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Chin Villages, Mrauk U, Myanmar

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Visiting the Chin Villages, just north of Mrauk U, was one of the highlights of our three weeks in Myanmar! Period!

Visiting the Chin Villages were a highlight of our three weeks in Myanmar! We started our day early, before the sun came up. What a lovely morning: waiting for our ride to pick us up (tuk tuk), watching people coming and going as they start their day, driving down dirt roads as the sun rose, little children waiving us on… what more can you ask for…. the joys of traveling!

Preparations for visiting the Chin Villages

If you plan on visiting the Chin Villages (or any developing country for that matter), if you at all can, when you’re packing at home put some extra books, crayons, clothing, toothbrushes, flashcards, or any other learning devices that you can easily pack.  If you are already in the country you can bring them fresh fruit or some type of food. They will appreciate anything they can get!

Morning photo in Mrauk U, Myanmar

Before our tuk tuk driver arrived we were waiting on the main road. I found it interesting that so many people were up so early. What you see in the background is not mist, it’s smoke from the garbage they burn. Mrauk U, Myanmar

Mrauk U, Myanmar

The Burmese people work very hard and start their day early. On our way to the jetty for the Chin Villages, here is a man walking barefoot to sell whatever it is he has to sell. It’s not uncommon for people to work from before the sun comes up to way past it goes down.

Mrauk U, Myanmar

A beautiful sunrise as we travel down this dirt path to catch our boat to the Chin Villages.

Morning in Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.- Myanmar

Morning in Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages- Myanmar

Mrauk U, Myanmar

Beautiful sunrise: the Mongkhong Swedu stupa catching the warm glow of the sun coming up. Mrauk U, Myanmar

sunrise in Mrauk U, Myanmar

I love the mystical feeling of this photo! I never thought there would be a ‘marine layer’, or the like, here, in Mrauk U, Myanmar. The mist combined with the rising sun makes for great imagery!

Mrauk U, Myanmar

How cute are these kids!! It was about 7-ish AM and we were on our tuk tuk to the jetty, to the Chin Villages. These kids were on their way to school (???) and were happy to see us, waving us on our merry way!

Mrauk U, Myanmar

I love the time just before sunrise as the new light of the morning glistens on the water and makes the water sparkle.

Mrauk U, Myanmar

The locals are up early, collecting water.

Yeah, be sure and take a mask or two with you! Mrauk U, of our three weeks in Myanmar, was the WORST for burning garbage. It’s very beneficial to wear a mask, especially when you are on the back of a tuk tuk on the dirt roads.

Chin Villages near Mrauk U, Myanmar

Our first stop of the day was the ‘special market’. This special market is held twice a week, and BOY is it a lively one!! I came across this little guy. He started out smiling and ended up crying. This village only sees a few thousand visitors per year and I do look a lot different that what he’s used to. Love his smile though! All the women in the background are selling the same commodity, betel vine leaf.

Chin Villages market Betel vine leaves

Massive amounts of women buying and selling betel vine leaves. This is what they do!

My Photographic Approach

As a professional photographer I wanted to be unobtrusive and as discrete as possible, in the Chin Villages, and throuout my travels. I didn’t want to be shoving my camera lens in people’s faces; therefore, I basically got snapshots, which is fine! I wasn’t there to do a full on photo shoot or make each image look perfect or wait for the right lighting or that perfect angle–I would have not had the time, and when traveling like I do, it would be very unrealistic. What you do see is the raw daily life, what I was able to capture. I didn’t ask anyone to pose, but I did take photos of us interacting with people and getting their smiles and gestures. Pretty much 100% of the people we met and interacted with in Myanmar were more than happy (and proud) to have their photo taken. I think it shows in the photos. You be the judge.

Chin Villagers buying and selling betel leaves

Women buying and selling betel leaves in the Chin Village.

Chin Villages

Women at the special market buying and selling beetle vine leaves. These leaves are a very important part of their economy; they use them to wrap the ingredients of the (areca nut and slaked lime) chewing that most Burmese do.

The 'special market' just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

The ‘special market’ just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

The 'special market' just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

The ‘special market’ just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

The 'special market' just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

The ‘special market’ just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

The 'special market' just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

Selling fresh meat at the ‘special market’ just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages. Most people do not have any type of refregeration so they purchase meat daily.

The 'special market' just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

The ‘special market’ just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

The 'special market' just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

The ‘special market’ just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

The 'special market' just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

The ‘special market’ just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

The 'special market' just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

Look at this lady! Does she have moxie, or WHAT!! The ‘special market’ just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

The 'special market' just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

Women selling fresh vegetables at the ‘special market’ just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

Photo of a boy getting his hair cut in an old barber chair.

A little bit down the way we saw this young man getting a haircut. How much does a haircut cost??… about 50Cents/USD. And, look at all the latest styles you can select.

The 'special market' just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

Folks, THIS is a pharmacy!! at the ‘special market’ just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages. You tell them your ailment and they give you the pills, no prescriptions needed.

The 'special market' just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

Someones shop at the ‘special market’ just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages. Looks like they are selling kids stuff.

The 'special market' just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

This is a bicycle repair shop at the ‘special market’ just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

Women Selling tobacco leaves in Myanmar

Women selling tobacco leaves at the ‘special market’ just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

The 'special market' just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

Women selling (fried) food at the ‘special market’ just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

 

The 'special market' just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

Me (Kerri) looking at all the little things you can buy at the ‘special market’ just north of Mrauk U, on the way to the Chin Villages.

Boat to the Chin Village in Myanmar

Our boat is ready for our next destination….two hours up the river to get to our first Chin Village.

boat to the Chin Village

This was our boat for the day that took us up to the Chin Villages and back, It was small, but peaceful. Mrauk U, Myanmar

Scenery along our journey to the Chin Villages-Myanmar

Scenery along our journey to the Chin Villages-Myanmar

Our first stop at the Chin Village-Myanmar

Our first stop at the Chin Village-Myanmar. Look at the beautiful black sand as our boat pulls up to the beach.

Chin Village-Myanmar

Look at this beautiful black sand beach and the little locals to greet us. How nice!

Chin Village-Myanmar

So nice to have the welcoming committee greet us just off the boat!

Chin Village-Myanmar

Our first stop on our Chin Village trip: met with a local woman who was tattooed at a very young age. There are many stories and theories about why they were tattooed. However, a long time ago it was outlawed, and the younger generation of girls don’t want it anyway. There are only a handful of tattooed women in the Chin Villages.

Tattooed Chin Village Woman-Myanmar

A close up portrait of this beautiful woman! She pointed to me and said “beautiful” and I pointed to her and said “beautiful”. They think that since they are tattooed that they are not beautiful; nothing could be further from the truth. Many of the tattoos are in a spiderweb pattern. The women that we met in the Chin Villages are full of life and vigor, in their 80’s!!

Chin Village-Myanmar

Eddie selected one of her beautiful scarves. She was proud to put it on him. If you ever decide to visit the Chin Villages PLEASE #1-Bring some fresh fruit, #2-Bring some coloring books and crayons for the kids, and #3-Buy a scarf for $10.00/USD; it supports them for a long time!!

Chin Village-Myanmar

Eddie loves his scarf and she’s happy to have made a sale, which will support her family for a while!

Chin Village-Myanmar

I am 5 foot 3.5 inches (5′ 3.5″) and I feel like a giant here!! How cute is she!! Her beautiful scarves displayed in back of us.

Chin Village House, Myammar

This is their family home: Chin Village-Myanmar

Having a unique experience like this is what you make of it! Make sure you interact with the locals, have fun with them, they’ll appreciate it! They are as interested in us as we are in them.  They don’t get but maybe 1,000 visitors per year.

Chin Village Woman

Eddie always having fun with the locals. If you decide to go to the Chin Villages, please interact with them and not just stare at them; they are not a tourist attraction!

A Chin Village girl wearing thanakha paste on her face

What a beautiful girl! She lives in the fist Chin Village we visited. She’s wearing the traditional yellowish paste called thanakha paste made from ground bark. It is a distinctive feature of the culture of Myanmar, seen commonly applied to the face and you’ll see men, women and children wearing daily.

A typical family home in the Chin Villages. Myanmar

A typical family home in the Chin Villages. Myanmar

Chin Villages, Myanmar

Cute baby! Chin Villages, Myanmar

On our way to the next Chin Village-Myanmar

On our way to the next Chin Village-Myanmar

On our way to the next Chin Village-Myanmar

On our way to the next Chin Village. There are a few villages that are strung together by these dirt paths-Myanmar

On our way to the next Chin Village-Myanmar

The view from walking from one Chin Village to the next

On our way to the next Chin Village-Myanmar

On our way to the next Chin Village-Myanmar

On our way to the next Chin Village-Myanmar

On our way to the next Chin Village-Myanmar. They grow a lot of food out here. (They have to because it’s pretty much all the food they get. There are no stores close by or markets).

On our way to the next Chin Village-Myanmar

A young woman we met along the way to the next Chin village

Boys playing ball at one of the Chin Villages-Myanmar

Boys playing ball at one of the Chin Villages-Myanmar

Boys playing ball at one of the Chin Villages-Myanmar

Boys showing off their fancy footwork!

A typical house in the Chin Villages-Myanmar

A typical house in the Chin Villages-Myanmar

Pig walking around the Chin Village

You will find all sorts of pigs, chickens, dogs and other animals running around!

A typical house in the Chin Villages-Myanmar

A typical house in the Chin Villages-Myanmar

A typical house in the Chin Villages-Myanmar

A typical house in the Chin Villages-Myanmar

National League For Democracy billboard. - Myanmar

National League For Democracy billboard – Myanmar

National League For Democracy billboard. - Myanmar

National League For Democracy billboard – Myanmar

Walking to the next Chin Village - Myanmar

Walking to the next Chin Village – Myanmar

Chin Village School Myanmar

This is the only school for the three Chin Villages in this area. -Myanmar

Chin Village HOuse

Walking through one of the Chin Villages, this is a typical house here. -Myanmar

Kids just hanging out, Chin Villages, Myanmar

Kids just hanging out, Chin Villages, Myanmar

Kids playing in the Chin Villages - Myanmar

How cute is this little girl!! She was playing with this little dog like a toy and he had no complaints. He’s just her size. She had fun meeting us and taking photos.

A puppy and a pig, just chillaxin'. Chin Villages, Myanmar

A puppy and a pig, just chillaxin’. Chin Villages, Myanmar

A close up of this cutie and her little dog. Chin Villages, Myanmar

A close up of this cutie and her little dog. Chin Villages, Myanmar

Woman Chopping wood in a Chin Village in Myamar

The women that live in the Chin Villages are strong! They obviously need to be self-sufficient and take care of their families. They rely on burning wood to cook. At the last village I saw this woman chopping wood like there was no tomorrow. Chin Villages, Myanmar

A typical house in Mrauk U and the Chin Villages, Myanmar

A typical house in Mrauk U and the Chin Villages, Myanmar

Chin Village women playing cards, Myanmar

As we arrived at our last Chin Village we walked into town and found where the action was at–the village ladies playing cards! The were delightful and greeted us with their beautiful Burmese smiles, and continued playing; they have money to win!

Chin Village ladies playing cards. Chin Villages, Myanmar

Chin Village ladies playing cards. Chin Villages, Myanmar

A new baby in the Chin Villages, Myanmar

One of the girls had recently had a baby. Love this makeshift baby swing! Also to note: there are no doctors, running water or sanitation in the villages. Women give birth at home and the village women help them. Chin Villages, Myanmar

This is a wide-angle view of the kitchen area in a typical Chin Village home-Myanmar

This is a wide-angle view of the kitchen area in a typical Chin Village home-Myanmar

A typical kitchen in the Chin Villages, Myanmar

A typical kitchen in the Chin Villages, Myanmar

Saying goodbye to these beautiful ladies in the Chin Village, Myanmar.

Saying goodbye to these beautiful ladies. They were very welcoming, and giggly đŸ™‚ Chin Village, Myanmar.

Eddie making more friends! Chin Village, Myanmar

Eddie making more friends! This man was very happy to have is photo taken., he posed with his tool he was working with. Chin Village, Myanmar

A woman washing clothes in the river. Chin Villages, Myanmar

This is a very typical scene you’ll see all over Myanmar, people bathing in the river, fully clothed. As we were leaving this Chin Village this woman was bathing her and her son, and washing clothes. They also gather water in the silver tin that’s beside her.

Chin Village boys playing in the water. Myanmar

I love how the kids are allowed to just run around and be kids! These boys were jumping and splashing about, having the BEST time ever (no parental supervision). Chin Villages, Myanmar

Arriving at the Chin Village by boat. Myanmar

Arriving at our last village of the day. Pulling up to the ‘beach’ for lunch. We’re hungry! Chin Villages, Myanmar

Lunch was awesome! They really treated us well and made sure we had more than enough to eat! Chin Villages, Myanmar

Lunch was awesome! They really treated us well and made sure we had more than enough to eat! Chin Villages, Myanmar

This was funny: all these guys sitting around watching us eat. I asked our guide if they wanted to eat with us and he said they already ate. The second we left the table (to walk up to the village) they immediately all flocked around what we didn't eat. Chin Villages, Myanmar

This was funny: all these guys sitting around watching us eat. I asked our guide if they wanted to eat with us and he said they already ate. The second we left the table (to walk up to the village) they immediately all flocked around what we didn’t eat. Chin Villages, Myanmar

Chin Villages, Myanmar

This is the only ‘shop’ in town. This young women owns it and supports her husband and baby. Chin Villages, Myanmar

Washing clothes at the river in the Chin Villages, Myanmar

This woman is bringing her laundry down to the river to wash. Chin Villages, Myanmar

A darling little girl in the Chin Village, Myanmar.

A darling little girl in the Chin Village, Myanmar.

Lovely ladies in the Chin Villages, just north of Mrauk U, Myanmar.

Lovely ladies in the Chin Villages, just north of Mrauk U, Myanmar.

Lovely ladies in the Chin Villages, just north of Mrauk U, Myanmar.

Lovely lady- Chin Villages, Myanmar.

These lovely ladies in the Chin Villages were delightful and hospitable. Here Eddie and I are getting our photo with the whole group. -Myanmar

These lovely ladies in the Chin Villages were delightful and hospitable. Here Eddie and I are getting our photo with the whole group. -Myanmar

This was funny!: One of the women was trying on my eye glasses. She put them on and was looking at her hand, with and without the glasses, trying to see the difference with them. Chin Villages, Myanmar

This was funny!: One of the women was trying on my eye glasses. She put them on and was looking at her hand, with and without the glasses, trying to see the difference with them. Chin Villages, Myanmar

Beautiful women in the Chin Villages, Myanmar.

Beautiful women in the Chin Villages, Myanmar. They are well into their 80’s and all have lost their husbands. They have lived in this village for most of their lives and now live with their children and grandchildren.

Beautiful women! Chin Villages, Myanmar

Beautiful women! Chin Villages, Myanmar

Eddie leant her his sun glasses. She looks cute trying them on! Chin Village, Myanmar

Eddie leant her his sun glasses. She looks cute trying them on! Chin Village, Myanmar

Tattooed women - Chin Villages, Myanmar

She took out the ‘earrings’ (a large wooden knob) that are for her ears. Hear she’s pictured without her earrings. Chin Villages, Myanmar

Tattooed women - Chin Villages, Myanmar

Eddie showing them his phone after they took a ‘selfie’. They had fun! I’ll have to find that photo and post it here later.- Chin Villages, Myanmar

A Chin Village woman weaving a scarf. Chin Villages, Myanmar

As we were leaving this village I saw this woman doing traditional weaving. I took a video as well, that I’ll post here later. I believe these scarves sell (retail) for 10,000K (about $8.50 USD). If you visit the Chin Villages please consider purchasing one, or two. Chin Villages, Myanmar

Traditional cooking in the Chin Villages (and other parts of Myanmar). -Myanmar

Traditional cooking in the Chin Villages (and other parts of Myanmar). -Myanmar

Jewelry maker in the Chin Village, Myanmar

This is the jeweler in the Chin Village we were. He makes a variety of bracelets, sells them to the Chin village women, who in turn sell to people like me, the very few tourists they get each year. I paid 5,000 K for mine ($3.71 USD). I’ve been wearing mine for the past month, just love it! Chin Villages, Myanmar

The Chin Villages, Myanmar

The Chin Villages, Myanmar

A cute little boy, peaking out of his window-The Chin Villages, Myanmar

A cute little boy, peaking out of his window-The Chin Villages, Myanmar

The Chin Villages, Myanmar

The Chin Villages, Myanmar

We had a spectacular day visiting the Chin Villages. We're now headed home, back to Mrauk U. We will never forget the warmth, smiles, laughter these people possess. Chin Villages, Myanmar

We had a spectacular day visiting the Chin Villages. We’re now headed home, back to Mrauk U. We will never forget the warmth, smiles and laughter these people possess. Chin Villages, Myanmar

The waterways around the Chin Villages, Myanmar.

The waterways around the Chin Villages, Myanmar.

The waterways around the Chin Villages, Myanmar.

The waterways around the Chin Villages, Myanmar.

Buying gasoline in Myanmar

As we got off the boat in Mrauk U I noticed these liter containers. This is not juice, it’s gasoline. This is how they purchase their gas, when a gas station is not in the area. Mrauk U, Myanmar

A farmer tilling the fields in the evening. Mrauk U, Myanmar

A farmer tilling the fields in the evening. Mrauk U, Myanmar

Evening time in Mrauk U, Myanmar

Evening time in Mrauk U, Myanmar

A monk walking in the warm glow of the sunset. Mrauk U, Myanmar

I love this image!! A monk walking in the warm glow of the sunset. Mrauk U, Myanmar

I wrote a detailed post on how to get to Mrauk U, which you can click here for the information.


As always, The Journey is the Reward! -Kerri
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