A town drowned in the foggy scarves of the mountains of Chin State in northwest Burma, Mindat is the sanctuary of women with tattooed faces but also of all missionaries, as evidenced by the impressive number of churches.
An off-road destination at the end of the world for travellers looking for crossing paths, beautiful unspoilt nature and exciting encounters.
A haven of peace
Mindat is a destination that must be earned. This high altitude village is reached at the cost of a winding journey on a mountain road carved with a hammock. But it's worth it, the route offers superb views of the surrounding valleys and magnificent coniferous forests. And then at the bend of a Mindat turn appears, proudly set on a ridge line, facing the Arakan mountain range.
Tattooed Faces Village
Strolling around Mindat and its surroundings you will have a good chance of meeting women with tattooed faces. You will notice that only the elderly ladies still bear the stigma of this old custom. Indeed, the Burmese government banned this tradition in the 1960s with the support of Christian missionaries.
This extraordinary tradition goes back several centuries when the kings and princes of the neighbouring Rakhine State were very powerful and coveted women from neighbouring states such as Chin State. In order to prevent Chinese women from being kidnapped and ending up as slaves, their faces were tattooed to make them ugly. Depending on the clan, the tattoo differs and underlines the belonging to a particular clan.
What to visit around Mindat?
From Mindat a magnificent track of about sixty kilometres leads you to Kanpellet, another mountain village. The track crosses many small hamlets leaning against the mountain, some of which offer superb panoramic views of Mindat. Small villages out of time where peasant life flows serenely under the benevolent gaze of its church.
About fifteen kilometres before arriving in Kanpellet, there is the start of a hiking trail that allows you to climb Mount Victoria or Nat Ma Taung in Burmese and Kho Nu Song in Chinese dialect. Rising to an altitude of 3,070 m, Mount Victoria is one of the most prominent peaks in Southeast Asia and the third highest mountain in Burma. Two hours of a very beautiful climb through the firs, the rhododendrons in bloom (November and December) and the incredible richness of the fauna and flora. You will have the opportunity to see many birds in particular. The view from the top allows you to enjoy an incredible panorama (if the clouds allow it) of the Burmese mountains but also of Bangladesh and India.
How to get around Mindat:
- You can reach Mindat from Bagan via Pakokku in 6 hours by car
- You can also join Mindat from Bagan via Kanpellet. In this case, make a stop in Kanpellet where the hotel offer has more consistency.
- Another possibility is to get to Mindat from Monywa in about 7 hours by car.
From November to February, it is the dry period, the sun shines during the day but remember to bring some warm clothes for the morning and evening. It's cool out there!