Travelling to Chin State
It is an extremely mountainous area and is one of the many parts of Myanmar (Burma) that is authentically traditional in its towns and villages.
In addition to the native Chin people, the mountains offer shelter to many different ethnic minorities, mainly hill tribes. That means there is no common language in the region. The most commonly spoken language is Lai.
One thing you should see during your visit is the local custom of tattooing the faces of local women. This is dying out in the northern part of Chin State, though you may be lucky enough to glimpse a few older ladies with tattoos. It is still relatively common in the southern part of the region.
Near the Indian border, you can find one of the most attractive lakes in Myanmar, the “Reed.” Despite the plain-sounding name, it is a heart shaped body of extraordinarily pure water.
Hakhar is the capital of Chin State in Myanmar. The city is 6120 ft above sea level and it lies at the foot of Rungtlang (Mount Rung), which is about 7543 ft high, and is one of the most famous and beautiful mountain peaks in the Chin State.
January is the coldest month of the year with a mean temperature of around 27 degrees Celsius. April is the hottest month at a mean of 36 degrees. The total rainfall is about 86.22 inches every year. The total area of Hakhar is about 12.50 sq miles. Hakhar is in the center of Chin State and it is connected with Thantlang, Falam, Gangaw and Matupi by truck roads. Hakhar was founded in around A.D 1400 by the Laimi ethnic group. There were only 30 houses at that time and the area was ruled by local chiefs for many generations. After the second World War, Hakhar became an important city as the headquarter for one of the sis subdivisions in the Chin Special Division and Falam was the capital in that time. The Chin Special division was abolished and formed the Chin State in 1974 and Hakhar became the capital for the Chin State. That brought an influx of government workers, housing development and extension of the city limits. Hakhar eventually became the largest city in the Chin State with about 20,000 people.
It lies at the confluence of Neyinzaya and Myittha Rivers in Kalemyo, Chin State. It was one of the 84,000 pagodas sponsored by King ThiriDhammaThawka as- it was built under the reign of (wing Landapala in Sakarit 225 enshrining the relics sent by King ThiriDhammaThawka. It is over 300 years older than the city of Kale as the city was built on the 5th waning moon day of Tabodwe, KawzaSakarit 328. In Sakarit 450, King AlaungSithu of Bagan got to the venue of the pagoda and had it repaired while the barge was at rest. The pagoda has been repaired successively by lay people and it is now standing in full splendour.
Heart-Shaped Reed Lake: The Heart of Chin State
Reed Lake is considered the heart of the picturesque Chin State and, as a matter of fact, the body of water viewed from above resembles a heart.
Situated between Chin and Indian mountain ranges, Reed Lake is 2,800 feet above sea level and has a 3-mile circumference.
The lake is full all year round and turns a reddish color in December every year. An attempt to drain it was made during the British colonial period, but all the diggers were killed by an unknown plague! Chin people believe that all spirits have to pass through the lake and it was these spirits who disapproved of the attempt to dry it up.
Indeed the lake holds such significance as far as faith and traditions are concerned that the locals, and even people from India, believe that their ancestors’ souls are alive in the lake and go to pray there.
Reed Lake used to rarely be visited by anyone from outside the region. However, some travel agents are taking an interest in the area and the growing desire of tourists to explore the remote region. Subsequently, bus rides to the lake are now available from Yangon.
Natma-Taung National Park & Mt Victoria
The 3,053-meter-high Natma-Tuang (formerly Mount Victoria) is a sky island where the flora and fauna at its upper elevations are dramatically different.
A diverse range of wildlife can be found within the thenational park, including some of Southeast Asia’s big cats, leopards, bears, and wild boar. The endangered Indochinese tiger has been spotted within the forests around Natma-Tuang. Guided treks through the national park take between four to six days, and usually begin with a ride out from Bagan by jeep. For those worried about being pursued by the region’s predatory cats, rest assured that each night will be spent in a village or a hiking lodge so there is no need to sleep with one eye open.
While Natma-Tuang isn’t snow-capped, temperatures range from being comfortably cool during the day to somewhat chilly at night, so you might do well to pack a sweater. On the way back to Bagan, don’t forget to stop by the nearby PonTaung and PonNyar regions, where the petrified fossils of ancient turtles and rhinos have been found.
Some 320 kilometers long, the Kalandan River forms a central part of the international border between India and Myanmar and is a busy waterway.
Its twice-a-year flooding nourishes the many agricultural areas that exist along its northern banks. It is this river that has allowed ancient capitals like Dhanyawaddy, Vesali and Mrauk U to flourish. Today, a cruise down the river offers visitors a cross-section of Burmese life along the river, including the transport of goods, fishing, and agriculture.
A trip to the ancient ruins of Mrauk U is majestic becuase it affords the same view that travelers on the Kaladan saw centuries ago. Sittwe is usually the launching point for such an expedition, with the boat headed upstream to Mrauk-U.