3/1/2011 to 3/24/2011 | India , Manipur

Do it Yourself, Manipur

I haven’t really put much practical information in my journal posts but since I do get a number of people asking about more practical details, I’ll start a new “Do it Yourself” segment for destinations where there isn’t a lot of info out there.  Of course much of this information may eventually go out of date like any guidebook but it was at least actuate at the time I visited Manipur, March 2011.

Manipur Journal entries with photos

Safety and other concerns:

Manipur is a volatile state among the most volatile in India with a countless number of insurgent groups vying with the government and each other.  So check the situation with locals before going anywhere.  Non local Indians and foreign government websites generally exaggerate the danger and the information is often months if not years out of date, so its best to get info from someone currently in Manipur.   While I was there it was a period of relative calm and I didn’t have problems anywhere and generally tourist have not been targeted but then again there have been very few tourists in Manipur.


Getting There and Arrival:

As of Jan 1sth 2011 foreigners no longer needed a protected area permit to visit Manipur.  This was technically a one year trial so there is a small possibility this will change in the future so check for the latest information before going.  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.  A 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 rats (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 didn’t really say anything about it when we asked just said I’ll get back to you and never did.  So we never ended up officially registering anywhere but it didn’t seem to be a problem with anyone.  However I’d recommend finding out how to register as this may avoid future issues.  If you fly in you will do it at the airport.

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

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 wasn’t possible.  I didn’t notice any places when I was there either.

A friend of mine was later able to stay “at the Lakeview hotel in Moirang, 400Rp for the cheapest room, and 700Rp for the swank one,” According to him.



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 didn’t 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 can’t 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.  It’s about a 1.5 to 3 hour hike to the top depending on your speed.



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.  It’s 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 don’t 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 didn’t 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 didn’t 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).

4 comments to Do it Yourself, Manipur

  • K. Srinivasan

    I am ks_bluechip in India Mike. Thinking of visiting Manipur between 11-20 Dec 2012 just to to see the stateand see some main sights like in your blog page here.

    Any idea about current security situation for toursists there?

    I would have liked go in by road in share-jee[ from Silchar/Kohima and out from other Kohima/Silchar. But if security situation not good then may fly in-out Imphal, from Kolkata.

    Let me know if you have any local contacts for visit to places like Moreh, Loktak etc.


  • Sorry can’t help you much on the security situation now as I’m not in the country at the moment. I would guess your in a better position than me to gauge right now. But in the past, at least from what I heard when I was there, is there are areas that you don’t want to go but rarely is the whole state overly dangerous. I would say head up there and then talk to people from the areas you want to go. The confusing part is often people from the the valley will tell you the hills are dangerous and people from the hills will tell you the Imphal valley is dangerous. More than any real danger likely the more annoying thing for a traveler would be curfews or bandhs.

  • Tom Nowak

    Hi Micah. I´ve been browsing the net to find out if its possible to cross the border at Tamu/Moreh, exactly where you did, after and onland trip from Yangoon and basically exit from Myanmar there.
    What is your opinion?

  • Hi Tom, unless you are Indian or Burmese, its not a legal border crossing. I was able to cross temporarily to visit the market (but even that may not have been entirely legal) but its not possible continue on legally into Myanmar from there nor from Burma to India. In fact it would be very difficult to even get close to the border on the Myanmar side since it is a restricted area. There are no legal overland international border crossings between Myanmar and India. In fact the only legal land border crossing I know of is the China/Myanmar border and even that one I’ve heard you need to arrange through a travel agent. But things are changing fast in Myanmar these days so that may change in the future but as far as I know it hasn’t changed yet. Over-landing between Myanmar and India (for third country passport holders) is not possible yet (legally). Good luck with your trip but you may have to find another exit.


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