A Guide To Planning A Trip To Rih Dil Lake On India-Myanmar Border
During my ride in North-East, I got opportunities to explore a variety of things. I explored National Park like Kaziranga National Park and Manas National Park, waterfalls like Wei-Saw-Dong, Rainbow, and Vantawng Waterfall. I explored the mountains of Assam and rode on the Lumding-Maibang Haflong Highway, which I rate as the best in North East India. Throughout my sixty-day ride in north-east India, I experienced something different and unique daily, and today’s day was not unusual. My today’s trip comprised of crossing the India-Myanmar Border and visiting the famous Rih-Dil Lake in Myanmar. I made a trip to Rih Dil Lake as it is an important tourist destination for both the people of India and Myanmar. During my ride in the seven sisters, I had touched the International border a few times. It was the first time I was going to cross the border and explore a tourist spot in another country. Therefore this article will be dealing with the Rih-Dil Lake on India-Myanmar border. In this article, I will be sharing a detailed travel guide to visit Rih Dil Lake. I will share information like route, and the condition of the road. I will also list the accommodation facilities and other necessary information required to make a successful trip to Rih Dil Lake. Since the lake involves the crossing of India-Myanmar border, I would try my best to explain all the permits and info, and if still there is a doubt, do let me know via comment or message, and I would be glad to help you out.
Where is Rih-Dil Lake Situated?
The Rih-Dil Lake lies in the Chin State of Myanmar, a neighboring country of India which shares an international border of 1,643 kilometers with India. The Chin state is one of the 14 states and administrative division of Myanmar and forms a majority of India-Myanmar Border along Mizoram in India. The lake lies 4 kilometers from the India-Myanmar border in Myanmar. The nearest Indian town on the border is Zokhawthar, which lies in the Champhai District of Mizoram. Champhai is also known as the rice bowl of Mizoram for its extensive rice cultivation and lies 190 kilometers from the state capital Aizwal. On the other hand, Zokhawthar is 25 kilometers from the Champhai district headquarters.
Before the international border came into existence, the lake was supposedly in Mizo dominated area. When India and Myanmar gained independence, the lake went to Myanmar, although it had a profound impact on Mizo culture and tradition. The Rih-Dil Lake is also considered as the biggest lake in Mizoram, although it is not officially in Mziroarm. The lakes entirely in Mizoram are Tam Dil Lake and Palak Dil lake. Today the Rih Dil lies in Myanmar, yet Indians can visit the lake and explore the beauty of one of the best lakes associated with Mizo history and culture.
Why Visit Rih Dil Lake
Although there are many reasons for visiting Rih Dil, I would be listing the two essential reasons. The first reason why a traveler should visit Rih Dil lake is its size. Before the India-Myanmar border came into existence, the lake was the biggest in the state. After it went in Myanmar, Palak Dil became the largest lake in Mizoram, but visiting Palak Dil is a mammoth task. Not all can visit the Palak Dil due to its distance from Aizwal, the bad road condition, and challenging Mizo hills. There is a second option which is the Tam Dil Lake, but when I visited the lake, I was not fascinated. In comparison, Rih Dil is a phenomenal lake to visit, and the heart-shaped lake shows the finest of nature’s creation.
Moreover, if you visit the Rih Dil, you get an opportunity to explore the vast plains of Champhai district famous for rice cultivation. The second reason for visiting the Rih Dil is that it allows travelers to cross the border. Although many places in India lies on International Border, not everywhere, one can cross the border. In the case of Rih Dil, one can cross the border and explore the neighboring country of Myanmar. One can shop in the local Burmese shops and taste the Myanmar dish and beer.
Importance of Rih Dil Lake in Mizoram Culture and Tradition
The Rih Dil Lake had a significant impact on the Mizo culture and traditions. The lake is deeply rooted in the Mizo customs and folklore. According to the beliefs, the Rih Dil Lake is the corridor to their heaven called Pialral. All souls destined to Pialral must pass through the lake. Pialral is a Mizo word meaning “beyond the world.” Also, when I visited the Tourist Lodge in Zokhawthar, the manager of the tourist lodge informed me that earlier, the newlywed Mizo couple used to visit the lake and seek blessings. After the missionaries arrived in the region, the majority of tribes converted to Christianity. Today the tradition of visiting the lake declined, and now the lake is more of a tourist spot and less of a holy place.
How To Reach The Rih Dil Lake From Aizwal
As mentioned above, the lake lies 190 kilometers from the state capital and requires eight to ten hours of drive. The Aizawl-Seling-Champhai Road connects Aizwal to Champhai. Upon arriving at Champhai, one has to continue on Champhai-Zokhawthar road, also known as the India-Myanmar Border Road. This route is the best route to reach Rih-Dil from Aizawl. During my ride in Mizoram, I rode from Seling after exploring the Vantawng Waterfall and Tam Dil Lake. The path to reach Rih-Dil Lake is as follow: Aizwal-> Seling-> Keifang-> Kawlkulh-> Khawzawl-> Champhai-> Zokhawthar-> Rih-Dil. If one is planning to visit the lake from another north-east Indian state, approaching the lake via the Silchar-Aizwal route is best.
Regarding the transport facilities, the town of Champhai is well connected with the state capital Aizwal. Mizoram State Government buses ply on this route daily. To get buses for Champhai, one needs to visit the Thuampui Bus Stop or the MST Bus Station to get the bus for Champhai. Alternatively, one can also opt for private buses or Sumo Services that ran on this route 24*7 (except Sunday). The road condition from Aizwal to Champhai is in a disordered state that I will cover in the next segment. On average, it will take 10 hours to reach Champhai from Aizwal. Upon arriving at Champhai, one can again rely on private buses or Sumo Services to reach Zokhawthar, which is 25 kilometers from Champhai. As I was traveling on my vehicle, I had the freedom to move as per my wish. I will recommend travelers to do the same Mizo Hills are as challenging as the beauty they offer.
Condition of Raod To Reach Rih-Dil Lake
The road condition from Aizwal to Rih-Dil varies from town to town. On some patches, the situation is great, while on others, it is a nightmare. When I rode for Rih-Dil, I was exhausted on a few segments of the road and, at the same time, enjoyed on others. To get a better insight into the condition of the road, I will break the entire route into the following segment.
- Aizwal To Seling -> 40 kilometers single lane good road.
- Selling to Keifang -> 35 Kilometers single lane road. It is a mixture of good and bad with some bad patches. Overall the condition is satisfactory.
- Keifang to Kawlkulh -> 50 Kilometers single lane road. The worst segment in the entire route. In some instances, there is no road at all, and it looks like you are driving on rocks. A bumpy ride of 2 hours.
- Kawlkulh to Khawzawl -> 30 kilometers single lane yet an excellent road. This portion is newly built, and I enjoyed riding on the road after a horrifying Keifang to Kawlkulh patch.
- Khawzawl to Champhai -> 40 Kilometers single lane road. The route is again a mixture of good and bad patches. After Khawzawl, the course gets narrower till the Chapmhai town approaches.
- Champhai to Zokhawthar-> 25 Kilometers broad road. Although the width of road increases in this segment, the condition of the way is in dilapidated condition. The entire route is full of dust, and the situation worsens due to a large convoy of trucks.
- Zokhawthar to Rih-Dil Lake -> 4 Kilometers single lane road. A permit is required to cross the border and ride in Myanmar. Myanmar follows left-hand side driving and keeps this in mind if you drive on the Myanmar side.
Permit Procedure to Visit the Rih-Dil lake
Since Rih-Dil lies in Myanmar, a permit is necessary to visit the lake. Visiting Rih Dil requires obtaining a border gate pass from the concerned authorities. The India-Myanmar Border has The Free Movement Regime. The FMR allows tribes living along the border to travel 16 km (9.9 mi) across either side of the border without visa restrictions. There are over 250 villages with over 300,000 people living within 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) of the India-Myanmar border who frequently cross the border through formal and informal border crossings.
Tourists visiting the Rih-Dil Lake can obtain the permit from the Customs Check Gate at Zokhawthar and then paying a small fee of 20 rupees at the Police Immigration Check Gate at Zokhawthar. The border gate pass can be obtained by paying fees and showing and a valid government authorized ID card. Once you have the gate pass, you can cross the bridge, which marks the border between India and Myanmar. On the Myanmar side, you have to show the gate pass again and submit a valid government authorized ID, pay a small fee, and obtain a similar pass. On the Myanmar check-post, one has to submit the ID, and it can be collected while returning. Overall the process of getting the Border Gate Pass at India-Myanmar Border is hassle-free and can be obtained in 10-20 minutes. When I traveled to Rih-Dil Lake, I was carrying my passport, which I submitted at the Myanmar side of the check-post. Although the passport is the best document to obtain a permit, tourists can also use the following document to obtain a permit
- Aadhar Card
- Voter ID
- Central Government ID proof
- Driving License
Accommodation Facilities At Rih-Dil Lake
Since Rih-Dil Lake is a major tourist attraction of Mizoram, accommodation facilities are readily available. Zokhawthar has plenty of good hotels and homestays, so does the town of Champhai. As Champhai lies only 30 kilometers from Rih-Dil Lake, one can start from Champhai, visit the lake and return. Abiding by my thumb rule of accommodation in Mizoram, I will recommend staying at the Mizoram Government Tourist Lodge at Zokhawthar or Champhai. The Tourist Lodge at Zokhawthar lies at a unique location from where one can see the Harhva River that forms the natural border between India and Myanmar. The room windows of Zokhawthar tourist lodge provides a pristine view of the border village of Myanmar and the bridge connecting the two countries.
Like Tourist Lodge Zokhawthar, the Mizoram Government Tourist Lodge at Champhai also provides the best accommodation facility for tourists visiting the Rih-Dil. The tourist lodge lies on the outskirts of Champhai town and offers the view of famous rice fields of Champhai. Both tourist lodge at Zokhawthar and Champhai have multiple stay options ranging from single bed dormitory to private rooms with all the necessary facilities. In a nutshell, there are many stay options available at Rih-Dil, and tourists won’t find issues related to accommodation.
Best Time To Visit The Rih-Dil Lake In Myanmar
Although the lake is accessible throughout the year, I would recommend avoiding a visit during the monsoon season. This reason is that the road from Aizwal to Zokhawthar is a mixture of good and bad patches. A journey on this route during monsoon season is a real test of endurance. Although there is an advantage of visiting during the monsoon as the lake would have more water and the surrounding area having more greenery. I visited Rih-Dil during November and found the lake more mesmerizing when compared with other months of the year. The bluish water of the lake makes a perfect contrast with the yellowish rice fields in the surrounding. The lake looked beautiful, and the whole area looked like ideal scenery.
Other Facilities Around Rih-Dil Lake
I have already mentioned most of the information necessary to make a trip to Rih Dil Lake. There is a small restaurant near the lake which provides food and refreshment. Apart from that, the nearest Burmese town has a good number of shops and restaurants. Regarding facilities apart from accommodation, both Zokhawthar and Champhai have all the required facilities a tourist is looking. There are two petrol pumps in Champhai, one at the start of town and one on the Champhai-Zokhawthar road.
Regarding the mobile network, there is full network coverage in Champhai, and I was getting a full 4G Signal in my Airtel and Vodafone sim. The network is not available at Zokhawthar as the town lies on the border. Both the cities have small and big shops, excellent restaurants and mechanic shops. In case you are looking for any specific facility, do let me know via comment or message.
I hope this article provides a detailed guide to anyone planning to visit Rih Dil Lake on India-Myanmar Border. From my experience of visiting the lake, I can ensure that the lake is worth to visit. Anyone planning to visit Mizoram must visit this spectacular lake, which is not only a major tourist destination but also a cultural hub. In my next article, I would be continuing my ride in North-East India, where I planned to explore Manipur after exploring Mizoram.