10 Tips for backpacking across Northeast India
Traveling in North East India offers the ultimate off the beaten track exploration. Since, tourism is still an infant industry here, travelling across the region might not come up as easy as the rest of India. The North East region comprise of eight states, all unique in its own way. Hence, a decent amount of homework is mandatory before jumping into any sort of backpacking plans across the region. We bring to you the 10 key things to be kept in mind before travelling to the north east.
Eight states, a dozen races, hundred different ethnicities, thousand experiences and tons of memories. If you want your trip justified, please make sure you have enough time with you. Travelling in north east India is challenging and time consuming, hence a time budget is mandatory. If time is a major constraint, it is wise to focus on one particular region or area to explore. North East is a really big and diverse region. The distances are long and travelling is not very easy. Assam and Meghalaya are the easiest states to visit if the duration of the trip planned is small.
Some states, especially Arunachal Pradesh, require special permits to visit. You need to carefully check the latest information about the permit and its procedure prior to setting off to the trip. There are different permit requirements for Indians and foreigners. Obtaining permits can be confusing, hence the easiest way out is to use a tour operator.
It is anyway highly recommended to book a local tour operator. North East India is not so easy to visit independently. Considerable lack of easy transportation and hotels makes it difficult to travel independently. Also using a local tour operator helps to understand the culture of the region better.
The best time to visit the North East is between October and April. Owning to the possibility of landslides during the monsoons, travelling can be very difficult and dangerous during that time. Also, in winters, the higher parts of the Himalayas can be pretty cold.
- Rains are incessant in the north east region. Also, the weather can get pretty cold during the night. Thus, it is advised to bring ample woolen clothes, along with gumboots, umbrellas and mosquito replants.
- The roads here are not smooth and straight. Except for the major cities and the state of Assam, the ride can be a bit bumpy. Thus, this is probably not the best trip if you get motion sickness.
- Do not be intimidated by the locales here. North Easterns are generally very shy in nature, but really helpful. Befriend as much locals as you can. This is the only way you can explore to the fullest, and is very gorge on some exquisite local home made wines and dines.
- Infrastructure in some places, especially in states like Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh is yet to be a luxury. Hotels are limited, and most are not linked to the internet. Thus, tour operator and the locals come handy yet again. Home stays are the best options for the best experience of awesome food and warm hospitality.
- Mobile networks and internet access and be quite in some interior places interior. If possible, please carry two SIM cards of different networks for better availability.
- Lastly, make sure you take time to enjoy the journey to your destination. North east can give you the best memories of road, so make the most of it. Enjoy the view, stop frequently, take photos of the hills, waterfalls and mist covered mountains, or the hilariously cute BRO road signs you’ll find in abundance. The cities aren’t complete without tranquil serenity of the outskirts.
- One bonus Point! Research research research. Research is the key. Place to stay, food to eat, mode of communication, permit, weather, history, everything. Research to the core, gather everything you need to know.
We hope this article was helpful to sort out your puzzles. With holidays round the corner, a trip to the north east can be a good celebration.