Погледана 66 пут(a), скинута са сервера 5 пут(a)
близу Vawm, Chin (Myanmar)
In this trek you’ll basically walk in small paths on the mountains (but sometimes also proper roads for motorbikes), cross small courses of water and several villages and interact with the local populations. The vast majority of them are very friendly with foreigners and will genuinely smile to you. You’ll see women with their faces tattooed all the time - note that most of them have the same pattern of tattoo. Be polite and ask people’s permission before taking photos and selfies, and after doing it show them the photo, they really like it! Learn how to say “Hello”, “Thank you” and “Bye” in their dialect and receive extra smiles from the locals (you can ask this at your hotel or guest house in Mindat).
At this point of your trip you’ve probably noticed that Buddhism is the major religion in Myanmar, but during this trek you’ll find out that most of the population is formed by Evangelical Christians. Most of the villages have one or even two churches.
In my opinion you can perfectly do this trek independently, without a guide. I consider it an easy to medium level trek, and since it isn’t very long you can walk slowly and rest whenever you want. The main difficulty might be to find a place to sleep in Kyar Ai Nuu, but if you ask around and show locals a reasonable amount of money (maybe 8000 kyat per person!?) this problem might be solved. Writing “I’m/We’re looking for a place to sleep and something to eat, and can pay [amount in kyat here] for it” in Burmese on a piece of paper can possibly help you. Have in mind that older people in the villages tend to speak only the local Chin dialect, but younger adults, teenagers and kids speak Burmese. If you’re vegetarian I suggest you to write it down on the paper too. Camping is certainly not a problem, but be sure you have a good sleeping bag with you as temperatures can drop a lot during the night, especially in the winter months. Remember smiles and gestures are a world language, everybody might understand gestures of food and sleep.
During the whole trek we only had signal in our phones in Kyar Ai Nuu (we had an Ooredoo SIM card), the place where we slept. I highly recommend you to bring a fully charged power bank with you, especially because using Wikiloc to follow the trek will consume a lot of your phone’s battery.
Bringing water is also highly recommended, as well as food for both days while you’re walking (assuming here that you’ll have breakfast in Mindat before leaving and will have dinner and breakfast in Kyar Ai Nuu). I filled two 1-litre bottles with the waterfall’s water (so cold and refreshing!) and had no stomach problems drinking it.
In Mindat, both before and after doing the trek, we stayed at Se Naing Family Guest House (21.373064, 93.975449), owned by a woman called Monica. We paid 17500 kyat each for a private room with shared bathroom. There were only two other guests in our first night, but the place was pretty full in the last night. The breakfast is very good and will give you the energy needed to start the trek. The place has hot water and the WiFi works really well! Our big backpacks were left there during the time we were out doing the trek.
You’ll only see electricity again after getting back to Mindat, but many houses in the villages we crossed have solar panels, whose power locals use to turn on a couple of lamps and a TV and to charge their phones. This is the case of the homestay where we stayed. We noticed, though, that light poles have been installed in some points, so maybe in a few years electricity will be all around.
Consider bringing some gifts to the children in the villages. They will never ask anything, but I’m sure they would be happy to get some sweets and fruits they don’t usually eat. Just be careful about the waste, any plastic you bring with you and leave anywhere during the trek will remain in the villages literally for hundreds of years.
If you decide to do this trek with a guide I suggest you to hire a local guide, someone who can speak the Chin dialect and truly be an interpreter so you can interact with the friendly people in the villages. Negotiate the price and try to do the trek with more people so the unitary price go down. All the hotels and guest houses can possibly help you with this too. We didn’t have other option as before me nobody really shared on Wikiloc the trek the way the tour guides normally do, but I feel very sorry we spent so much money doing it. I’m pretty much convinced that most of the money stays in the guide’s pocket, so the villagers don’t really benefit much from it.
If you have any doubts just leave your comment. You can also check my girlfriend’s highlighted stories on Instagram (@nadinivacari) to see a bit of what we saw during our trek (and also around Myanmar and Southeast Asia in general).
Enjoy the walk!