MIZORAM was the next destination after Nagaland and Manipur during my solo trip to Northeast India. I took a plane from Imphal in Manipur to reach Aizawl(The Capital City of Mizoram). I had some wild experiences in Mizoram ranging from hitchhiking in a truck, losing my way during the night, Navigating through an almost closed city, exploring a narrow cave, experiencing the local kite festival from the top of the mountain!
DAY 1- AIZAWL
Indian tourists need ILP (Inner line permit) to visit Mizoram. I procure the same at Lengpui Airport. ILP form cost INR 170. It is valid for 7 days and can be extended further at District Headquarters. Lengpui Airport is around 30 km from Aizawl City. No public transport is available. Private vehicle or shared/private taxis are the only options. Taxis charge INR 1000-1500. I was planning to cover the distance via hitchhiking but luckily I met someone who bears most of the cost and I tag along with him. Aizawl is a hilly city. My timing was not ideal as I reached the city a day after Christmas. Most of the city was closed. From Christmas to New year is not the best time to visit Mizoram as transportation, hotels, shops are not fully functional during this period. I wanted to visit the Mizoram State Museum but it was closed. I traveled all the way to Solomon’s Temple (Biggest Church in Mizoram) but it was also closed. Aizawl seems like a cool city to explore but unfortunately, it was mostly closed during my visit.
DAY 2- REIEK TLANG (MOUNTAIN) TREK
Tlang means Mountain in Mizo language. Mizo is the local language of Mizoram. Reiek village is situated 30 km from Aizawl. Shared sumos ply from Bungkawn taxi stand (10 mins walking distance from Khatla bus stop) in Aizawl. It costs me INR 100. There are only two places to stay in Reiek Village for tourists. First one is Government run Reiek Tourist Resort and the second one is Green Hills Homestay (A homestay located just outside of Reiek Tourist Resort Entry Gate. Reiek Tlang trek also starts from here. I would highly recommend you to stay at Green Hills homestay. Apart from being cheaper and cleaner than Tourist Resort, you will feel at home. It is run by a really awesome family! Mizo hospitality at its best. I stayed in Reiek village for two nights because I reached Reiek village on Saturday and just like Nagaland, Sunday is equal to “Dead World” in Mizoram. One night stay is enough to explore Reiek village. The biggest attraction in Reiek is Reiek Tlang trek. I would rate the trek as easy to moderate in terms of difficulty. It took me around 3 hrs to complete the trek. The path diverts from these stairs (see pic above) and from there take a left turn to reach Reiek Tlang peak. Next day, I did the trek again but this time took the right turn to explore nearby mountain peaks. Views were truly breathtaking from up there. Since I trekked in December, I witnessed a lot of fog. On a clear day, one can even see the plains of Bangladesh. This trek is pretty straightforward and easy as compared to Dzukou Valley Trek in Nagaland. Reiek Tlang trek is really popular and you will meet many people during the trek. I met many groups of local people and they were surprised and happy by the fact that I am traveling alone in their state. One group offered me the strong local Rice Beer/Whisky which tastes like Vodka! It is a homemade beverage which you will not find in a market. Best drink to combat cold 😉 On the way to Reiek Tlang, I saw a real life-size model of “Typical Mizo Village”. It gives me insight into the Mizo culture. Khuangchera Puk is a cave located near Reiek Village. If you are an adventurous soul then do not miss it. It is 162 meters long narrow cave. Go with a head torch and dirty clothes. I couldn’t able to complete it due to lack of aforementioned things. Also, doing it alone is quite difficult if you are not a professional or experienced explorer. On Sunday, I visited the local church to attend the Sunday mass. I met a guy at church who translated Mizo into English for me. I had a great time in Reiek overall.
DAY 3- SIALSUK KITE FESTIVAL CUM CARNIVAL
After my visit to Reiek, I come back to Aizawl. My next stop was Sialsuk village which is around 70 km from Aizawl. Shared sumos ply from Ngaizel taxi stand in Aizawl. It costs me INR 300. On the way to Sialsuk, you can visit Hmuifang Tlang park located at an elevation of 1600m. I skipped it though. Luckily, I reached Sialsuk on the last day of the Kite Festival cum Carnival. Kite festival is a yearly affair which takes place in the month of December. It is a lively event with a concert, good food and kite-flying contests. People gather to fly kites from Siasluk Tlang(Mountain). Flying kite from the top of the mountain surely feels amazing. I loved every minute of it. I stayed at a Government lodge in Sailsuk. One can even stay at Hmuifamg Tourist Resort(15 km from Sialsuk).
DAY 4- THENZAWL
Thenzawl town is located approx. 25 km from Sialsuk village. Due to ongoing holidays, I couldn’t able to find any transportation. So I decided to hitchhike. After waiting for half an hour or so, a truck finally gave me a ride. The truck driver was just 22 years old guy from Assam. He came across as a responsible driver and an honest person. Being a hilly area and since we were ascending, the truck was moving at a snail speed. After some time, we stopped to fix the punctured tyre. Removing a truck’s tyre is infinitely difficult than changing a car’s tyre. Since it was taking quite long, I hitched another ride with a family on a mini truck. I was in the back of the mini-truck with the children who didn’t know English or Hindi but we still managed to talk our way through till I reached my destination! I stayed at Thenzawl Tourist Lodge for INR 200 in a dormitory. After checking in I set out to reach Tuirihiau Park. Again, I got lucky and someone gave me a ride till the park which is located 7 km from Thenzawl town. Here one can see the Tuirihiau falls. It is one of the few waterfalls which you can even see from the behind. It is a nice place for a picnic. On the way to Tuirihiau Park, I saw the “Vantawng Waterfalls” board sign. Vantawng Falls is the highest uninterrupted waterfall in Mizoram. So I decided to walk back to the sign and started walking in the direction of Vantawng falls. Little did I know that I have to walk for another 30-40 mins to reach my destination. I saw some houses on the way but did not find a soul to whom I can ask directions and it was getting dark. I keep walking with the hope that my destination is just around the corner. I was walking at a very fast pace and the distance I covered would have taken more than an hour if I had walked at a normal pace. All sort of things were coming into my mind. Finally, I reached the Viewing point of Vantawng Falls and I heaved a sigh of relief. One can see the falls from this elevated Viewing point. This is the closest one can get to Vantawng Falls. The view of mountains and Vantawng Falls was amazing, to say the least. While returning also I did not see a soul. Maybe everyone was gone to the new year party! I reached the main road after dark and shortly after I find a taxi which dropped me at Thenzawl town for INR 50 and This is how I spend my last day of 2019! The First day of 2020 brings another challenge as I have to again hitchhike back to Aizawl which is approx. 95 km away. I tried my luck with many truck drivers but to no avail. After an hour or so, a family of 3 gave me a ride in their car till Aizawl! I played my favourite Hindi songs during our journey and they loved it. Even though it was not the best time to visit MIZORAM but still I had a memorable and adventurous time.