Mt. Victoria in Myanmar
Are you sick of the hot weather and bustling cities while you are visiting in Myanmar? Let me give you a tip to escape from repetitive routines and enjoy your vacation at a peaceful environment. A travel to upper regions of Myanmar like Shan, Chin or Kachin State will make you feel like you are in another country. In addition, if trekking or hiking is your hobby, this will help you a bit in choosing destination in Myanmar.
Mt. Victoria with its different names, Nat ma Taung or Khaw-nu-soum is located 3053 meters (10,016 ft) above sea level. It is part of the Chin Hill surrounded by tropical and subtropical moist forests and it is home many rare species of flora and founa. It is protected within the Nat ma taung National Park which will be the start of your trekking route.
When you reach Kanpetlet, you need to find a hotel at Kanpetlet city and spend a night there. Trekking will take almost half day so it’ll be better to start trekking in the early morning. It is just a soft trekking so you won’t need heavy equipment so I just want to suggest taking your lunch box and water bottle. You will be hungry on your way but there are no restaurants or shops nearby.
The trail head is 45-minute drive away from the hotels in Kanpetlet. It can be reached from Mindat Township, too. But the road isn’t entirely complete so Kanpetlet would be a better choice.
Trekking at Mt. Victoria is a utopia for travellers who want trekking experience but not the hard one because it will take only 3 – 4 hours to reach the top and around 2 hours to come down. There are motorbikes to the top of mountain but it will be pointless even if you reach the top with the help of vehicles. And it is also dangerous.
You can go along a simple path till the top of mountain or you can choose unfamiliar route through the forest. But I won’t suggest this way without local guide because you might be lost or slip in the downhill.
Beautiful red flowers, Myanmar people call “Taung-za-lat” are one of the attractions which should be included in every photo you take in Mt. Victoria. And with the pleasant weather, the clouds surrounding the mountain seems like the sea so you will feel like walking through the sea of clouds. There are not much attractions on top of the mountain but what you will get is the feeling of completing a task.
To get to Mt. Victoria, nearby city Kanpatlet has a hotel zone where there are different types of hotels to choose from. The hotel price ranges from 30 USD to 100 USD depending on your travel date. Sky Palace, Floral Breeze are the most famous with a great view. If you don’t want to spend much on accommodation, low-priced hotels are also available.
There was difficult access to Chin State but direct buses from Yangon to Kanpetlet has been recently started and you can reach from Yangon to Kanpetlet within 15 hours.
Of course, there are alternatives but the nearest airport and train stations are located in Bagan, so you still need to take bus from Yangon to Kanpetlet.
Tamarind Lake CBT
CBT means Community Based Tourism built with the concept of sharing certain amount of profits to the village. It is especially made for travellers who want to immerse in the daily lifestyle of local people. It is like a hotel but if you book there you will a house in the village instead of a room. The lunch and dinner are provided at the big hall near the houses by the friendly villagers.
In Mindat and nearby villages, there are different ethnic tribes and some of them are full of facial tattoos with a history behind. In the ancient era of Myanmar, young women are tattooed on their face to protect their beauty so the King won’t pick them up as his wife. Now this practice is outlawed by the government and you won’t see tattoos on younger women.
Salay Town exists on the way to Kanpetlet and it is famous for its ancient monastery called “Yote Sone Kyaung”. There you can see original carvings of 19th century which is about Jataka stories (stories of Buddha past lives).
One of the UNESCO World Heritage, Bagan is on the way to Mt. Victoria. You can’t say that you have been Myanmar if you didn’t go to Bagan. One night at Bagan, another night at Tamarind Lake CBT and two nights at Kanpetlet will be the best if you have time for this.