The North-east India is blessed with beautiful vistas and pristine landscapes. Being relatively unexplored as well as the remoteness of the land also makes these places a rare beauty. The north-east India can boast of some long distance routes that offer winding highways, majestic mountain views, virgin forests and travel through the clouds. If you love to hit the road with your SUV and want to charter the unexplored landscapes, then these 5 road trips should be in your bucket list of adventure. And exploring the region with your own vehicle gives you all the freedom to detour to the various gems, stop at your own will to gape at the gorgeous views and be your own king on the road.
1. Guwahati to Cherrapunji
In this road trip, you will be travelling through one of the finest roads. After the initial busy stretch of Guwahati – Shillong Highway, the road between Shillong to Cherrapunji is truly picturesque. The road passes through some beautiful green forests amidsts blue skies and refreshingly fresh weather. On the way, stop at the beautiful bridge across the Mawkdok Valley (you can also try zip-lining here).
It is recommended to make a halt at Shillong and visit the beauties of the city like the Elephanta Falls, Wards Lake and Shillong View Point. Once you are at Cherrapunji, enjoy the Seven Sister Falls, the numerous caves and the splendid romantic weather of Cherrapunji.
When to go: July to September is the best time when you can see the waterfalls of Meghalaya in their full beaytu and charm.
Route: Guwahati – Umiam – Shillong – Mawkdok – Cherrapunji
A ride through one of the most picturesque roads; visit the beautiful Umiam Lake; a visit to the Scotland of East India – Shillong; cross the beautiful bridge at Mawkdok; enjoy the gushing waterfalls on the road; visit Mawsmai limestone caves, the Seven Sister Waterfalls, the Thangkarang Park and the Nohkalikai waterfalls.
2. Tezpur to Tawang
This is an epic road trip that crosses through virgin forests, winding roads, beautiful hamlets beside gutsy mountain rivers and majestic monasteries. The 325 km route is not for the faint hearted with arduous roads and sharp hairpin bends. The view makes up for all the hardships on the road. It is recommended to make stops at Bhalukpong and Dirang before reaching Tawang.
When to go: April to October. Monsoons are best to avoided
Route: Tezpur – Bhalukpong – Bomdila – Dirang – Tawang
Drive through the virgin Sonai-Rupai forest to Bhalukpong; visit the famous Tipi orchid sanctuary, a place for some of the rarest orchids; spend some time beside the Kameng river at Dirang; cross one of the highest motorable roads of the country, the Sela Pass, pay homage to the valour and courage of the Indian army at Jaswant Garh, get awed by the Jung Falls; visit the ancient Tawang monastery that is also one of the oldest and largest monasteries of India.
3. Kalimpong to Zuluk to Gangtok
This 180 km road trip has 32 wild hairpin bends between the stretches of Kalimpong to Zuluk. This trip is made for all those adventure junkies and road trippers who never shy away from days on the roads. The drive with its jaw dropping sceneries of the mountain ranges is surely going to make you gaga over the beauty of the place. It is such a trip where you would prefer to be on the road for all the while. This trip was the old silk route that is a part of the ancient network of trade routes which connected China to India.
When to go: Best time is September to November for great mountain views on the road. It can also be done between March to May.
Route: Kalimpong – Icchey Gaon – Mankhim – Zuluk – Nathang – Gangtok
Visit to the wishing village of Icchey Gaon; visit the beautiful Reshikhola; cross the maddening zig-zag roads having 32 hairpin bends; watch the sunrise over the Kanchenjunga ranges; vsist the Baba Mandir and the Nathula Pass, the trade route between India and China; ride a yak at the holy Tsomgo Lake before returning to Gangtok.
4. Jorhat to Mechuka
Jorhat is the gateway to upper Assam and the road that leads to Mechuka passé through the forest hills, vast meadows and tiny hamlets. The destination village Mechuka is just like a picture postcard. The 540 km road trip will not only take you across the beautiful natural lanscapes, but you can also experience the rural culture of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
When to go: Any time of the year
Route: Jorhat – Pasighat – Aalo – Mechuka
Experiences: Experience the rural beauty of Assam; visit Majuli, the largest river island of India; explore the gateway of Arunachal Prades, Pasighat; experience the life of the Garo tribes; visit the tribal weavers of Mechuka, who skillfully use primitive loin looms to turn thread directly into wearable clothes and utility items.Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
5. Guwahati to Moreh
This is once in a lifetime road trip that passes through the spectacular mountains and valleys of Assam, Meghalaya and Manipur all the way to Thailand before crossing over Myanmar! The roads are full of natural and cultural attractions full of adventure and thrill. The trip route has been opened by the Indian Government, but you need to have an international driver’s license if you want to self drive through the entire route. This 3200 km India-Myanmar-Thailand highway will take you across one of the most incredible trips of your lifetime.
When to go: Any time of the year
Route: Guwahati – Shillong – Imphal – Moreh – Tamu – Mandalay – Mae Sot Tak
Experiences: Watch the mesmerizing sunset over Guwahati; stare off at the angry clouds of Shillong; cross the Indo-Myanmar friendship bridge at moreh; visit the 9th century city of Bagan; see one of the massive pagodas in Naypyidaw, Myanmar's beautiful but hauntingly empty capital city, Mandalay before you head over to Thailand.