How to Get to Longwa in Nagaland
This post deals solely with the logistics of getting to Longwa in Nagaland. For a detailed guide of things to do in Longwa village, take a look at our other post.
Longwa, Nagaland is a rural, remote place inhabited by the Konyak tribe on the border between India and Myanmar. We have written a detailed guide about what to do in Longwa and how to meet the former-headhunters who still live there in another post, but this article will go into details on how to get to Longwa, Nagaland from Assam, which is likely to be your main gateway into Northeast India.
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Step 1 to getting to Longwa in Nagaland – Get to Sivasagar, Assam (also known as Sibsagar)
Your first step in getting to Longwa in Nagaland, is to get to Sivasagar in Assam. The towns in Assam are very well-connected, and the roads are very decent, so it is easy to travel from Guwahati to Sivasagar by bus, train or taxi.
If you’re in other parts of Assam, such as Dibrugarh (where we were) after having traveled through Arunachal Pradesh, or in Jorhat (perhaps after having visited Majuli island), your first step is to take a bus to Sivasagar. Buses in Assam run frequently, and this should be the easier part of the trip.
Since we wanted to travel all the way from Dibrugarh to Longwa in Nagaland on the same day, we decided to catch the earliest possible bus running from Dibrugarh to Sivasagar. This proved to be easier said than done since the ASTC bus stand was difficult to locate, as there seemed to be two different ones marked on Google Maps. One was nonexistent, whilst the other (Chowkidinghee) seemed rather far off from our accommodation.
We went to inquire about buses at Chowkidinghee the day before departure, and we were told that the first ASTC bus would leave from Dibrugarh to Sivasaghar at 7 am. We found out that there was also a daily bus running from Dibrugarh directly to Sonari (Step 2) after midday. Both options didn’t work well in our case, since we really wanted to start earlier so that we would make it in time for all the other commutes.
Some locals told us that some other buses running to Sivasagar would be picking up commuters from opposite the Gurudwara, which was only a 10-minute walk away from the apartment we were staying at, starting at 5.30 am. We got there at 5 am and waited until a minivan arrived. Although we had expected a bus, we were happy to hop onto the minivan and were charged Rs 100 (€1.28) each for the commute to Sivasagar.
Very few of these minibuses would have signs indicating their destination, and when they do, they are likely to be illegible, hence you are better off asking some locals for assistance or stop every single one that passes since they are rather frequent. After a very uncomfortable month of riding in sumos on bad roads in Arunachal Pradesh, the commute was quite comfortable! It took about 2 hours and we arrived in Sivasagar at 8am.
Step 2 to getting to Longwa – Travel from Sivasagar, Assam to Sonari, Assam
The minivan stopped us on the main road and the driver hailed a tempo for us to take us to the ASTC bus stand in Sivasagar for the next leg of our journey to Sonari. Typically, a seat in a tempo costs Rs 10, but since we took up all the space with our luggage and we were in a hurry, we paid Rs 60 (about €0.75) for a ‘private’ journey.
The bus from Sivasagar to Sonari left at 8.30 am and we were charged Rs 60 (€0.75) each for the commute which took around 2 hours. We arrived in Sonari at around 10.30 am. The bus got full quite early in the journey, and we were happy to have started off at the terminal, since we got a seat!
Step 3 to getting to Longwa – Travel from Sonari, Assam (or Tizit, Nagaland) to Mon, Nagaland
We first got a tempo (Rs 60/€ 0.75) for a private’ transfer from the ASTC bus stand in Sonari to the NST bus stand, also in Sonari, near the Seven Sisters hotel. This is where things got complicated. By all accounts, we had read that there would be a shared taxi (sumo) running from Sonari to Mon until at least 1 pm and thus we made sure that we were there way before that.
To our horror, the last sumo from Sonari to Mon was just about the leave, and was already carrying way too many passengers. There was no seat for us! No other sumos were running that day, and since the following day was Sunday, we would have to wait until Monday to get a sumo to Mon (the sumo from Sonari to Mon does not run on Sundays).
There seemed to be no viable alternative option for us, this until someone at the sumo station suggested that we hire an auto rickshaw to take us to Tizit, Nagaland and get a sumo from there. They called up the office at Tizit and informed them to reserve two tickets for us and off we were on our way to Tizit, crossing the Assam-Nagaland border in an auto-rickshaw.
The auto-rickshaw cost Rs 300 (about € 3.80) for the both of us and the scenery along the way was absolutely stunning – very rural and full of tea plantations, though we were rather concerned with the way the journey was unfolding, to bother much about the scenery at that point!
The auto-rickshaw stopped us at the Tizit sumo office and indeed, we did have two reserved seats on the next sumo going to Mon. Massive sigh of relief there! At that point we started hoping again that we might make it all the way to Longwa, Nagaland by sunset after all!
The sumo from Tizit, Nagaland to Mon, Nagaland cost Rs 200 each (about € 2.50) and the commute lasted way more than it should have. This of course was not only due to a flat tyre which needed to be changed along the way (not uncommon given the horrid state of the roads in Nagaland), but also due to the sumo running out of fuel at one point, and again to another vehicle malfunction, which we didn’t quite figure out. All this contributed to us being delayed even further.
We were in Mon, Nagaland after a 3-hour sumo ride, at around 5 pm.
Step 4 to getting to Longwa in Nagaland – Travel from Mon, Nagaland to Longwa, Nagaland
We had been told that the last sumo from Mon to Longwa in Nagaland, leaves at around 2 pm and we had resigned ourselves to spending two nights in Mon since no sumos run on Sunday.
Luckily for us, Nah-Mei, our Longwa guesthouse owner, happened to be in Mon at the same time we were and offered us a ride to Longwa in his van! We were immensely grateful for this stroke of luck in the rather arduous journey to Longwa, Nagaland!
The 3-hour ride to Longwa was less than fun, although we were happy to be traveling in a private vehicle and in good company. The winding road could certainly do with some TLC though! We arrived in Longwa in Nagaland late at night, in time for delicious Nagamese dinner at Traveller’s Inn, Nah-Mei’s guesthouse.