Last Updated: January 10, 2020 Abhishek Gurung
Northeast India is a new addition to the hottest destination for offbeat vacations; and all things from what to do, where to go and what to eat are obvious questions. The entire Northeast is like a different land because of their unfamiliar lifestyle. This uniqueness makes the place even more intriguing. In fact it is always wise to know a thing or two about the Northeast’s lifestyle, food, language and most importantly culture because it certainly is different. So, take a look at these 12 tips to remember before planning a holiday in the Northeast Indian states:
1. Research – A Lot of Research
So it happens to be lying far off the central states of India towards Myanmar. When we talk about Northeast, West Bengal is not a part of it, in fact, northeast is way on the north eastern part of India. By just a mere narrow 18 to 20 kilometres distance sandwiched between Bangladesh and Nepal, the other states of India are linked with Northeast. The entire Northeast Indian states are bordered by Bangladesh, China, Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan making it a gateway to these countries. The states were once called the seven sisters and were soon joined by Sikkim in 2002. Northeast has diverse culture, tribe, festivals, so before venturing out, it is always good to know at least the basics of the state. The fascinating thing about this region is that, you will find different culture and language as you step from one place to another. Sometimes due to cultural difference you may accidently cause a fuss so it is always nice to learn a thing or two about their land.
2. Acknowledge Inner Line Permit of Northeast India
Not as complicated as it seems, Inner Line Permits are simply to make your existence in the new destination and to easily locate you in case of mishaps. Luckily the government has eased the process to obtain ILP to promote tourism to the Northeast. Visiting the beautiful and bountiful sister states sure do require an extra effort but it is worth it. Foreigners no longer require ILP for states like Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, and Manipur. In addition, neither foreigners nor Indians are required for ILP for Assam or Tripura. However, every foreigner is required to register with the Foreign Registration Office (District Superintendent of Police) within 24 hours of entry to each state.
Arunachal Pradesh: Indian nationals need an ILP to enter the state of Arunachal Pradesh, and foreigners are required for a Protected Area Permit (PAP). You can click here to apply for ILP or PAP.
Sikkim: Indians don’t need the Inner Line Permit but foreigners do to enter Sikkim.
Times are hard while travelling, we never know when bumpy event strikes, so, even if permits are not required to enter certain states, my advice is to apply for one and you can renew every now and then depending on the days you will stay.
3. Manage Time to Explore More
Eight states, multiple districts, and numerous landmarks cannot be covered in just a blink of an eye – Only if you are a Djinn. Anyway, if you are looking for an exquisite hideaway amidst beautiful wonders of Northeast, then just a week won’t be sufficient. From dozen races, different ethnicities, multiple cultures and many landmarks you won’t know how time zooms. In short, if you want your holiday to be justified then make sure you have sufficient time with you to explore. Time saving is, of course, an obligation in Northeast because for its high rugged terrains and twists and turns. But if you are looking for a quick tour of some of the cities in Northeast you can opt for Assam for this is one of the easiest states to fly on off anytime.
4. Always a Good Idea to Book Tickets in Advance
Being one of the most visited states currently, the tickets can soar high and sometimes might even have to wait for days to get a ticket. To be frank, it does not happen always but this act can be experienced during the holiday season especially during winters. Since the students studying in different states of India return home for Christmas, the fares can score up leaving limited seats available. What can be done then? Well, you plan in advance. To be exact, a minimum advance time, an ideal time actually would be before 3 or 5 months to depart. The fare would be reasonable plus you get a clear view to select the desired seat you want.
5. Get Updates of the Constant Weather Change
Weather change is unremitting in the northeast region and it is always advisable to carry a thin jacket even during summers. The rain that pours endlessly in some parts of Northeast are welcoming and pleasant no doubt, but they can bring cold as well. It is advisable to carry waterproof jackets since an umbrella is quite inconvenient while travelling. And most importantly mosquito repellent, think of it as a wildlife adventure visiting the rural parts of Northeast. The most preferred time to visit the Northeast states of India is between September and April when the festive fiesta is vibrant so will be the sunshine.
6. Highway or a No way
The roads to Northeast states are quite comfortable in most parts but if you are looking for an off-beat destination then brace yourself to jump along with the car trailing some rubble roads. The highways in and around Assam plains are as smooth as silk (from my experience) with small puddles here and there (which city in India doesn’t own them right?). But as you ascend uphill towards states for instance, in Nagaland the roads are a little bumpy in some parts and it will give an adrenaline rush overlooking the steep slope from a narrow road. It is a definite ‘no’ travelling during monsoons (you can before if you like rain) because being a hilly area, landslides are common and it would take hours to clear the space. Also, it causes muddy roads making each curve slippery. Perhaps, not a very happy journey for those who fall victim of motion sickness.
7. Something about the Locals of Northeast
The people in Northeast tend to be a little shy and timid, is there a reason to be intimidated by them? Ah No! People in Northeast are humble with tourists and once you interact with them then will be friendly soon after. This definitely is a plus point for travellers, as many local friends you make the more you will learn their culture and habits. You can go in depth about their history, dinner habits and their local delicacies, wine and brew. Besides, they are very helpful and will seek to look after your best stay in Northeast.
8. Will there be an Internet Access?
Sadly, not everywhere you will get super fast internet services forget about Wi-Fi outlets, but this does not mean the internet is banned. However, in cities and major districts of Nagaland you will get good internet services and many cyber cafes around. Especially with a launch of net connectivity from Agartala, Tripura as the gateway, the speed is noted to be smooth (let’s go find out).
9. Learn about Northeastern Cuisines
The different food in Northeast is heavenly; try all you will definitely be a food connoisseur. From all its 8 states and several districts, there is not one dish that looks unappetizing. Northeastern believe in eating everything from various boiled vegetables to full of protein silk worm snacks and most likable meat pork. Northeast has various dishes to savour like Nagaland’s smoked pork, Meghalaya’s Jadoh – a pungent pork pulau, Sikkim’s Thukpa to Manipur’s Iromba. Make sure to spruce up your journey with delectable cuisine of Northeast.
10. Speak the Language of Northeast
Northeast is perhaps the only place in the world to have multiple languages, for instance, Nagaland has 16 major tribes each unique to its own and they have its own style. Besides, being bundled with 8 sister states, each destination has a unique culture and different habitats. I cannot disagree with the fact that few states of Northeast are quite similar in terms of environment and living habits but they are all alluring and breathtaking. Hence, knowing a thing or two about their language, perhaps even greetings will definitely help you and will please the locals greatly.
11. Know their Festivals
As I had mentioned earlier, the best time to visit northeast is during the months between September and April. This is because you not only will get a chance to see its beautiful landscapes but also witness and be a part of its vibrant festivals. Before you attempt to attend such extravaganza fiesta better get some facts in hand, even better you can get a closer view of the festivals to study more.
12. Travel Guide to the Rescue
Nevertheless, if you face difficulty in tracking down these states all on your own, that is what travel agencies are for. You can seek the guidance of a travel agent while you relax and wait for your desired dream destination arrives. Consider us Tour My India to pamper you with the best possible guide towards your exotic northeastern trails.
One bonus advice! Always watch out for Border Roads Organisation (BRO) along the edges of Northeastern roads. You will find some clever and fun one-liners and safety tips. It is always amusing to find these while scaling up the misty mountains of Northeast besides its beautiful blue mountains (Unless you are driving). If you like this blog please share and re-share and re-share again. And to check out my other blogs take a sneak peek here to get knowledge about Northeast’s people, tradition and festivals.
Published: 05 Apr, 2017
Abhishek Gurung is a writer whose passion for food and travel is an unending affair. He likes going on treks and camping in the woods, loves exploring forts and architecture, he is a cycle enthusiast who likes to contribute something to the environment, travel photography and videography is another interest as he sees life in a cinematic point of view. He likes the idea of living in offbeat destination where the mode of communication is to interact with each other. Coming from Nagaland, he has visited some beautiful valleys and remote villages and appreciates nature as it is and as it should be.