Mount Victoria (Nat Ma Taung in Burmese, or Khonuthum in local Chin language) is set in the stunning and little-visited Nat Ma Taung National Park, home to a variety of rare and beautiful flora and fauna and ethnic tribes known for their tattoo-faced womenfolk. The national park’s biodiversity has led to it being awarded ASEAN Heritage Park status by UNESCO. Standing at 3053 meters, Mt.Victoria is the tallest peak in mountainous Chin State and the third highest in Myanmar overall. There are great view all the way up the simple ascent; in November, December and February colorful flowers are in bloom and at the twin peaks of Mt.Victoria you will find 360 degree panoramas of the surrounding mountains.
The trail hike from which the hike begins is a 45 mins drive uphill from the small town of Kanpetlet, where accommodation can be found. The hike itself takes around five hours to the summit and back to the trail head. Mt.Victoria is best climbed between November and February for the cool, clear air at the time of the year. Nat Ma Taung National Park is a great place to visit for keen ornithologists, the area is home to a number of species as well as larger birds of prey.
The small town of Kanpetlet is where most eco lodges in the area can be found. Although they are not in the town itself, but higher up the mountain on the road to Mt. Victoria. The older women of the tribe in this area sport full facial tattoos that differ in design according to their tribe (the practice is now outlawed by the central government, so you do not see tattoo on younger women).
These are long established traditions, the origins of which are somewhat lost in the mists of time, but the reasons seem to be protective: either as an attempt to hide the tribal women’s beauty so they would not be taken by Burmese Kings, or to prevent kidnapping between tribes. In these part of Chin State, many older people only speak the local language, they do not speak Burmese. In Kanpetlet and Mindat, electricity is limited. Eco lodges have generator back up that is typically turned off at 10 pm.