Our journey to Hsithe will take us north past Mandalay Hill. Passing through agricultural land, you drive through many villages, where you can see the daily life of rural Myanmar. The road passes to the east of the famous Marble Mountains, where the raw material for the marble carvers of Amarapura is quarried. At 14:00 PM we arrive at Singu, an attractive small town on the left bank of the Ayeyarwady River. Here you will be met by the village boat from Hsithe ( 30 minute downstream).
The boat trip is a great opportunity to observe wildlife, particularly water birds such as Ruddy shelduck, Chinese spot-billed duck, Asian open bill and many Black kites , ospreys and Cormorants etc (most birds are migratory and the best time to see them is late November-late March). We arrive in Hsithe around sunset, in time for light refreshment in the Visitor Centre and watch the sun goes down behind the mountain ranges in the west. The view is superb, the mighty Ayeyarwady River in the foreground and the sky turning from golden to crimson and purple and finally black. The Visitor’s centre and the Eco Lodge are both attractive buildings positioned on the east bank of the river with panoramic views. Often dolphins can be observed, feeding in the waters opposite.
Dinner is served and enjoy a leisurely evening looking up at the twinkling stars above in the clear sky.
Next morning, wake up to the sound of the wooden drum from the village monastery. Have breakfast at the Visitor’s centre. If you are early, you will see the village monks do their morning alms round, going around the village and the villagers come out to offer their offerings, like they have been doing for centuries. Later learn to be a fisherman/woman! The training lasts one hour but is great fun. First you will be shown how to cast a net and then it is your turn!! Using a light net, especially designed for the purpose, you will have two or three trial throws on ground adjacent to the centre. Then you go by fishing boat to shallow waters and practice your skills. Young or old, male and female, this is something you will enjoy and remember. Lunch is taken in the visitor centre. After lunch, you will have time to look round the many information boards that explain about life in the village: the fishing, farming and the local wildlife, especially the Irrawaddy River dolphin.
It is also an opportunity to buy locally made handicrafts in the visitor centre shop. In the afternoon, you will go for a tour of the village, which will be led by one of the villagers.
You can observe local village life in all its fascinating forms – the architecture, the people, the animals, the activities and the monasteries. It is a village of bullock carts, smiling children, and of communities going about their daily life – life which is little changed over the centuries. But sadly, it is now time for you to leave this timeless idyll. After lunch and free time for you to discover the rural life of the village on your own travel by boat upriver to Singu. The water birds look particularly beautiful in the evening twilight. It would be a great photo opportunity for both non-birders and birders alike as the birds come home to roost in the tall trees way beyond the blue mountains in the East. You depart Singu at 16.15 pm and our delivered back to your hotel in Mandalay by about 18.30 latest.