Manipur: Practical info for independent travel

#1 Mar 22nd, 2011, 12:08
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  • sbballer33 is offline
#1
Iíve been in Manipur a few weeks here is some info for people who may want to visit independently now that foreigners can go without protected area permits and since there is virtually no info out there.

We took the bus from Guwahati to Imphal, no problems with any check points the only time we had our passports checked was at the border to Manipur though the soldier initially asked if we had a permit he seemed to take our word for it that it was no longer required and we just entered out details in a book.

The bus will drop you off in Imphal at the northern gate of the Kangla near the government run Hotel Imphal. I more interesting area of town to stay is closer to the market. I stayed in a double at Hotel Nirmala which was nice and decent value for Imphal at 600 rupees, it seems to be relatively expensive for lodging in general decent hotels go for 600 rupees doubles and 500 rupee single occupancy. The other place I stayed was the White Palace pretty dirty place with mice and a few rates (hang your food). Doubles at an overpriced 500 rupees (your are better off coughing up they extra 100 for another place), but the good thing about it is if your traveling alone on a budget and need a single they have 250 rupee singles which seems to be about as good as you can do in Imphal. White Palace and Hotel Nirmala as well as a number of other hotels are about a 15 minute walk from the bus stop. Walk around the west side of the Kangla and take the first major right to get in the area of a number of hotels.

We paid a visit to the Manipur tourism office near the Imphal hotel, the deputy director there was quite helpful and gave us lots of literature and maps and showed us pictures of places on his laptop. I guess supposedly you are supposed to register according to the news paper article I read about the drop of the permits but the Tourism director didnít really say anything about it when we asked just said Iíll get back to you and never did. So we never ended up officially registering anywhere but it didnít seem to be a problem with anyone.

All Atms in Imphal have huge lines so its best to bring enough for your whole trip unless you want to wait in line for an hour to 3 hours for the ATM.

Loktak Lake is a must visit form Imphal we went with a local friend but there is plenty of local transportation to Moirnag which is close to the lake. Though several militant groups have camps in the area so there are areas which are considered less safe, so it may be wise to ask local where to go while you are there. It would be great to stay there but both my local friend and the Minster of Tourism said it wasnít possible. I didnít notice any places when I was there either.

Ukhrul, buses to Ukhrul leave from the same place the Guwahati buses drop off at the northern gate of the Kangla. They leave at around 6:00 am and 11:00 am its best to get your tickets the day before we didnít and had seats at the very back of the bus. We had to enter our passport info at an Assam Rifles checkpoint half way to Ukhrul but no other issues. For Budget travelers the Tip Top Hotel near the big Church in the center of town is a great value, simple but very clean rooms with shared clean bathrooms are 150 for singles, 200 for double, and 300 for triples. There is also a nicer hotel at the edge of town (closest to Imphal) for those who need attached bathrooms 500 for a double, I canít remember the name though. Both places are run by very nice families. You will likely have to book your own taxi if you want to climb Siroi hill as transportation seems infrequent the path to the top is pretty straight forward once you are dropped off at the trail head just keep taking the way that goes up. Its about a 1.5 to 3 hour hike to the top depending on your speed.

Moreh, Moreh is an interesting place the only real border town between in India and Burma. It pretty expensive to get to though, shared Sumos (200 rupees to Moreh, 300 rupees from Moreh) and minivans (300 rupees to Moreh, 400 rupees from Moreh) leave around 6:00 am from the western edge of the Kangla, there is no bus. Its about a 3 hour trip each way. Going to Moreh was where we encountered the most check posts and reluctance to let us through but in the end we made it. The longest interview was at the police station in the last town before the hills where we needed to leave copies of our passports and waited while they cleared it with the intelligence police. Not sure how much of a help it was in getting through but we did have a local friend with us. There were several other points where we had to show our passports but we were let through. In Moreh the Intelligence police tracked us down again and collected copies of our passports. But we were allowed to cross the boarder to the large market on the Burmese side where Indian stock up on Thai and Chinese goods. Its and interesting place and gives you a taste of what a Burmese market is like. They donít see many, next to none, foreigners there so you will likely be a source of amusement if you are of European decent. But the locals were very friendly. However apparently photography is frowned upon by at least one junta soldier who noticed me taking pictures in the market (after I had been openly taking picture for over an hour and a half) some of the others in charge didnít seem to mind to much but this fellow got a bit aggressive, I had put my camera away and was attempting to get back to the India side the junta soldier didnít want me to pass and pointed back the other way towards Burma (obviously a true believer in the anti-western Burmese government rhetoric). He gave me the crazy eye and cocked is gun I managed to side step him and make my way to one of the border guards who more politely told me no photos on the Burmese side and I just said ok no problem just going back to Imphal and quickly made my way back to India. So be careful when taking pictures in the market (there is no sign saying that photos are not allowed although there is one barring mobile phones however no one is checked for phones when they cross).
#2 Mar 22nd, 2011, 12:57
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  • Zonunmawii is offline
#2
Hi Micah,
As now that you have visited Manipur, i would advice you to go to Mizoram, and other states of North East. I particularly advice you to Mizoram cos it is the only one of the states that is consider to be free of insurgents since 1986 of Peace Agreement signed by the Mizo National Front and the Central Govt. of India. Unlike Manipur or other northeast states, Mizoram is free, free of army, junta, insurgents etc.

The climate is moderate, mountaineous area, lots of bamboos and other woods. Food is bland though. Precautions to be taken such as for malaria.

To enter Mizoram, Inner Line Permit is required for both the foreigners and the 'mainland Indians' /people outside of Mizoram. ILP can be obtain in Mizoram State Office which are established in big cities like (Vasant Vihar,Chanakyapuri)Delhi,(Salt Lake, Ballygunge) Calcutta, etc.

There are hotels which are clean, my suggestions are Tourist Lodge in Chaltlang, Hotel Arini in Khatla, and i am surre there may be more, but i know this two place are good.

The weather is moderate climate, and the raining season do get good amount of rain. The people eat all kinds of meat, may be great to check out what kind of meat the locals do eat

I wish travelindia mike members do have great fun in Northeast.

Z
#3 Mar 22nd, 2011, 20:09
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  • sbballer33 is offline
#3
Thanks planning on heading to Mizoram in a few weeks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zonunmawii View Post Hi Micah,
As now that you have visited Manipur, i would advice you to go to Mizoram, and other states of North East. I particularly advice you to Mizoram cos it is the only one of the states that is consider to be free of insurgents since 1986 of Peace Agreement signed by the Mizo National Front and the Central Govt. of India. Unlike Manipur or other northeast states, Mizoram is free, free of army, junta, insurgents etc.

The climate is moderate, mountaineous area, lots of bamboos and other woods. Food is bland though. Precautions to be taken such as for malaria.

To enter Mizoram, Inner Line Permit is required for both the foreigners and the 'mainland Indians' /people outside of Mizoram. ILP can be obtain in Mizoram State Office which are established in big cities like (Vasant Vihar,Chanakyapuri)Delhi,(Salt Lake, Ballygunge) Calcutta, etc.

There are hotels which are clean, my suggestions are Tourist Lodge in Chaltlang, Hotel Arini in Khatla, and i am surre there may be more, but i know this two place are good.

The weather is moderate climate, and the raining season do get good amount of rain. The people eat all kinds of meat, may be great to check out what kind of meat the locals do eat

I wish travelindia mike members do have great fun in Northeast.

Z
#4 Mar 22nd, 2011, 20:23
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  • theyyamdancer is offline
#4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zonunmawii View Post Hi Micah,
../..
To enter Mizoram, Inner Line Permit is required for both the foreigners and the 'mainland Indians' /people outside of Mizoram. ILP can be obtain in Mizoram State Office which are established in big cities like (Vasant Vihar,Chanakyapuri)Delhi,(Salt Lake, Ballygunge) Calcutta, etc.

Z
Actually that is inaccurate. The permits are no longer required for foreigners.
#5 Mar 31st, 2011, 13:26
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  • zzz is offline
#5

Info . of Mizoram

Hi Micah,
When you visit Mizoram, I advice you to see -
1.Reiek Tlang -It is about 1-2 hrs drive from Aizawl, the capital. It is a mountain, where you can trek, beautiful, covered with nature with great view. Definite place to see, specially that it is not far from Aizawl.

2. Hmuifang Tlang - 1-2 hrs drive from Aizawl, this is becoming a favourite place for picnics, weekend hangout place among youngters of Aizawl youth and of family too. Have nice view, beautiful place,naturally covered.

3. Sialsuk Tlang - Next to Hmuifang tlang, Sialsuk tlang is located, this also nature place, beautiful.

4. Falkawn - This is a village on the way to Hmuifang Tlang, in this village, Mizoram Art and Culture Department, built an artificial village that can show the past of Mizo and the Mizo culture, in this artificial village we can see - Chief's house (there are no kings but Chiefs in past Mizo history) , Zawlbuk (a place where all young Mizo men sleep together at night, and a place to learn fighting, chacter building, etc), Thirdeng In (a house of the villager who made weapons, household instruments, anything that is dealing with metal), ordinary house etc.

And within the city Aizawl, a must visit is (i) Aizawl Theological College located in Durtlang, the place have great view of Aizawl City. (ii) Bazar pui - Chawhmeh bazar - a place where etables, meat etc. are sell, it can be interesting for westerners to see the vegetabl;e market, so it smy suggestion. (iii) Local churches - nto visit any local churches on 'sunday' morning, any local churches will do, but im particular about Presbyterian church as it is teh dominant church in Mizoram, just to see how the mass are being practice can be interesting. (iv) should try all the food, any food which teh locals of Mizoram are taking, it can be interesting, including dog meat or cat meat(sorry, no offence to the vegetarian or PETA followers)

And of outside Aizawl, couple of places i would like other to see are -
1. Champhai - a town, second to Aizawl in terms of population density, Champhai is located in the eastern part of Mizoram, it is located near where Myanmar entry gate exist, so Champhai is the first town for the people who come from Myanmar side to Mizoram, its a trade transit point of Myanmar and Mizoram. Champhai have plains, paddy field and fish farms, this region is teh only largest plains that can be found within MIzoram, as Mizoram is a hilly and mountaineous area.The plains of Champhai is very beautiful, winter in thsi region can be cold, could come doen to 5 degree celcius. A must vist, one of my favourite place in all Mizoram. Along the plains of paddy fields are low slope valleys where grapes are grown extensively,(infact these grapes are now recently turned into wine, named Zawlaidi, a wine, aproduct of Mizoram, Zawlaidi means 'love potion' in Mizo language, alcohol is prohibited but wine is openly accepted on the streets after Zawlaidi is introduced, plus it is a good income for the farmers-grape growers)Near Champhai, (a)there is small village Zote in this place , you may find Muraw Puk, this place have story that in olden days eagle/mu used to take children away, so children were hide in this cave, these 2-3 caves are known as Muraw Puk. (a) Thasiama se no neihna - a well known historical place where a buffalo had a calf (c) Chhura Farep - another historical importance where Chiefs put an inscripted stones. (d) Rih Dil - a lake which have a story in MIzo folk tales, where this is believe to be a place where the death go, as the lake is dark and have some mystical appearance. (e) Zokhawthar - this is a village on the way to Rih Dil / lake, this is place where papers are check from both Mizoram side and from Myanmar side, a transit area, pretty interesting place, there is a big river in between the village called Tiau. The above places were all near of Champhai, a must visit.

There is a government run Tourist Lodge in Champhai, it is a good place to stay, i dont know about hotel though.

2. Phawpui Tlang - this is located towards the south part of Mizoram, it is teh highest mountain in Mizoram, (dont know nwo how high the meters is,you may check on internet google) there is a high waterfalls as well. Beautiful nature place.

3. Tlawng Lui - this is a river not far from Aizawl, around 2 hrs drive,(this river connect Assam) this river is known for the first entry place of Welsh Missionary who came to Mizoram and preach the Gospel while the Mizo were still animist in 1894 and thes 2 Welsh Missionary also made a scrpt for the Mizo, a latin script is used fro Mizo language,(considering the young only 100yrs of script known to the Mizo, Mizoram is 2nd to most literate state next to Kerala in India, kudos to al the Mizos)

4. Tlabung - this is a village in South of Mizoram, have a big wide river, that connects to the Bangladesh, this place may be of great interest for some adventure tourist.

Chapchar Kut is a famous traditional festival in Mizoram, Chapchar Kut is celebrated in the month of March, it is also a good to visit and see how this festival is celebrated with traditional dance like Cheraw ( a dance with bamboo, also known as bamboo dance ), Sarlamkai, Chai, etc.along withg those beautiful colourful traditional dress worn by both men and women, with their headgear for both men and women and weapons only for men.

I wish i could provide this thread with pictures etc.

People in Mizoram are quite liberal in comparison to 'mainland Indian', in term of dress/clothing, behaviour etc. and i would say also in general maintain cleanliness better. But the economy is such taht majority of jobs are govt. job related, however people in general are educated and easy to be with.

I wish you have a nice travel there

Z
#6 Apr 2nd, 2011, 22:52
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Hi
I spent a week in Manipur mid-March, staying in Imphal.
On arrival at the airport there was a FRO official stamping all foreigner's passports, so very easy. I don't know if that is normal - the week I arrived a lot of foreign visitors were expected, and there were four Brits including me on my flight from Guwahati.
I had to put a Manipur contact phone number on the form I was required to fill in, and they immediately phoned the number speaking Manipuri to check me out. I had an invitation so there was no problem, and the three others were also from a charity with a pre-arranged visit organised.

Imphal is not at all a 'tourist' destination. I stayed at a run-down hotel called the City Inn just by the bus stops by the north Kangla gate. Broken windows, threadbare furnishings, no stair rail above the second floor - just a void down to ground level...
It has a restaurant called Big Chill serving pretty abysmal food - bony chicken, with rice or noodles, oily gravy browning 'curry'. Enough said.

On that side of town there didn't seem much choice of either cheap hotels or any restaurants beyond local rice hotels.

I was fed by Manipuri Brahmin caterers several times, which afforded a much better eating experience - rice with various curry side dishes, all made with fresh vegetables and chillies, no powdered ingredients.

There are no taxis on the streets, just pedal rickshaws, or auto-rickshaws most of which fill up as they travel a set route. I have no idea how you would get to the airport on your return - a car was arranged for me. But there were tour companies with jeeps by the bus stands with people who could speak a bit of English so something could have been worked out I'm sure.

Everybody in the centre of Imphal was very friendly, but no one spoke English beyond a few very basic words. I was OK because I had an arranged guide for my trips in both Imphal, and to Moirang, Sendra and the Kakching areas.

Kangla palace is interesting historically, but not scenically impressive. The museum in the British quarters is current closed for refurbishment.

The main Govinda Temple near the King's House was fascinating - there was a beautiful performance of a kirtan - singing and music - going on. Very colouful, once you are barefoot you can enter and explore.

Opposite there is a Sanamahi shrine (Manipur's old religion, currently in revival), with beautiful minature brass faces to represent the main Lai (deities).

I also watched a polo match at the main polo ground near the BT road flyover, next to the women's market complex - both were well worth the visit.

You need a photocopy of your passport at the Sendra Hill lookout at Loktak Lake - probably it would be a good idea to have a spare photocopy to hand over should you get stopped by an army checkpoint. On the whole the army presence on the streets was fairly easy going and not at all intimidating, they were just people doing their job.

I was there when the president of India made a two day visit, and the whole of Imphal went on strike, and the insurgents exploded a huge bomb at 2250hrs which echoed across the city as a bedtime lullaby for her - but even that was not really scary as they made sure there were no casualties of any sort.

The sun reaches its zenith in Manipur well before noon, so its an early-start/early-finish place. Well before midnight the streets are completely deserted.
Wandering around day or night seemed completely safe.

I had a great time visiting a family in their village home in the south of the valley, who gave me a video of the village Lai Haraoba, and their daughter's recent wedding. That was one of the main reasons for my trip, so I wasn't doing the usual tourist thing. But that's another story...
#7 Jun 4th, 2011, 13:25
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  • sbballer33 is offline
#7
Finally got around to getting pictures and travel reports up from Manipur you can check them out here:
http://www.micahimages.com/journal_w...india/manipur/
I'll get more up as I get around to it including pics from Holi in Imphal which was a highlight of the visit.

By the way PDix, must have been in Imphal at the same time I was also there during the president's visit.
#8 Jun 8th, 2011, 13:23
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  • ks_bluechip is offline
#8
sbballer33: Thanks for detailed info on Manipur! And on your blog link. Hope to be in Manipur in Dec-2011
.
.
#9 Dec 7th, 2011, 16:35
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  • shaleen is offline
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Nice info.thanks
#10 Mar 12th, 2012, 15:42
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#10

Thanks for the practical info

Thank you for your detailed travel information at Imphal and to Burma. It will be much useful. I am planning to visit these areas by April. Indeed i am not aware of the Photography issues. Thanks for sharing such experiences.
Chris
#11 Apr 3rd, 2012, 20:43
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  • Jimanjulan is offline
#11
Hi guys

Are the foreign tourists restrictions still lifted for Imphal?

Julie
#12 Sep 13th, 2014, 22:19
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#12
thanks for all the information

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