Our experts say
Explore India’s most unexplored region with its unique tribal cultures, wildlife reserves & tea gardens.
There is so much to see in India’s remote North Eastern region that we have tried to pack some of the best bits into this itinerary – unique cultures, rare wildlife, giant rivers and the best tea in the world. Start off exploring Meghalaya, the “Scotland of the East” with its unique matrilineal culture. Venture on to Kaziranga National Park to spot tigers and the one-horned rhino. Spend time on the world’s largest river island in Majuli, and meet the fierce tattooed headhunting tribes on the Burmese border. Then finish it all off with a proper cup of Assam tea in a planter’s bungalow in Dibrugarh.
Remember, this is just a suggested itinerary - your own holiday can be tailored to your preference of budget, duration, locations and experiences. Get in touch to have a chat about your trip.
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Day 1: Take to the skies
Take the overnight flight from wherever you are to Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta)
Day 2: Welcome to India!
On arrival in Kolkata you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Put your feet up and get ready for the adventure ahead.
Day 3: Kolkata
Kolkata is a fascinating city, so head out with your private guide to explore it. You can visit the Victoria Memorial and gallery, Botanical Gardens and Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. The afternoon’s “confluence of cultures” walking tours explores all the global communities who have made a home in Kolkata home over the years, including the Chinese, Parsis, Armenians, Anglo-Indians and people from all over India. End the day with an evening cruise on the Hooghly, a tributary of the river Ganges.
Day 4: To Shillong
This morning we will pick you up from your hotel and drop you at the airport for the 1-hour flight to Guwahati, and from here it’s a 3-hour drive uphill to the hill station of Shillong, capital of the state of Meghalaya. Check in to your hotel – the Tripura Castle is the former summer residence of the Maharaja of Tripura - and head out to explore Bara Bazaar, the outdoor “big market”.
Day 5: Around Shillong
Khasi people follow a matrilineal system in stark contrast to the strongly patriarchal culture found elsewhere in India. Today you can venture out of town into the villages to meet local Khasi people with your guide, particularly in the small town of Smit, the traditional seat of Khasi royalty and culture.
Day 6: Living root bridges at Laitkynsew
One of the unique features of this area are the living root bridges, made from intertwining tree roots across rivers. They take so long to grow that people here use bridges made by previous generations, and make bridges that only future generations will use. It is a 1.5-hour drive each way through the hills out to Laitkynsew to see the bridges, and you can also stop off to see the waterfalls at Cherrapunjee.
Day 7: Kaziranga National Park
Today’s drive to Kaziranga in Assam takes about 6 hours on good roads. As you approach your destination you might spot some of the one-horned rhinos which this region is uniquely famous for. Check into your resort and relax.
Day 8: Kaziranga National Park
Venture into the park on two game drives today – one in the morning and one in the afternoon – in open top jeeps with your expert naturalist guide. The misty atmosphere in the morning is magical. Kaziranga is quite open and covered mostly in elephant grass, so you can see the animals at fairly close quarters – a variety which includes one-horned rhinos (this is their only habitat in the world), wild boar and buffalo…and you might catch a glimpse of a tiger.
Day 9: Majuli Island
You will be driven a couple of hours to board the public ferry to Majuli Island, still in Assam. The ferry ride lasts 1.5 hours and is an experience in itself as you travel with local people and their livestock.
Majuli is the world’s largest river island, although it is fast disappearing and will not be around for much longer. Houses here are built on stilts to guard against floods and wildlife, and tonight you will be staying in a traditional home. You can meet local artisans as they make pottery and masks from clay and bamboo.
Day 10: Majuli Island
Spend the day exploring the area at your own pace. The Vaishnava monasteries are particularly interesting.
Day 11: Mon in Nagaland
Take the ferry back to Jorhat and drive about 5 hours to Mon in the neighbouring state of Nagaland. This is land of the Konyak tribe, the tattooed head-hunters. Settle into your basic accommodation here and wander out to town to get a feel for this unique culture.
Day 12: Around Mon
Drive out a couple of hours (with a packed lunch) to the village of Longwa where tribal culture remains untouched by the modern world – here you can meet local people to learn more about their culture and way of life. The local king here commands villages spread between India and neighbouring Burma.
Day 13: Dibrugarh, tea country of Assam
It’s about a 5-hour drive to Dirbrugarh where you can check into the fantastic Mancotta Chang Bungalow, a tea planter’s house which now functions as a heritage hotel. Here you can visit the nearby tea gardens, and wander into town to explore the markets and sample some local Assamese cuisine. Haaj-Paar is a local weaving centre employing local women and is well worth a visit.
Day 14: Dibrugarh
Take time to explore Dibrugarh at your own pace. We can arrange excursions to nearby places such as the Temple of Bells or the traditional Buddhist village of Namphake.
Day 15: Fly to Delhi & fly home
Check out of your hotel and we will drive you to the airport to board your flight to Delhi to connect with your return flight home.
Duration: 14 nights
Location: Tribal North East India Holidays, India
Our 'Journey to North East India' itinerary includes: internal flights, accommodation, daily breakfast (with lunches & dinners in Kaziranga and Majuli), transfers & drives in chauffeur-driven AC vehicle, sightseeing and safaris as indicated. Excludes international flights.
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