These two villages are a short walk through the forest from Hillside Resort. Follow the road uphill leading away from the guesthouse then take the first track on your right. Follow a narrow brick path downhill. The first path on your left crisscrosses a small stream, leading to Sangiya Village, where around a dozen families live – some Tripuri, some Marma – in bamboo huts on stilts.
Back up on the brick path, continue straight past the turn to Sangiya and take the first right, again down a part-brick pathway. You’ll notice a green-painted church on your right as you enter the pretty village of Haatibandha, home to 28 Marma families. The people here are very Burmese-looking, and some of the elder women are decked out in hundreds of bead necklaces, bangles that coil serpent-like around their arms, and strange earrings that look more like bolts and which stretch out the wearer’s ear lobes. Always ask before taking photos. You’ll need around two or three hours to see both villages from Hillside Resort.
If you go straight rather than turning left to Sangiya Village, or right to Haatibandha, the track from the main road takes you all the way up to Tiger Hill, a popular viewpoint in this area.