When we think of a vacation, we often imagine ourselves transported to a place which is away from all the city hustle-bustle. We want our perfect holiday destination to have abundant natural beauty and weather that makes us feel rejuvenated. Northeast India is one such destination. One of the lesser explored regions of India, the northeast is like a dreamland. Rolling greens, mist-laden hills with curvy roads and welcoming, humble people with diverse cultures await you in this Indian region that actually feels like another country.
With New Year’s eve just round the corner, you can easily plan a long vacation if you can take 4 days off – 25th December and 1st January lead to long weekends so you just need to take leaves from 28th-31st making it a 10-day vacation! While it is extremely difficult to cover all the north-eastern states in just 10 days, we suggest you start with the states of Assam and Meghalaya. We present a 10-day itinerary you can follow to experience the natural beauty, exquisite cuisine and marvelous culture of these states.
Guwahati is the only airport connecting Assam and Meghalaya to the rest of India. Land at the Guwahati airport on Day 1. You are going to need to rent a car since the only way to explore these hilly regions is by road. Renting a car usually costs around Rs 1500 per day. Try North-east car rental (+91-89749-47599).
Start your trip with a visit to the Kamakhya temple in Guwahati.
Entrance: Free (The priests will insist you donate some amount to the temple on your way out. Note that it is not mandatory to make any donations)
Timings: 8 am to 1 pm and 2.30 pm to 5 pm
Then, head to the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary which is an hour’s drive from Guwahati. Rent a room in the sanctuary just outside the main entrance gate. If you are not too tired, you can take an evening jeep safari. Else, you can take an early morning safari the next day.
Note: If you would like an elephant ride safari, it happens only once a day at 6.30 am.
Safari cost per head: Rs 500
Contact: +91-91271-69746, +91-91271-69746
Timings: 6.30 am to 12.00 pm and 1.00 pm to 3.30 pm
Where to stay in Pobitora:
There are several guesthouses on the periphery of the sanctuary. Assam tourism has some very comfortable accommodation options and that should be your first choice. You can try Zizina Otis Resort (+91 98540 20651), Prashanti Guest House (+91-9854092192). Rooms at both places start at around Rs 1400 per day.
Next morning, start with an early morning one-hour elephant safari at Pobitora (Rs 500 per head). If this doesn’t interest you, head straight to the Kaziranga National Park which is a three-and-a-half hour drive from here. Take an evening safari at Kaziranga and witness rhinos, deer, wild boars and buffaloes and if you’re very lucky, the Royal Bengal Tiger in the wild.
Related: A Day in Kaziranga National Park
Safari cost: Rs. 1,550 – 2,550 (depending on the kind of safari you opt for)
Safari timings: 6.30 am to 10 am; 1 pm to 3 pm
Where to stay at Kaziranga:
There are several hotels and homestays dotting the main road just outside the Kaziranga entrance. Rooms start at You can try Kaziranga Resort (+91-94351 52968) or Aranya Tourist Lodge (03776-262-429).
Take another safari early in the morning on a separate range. Then, leave Kaziranga and take a 4-hour drive to the river island of Majuli to explore its natural beauty and lovely birds. Don’t run on your city timings here; unwind, relax, soak in the atmosphere and mingle with the locals.
Where to stay at Majuli: Majuli has some nice hotels, lodges and guesthouses with rooms starting as low as Rs 150 per person. You can try La Maison de Anand (+91-99571-86356) or Prashanti Eco-tourism Resort (094357-34138).
It’s now time to say goodbye to Assam and head to Meghalaya. Drive down to Shillong today. While this is a long nine-hour drive, it is also quite scenic. Make sure you leave early and take enough breaks on the way. You may choose to lay over at Jorabat which is six-and-a-half hour drive from Majuli and complete the rest of your trip to Shillong the next morning. Just relax for the rest of the day.
Where to stay in Shillong: Shillong has several resorts, luxury hotels, guesthouses, and homestays you can enjoy a comfortable stay at. You can try Lakkhotaa Lodge (0364-259-0523, 259-0524), Royal Heritage – Tripura Castle (+ 91-364-250-1111/250-1149), Hotel Pinewood: (0364) 222-3116, 222-3146.
Go sight-seeing in Shillong today. Check out the Lady Hydari park in the morning. Hang out and click pictures at the famous Golf course which is known as one of the world’s oldest natural golf courses.
Related: Various Enticing Parks of Meghalaya
Related: Food to try out while in Shillong
Drive down to Dawki in the morning. Take a boat ride in the beautiful green river with clear water.
Related: Fantastic River and Where to Find it
Then, head to Mawlynnong which is known as Asia’s cleanest village. Take a walk around the village. Check into one of the several beautiful homestays here. Comfortable family rooms start at Rs. 1800 a day.
Where to stay at Mawlynnong: Consider Ila Jong Guest House (+91-96150-43027) or Ha La Rympei (+91-96158-23660)
There’s nothing ‘to do’ in Mawlynnong per se. The village ‘square’ so to say is nothing but a small parking lot that tends to get occupied by lunchtime. There’s also a church, which attracts the young and the old alike. Mawlynnong’s only ‘tourist attraction’ is a tree house that offers a glimpse of Bangladesh. Head to the nearby Rewai village and take the 15-minute walk to check out the single-decker living-root bridge.
Related: Roots That Live and Bridge
Then, drive down to Cherrapunjee. Check into one of the several hotels here. Rooms start at Rs. 1800 a day. Some options include Coniferous (03637 235537), Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort (03637 244218, 244219) By the way is an ideal hostel for backpackers ()
Related: Way Around Cherrapunjee
Explore parts of Cherrapunjee today. Start with the Nohsngithiang Falls. Then check out the Mawsmai caves (not recommended for those with claustrophobia). Move on to the Nohkalikai falls and the Sa-i-mika park. Call it a day and brace yourself for the trek the next day.
Related: Meghalaya- the land of Waterfalls
You need to reserve one whole day for the trek to the double-decker living root bridges. Drive down to the Tyrna village where you need to park your vehicle. Then trek down through around 3,000 steps will take you a couple of hours just to reach the bridges. You will be greeted by this view at the end of your trek.
Spend some relaxing time at the bridges which also have a little pond that forms a natural bathtub. Consider spending the night at the Nongriat Homestay (+91-94363-33954), the only one near the bridges. Its owner, Byron Nongbri, is a colorful character who has been named after the poet Lord Byron.
Consider taking a late evening flight back home. So that way you have a good part of the day for yourself. En route stop by at Elephant Falls (though these may be underwhelming given that you’ve already seen the breathtaking Nohsngithiang Falls and the Nohkalikai falls). Be prepared for a four-hour drive back to Guwahati Airport and head back home.
Related: Famous Waterfalls of Northeast India
By: Dilip Merala | Source: india