Ram means Land in the Mizo language (Not to be mistaken for our very famous mythological figure) So Mizoram means Land of the Mizos. This landlocked state of the Northeastern India is very diverse in culture, and bio-diversity. Also called as the Land of the Blue Mountains, this state boasts of exotic flora and fauna. It hosts a wide range of festivals, dances and handicrafts.
Nine days into this vacation, we were back in the car headed towards the third state in our plan and the last one on the list. The journey from Tripura to Mizoram wasn’t a smooth one, but definitely worth the ordeal!
Best time to visit
While none of the three seasons of Summer, Monsoon and Winter are extreme in Mizoram, the winter months of October- March is the best time to visit. The beautiful landscapes of this state are best enjoyed with the windows pulled down and letting the cool breeze in your hair.
Day 1: Agartala – Aizawl
The original plan was a pitstop in one of the towns on the way to Aizawl, as G-maps had told us that this journey would take us about 11 hours. And a drive on under construction roads in the hilly terrain can be quite daunting. But due to some protests in our original path, we were forced to take a deviation and we made it to the state of Mizoram earlier than we thought and decided to make it all the way to Aizawl the same day. I’m so glad we live in the era of Goibibo and Makemytrips, we were able to find a stay pretty easily at the last minute. Aizawl was just a pitstop for us and we stayed just the night and were out the next day to our next destination – Thenzawl.
Our Stay: Aizawl guest house
We stayed at the Aizawl guest house for the night. Like the rest of the travel days, here too we reached the city later than the restaurants are open (9:00 PM!). And we were concerned about our first meal of the day. Luckily for us, our host, although it was late, woke up and made us an edible meal with us laying sous chef. And we went to bed with a full tummy.
Damage to the pockets
Aizawl stay with dinner and breakfast: INR 1000 per head
Day 2: Aizawl to Thenzawl
The journey from Aizawl to Thenzawl was beautiful! With the roads higher the cloud levels we felt like we were floating in the clouds. While the scene outside our car windows were surreal. The scene inside wasn’t great! Our pea-brained driver didn’t fuel up the car in the town of Aizawl and instead after a good distance out of Aizawl was asking us if we knew any petrol bunks on the way! We were unsure who the visitor and who the local was there. And when we asked why he didn’t think of refuelling at Aizawl, his ego was hurt and behaved with a lot of arrogance for the rest of our journey. So if you ever go to the north-east never take the cab services from Travenjo Tours in Shillong. We had to put in a lot of effort to not snap at his arrogance and incompetence. Well enough of negativity (Thanks for letting me rant you guys!)
Enroute to Thenzawl, we came across a village, Aibawk with tantalising views and had to stop to catch some of the views. We spent a good hour there just staring into the yonder of never ending crest and troughs of the one too many hills in the area. The view point was close to a food cart , where a couple of really sweet ladies were making some lip-smacking gol gappas. These are not your regular ones and had a very different but delicious taste. So after greedily filling our tummy with their food and our hearts with their company, we were back on the road to our next pitstop – ‘The Tropic of Cancer’
Tropic of Cancer
If most of you like me haven’t paid much attention in Geography class in school but paid enough attention to know this is from Geography, I will just provide you with some colourful photos but here is the wikipedia link to learn the details.
After some photos we were once again back in our car greeted by a frowning driver and headed to Thenzawl.
Thenzawl is a remote village in Mizoram known for its flora. They have a very famous waterfall called the Vantawng falls. This was an hours journey from our guest house. So we first decided to head there. The surroundings and the waterfall itself was very beautiful, but we were a bit disappointed that we could not get down near the waterfall and had to be satisfied with a far view of the falls. After experiencing the mesmerising water bodies in Meghalaya up close, this was a little disappointing TBH.
We did try exploring to see if there was a path to reach the waterfall, but the further we went, the narrower and steeper the path got so we decided to head back.
Once we reached our lodge we dumped our luggage and had a very scrumptious lunch which we were craving for. The manager at our stay informed us about another famous tourist spot called as the Tuirihiau Falls. We looked up some images and immediately decided to get back in the car and were on our way to the falls. But it looked like that day was just not on our side. The waterfalls was closed for the day as it was already really late. It was 5:00 PM! I can’t stress this enough about North-east that they’re not an evening/night people. So you’ve to start your day early. These people really know their work-life balance, a lesson for us all?
With that we returned to our lodge. With the gentle sound of a flowing stream through the window of our room, we peacefully called it a day.
Our Stay: Thenzawl Tourist Lodge
This is a quaint little place with a flowing stream for a neighbor. This place has the basic amenities but very neatly maintained. The staff like any other place in the North-eastern India are extremely courteous. Like I mentioned, luck wasn’t on our side that day and we couldn’t see a lot of places around, but you could contact the staff at this hotel and they would be sure to help you out! As this was right after the lockdown in 2021, there weren’t much details about the contact. The contact provided online belonged to an ex-employee. So I had to move earth and heaven to get their number, but eventually succeeded. So if you need the details DM me and I shall help you out 🙂
Damage to the pockets
- Stay with lunch and dinner at the tourist lodge for a 3 bed cottage : INR 770 per person
Day 3: Thenzawl – Zokhawthar
Now this was a very challenging part of the trip for many reasons. The egoist driver of ours had never heard of Zokhawthar so he was being very grumpy, secondly the small town of Zokhawthar was a good 8.5 hours away from Thenzawl, which meant that it was another long day on the road.
We really wanted to go to this town as this is the border village on the India- Myanmar border. This town is located in the Champai district of Mizoram. This quaint town has a population of about 2500 all smiling people. And after having touched the Bangladesh border (read details here) , there was no leaving Myanmar behind.
We took the Tuichang-Khuangleng route to reach this town. As we were nearing this place there was a road blockage on a bridge. With no cellular network and not a person in sight we were starting to get concerned about reaching as it was already dark (Remember it gets dark in the North-East by 5:30pm-6:00pm). After a few minutes, a guy on his scooter came as our saviour and gave us directions for another route. We turned around and were slowing inching towards our destination. I would be lying if I said we weren’t scared about reaching or something happening to us on the way. There were no roads and street lights were out of the question. And this being a hilly region we had to be really careful. To find out turning in which direction would take us on a path forward or towards a dead end was a ‘not-so-fun’ game we were a part of. After what seemed like eternity we saw some people who turned out to be cops. When we told them where we were staying at in Zokhawtar, they immediately sent someone to guide us all the way. We thanked them and sighed a breathe of relief.
An alternative way to reach this town is by taking a helicopter service from Aizawl straight to this town. This piece of information we got to know from a fellow traveller at our stay in Thenzawl. (Not like we could afford it anyway, but wouldn’t hurt to be informed)
Our Stay: Simon Homestay
It was only after we reached is when we realised why we were given that special treatment. As it turned out, we were going to be staying with the financial secretary of the village. We had booked the only tourist lodge initially whose number I had found after doing nanotechnology levels of R&D. But when we were a week away from the journey, we got a call from the lodge saying that their facility had been taken over as a covid care centre and gave us this person’s contact instead. And boy, were we glad?!?
Since we reached late, the only restaurant that town had was shut and the lady of the house was generous enough to quickly cook us some dinner. (What is with us reaching every place late and the hosts making us dinner?) The stay wasn’t anything fancy. Just a basic but very comfortable and clean dorm room facility with some beds, toilet and a bathroom. We had the whole room to ourselves.
Communicating that there was one vegetarian amongst us (Me! Duh!!) was a task. As sweet as the people are in Zokkawtar, language is a challenge. Majority of them do not speak English or Hindi. So most of our communication was using signs. After that initial hurdle I got my veg meal and it was the best meal in 2 weeks. Though it was a simple dal and rice with combination with some vegetables, soup and some non veg dish, it was so delicious that we emptied everything that was prepared. The lady of the house had served the food at the dining table in their house.
And the whole family was looking at us and giggling like we had never seen food! We weren’t one bit embarrassed, as they looked too darn adorable doing so.
After the delicious meal the family took us for a walk around the village and showed us the border at night. That was a much needed walk after stuffing our faces with more food than we had in more than a week together.
Damage to the pockets
Stay at Simon homestay with dinner and the trials with the local costume : INR 1700 per head
Day 4: Zokhawtar – Rih Dil – Zokhawtar – Aizawl
We woke up the following day to realise what they meant by the restaurant there. It was a space occupied in an under construction building adjacent to our homestay. There were large pots of soup being cooked in one section and another large vessel of rice. It seemed like the whole town was walking in and out of this place for some breakfast. We assumed this place must have amazing food. Well I wouldn’t know. It didn’t take me long to realise that none of those soups were vegetarian friendly and took me 20 minutes to try and explain to them I don’t eat meat including them thinking they understood and handing me a plate of the plain white rice with some channa and dunking a spoon of beef pickles next to it. Finally they just gave me another plate of that plain rice and channa. After a self pitying breakfast, (For me cuz my friends seemed to be enjoying their meaty soupy breakfast) we went for a walk in the market right opposite and walked around the town a bit more with our host- The Boss Lady!
Once we were back in the homestay she gave us some of her daughter’s traditional Mizo clothes for us to try on and get some pictures. Our lady was quite the enthusiastic photographer. We knew the previous night itself that we loved her, and today was just reassuring our decision. We also bought some of the traditional skirts.
The next thing and the most important thing on the agenda after the photoshoot was visiting the border. This was just a 5 minute drive from our homestay. The Indo-Myanmar border connects the Zokhawtar town in the Champai district of India and the Rikhawdar in Falam district in Myanmar. These two are separated by the Tiau river and is connected by a bridge which is usually open for tourists to take some pictures on. But due to some unrest in Myanmar. This bridge was closed and we had to feel satisfied with pictures on this side of the bridge.
Sensing our disappointed faces, we were told that we could just cross the river by foot and touch the other side of the river and be back in no time. We started to get excited and quickly signed up for it. So with our shoes in one hand, holding each others hand we started to wade through the water with many other local folks doing the same. On reaching the other side, there were some people there who were trying to tempt us with a quick ride to one of the most famous tourist spots “Rih Dil”. After some looks of contemplation over hopping on bikes with some strangers in an unknown territory and heading off into the wild, which didn’t last too long, we were on our way to satiate our curiosity of whether this Rih Dil lake was worth its fame.
It was a twenty minute ride on the two wheeler up and down some hillocks and lush green surroundings. It was the cliched love at first sight with the lake. The glistening waves of water reflecting the soothing sunlight, surrounded by different shades of green in every direction with a backdrop of the perfect blue sky was just what the doctor had prescribed! We lost track of time there and had to be reminded that we were on unwelcome soil and had to head back soon. The “tour guides” then took us to a view point from where we could actually see the outline of the lake which is the shape of heart and hence the name Rih Dil. Dil in Hindi (and maybe other languages) means the heart. With our hearts full of excitement and serenity we headed back towards the Tiau river with a small pitstop to quickly pick up some souvenirs we were back at the river, and we crossed it quickly after quick adieus to the guides who made our day. the most memorable one.
Once back at the homestay, we loaded our luggage to the cab with heavy hearts. Bid goodbyes to our wonderful host and her family, and were on our way back to Aizawl. This was another 8 hour journey and this time we drove through Champai. Having learned our lesson about reaching late and dinner troubles we packed some food in champai and went on to stay in the Aizawl Guest House for the next 2 nights.
Damage to the pockets
The local tour charges in Myanmar : INR 500 per head (Yes they accepted Indian currency)
Day 5: Aizawl
After a fully planned 2 week journey through the 3 states of the Northeast India, this last day was completely unplanned and was just spent roaming around the streets of Aizawl for some shopping. The new market in Aizawl has multiple tiny stores for a shopping enthusiast. But coming from Bangalore, we didn’t find anything that was either unique or decently priced. It was while roaming on these streets we realised that Mizoram is dry state and not like we were desperately looking for it. But naturally we soon found contacts of people to take care of you if necessary 😉 After a tiring day of lots of walking around, we retired to our hotel room for some hot shower and packing. Packing at this side of the vacation is not something I am a big fan of 😦
Day 6: Aizawl – Kolkata – Bangalore
Once we were all packed, we loaded our cab and were on our way to the Lengpui airport which was an hours drive from Aizawl. There was an air of melancholy inside our car for our trip was ending in a few hours. Knowing that this would be the situation on our last day, we had booked our flights so that we get a lay over in Kolkata for a few hours to give ourselves some retail therapy. And were we excited with our loot?!? Hell Yea!! Details of shopping in Kolkata will come in another post.
So 2 whole weeks, 2 thousand kilometres, 3 states and a million memories. That’s the best way to describe our 2 weeks in the most beautiful and cleanest part of our country!
- Do Not Litter
- Try to pack food and water if you have a full day’s road journey ahead of you
- Do not miss to pick up their famous chillies
- Contact me for travel info within Mizoram ( Yes we learned our lesson and got better contacts for cabs)
- You can also contact me for dry state rules in Mizoram 🙂