Mizoram is a mountainous northeastern Indian state that borders Myanmar and Bangladesh on the international side and Manipur, Assam, and Tripura on the domestic side. Mizoram translates literally as “land of the hill people.” ‘Mizo’ refers to people who live in the highlands, and ‘ram’ refers to land, so the phrase ‘land of Mizos’ was coined.
Mizoram is a beautiful hilly tourist attraction covered in lush green forest, refreshing waterfalls, and vibrant wildlife. The food, culture, and ethnicity of the people s what make this place unique from the rest of the region.
Here are a few tips for tourists visiting the place that can be applied throughout the state:
1. Don’t plan anything on a Sunday. Mizoram is one of three states (along with Meghalaya and Nagaland) in India to have a Christian majority. Almost everyone closes their businesses to attend church. The same goes for public transport.
2. People of Mizoram are known for being the most disciplined Indians on the road. The internet has repeatedly praised Mizo traffic etiquette. Viral photos and videos of people patiently waiting in their lanes without honking or passing have been widely shared, which is a rare sight in the rest of the country. Don’t honk if you’re renting a car. It’s considered impolite. Only honk if someone is in your path. Allow space on your right for scooters and bikes if you’re riding a four-wheeler.
3. Do not leave a tip. Except in hotels and restaurants, tipping culture is practically non-existent. Not tipping will not offend anyone, and it will not be expected of you. Tipping for exceptional service, on the other hand, is acceptable. However, it is recommended that you don’t tip because tipping culture is not something that people want to be brought into the state.
4. All businesses close early. They’ll start closing around 5-5.30 pm, and almost all stores will be closed by 7 pm. But they also open early, some as early as 5.30 am, so if you’re going shopping, plan and start early. Some restaurants do stay open late, so if you want to eat out, make sure to ask around and do your research first.
5. Don’t expect alcohol on your trip. Mizoram became a dry state after 18 years when the government imposed a total ban again on the sale and consumption of alcohol in 2015.
6. Unless you have a Mizo guide do not travel too far away from the main towns and cities. The farther you go, in many cases communication, might be an issue as most people in the rural regions do not speak either English or Hindi.
7. As much as the landscape, people and culture the cuisine here differ completely from all that the mainland. So don’t expect those typical Indian foods like paneer, biryani, or tikka masala especially. Mizos are also traditionally very fond of bitter food, and they also love adding beef stock or chicken broth to their dishes. Just be careful if you’re strictly vegetarian.
8. Littering is not permitted, especially in residential areas. Mizos are very community-oriented, and they consider cleaning the road in front of their houses to be their responsibility. Almost everyone sweeps the road every morning. As a result, people who throw trash around will not be tolerated. Bins will be available at regular intervals almost everywhere, so just hold on to your trash for a little while longer before finding one.
9. Before entering the state, Indian visitors must obtain an Inner Line Permit (ILP). The Inner Line Regulation aimed to protect the tribal people’s rights, privileges, customs, cultures, traditions, and way of life. It has proven to be an effective tool in preventing large-scale immigration of undesirable foreigners into Mizoram.
((Details on how to obtain an ILP and PAP are discussed in one of our earlier articles))