Bay of Bengal: Chennai to Yangon


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    Join a brand-new expedition that offers the perfect mix of India’s, Bangladesh’s, and Myanmar’s cultural and natural treasures. Highlights include spending two full days exploring the UNESCO World Biosphere-designated Sundarbans Reserve Forest, and visiting the stunning Shwedagon Pagoda.

    Itinerary

    Day 1 Chennai, India  
    Arrive to Chennai and transfer to our hotel for overnight.

    Day 2 Chennai / Embark Silver Discoverer
    Enjoy a morning at leisure before a welcome brunch at the hotel. Afterward, explore this vibrant city that has been dubbed the “cultural capital of India.” Visit the 17th-century Fort St. George and the Kapaleeshwarar Temple. This afternoon, embark the newly refurbished Silver Discoverer.

    Day 3 At Sea
    Attend informative lectures on the natural history and culture of the region, or relax by the pool while cruising the world’s largest bay.

    Day 4 Puri / Balukhand Wildlife Sanctuary
    One of India’s holiest Hindu cities, Puri is home to the colossal Jagannath Temple, an important pilgrimage site. Nearby in Konark, the exquisitely carved 13th-century Sun Temple replicates a giant chariot. There will also be on opportunity to visit Balukhand Wildlife Sanctuary, a tract of coastal forest that offers refuge to spotted deer, endangered blackbucks, monkeys, monitor lizards, jackals, and mongoose, as well as many butterfly and bird species.

    Day 5 Bhitarkanika National Park / Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary
    This morning, explore along the network of rivers that weave through the mangroves of Bhitarkanika National Park. The park is home to the largest population of saltwater crocodiles in India, as well as deer, wild boars, jackals, and over 300 species of birds. The nearby Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary protects massive turtle colonies, including the world’s most important nesting area for olive ridley sea turtles which can be found in the waters offshore and on the golden-sand beaches from October to May.

    Day 6 Kolkata
    India’s second-largest city and capital of the state of West Bengal, Kolkata is a cacophony for the senses, a heady mix of colonial heritage and push toward modernity. That dichotomy is clearly evidenced during a tour of B.B.D. Bagh, once Dalhousie Square and centre of British Raj power, where the Writers Building and other stately structures lie in view of sky-high tower blocks.

    Day 7 At Sea
    Our lecture series continues as the ship sails for Bangladesh.

    Days 8 – 10 Sundarbans Reserve Forest, Bangladesh
    Sundarbans is the largest contiguous mangrove forest in the world. Not only notable for magnificent scenic beauty, this area is also renowned for its high biodiversity of flora and fauna. Board Zodiacs to explore the reserve’s mosaic of islands and labyrinthine water channels. Excursions may reveal Ganges and Irrawaddy dolphins, monkeys, estuarine crocodiles, and water monitors. A wide variety of birds can be found here, including brahminy kites, white-bellied sea eagles, lesser adjutant storks, Indian pond herons, and collared, black-capped, and stork-billed kingfishers. Get a different perspective from one of the park’s watch towers, take a walk along the extensive boardwalk, visit a crocodile hatchery, and observe fisherfolk using trained otters to chase fish into their nets.

    Day 11 Maheskhali Island / Cox’s Bazar
    Enjoy a rare look into rural Bangladeshi life on Maheskhali Island. Rickshaws and motorized tuk tuks putter through tiny Thakur Tala village; Adinath Temple, set atop its highest hill, houses saffron-robed monks and holy ponds, while a small Rakhain community produces traditional textiles at the weaving centre. Contrast this with the frantic pace of Cox’s Bazar, the area’s fishing port set upon one of the longest unbroken beaches on the planet.

    Day 12 Cox’s Bazar / St. Marin’s Island
    Close to Cox’s Bazar, Himchari National Park is home to a variety of birds and wildlife. With luck, you may even spy a few of the park’s resident wild elephants. Time permitting, visit coconut palm-fringed St. Martin’s Island for afternoon beach walks and a refreshing swim.

    Day 13 Thandwe, Myanmar
    An ancient seaport in westernmost Myanmar, Thandwe boasts a series of 8th-century stupas that hold sacred relics of the Buddha. Every type of ware is on display at the town’s market, held in the former colonial prison. The main attraction, though, is the soft white sand of four-mile-long Nagapali Beach, Myanmar’s main resort destination and the perfect perch for swimming, snorkelling, and beachcombing.

    Day 14 At Sea
    Enjoy a day at sea to attend lectures, relax, and prepare for the final days of your adventure.

    Day 15 Yangon
    Formerly known as Rangoon, Myanmar’s largest city is a mélange of wide boulevards and twisting alleyways, colonial architecture, and modern high-rises. Gold-leafed Shwedagon Pagoda, the country’s most important Buddhist site, enshrines eight hairs from the Buddha’s head beneath its 325-foot-high, diamond-encrusted spire. Not to be outshined, the smaller Sule Pagoda is equally gilded while Chauk-htat-gyi Temple showcases a 213-foot-long reclining Buddha.

    Day 16 Yangon / Disembark
    Disembark and transfer to the airport for your independent flight back home.

    Please Note: Based on the expeditionary nature of our trips, there may be ongoing enhancements to this itinerary.

    WE-2019