Friday, August 14, 2020

Chin state

Wild, mountainous and remote Chin State is Myanmar’s poorest and least-developed state located in western Myanmar. It is bordered by Rakhine State in the south, Bangladesh in the south-west, Sagaing Division and Magway Division in the east, the Indian state of Manipur in the north and the Indian state of Mizoram west. Chin is sparsely populated and lacking in infrastructure with few transportation links.

Chin State is a state of Myanmar and its capital is Hakhar. There are 14 townships in the Chin State: Falam, Teddim, Tonzang, Cikha, Rihkhawdar, Hakha, Thantlang,  Matupi, Paletwa, Rezua, Samee, Lailenpi, Mindat, and Kanpalet. Among them, the capital of the state is Hakha. Majority is Christian. This Mountainair people are very humble, honest, and faithful. They have mainly buffalo, ox in their cattle field. Their main popular dry meat is beef. They made their clothes by hand and nowadays, Chin traditional handmade clothes souvenir are very much saleable among Myanmar tourists. Chin state has two well-known mountains that are attracting visitors. One is located at Southern Chin state, named Mount Victoria (Nat-Ma-Taung), the state’s highest peak and the other is Mount Zihmuh, located between Hakha and Falam. They also have a very beautiful Heart Shape lake, called Rih Lake. Don't expect much in the way of comfort here. Instead, revel in a land that looks like it's barely been touched by human hands.

Climate

When to go to Chin state

The rainy season in Chin State lasts longer than elsewhere in Myanmar. In the rainy season (running from May to October), landslides block muddy roads, the mountains are obscured by cloud and mist, and our journey times get much longer. The summers are short, warm, and partly cloudy and the winters are short, cool, dry, and mostly clear. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 40°F to 84°F and is rarely below 35°F or above 90°F. The best time to visit Chin is between November and March. For general outdoor tourist activities or warm-weather activities, the best time of year to visit is from late March to mid May, and for hot-weather activities is from early April to late May.

Getting there and getting around in Chin State

There are no airports in Chin State, though one is being built near Falam. There is a railway linking Kalaymyo and Gangaw, both just over the border from Chin State, in Sagaing, and Magway regions respectively. You can also go to Chin by bus or minivans though roads are largely unsealed and in poor condition. In rainy season (May to October), journey times get much longer. No public transport runs on Sunday. If you are feeling adventurous, you can travel by motorbikes. Permits are no longer required for foreigners to travel in Chin State, although roads can be very bumpy. You can hire motorbikes both in Kalaymyo or Mandalay while there may also be motorbike taxis in each town. You can also ask the guest house for help.

Things to do in Chin State

  •       Trekking/Hiking
  •       See the untouched flora and fauna
  •       Observe their interesting culture and traditions
  •       Taste the authentic Chin traditional beer a.k.a ‘Khaung’

Trekking / Hiking

With the lush environment wherever your head turns, Chin State really is a good destination for activities like trekking and hiking. The natural beauty of the untouched surrounding with huge mountains and hills sure will add more to your liking if you are one of the adventurous people like me.

See the untouched flora and fauna

Not only being the untouched western side of Myanmar but also Chin State has a wide variety of unique flora including orchids. Taung Zalat, also known as tree rhododendron, and pine trees are also particularly unique to this region due to its high altitude. Plus, the fruit grown in the Chin State is mostly organic. Apples, oranges, damsons and other garden fruits are in large quantities and the locals also cultivate grapes. There are also many species of birds, reptiles and butterflies. The Mythuns, a rare species of cattle, are also a unique sight.

Observe the interesting culture and traditions

  • Payae (Payel) Facial Tattoo - People in Chin Hills used to have the custom of tattooing (Payae) the face of the women. Nobody is really sure how the custom became established, but a legend was that hundreds of years ago, Burmese kings and nobles used to come to Chin Hills and hunt for the beautiful Chin girls, as the fame of their beauty reached the court of Burma. To avoid their women being captured by the Burmese, they had no way but to destroy this beauty. They did it by tattooing the face of young girls. Although nobody could authenticate the validity of this story, many Chin girls, especially those from the North are indeed very beautiful. Although the tradition of tattooing faces is disappearing, it is still prominent in the Southern part of the State, particularly in Mindat and Kanpetlet.
  • Chin Head Basket - We have in Chin Hills something we call ‘Chin head basket’. It is a kind of basket that you carry by hanging around your head with a string. You don’t carry it by hand. The basket is quite a large one, big enough to carry a 5 gallon water container. And people, even young women and children, carry them by a string hung over their head. It is somehow a tiring thing to do so. For the Chin people, they have been carrying for almost their whole life so seem to have no problem carrying a heavy head basket over their head.
  • Taste the authentic Chin traditional beer a.k.a ‘Khaung’ -  ‘Khaung’ is a kind of alcoholic beverage made locally in some parts of Myanmar, mostly among ethnic people. There are various kinds of ‘Khaung’ produced locally but most widely known are  a big load since they were youKachin and Chin ‘Khaungs’. In Chin state, the most famous ‘Khaungs’  is made in Southern Chin State, mainly in Mindat Township. In contrast to ‘Khaungs’  from other ethnic people, Chin ‘Khaungs’  is made from millet seeds, not rice or sticky rice. Every family in Mindat grows millet seeds in their farms solely for the purpose of making khaung. The taste of Chin khaung is sweet, and a bit sour. It tastes somewhat like a mix of alcohol, grape fruit juice and lemonade. Khaung plays a very important part in Chin culture. If you are offered a cup of khaung in Chin Hills, don’t refuse under any circumstances. You are considered a guest of honor and refusal of the offer will be considered rude.

Chin Hills

Highlights - Difficult to reach and out of bound for most foreigners, Chin Hills region will present the rare visitors. However, Chin Hills region is still the most preserved, most original, and most beautiful place with natural beauty and plenty of cultural heritages in Myanmar.

Falam

Falam is charming little town built on the slope of a mountain range, in multiple steps. Falam has a spectacular landscape and setting with some British remnants still visible at every wards.  The town is quite clean and tidy. The roads leading to Falam are very scenic and perfect for jeep tours and motorcycle tours. Girls from Falam are famous for their beauty, claimed to be the most beautiful in the whole Chin State.

Places to visit

Yanpaymanpay Paya

This temple with a golden stupa (zedi) and a sitting white-faced Buddha surrounded by five disciples looms over Falam from almost the highest point of the town. There are heavenly views across the countryside from here. 

Falam Baptist Church

It's not very old, dating back only to 1983, but this is possibly the largest church in Chin State. It's worth checking it out on a Sunday, when it's packed and the sound of the congregation singing hymns can be heard throughout the centre of town.

Zing Hmuh Mountain

This mountain, the third highest peak in Chin State, is just an hour drive from Falam. You can enjoy your day by hiking around the mountain and viewing the nature beauty of the green Chin Land which it is famous for.

Accommodation

  1. Moon Guesthouse

Location: Main Road, Falam

  1. Holy Guest House

Location: No. (B-215), Bogyoke Road

Phone: +95 70 40083, +95 9 400305703

Eating and Drinking in Falam

  1. Tuangzalat Family Restaurant

Location: Falam Road, Falam
Coordinate: 22.8437986, 93.5459745
Phone: +95 9 979 222667

  1. Maw Shan

Location: Falam
Coordinate: 22.9134266, 93.6778738

  1. YoYoLay

Location: Falam
Coordinate: 22.9143212, 93.6776777

  1. U Than Mg

Location: Falam
Coordinate: 22.91127404, 93.6784297
Phone: +95 70 40 098

  1. Chin Fried Chicken

Location: Falam Road, Falam
Coordinate: 22.921231, 93.686503

  1. Htin Shu Myaing

Location: Falam

Coordinate: 22.4734584, 93.8101812

  1. Moon Guesthouse

Location: Main Road, Falam

  1. Holy Guesthouse

Location: No. (B-215), Bogyoke Road
Phone: +95 70 40083, +95 9 400305703

Tedim

This part of northern Chin State is even less visited than the regions further south, despite the fact that the area around Tiddim is home to Kennedy Peak, Chin State’s second-highest mountain. Tedim is also known as Teddim or Tiddim. The town itself is small and scrappy with many churches although some nearby villages are still animist. And like the rest part of Chin State, here you can also see stunning countryside that is ripe for exploration.

Places to visit in Tedim

Siang Sawn

Inhabitants of Siang Sawn welcome visitors and if you are travelling with an English-speaking guide, it's worth a visit. You'll be taken to a model traditional home and shown how people lived several generations ago, the building that functions as a prayer hall and meeting room, and a tiny 'museum' with three displays showing how the dress and tools of the people have evolved. Plus, a fairly modern-looking clock tower chimes every hour.

Kennedy Peak

Kennedy Peak is 8,868ft high, making it Chin State's second-highest mountain. The site of a battle between the British and Japanese in WWII, the peak is yet untouched by tourism, so there are no known hiking routes to its hilltop. Instead, a rough road leads to the peak from Sozang village. The hike up will be an easy couple of hours and the views are great along the way.

Accommodation

  1. Ciimnuai guesthouse

Location: No.70, Tedim Road, Myoma ward, Tedim
Phone: +9570 50037

2.Tedim Guest House

Location: Tedim
Phone: 09 767 563907

  1. Cherry guest house

Location: Tedim
Phone: +9570 50234

Eating and Drinking in Tedim

  1. Asian Restaurant Tedim

Location: Tedim Road, Tedim
Phone: 09 258 042 401

  1. Happy

Location: Tedim Road, Tedim

  1. Mangala Restaurant

Location: Kan Hau Road, Tedim

  1. Tongsan Coffee Shop

Location: Tedim Road, Tedim

  1. Lois Café

Location: Kam Hau Road, Tedim

Rihkhawdar

Rihkhawdar is a small but hectic border town and the gateway to mystical Rih Lake. Being the Myanmar-India border separated from Mizoram State in India by a 100yd-long bridge, Rihkhawdar sees trucks from India and Myanmar move in both directions carrying cargo, while the shops here are full of Indian goods and the Indian rupee is as much the currency as the Myanmar kyat.

Place to visit in Rihkhawdar

Rih Lake

Rih Lake is a well-known place of Chin State. This small, heart-shaped natural lake is renowned as one of the prettiest spots in Myanmar. The water in Rih Lake shines a deep blue and the lake is surrounded by rice paddies and forested hills. It has significant cultural and huge spiritual importance for the Mizo people, who inhabit both sides of the nearby Myanmar–India border. Every locals and visitors from neighboring India visit this lake to worship and pay homage to the spirit guards of the Lake. This Lake is also famous for turning red in water from mid-December for approximately one or two months.

Accommodation

  1. Rih Shwe Pyi Guest House

Location: Khawmawi
Phone: +91 94444 77153, 09 647 2400

  1. Rih Pyitaungsu Guest House

Location: Rih Lake, Zokhawthar
Phone: 09 250 809 955

Eating and Drinking in Rihkhawdar

  1. Rih Lake Restaurant

Location: Rih Lake
Phone: 09 45994 3819

  1. HT & Family

Location: Khawmawi
Phone: +91 94590 21607

Hakha

Hakha is the capital and largest city of Chin State, is situated in the Northern Chin State in western Myanmar. Hakha is built on the slope of a large mountain, in U shape. As the city is located on the side of a mountain, the scenery is very beautiful. On one side of the city is a large mountain shadowing the city, while on the other side is a range of mountains running miles after miles. There are many beautiful pine trees around the city and many red rhododendrons on Mount Rung that make Hakha even more beautiful. Cherry flowers blossom in the winter.

Places to visit in Hakha

Viewpoint

Above Hakha, there is a viewpoint from which you can see the entire city and the surrounding mountains. For most beautiful scenery, take in the vista at sunrise or sunset. The viewpoint can be found just off the road to Gangaw, and is a long walk or short taxi/motorbike ride from the town center.

Hakha Baptist Church

Hakha Baptist Church is one of the oldest churches in Chin State. Being built in 1908 and funded by American missionaries, it was extensively rebuilt in the early 1960s. With its fine stone steeple and red roof, this is the most distinctive and historic of Hakha's many churches. It's about 400yd downhill from the football stadium.

Timit Stream

The Timit stream is a stream with clean and fresh water, which is what the natives called ‘A Breezy Valley’. Timit is a place where the natives usually go fishing with their friends and families or for picnic. 

Main Market

While in Hakha, don’t forget to visit the main market. Although it’s small in size, there are a lot of chin traditional clothes and bags that are made by hand for quite a long time. They are quite cheap for their good quality and beautiful design.

Accommodation

  1. Rung Guesthouse

Location: Bogyoke Road, Hakha

  1. Grace Guest House

Location: Bogyoke Road, Pyidawtha Ward
Phone: +95 70 22098, 21301, +95 9 2450019

  1. Cherry Guest House

Location: 112, Bogyoke Road, Near Clock tower
Phone: +95 9 662064, +95 9 33502511

Eating and Drinking in Hakha

  1. Dream Food House

Location: Bogyoke Road, Hakha
Coordinate: 22.6550341, 93.5867216
Phone: +95 9 45677 4036

  1. Blazon

Location: Hakha
Coordinate: 22.6414737, 93.606457

  1. Hakha Kitchen

Coordinate: 22.6424908, 98.6087825
Phone: +95 70 22 133

  1. Chin Taung Taan

Location: Matupi Road, Hakha
Coordinate: 22.6421835, 93.6096066

  1. Ah Nyar Thar Restaurant

Location: Hakha
Coordinate: 22.6430558, 93.6103218

  1. Daw Thein

Location: Pyidawta Raod, Hakha
Coordinate: 22.6440698, 93.6144533
Phone: +95 70 22 025

  1. Shwe Myo Daw

Location: Hakha
Coordinate: 22.6430462, 93.6120792

Matupi 

The second capital city, Matupi, is a very pleasant and beautiful city that is covered with high hills and deep valleys. For nature- lovers, there is the option of hiking and trekking into the surrounding untouched area. The main attraction for Matupi is the impressive virgin forests and environments of the town. One can also experience the traditional lifestyle of the local community.

Places to visit in Matupi

Bontala Waterfall

Bontala Waterfall is the highest waterfall in Chin State. It is over 1500 ft 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.

Accommodation

  1. Netvilla Motel

Location: Matupi
Phone: 09 762 889065

  1. MANDY Guest House

Location: Paletwa Street, Matupi
Phone: 09 764 014011

  1. GRACE Guest House

Location: Bogyoke Street, Matupi
Phone: 070 80 048

Eating and Drinking in Matupi

  1. Myanmar Rice Food Restaurant

Location: Bogyoke Street, Matupi

  1. Sabuti Shop

Location: Paletwa Street, Matupi
Phone: 09 786 491182

  1. Morning Sar Phwe Sone

Location: Matupi
Phone: 09 792 147037

Mindat

If you ever want to visit Chin Hills, Mindat is the most convenient and easiest to reach town in Chin Hills. Situated in southern part of Chin Hills, Mindat is a small but peaceful and beautiful town. As soon as you reach Mindat, you will notice immediately how beautiful the town is. The town is built along the top of a mountain range that runs east and west, so practically, Mindat is a long line of houses built along the main road with some small side roads fanning out here and there. Tall pine trees line the approaching road while distant mountains shadows the town. Then you see the small, beautiful wooden houses with scenic backdrop along the main road. It’s a stunning setting and Mindat is a jumping-off point for treks to the surrounding traditional hill villages and Mt. Victoria.

Places to visit in Mindat

Chin Antiques and Cultural Exhibition Centre

This fascinating and tiny house museum exhibits the diverse array of artifacts: animal skulls, enormous plug earrings, bamboo string instruments, jewellery, homemade guns, fossilised elephant teeth and clay, stone, silver and bronze objects dated to more than 1000 years of age. Donations are appreciated. For the convenience of the tourists and visitors near future, the owner hopes to expand the space into a more conventional museum with exhibits and descriptions in English. 

Taung Pulu Monastery

The steps to the top of this monastery, offering the best mountain views, especially at sunset, are lined with standing Buddha statues. You can make donation for the monastic school for the local poor children opened at the monastery and operated by the abbot. These children really need your help.

Sanminedidisiy Paya

Climb the steep steps to this small golden zedi (stupa) perched above Mindat for some awesome views over the surrounding area that will probably make you worth a climb.

Accommodation

  1. Hotel Mindat

Location: No.82, East Quarter, Mindat
Phone: 09 4312 5646

  1. Monica Guest House (Se Naing Family Guest House)

Location: Mindat-Pakokku Road, Mindat
Phone: 070 70149

  1. Mo & Pi Guesthouse

Location: Mindat-Pakokku Road, Mindat
Phone: 09 44200 2813

  1. Mountain Oasis (Ecolodges) Resort

Location: Mindat-Pauk Road, Mindat

  1. Tun Guesthouse

Location: Mindat
Phone: 070 70166, 09 4717 0090

Eating and Drinking in Mindat

  1. Myaing

Location: Mindat-Matupi Road, Mindat
Phone: +95 9 42508 6667

  1. Restaurant Gringos

Location: Mindat-Matupi Road, Mindat
Phone: +95 9 44407 7104

  1. Emperial Resort Hotel

Location: Mindat

  1. Myoma Restaurant

Location: Mindat
Phone: +95 70 70 363

KanPetlet

Talking about Chin Hills would not be complete without Kanpetlet. For me, Kanpetlet is the most beautiful town in Chin Hills. The town itself is a very quiet and lovely town though it is very poor. It is built on the slope of the mountain, with large mountains overshadowing the little town. From Kanpetlet, the view to the mainland Burma is very beautiful, especially before sunset. When the weather is fine, you can see up to Irrawaddy River. This is the most fantastic view. Kanpetlet is still unspoiled by the modern world. So this is also a very nice place to do trekking and a very good place to observe the Chin traditional way of life. Moreover, there is one major tourist attraction near Kanpetlet. This is Mount Victoria and the Wild Life Reserved.

Places to visit in Kanpetlet

Mount Victoria (Nat Ma Taung)

Situated in the area of Kanpetlet Township, stunning Mount Victoria, otherwise known as Nat Ma Taung in Burmese and Khaw-nu-soum or Khonuamthung in Chin, is the highest mountain in the Chin State and third tallest in Myanmar. With the height of over 10,000 feet, it is also where hundreds of species of flowers, plants, insects and animals live. The surrounding areas are part of the Nat Ma Taung National Park, which is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Myanmar, an important bird area and an ASEAN Heritage park that covers 72,300 hectares in the Chin Hills. Mt Victoria is not accessible during the rainy season (mid-May to mid-October). It’s such a wonderful place to relax and reconnect with nature.

Accommodation

  1. Sky Palace Villa

Location: Nat Ma Taung, Kanpetlet

  1. The Floral Breeze Hotel

Location: Near Nat Ma Taung National Park, Kanpetlet

  1. Win Unity Hotel

Location: No.118, Myoma 2 Quarter, Kanpetlet

  1. Mountain View Hill Resort

Location: Mt. Victoria Street, 10 miles Quarter, Kanpetlet 11111
Phone: 09 259 045 061

  1. Pine Wood Villa

Location: Kanpetlet
Phone: 09 896 565584

Eating and Drinking in Kanpetlet

  1. Khaw Nu Soum Restaurant
  2. May Myo Restaurant
  3. Kan Pearl Traditional Chin Restaurant

Articles about Chin State

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