Myanmar’s heart-shaped Rih Lake of rural Chin State is a total catch of a destination. What’s not to love about venturing to a place very few travelers have been? A place so beautifully isolated it takes driving hour upon bumpy hour through gorgeous, rugged mountains just to get to?
Steeped in ancient tradition and folklore, Rih Lake (also known as Rih Dil) is of significant spiritual and cultural importance to the Mizo people – considered a hill tribe of Southeast Asia – dwelling in nearby areas of Myanmar and India. The lovable lake was traditionally believed to be a pathway for the dead to reach their final resting place.
This relatively small, natural body of water along the India-Myanmar border is a nook of Chin State still largely unexplored due to its remoteness and a history of regional travel bans. Surrounded by rolling hills of green and vibrant rice paddies, the journey to get to Rih Lake is definitely worth a little (or a lot of) discomfort.
One way to reach Rih Lake is with a jeep operator out of Kalay. It takes approximately nine hours to arrive at the closest village of Rihkhawdar and costs about US$30, round-trip. This scenic, somewhat treacherous route to Rih Lake is definitely for off-the-beaten-track enthusiasts smitten with adventure.
Rihkhawdar is a tiny, bustling border town with an interesting blend of Indian and Myanmar cultures. A motorbike taxi from Rihkhawdar to the lake takes about 15 minutes and costs approximately US$5 there and back. Rihkhawdar lacks in overnight lodging options for foreigners, so consider a long-haul day trip from Tedim.
Postcard-perfect Rih Lake remains a pilgrimage site for Mizo people of both Chin State in Myanmar and Mizoram State in India. It’s also a popular weekend spot for locals to swim, fish or simply relax. The best time to go to Myanmar’s lake shaped like a heart is during the week for a truly tranquil experience that will surely leave you love-struck.