Ecotourism is commonly defined as nature and culturebased tourism that fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation, and ensures benefits to the local community.
By this definition, ecotourism requires wilderness, something of which Myanmar has no shortage. The country has been identified as one of 25 hotspots of biodiversity, home to an astonishing 1017 species of birds (not including other migratory species), 300 species of mammals, 360 species of reptiles and 1014 species of butterflies. The forests are still home to tigers and wild elephants, as well as leopards, bears, deer and other large mammals.
For adventure lovers, Myanmar’s mountains are beginning to open up a whole new range of possibilities. Trekking and hill walking are already well established around Inle Lake, Kalaw and Kengtung in Shan State. Working elephant camps can be visited in teak forests not far from Mandalay and Yangon. The dormant volcano Mt Popa, easily visible from Bagan, makes an enjoyable side trip, while just across the Ayeyarwady River, Natmataung is less than a day’s drive away in southern Chin State. At 10,000 feet, it is the highest mountain in central Myanmar and is a favourite among botanists
Attention has also been turning to Myanmar’s rich and varied , which stretches for more than 1000 miles from the Bay of Bengal to the Andaman Sea.
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