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BURMA

(Myanmar)

Burma or Myanmar Birding Tours: our Burma or Myanmar bird watching holiday explores a poorly known country where bird watching is still in its infancy, but where recent political reform has finally opened a country that was largely closed to outsiders for decades. Rich in endemics and other specialities, Burma also offers fascinating cultural and archeological sites, and a warm welcome from its friendly people.

Sunday 24th March — Saturday 6th April 2019
(14 days)


Leader: Dave Farrow

Group Size Limit: 8

Tour Category: Easy walking for the most part and comfortable accommodations

One of the numerous beautiful old monuments at Bagan, a World Heriatge Site (Craig Robson)

One of the numerous beautiful old monuments at Bagan, a World Heriatge Site (Craig Robson)

Burma, now renamed Myanmar, is the largest and ornithologically most diverse country in Southeast Asia, stretching some 2000 kilometres from the cold, lofty heights of the Himalayas in the north to the steamy tropical lowland rain forests of southern Tenasserim. With most areas of the country closed to birdwatchers and other travellers for decades by a series of harsh and introspective military governments, Burma is now in a period of political change and is opening its doors to overseas visitors.

With its large size, equal to that of the United Kingdom and France combined, friendly population of fewer than 45 million people, impressive natural resources, including large tracts of unspoilt forest, and cultural delights that include thousands of glittering pagodas, Burma really has the potential to become, as the old local name Shwe Pyidaw suggests, once more a ‘Golden Land’ now that political reform has come.

As yet, very few birders have explored this interesting country, so you have the chance to be in the vanguard. This is a tour that offers the adventurous the chance to get far off the ‘tourist track’ while seeing many exciting avian specialities, including all Burma’s endemics, and a rich selection of more widespread Southeast Asian birds.

After a brief visit to the present-day capital Yangon (or Rangoon), we will travel northwards to the ancient capital of Bagan (or Pagan). Here, along the banks of the Irrawaddy River, once referred to as ‘the road to Mandalay’, we will be able to sample the avifauna of Burma’s unique dry zone amidst the 4000 or so pagodas and temples which are dotted across the plains, some dating back to the ninth century. Specialities here include four endemics; Burmese Bushlark, Jerdon’s Minivet, Hooded Treepie and White-throated Babbler, the latter an amazingly long-tailed member of the genus Turdoides.

After crossing the Irrawaddy River and travelling through the forested lowlands, we will work our way up into the Chin Hills, our principal goal. Here we will stay at both Mount Victoria and Mindat. These steep mountains, which form a southern extension of the Himalayas from neighbouring Manipur in northeast India, are one of Southeast Asia’s great ornithological landmarks, with numerous unique subspecies, three endemic bird species – Mount Victoria Babax (split from Chinese), the striking White-browed Nuthatch and Burmese Bushtit – and a host of rare and restricted-range birds to fire the imagination including Mrs Hume’s Pheasant, Broad-billed Warbler, the near-endemic Buff-breasted Parrotbill (a recent split in the Black-throated Parrotbill complex), Sickle-billed (or Slender-billed) Scimitar-Babbler, the restricted-range Spot-breasted Scimitar Babbler (now restricted to northeastern India and western Burma following a taxonomic reorganization), the near-endemic Chin Hills Wren-Babbler, Striped, Brown-capped and Assam Laughingthrushes, Streak-throated Barwing, Grey Sibia and Hume’s (or Manipur) Treecreeper.

Finally we will visit Kalaw in the hills of Shan State and beautiful Inle Lake in search of the virtually endemic Burmese Yuhina, a newly-discovered population of the critically endangered Chinese Grassbird, and the restricted-range Jerdon’s Bushchat, Collared Myna and Black-headed Greenfinch, as well as Black-tailed Crake, Brown-breasted Bulbul, Spectacled Barwing and Dark-backed Sibia, before our Burmese adventure comes to its conclusion.

Birdquest has operated tours to Burma since 1998.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels/guesthouses are of good to medium standard (mostly the latter). Road transport is by minibus and 4x4s. Roads can be rather poor, but travel distances on this tour are not problematic.

Walking: The walking effort is mostly easy, but there are a few longer walks.

Climate: At low altitudes conditions are usually warm or hot and dry at this season. At higher elevations it is usually warm and sunny during the day, but cool or even cold in the early mornings (or even all day) at the highest levels. Overcast and rainy conditions are unlikely but possible.

Bird Photography: Opportunities are worthwhile.

Can be taken together with: BHUTAN

Prices are provisional

Tour Price: £3790, €4200, $4960 Yangon (Rangoon)/Yangon. Single Room Supplement: £364, €404, $477. Deposit: £450, €500, $590.

Includes surface transportation, accommodations, meals, water, entrance fees and tips/gratuities.

Also includes these flights: Yangon (Rangoon)-Bagan (Pagan), Bagan-Heho, Heho-Yangon.

Base prices for this tour are in US Dollars. The exchange rates applied at the time of costing were: £1 = $1.310 and €1 = $1.180.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.

White-throated Babbler is endemic to Burma’s Dry Zone, and easy to see (Craig Robson)

White-throated Babbler is endemic to Burma’s Dry Zone, and easy to see (Craig Robson)

The endemic nominate race of Vinous-breasted Myna is plentiful (Craig Robson)

The endemic nominate race of Vinous-breasted Myna is plentiful (Craig Robson)

The xanthocyclus race of Eurasian Collard Dove is very distinct and may actually be a good species?!  (Craig Robson)

The xanthocyclus race of Eurasian Collard Dove is very distinct and may actually be a good species?! (Craig Robson)

Conifer-dominated forest at the upper levels on Mt Victoria (Craig Robson)

Conifer-dominated forest at the upper levels on Mt Victoria (Craig Robson)

Striated Babblers inhabit grassy islands near Bagan  (Craig Robson)

Striated Babblers inhabit grassy islands near Bagan (Craig Robson)

46 photos View Gallery Photos From BURMA
En route to Mt Victoria we search for the endemic Hooded Treepie (Craig Robson)

En route to Mt Victoria we search for the endemic Hooded Treepie (Craig Robson)

White-browed Nuthatch is Burma’s most sought-after endemic (Craig Robson)

White-browed Nuthatch is Burma’s most sought-after endemic (Craig Robson)

Numerous babblers during the tour include the near-endemic Brown-capped Laughingthrus (Craig Robson)

Numerous babblers during the tour include the near-endemic Brown-capped Laughingthrus (Craig Robson)

Burmese Tit is a recent split and is only found in the Chin Hills (Craig Robson)

Burmese Tit is a recent split and is only found in the Chin Hills (Craig Robson)

White-rumped Pygmy-falcon is tough to find, but worth the effort (Craig Robson)

White-rumped Pygmy-falcon is tough to find, but worth the effort (Craig Robson)

The lovely Jerdon’s Minivet is another Dry Zone endemic (Craig Robson)

The lovely Jerdon’s Minivet is another Dry Zone endemic (Craig Robson)

Jerdon’s Bushchat is our primary target at Inle Lake (Craig Robson)

Jerdon’s Bushchat is our primary target at Inle Lake (Craig Robson)

White-tailed Stonechats are common on certain grassy islands near Bagan (Craig Robson)

White-tailed Stonechats are common on certain grassy islands near Bagan (Craig Robson)

Black-headed Greenfinch is not uncommon around Kalaw (Craig Robson)

Black-headed Greenfinch is not uncommon around Kalaw (Craig Robson)

Spectacled Barwing is one of the specialities of the Kalaw region... (Craig Robson)

Spectacled Barwing is one of the specialities of the Kalaw region... (Craig Robson)

... whereas the bulkier Streak-throated Barwing is on Mt Victoria (Craig Robson)

... whereas the bulkier Streak-throated Barwing is on Mt Victoria (Craig Robson)

Himalayan Cutia is always a delight to see (Craig Robson)

Himalayan Cutia is always a delight to see (Craig Robson)

Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate

Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QY

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