Myanmar in Focus: Moeyungyi
‘Myanmar in Focus’ is a new section of the Tour Mandalay website, dedicated to documenting images captured by our Myanmar Specialists in the field. Hopefully this will help you to keep abreast of what’s going on, whilst providing ideas and inspiration for your future travel plans.
Our first destination is Moeyungyi, a water storage facility built by the British in the late 1800s. The area was left abandoned for a period of many years before naturally transforming into the impressive wetland area you see today. With over 125 species of waterbirds and a rich variety of fauna and flora, Moeyungyi is a must for any budding photographers or wildlife enthusiasts.
Below is a selection of photographs detailing this memorable experience.
In order to properly experience Moeyungyi, Tour Mandalay would recommend booking your tour through Moeyungyi Wetland Resort. Whilst it is possible to access the circumference of the wetland by driving to one of the nearby villages, the area is vast and it is unlikely that you will be able to truly experience the area without access to a motorised boat.
Whilst the facilities at Moeyungyi Wetland Resort (MWR) are extremely basic, it pays to stay there seeing as it will be easier to book a place on the sunset or sunrise boat excursions – these are inevitably going to be the most impressive due to the lighting and cooler temperature. All of the 9 boat shaped rooms at the MWR have platforms which look out over the wetland area – in fact, the photo above was taken from it.
With a small number of villages dotted around the circumference of Moeyungyi, many locals rely on the vast expanse of water to provide staple living ingredients. As the boat makes its way around the lake, you will notice fisherman patiently waiting to catch their breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The amount of natural diversity on offer at Moeyungyi is incredible. With a limited zoom lens it wasn’t possible to capture them all, but apart from the Purple Swamphen and Kingfisher (captured above and below), Tour Mandalay identified Sarus Cranes, Asian Golden Weavers, a Black Kite and Pheasant-tailed Jacanas. In order to make the most of the experience, be sure to bring a pair of binoculars. Alternatively you can rent them from MWR for $5 (please note that numbers are limited however).
All of the photos above were taken during a sunset tour of the lake, which was stunning, but the view of the wetland at sunset was something else. The temperature is also about as cool as you will get, which makes for a more pleasurable experience as your zooming in and out with your binoculars. The only downside is that you will need to be up and ready to depart for 06:30!
What we forgot to mention is that there are two types of boat tours, a one hour trip which circles the lake and a two hour version which includes a slightly longer tour of the lake and a quick stop at one of the local villages. As mentioned previously, the wetland area is an important source of food for the locals so it only made sense to explore.
Unexpectedly, the brief stop at this little known village turned out to be the main highlight of our trip. Watching Black Kites and Kingfishers fly around their natural habitat was of course amazing, but this was like jumping into a time machine and travelling back to the 15th century! We saw free roaming pigs blocking oxcarts from getting in and out of the village and a rather large house cat confront a goat. Yes, there are many village/rural experiences in Myanmar, but this was something else. Hopefully the photograph below will help to demonstrate how peaceful and remote it was.
Access to some of these more remote villages can only be gained by driving 2-3 miles down a narrow, dusty, bumpy road. With this in mind, most locals choose to gain access to the settlement by boat, motorbike or oxcart.
We also noticed that many locals were walking along the dusty banks of Moeyungyi to what we can only assume was the next village. For those that are happy to brave the heat and direct sunlight, this has the potential to be a great hike, but we will have to look into that option more on our next visit.
Hopefully this first edition of Myanmar in Focus has helped to provide you with a unique insight into Moeyungyi and what it has to offer. As one of the most accessible wildlife preserves in Myanmar, it is a must for anyone interested in birds, photography and local life.
If you are interested in planning a trip to Moeyungyi, please do not hesitate to contact one of our dedicated specialists now.
Until next time!