The untouched western side of Myanmar, the Chin state is renowned for its mountainous terrain, unique culture, handicrafts and warm hospitality of its people. Chin state is also known as the “Chin Hills” due to its mountainous geography that has an average elevation of 5000-8000 feet. In winter, the temperature drops to as low as 2’C and very windy.
Apple, oranges, damsons and other garden fruits are produced in large quantities and grapes are cultivated. Fruit grown in the Chin State is mostly organic.
To get the capital city, Hakha, you can either take a direct bus from Mandalay or Kalay township via Falam. Taking the bus from Kalay is highly recommended as it takes a scenic route.
The entrance gateway to Chin Hills is Mindat, Kanpetlet Township which is easily accessible by road from Bagan. Kanpetlet is only 103 miles from Bagan.
Flora and Fauna
Chin State has a wide variety of unique flora including orchids which can be seen throughout the state. Taung Zalat, also known as tree rhododendron, and pine trees are also particularly unique to this region due to its high altitude. There are also many species of birds, reptiles, and butterflies. The Mythuns, a rare species of cattle, are also a unique sight.
The capital of Chin state, this city is situated in the northern Chin Hills. It is situated over the mountains at 6200 feet above sea-level and has beautiful scenery. Due to its hilly landscape, the city has been built in a “U” shape with one main road, on which is the entire city is built along.
Located within the mountains, this tranquil town has breathtaking views. Before 1965, Falam was the capital city of Chin state. Although no longer the capital, it still retains part of its former glory. There are beautiful colonial heritage buildings to explore and a grand Baptist Church in the center of the town. It is built on the slope of a mountain range, in multiple steps. The town is quite clean and tidy.
Memorial Stone Slabs
In Chin Hills, you will see many stone slabs erected on the side of the road written in Chin Language. Chin people mark their memorable events on stone slabs.
This heart shape natural lake is renowned as one of the prettiest spots in Myanmar. Located in Falam Township between the Chin and Indian mountain ranges, this lake has significant cultural and spiritual importance for the local community. Every year locals and visitors from neighboring India visit this lake to worship and pay homage to the spirit guards of the Lake. The lake is full year round and is famous for turning red in winter, from mid-December for approximately one or two months.
Chin Women with Tattoo
Particularly unique to this region is the traditional tattoo-faced Chin women. Each ethnic group has its own pattern which distinguishes them from one another. Although the tradition of tattooing faces is disappearing, it is still prominent in the southern part of the State, particularly in Mindat and Kanpetlet.
Natmataung (Mt. Victoria)
Natmataung / Mt. Victoria / Khaw-Nau-Sone is the highest mountain in the Chin state in the western part of Myanmar. Located in Kanpetlet Township, Natmataung is part of the Chin mountain range with a height of 3053 meters above sea level. Natmataung is one of the highest peaks in Southeast Asia. The mountain is now protected within Natmataung National Park established in 1994. Its area is 279 square miles. It is also an Association of ASEAN Heritage Park and an important bird area. Visitors can trek from Kanpetlet to Natmataung National Park as it is located only 15 miles away.
How to get there
Natmataung (Mt. Victoria) is located in Kanpetlet township of southern Chin State. It is accessible by land from Pakokku and Seikpyu. It is 193 km away from Pakokku and 150 km from Seikpyu and is an 8-hours drive to Pakokku via Ayeyarwady Bridge.
A small town situates in the southern part of Chin state. It is 50 miles from Mindat located in the mountains, the view from this town is beautiful, especially during sunset. For those seeking an adventure, there is an option to climb Mt. Victoria’s summit where one can enjoy 360’ view of the Chin Hills. Most people in Kanpetlet are Chin tribe and are friendly and helpful to foreigners.
The second capital city, Matupi, is a very pleasant and beautiful city at 3560ft above sea level. For nature-lovers, there is the option of hiking and trekking into the surrounding untouched area. One can also experience the traditional lifestyle of the local community.
Mindat township is situated 4860ft above sea level. It is a mountainous region and has abundant rainfalls and natural forests. Due to its cold climate, the view of Mindat can be enjoyed under a misty blue sky. Local communities still wear traditional clothing and carry Chin baskets and knives. Many women adorn themselves with their beautiful handmade necklaces and large traditional earrings.
Bontala waterfall is the highest waterfall in Chin state. It is over 1500ft and falls over 9 levels. This is one of the most famous natural waterfalls in Myanmar and being only 16 miles from Matupi, it is a must see.
Chin Khaung (Traditional Beer)
The most famous Khaung (traditional beer) is usually made in the southern part of the Chin state, in particular, Mindat Township. Chin Khaung is made from only millet seeds. It is a sweet drink with a slightly sour taste and is said to taste somewhat like a mix of alcohol, grape juice, and lemonade.