Join the Andreas on an amazing Journeys Within cultural tour and Ray of Hope manta research expedition to one of the most diverse places on the planet!

Your Hosts

Andrea Ross and Andrea Marshall met during high school in California where they struck up a lifelong friendship as they shared a passion for adventure travel and community service. Amazingly as the girls went their separate ways they each ended up in developing countries on different continents founding exclusive companies for travel with a twist. Having never lost touch the Andreas have joined forces to offer a unique tailored holiday to the remote and pristine coastline of Myanmar. The trip marries the vision of both the Andreas offering both insights into Myanmar culture and marine conservation.

Andrea Ross moved with her husband Brandon, in 2003 to Cambodia where they started the Journeys Within Tour Company and Boutique Hotel. In the last seven years Andrea has set up offices in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar. Andrea Ross has been on the Wendy Perrin expert list for the last three years and takes her role as a regional expert seriously. She lives in Cambodia for half of the year and travels extensively through Southeast Asia to make sure the guides, drivers and hotels used by Journeys Within are up to standard. She loves to find new and unique trips, hotels and experiences for her guests. Since starting the tour company Andrea has focused on philanthropic travel and the idea that travel can change the world. Andrea is a volunteer executive director for Journeys Within Our Community (JWOC), a non-profit organization founded in 2005 by herself and Brandon. Andrea has two globetrotting children, who go everywhere Mom goes! When in the US for the summer Andrea continues to travel, speaking at clubs and schools, promoting Philanthropic Travel and fundraising for Journeys Within Our Community.

On the other side of the world in 2003, Andrea Marshall began studying manta rays along the remote coastline of southern Mozambique. Andrea was the first person in the world to complete a PhD on manta rays. After completing her thesis Andrea stayed on to spearhead the conservation efforts of this species in Mozambique, founding the Marine Megafauna Association. Her world?leading manta ray research program examines aspects of their biology, reproductive ecology, habitat use, migrations and social behaviour. Aside from dramatically increasing the level of knowledge on manta rays themselves, Andrea’s discovery of a new giant species of manta ray in 2008 was one of the largest new species to have been described by any scientist in the last 50 years.

In 2010 Andrea started Ray of Hope Expeditions, a travel company that allows her to engage with the public and fund her international research on manta rays. Her specially designed research expeditions give guests the opportunity to dive with her and learn from her vast experience of diving with manta rays, while actively participating in marine research. In the evenings, Dr. Marshall will delight participants with specially prepared talks and presentations. As an accomplished underwater photographer, Andrea will also share her knowledge of how to best photograph these majestic animals.

Your Itinerary

25 Feb 2012 Yangon-Arrival and City Tour all day
Arrive in Yangon where you will be welcomed by your local tour guide and transferred to your hotel to drop off your luggage. After lunch enjoy a tour of the city center featuring the National Museum; Chaukhtatgyi, a colossal reclining Buddha; Karaweik Hall, a Royal Barge on the Royal Lake and Bogyoke (Scott) market with hundreds of stalls selling local souvenirs. End the day at the world famous Shwedagon Pagoda, one the most venerable places of worship in Myanmar. Enjoy all the gold and gems and watch as the giant golden dome lights up as the sun sets. Join the locals who come every night to make offerings before heading back to your hotel.

Meals included: Lunch, Dinner
Overnight at The Governor’s Residence

Shwedagon Pagoda

26 Feb 2012 Yangon-Biking Through Countryside & Visit Orphanage

In the morning you will met by your guide and will be transferred to the Pansodan jetty and take pubic ferry along with your bike to Dhala. Enjoy the view of Yangon city from the river. When you arrive in Dhala (about a ten minute ferry trip), set off by bike to the clock-tower and have a walk around the local market. Continue by bike through the countryside on the roughly paved road surrounded by rice fields and villages. With your guide you will stop by local homes and visit families and converse with them openly. Arrive at the Phayagyi Mingalar Parahita Orphanage, which JWOC supports, in the early afternoon. While here, you can volunteer and help the students in their English class. The participation of native English speaking volunteers plays an extremely useful role assisting the teachers with speaking activities, providing a model for students who often have limited opportunity to hear and speak English in their everyday lives. No experience is necessary – Your ability to speak English is the only qualification you need to help. In the late afternoon return to Yangon by private air-conditioned van.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight at The Governor’s Residence

27 Feb 2012 Yangon-Bagan
In the morning catch your flight – to the ancient city of Bagan where you will spend the day exploring the city. Visit Nyaung Oo market; Shwezigon Pagoda, the prototype of later Myanmar Stupas; Kyansittha Umin; Wet-Kyi-Inn Gubyaukgyi Temple with its exquisite mural painting from the 13th century, and Htilominlo Temple.

After lunch visit a fascinating lacquer-ware workshop before continuing to Manuha Temple built by the exiled King Manuha, then to Nanphaya, said to have been the residence of King Manuha; Ananda Temple, an architectural masterpiece and Oak- Kyaung monastery decorated with multi-colored mural paintings. Enjoy the breathtaking view at sunset from a temple which you reach by horse-drawn cart.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight at Thiripyitsaya Sakura Hotel

Htilominlo Templa Bagan

28 Feb 2012 Bagan-Mandalay
Fly to Mandalay – , the last capital of the Myanmar Kingdom. On the way stop by Amarapura where you will visit Mahagandayon Monastery and watch as a thousand monks take their last meal of the day at 10am in total silence. Walk across U Bein, a 200 year old curved wooden bridge with beautiful views out over the lake and then visit a local silk weaving shop where you will learn how the Burmese silk weaving industry makes its fine cloth. In the afternoon visit the Old Palace grounds; Kuthodaw Pagoda, known as the world’s largest book for its 729 marble slabs inscribed with the Buddha’s Doctrine; Golden Palace Monastery, noted for its exquisite wood carvings; Atumashi Monastery; and Kyauktawgyi Pagoda, where a huge image is carved out of a single block of marble. At sunset enjoy the panoramic view of the city from Mandalay Hill.

29 Feb 2012 Mandalay-Inle Lake with City (Canoe)
Catch the morning flight to Heho – continue by car for about an hour (30km) to the famous Inle Lake, the residence of the Intha people who live their lives on the water. Check into your beautiful, lakeside hotel before taking a boat trip around the lake where you will see the unique method locals use to row their boats, fishermen with their own style of fishing, floating farms and gardens and a handloom weaving cottage with its own showroom. You will visit Phaungdawoo Pagoda which houses the five most revered Buddha Images in the southern Shan States and Jumping Cat Monastery, which has, as its name implies, cats that the monks have taught to jump through hoops! Late evening take a canoe ride for an hour or two, enjoying the quiet and watching the world go by on the lake.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight at Inle Lake View Resort

01 Mar 2012 Inle Lake-Indein-Yangon

Your guide will meet you in the morning and you will take a boat to Indein, a small village on the western bank of Inle Lake. To get there you pass through a channel, one of the prettiest boat rides on the lake. Once on land hike to Kyaw Ton Village where the Pa-O Tribe lives and visit a small pagoda near the village. You can visit some of the village houses to see their day to day lives. Return to your hotel the way you came, by boat, and once again enjoy the picturesque ride through the rice paddies. Check out of hotel and fly back to Yangon.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight at The Governor’s Residence

Inle Lake Myanmar

02 Mar 2012 Yangon-Kawthaung
Your guide will meet you at your hotel for your private transfer to the airport, where you will arrive in time for your onward flight. Arrive in Kawthaung where you will be met by your car and driver to transfer you to board our beautiful vessel, the Sailing Yacht Diva Andaman at 1700.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

HIgh Rock

The dive portion of the trip begins in the Mergui Archipelago, renowned for its unexplored reefs and secluded diving spots. The first dive is at High Rock, a phenomenal dive site teeming with fish life. Huge schools of blue line snapper, glassfish, gold-striped fuseliers and yellow tail barracuda obscure the reef wall from view. Barrel sponges dominate the seabed and the reef walls feature stunning orange and green cup corals. The crags of the reef are often home to Indian Ocean nurse sharks, residents of the Mergui, snoozing the day away. Parts of the wall are draped in old nets of the Mergui fishermen, which are now encrusted in corals, and have become the home of yellow tigertail seahorses, thorny seahorses, ornate ghost pipefish, frogfish and stonefish. When the currents are strong, which they can be at High Rock there’s also a chance of passing whale sharks.

The rest of the dives will be at Three Islets, a favourite site in the archipelago as there is so much to see and photograph. Of the three limestone pinnacles it is the main central rock that holds the greatest interest for divers, known as ‘In Through the Outdoor’. The islet is split in two from west to east by a canyon, where there is a chance to encounter sharks and marbled rays. The highlight here is really the amazing macro life. The rocks are drenched in colour and every nook and cranny is teeming with life from shrimps and eels to frogfish, seahorses and basket stars. Photographers could spend days here without getting tired.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

frog fish myanmar
Ma Kyone Galet

04 Mar 2012 Meeting the Moken and Giving Back
A rare visit to the Moken village at Bo Cho Island is sure to be one of the highlights of the trip. Tucked away in a secluded bay we will find the tattered camp of the Moken people, whose simple and impoverished lifestyle belies their cheerful spirit and tender nature. Fishermen by trade we will spend the morning wandering the beaches examining their boats, fishing styles, and bounty. A cultural delight and an unforgettable opportunity. During the visit to Bo Cho Island guests are welcome to participate in Thailand Dive & Sail’s SEE&SEA project currently underway there, which includes the collection of unwanted or used reading glasses for those with impaired vision and beach clean-ups. The afternoon is your choice of a mangrove river adventure, beach time, or trekking with guide on Lampi Island. Lampi Island is a large national park and its mangrove and rain forests boast a wide variety of nature including sea otters, monkeys, snakes, deer and elephants. To round off this day of adventure guests can choose surfing or paddling at north of Lampi Island. Set against a dramatic background, activities will continue until sunset.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

05 Mar 2012 Diving Black Rock
We find ourselves back in the water on the 5th at Black Rock. Rated as one of Andrea Marshall’s top 10 dive sites in the world, this unassuming rock in the middle of the ocean is not one to miss. Manta rays are the stars of the show but there are often sightings of reef sharks and other types of rays as well. Early in 2011 the Queen of the Mantas made history satellite tagging the first giant mantas in Asian history! These pelagic rays can reach a 7m wing span, with bold markings on their backs and incredible patterns on their undersides they have an elegance and grace that is mind blowing.

While Black Rock is known for its sheer walls, drop offs and large fish life, including schools of barracuda and trevally, the other half of the rock is shallow, covered in a vast carpet of purple anemones, vibrant soft coral and macro life ranging from nudibranchs and shrimps to crabs and cuttlefish. For those wanting to stay above the surface, the dingy can take you to some great fishing spots where guests can try their hand at catching dinner or those who fancy something more active, try to circumnavigate the island on a paddleboard. This sport is challenging at the best of times but guests will be rewarded with unforgettable views and a great workout! In the evening enjoy a seafood barbecue of the day’s catch as the boat departs on the long cruise to the Burma Banks.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
While Black rock is

Giant Manta in Myanmar

06 Mar 2012 The Burma Banks
After an overnight sail, we find ourselves miles out to sea at the famed Burma Banks. These are true oceanic reefs rising from the depths of the Andaman Sea to between 30m to 12m of the surface. Throughout the day we will be diving three dive sites: Rainbow Reef, Big Bank and Silvertip Bank. These reefs consist of massive coral colonies and steep sided sandbanks that sheer off into the blue abyss. Tawny nurse sharks abound. These harmless sharks are often found lazing under overhangs or patrolling the reef top. This will surely be the most ‘sharky’ of our dives but you will also often see large schools of barracuda, snapper and jacks. Amongst some of the most pristine corals in the Andaman Sea there is a vast variety of colourful reef fish, impressive honeycomb moray eels and huge gorgonian seafans. The currents can be strong and unpredictable at the Burma Banks and divers are suggested to bring reef hooks and surface marker buoys as part of their equipment.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

07 Mar 2012 Diving Western Rocky and Crossing the Border

n the morning we reach Western Rocky which consists of a sloping reef, great wall diving and several surrounding pinnacles. We will start the day at Crayfish Cave, to wet your appetite, an expansive limestone cave system with a long swim-through that cuts through the middle on the entire rock and an impressive archway. The topography of this site makes it a real spectacle. The highlights of the dive are the entrance, exploration and exit of this extensive cave. Photographers will love this spot so keep your eyes peeled for camouflaged pipefish, frogfish and dazzling harlequin shrimp. Our second dive will be at Eagles Nest which consists of four steep pinnacles that break the surface, huge sea fans, expansive canyons and large overhangs. The site is known for a variety of sharks and rays that visit these vast pinna- cles including every photographers dream, the leopard shark. Rainbow runners, neon fusiliers, cuttlefish and shrimps create a myriad of colours. This is really a beautiful bright and vibrant reef with spectacular opportunities for photographers. On the surface look out for the pair of sea eagles nest on one of the larger pinnacles. Boat heads back to Kaw Thuang (border post).

Diving at Western Rocky

In the afternoon guests are given shore leave to explore the bustling, border town while the boat clears immigration. Take the winding walk up to the temple for more culture and fantastic views, shop in the noisy market for sou- venirs or snacks, or relax at the bar while enjoying a cold local beer. Boat departs for Richelieu Rock

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

08 Mar 2012 Richelieu Rock
What can one say about Richelieu Rock? It is rated one of the world’s great dives – a vast coral mountain located south east of the Surin National Park. Our first two dives of the day will be spent at Richelieu Rock. Exposed only at low tide, the rock falls away in a series of ridges and canyons to the seafloor below. Dived and named by Jacques Cousteau himself, this is not a dive site to be missed. It is never the same site twice and guests will be spellbound by the life and the colours of this famous reef. This site has it all including regular sightings of manta rays and whale sharks as well as schools of barracuda, rainbow runner, jacks and tuna. The south-western portion of the rock has a slightly shallower aspect covered with lovely green anemones, porcelain crabs and shrimps, jewel-coloured nudibranchs, flatworms, stonefish, striped hingebeak shrimps, pipefish, seahorses and harlequin shrimp.

Our third dive will at Koh Tachai Pinnacle. This is one of the finer dive sites Thailand has to offer with an underwater plateau teeming with marine life and coral, including amazing gorgonian sea fans and crinoids. The pinnacles are always home to large schools of fish due to the currents which can be strong at this spot. Often spotted are sea snakes, crabs, queen and clown triggerfish. As well as the plentiful regular reef inhabitants there is always the chance of spotting something larger in the waters here such as manta rays, leopard sharks and turtles. When the currents are slack marvel at the myriad of colours that surround. When the currents are strong expect some action and keep your eyes peeled as whale sharks have been known to make occasional visits too!

Our day will end with a night dive at one of Thailand’s best night dive locations. Koh Bon’s Wall comes to life after the sun has set. Colourful red and purple algae provide the backdrop on the jagged limestone rock, where you will find numerous species of shrimp, lobsters and crabs. There are plenty of nudibranchs too including beautiful Spanish dancers and strange sponge snails.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

whale shark myanmar

09 Mar 2012 Diving Thailand’s Best!
Thailand’s perimeter manta ray spot– Koh Bon! The reef here takes the form of small wall-like sections which drop sharply to 40m reaching gently sloping sand. While the reef has taken its toll in recent years from over fishing, coral bleaching and human traffic, this still is an amazing spot. The wall sections are covered with a mixture of sea anemones encrusting sponges and sea whips. Concealed within the narrow rocky gorges and crevices are octopus, cuttlefish, and coral groupers. This is the most heavily frequented reef for giant manta rays, these large majestic creatures making pit stops to be cleaned in the shallow waters.

nudibranc boonsung wreck

The final dive of the trip will be to Boonsung Wreck. This 60 meter marine tin ore processing vessel came to rest 20 meters below the surface in 1984 and has since attracted a wealth of marine life and soft coral. This inshore wreck is packed with schools of fish, including yellow snapper, trevally, barracuda and batfish so dense you’ll have trouble spotting it on descent. On the wreck itself are lionfish, scorpionfish, moray eels, stingrays and numerous types of nudibranchs. Penetration is not possible due to the age of the wreck and the amount of coral growth on it. The wreck no longer retains its original form after the 2004 Tsunami which scattered the wreck over a large area thus making for a larger area to dive.

Boat returns to Tap Lamu, transfers to Phuket Airport for onward flights.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch


Tour Rate: $ 6,840 per person for 12 travelers sharing double or twin rooms. Single supplement on request.

Price includes:
• Liveaboard tickets as specified above
• Accommodation as specified above
• Air-conditioned car/van with driver
• Licensed English speaking guides
• Tours and admission fees as mentioned above
• Meals as specified in itinerary, including water

Price excludes:
• Personal expenses
• Visa fees
• Airport tax
• Drinks (except water) and meals not mentioned in itinerary Tips


30% deposit required to hold your space