Myanmar has an extraordinary natural heritage with a total forested area of 343,730 km² representing around 50% of total land, 239,775 km² of reserve forests and 103,954 km² of Protected areas in 40 National Parks managed by the Forestry Department.
Its rich biodiversity includes about 14,000 species of plants, 1,017 species of residential birds, 1,014 species of butterflies, 360 species of reptiles, and 300 species of mammals. Among newly found species are 19 species of birds, 10 species of amphibians and 12 species of reptiles.
We briefly describe below some of its National Parks
Natmataung National Park -Mount Victoria (1994, 722 km²)
Located in Chin State close to Kanpetlet, Mindut and Matupi Townships, this is one of the best bird-watching sites in Myanmar.
Type of forest – hill evergreen forest, moist upper deciduous forest, pine forest & hill savannah, rhododendrons in white, yellow and red, and indigenous orchids including a rare black orchid.
Mammals such as tiger, bear, wild boar, leopard, guar, serow, gibbon, etc. can be spotted, and 284 species of residential birds including 5 species of endemic birds like the White browed nuthatch are present, as well as reptiles and butterflies.
- From Yangon to Bagan-Nyaung–Oo: 514 km by plane or car,
- Chauk via Seikpyu to Hsaw to Kan–pet-let; 19km by car
- Hsaw to Mindut: 68km by car.
Meinmahla Kyun Wildlife Sanctuary (1984, 1,606 km²)
The Sanctuary, an ASEAN Heritage site, is situated on Meinmahla Island in Bogalay Township, Ayeyawady, very close to the sea. The island itself lies between the Bogalay and Kadonkani Rivers. Otter, sambar, hog deer, wild boar, crab-eating kra, wild dog, turtles and tortoises, estuarine crocodiles, fish, prawn, crab and 34 bird species can be spotted, and the Ayeyawaddy Dolphin is said to appear occasionally in the area.
- Yangon to Bogalay: 158 km by river on a 9 hour cruise
- Bogalay to Meinmahla Kyun: 19 km by small boat takes about 4 hours
Inle Wetland wildlife Sanctuary (1985, 1663 km²)
Inle lake, a ASEAN Heritage is located in Naung Shwe, Pin laung and PehKon townships of southern Shan state.
The lake is 884 meters above sea level, and the overall wetland including the lake covers 1663 km².
Wildlife to be seen includes 37 species of birds, 27 species of wetland birds, 14 species of migratory birds, 40 species of freshwater fishes, otter and turtle.
- Yangon to Nyaung Shwe: (692 km) by car
- Yangon to Heho: by plane (539 km) then, Heho to Nyaung Shwe by car (22.5 km)
- Yangon via Thazi to Shwe Nyaung: by train (515 km) then, Shwe Nyaung to Nyaung Shwe by car (16 km)
Popa Mountain Park
Popa Mountain Park (extinct volcano) (1989, 128 km²) located in Kyauk Padaung Township, Mandalay, is more famous for its cultural aspect as Mt. Olympus where the nats or spirits reside.
It is actually an oasis of the Central Myanmar Dry Zone with a very rich flora and fauna with different kinds of forest: Than, Dahat forest, lowland Indein forest, upper mixed deciduous forest, hill evergreen forest, pine forest and hill grassland.
While there you can visit a herbal garden with 345 species of indigenous medicinal plants and orchids, and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to spot Barking deer, civets, 150 dusky leaf monkeys living inside the crater or even occasional leopards. You’ll probably encounter one or a few of the 175 species of resident birds, or 30 species of butterflies.
Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park (1984, 1597 km²)
This National Park, an ASEAN Heritage site lies to the west of Chindwin River in Mingin Township, Sagaing. The nearest town is Yinmarbin where the Park head quarters is located.
The various forest types (Moist upper mixed deciduous forest, dry upper mixed deciduous forest, lower mixed deciduous forest, Indein forest and pine forest) host many mammals (elephant, tiger, leopard, guar, banteng, sambar, barking deer, jungle goat, mountain goat, bear, wild boar, jungle cat), 60 species of residential bird including prominent great golden hornbills and 200 species of butterflies.
This park is a wonderful place for birdwatchers and nature lovers.
Alaungdaw Kathapa Shrine located in the centre of the park is one of the most famous pagodas in the region. Hundreds of thousand of pilgrims pay homage to the pagoda annually during the dry season.
Putao (Fort hertz) Region
Putao (Fort hertz) Region in the Eastern Himalayas, you’ll find Hkakabo Razi National Park here and Pongun Razi Wildlife Sanctuary where you can indulge in adventure expeditions, white water rafting and trekking with the fantastic panorama of the snow-capped mountain ranges, as well as encounter the Kachin, Shan, Rawang and Lisu hill tribes.
Hkakabo Razi National Park
At the foothills of the Himalayas in northern Kachin State, this park has the highest summit of SE Asia (5881 metres) and is an important watershed area for Myanmar’s lifeline Ayeyarwady river. Wildlife includes rare species of takin, musk deer, blue sheep, Black barking deer plus numerous mammal species, insects, birds and butterflies. The last remaining Tarong tribe live there.
Phongun Razi Wildlife Sanctuary
In Putao District, Northern Myanmar, 95 km NW of Putao near the Indian border. At 3485 metres high it is covered with snow all year round.
The remoteness and inaccessibility of the region has helped to maintain the pristine purity of its forest and eco-system
Lumpi Marine National Park
Located in Kawthaung district, Tannintharyi, it encompasses more than 800 islands (36,260 km²). Most of the area remains unexplored. The Archipelago has incredibly diverse flora and fauna above and under water. Various mangroves, wildlife, caves, lagoons, fresh waterfalls and rivers are to be found in the forest. Perfectly designed for adventure tours.