As International Expeditions searches for new nature travel experiences, Bill Robison, IE Director of Program Development, has the “difficult” task of scouting a county for the best naturalist guides, hotels and to uncover extraordinary opportunities for our guests. Here we get Bill’s impressions and photos as he researches IE’s new Myanmar tour options. 

Step one of many on the road to Mandalay.

In a village just outside of Mandalay, I spent the early morning watching 1,050 monks peacefully enjoy breakfast before prayers then took in sunrise over a 200 year old wooden bridge...and it's just now 7am. It was magical - one of the best travel experiences I have had to date. I'm off to the highlands of Kalaw to enjoy some birding.

Standing next to me is Mr. Upa (pictured middle), who is probably THE best birding guide in Myanmar. When not surveying just about every square inch of this country for NGOs, he is leading groups of passionate nature lovers and pointing out species after species of endemics, like some we saw today amongst the stupas and ruins of old Bagan. Among the species we observed today were the white-throated babbler (which sounds oddly quite like a monkey), Burmese bushlark and lannar falcon. Mr. Upa tells me we can spot more than a dozen endemics from the breakfast table tomorrow. Can't wait!

Mingalaba - hello and good morning - from the good people of Lake Inle.This area is home to astounding birdlife, floating markets and ancient teak wood monastery, home to Shan-style images of Buddha. 

When was the last time you saw a phone book this thick? Currently, less than 10% of the people in Myanmar have internet or a cell phone.

Back from Mt. Victoria, where we observed 82 species just yesterday...not bad for three hours from the road in the rain and fog! We didn't even get on to the trail. Four different species of eagles put in an appearance on our drive back, as did several parakeets, bulbuls, bee eaters, flycatchers and even a spotted owl. This little guy is a white-throated babler, an important Bagan endemic and constant meal companion when dining outdoors. The fields between the over 3000 temples are flooded with interesting and endemic species in Bagan.

Almost getting stuck in the mud attracted a small village.

Sambar deer in Hlawga National Park, where we observed lots of Asian hog deer, wild pigs and rhesus macaques galore.

Early Booking Discount: Don't just read about Myanmar! Travel to this extraordinary country with International Expeditions in 2014. Book by March 3 and save $250 per person.