Since a couple of years ago, Mt. Victoria has been one of the most-wanted destinations on top of our travel list(s). Finally, in April 1999, we obtained the permission to bring our clients to the highest peak of the Chin Hills at over 3,000 metres.

Our operation manager, a trekking enthusiast, was more than thrilled to be one of the few foreign visitors exploring this remote area which has long been restricted.

Fully equipped - that's what he thought - he started the adventurous journey, together with our guide Ko Win Oo. Taking the night train to Bagan, he hoped for a good sleep on the reclining chair, but soon found out that there was no rest for the wicked...

Forgetting, that millions of people were celebrating the New Year, thus the Water Festival being in full swing, the windows of the train being open, neither umbrella nor rain coat protecting him, he gave up and even stopped counting the innumerable stops on the way.

Summit of mt. victoria, myanmar

Children in Pauk, Myanmar
Children in Pauk

Market on the way to mount victoria

After a 21 hours of an eventful and wet ride he reached Bagan, and our friend Juergen Voss, the General Manager of the Bagan Hotel, not only offered him one of his exotic dinners he uses to create once a while, but also a decent shower in one of the hotel's suites.

Before sunrise, our two travellers chartered a local sampan and enjoyed a peaceful two hours river journey to Pakkoku on the Ayeyarwaddy River. Latest now our operation manager forgot his pile of work waiting for him on his desk in Yangon. The early morning colour of the mighty Ayeyarwaddy changing first from dark orange to light yellow and later shimmering through bands of dusty blue haze, gave the whole scenario a surreal experience.

In Pakkoku they climbed into a kind of American-Japanese "joint-venture" vehicle - a US World War II jeep with a Japanese engine. It was good enough for a not so heavenly, but bumpy 8 hours' drive to Mindet.

Our friend Lt.Col. Aung Moe Myint, the district commander of this area, gave us a warm welcome and also provided proof of the efficiency of his headquarter by presenting us with a complete price list of all available facilities to be offered. Well aware that we like the unusual, at the end of the business discussion he introduced a Chin nose flute player, next to him his wife with an artistically tattooed face.

Totem pole at village, Myanmar
Totem pole at village
Chin nose flute player, myanmar
Chin nose flute player

Next morning before dawn, our two friends started their several days' trekking tour into the Chin Hills, accompanied with one army officer and two soldiers, a local guide and 3 porters. From the valley with its cultivated fields and low pine forest with rhododendron, the foot path soon got steeper and steeper, leading into a landscape of dark evergreen forest with large oaks and laurels. Among the spectacular scenery of this dense jungle full of herbaceous treasures, orchids and violets the small expedition visited several villages. Shy and cautiously our visitors were invited to have a cup of rice whine, which helped both parties to warm up - women in colourful traditional costumes, the older ones having heavily tattooed faces and smoking tobacco pipes, some of the men still wearing pure golden earrings, inherited by their fathers. Family stories were exchanged, questions answered, children introduced.

Packed with these memories, our crew left the friendly and shy villagers to leave for the summit of Mt. Victoria. Our party finally reached their destination. Out of the blue there was the golden shimmering 5-year old Zi Na Man Aung Pagoda which gave a nice contrast to the white and blue anemones. Our guide took off his trekking shoes and paid respect to the pagoda, wishing to have a second chance to come back to the land of the Hornbill Birds.

From left to right: klaus-dieter & ko win oo at the way to mt. victoria
From left to right: Peter, Maung Win

A shed for accommodation at Aye Camp, Mt. Victoria
A shed for accommodation at Aye Camp

Zi Na Man Aung Pagoda on the top of Mt. Victoria, Myanmar
Na Man Aung Pagoda on top of Mt. Victoria
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