Home / Exotic & Adventurous / Nat-ma Taung (Mt. Victoria) & National Park

 

The Third Highest Peak in Myanmar with an altitude of 3,053 meters

 

To the locals, it is known as Khaw-nu-soum or Khonuamthung. Given its height and being surrounded at lower elevations by tropical and subtropical moist forests, Nat-ma Taung rises above as an alpine “sky island”. More than a century ago, during the British colonial era, it was called Mount Victoria, named in honour of Queen Victoria. It is located in Kan-pet-let Township, Mindat District, Chin State, on the western part of Myanmar and is part of the Chin Hills range.

In 1994, the government designated 72,300 hectares of the Chin Hills including Nat-ma Taung as a national park, an important site for wildlife conservation. In February 2004, Nat-ma Taung National Park was identified as a “priority candidate” for recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its outstanding plant and animal life which is highly diverse and provides insight to the biogeographical history of Asia. It is also home to multiple threatened birds, mammals and reptiles. It is an ASEAN Heritage Park and was listed as an Alliance for Zero Extinction Site because of the White-browed Nuthatch, which is endemic to Nat-ma Taung National Park.

Getting There

By Air & By Road – Travel to Bagan from Yangon either by air (320 miles) or by road (430 miles), then Bagan to Hsaw via Chauk and Seikphyu (86 miles) by road preferably a jeep. From Hsaw, there are two routes depending on your hiking preference. For serious trekking, go to either Kan-pet-let (12 miles) or Mindat (42 miles). For a brief 3.7 miles trekking to the peak, go to base camp (also called 10th Mile Camp) which is as far as vehicles can go.

Things To Do

Bird-Watching at Nat-ma Taung National Park

Photo Courtesy James Eaton

Photo Courtesy James Eaton

Bird-watchers, this is your paradise. Nat-pa Taung National Park is a popular destination for trekkers, nature-lovers and bird-watchers. Bears, wild boars, mountain goats, serows are quite common but there had been sightings of tigers and leopards too. The park is also home to rare butterfly species and reptiles. Bird-watchers can keep themselves occupied given over 200 species the park has to offer, the only place where you will find white-browed nuthatch (Sitta Victoriae) in the world which is endemic to Myanmar. Other rare bird species to be seen are Blyth’s Tragopan, Pheasants, Hornbills, and Babblers. On your way to the summit, you can discover coniferous, broad-leave evergreen, montane, pine and oak forests, lianas, cycads and most prominent flowering tree, rhododendrons which can reach more than 30 feet in height. The summit is covered with red rhododendron flowers during the winter months. Fall in love with a rich diversity of orchids, including highly threatened medicinal varieties.

 Chin Hill tribes (Face-tattooed Chin)

 

 

“Zombie Boy”(featured in Lady GaGa’s Born This Way Music Video), Rick Genest’s face-tattoos are cult trends. Pay a visit to the Chin villages surrounding Nat-ma Taung. You might get an inspiration for your own face-tattoos. It is a custom in many Chin clans for the women to tattoo their faces in various design. There are many theories about the origin of this custom; some says it is for identification purposes for different clans, other says it is to disfigure women from unwanted kidnappings while some says it is a symbol of beauty. Visit cottages where said tattooed-women weave with hand looms, and experience villagers playing bamboo flute with their noses. Even though most villages converted to Christianity and some Buddhism, one can still observe the remains of animism, such as posts where animal were sacrificed to propitiate deities for wealth and good fortune.

This collection of intimate photographs celebrates the ornate, beautiful, diverse tattoos of the women who dwell mostly in the Chin and Rakhine states in western Burma, now Myanmar. http://www.bloodfaces.com/

Pondaung

Be sure to take a detour to Pondaung which is about 40 miles away from Mindat. Pondaung and Ponnyar mountain range has become well-known worldwide due to the discovery of fossilized remains of anthropoid primate some years back by both Myanmar and foreign geologists. It changed the view of primate human ancestor origin being in Asia instead of Africa as formerly claimed.

Tips

Tourists require permit from Myanmar authorities to visit Mt Victoria so prior arrangement to obtain the permit is necessary. Individual to small-sized tour group (not more than 7) is recommended if you plan on overnight stay as the accommodation is limited and is of basic and simple quality. Be sure to pack a jacket as temperatures in the mountain region vary from being comfortably cool during the day to chilly at night.

 

 
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