North East India Tours & Tailormade HolidaysGroup Tours State Descriptions Tailormade Options Responsible Travel Route Map
Dominated by the mighty Himalayas and bordering onto Tibet, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, North East India is one of the most remote and inaccessible parts of India. It is a region unparalleled in the world in terms of the isolation and diversity of its tribal cultures, and has also been declared one of the world's bio-diversity hotspots. Encounter unique tribal cultures, visit the world's largest river island or ride elephant back in the jungle.
Explore Tawang, home to the largest Buddhist monastery outside Tibet
Meet the ancient and little seen tribes of Arunachal Pradesh
Search for unicorn rhinos on elephant-back in Kaziranga National Park
Marvel at the ingenuity of the Living Root Bridges
Experience a pristine wilderness and one of the world's biodiversity hotspots
Discover Majuli - the world's largest river island with its own distinct culture
Celebrate the Hornbill Festival with the Naga tribes in Nagaland
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Vanessa Betts (author of Footprint Guide to Northeast India)
“Travel the Unknown's North East India tours have zoned in on the absolute prime attractions, visiting a string of culturally unique, scenically stunning places, and maximising every moment spent there. Their outstanding guides take great care to respect and protect indigenous lifestyles in these delicate regions.”
Living Bridges of Meghalaya
Waterfalls, hills and living bridges in North East India
Off the beaten track :
15 Nov 2016
01 Apr 2017
15 Nov 2017
Assam & Nagaland Hornbill Festival
Experience the land of Asia's last headhunters!
Off the beaten track :
24 Nov 2016
21 Nov 2017
Monks, Tribes & Rhinos
Himalayan mountains, unseen tribes & amazing wildlife
Off the beaten track :
05 Nov 2016
26 Feb 2017
04 Nov 2017
Tribes of North East India
Encounter tribal life in India's forgotten North East
Off the beaten track :
24 Oct 2016
25 Feb 2017
22 Oct 2017
Wildlife of North East India
Diverse wildlife in Assam and the Sunderbans
Off the beaten track :
Contact us for details
Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland & Meghalaya
High in the Eastern Himalayas, Arunachal Pradesh is one of the most remote and inaccessible parts of India. However, travel there is a very rewarding experience. Nowhere else in the Himalayas can you find so much pristine forest and the area has been declared one of the world's bio-diversity hotspots. Arunachal Pradesh is also rich in the diversity of its tribal cultures. Much of Arunachal Pradesh is still inaccessible to outsiders. It is also home to Tawang Monastery, the largest Buddhist monastery outside Tibet where the 6th Dalai Llama was born.
Western Arunachal Pradesh
Climbing high above the clouds and into the Himalayas, you will discover spectacular scenery, snow-capped peaks, Buddhist temples, yaks, shimmering high altitude lakes and get the opportunity to go rafting in the Nameri wildlife reserve. From the scenic town of Old Dirang where time seems to have stood still, to the magic and history of Tawang Monastery, this circuit is sure to satisfy all your senses.
Central Arunachal Pradesh
Deep into the heart of Arunachal Pradesh, this circuit is for the adventurous. Meet the Apatani tribes of Ziro valley, with their ancient way of life, their innovative fish and paddy cultivation and their beautiful bamboo homes. Visit Hong, the second largest tribal village in Asia and learn about the origins of the nose plugs and facial tattoos of the Apatani women. This is one circuit that will invigorate even the most world-weary traveller.
The most populated of the North East states, and influenced by ancient Indian dynasties and British rule, Assam has a culture and history unique to itself. Intersected by the mighty Brahmaputra River, its fertile soil makes it ideal for tea and rice cultivation, with mile upon mile of manicured tea estates and paddy fields decorating the low lying landscape.
Kaziranga National Park
Covering over 430km2, Kaziranga National Park is one of the highlights of a small group or private tour in the North East Indian state of Assam. This animal paradise is bursting with flora, fauna and plenty of fascinating wildlife. Kaziranga National Park is even home to an incredible two-thirds of the world's population of Indian one-horned rhinoceros. It also boasts a range of other wildlife and harbours 15 species of India's threatened mammals. These include Indian elephants, sloth bears, Gangentic dolphins and the densest population of Royal Bengal tigers in the world. Join the Nagaland & Hornbill Festival tour and wade through the tall grasses of Kaziranga National Park on elephant back to see these animals up close.
One of India’s smaller states, Nagaland is a remote mountainous region which shares a land border with Myanmar to the south and the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur to the west and north. It is home to 16 major tribes (and many smaller sub-tribes), each with a unique culture evidenced by their colourful array of costumes and dances. The state capital Kohima is named after the local mountain wildflower ‘Kewhi’ and Nagaland itself is a pristine wildness, rich in tropical forestry with an abundance of flora and fauna. Kohima was also the site of a prominent World War 2 battle in which the British and Indian fought off the invading Japanese army; a visit to the beautifully tended Kohima war graves offers a poignant reminder of this history.
Join our Assam & Nagaland Hornbill Festival tour to explore some of Nagaland’s tribal villages starting in Mon which is home to the Konyak tribe. As former headhunters, these are one of the most elaborately decorated tribes in India today. Also visit the nearby village of Longwa which lies on the frontier with Myanmar and where the chief tribesman’s house is reputedly bisected by the border. To the west lies Mokokchung where a climb up the watchtower offers spectacular views from this picturesque hilltop town. It is also the perfect place to explore small neighbouring villages offering a unique insight into remote rural life in the region.
Perhaps the main attraction of Nagaland is its annual Hornbill festival which takes place in a village approximately 10km outside Kohima. Occurring on the first week of December, each year, the region’s tribes gather here to showcase their various cultural traditions and to preserve Nagaland’s rich heritage. Expect to witness a wealth of performances, dances and folk songs, as well as indigenous games and sports which are certainly guaranteed to be lively! Local handicraft stalls sell art, wood carvings and sculptures from replica tribal huts and there’s even an evening rock concert. Named after the Indian Hornbill which is the state’s national bird, the Hornbill festival represents the best of Nagaland’s remarkably diverse tribal heritage and is certainly not to be missed.
Also known as the 'Scotland of the East', this state is defined by its rolling hills, craggy cliff faces, stunning waterfalls and tartan-style fabrics. Carved out of Assam in 1972, Meghalaya provides a fascinating contrast to its neighbours. Cherrapunjee holds the distinction for being the wettest place on Earth and is home to the unique Living Root Bridges, where the roots of trees have been coaxed across rivers by villagers hundreds of year ago to form natural bridges. This feat of bio-engineering is unique in the world and these incredible bridges can survive over 800 years.
If your time and budget permits, we can even organise tours encompassing all seven sister states in North East India: Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram & Tripura. Each state is known for its distinct cultures, landscapes, handicrafts and textiles. Contact us to put together a tour to this region.
Assam produces some of the best tea in the world. Stay in a heritage bungalow and take a tour of a working tea plantation. Learn the cultivation and production methods, and taste a variety of dark and green teas.
Trekking & Rafting
Embark upon an unforgettable trek through the botanical paradise of Arunachal Pradesh, one of India's least explored regions and a world biodiversity hotspot. Alternatively, chop your way through the tempestuous Brahmaputra River, on a white water rafting adventure. You can also trek through the Garo and Khasi hills of Meghalaya, exploring the many mysterious caves which hide natural formations, some considered to have taken the forms of holy deities.
Wildlife and wilderness are the main features of a cruise in Assam on the vast Brahmaputra River - with wonderful bird life and the occasional Gangetic Dolphin, as well as a glimpse into rural village life. The boat stops at some of Assam's key sights, including Kaziranga, Majuli, Sibsagar and Manas, a Project Tiger reserve on the Bhutan border.
Future Generations Arunachal
Travel the Unknown is proud to support Future Generations Arunachal, an NGO that focuses on community participation. The concept is to provide skills and education to a voluntary section of the community who then act as local specialists. They in turn dispense advice and run workshops themselves in the villages, transferring these skills within their communities. Projects run on this basis include basic medical training, recognition of medicines for the illiterate, basic literacy and numeracy, fuel conservation
initiatives and village-run micro-financing. Further initiatives include environmental awareness and personal development workshops for children (pictured below), and self sufficiency and conservation training for farmers. With a permanent staff of only 13, they have gained the participation of approximately 1000 volunteers.
We will make regular contributions towards their projects and help to raise the profile of the organisation in the UK and beyond. For more information, please visit www.future.org/ArunachalPradesh
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Stephen Price (Assam & Nagaland Hornbill Festival)
"The Hornbill Festival was an experience of a lifetime to see the traditional dances, music and games the tribes use in their own village festivals, hence they were so natural and perfect. Even when they left the arena, they never stopped singing, dancing and playing their drums. I was really impressed with the diversity of the costumes, individually owned and cared for. For what I got out of the whole experience, I really thought the tour was exceptional value for money."
Hazel Fairall (Tribes of North East India)
“Thanks for organising such a great trip to North East India! We loved the fact that we could book an individual tour but still have flexibility with our itinerary once we were there, enabling us to take in the Si Donyi Festival and stay overnight in a local village home. Our guide was super - he had a wealth of knowledge and a great sense of humour!”
Maureen James (Tailormade North East India)
“The personal service provided enabled us to create our ideal itinerary, combining tailormade and group tours. Rahul's knowledge of the area was invaluable and his suggestions added hugely to our overall experience. Through Travel The Unknown, we were able to visit the more challenging destination of Nagaland in safety and relative comfort, enjoy experiences as diverse as bathing elephants and mountain biking and even spend our final few days in a sublime yoga retreat. Overall, an amazing experience.”