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Introducing North of Yangon

About an hour northeast of Bago and close to the village of Pyinbongyi is the Moeyungyi Wetlands (မိုင္းယြန္းႀကီးေရနက္ကြင္း), a 15-sq-mile lake and marsh that is one of Myanmar's handful of national parks. Sitting on a migration route of birds fleeing the icy Siberian winter and attracting thousands of local waders, the wetlands, which started life as an artificial water-storage reservoir in 1878, will bring a big grin to any birder’s face. The last census revealed some 125 different species including great flocks of egrets, cormorants, white storks and large numbers of the beautiful swamp hen (purple gallinule) as well as sarus cranes with their brilliant red heads.

Your best chance of seeing exotic birds is from December to February and during this time a small ‘resort’ offers excellent boat tours (up to six people) on the lake including a guide for $15 per person for about two hours. The boat will take you whizzing over the lake to the marshy reed beds in the centre where the birds congregate in vast numbers.

Should you want to stay nearby, the resort offers accommodation in floating houseboats from November to March. The price includes three meals and a boat ride, and it’s essential that you book in advance. The rooms, though novel, are somewhat overpriced and even serious birders may prefer to make a half-day tour from Bago.