Posted 13 July 2023 in Nature beckons

4 places you shouldn’t miss when you’re in Manipur

If you are planning a vacation in the Northeast region of India, pretty much all fingers will point towards Manipur. There are a number of places to visit in Manipur as well as things to do. One of the benefits of planning a vacation there is that Imphal has an airport that is well connected to major Indian cities. This allows visitors to arrive in the city within a few hours and immediately get into travel mode, ticking off all of the attractions.

Not just that, there are many adventure activities to do in Manipur, like hiking and camping. Even the festivals are unique and interesting, and some of the important ones are Gang-Ngai, Dol Jatra (Yaoshang), Kut and Lai-Haraoba. So, if booking flights to Imphal and spending a vacation surrounded by nature is of interest to you, then we have an intensive list of places to see for Manipur for you. 

Manipur has many things to do and places to see. So, if you are on a time crunch, we recommend you visit city attractions and nearby places like Loktak Lake and the Indo-Myanmar Friendship Gate. But if time is on your side, then soak up the beauty of the state, and wander through all of its best and most exotic attractions at ease. 

Read more - Reasons that make Manipur, The Land of Jewel- A once in a lifetime destination

1. Imphal: The capital city of Manipur

The capital city of Manipur, Imphal, is rich in history, nature, and culture. Being the capital, it is the most developed city, and the main business centre. Imphal is located in a valley, and surrounded by hilly terrain, thus offering a picture-perfect landscape. 

Did you know that Imphal is one of the oldest Indian cities at over 2,000 years old? There is evidence of the city's historical past that you can see as you explore the city. You will notice Imphal has been shaped by several effects of the devastating battle of Imphal. 

Today, Imphal is divided into East Imphal and West Imphal, with the River Imphal separating these two sections. The Kangla Fort is literally located in the heart of the city, between these two sections. 

Places to visit in Imphal

  • Explore the famous Ema Keithel (Mother’s Market)
  • Wander around the Kangla Fort
  • Learn about the state at the Manipur State Museum
  • Spend time amid nature at Kombirei Garden
  • Go for a trek at Baruni Hill 

Other places to visit in Imphal

  • Japanese War Memorial
  • Govindajee Temple
  • Imphal War Cemetery
  • Imphal Polo Ground
  • Shahid Minar

Note: Most of these places are walkable. If you do not wish to explore on foot, Imphal has tuk tuks, and other forms of transport like cabs and buses to drop you off at your desired destination. 

Read more - Why you need to plan a trip to Imphal in Manipur right now

2. Loktak Lake: The largest freshwater lake in Northeast India 

Loktak Lake is a freshwater lake located in Moirang district, around 50 km away from the heart of the city. It is among the best places to visit in Manipur to soak in the natural beauty. What makes it so interesting are the phumdis. These are large landmasses that are made up of soil, vegetation, and organic matter of different decompositions. This material thickens and becomes solid over time. The circular landmasses are usually man-made by the fishermen. Ever seen a large phumdi, large enough to be called a floating island? Well, come to Loktak Lake. 

This lake also has a popular national park, Keibul Lamjao National Park. Speaking of which, wildlife in Manipur will offer a unique experience as you can get to see an endangered species that is also the state animal, the Sangai. Additionally, can enjoy the homestay experience and a boat ride across the lake. It is a rejuvenating activity and a great way to see the phumdis with the scenic backdrop of the mountains. 

Earlier, tourists were allowed to stay in the guesthouses located in the phumdis, but to conserve the ecosystem, the state government has banned staying there. Instead, there are several guesthouses on the periphery of the lake that have opened their doors to guests visiting Loktak. 

How do I reach Loktak Lake?

To reach Loktak Lake in Moirang, take a taxi from Jiribam-Imphal road, which is close to Ima Keithel. But if you are taking a bus, you need to board one at the city centre bus stop that will drop you at Moirang. From here, you can get on a local autorickshaw to Thanga, a fishing village. You can book a guesthouse in this village or further out on two islands, Sendra Island and Karang Island. For the islands, you require a boat ride to get there. 

Read more - 9 waterfalls in Northeast India that will have you spellbound

3. Moreh-Tamu International Market: The Indo-Myanmar Friendship Border

One of the best things to do in Manipur is visit the Moreh-Tamu International Market, located on the Indo-Myanmar border. You can literally step into Myanmar’s small town of Tamu without the need for a visa or a passport. But that’s it; you cannot go further than Tamu. Basically, this border represents the friendship between India and Myanmar, and travellers can shop for exotic items ranging from organic fruits and vegetables, handicrafts, and food from Myanmar. The scene of the market, with a distinct smell of spices and the cacophony of the bustling market, may overwhelm you at first but you will soon start to be a part of the humming activities. 

How do I reach Moreh-Tamu International Market?

You can either take a taxi or a state-run bus from Imphal to Moreh. You can find buses near the 1st Manipur Rifles battalion, near Moirangkhong. The bus leaves the city at 8 a.m. and may cost approximately Rs. 200, whereas the taxis may cost around Rs. 500. The vehicle will take you to Moreh, from where you will need to cross the border on foot. On the other side, in Myanmar, there will be taxis that will take you to Tamu. You cannot stay the night in Tamu, Myanmar; however, there are mid-range hotels in Moreh if you wish to spend the night. 

4. Dzukou Valley: A unique place for trekking in Northeast India

A trek worth remembering while in Manipur is achievable by planning a trip to Dzukou Valley. This is one of the best and most beautiful valleys shared by Manipur and Nagaland. It is widely known for adventure activities to do in Manipur. For entry to the valley, you will need to travel to Mao in Manipur, and from there to Viswema in Nagaland. From Viswema, you will have to cross the thick, wet forest before exiting and walking through the open dwarf-bamboo forest to descend to the valley. The valley is cold and it rains throughout the year, with frost during winters. One of the major attractions here is the Dzükou Cross and Dzukou Lily, a rare flower that blooms only in this area. To see this flower bloom, it is best to trek during early June. 

How do I reach Dzukou Valley from Imphal?

Dzukou Valley can be reached from Imphal by taking a taxi. The taxi will cross the border town of Mao in Manipur, then go through the checkpoint between Manipur and Nagaland before arriving at Viswema in Nagaland, from where you can start your trek. 

Read more - Twenty Beautiful valleys in India that you must visit

Travel tips 

Manipur is located on the furthest east part of India, on the periphery of Myanmar. Before visiting the state, make sure to check their website for any entry permits. Although this process has been stopped, it is always advisable to check the state rules and regulations.

How do I reach?

Bir Tikendrajit International Airport (IMF) serves the state of Manipur. The airport is connected to major cities across India. The airport is located 8 km from the city, and there are auto and taxi services available.

There are state-run buses that you can take from Assam, Guwahati, or Nagaland, Kohima. 

When is the best time to visit?

The best time to explore Manipur is from September to April. These months continue to have a pleasant environment, giving visitors the best possible vacation.


Are there buses from Imphal to Dzukou Valley?

To get to Dzukou Valley from Imphal, you need to catch the Manipur state buses that run till Mao. From there, you can take a taxi that crosses the state border to reach Nagaland’s Viswema village.

How can I reach Loktak Lake from Imphal?

It is best to get on a private or shared taxi from Imphal to Moirang, the drop point for Loktak Lake. From here, you can get an auto ride to the accommodations around the lake.

Is winter the best time to visit Manipur?

Yes, the winter season is the best time to visit Manipur.

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