Rakhine, Chin And Western Myanmar


In many ways, Chin State feels like a different country to the rest of Myanmar: the Chin language is totally different to Burmese; its mountainside villages and towns are undeveloped and hard to get to (and can get cold in the winter months); and the Chin are culturally distinct – many are deeply Christian, while integrating animist beliefs, and southern tribal women tattoo their faces (notably around Mindat and along the southern border with Rakhine State).

The highest peak in Chin State is Mount Victoria in the south, which offers the best opportunities for hiking and has the best infrastructure and range of accommodation – but the northern towns of Falam and Hakha are even more remote and just as beautiful. Check out our YouTube video of a mountain pass between Falam and Hakha.

In Rakhine State (also spelt Rakhaing and sometimes referred to by its old name of Arakan), the ancient abandoned city of Mrauk U, once the capital of a powerful and sprawling kingdom, makes for one of the most unmissable experiences Myanmar has to offer.

Closer to the heart of Myanmar, the lively riverside town of Monywa is only a few hours drive from Mandalay, and has a number of interesting sights in its vicinity.

Although permits are no longer required to access most parts of Chin and Rakhine states, it remains a good idea to have several photocopies of your Myanmar visa and passport photo page in case you run into bureaucratic officials. Also note that infrastructure is bad and travel in these areas is generally very slow, even by Myanmar standards.

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