Mindat & the Tattoo Ladies


Administrator (Retired)
Jul 1, 2012
Chiang Rai
Honda CRM-AR 250, Honda CRF 250-L, Suzuki V Strom XT 650 Honda XR250 Baja BMW F650GS
Apologies for the delay in continuing my trip report but I am in lockdown in Vietnam but just discovered I had a few more days to share in the darker reaches of my travel HD, so I hope you enjoy.

Today's ride from Mindat via mount Victoria was relatively short, but perhaps some of the most scenic so far of the trip and a twitchers paradise.

Another chilly start but the road crews already busy at work.

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We noticed that generally, it was the young girls who place the rocks very careful by graded size, obviously a hierarchy in place leaving the unskilled do the hauling.

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Have a waypoint for this place I will add later, it served great food and cheap cold beer.

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The main roadway through town almost deserted i guess most folks still nursing a sore head from the previous night's festivities.

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Soon out of town and the broken rocky roads we had become used to.

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Quickly the mountains unfolded before us as we wind our way down to the river below.

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The ever present motorbike supermarket, this chap pretty well loaded.

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Nick wasted no time reading him in on our mighty 125's :sneaky:

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Nice new concrete bridge in place.

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The older one, well its gone.

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Sure signs roadworks ahead and possibly delays.

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I doubled back to get a shot of this lady, who was clearly not well impressed by the attention.

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This young fella had that look in his eyes, whoop me or not.

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As I mentioned it was a relatively short ride to our next destination and was looking for a diversion to make the ride more interesting, I spotted a single track turn off, that would do nicely.

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Amazing how much the Japanese contribute to projects all over SE Asia and may they continue to do so.

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He was a little startled to see us as we rode by, on the return he a little happier.

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The trail zig-zagged down the valley to who knows where.

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It was getting pretty steep as we headed towards the river below, coming back up on the fully loaded bikes would be interesting.

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We came upon this impressive small swing bridge, what an effort to get materials this far to construct it.

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As all river do, it makes a good laundry point.

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We came upon this very small village, people looked friendly enough.

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Local lady preparing root vegetable to dry in the sun.

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After a few minutes the locals slowly emerged, these guys interested in Nicks electric cigarette.

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After lots of hand gestures and pointing a challenged was issued one of them cut a mark in a nearby tree and I was asked to try my hand shooting the single shot hand made musket.

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I was just off the mark by an inch, boy that thing had a kick lead fragments cutting my face in the backfire.

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All the ladies here sporting the Chin tattoos on their faces, each minority has a different style to the other so you can tell where they come from by the tattoo style.

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We would see many of these stone structures here, we are not sure of the purpose, some kind of burial site? Google can help maybe in my search.

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This group of youngsters tearing it up down the slopes, rather them than me, it was steep as hell down there.

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Yet more of these stone groupings.

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Many of the houses had animal bones adorning them I assume they follow some kind of Zoolatry religion.

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This old lady came out shaking a handful of what looked like animal bones at me, I hope it was for good luck!

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Notice the leopard type tattoo spots on her neck, all the ladies here had the same.

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Well at least they are not human skulls.

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They had a very small school so clearly some funding of some kind is given to these people even in the harshest of conditions.

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Knife at the ready

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Pretty hard to get pictures of people here, all very scared of us.

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The village stretched out further along the mountainside but we decided to turn back rather than outreach ourselves.

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These guys absolutely slaughtered of the local hooch.

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On the way out we stopped and unloaded some packs of sultanas and snacks we had for the grateful kids, but not until we tasted them first.

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What a natural beauty.

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I imagine the young kids surrounding them are theirs

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Think they enjoyed the snacks.

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Back to the roadway.

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Flimsy homes perched on the roadside, even these had animal skulls on display.

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This according to the GPS was a GH, think we will move on.

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As we approached Mount Victoria area, the forest was amazing, totally untouched. Turn out it was a huge draw for bird watchers as we passed several buses full of twitchers.

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Lots of grading work being done through the forest area and the turn for Mount Victoria peak, hoards of tourists massed around the turn so we gave it a miss.

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Pretty high elevation at this point, it must be incredibly cold for these workers in the evenings

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As we neared Kanpetlet this old house with a chimney, clearly some English influence.

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Kanpetlet turned out to be a strange place, where the well-healed people from nearby big cities come to enjoy the coolness of the mountains and with that come high prices, many of the places we stopped wanted $100 or more night.

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A local guy eventually guided us to this GH where we got two bungalows for $50 each.

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At least we had nice views.

Location N21° 11.531' E94° 03.916'

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Slated floor acted as the drainage, very ingenious.

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Kanpetlet a sleepy place not much going on in the town, definitely not a place if you enjoy and beer or two as we found out.

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Dagon Jeeps a nice copy of the American Jeep.

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I can imagine in high season this is full of well do travellers remarking on the quaintness of the place.

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The Gh was a big place and full many of the rooms for Burmese people only.

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Early evening brought out the locals for exercise.

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The main town a stark contrast to the expensive hotels up the hill.

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2WD trike with suitably beefed up suspension.

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It was nice to see signs of Buddism after the days amongst the Baptists.

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We found a restaurant serving traditional Chin food and more importantly cold beers. Below interesting footing arrangement laid in a similar way to the road crews.

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Actually the food here was pretty good since it was the only place we could find selling food.

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Suitably fed and watered it was back to the GH for an early night, in the morning we would consider plans to visit the magnificent town of Bagan.

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