We received a sad email yesterday. The owner of the guest house we stayed at in the beautiful village of Nongriat is asking for support to help stop the building of a road which will ruin his beautiful, peaceful village.
Nongriat was one of our favourite destinations in our year of travel, and definitely one of the most unique and pristine places we had the privilege to visit. It's also home to the spectacular Living Root Bridges, built and maintained by the people of his community.
The construction of a new road into this ecologically fragile community would have devastating effects on the area. Currently it's pretty difficult to get there (which only makes the journey all the more rewarding), and with the new road the increase in tourism numbers will lead to higher levels of pollution and problems with waste management.
Byron and his community are fully in support for visitors to come and share their magical home, but they also realise that there is a fine balance in numbers that allow this to be sustainable. At the moment, most visitors stay in one of the only two guest houses in the valley, arrive on foot, and spend time within the community learning and living in the same way they do.
If you've never heard of Nongriat of the Living Root Bridges, click here to read a previous post we wrote on the area.
And if you've ever visited, every intend to visit, or just want to help keep this bit of the world special for all locals and visitors in the future, please click here to sign the petition to stop the construction of the new road.
Update from Jan, who crossed the border on 2/01/17 (see comments at bottom of post):
1. No permit for state of Manipur needed, at least not for foreigners. It may be possible that Indians need one, although this isn't confirmed.
For past 60 days or so there have been some political problems in Manipur, so be cautious. Jan had some difficultities organising transport from Dimapur (Nagaland) to Imphal (Manipur). Supposedly government buses travelling to Imphal get burnt to ashes. Jan ended up paying for a pretty expensive shared car (1500rp).
2. MYM government changed the conditions recently, so now you need to pay for a two-way crossing (even though if you only cross once), which $160. Jan went through the same agency mentioned in the post below.
3. Shared taxi from Imphal to Moreh cost Jan 500rp. It should be the local price, his friends from Imphal arranged it, and three passenders shared the van. Our price mentioned below was probably a complete rip off...but it was boxing day, so we didn't have many options.
With India committed to developing tourism in the North-Eastern states (hello living tree-root bridges and hill-tribes) and Myanmar looking to uphold its cooly-undiscovered-but-totally-discovered image for at least another few years, it’s natural that the passage between the two is going to develop rapidly.
Follow the official websites and guidebooks and you’d be left scratching your head wondering how to cross between the two by land. If it wasn’t for travel bloggers out there, we’d think it wasn’t possible.
It is possible. And it’s easy with a bit of planning.
Most articles we’ve read have shown how to cross from Myanmar into India, so we’re adding to the pool of knowledge out there with our experience doing it from India to Myanmar. And we did it on a Sunday - so there were a few extra steps.
Click 'Read More' below to find out how!
As soon as we arrived in Cherrapunjee, we took one glance at each other and knew we were drastically un-researched for this unique part of the world. Not that it was any fault of our own. We’d read the guide books (one paragraph…thanks Lonely Planet), Googled various blogs and conversations on Trip Advisor, and from what we could tell this was a 3 night destination before we headed off to explore the rest of the North Eastern States of India.
Oh how wrong we were.
After a few quick conversations with the handful of starry-eyed and blissfully chilled out backpackers that were either on their way to or from the unique village of Nongriat, we quickly realised that we had stumbled across a place that might just be one of the most special places we’ve discovered in our eight months of travel so far.
3 nights here was never going to be enough. We didn’t even know the village of Nongriat existed, let along the fact that you can stay in one of the two family owned guest houses, surrounded by lush jungle forest and eating the divine simple and fresh local cuisine.
So whats the deal with this place called Cherrapunjee, where is it and why have I never heard of it? And what the heck is a living tree root bridge I hear you ask? Well, here are a few answers to these questions you may be thinking, and most importantly, how you get there so you can discover this fairy tale world / jungle book fantasy all for yourself.
EMMA & PETE
We're just two Aussie's who met in London, married in Prague and travelled overland back to Australia.