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Opinions on visits to Chin Villages near Mrauk U?

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Jul 5th, 2011, 09:25 PM
  #1
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Opinions on visits to Chin Villages near Mrauk U?

I would love to hear any impressions of visits to the Chin villages from Mrauk U. The river excursion itself sounds really interseting and worthwhile but I've also read the posts the thorn tree on the lonely planet website expressing negative views on the visits to the villages themselves as "human zoos" and would welcome any thoughts and opinions from anyone (positive, negative, or mixed) who has done the trip here so I can get a first hand view.

As long as I'm writing, here is the rest of the trip outline:

Quick visit to Rangoon (staying at the Strand; more expensive but I can't resist the location or history).

Bagan (planning on staying at the Hotel @ Tharabar Gate).

Inle Lake with side trips to Pindaya, Kakku as well as visits around the Lake (staying at the Princess)

Sittwe and Mrauk U (staying at the Shwe Thazin in Sittwe and the Princess in Mrauk U).

Oh, and any tips on good Burma souvenirs to look out for would also be great to hear about.

Cheers and many thanks,
David
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Jul 6th, 2011, 06:43 AM
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David, we are headed to Mrauk U at the end of November, so I haven't been to the Chin Villages. I've read everything I can about the visits to the villages and the most frequent comments are of the "human zoo" variety. Apparently, during the day, the villages are nearly deserted, as all the able-bodied are out in the fields. When "visitors" arrive, the old women are brought out ("carried out" in one report) for the visitors to inspect. Given this, I don't plan to take the boat trip to the Chin Villages.

Someone wrote about being able to visit a weaving village via ground transport. I may investigate this once we are at Mrauk U.

When are you going? Perhaps we'll run into each other.

BTW, I do hope all of your hotels are booked. If not, get a travel agent on it ASAP. Apparently there will be many more visitors to Burma than usual this high season.
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Jul 6th, 2011, 08:24 PM
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Hi Kathie,

Thanks for the reply and the tip on the weaving village--I've just shot an inquiry to my travel agent about it.

I've heard the river trip can be rewarding though reviews on visiting the villages are mixed from what I've gleaned from the net (probably from the same places as you). One friend of a friend said the Chin villages are not remarkably different from other villages in Burma--at least to our eyes.

I think I'm going to be in Sittwe/Mrauk U around roughly Nov 25-8.

Cheers,
David
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Jul 7th, 2011, 06:33 AM
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David, it looks like we will overlap in Mrauk U, as we'll be there Nov 26 - 29. We are not planning on spending the night in Sittwe, as it appears we can get in to Sittwe early enough to get to Mrauk U about dinner time. Of course, this depends on the flights being at the same time as last year.
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Jul 7th, 2011, 12:59 PM
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David, Souvenirs we liked were the small lacquer boxes, longyis and silk tops (for me), silk shawls, a little silver in Shan design, tamarind candy, one lovely painting, marionettes (now hanging on our walls), but our favorite souvenirs are the photos I took--now have two enlarged on canvas and may add another or two. (BTW, I do wear my longyis--to work and to a dressy dinner I had recently.)
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