Ultimate North East India Travel Guide and North East India itinerary

North East India is a region made up of eight very diverse states in the easternmost part of the country which, in many ways, are very distinct from the rest of India. After traveling for several months around North East India, here is our ultimate North East India travel guide and North East India itinerary, in which we collected all the information and experience gained during our travels in this part of the world!

If you’re thinking of traveling to North East India, we can only encourage you to go, as we truly believe that it is one of the world’s most diverse regions. Our North East India travel guide should have you covered with all the information you need!

Curious monks checking michelle's pictures at the Bomdila Monastery - Explore Dirang and Bomdila in Arunachal Pradesh - Northeast India Travel

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Where is North East India?

North East India is the easternmost part of India, an alcove which is almost completely separated from the rest of India (called ‘mainland India’ by Northeasterners) by Bangladesh and Nepal. North East India shares borders with Myanmar, Bangladesh, China (Tibet), Bhutan and Nepal.

Constituting North East India are the Seven Sisters (the states Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram) and Sikkim (affectionately referred to as the brother). Our North East India itinerary includes all of the Seven Sisters but not Sikkim, since it was too cold to visit when we were there, and as you may be aware, we don’t do cold very well (brrrrrr!!!).

Weather conditions aside, there are also several parts of Sikkim which foreigners are not allowed to visit, so we preferred spending more time in the other North Eastern states.

Natural pools on the way to the Rainbow Falls in Nongriat - Meghalaya





Why is North East India so special?

The states of North East India are geographically and culturally diverse, with different tribes inhabiting the regions, all of which feel like worlds apart from the people in mainland India. The states of North East India feel like another country altogether sometimes!

There are too many tribes in North East India (close to 150) to list them all separately in this North East India travel guide, (though Wikipedia does a good job of it!), however you should know that tribal communities usually have their own distinct culture, dress, heritage, cuisine and even language.

The hills of Mizoram - North East India Travel Guide

Not only are the Seven Sisters, wildly culturally intriguing, being home to some of the last remaining head hunters, but feature plenty of attractions, such as the world’s only floating park, the largest concentration of one-horned rhinos, ancient huge faces carved in the rock, and the world’s largest inhabited floating island, all set to keep visitors engrossed.

Indeed, we spent three months exploring the area and quickly came to realise that this period was far from enough, although our North East India itinerary did provide a comprehensive introduction of all the Seven Sister states, including many of the more prominent attractions!

Gedu Mian Mosque in Agartala - tourist places in tripura

North East India Travel Guide

How much time do I need to travel around North East India?

Honestly, as much as you have. Traveling around North East India is no piece of cake, and although distances might look short(ish), travel times are way longer than you would hope for, this due to the very poor road conditions in some areas. Our North East India itinerary will guide you to exactly where you should go to visit all the top attractions.

Do keep in mind that traveling around the area is also very uncomfortable (except perhaps for travel in Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya), and you might need longer breaks to recover from the actual commutes. There is very poor tourism infrastructure, and although attractions are plentiful, they might be out of the way and require long travel times and complex logistics to get to.

In this this North East India travel guide, we will show you exactly where to go and how to get there to maximise on making the most out of your travel time.

Masked participants at the Tawang festival parad - North East India Travel Guide





Should I travel independently or take a guided tour around North East India?

If you have the budget, we really recommend you use the services of a tour company, ideally hiring both a guide and a driver. There are parts of North East India which you simply cannot visit unless you have you have your own private vehicle.

We unequivocally recommend Holiday Scout for your travels in North East India if you would like to use a tour company. Although we traveled in many parts independently following our North East India itinerary, we used the services of Holiday Scout for the more difficult parts, especially in Arunachal Pradesh, and we were more than impressed with the quality of service and the genuine love for North East India which Sange and his team have and impart.

From Pasighat to Mechuka, Arunachal Pradesh

If, on the other hand, you choose to travel around North East India independently as we show you in this North East India travel guide, we do advise you to at least use a driver and guides in some parts. Whilst traveling around Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura was quite plain-sailing, organizing transport in Arunachal, Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland was more laborious.

In some parts of the country, a guide can also provide you with insight about the area’s culture, traditions and history to understand it better. Indeed, our time in Ziro Valley would not have been the same without the services of our guide there. During our tour , he realized that there was an ongoing animist ritual in one of the local’s homes, and to our delight, proceeded to ask the owners whether we could observe the shaman conducting the ritual. Truly a memorable experience which we would never have had without his help.

Hiking around the Ziro Valley - North East India Travel Guide





Transportation in North East India

The Sumo – All you need to know about it (and why you’ll hate it)

The main mode of transport in some of the states of North East India such as Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland is the “shared taxi” by way of the Sumo (Tata Sumo). This because most conventional vehicles are unsuitable for navigating the truly terrible, almost impassable roads in these states. A sumo is pretty much a Tata Sumo MPV that should, in design, hold about seven passengers and one driver, but is usually carrying double that.

Typically, in a shared sumo, four people are sitting in the middle and the back rows with one to two people next to the driver. However, we have been on rides on which five people are in the middle row and three people seated next to the driver. Never underestimate the packing talent of Indians! Safely assume that if there is room available, it will be filled, no questions asked!

Inside a Sumo, one of many along our north east india itinerary

Spend over ten hours in the same position of the terrible roads and you’ll wonder why you’re in North East India at all. Until you stop for a pee break with some fantastic view of the Himalayas that is, and you’re back to being fine with the North East for a few minutes until its time to get on the sumo again!

Nikki and I found seats 1 and 2 (next to the driver) to be the most comfortable and we would try to book those when available (you can specify seat numbers when booking). Still, the sumo in North East India is probably the most uncomfortable mode of transportation that we have ever experienced in all our travels. We would spend our evenings counting the different bruises on our bodies, sometimes after a 12-hour ride, with barely a possibility of changing a limb’s position, so much so that it becomes heavy and numb after a few hours.

Seats 5 and 6 in the middle row (driver side) are the second most comfortable seats. Seats 3 and 4 (middle row passenger side) are as comfortable as 5 and 6, but have the disadvantage of being next to the rear row gateway, and if you’re on these seats you will need to keep getting in and out of the vehicle every time someone wants to get to the back row. The seats on the back row are placed right on top of the wheel and are the least comfortable of all.

What retired headhunters look like

You will want to carry as light a daypack as possible when traveling by sumo since you will have to hold it on your lap (you may put it on the roof with your main pack if you wish, but there’s no guarantee that its contents will make it whole).

Toilet breaks (and the occasional food stop) do occur, and are roughly timed once every two to three hours of travel. In some instances, a fancy bush will have to do, on some occasions much preferable to the random eastern toilet.

Many a time, in the remote villages of Arunachal Pradesh, the only transport is in the form of a single sumo which runs once daily. We really advise you to buy tickets beforehand, days in advance if possible. Also, if you have the budget for it, you can buy more than a single seat so as to sit more comfortably, however be aware that this is the only means of transport for the locals too in some places, so be mindful of the fact that you are taking up space in what is perhaps the only vehicle running out of town that day! We suggest being conscious, and buying more than one seat only if this is available after all the locals have bought their seats.

Temple celebrations in Majuli - North East India Travel Guide

If you decide to go on tour or hire a local driver with a private sumo, your commute will of course be way more comfortable. Although we show you how to travel independently in this North East India travel guide, there’s little doubt that North East India is one of those places where having a private vehicle makes everything a hundred times easier!

Vans (Mini Buses)

In the states where the general road infrastructure is decent, such as Assam and Meghalaya, shared vans do a pretty good of navigating the roads. Shared vans will include their destination on the windscreen and board people up along the route. They are typically not over-crowded and comfortable enough. This is the fastest way to travel longer routes, and it would be ideal to include as many vans as possible as means of transportation on your North East India itinerary.

Buses

As in the rest of India, buses run most of the routes, unless the road infrastructure is too bad. Small state buses run short routes, whilst other larger state buses with space for luggage cross state borders as well.

They are usually very affordable and pretty decent, though cleanliness may be an issue.
State buses are marked – for eg. ASTC (Assam State Transport Corporation) in Assam, NST (Nagaland State Transport) in Nagaland and so on.

Tempos/Rickshaws

These little motorized vehicles can take 4-6 people and are very useful for short inter-city distances. They aren’t great if you are carrying luggage, but hiring the whole tempo will usually cost around RS 60 (about €0.75) depending on the distance, whilst a single seat will cost something like Rs 10 (about €0.15). If you choose the shared tempo option, you will be likely charged also for your pieces of luggage.

The shared tempo to the ghat in Jorhat

Helicopter

Oh, what can we say, good luck! Besides the abysmal safety record, scheduling seems to be subject to many conditions, more to do with the pilot’s mood rather than weather. Booking ahead is next to impossible and luggage restrictions can also be prohibitive for whoever, like us, has not mastered the art of light packing. On the flip-side, a trip doesn’t break the bank and can be quite an experience, if you make it back to ground level to tell the story!

The different states have a central booking office usually situated in the state’s capital. The only means of connecting to these offices is by phone (forget internet and email), or preferably in person, during office hours, not too early or too late, in between lunch, toilet, coffee and cigarette breaks.

Lodging over the phumdi at Loktak lake in Manipur

Internal Flights

A number of options servicing the state capitals exist, and are usually good value since they are serviced by low cost favorites such as IndiGO, AirAsia and Air India. Do keep in mind that the schedules are infrequent, though typically reliable. Check these schedules on Kiwi!

You may want to also refer to our transportation in Arunachal Pradesh section in this blog post.

Connectivity in North East India

Before traveling in North East India, we had decided to buy sim cards from as many providers as possible so as to ensure that we would be as well-connected when traveling in North East India, since we were waiting for some urgent news and needed data.

This meant securing a BSNL sim card too, most definitely the hardest to obtain (it took over a week, a bureaucratic mountain which complements the Himalaya range pretty well). Expect to be asked for several documents and confirmation from a host (among many other complications). By the time we arrived in North East India, we were carrying sim cards from Vodafone, BSNL, Jio and Airtel.

The side raod leading to the Tawang Monastery - North East India Travel Guide

Although Jio provided the fastest data and good service in mainland India, at the time of our visit it was useless in some parts of the North East such as Arunachal Pradesh. It had the best service in Meghalaya and in some parts of Assam though. Airtel was probably the most consistent of all (and the only provider which worked in Longwa too), hardly ever losing connectivity, whilst Vodafone was good too (and the only provider which worked in Aalo). BSNL is pretty crappy everywhere, except for parts where it would be the only sim card with some service.

We strongly recommend getting your sim cards at the airport when you arrive in India. Getting it anywhere else can be a nightmare, unless you know locals who can help you and vouch for you. Providers seem to be very wary of selling sim cards to tourists, and few know what to do and which forms to fill up for tourists. Be prepared to provide copies of your passport and visa, together with a passport photo.

A unique experience, being invited over to a shaman ritaul - Discovering Ziro Valley and the Apatani Tribe of Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh

Data packages are incredibly cheap compared to Europe. A sim card with unlimited data (about 1 GB/day) for 84 days cost around Rs700 (about €9), with cheaper packages depending on what you’re looking for. The price was probably hiked up too, so we believe they are actually cheaper, though considering all the drama involved in getting them, we weren’t about to argue about the price too, as long as they all worked well (which they did, in bursts).

Keep in mind that sim cards will require activation, which is not immediate, and usually takes well over the stipulated 24 hours!

Most of the sim cards are only valid for three months and cannot be topped up further, so you would need to go through the whole process to get a new sim, after expiry, if you need it for longer. It was all a little confusing at best – a couple of the sims did not expire when we expected them too!

Mask practice at the Bomdila monastery - Explore Dirang and Bomdila in Arunachal Pradesh - Northeast India Travel

Accommodation in North East India

Forget the luxury hotels. There’s no luxury in North East India, although some guest houses can be rather fancy. Further down in this North East India travel guide and North East India itinerary, we will suggest some accommodation options close to the main places to visit in North East India, however be aware that guesthouses may be rather basic especially in the remote villages.

Hot water is a blessing, especially in some places where it gets cold at night. Sometimes, hot water is provided in a bucket, heated in the kitchen with a large immersion heater. You will probably need to pay a little bit extra for it, but rest assured that you get your full money’s worth!

In the most remote areas, guesthouses will also provide breakfast and dinner if you warn them in advance, but be sure to do so – don’t expect them to just offer it to you.

Hari village in Ziro Valley

Very few guesthouses or homestays provide wifi in North East India so don’t expect it!
Accommodation in North East India is usually pricier than that in mainland India, mostly due to lack of options. A semi-decent room with a private bathroom in guesthouses or homestays can easily cost about Rs1500 (about €19) in many places, although larger cities provide for more affordable options too.

Homestays are a great source of local experience and they were most definitely our preferred accommodation type in North East India. This is where you get to experience traditional family life and all of our hosts were incredibly welcoming. Some of the best homestays are not listed on any website so contact Sange at The Holiday Scout who would be able to arrange some great accommodation options for you, or refer to our Places to Visit in North East India section, further down in this North East India travel guide, where we have listed some accommodation options.

House in Dirang - North East India Travel Guide

Food in North East India

You’re probably wondering whether the food in North East India is similar to the heavy gravies of North India or the lighter, spicier South India food. Truth is, it’s absolutely nothing like the two major Indian cuisines.

The food in North East India is, first of all, specific to each state and tribe preparing it, and tends to be far more ‘dry’ when compared to mainland Indian cuisine. Fear not, thalis are popular in most of the Seven Sisters, with the Assamese thali and the Manipuri thali being our two regional favourites.

Yak cheese based vegetables

Most of the dishes in North East India are prepared without too much frying or addition of ghee and other fats, and hence are considered to be healthier than those found in mainland India. North East Indian cuisine also tends to lean quite heavily on meats and fish and there are far less vegetarians in this part of India than there are in the rest of India. You can only guess why this region was Nikki’s preferred one!

In this North East India travel guide, we’re including a short summary of the typical food in North East India by state:

Assam

Fish-based dishes are eaten with the usual huge quantities of rice in Assam. Dried and fermented fish are added regularly to dishes, giving them a very strong flavor. Assamese dishes are not as spicy as those in other parts of India and a wide variety or vegetables are used in their preparation. Interesting to note that in Assam, food is usually served in alloy dishes, believed to be beneficial to one’s health.
Related: Meeting the Greater One-Horned Rhino at Kaziranga National Park
Delicious meals prepared at the homestay in Ziro Valley - North East India Travel Guide

Meghalaya

Spicy meat and fish curries accompanied by rice are commonly found in Meghalaya. Bamboo shoots with pork is a speciality, whilst momos can also be found everywhere. Pork and beef offal is commonly used in many Meghalaya dishes.
Related: Read more about Tawang, its monastery and the Sela Pass
Chicken cooked in Bamboo at the homestay in Ziro Valley -North East India Travel Guide

 

Arunachal Pradesh

Dumplings and noodles are very common in Arunachal Pradesh which borders China and Bhutan. Momos, thukpa and fried rice or noodles are found on every menu although once you go to different regions of Arunachal Pradesh, such as Ziro Valley, you will realise that other delicacies such as larvae and frogs are commonly eaten too.

Be sure to try the amazing yak cheese curry and Apong, a fermented alcoholic drink!
Related: Explore Arunachal Pradesh with our Itinerary

delicacies at the bomdila market - Explore Dirang and Bomdila in Arunachal Pradesh - Northeast India Travel

Nagaland

Nagas are reputed to eat ‘anything’ and indeed traditional Nagamese cuisine includes some exotic items not usually found in other North East Indian menus! A typical meal includes rice, fish and/or meat and vegetables, but be sure to ask about the meat, since dog is eaten quite regularly (and is rather tasty according to Michelle)! Silkworm and bee larvae are also eaten as snacks whilst bamboo shoots also feature in Nagamese dishes. Be sure to try the very tasty Anishi and Axone in Nagaland!
Related: Meeting the Konyak Tribe in Nagaland

Nagaland food served at the Hornbill Festival

Manipur

Many people, claim that Manipuri cuisine is the best in all of North East India and although we did not prefer it to the food in the other states, we agree that it is pretty good! The Manipuri locals love fish and different fish dishes will feature in a Manipuri thali accompanied by various vegetable and herb dishes.
Related: Exploring Imphal and Loktak Lake in Manipur

Manipuri Thali

Mizoram

We thought that Mizoram had one of the least exciting cuisines in North East India in that the dishes tend to be rather bland and boiled chicken is literally, just that. Vegetables are often boiled too although mustard oil, ginger and garlic are sometimes used.
Related: Places to Visit in Mizoram – Day Trips from Aizawl

Mizoram food served for christmas - Ultimate North East India Travel Guide and North East India itinerary

Tripura

Bengali food is popular in this little North-Eastern state due to the large Bengali community residing there. Delicious fish stews are commonly found, as are bamboo shoots and fermented fish. Very few Tripurans are vegetarians, so non-animal dishes are much less common in this state. Most food is prepared without the use of fat.
Related: The Best Places to Visit in Tripura, India
Spices at the Hapoli Market in Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh - North East India Travel Guide

Permits for North East India

We have tried to include the latest information with regards to permits in this North East India travel guide, however be aware that the permit situations tends to change rapidly in this part of the world, so always refer to official sources for the latest information regarding permits.

Foreigners will be glad to know that permits are now only required for Arunachal Pradesh, whilst the other six states of the Seven Sisters can be entered permit-free (permits are required for some parts of Sikkim but we are not writing about Sikkim in this post).

Foreigners require a Protected Area Permit (PAP) for visiting Arunachal Pradesh, which needs to be shown whenever it is requested, which is very often, i.e., at every hotel, homestay and guesthouse. Make sure to make multiple (spelt dozens of) copies prior to your visit. The PAP can conveniently be obtained via a tour agency such as The Holiday Scout. We have read that tourists sometimes manage to obtain it independently from Guwahati, but we also noted that it took several days to be processed, and we have not confirmed this ourselves, opting instead for the more reassuring process.

Indian nationals required an ILP (Inner Line Permit) for Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh. More recently, Manipur has been added to that list, although at the time of writing, the ILP  requirement has not yet been fully implemented in Manipur. Indian citizens can sometimes apply online for the permits, but the permits are state-specific and each state issues separate requirements for applying for the ILP.

Durga Puja in Guwahati - Places to visit in Arunanchal Pradesh Itinerary

Festivals in North East India

In case we have not yet tempted you into visiting North East India, you should know that the festivals in North East India are absolutely spectacular. North East Indians love celebrating and this is clearly demonstrated in the sheer amount of festivals held all around the Seven Sisters.

We were in Nagaland specifically for the Hornbill Festival and planned our North East India itinerary around it, but we came across at least two other festivals by chance during our time in the North East.
Worth mentioning are the very popular Ziro Music Festival in Arunachal Pradesh, held in September, and the Tawang Festival in the same state held in October. Losar in February is another very important festival in Arunachal!

Showcasing ancient anemist traditions at the Nagaland Hornbill Festival

Ambubachi Mela, held in Guwahati during the month of June is one of the most-attended festivals in Assam, whilst the Wangala Festival in Meghalaya during November, celebrates the harvest.

The Manipur Sangai Festival showcase Manipuri traditions and cultures and is named after its rare species of deer which we were so lucky to catch a glimpse of!

The Nagaland Hornbill Festival, held in December, is without a doubt one of the biggest festivals in the North East and one of our favourite experiences in India. Here’s all you need to know about the Hornbill festival!

Tawang Festival - Places to visit in Arunanchal Pradesh Itinerary

Expenses for North East India Travel

North East India tends to be a more expensive destination than the rest of mainland India (bar for a few specific regions such as the Andaman Islands), but not prohibitively so. There are fewer accommodation options in North East India with more expensive rooms. We totally recommend staying at homestays wherever possible, though again, these are not always the cheaper option.

Many of the roads in the North East are terrible, and transportation can be very slow, infrequent, very uncomfortable and surprisingly expensive (relatively speaking).

During our 84 days in North East India we spent Rs3005/day for the both of us – that’s about €37/day, or €18.50 each/day, including all accommodation, food, transport like buses, trains, sumos and even internal flights, entrance fees, and everything else. Although we were traveling on a budget, we made it a point to travel as much as we could and as far as we could, visiting as many sights and attractions as possible.

Of course, expenses can be reduced by using hosting apps such as couchsurfing, living with locals, sleeping in dorms, traveling more slowly, visiting less attractions and thus reducing entrance fees and other means, but that, quite frankly, is not our preferred style of traveling.

North East India Itinerary

If you want to visit all of the Seven Sisters, you need quite a bit of time, although we did notice quite a few domestic tourists trying to see a million sights in one day and moving on to a different state the following day. We really advise you to plan out your North East India itinerary carefully and spend enough time to enjoy each individual destination.

Northeast India itinerary map

Most people could not believe that we spent three months in North East India. Many Indians told us that there’s no need to spend more than 2-3 weeks to see the Seven Sisters! Honestly, there’s so much to see and to do in North East India that you won’t get to experience in any other part of the country, that you will soon realise that no matter how much time you plan on staying there, its never enough.

Decorations made from butter at the Bomdila monastery - Places to visit in Arunanchal Pradesh Itinerary

We are including our North East India itinerary in this section of our North east India travel guide to help you plan out yours. We traveled through Arunachal Pradesh first throughout the end of October till the end of November, since we were aware that it would be the coldest part and we didn’t want it to get any colder.

We really wanted to get to Nagaland for the Hornbill Festival by early December, so we visited Majuli Island and Kaziranga National Park before that. Nagaland was followed by Manipur, Mizoram for the Christmas period, then Tripura and we left Meghalaya until January.

All the trips were done overland by bus, taxi, sumo and where available, by train, except for one flight from Aizawl in Mizoram to Agartala in Tripura.

The tea plantations in the outskirts of Pasighat - Places to visit in Arunanchal Pradesh Itinerary

Top Places to Visit in North East India by State

Here are the top places to visit in the Seven Sisters listed in the same order we visited them on our North East India itinerary. We have individual blog posts about each destination, but we’re including a short summary of why you should visit each place.

Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh is packed with snow-capped mountains and valleys which makes travel within rather difficult. Nevertheless, it is in our opinion, the most beautiful and rewarding of the Seven Sisters, with its gorgeous vistas and Himalayan traditions.

Bomdila and Dirang

Our adventure in Arunachal Pradesh started in Guwahati from where we took a sumo to Bomdila and spent a few days around Bomdila and later Dirang. Note that these destinations are commonly regarded only as a stopover whilst commuting further north to Tawang. However, we were delighted to discover that Bomdila and Dirang were both charming towns which deserved more than a few hours.

Do put Bomdila and Dirang on your North East India itinerary – follow our complete post here

Where to stay in Guwahati – Hotel Monsoon Palace
Where to stay in Bomdila – Lungta Residency (+91 3782 222 555)
Where to stay in Dirang – Dirang Boutique Cottages

intricate design of the tanka at the bomdila monastery - Explore Dirang and Bomdila in Arunachal Pradesh - Northeast India Travel

 

Tawang

The gorgeous Tawang monastery is the draw here, but the breathtaking views to be had around the area especially when crossing the Sela Pass are just as alluring! We were in Tawang during the Tawang Festival which we found fascinating, especially since it was our first festival experience in North East India!

Read all about Tawang in our dedicated post!

Where to stay in Tawang – Tenzin Guesthouse (+91 37942 22893, but be aware that it’s a few km out of the town centre)

The lake at the Sela Pass on the way to Tawang - Places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh - Arunachal pradesch itinerary

Ziro Valley

The Ziro Valley is one of the most beautiful and compelling destinations in Arunachal Pradesh, not only due to the gentle scenery in the area, but because of the fascinating traditions of the Apatani tribe living in Ziro. Be sure to include Ziro on your North East India itinerary, but be aware that it gets busy in September during the Ziro music festival!

Follow our post about our experiences in the Ziro Valley here.

Where to stay in Ziro Valley – Dogindo Homestay (+91 87299 02206)

Apatani woman showing us her face decorations - North East India Travel Guide

Mechuka

Mechuka was, by far, the most spectacular destination of Arunachal Pradesh on our North East India itinerary and we are so glad that we made it all the way there! Although getting to Mechuka was pretty tough, we were rewarded with some of the best views and experiences!

Here’s how to get to Mechuka and what to expect there!

Where to stay in Mechuka – Grace Homestay (+91 94024 74078)

Enjoying the view of the valley at Mechuka, Arunachal Pradesh

Assam

Assam is large and the most accessible of the Seven Sisters. We didn’t have time to explore a lot of it, but our time in Majuli and in Kaziranga was epic!

Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park is one of the most important attractions in Assam, mainly due to the high possibility of observing the greater one-horned rhinos in their natural habitat. Indeed, we saw several of them during our jeep safari!

Here’s exactly how to organize your trip to Kaziranga National Park independently.

Where to stay in Kaziranga National Park – Aranya Tourist Lodge (+91 99570 58746)

Kaziranga jeep safari - Kaziranga National Park Safari – Searching for the Greater One-Horned Rhino

Majuli Island

The largest river island in the world is definitely worth including in your North East India Itinerary! We had a lovely time exploring the island by rented bicycles, and watching the slow-paced Assamese island life!

Here’s what to do on Majuli island!

Where to stay on Majuli Island – La Maison de Ananda (+91 99571 86356)

Lakeside Majuli homes - The Magic of Majuli Island – One of the Best Places to Visit in Assam

Nagaland

The land of the Nagas, home to some of the world’s remaining former headhunters should not be missed! Nagaland is a destination like no other and even if your priority is attending the Hornbill Festival, do take some time to explore some other parts of it to!

Kohima

Nagaland’s very hilly capital will allow you to feel Nagaland’s vibe without it being too overwhelming. Kohima is also located a few km away from the village of Kisama where the Hornbill Festival takes place, and provides a good base from where to attend, especially seeing that a night carnival offering some rather intriguing dishes is held during festival days.

Here’s our full guide to the Nagaland Hornbill Festival

Where to stay In Kohima – IK Homestay, but be aware that it’s far from Kohima town centre.

Participants get very excited at the Hornbill Festival - North East India Travel Guide

Longwa Village

This is where you have to come if you’re curious to meet some of the world’s remaining (former) headhunters. Longwa village is really small, but it’s position, right on the border with Myanmar, makes for a unique tribal experience with the god-fearing, Christian, former headhunting, opium-friendly Konyak people.

Read our post about our experiences in Longwa village!

Where to stay in Longwa village – Traveller’s Inn (+91 98560 15152)

Once fierce headhunters of Longwa - Exploring Longwa Village and meeting the Konyak tribe in Nagaland

Manipur

As foreign tourists, we were restricted with where we could travel within Manipur, but luckily, Loktak Lake was easy to access!

Loktak Lake

The jewel of Manipur, and one of the most beautiful destinations in North East India, felt like a dream come true. Taking a boat ride should be on your North East India bucket list, so be sure to include it on your itinerary!

Read about the beauty of Loktak Lake and tips for visiting in our post!

Where to stay in Imphal – Phou-Oi-Bee Hotel (+91 76400 56789)
Where to stay in Loktak Lake – Maipakchao Homestay (+91 98563 56993)

Fooling around on the phumdis at Loktak Lake

Mizoram

Mizoram was a difficult state for us to travel around. We were purposely there during Christmas time since we were aware that it would be celebrated in the Christian state, however this meant that most forms of transportation were halted. Nevertheless, we had an absolutely great time in this rarely-visited state.

Reiek Peak

We promise that the steep hike to the top is worth every effort! Reiek is not far from Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram and can be visited on a day trip. If you like pristine hilly views, put Mizoram on your North East India itinerary!

Michelle enjoying the view of Reiek Peak - North East India Travel Guide

Largest Family

Did you know that the world’s largest family live in Mizoram? You can also go visit them and learn all about their very unique lifestyle in a village called Baktawng too!

Here’s what you need to know about some of the best daytrips from Aizawl

Where to stay in Aizawl – Riah Run Homestay

CTR house in Mizoram

Tripura

The little princely state of Tripura was one the best surprises we had in North East India. We had no expectations about the state since we knew very little about it before we got there, but we were awed with Tripura’s intriguing and rich cultural heritage!

Udaipur

Udaipur, a town which couldn’t be more different to its more popular namesake in Rajasthan, is the starting point for visiting a number of fascinating temples, and makes for a great base from where to visit the gorgeous Neermahal Palace.

Neermahal water palace in Tripura

Chabimura

If mysterious rock carvings in a river canyon are your thing, do put Chabimura on your North East India itinerary! This obscure attraction showed just what an underrated destination Tripura is!

Rock carvings of Chabimura, tripura - tourist places in tripura

Unakoti

The archeological site of Unakoti is Tripura’s highlight and possibly North East India’s best-kept secret. Head over here if you want to get lost in a world of mezmerising rock carvings depicting gods and goddesses.

Read all about the tourist places in Tripura here.

Where to stay in Udaipur – Imperial Hotel (+91 90897 31730)
Where to stay in Dharmanagar – Hotel RaatDin

Divinities sculpted at Unakoti site in Tripura - North East India Travel Guide

Meghalaya

Meghalaya was our final destination on our North East India itinerary and it certainly did not disappoint! Old traditions are kept alive in this accessible North Eastern state where a turquoise blue shimmering river makes for some popular boating.

Living Root Bridges in Cherrapunji

The dramatic root bridges found in Cerrapunji, built by the Khasi people are quite a sight to behold. We can assure you that the steep trek and c. 3000 steps to view the double-decker bridge is utterly worth the strain and if you have time, you should definitely spend a couple of extra days in Nongriat to explore the beautiful lush area of waterfalls and rock pools.

Double Root Bridge in Nongriat - Places to visit in Meghalaya

Umngot River in Dawki

Although, this is one of the most popular and hence, crowded attractions in North East India, we really recommend taking a short boat trip along the crystal-clear and impossibly blue waters of the Umngot river, which left us speechless.

Here’s our post are the top places to visit in Meghalaya.

Where to stay in Shillong – Hotel Oyo Shelter Inn
Where to stay in Nongriat – Serene Homestay (+91 94778 70423)

Clear waters at the dawki river in meghalaya

We hope that you’ve found this North East India travel guide useful – we’ve really tried to include as much information as possible based on our wonderful experience in the fascinating region!

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After spending several months in North East #India, here's our #northeast India #travel #guide and North East India #itinerary with as much info as possible! #incredibleinida #travelawesome #offbeattravel #unexplored #travelstoke #travelawesome #travelguide #travelcouple #beautifuldestinations #destinations #natgeo
After spending several months in North East #India, here's our #northeast India #travel #guide and North East India #itinerary with as much info as possible! #incredibleinida #travelawesome #offbeattravel #unexplored #travelstoke #travelawesome #travelguide #travelcouple #beautifuldestinations #destinations #natgeo

4 Comments

  1. ansh
    20/04/2020

    thanks for sharing this blog

    Reply
  2. Lily Shanker (TourGenie)
    08/06/2020

    This was the best thing I read today 🙂 All the places were well described (short and sweet), and the pictures are beautiful! Northeast India is a very intriguing place and needs to be explored on a larger scale.

    Reply
    • Cheeky Passports
      28/06/2020

      Thank you for your lovely comment! Indeed we feel that NorthEast India is absolutely breathtaking!

      Reply

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