Visiting Myanmar from Manipur, India - A Lifetime Experience

Journey to Tamu in Myanmar from Imphal, Manipur in India

Visiting Myanmar from Manipur, India - A Lifetime Experience
Image Source - Dr Souvik Chatterji
Myanmar is a border country adjacent to state of Manipur in India. Visitors visit the city of Tamu in Myanmar from Imphal in India. The 4 hours journey cutting across the hills, valleys of Himalayas is full of adventure.

It is a lifetime experience to visit Myanmar from Manipur. The city of Tamu in bordering hills in Myanmar is situated 110 kilometers away from Imphal, the capital city of Manipur in India. Visitors who come to visit Manipur also travel to Myanmar the neighbouring country to see the picturesque country.

It takes 4 hours to reach Tamu, the bordering city of Myanmar from Imphal. As it is situated at high altitude, drivers generally start at 9 am to 9. 30 am in the morning. The hilly roads are full of potholes as it rains cats and dogs in Manipur all time of the year.

So drivers maintain a speed within 70 kilometers per hour. Generally Safari cars are most suited to travel the long distance.

There are three Indian checkpoints on the way. Indian security officers do thorough checking with respect to vehicles which travel on those points. Questions are asked to visitors as to why they want to travel to Myanmar.

Those who have passports, they get them Xeroxed along with the Xerox of papers of the vehicle which take them. On the third check point which is situated in the bordering Indian city of Moreh, paper work is done to provide permits to go to Myanmar. It is done in the Police Station in Moreh. The paper work includes providing the Xerox copies of Indian passports to the Police officers, the Xerox copies of vehicle that they are travelling. The permanent addresses of the visitors, the purposes for travelling to Myanmar, the period of stay, the distance to be travelled all are required to be mentioned there. Previously it was not done so seriously. These days there are chances of goods being smuggled across the international borders, and also lot of security issues had cropped up due to increase of naxal attacks and terrorist attacks.

Myanmar is one hour ahead of India in time. So visitors generally reach the city of Tamu in Myanmar by 2.30 pm, Indian time. In Myanmar the time is generally 3.30 pm. Generally Indian travelers are allowed 2 hours permit visit places in Myanmar and travel around 50 kilometers from Tamu.

There is a beautiful Indo- Myanmar Friendship bridge which separates the two countries. The white portion of the bridge is the Indian part. The Burmese (part of Myanmar) is painted yellow. All the permits and travel documents are given in the police station at Tamu. Then visitors travel to their destinations in Myanmar.

There is a beautiful Buddhist Monastery in the city of Tamu. There are idols of Lord Buddha. There are images and idols of Buddha with different mudras built outside the Monastry on the lawn created there. Visitors offer prayer in the Monastery.

After that visitors have lunch in nearby Hotels in Tamu. Myanmar was previously called Burma. The capital city Yangon was previously called Rangoon. It is a hard task to negotiate with Burmese people as their command over English and Hindi is a bit weak. They speak in Burmese language. The restaurants in Tamu offer complimentary chicken soup. Generally chicken fried rice is the popular food available there.

After spending stipulated time in Tamu, visitors again start their return journey at about 3.30 pm Indian time. On the way back some people do marketing in the shops in Morey where Burmese and Chinese products like torch, emergency lights, bags, clothes are sold.

Again the visitors face the three check points. Again the visitors are expected to come out of the vehicles, and the vehicles are thoroughly checked by the Indian security officers. If nothing suspicious is seized, the drivers are allowed to start their return journey.

The return journey becomes very hazardous. As Myanmar is situated in extreme east, the sun sets by 4 pm Indian time. From the end of September to early March, heavy fog engulfs the place. There are no street lights on the hilly roads. The only light available is the headlight of the vehicles.

So drivers cannot drive at more than 60 kilometers per hour speed in the curving hilly roads. On the way back many visitors take snaps of clouds and fog across the great Himalayan range.

It takes another 3 hours to reach Imphal. Those who have small children with them, the journey becomes more difficult. Children have a tendency of vomiting due to curves and turns in the hilly roads. Generally travelers travel in AC Safari cars, so there is no scope to feel the outside atmosphere. Even the lights within the car are not lighted because the drivers find it very difficult to drive if the lights within the cars are lighted.

On the way back the War Memorial of 1891 is visible. It is the same road from where Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose with the Japanese army entered India leading the Indian National Army in the early 1940s. The War Memorial is created as memory of the brave Indian soldiers who lost their lives in the fierce battle against the British in the mid-1940s. At that time, US hurled the atom bomb in Heroshima and Nagasaki and Japanese soldiers retreated back.

Due to lapse rate the temperature decreases at more than 5000 feet above sea level when visitors are at the city of Tamu and Moreh and increases when the car approaches Imphal which is situated within 1000 feet above sea level.

It is a lifetime experience because the beautiful fold mountains are seen on the way. Visitors witness the diversity of nature in this part of the world. They also witness how the Great Himalayan range has separated India from the neighbouring countries Myanmar, China and Tibet. The beautiful valleys are seen with the blue water bodies. Many visitors take videos of their journey to Myanmar and back. When visitors return to their hotels in Imphal by 7 pm, they feel extremely tired. The entire day is spend seeing the different spots in Myanmar. But the experience that they gather they can never forget in their entire lifetime.

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