But what about the bucket list you never knew you had? You may have heard a bit about the amazing birdlife in the Aleutian Islands, but did you know about the extraordinary wildlife in the Russian Far East? You may be aware of that remote North Western coastline of Australia and the region known as the Kimberley, but did you know that you can snorkel with huge gentle whale sharks in Cenderawasih Bay, western Papua?
One destination so off the radar that even the expedition operators had not considered it is Bangladesh, and when I caught up with Conrad Combrink, Director of Expedition Planning at Silversea Expeditions, he wryly acknowledged that it was not the easiest sell to his bosses. In fact, he admitted, on his first investigatory trip he began to fear that it was simply not do-able. But then as he checked out the more remote regions, the villages and the mangrove forests, his vision to create one of Silversea's most exciting expeditions to date began to come together.
The result? Two captivating itineraries taking you on an
unforgettable journey. The first starts in lovely Sri Lanka, visiting
tea plantations and UNESCO world heritage sites, revealing the
history of this key trading stop-off with visitors from around the
world, exploring national parks, and learning more about the rich
local culture. Then on to the Andaman Islands with time to explore
Port Blair and Ross Island before going on to more remote unvisited
locations for the fantastic beaches and excellent snorkelling.
Sailing on through the bay of Bengal, you arrive off the coast of
Bangladesh for four days of exploration as you make history as the
first ever cruise ship to visit the country. Your wide ranging
explorations will include amazing cities and temples, but also
opportunity to come face to face with rural Bangladesh, meeting the locals and interacting with local communities, visiting wildlife sanctuaries and learning about the unique ecosystem which is the largest halophytic mangrove forest in the world. You may see wildlife including jungle cats, flying foxes, as well as some aquatic mammals, and there is the slightest chance of seeing Bengal tigers.
The second kicks off with the Bangladeshi journey before arriving in Yangon to start your exploration of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, with three days to explore the Garden City of the East. A flight to Bagan to see the extraordinary temples and pagodas is included in your fare, or alternatively a visit to Bago. Then on to the beautiful Mergui Archipelago for two days of exploration, diving and snorkelling, starting in Lampi, home to a small herd of elephants. With rainforest and a fringing coral reef, Lampi's outstanding beauty is enhanced by spotting monkeys, hornbills and sea eagles. The final day will be used to explore the beaches and water of Hastings (Za Det Nge in the local language) and the three adjacent uninhabited islands, with long white-sand beaches, clear water, birdsong and the chattering of monkeys ashore, before finally arriving in Phuket.
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