay Airport for domestic Air Bagan flight to Heho. Upon arrival in Heho, drive to Kalaw (50 km, about 1'bd hours) formerly a British hill station. Visit the tiny railway station and perhaps walk up the hill to see the old Catholic church (if open).
Afternoon sightseeing around Kalaw with an easy hike to Myinmahti village (about 3'bd hours). Drive a short while to the trail head and start walking gradually uphill on a forest shale road, and then a flat track. The first hour is very tranquil as you walk through pine forests listening only to the sounds of birds. As you pass Ywa-pu, Lutpyin and Taunggyi villages there are fields of potatoes, mountain rice, tomatoes, beans and other vegetables being cultivated with the help of only oxen and buffalo. The ethnic group here is Danu, and Myinmahti's villagers are all farmers who earn their income from agriculture. The walk is scenic and there are many opportunities to see how the local people live and work. In Myinmahti stop at the pagoda and visit its 200 metre- long limestone cave. The car picks you up here for the return drive.
Accommodation at Kalaw Hill Lodge (Deluxe Villa) or similar, Kalaw.
Bird watching in Kalaw. Here you can look for Silver-eared Laughingthrush (recently recategorised, from Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush), near-endemics Burmese Yuhina, Dark-backed Sibia and Indochinese Cuckooshrike, Giant Nuthatch, Speckled Piculet, White-browed Laughingthrush, Streaked Wren, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar, White-browed Scimitar and White-browed Shrike Babblers, Spectacled Barwing, Silver-eared Mesia, Grey-cheeked Fulvettas, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Sooty-headed, Mountain, Black, Ashy and Brown-breasted Bulbuls, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Sliver-breasted and Long-tailed Broadbills, Black-breasted Thrush, White-crowned Forktail, Bianchi's Warbler, Black-headed Greenfinch and others. Packed lunch is included.
Accommodation at Kalaw Hill Lodge (Deluxe Villa) or similar, Kalaw.
This morning enjoy walking through Kalaw, visiting the local market where minority people sell their produce. Then take a scenic drive (46 km, about 2 hours) across the Shan Plateau to Nyaungshwe where you board your own boat to go to your hotel in Inle Lake.
In the afternoon, take a long-tailed boat across the lake to Indaing, at the western end of Inle, for one of the most scenic trips on the lake. Passing through the busy village of Ywama, the largest on the lake with many channels and tall teak houses on stilts; enter a long, often tree-lined canal, either side of which farmers cultivate their land against the backdrop of the Shan Hills. Disembark at the jetty and walk for 15 minutes through Indaing village to reach the 14th-18th century pagoda ruins of Nyaung Ohak. Many pagodas here remain charmingly unrenovated, with plants and even small trees growing out of them, making the area very atmospheric. A covered walkway popular with souvenir stallholders leads up to Shwe Inn Thein Paya, a complex of weather-beaten 17th - 18th century zedi; some newly reconstructed. Return to the jetty and take your long-tailed boat back along the canal to the lake.
Accommodation at Novotel Inle Lake Hotel (Junior Suite) or similar, Inle Lake.
Birding at Inle Lake. Here you might see the rare Jerdon's Bushchat, very rare Sarus Crane, Collared Myna, Glossy Ibis, Purple Swamphen, Ruddy-breasted and Black-tailed Crakes, Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-winged Jacanas, Black-winged Stilt, Oriental Pratincole, Cinnamon and Yellow Bitterns, Lesser Whistling and Spot-billed Ducks, Blue-eared Kingfisher, Plaintive Cuckoo, Clamorous Reed Warbler, Plain and Yellow-bellied Prinias and Striated Grassbird. You can also see migrant bird species such as the very rare Baer's, Ferruginous, Red-crested and Common Pochards; Gadwall, Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Common Teal, Common Coot, Grey-headed Lapwing, Marsh Sandpiper, Brown-headed Gull, Harriers, Steppe Eagle, Bluethroat, Dusky and Black-browed Reed Warblers and Yellow-breasted Bunting. Look out too for a breeding or roosting colony of Little, Cattle and Intermediate Egrets, Indian Pond, Chinese Pond and Black-crowned Night Herons, Little Cormorant, Vinous-breasted, Chestnut-tailed, Black-collared and Asian Pied Starlings, Common, Jungle, White-vented and Collared Mynas can be seen in the evening.
Accommodation at Novotel Inle Lake Hotel (Junior Suite) or similar, Inle Lake.
If it coincides with your visit you will explore one of the 5-day rotating markets in the area - a fascinating insight into the lifestyle of the ethnic Pa-O, Danu and Intha people who visit these markets to buy and sell. During today's excursion by boat on Inle Lake you see the famous leg rowers and the typical floating gardens where fruit and vegetables are grown, and learn about local methods of fishing and village life. Visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, home to five gold-leaf-covered Buddha figures, and the holiest religious site in southern Shan State. Stop at Intha Heritage House which is home to a privately-owned colony of Burmese cats. Historically, these elegant cats were kept by royal families as well as 'guardians' of the many temples in Myanmar. Also visit the boat construction workshop at Nampan village and stop to see some traditional handicrafts - silk weaving on wooden handlooms in Inpawkhon village, a cheroot-maker's workshop and a blacksmith's forge. Continue by boat to visit Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery, one of the oldest monasteries on the lake, where you can see exquisite Buddha statues which are more than 200 years old. Return to your hotel by boat as the sun lowers and the light softens over the lake.
Accommodation at Novotel Inle Lake Hotel (Junior Suite) or similar, Inle Lake.
Leave your hotel and transfer to Heho Airport. to Thandwe. Upon arrival in Thandwe, you will be transferred to your hotel in Ngapali Beach (provided by the hotel).
Accommodation at Sandoway Resort (Deluxe Room) or similar, Ngapali.
Full days at leisure.
Accommodation at Sandoway Resort (Deluxe Room) or similar, Ngapali.
Full days at leisure.
Accommodation at Sandoway Resort (Deluxe Room) or similar, Ngapali.
Transfer to Thandwe Airport (provided by the hotel) for return domestic flight from Thandwe to Yangon. Upon arrival in Yangon, drive to the city centre and the gilded Sule Pagoda. The tour guide and car is at disposal before your departure flight.

includes

Our tour prices are included of:

  • All sightseeing tour and transfer services with private air conditioned car/coach as detailed in our itinerary
  • Cabin on RV Paukan
  • Balloons over Bagan flight at sunrise in Bagan
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch & D=Dinner)
  • All entrance fees for the places as mentioned in the programme
  • Transfers and tours with English-speaking throughout guide (spec. Birding guide) * not on RV Paukan and beach
  • Service charges, room tax and baggage handling
  • Boat fees as mentioned
  • Accommodation at hotels as above mentioned or similar
  • Filtered drinking water and wet towels during the tour

excludes

Not Included are:

  • Domestic airfare (Yangon-Bagan, Mandalay-Heho-Thandwe-Yangon)
  • Myanmar visa fee
  • Surcharges for throughout guides (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)

notes

Notes:

  • Hotel prices for packages are quoted bases on hotels as mentioned or similar. Higher or lower categories can be requested and the price will be adjusted. The hotels featured in the package tour are subject to availabilities at the time of booking.
  • Meals at respective hotels are also included in the hotel prices if the itineraries mention lunch or dinner at hotel.
  • Additional charges during Festive Season: Christmas, New Year and the Water festival period may apply.
  • Supplements for compulsory Gala Dinners will be advised at the time of booking.
  • All hotels have special booking and deposit conditions and will be indicated at the time of booking. Nonrefundable deposits may be required.
  • Domestic airfares are quoted separately and subject to change in case of increases imposed by the airlines (ie. taxes, fuel costs, etc.).
  • There are 8 different airlines operating on the domestic route in Myanmar. Each company has slight different airfares and this pricelist is based on average airfare. Diethelm Travel will book the most convenient and direct routing. The final price can be confirmed once the tickets are booked and issued depending on available booking class and seat availability.


Tour code: MMR22BWT

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