Off the beaten travel path and affectionately known as ‘Chin Hills’ to its residents, Chin State is one of Myanmar’s most under developed. Although less visited, and financially poorer than its tourist popular counterparts, ‘Chin Hills’ is so called for its rolling hills and stunning mountainous backdrop providing adventure seekers with an abundance of exciting opportunities to choose from. From hiking to climbing and more intensive trekking, this underestimated region has something to offer all levels of adventure seekers.
Home to traditional villages, carefully built in valleys of abundant rivers and amongst waterfalls, arguably the most beautiful town is Kanpatlet.
With a population of over 400,000 and many townships to explore, Chin Hills is the perfect stop for an authentic immersion into an interesting culture and to explore its opportunities for hiking, climbing and even bird watching. The perfect place to discover new bird species, stretch your legs and spot rare types of flowers and even big cats is at the impressive Victoria Mountain.
Bursting with nature and copious amounts of outdoor activities, don’t miss the impressive rice paddies at Thantlang, join pilgrims and learn about the sacred Rieh Lake and cool down after a long hike in Myanmar’s largest waterfall, Bontala Waterfall.
Bordering to the west with India, Thantlang literally means ‘famous hill’. Abundant with rice paddies ploughed by the local farmers in June and surrounded by massive rocky mountains, Thantlang holds an adventurous air and the mountains hold wonderful opportunities for rock climbs and exploration.
The villagers of Thantlang are fans of festivals, Easter Sunday and Christmas being the grandest amongst this Christian community. During the rainy season an annual football tournament sees the town come alive.
At over 1500 feet high, Bontala Waterfall is one of the region’s most impressive attractions. An adventurous hike through jungle and forest will promise to reward you with stunning views and an even better vantage point of the incredible nine tiers of waterfalls cascading downstream. The ideal spot for those wanting to cool off with some water sports post hike.
A favourite local site for hiking and trekking, the beautiful heart shaped Rieh Lake is conveniently located just 3 kilometres from Zokhawthar village and nestles among the Chin and Indian mountain ranges. Many locals claim it to be one of the most stunning, natural spots in Myanmar and is best explored by foot or by bicycle.
Rieh Lake is of significant spiritual interest and importance for the local community. Story has it that anyone who is to bathe in the lake’s freshwater, will be healed of disease. As a result, Rieh Lake sees many locals and visitors crossing the border from India to pay their respects to the lake.
Interestingly, during the winter, the lake famously turns red in colour for a couple of months.
An entry point for the beautiful national park of Natma Taung, Kanpatlet is best known for its unbelievable scenery and kind people. The mountainous area peaks at 1400 metres elevation and is popular with hikers and trekkers wishing to explore the beauty and adventure of this mountainous region and serves as the gateway to Victoria Mountain.
Natma Taung National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must see if you’re in the area. The area is home to some of the most impressive plant life and wild life in the whole of Asia and is the starting point to hike the incredible Victoria Mountain making it an adventure seekers dream.
Hiking in Kanpatlet promises abundant scenes of impressive terrace fields, rice paddies, streams and fruit trees, including mandarins, apples, mulberries and grapes. Meander through many churches and traditional huts built on stilts, marvel at the ox pulled carts, traditional dress and the local elderly communities playing nose flutes. Most people here only speak the local, traditional language and not Burmese.
Kanpatlet offers the opportunity for not only a visually stunning adventure, but also a culturally immersive experience.
A favourite amongst thrill seekers, at 9000 feet of elevation in the fabulous town of Kanpatlet and nestled in the national park of Natma Taung, you’ll find yourself at the base camp of Victoria Mountain. Surrounded by pine forests and enveloped in surrounding mountains, Victoria Mountain is the epitome of adventurous hiking and is proudly Myanmar’s third highest peak.
Enjoy the moderate day hike to the peak through beautiful yellow and red rhododendrons, orchids, wild flowers and even mushrooms. Spot wild animals and rare bird species. Wrap up warm as the weather gets cooler with ascent. Revel in a dream like atmosphere as you reach the peak, beyond the clouds and look down over the stunning Chin and Indian mountain ranges. Truly a once in a lifetime experience and an adventure not to be missed.
At the top, enjoy the wonderful view from the glittering pagoda and watch the monks go about their daily life before heading down the mountain and popping into one of the many teahouses for a well-earned Chin meal and delicious Myanmar tea.
Food and Drink
Note that most restaurants in the Chin State close on a Sunday when villagers attend church. The food here mainly consists of Chinese-Burmese influence such as curries or meat heavy, rice dishes.