Fishing on the Irrawaddy River
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Photo Credit: iStock / Zzvet | Fishing on the Irrawaddy River
Kyun Daw, Myanmar, Burma, Dolphin in Irrawaddy River
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Photo Credit: iStock / isuaneye | Dolphin in the Irrawaddy River

Kyun Daw, Myanmar

The sole island in the Irrawaddy River, Kyun Daw has a thriving fishing trade — and is a prosperous village as a result. It’s a quaint cluster of bamboo-thatched huts with fishermen’s nets out front and dusty roads where women plod along to the morning market carrying baskets of fresh catch.

What We Love

Elementary School Visit: Your trip to the island's one-room schoolhouse is just as much a learning lesson for you as it is for the students. They’ll sing songs for you — and you for them.

The Nunnery: Nuns are subject to rules and rituals that differ from those of monks you'll meet in other towns; you can compare and contrast their day-to-day lives as the shaved-headed, pink-robed nuns share their stories through your guide.

Best Known For

Fishing Trade: With a location straddling the Irrawaddy, Kyun Daw has established itself as an active fishing center with species such as catfish.

Irrawaddy Dolphins: Keep your eyes peeled in the waters around the island for this rare, endangered mammal, distinctive for its bulging forehead and short snout.

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Who It's Best For

The Culturally Curious: No two tours are the same. Depending on who is home that day, your local guide will spark spur-of-the-moment conversations with residents and passersby, unabashedly leading groups right through gates and front doors. You might not speak the same language, but you can sense the residents’ warmth and spirit of generosity which they share even with strangers.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

You’ll Have a Hard Time Getting Around on Your Own: Few locals speak English, and even bold travelers may feel awkward about walking into people’s homes without an invitation or a speck of the Burmese language.

Watch Where You Step: Many of the families tend animals — and unfortunately, pooper scooper laws have yet to come this way.

Lisa Cheng

Lisa Cheng is a New York-based writer for ShermansCruise who also writes for Travel + Leisure.

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