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Day 6: Hnahlan to Zokhawthar and back to Champhai

Total distance: 120 kms

We started at around 9 am from Hnahlan for Zokhawthar on a bright sunny day. The caretaker prepared a heavy breakfast of rice, chicken and dal and wished us Godspeed. The hospitality at Hnahlan tourist lodge is something to be experienced.

We were still not sure of where to stay for the night. We planned to stay in Zokhawthar but ended up returning back to Champhai for the night.

We tanked up at Champhai and tried finding our way to Zokhawthar. Not for the first time, we messed up the directions and at one point drove into a person’s lawn
. With the owner smiling, we backed out sheepishly and went on our way.

Zokhawthar is around 25 kms from Champhai and road widening is going on at many places. After a bumpy ride of around 2 hours for those 25 kms, we were suddenly at the bridge which separates India and Myanmar.


Driving into Myanmar

One thing I had missed mentioning was the sheer number of a particular Myanmarese bike/ scooter we saw in and around Champhai.

People seemed to be going freely about and we didn’t see any checking etc. at the entrances of both India and Myanmar. Still, as we were driving we decided to make an entry in the police outpost on the Indian side and drove across the bridge to Myanmar.

The first adjustment in Myanmar is to drive on the right sand side of the road. It felt a bit weird to be driving on the RHS and it seemed to me that I was concentrating on keeping my bolero on the right side even if the road was narrow/ empty. I dutifully stuck to the RHS even if that meant going over huge potholes. I was that preoccupied.

The situation becomes a little bit funny when one encounters a Indian vehicle coming from the other side. Imagine a narrow road and a Assam registered vehicle approaching a Mizoram registered vehicle. Should we follow the country’s rules and stick to the RHS or as Indians stick to LHS? I know the legally correct answer but it was fun guessing each other.

We spent some time in the nearby market place of Myanmar. Language is again a problem and it is difficult to make each other understood. We bought a lot of eatables like wafers, rice cakes, munchies etc. for our friends and family back home.

We enquired about the way to Rih Dil lake but were met with blank stares. We spotted a signboard which had a picture of the lake and its local name. Armed with that, we rumbled along towards the lake.

Some pics of Rih Dil lake:








Rih Dil

We spent some time at the lovely heart shaped lake and then proceeded to have some fried rice at the nearby restaurant. The lake is of significance to the Mizos and on our day of visit a lot of visitors had come from Champhai.

A man travelling with his wife and kids offered his Myanmarese scooter for a test ride. We declined as the wife was already seated with her kids.

While we had planned to stay at Zokhawthar, we decided to head back and try our luck at Champhai. This would save us around 2 hours of journey to Aizawl the following day.

On our return journey, the road started looking unfamiliar and upon enquiring we found that we were indeed on the wrong road. We were pointed in the right direction and even this road was a new one. We were driving on the Melbuk- Hrualkawn road which is above the road we travelled on our onward journey to Zokhawthar. It is a mud track at present but a better drive than route we drove on the onward journey to Zokhawthar.

It was evening as we reached Champhai and it was time to face Ms. Nguri, the manager of Champhai tourist lodge. She had specifically told us to call beforehand for booking accommodation at the lodge and yet here we were arriving unannounced for the second time. Well it was time to man up and face the music. I sent Pahar for making enquiries and stayed back pretending to click pictures of the lovely lawn of the tourist lodge.


Champhai tourist lodge

As expected, Ms. Nguri gave us an earful like we were two delinquent kids. Please note that it was more to do with concern for us than anything else. After that, she offered us a lovely double bedded cottage with a view of rice fields in the distance.

We went for an evening stroll in Champhai and found almost all shops closed. It was a Friday. We went to Hotel Chawngthu and ordered some sandwiches and french fries. The fries were very good.

I was happy to note that I was not really getting out of breath while walking up and down the steep inclines of Champhai. We had dinner at the lodge and went to sleep grateful at having managed accommodation at the lodge.

Tomorrow, we return to Aizawl but via the normal route.