One of the fascinating things about Northeast India is that it
shares borders with countries like China, Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar. Did you
know that you can actually walk around the international grounds of Myanmar
without the need for a visa!
The only way to get to the India-Myanmar Friendship
Border in Moreh is through Imphal in Manipur, where you’ll find a lot of taxi
and bus services to Moreh. Moreh lies
110 km from the southern end of Imphal and is an important trading town.
Preserved food packets from Myanmar are bought and sold all over India like
pickle, bean paste, dried Marian fruit, plum snacks, and Burmese tea. They are
high in demand, especially in Manipur and Nagaland.
Myanmar snacks hanging at a stall
“I remember like it was just yesterday, I used to toggle down the narrow hill road in Mokokchung and buy Myanmar snacks. I enjoyed munching on sunflower seeds. One bite lead to another, and it was from this experience I came to understand addiction (humour). These snacks when I see them today still give me a certain kind of nostalgia, but a good kind!”
One of the main reasons to visit the border town is
for shopping. You do not require any permits to cross the border into the
Indo-Myanmar friendship village, but I recommend carrying any identity proof
like your Aadhar card. Here you can shop local spices and handmade products and
try Myanmar cuisine. You can also drink and buy local alcohol there. Besides
that, you can visit a temple and a church on the Burma side located a few
kilometers away from the market.
Indo Myanmar Friendship Gate. A day is enough to explore the town.
How to Reach Moreh from Imphal
Own/Rent Vehicle: If you do not have
your own car, you can rent one for a day. There are a few car rental agents in
Imphal. Moreh is some 3 hours from the city centre but the roads are not
entirely in good condition, so start your journey early and return before
Public Transport: Private/shared taxis
and buses are plenty. A private taxi will cost you a steep INR 5000 to INR 10,000
for a round trip, whereas a shared taxi will cost you around INR 300 per seat.
You can find shared and private taxis at Moreh Van Parking in Imphal. Buses are
way cheaper than any transport but you will have to work around the bus timings.
Moreh exit gate
Things to Remember
Before Going to Moreh
Army Check Post: Check posts are normal
throughout the Northeastern states, especially in those regions that share an
international border. The last or the first check post while going or returning
to Moreh is 12 km away from the border. Remember that entry for vehicles closes
at 4:30 pm every day and opens at 6:00 am. Plan accordingly and leave since the
check post will be heavily crowded with cars. An ideal time is early morning or
mid-day when the traffic is relatively low.
Militant Prone Area: Being an international area, it is heavily guarded by the military.
Do not panic if you see army personnel as they are only guarding the area to
prevent insurgents and illegal migrants.
Carry Identity Card: Visa may not be required but during the check, the security
personnel will ask for your ID card while entering Myanmar. You can carry your Aadhar
card or passport.
Landslide Prone Area: Being a hill area, landslides are common during monsoons. It is
best to avoid travel during this time of the year. The roadways between Imphal
and Moreh have several landslide-prone areas.
Poor Infrastructure at Moreh: Do not get your hopes up while travelling to Moreh. It is not a
fancy, photogenic town. Truth be told, it can be dusty and crowded; it is after
all a trading town. There are no good hotels to stay over as all of them are
substandard. I advise you to carry cash since not many shops have machines.
There are ATM machines but do not take chances in case there’s insufficient
amount in them.