Bagan | Mindat | Kanpetlet | Mt. Victoria
Mount Victoria (Nat Ma Taung in Burmese, or Khonuamthung in the local Chin language) is the tallest mountain in the Chin State and third tallest in Myanmar. It is 3,053m (10,016 ft) above sea level. Both Mt. Victoria and the surrounding area are part of the Nat Ma Taung National Park, an ASEAN Heritage park that covers 72,300 hectares in the Chin Hills.
Nat Ma Taung National Park, home to a variety of rare and beautiful flora and fauna and ethnic tribes known for
their tattoo-faced womenfolk. The national park biodiversity has led to it being awarded ASEAN Heritage Park status
and of Outstanding Universal Value by UNESCO.
The small town of Kanpetlet is where most eco lodges in the area can be found – although they are not in the town itself, but higher up the mountain on the road to Mount Victoria. Meeting the locals by wandering around the simple homesteads and churches of this quiet rural backwater is the best activity visitors can do in Kanpetlet itself.
Mindat, a larger town than Kanpetlet, is about four hours to its north and is set spectacularly along a mountain ridge. In Mindat and the surrounding area you will find members of the indigenous Dai, Upu and Ya tribes. The older women of these tribes sport full facial tattoos that differ in design according to their tribe (the practice is now outlawed by the central government , so you do not see tattoos on younger women).
Day 1: Bagan - Mindat
Meet and greet at the hotel. Drive to Mindat, which will take about 6 hours in a road trip over rocky and bumpy ground. Lunch on the way. We will see numerous gangs of cattle running through the crops plantations and meadows. Enjoy taking photos with the local villagers. Arrival in Mindat, which is located 4,860 feet above sea level.
Overnight at traditional style resort.
Day 2: Mindat - Kanpetlet
Morning breakfast at the resort. Visit to the market of a Chin village to see the Chin women with the tattoo on their faces, their way of live and their plantations such as tea or coffee. One may still see the Chin women who still wear
the traditional costumes, and the older ones have heavily tattooed faces and smoke tobacco pipes. Lunch at a local restaurant and afterwards, sightseeing in the city centre and local market in Mindat. Then, drive to Kanpetlet (approx. 2 h 30 min). Arrival in Kanpetlet and overnight at the resort.
Day 3: Kanpetlet - Monte Victoria - Kanpetlet
Morning breakfast at the resort. After breakfast, visit some smaller Chin Villages around the town of Kampetlet. We will find tribes such as Ngara, Yin Du, Dai, Okpu, Magan, Mwyn. All these groups speak different dialects and have different costumes. The women, mostly elder ones, have tattooed faces with very different patterns. We can count about 5 different ways of putting the tattoos on: dots, spider, lines, curls and almost black. Walking to each village take about 1 to 1 ½ hours. The Chins are mostly Christians with a variety of beliefs, from Methodists to Catholics. In every village one can see houses decorated with buffalo corns. These are from animals called Mithan, a cross between a domestic cow and a wild Gaur. Each time such an animal is slaughtered, a kind of wooden pillar decorated with all sort of ornaments is erected in front of the house. In addition a stone table, which is also used as cover for urns, is placed nearby. Some of the houses have up to 10 such pillars and in some villages the stone tables are all gathered together (like a cemetery) whereas in others they are near each home. Picnic on the way. Once finished, we will climb to the Mt. Victoria summit, taking about 3 hours. Finally, we will go down to the 10 mile camp and drive back to resort. Overnight at the resort.
Note 1: Mt. Victoria is located 10,200 feet above sea level.
Note 2:A trip to Mount Victoria must be regarded as an adventure tour because of the prevailing travel conditions: substandard accommodation with infrequent electricity supply, roads in a challenging or poor condition. Itineraries may have to be changed on the spot because of weather, transportation problems, etc. It is essential that all guests visiting Mount Victoria are fully aware of travel conditions as described above.
Note 3:Travel to Mount Victoria is recommended only during the dry season from November to end of February.
Day 4: Kanpetlet - Bagan
Morning breakfast at the resort. After breakfast, drive to Bagan (150 km) along the mountainous areas through the old quite valleys. Arrival in Bagan in the evening and transfer to the hotel.