When you mention the often forgotten Chin State, many people in Myanmar will think of Mount Victoria. It is the most visited place in the region and easily the highest point as well. Delve a bit deeper though and Chin State has plenty more to offer. Getting there isn’t easy and it’s often impossible in the rainy season (May to October), when some roads are simply washed away by the rain. But for those who do manage to make it, the reviews speak for themselves.
The Famous Tattooed Ladies
As many as 30 tribes live in Chin state and some of these tribes used to have a tradition of tattooing faces of their women. Coming to Mindat, you’ll meet these ladies everywhere. Some are shy, some would boldly ask for money if you’d like to take their picture and some would be flattered and invite you to their homes. Back in the day, women could marry only within their tribes and the tattoos served as a mark for life. For health reasons it was later prohibited and the youngest tattooed lady is now 40, meaning that this tradition is slowly dying out.
Off the Beaten Track
Trekking in the hills surrounding Mindat is an unparalleled experience: breathtaking views, turquoise blue rivers, rickety bridges and undiscovered hiking trails. In the winter months, it gets unexpectedly cold and having a hat, gloves and warm jumper is a necessity. We will meet locals throughout your journey here, who will happily show off their humble homes. Many villages around Mindat are accessible by a simple car or motorbike journey through a labyrinth of trails.
Smiles Everywhere You Go
Chin people are one of the friendliest people you'll likely to meet in Myanmar. Despite the harsh life in the mountains, Chin people are considerate and care for each other. They will always strike up a conversation with you or smile back as you pass by their villages. If you're staying for a couple of days, then you'll almost certainly find time to have a barbecue underneath the stars with the locals, while sipping some of the local spirits.
The Final Word
For those that have the time, the energy and the will to travel to Chin State, we really can't recommend it enough. From the smiling faces, to the incredible hospitality and the amazing views, there's so much to like about this often forgotten state, that will leave you with memories that you'll cherish for a lifetime.