Hiking, Mountaineering, Bird Watching and other outdoor activities

Myanmar is a paradise for birdwatchers. There are hundreds of endemic birds as well as migratory species that can be seen the whole year round. The Moeyungyi Wetlands is just around 100 kilometres to the north of Yangon where water birds can be found, especially during the monsoon months. It is also a place where people and nature live together in harmony. Moeyungyi Wetlands is maintained by the Forest Department but a private company had taken over the accommodation arrangements inside the wetlands for those who wish to spend more times there. Hlawga National Park is just out of Yangon city area and conserved as a protected watershed area for the Hlawga reservoir. Built with UNDP assistance in the mid-1980s it is a good place to observe a variety of local birds as well as a good place for a family picnic. Hlawga National Park also serves as a training ground for birdwatchers for the Myanmar Birds & Nature Society.
Once described by the renown British naturalist Frank Kingdon-Ward as a "Plant hunter's Paradise" Natma Taung is in the southern Chin State with plenty of opportunities not only for bird watching but also see the tattoo women of the Chin ethnic groups and soft mountaineering up the Natma Taung summit, which is over 10,000 feet above sea level. Accommodations are available at both Mindat and Kanpetlet. Access is by car from Bagan via Kyauktu or Chauk.
Mt Popa Mountain Park, about 3 hours to the east of Bagan is another site for nature lovers. Once a volcanic mountain it has been dormant for millions of years but because of its unique features on a dry and dusty Myingyan Plains it has acquired a supernatural role in the minds of the Myanmar people. It is believed that supernatural beings (nat in Myanmar language) live on the nearby peak or taung kalat and there is also a shrine to these nats at the foot of this taung kalat. Popa Mountain Park is a good place to see, not only the pre-Buddhist local believes in the supernatural but also varied flora and fauna species on the main mountain slope. A hiking tour to the top of the main mountain can be arranged by the Popa Mountain Resort.
Hkakaborazi Nature Park is in the extreme north of the country in the Kachin State. It is the only park in mainland Southeast Asia with snow capped mountains. Mt. Hkakaborazin is also the highest peak in Southeast Asia too. It is still a virtually unexplored area with Mt. Hkakaborazi just recently conquered in 1996. New varieties of butterfly and orchid species are still being discovered here by international scientists. Access is via Myitkyina by flight and trek to Nogmung township.
Biking is also now being offered by travel operators. Bike trips, both long distance and short day trips are on offer. Some trips are along established routes but there are also some exciting rough terrain trips for the more adventurous.
Trekking programmes to ethnic villages around the Shan mountains are drawing more and more nature lovers to these areas. The programmes involve trekking into high mountain villages around the Inle Lake, Pindaya and Kalaw in the southern Shan State and the mountain villages around Kyaingtong in the eastern Shan State. The trekkers would experience, not only the beautiful sceneries but also the unique costumes, customs and traditions of these ethnic groups. Contact your Myanmar travel agency for more information.

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