This weekend (or anytime you feel like it), take time off from the stressful endeavors of life and get in touch with nature. Whether you want to want to get to know some furry friends at a dog shelter or go bird-watching, these places are worth taking a look at.
Hlawga Wildlife Park
Just an hours’ drive away from downtown Yangon, the animals here live in a relatively comfortable environment: deer, monkeys and even wild boars can be seen roaming about freely. You can go hiking on jungle trails and will have the opportunity to feed certain animals you encounter. This is one of the few rare natural places close to Yangon, and if you are looking for a day trip, this is the place for you.
Location: Mingaladon Township, Yangon Division
Meinmahla Kyun Wildlife Sanctuary (ASEAN heritage park)
Located in the Ayeyarwaddy Delta, this wildlife sanctuary gives you the chance to observe crocodiles, turtles and a variety of birds in their natural habitats, while taking a suspenseful boat-ride through a maze of beautiful mangroves. If you are lucky, you might even get to see the Irawaddy dolphins (usually spotted from November–February), an endangered species with only a population of 50-70 left in Myanmar. This place is perfect for an overnight trip; and you’ll also get to experience village life with the many friendly locals in the area. One of the most well conserved sanctuaries in Yangon, it’s highly recommended for those who want to get a taste of wildlife at its finest.
Location: Bokalay Township, Ayeyarwaddy Division
Phoe Kyar Elephant Camp
In honor of World Elephant Day (August 12), why not pay a visit to Phoe Kyar Elephant Camp near Bago? It’s a village that’s home to over 70 elephants, most of whom were born in captivity. Spend time with these majestic animals and participate in feeding activities, as well as watching
them get a shower. You could stay overnight in private bungalows and might even get the chance to go on a trekking expedition to find elephants out in the jungle.
Location: Near Thargaya Village and the Bago Yoma Mountain Range (Around two hours’ drive west of Taungoo, Bago)
Moe Yun Gyi Wetland
Moe Yun Gyi is a wetland situated in Bago Division about 70 miles north of Yangon, writes Mathis Ayma. This area used to be a reservoir that over time turned into wetland, which today hosts more than 120 species of water birds. It’s a little paradise for all picnickers, naturalists, botanists and bird-watchers, and also for everyone looking for a peaceful place. One of the best activities is the boat cruise that departs from Moeyungyi Resort. The best time to visit Moe Yun Gyi is between November and March. Check out moeyungyiwetlandsresort.com.
Location: Pyin Bone Gyi Village in Bago Division
Yangon Animal Shelter
Yangon Animal Shelter founder Terryl Just and her team have pledged to rescue stray dogs that are vulnerable to hunger and disease on the streets of Yangon, writes Anabelle Ayma. This shelter is located about 30 kilometers north of Yangon and is home to about 500 friendly dogs waiting for you to adopt them. Any help is welcome to maintain the shelter: you can meet the
animals and help feed them, live a unique experience by becoming a foster parent or a volunteer in the shelter, or simply donate money to this non-profit organization.