The highest peak in Chin State – 10,016ft – and the third-highest in Myanmar, stunning Mt Victoria is one of the principal attractions of southern Chin State. Located within Nat Ma Taung National Park, the mountain is covered in large rhododendron trees that bloom in a delightful riot of red, yellow and white flowers between October and February. It's an easy two- to three-hour climb (round trip) to the twin summits from the trailhead, accessed from the town of Kanpetlet.
Fortunately, motorcycle taxis are now supposed to be prohibited on the road to the summit, though private vehicles can and do ferry passengers, marring the experience with dust and pollution for some (rubbish at the summit is also a problem). There is an alternative dirt trail through the bush that will take you halfway there before joining up with the road.
There are many other trails across the mountain, as well as fascinating villages all around, but you'll require transport and a guide to access them and to interact with the locals. While it's possible to visit Mt Victoria as an individual traveller, the complete lack of public transport in the Kanpetlet area and the need for a guide mean most people visit on three- or four-day tours from Bagan or possibly out of Mindat. Prices start at US$80 per person per day for a group of four, not including accommodation and food.
If you're going solo, ask your resort or guesthouse in Kanpetlet for help in arranging a motorbike to take you to the trailhead. Expect to pay K30,000 for the return trip (a jeep would be a very-pricey K100,000). A better deal is to pay for transport and a guide for the hike (US$40). Most places should be able to sort this out; if not, contact Aung Ling Thang (09 471 70219), the manager of the Mountain Oasis Resort. The K10,000 fee for entering the national park is not always collected during the low season. A new facility with bathrooms and basic food was being built on the roadside at the trailhead at the time of our visit.
Mt Victoria is not accessible during the rainy season (mid-May to mid-October).