Why you need to add North East India to your bucket list
Tucked away between Bhutan, Tibet, Myanmar and Bangladesh the captivating region of North East India is far from the chaos of Delhi and the tourist filled sights like the beaches of Goa and the Taj Mahal and the normal tourist clichés you might expect from India. These beautiful and diverse remote tribal lands are only just opening up to tourism and are home to some of the most spectacular scenery, intriguing tribal people and rare wildlife in India.
The North East is still an unexplored paradise for intrepid travellers but you need to get there while you can – this is fast becoming India’s hottest new destination so visit now while you can still have it all to yourself! Here’s 8 reasons why North East India is so incredible and why visiting North East India should be on your bucket list.
Why you must visit North East India – and now before everyone else goes!
#1 Stunning scenery and unspoilt nature
North East India is home to some of the most stunning and unspoilt scenery in India – from the grassy plains of Assam to the steam forests and majestic waterfalls of Meghalaya to the snow capped peaks of the soaring Himalayan mountains – North East India showcases unspoilt nature at its finest!
#2 Meet unique tribal people and experience their fascinating way of life
North East India is home to many unique tribes including the intriguing opium smoking, head hunter tribes in Nagaland and the facially tattooed, sun and moon worshipping Apatani tribe in Ziro Valley, Arunachal Pradesh. Sometimes it feels hard to believe that these tribal people exist so authentically in this modern age and it’s a fascinating experience to meet them and find out about their way of life that is so very different from ours. (Tip – if you want to meet these extraordinary people its best to take a tour with a local guide to get the best understanding and welcome into this unique way of life)
Apatani woman in Ziro Valley, Arunachal Pradesh, North East India
#3 North East India is still unexplored and very untouristy
With so much of the world over run with crowds of tourists it’s a blessing to go somewhere so untouristy and unexplored. North East India is not spoiled by tourism, it’s totally authentic and off the beaten track, in fact some parts of the mountains in Arunachal Pradesh have not even been mapped. There aren’t many places in the world with blank spaces on the map, where mountains have not yet been climbed and creatures not yet names and people who have hardly an idea that the modern world exists but North East India is still unexplored. It’s an amazing feeling to go somewhere hardly anyone else has gone so go and discover ‘the last Shangri-la’ now before everyone else does!
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#4 Experience Tibetan culture
Parts of Arunachal Pradesh used to be part of Tibet and you can still get a mesmerising taste of this captivating, colourful and serene culture and religion in the historic Buddhist monasteries, momos and thukpas, prayer wheels and stupas and colourful Tibetan prayer flags that flutter over the valleys around Bomdila, Dirang and especially Tawang.
Read More: An Adventure to the last Shangri La! Exploring the mountains and monastries of Tawang: A photo essay
#5 Experience a totally different and hasslefree side to India
North East India is really a world away from the rest of India, in fact sometimes I could hardly believe I was still in India – it’s just so different – the scenery, the food, the people, the culture everything is different. I also found traveling North East India a welcome escape from the chaos and hassle that you get in the more touristy parts of India, no one tried to sell me anything or cheat me or touch me, the people of North East India where some of the friendliest and most genuine people I’ve ever met and everyone really couldn’t do enough to help us.
#6 Spot rare wildlife
Unexplored North East India is a refuge to many rare and endangered animals and the many national parks are heaven for animal lovers. Close up sightings of engaged one horned rhinos are pretty much guaranteed at Kaziranga National Park in Assam, try your luck spotting red panda, elephant, tiger, marbled cat and rare breeds of macaques in Nokrek National Park in Meghalaya or Manas Wildife Sanctuary in Assam which is home to the most endangered species than any other in India.
#7 Try delicious Tibetan food and usual local delicacies
The food in North East India is just a varied and exotic and the people and the landscape. From yummy Tibetan delicacies like steaming momos and thukpas in Tawang to unique, authentic dishes cooked up by the tribal people and for the more adventurous – barbequed rat in Arunachal Pradesh, grubs, maggots, worms and spiders in Nagaland or even dog in Mizoram, even dinner can be a big adventure in North East India! Don’t worry though you can still get the usual North Indian and Chinese favourites!
#8 Take part in colourful and unique festivals
Experience the vibrant and unique cultures of North East India’s intriguing tribal people in a riot of colour, music, dance, rituals and perhaps even some sacrifices through one of the many amazing festivals. The Hornbill Festival held in December in Nagaland is one of the most famous festivals, or attend the Torgya and Losar Festival in Tawang in Jan/Feb to witness masked Tibetan Buddhist dances or the Ambubachi Mela in June in Guwahati to experience tantric rituals and even animal sacrifices – attending a traditional tribal festival in North East India is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
Travel with me in North East India!
I loved North East India so much that I’m returning! And you can join me visiting 2 unique tribal festivals, meeting the head hunters and traveling across Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland in April 2016! See more details here.
Read More: Lonely Planet’s Guide to North East India