North-east Tourism and Travel Guide

There are a few places which have the power to change your idea of travel. Northeast India is one such region. With awe-inspiring beauty and diverse cultures, the region has been in the midst of conflict for decades. But that hasn’t deterred true travellers from making their way to the beautiful states in the region. In fact, in the last few years, Northeast tourism is on the rise and sees thousands of visitors every year. Comprising of eight states – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura, exploring Northeast tourism is a life-changing experience for travellers. One of the biggest reasons that inhibit travellers from exploring Northeast tourism is the lack of transport and high costs. However, if you plan your trip carefully and in advance, you can expect to have a memorable vacation in the northeastern part of the country. Another thing that travellers need to keep in mind when exploring Northeast tourism is the duration of the trip. Since most states are located at a distance and the condition of roads isn’t the best, you will have to plan your trip very carefully and with some buffer time. Northeast India was popularly known as the Land of the Seven Sisters before the state of Sikkim was added to Northeast Council or NEC. With an intriguing historical past, the region has always been under the spotlight and the vibrant culture and warm local hospitality have only helped in placing Northeast tourism on the tourist map.
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Best Time To Visit Northeast India

Travellers know and understand the importance of planning a trip during peak season. This is when the place you are visiting is at its best. For those who want to explore Northeast tourism, the best time to visit is typically from May to October.
However, it’s important to remember that owing to varied landscapes and geography, the best time to visit Northeast will be different for each state. While winter is the best time to visit Assam, it might be too cold for places such as Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya.
Similarly, summer might be harsh in Guwahati but it’s the ideal season to plan a trip to Nagaland, Manipur and Sikkim. Another thing that one needs to remember is that most areas of Northeast tourism experience heavy rainfall. In fact, rains are quite unpredictable in the region and you must always be prepared. 

Typical Costs In Northeast India

Exploring Northeast tourism is expensive. Not a typical budget-friendly destination, one needs to plan thoroughly before embarking on a budget trip across the region. However, if budget is not a constraint, you can expect to have a beautiful experience exploring Northeast tourism. Let’s take a look at the typical costs for exploring Northeast tourism.

For luxury travellers, the cost of exploring Northeast tourism can be anywhere between Rs.15,000 to Rs.25,000 a day. This includes costs for hotel, activities and food.

Mid-budget travellers can spend up to Rs.5000 per day while exploring Northeast tourism. This cost can be drastically reduced if you travel using public transport.

Exploring Northeast tourism on a budget is not the best option. However, this hasn’t deterred backpackers and budget travellers. To ensure you stay within budget, you need to plan in advance and keep an eye on flight and hotel discounts. Per day costs for budget travellers exploring Northeast tourism can be as low as Rs.1500 if planned well.

Top Attractions In Northeast India

Exploring Northeast tourism can take anywhere from seven to fifteen days owing to the large number of places to visit. To ensure you have a memorable trip, here are a few places that should definitely be a part of your itinerary.

Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya
If rainy weather is not something you enjoy, Cherrapunjee should not be a part of your Northeast tourism itinerary. At the same time, if a visit to Sohra or the living root bridges has been on your bucket list for a long time, we recommend braving the rains. Cherrapunjee is one of the best places to visit in Northeast tourism and has always managed to charm travellers. Once considered the wettest place on earth, the city is a huge attraction in Northeast tourism.
For travellers who want to include Cherrapunjee in their Northeast visit, we recommend combining the trip with Shillong. In Cherrapunjee, one needs at least two days to explore the many waterfalls, lakes and natural wonders. There are a few homestays and hotels that can organise local sightseeing tours to make it easier for you. We recommend including Dawki, which is home to River Umngot and Mawlynnong which is more often referred to as God’s own garden. The village has been recognised as the cleanest village in India and is a treat for the eyes after the chaotic mess of cities.

Pelling, Sikkim
Northeast tourism is blessed with surreal natural beauty which is almost too good to be true. One such place in Sikkim is Pelling. Located 130km from Gangtok, this small town is a saviour for nature lovers. It’s ideal for those who seek peace and quiet on their holidays and crave for the sound of nature to fill their ears.
Pelling is also a huge attraction in Northeast tourism for spiritual seekers. Home to the popular and spell-binding Pemayangtse and Sangacholing monasteries, Pelling is the place to be if meditation, a spiritual retreat and Buddhist teachings are on your mind.
But that’s not all. Pelling is also a delight for adventure buffs. Most treks begin from Pelling and the town serves as an excellent base point. For those who don’t enjoy trekking, there is mountain biking, village tours, photography walks and rock climbing to keep you busy. While three days is an ideal duration for a trip to Pelling, homestays and resorts are more than welcoming to travellers who spend more time in the small town.

Guwahati, Assam
One of the most popular cities in Northeast tourism, Guwahati in Assam is the centre of tourist activities. Known as the Gateway to Northeast India, the city is home to ancient temples which are a big draw for spiritual seekers. Gradually the city has imbibed urbanisation and you will notice chic cafes and high-end showrooms in local bazaars. While development and modernisation are prominent in the city, there is also an old-world charm which bedazzles travellers.
From old bakeries to local shops which have been around for centuries, Guwahati offers tourists the best of both worlds. The most important temple in the city is Kamakhya Temple and a large number of visitors come here to seek blessings. Dedicated to Goddess Kamakhya, the temple is open to visitors throughout the year but one can’t enter the inner sanctum. Umananda Temple and Navagraha Temple which is dedicated to the nine planets are two other places of religious importance which are very popular.
For those who are planning a visit to Kaziranga National Park, Guwahati is a convenient stop-over city. Located 190km from the national park, there are many tour operators who conduct tours from the main city. If you don’t have time in your schedule for the national park, you can head to Assam State Zoo. Said to be the biggest zoo in the Northeast, it’s definitely worth a visit.

Shillong, Meghalaya
Another popular city in Northeast tourism, Shillong in Meghalaya is known across the country for its gorgeous natural beauty. Unlike most state capitals, the city is quiet and peaceful. Touted as the Scotland of the East, Shillong is home to numerous diverse cultures and tribes. For some travellers, the harmony and peace the city offers despite so many cultures is an inspiring experience. We recommend keeping aside at least two to three days to explore Shillong in Northeast tourism, especially if you want to enjoy the small town at a comfortable pace. There are several waterfalls, lakes and mountain peaks in the city which serve as exciting tourist sites. You can either plan a full day itinerary for Shillong which covers all attractions or can also opt for a two-day itinerary which gives you more time in each tourist attraction.
Among the best places to cover in Shillong, we suggest visiting Umiam Lake, Shillong Peak, Elephant Falls, Mawsynram, Ward’s Lake and Don Bosco Museum.

Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh
There are numerous small towns and picturesque villages which are a big part of Northeast tourism. While Ziro Valley’s biggest claim to fame is the popular Ziro Festival which takes place here, the town is slowly becoming a favourite with nature lovers and peace seekers.
Considered to be one of the best places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh, Ziro offers picture-perfect sights which are irresistible. Home to the popular Apatani tribe, Ziro Valley is a delight for shopping enthusiasts. In fact, shopping is one of the best things to do in the city and Northeast tourism has made efforts to ensure that the local economy is benefitted by tourist activities. You can buy bamboo products including baskets, storage units, boards and boxes as well as rugs and woollen clothes.
The best places to include in your Northeast tourism itinerary for Ziro Valley are Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Meghna Cave Temple and Tarin Fish Farm.

Agartala, Tripura
Cultural diversity and fascinating history come together to offer history lovers an unforgettable experience. Of course, the natural beauty of the state is also a big reason why Agartala is a popular part of Northeast tourism. The second-largest city in Northeast India, it has welcomed development and progress but has ensured that the city’s rich historical past remains as is. The erstwhile home of Manikya kings, Agartala offers a tour of the city’s history through its palaces and temples.
Travellers can easily spend two to three days in the city exploring the history of Northeast tourism. Among the best places to include in your itinerary, we certainly recommend a visit to Ujjayanta Palace which is the erstwhile royal palace of Tripura and served as the meeting point for Tripura Legislative Assembly until 2011. Owing to its grandeur and history, the palace today is an important tourist site.
Wildlife enthusiasts and nature buffs must not miss a visit to Sephajila Wildlife Sanctuary, Chittagong Hills and Neermahal.

Dampa Tiger Reserve, Mizoram
The largest wildlife sanctuary in Mizoram, Dampa Tiger Reserve is an integral part of Northeast tourism. This is especially true if you are a nature lover or a wildlife enthusiast. The sanctuary is situated close to 125km from Aizawl and most tours are planned from the capital city itself.
Most travellers spend a couple of days in Aizawl and include a visit to Dampa Wildlife Sanctuary towards the end of their trip. The sanctuary is spread across 500 square kilometres and touches borders with Bangladesh. As is with most wildlife sanctuaries, the best way to explore it is by booking a jungle safari. The safaris take place throughout the day but for possible sightings, mornings are the best time.
For those who want to spend a few days in the sanctuary, you can book one of the many guesthouses in the area. While the guesthouses may not be luxurious, they offer basic comforts including delicious local food and warm hospitality.
Among the animals that you can expect to see on your safari, look out for leopards, tigers, barking deer, Indian pythons, low altitude Galliformes and the three unique species of Chloropsis. The best time to plan a trip to Dampa Tiger Reserve is between November to February when the weather is pleasant.

Dzukou Valley, Nagaland
Dzukou Valley in Kohima is one of the best places to visit in Northeast India tourism. Most travellers combine a trip to Dzukou Valley with Japfu Peak since both are situated close to each other. A must-include in the itinerary for trekking enthusiasts, a visit here will become the highlight of your Northeast trip.
Offering views of verdant fields and vibrant flower beds, Dzukou is perhaps one of the most beautiful places in Northeast tourism. If you happen to visit during summer, you will be able to witness rows of Dzukou lilies which are only found here. Though the trek to the valley is suitable for beginners, it may take a little more time than expected.
The best part about visiting Dzukou Valley is the lack of tourists. Since the place is relatively unknown and more suitable for trekkers, not many people include it in their itinerary. The valley also offers numerous opportunities for those who enjoy rock climbing and hiking.
While the best time to visit is during summer, you can head here any time of the year for spell-binding views of the valley.

Moirang, Manipur
A hidden gem of Northeast tourism, Moirang is a small village in Manipur. The village is an erstwhile centre of the freedom struggle and is said to be the place where Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose started his fight and hoisted the Indian flag in 1944. The village was the control centre during the freedom struggle and an enthralling history tour of the Indian National Army Complex is a must for history buffs.
Moirang is also known for its proximity to Loktak Lake which is one of the largest freshwater lakes in North India. We recommend visiting the lake to learn more about the unique flora and fauna of Northeast India. The lake is visited by several locals and tourists and if you head out for a tour, you can also see animals such as barking deer, marbled cat, Indian pythons and sambhars. Birdwatchers, keep your cameras and binoculars ready to capture and admire the rare bird population in the Northeast.
If you happen to visit in the month of May, you can enjoy the celebrations of festivals such as Moirang Haraoba. Giving you a glimpse into the local culture, the experience is memorable.

Activities And Things To Do In Northeast India

River Rafting in Siang
The thrill of tackling rapids is incomparable, especially if you are surrounded by breathtaking beauty. The Siang River is considered to be one of the best rivers in the country for river rafting and enthusiasts should not miss a chance to experience this.
A tributary of River Brahmaputra, Siang is known for grade III and grade IV rapids so you can expect a thrilling experience. For those who aren’t interested in rafting, kayaking and angling are also popular activities here.
For those who are looking to add some thrill to their Northeast tourism trip, you must try walking on the hanging bridge here. Though a little tricky, it’s ideal for those who enjoy a rush.

Trekking
Owing to the geographical location of Northeast India, there are many opportunities for trekking. For those who are planning a trekking tour to Northeast, we recommend including Anini and Tirap in Arunachal Pradesh, Goechala Trek in Sikkim, Dzukou Trek in Nagaland, Unakoti Trek in Tripura and Champhai in Mizoram.
Trekking is a huge contributor to Northeast tourism and is a popular activity for locals and tourists. However, we do recommend planning your trekking tour thoroughly before making the required bookings. It’s important to remember that unfamiliar language and terrains can pose problems for new trekkers and it’s best to head out in groups.
You must also conduct cursory research to learn more about the best time to explore Northeast tourism. Since the states in the region are known for varied trekking experiences, the best times to visit will vastly differ. Professional trekkers also recommend exploring one state at a time to ensure you have the best experience.

Exploring Caves in Meghalaya
Meghalaya is home to a number of caves and exploring these ancient structures has become one of the most popular activities in Northeast tourism tours. Local adventure tours are the best way to explore the caves in the region which are located in different places.
The most popular caves are Mawsmai Cave and Awrah Cave which are a favourite with adventure buffs. While Mawsmai is one of the oldest caves here, it is fully lit and offers travellers a memorable experience. The Northeast tourism department has made notable efforts to ensure that exploring caves is a safe activity. We do recommend heading here during winter or summer as the cave is closed for tourists during monsoon.
Krem Mawkhyrdop also known as Krem Mawmluh is the fourth largest cave in Meghalaya. If adventure is what you seek on a holiday, then this is the place for you. It’s important to remember that the cave is not safe if you are travelling with children or elderly folks. The sharp rock edges and narrow openings are best explored if you are with a local guide.
In fact, before exploring any cave in Meghalaya, we strongly recommend booking a tour with Northeast tourism approved operators.
 

Where To Stay In North-east

The growing popularity of Northeast tourism has led to the rise of many high-end and boutique resorts. For those who want to enjoy the local culture and warm hospitality of the locals, there are homestays and guest houses which offer you an authentic Northeast experience.

Luxury hotels in Northeast India
There are several luxury resorts in the region which hugely contribute to Northeast tourism. Fully-equipped with all basic amenities, most resorts offer health clubs, spa services and in house restaurants. Here are some of the best luxury resorts which are a part of Northeast tourism.

  • Diphlu River Lodge, Kaziranga
  • Vivanta by Taj, Guwahati
  • The Elgin Darjeeling
  • Ri Kynjai–Serenity By the Lake, Shillong
  • De Oriental Grand, Kohima


Mid-budget hotels in Northeast India
There are numerous mid-budget hotels in the Northeast which will make your trip memorable. These hotels not only offer beautiful rooms and efficient service but also provide travellers with guidance and local recommendations for lesser-known attractions. Here are some of the best mid-budget hotels which are part of Northeast tourism.

  • Ginger Hotel, Agartala
  • Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort, Laitkynsew
  • Hotel Classic Grande, Imphal
  • Homestay Lake View Nest, Pelling
  • Dechen Dzong Homestay, Gangtok


Budget hotels in Northeast India

Exploring Northeast tourism is expensive and not the most convenient option for budget travellers. However, in recent years, Northeast tourism has made many efforts to make things easier for budget travellers. One of the biggest steps is ensuring they have reasonable accommodation options in the form of hostels and guesthouses. To help make your trip easier, here are the best budget hotels in Northeast tourism.

  • Dolma Khangsar Guest House, Tawang
  • Abasa Homestay, Siiro
  • Debojani Ashralaya Travellers Hostel, Guwahati
  • La Maison de Ananda, Majuli
  • Anu homestay, Bomdila

How To Travel In Northeast India

Travelling in the Northeast is not the most convenient and if you want to make the most of your trip, we recommend planning in advance. The transport infrastructure is in the development phase and Northeast tourism is making efforts to streamline transport for tourists.

Taxis
For tourists and even locals moving from one city to another, hiring a taxi is the most convenient way to travel. For shorter distances and for budget travellers, the best way to reduce costs is by hiring shared taxis that travel across the region.

Bus
There are local buses in Northeast India but one invariably needs taxis to reach the final destination. Irregular timings and bumpy roads have made buses the least preferred option of commuting in the Northeast.

Air
To boost Northeast tourism, all eight states have airports. However, flight connectivity with the rest of the country is not great. For those travelling by air, your first stop will be Guwahati in Assam. From here, you can plan the rest of the trip. Taxis are inarguably the easiest and most convenient means to explore Northeast tourism.

Frequently Asked Questions About North-east Tourism

Which are the best places to explore in Northeast tourism?
The best places to explore in Northeast tourism are Pelling in Sikkim, Majuli in Assam, Ziro in Arunachal Pradesh, Mokokchung in Nagaland, Unakoti Hill, Tripura and Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.

How much do Northeast India tour packages cost?
The cost of Northeast India tour packages will completely depend on your itinerary and your accommodation options. Typically exploring Northeast tourism through tours packages can cost anywhere between Rs.15,000 to Rs.65,000.

What should I pack for my Northeast trip?
The three essentials which should be a part of your Northeast tour are

  • Woollens
  • Umbrella
  • Extra cash


What are the best things to do in Northeast India?
The best things to do in the region which should be part of your Northeast tourism itinerary are trekking, rafting, boating, safaris and exploring the caves in Meghalaya.

Share the names of the most beautiful places in Northeast India.
The most beautiful places which are part of Northeast tourism are Ziro Valley in Arunachal Pradesh, Gurudongmar Lake in Sikkim, Menchukha or Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh, Ravangla in Sikkim and Unakoti in Tripura.

Which are the best hotels in Northeast India?
The best hotels which are part of Northeast tourism are Radisson Blu Hotel in Guwahati, the Royal Plaza in Gangtok, Vivanta in Guwahati and Glenburn Tea Estate in Darjeeling.

When should I plan my Northeast travel?
The best time to explore Northeast tourism is between May and October. For budget travellers, off-season and shoulder season which is during monsoon might be the best option.

Name the best wildlife sanctuaries in Northeast India.
Wildlife sanctuaries are a big part of Northeast tourism. Some of the best sanctuaries to visit are Kaziranga National Park in Assam, Kanchendzonga National Park, Sikkim, Marat Longri National Park in Diphu, Orang National Park in Darang, Balphakram National Park in Meghalaya and Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh.

Which are the best dishes to try in Northeast India?
The best dishes to try in Northeast India are kappa in Shillong, kinalas in Nagaland, narasingha masor jhol in Assam, shapale in Sikkim and iromba from Manipur.

Share three tips for travellers who are planning to explore Northeast tourism.
The three best tips for travellers planning to explore Northeast tourism are

  • Trust what the locals say about weather patterns, routes and food
  • Always have a plan B should there be any change in your original plans
  • Carry extra cash since most local restaurants and shopkeepers may not have an option for digital payments

 

 

 

 

 

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