We are a family of three and we (hubby n me) have been travelling for the last 11 years. we also love to backpack with our daughter and have managed to explore a few parts of the World with her..However, we had been waiting to do a trip to the North East of India for a long time and somehow it had not materialised. In December last year, we got a chance to make this long awaited trip happen with Chalohoppo to Nagaland during the Hornbill Festival. From the very first interaction with them over email, I got a very positive and warm vibe from them as well as a very responsible tour operator. We reached them after a roadtrip via Dimapur-Wokha-Mokokchung-Kohima(Thanks to Abhishek for coordinating the first point of contact for us even though he was travelling himself). They curated a lovely travel itinerary for us which I shall write about below:
Stay at Campsite Yedikha: The campsite is located very close to the Hornbill festival venue(Kisama Heritage Village) and is the acclimatising base for the Dzukou valley trek as well.
Facilities:The site has tents pitched on two levels overlooking the terraced fields of Jakhama, Nagaland. It has a full service kitchen, extremely clean and permanent tiled toilets with continuous water supply, a roofed lounging zone with games and music and a bonfire area that is open to the sky. The hosts (Chalohoppo) are always available and stay with the guests on site most of the time. We were welcomed by Chetan,John, Deepika and Aishwarya who were always at camp looking after the guests and taking care of logistics.
Sleep:The camp is literally the hub of activity in this part of Chalohoppo’s Nagaland. We were travelling with a toddler(3yo) and it was December so one can imagine how low the temperatures were; however we slept beautifully in the tents as they were insulated, blinded from morning light, and had very comfortable good quality sleeping bags with space for luggage inside the tent.
Eat:We were served fresh warm breakfast early in the mornings (no matter what time everyone slept) and delicious local meals every night with both vegetarian and non vegetarian options. The cooks (local staff) whip up authentic organic food with a side of Naga non vegetarian and vegetarian recipes and they are truly delicious to say the least. We had a meal every night with them and each night was special be it the Naga chicken curry or the dry dal with greens that Chetan suggested we try or the fresh chickpea salad that we relished. Aishwarya helped make the yummiest breakfast sandwiches for us and we found a friend in all of them.
Day trip 1- Khonoma: We finally met the Chalohoppo guy (famous on Instagram) Nishant in Khonoma where he welcomed us with his infectious warm smile, extensive anecdotes and generosity. We were a group of like minded travellers(bloggers,vloggers,photographers) from different parts of the country and we were taken on an amazing tour of Khonoma village(the first green village). We were left awestruck by the beauty of this village, its pristine open fields, smiling villagers, zero garbage, pretty houses, and lots of fresh air. Chalohoppo arranged a local guide for us named Neizo, an educated qualified local boy and the way he narrated the tour was incredible. His knowledge of the history, local traditions and opinions about contemporary Naga life were something to learn about. We ended up knowing a lot more than we would have otherwise. We lunched at the Meru Homestay overlooking a breathtaking view and had the juiciest cucumbers I have ever eaten. Gorgeous local organic food again that left us happy after a hearty walk around the village. We also witnessed the Friendship festival at Khonoma village (which is something to see for sure) as the locals were dressed in their traditional ceremonial attire and it was a great experience meeting them besides the Hornbill festival.
Day trip-2:Jakhama Village Hike.
We went for a hike around Jakhama village with a guide from the camp named Kikosonu, and she took us around her pretty village surrounded by lush paddy fields and rolling hills. Just walking around the entire village of Jakhama is a beautiful experience as you will get to see lovely tin roofed houses, meet some warm smiling locals, and get to hear about the history of the Village along with her personal anecdotes that will make this village hard to forget.
Live Music: on our last day at camp, we were treated to a live band from Kohima who jammed with us into the night and we met and danced with some beautiful strangers that felt more like friends. For parents wanting to travel with kids, this is a perfect itinerary and you would get to enjoy each aspect of the State without tiring your kids too much and also exposing them to a camping experience.
USP:-1) Attention to detail
2) Knowledge of local place, tie ups and information about everything that will be required right upto the point you leave Nagaland.
3) Responsible, Ready to take feedback and always positive
4) Ready to customise plans according to the comfort of the travellers
5) Extremely well spoken, fun, confident and amazing people in one team
6) Easily the coolest tour operator in all of North East! Trust me
Go on a trip with them to get your own experience! Chalo Northeast Chalohoppo...