Tips to Remember Before You Plan a Trip to North-East India
One of the hottest offbeat destinations in India- North East is still an unexplored gem waiting to be discovered by many. Entire north-east India trip itinerary is hard to crack all by its own unless and until you know few details about the place beforehand. Unglued by both geographical and cultural variations from the rest of India, north-east is bordered by Bhutan, China (Tibet), Bangladesh, and Myanmar. Further, it consists of 7 sister states – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura, which are all different in terms of cultures, tribes, languages, food, and physical settings. Sikkim is another beautiful mountain state in the north-east, which is just heaven for fearless north-east backpackers. Even West Bengal’s Darjeeling region makes a part of the North-East. Aren’t these holiday destinations in north-east India too much to be travelled in one go? Nothing is impossible if you have got a solid plan, and which is why I am here to help you all with these important tips that you should keep in mind before planning a trip to the north-east India.
Research as much as you can about the North-Eastern States
Undoubtedly, the north-eastern states are much different in every aspect from rest of the Indian states and which is why you need to research well in advance before you plan a trip to the north-east. From unspoiled nature to colourful Tibetan Monasteries, unique tribal people to vibrant festivals, and rare wildlife to beautiful traditional handcrafts, these north-eastern states have it all. So, if you don’t want to miss any of these charms, the first thing you would want will be to actually know what all things & places worth exploring in the north-east.
Know about North-East India Permits and Visas
Do you know that the Indian government has relaxed permit requirements for foreigners to promote Northeast tourism? Foreigners no longer have to obtain permits to visit Mizoram, Manipur, and Nagaland except for Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. However, foreigners must register themselves at the Foreigner Registration Office (District Superintendent of Police) within 24 hours of entry to each state. Also, Indian tourists need an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to visit Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and parts of Sikkim.
Keep Yourself Updated About North-East Weather Changes
Pack your bags according to the ongoing climatic conditions. North-East is that place in India which constantly undergo weather changes every now and then. There are some parts of North-east India where rain pours endlessly, making temperate in north-east India chilly and pleasant at the same time, in summers. In winters, its cold in the Himalayan region and it’s a treat for snow lovers. So, the best time to visit north-east India is from September to April. It is advised to avoid visiting north-east during heavy monsoon.
Note: Always carry a jacket or a sweater to north-east, even in summers.
Know the Roads Before you Plan a Road Trip to the North-East
A popular road-trip destination- north-east is surely grabbing a lot of attention of the road travellers. However, one should know that the road routes to north-eastern states aren’t all smooth and steady. The ride will be full of bumps, steep slopes and narrow roads. But, isn’t it all worth it for that adrenaline rush? So, research well on which route is the best. [Explore Best Road Trip in North East India]
Know about the Local People/ Different Tribes of North-East
North-East is a culturally diverse land with numerous folk dances, festivals, tribal food and of course people. The region is inhabited by more than 200 tribes. Out of these, some of the most popular tribes are Garo, Khasi, Jaintia, Adi, Nyishi, Angami, Bhutia, Kuki, Rengma, Bodo and Deori. With different tribes come different cultures and norms, which makes it much more fascinating to know about them all. So, make sure you know a bit about the famous ones and plan your trip accordingly.
Be a Part of their Celebrations/Festivals
Hadn’t I mentioned before that the people of the north-east are extremely kind and always welcome the tourists with big hearts. And, so are their festivals and celebrations. Know about sacred & major north east festivals including Bihu, Hornbill, Myoko, Ziro Festival of Music, Dree Festival, saga Dawa and much more. Being a part of their celebrations will let you know their culture and tradition closely. [Also Don’t forget to participate & celebrate Tawang festival]
Prefer Homestays over Hotels
Yes, you read it just right! Homestays in the north-east are much more prominent than hotels. The people of north-east accommodate incoming tourists in their houses opening the gates for sustainable and eco-friendly tourism. There are a lot many homestays in North Sikkim, Gangtok, Kolkata, Itanagar, and Darjeeling. One of the most famous homestays in North East is the ZERO Homestay Village which is situated in Arunachal Pradesh. Tourists can witness the glimpse of the culture of Apatani Tribe, who resides there. These local people turned hosts will guide your throughout from what to eat to what places to visit. Be a part of their storytelling over a cup of tea and I am sure you will have some of the best north-east trip experiences with them. [Explore Homestays of North East India]
Personal Connection over Technology
Such is a charm staying in the north-east that you will realise that people living in big towns have actually been handicapped with the advent of technology. They are too busy in the fast pace of life that they have actually forgotten how its like to have real conversations. Aren’t you too a social media addict? A technology freak who can’t get along without internet and mobile? You will still find plenty of areas in the north-east where there is no internet connectivity till now. Some remote areas even have mobile connectivity issues. So, its definitely is a heaven where people always spend their time with their loved ones and even helping out the strangers and tourists like us with a big smile. In short for me, north-east is a perfect place for a digital detox. It is a place which lends a much-needed digital detox to the travellers letting them soak in tranquillity and calmness.
Travel Green: Key to Sustainable Tourism in North-East (Low Carbon Footprint)
The challenge of reducing carbon emissions to levels that would limit the increase in temperature (Global Warming) is of great concern in India. As a part of this ecosystem, everyone needs to promote conservation and eco-tourism. North-East India is the first region in India which is promoting sustainable tourism by initiating to make the river island Maujli-the first-ever carbon neutral district in the country. It is important that the people understand and respect this unique geography and climatic conditions of the north-east which makes it much more special than the rest of the states. Meghalaya’s living root bridges, tea tourism & wildlife tourism in north-east & more etc, all of these things are exceptional and needs an attention from the tourists worldwide.
Travel to Cherish North-east Trip Experiences
I have been repeating this for a while now- North-East is a region which is exclusive in its languages, food, culture, tradition, and lifestyle. Unlike other parts of India, this region is still very remote and tribal and have some unique traditions which will surely make you crazy and surprised at the same time. So, before you make any assumptions or get lost in prejudice about the north-east, make sure you enjoy the place for what it is and cherish all the love these people from the north-east have for you to offer. [Check North East India Travel eBook]