Traveling in North East India – 21 Frequently Asked Questions

North East India is a wondrous location. This part of India is not that popular among the touristy crowd of India because reaching and exploring the destinations are kind of difficult. But it is not actually true. The only problem with exploring North East India is the lack of information. When a traveler plans to visit North East, they have a lot of questions in their mind and very less resources to figure out everything.

So here are some of the frequently asked questions about North East India that will help you plan your trip better.

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Where is North East India?

North East India, as the name suggests, is in North Eastern part of India. The states comprise of Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Tripura, and Mizoram. This region shares its borders with Bhutan, Tibet, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh and China. Each state has multiple tribes and each tribe has their own festivals, music, dance, sport and culture.

Is North East India Safe?

Some states in Northeast India have had violent past but now all of the eight states very safe to travel. Northeast India is really peaceful and most of the states have a very low crime rate in India. Just make sure that you don’t venture out after 7 PM as it starts to get dark after 5 PM and everything shuts down by the time it is 7:30 PM.

How many airports are in North East India?

Traveling North East India is easy if you have limited number of days. There are 7 airports in total around North East India. Bagdogra Airport is perfect for the travelers who want to go to Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Gangtok. The newly made Pakyong Airport makes it easy to go to Sikkim. But it is only active in summers and operations stop in the winters. Further, Guwahati’s Lokpriya Gopinath Bardaloi Airport is the biggest in North East India and most travelers come here to travel further to Majuli, Kaziranga, Shillong, Kohima, Dimapur, etc.

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Imphal (Manipur), Aizawl (Mizoram) and Agartala (Tripura) have their own airports. There are regular flights from Kolkata and Guwahati.

Road journeys can be long and tiring. It is a better idea to opt for a flight journey over road.

How can I travel from Bagdogra Airport to Gangtok?

Bagdogra Airport is the nearest major airport for Gangtok and has daily air connections with several cities of India. Those who are traveling to Bhutan also opt for this airport. Bagdogra is at a distance of 126kms from Gangtok and you will also find rides for Darjeeling and Kalimpong from here.

How can I travel from Guwahati Railway station or airport to Shillong?

Darjeeling singlila

The moment you get out of Guwahati railway station and airport, you’ll find a number of taxi drivers going to Shillong and looking for passengers. The prices differ depending on the place where you are taking the vehicle. From Guwahati Airport, a shared taxi to Shillong will cost you INR 300, from Guwahati railway station the same will cost you somewhere between 200 to 250 depending on your bargaining technique. You will also find shared tracker to Shillong for INR 175 but it is very congested.

How many states of North East India require permits?

Right now, you will need permits for Nagaland, Arunachal and Mizoram. Arunchal and Nagaland’s permits are available online while you can only get a permit for Mizoram from the offices in Delhi and Guwahati.

Meghalaya and Manipur will be introducing inner line permits for Indian tourists in the near future but the date is not revealed yet. Assam is also considering to introduce permits in near future

Read more about permits for North East India

Is it possible to explore all the states of North East India in one go?

Yes, it is totally possible to explore all the states of North East India in one go. You can start from Sikkim and travel all the way to Guwahati followed by Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh. Triupra can be visited in the end.

What are the best trekking locations in North East India?

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North East India has multiple trekking destinations in every state. If you are interested in a day trek then you can visit Dzukou Valley in Nagaland. High altitude trekkers can visit Goechala in Sikkim and spend 6-7 days in absolute calm. Dzongri and Sandakfu are two more treks in Sikkim and North Bengal respectively. Those looking for something offbeat can choose Monpa Trail or Druk Path Trail.

How many days do I require to explore all the states of North East India?

If you want to simply touchdown the states of NE India then you’ll require 20 days at-least. If you want to explore everything in detail then 2 to 3 months will be enough.

What are some of the luxury destinations in North East India?

Some of the luxury destinations in North East India are

Kaziranga

Kohima

Dzuleke

Loktak Lake

Ziro

Agartala

Darjeeling

Gangtok

Pelling

The meaning of luxury differs in North East India. The homestays in these regions are very comfortable and provide all facilities. But apart from Gangtok and Darjeeling, it will be difficult to find a luxury hotel with 24×7 running hot water for the guests.

How can I travel responsibly in North East India?

North East India is an ecologically fragile state. You can be responsible travelers by avoiding single use plastic, only booking tours with local companies, staying homestays, eating local food and supporting local artisans.

Apart from this, also try to be culturally sensitive and take permission before you click portraits.

Remember that you are a guest in a new region and what you do will make an impression among your hosts for the travelers in the future.

How well connected are the states of North East India?

North East India is connected by road, train and air. You can take a train from Guwahati to Dimapur and Agartala. You can also take flights for different capital cities. Road network is very strong and safe but avoid as much as possible.

What are popular local foods of North East India?

Manipuri food_

North East India is a very culinary rich region. You can try pork, beef, and different types of meat cooked in local spices. Every capital town of North India has cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy these dishes. In Guwahati and Shillong, you can also visit a number of cafes to enjoy international cuisine and baked goods.

Can a vegetarian travel in North East India?

Yes, a vegetarian can easily travel in North East India. Tripura has a very amazing range of vegetarian cuisines and so has Assam. Manipur has a thriving vegetarian community so you can enjoy dishes like rice kheer and different types of lentils. Arunachal and Nagaland are famous for leafy vegetables that you can eat as curry or in soup.

Is North East India cheap for backpackers?

Traveling in North East India doesn’t involve a lot of budget. There are many Youth hostels, government lodges and budget hotels in every town. You can also opt for homestays in Nagaland and Arunachal. Most of the homestays do not cost more than INR 1000 including breakfast and dinner.

Where can backpackers stay in Guwahati and Shillong?

Gibbon backpacker hostel in Guwahati is a very nice place for backpackers with all facilities available for backpackers. Silverbrook hostel in Shillong is a little far away from the main town but it is a perfect place for budget backpackers.

What is the best time to visit North East India?

The best time to visit North East India is between late September and early April. Rest is monsoon season and really not recommended for traveling.

What are the most popular festivals of North East India?

Every state of North East India has multiple festivals. You can attend Hornbill festival in Nagaland, Ziro Festival of Music in Arunachal Pradesh, Bihu in Assam, Sangai Festival in Manipur among the few.

Can I travel to other countries from North East India?

Yes. North East India shares its borders with multiple countries. You can travel to Nepal from Darjeeling and Siliguri. Go to Kakarvitta and then find another bus for Kathmandu.

To enter Bhutan, you’ll have to catch a shared jeep for Jaigaon and then reach Phuentsoling.

You can enter Myanmar from Moreh Tamu Border.

Agartala’s Akhura Checkpost allows tourists to enter Bangladesh.

How can I reach Manipur from Thailand

From Thailand, you’ll have to cross over to Myanmar at Mae Sot – Myawaddy border. After a series of bus journeys, you can come to Tamu and cross to Moreh in Manipur. From Moreh you’ll find shared taxis to Imphal, which is Manipur’s capital.

How can I reach Guwahati from Mandalay, Myanmar?

To reach Guwahati from Mandalay or Yangon, Myanmar, you’ll have to catch a bus till Tamu. From Tamu, you can cross to Moreh with necessary permits and then find a shared taxi to Imphal.

From Imphal you can either fly to Guwahati or take a shared jeep for Guwahati or Dimapur. If you are going to Dimapur then you will have to catch a train for Guwahati.

Kangla Fort Imphal (1)

Hope these questions will solve your queries about traveling in North East India. Let me know if you want to know anything more about solo traveling and backpacking in North East India. Do connect with me on Instagram and Facebook for more details

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