Things to Do in North East India

From adventure lovers, to wildlife explorers, and even cultural tourists- the staggering variety of things to do in North East India is bound to keep every tourist busy throughout their stay. Replete with its share of mountains, rivers and quaint Himalayan villages, the Northeastern region offers an all encompassing travel experience.

Touring the wildlife parks and sanctuaries in the region stand out as one of the most famous things to do in North East India. Apart from the renowned Kaziranga National Park in Assam, parks such as the Nameri National Park, Namdapha National Park or the Kanchenjunga National Park beckons to every wildlife explorer visiting the region. Apart from the regular array of jungle walking and safaris, the Parks offer a host of adventure opportunities as well, ranging from rapid river rafting and trekking. Exploring ancient caves is another adventure sport popular in the North Eastern region, with Meghalaya being home to some of the longest cave systems in the world.

If adventure sports is not your thing, the North East has plenty of quieter towns to explore as well. Ziro Valley in Arunachal Pradesh stands out as a prominent example, with its natural beauty having earned it the title of a UNESCO World Heritage site. The river island of Majuli in Assam, or the bustling city of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, make for interesting visits as well. If you’re interested in exploring the tribal culture of the North East, do make it a point to attend the cultural extravaganzas held in the cities, whether it be Nagaland’s Hornbill festival, or the Sangai Festival of Manipur.

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What are the best things to do in North east India?

1. Visit Kaziranga National Park, Assam A designated World Heritage Site, a tour of the Kaziranga National Park stands at the very top of our list of things to do in North East India. The protected area holds two thirds of the world’s Great Horned Rhinoceroses, and is also home to the largest number of tigers as compared to any other protected area in the world. There are plenty of ways to explore the National Park, in which jeep and body safaris remain the most popular ways of touring the area. However, those willing to travel on foot can make use of the myriad walking and hiking trails that snake their way across the park as well. There are several forest lodges and camps within the Park premises. The Kaziranga National Park remains operative between April and November each year, and stays closed throughout winter.

2. Cable Car ride in Gangtok If you’re not afraid of great heights, a ride in the Gangtok cable car will stand out as one of the most enchanting things to do in North East India. Traveling at a height of above 3,000 feet from the ground, the gondola ride offers uninterrupted views of the sprawling cities below. Adding to the charm of the landscape is the backdrop of the snow-clad Kanchenjunga. Although there are no seats in the cable car, the ride in itself is rather short, and standing throughout does not take away from the experience. The cable ride travels from Deorali to Tashiling, making one stop in between. Although one can try the ride as an experience in itself, it also serves as a scenic way of traveling across Gangtok.

3. Feed your mind about the uniqueness of Mawsmai Caves, Meghalaya A treat to any explorer, the Mawsmai Caves in Meghalaya are among the ten longest ones in India. However, one need not be a professional spelunker to explore Mawsmai; the road through the caves are well demarcated and adequately safe to trawl through. Well paved steel platforms with handles are set up through most of the long corridors, although certain areas may require one to crawl or jump through. The caves are notorious for its fossil remains as well, so keep a lookout for some on the way. The Mawsmai Cave area is surrounded by a thicket of forest on all sides, which makes the hike to the caves a much sought after experience in itself.

4. Relive the famous Bollywood film moments on Darjeeling Toy Train Ride Every Indian traveler will remember the famous tunes of Kasto Mazza Hai from Pradeep Sarkar’s Parineeta. A trip to the hill station of Darjeeling, then, would immediately include a ride in the celebrated Toy Train. The Darjeeling Toy Train ride stands out as one of the most famous things to do in North East India, not just because of its filmy heritage, but owing to the whole experience of the ride in itself. Starting from the Darjeeling main station, the train cuts its way across the mountainside to the nearby town of Ghoom, where the garden-clad Batasia Loop and the Railway Museum await travelers. The tickets to the toy train sell out quickly, so it is best to book your seats well in advance. 

5. Celebrate culture and heritage with the tribes at Hornbill Festival, Nagaland 
Held in December each year, the Hornbill Festival is one of the longest and most immersive cultural celebrations in all of Nagaland. Held throughout the first week of each December in Kisama, witnessing this cultural extravaganza would be one of the most spectacular things to do in North East India. The festival is geared to showcase the best of Naga tribal culture through music and dance performances, exhibitions, games and more. There are a number of smaller events under the Festival umbrella, including art competitions, beauty pageants, wrestling contests, tribal games and so on. The festival also exhibits and sells art and craft items made by the local populace.

6. Watch the birds spin around and spread colors at Nameri National Park 
Nestled by the foothills of the Himalayas, Nameri National Park is known to house some of Assam’s most beautiful bird population. However, there’s plenty of other things to see or do in the park as well. Taking a safari is one of the best ways to enjoy the rolling landscapes of Nameri. If you are lucky enough, you might catch a glimpse of the leopards or tigers that dwell here. The rivers in the park are ripe for exploration as well, and one can swim, raft or fish here after having secured proper permission from the forest department. Fishing is one of the most popular things to do in Nameri, with the waters here thriving with the rare Golden Mahseer fish.

7. Join the crowd dancing with joy at Sangai Festival- Relish Some Local Culture Like the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland, the Sangai Festival honors the local tribal cultures of Manipur. The festival is named after the endemic Sangai Deer, unique only to the state. The cultural celebration rings throughout the state, with multiple locations forming the set for the cultural shows and performances. Apart from the regular cohort and music and dance, the Sangai Festival also hosts competition games, art fairs and other smaller events. The festival is a great spot to explore the local cuisine of Manipur as well, with several vendors setting up shacks around the cities. There are several exhibitions as well, displaying and selling tribal art, crafts and weapons.

8. River Rafting in Siang Originating in Tibet and flowing all the way to Arunachal Pradesh, the River Siang offers an excellent rafting route. The rapids here are moderate to difficult, so if you’re someone seasoned in the sport, it might just be one of the best things to do in North East India. The Siang rapids range between Grade III and Grade IV; one can either choose to raft them all, or pick out certain areas of interest, such as the Good Morning rapids in Yingkiong. Flowing through waterfalls and tea plantations, the rafting experience proves to be a rather scenic one as well.

7. Explore Ziro Valley, Arunachal Pradesh Tucked away in the rocky folds of Arunachal, the Ziro Valley is a natural paradise. In fact, the natural beauty of the Valley has earned it the honor of being a World Heritage Site. Nestled at a height of 1,500 meters above the sea, the fantastic valley is well known for its natural bounty, and is home to several hillocks, caves and parks to explore. The Talley Valley National Park, albeit small in size, forms a great visit in the Valley as well. If you’re into independent music, attending the Ziro Music Festival should definitely be on your list of things to do in North East India. Celebrating locally produced music, the annual festival is held across four days each September

What are the best adventure activities to do in North East India?

1. White water rafting: When you think about the northeast, you think about the many rivers that meander their way across the states there. Assam and Arunachal Pradesh stand out in this regard, being home to rapid rivers like the Brahmaputra or Siang. Rafting in these rivers would qualify as one of the most adventurous things to do in North East India. The rivers feature rapids across all grades, although Grade III and Grade IV rapids are most frequent. Some of the best spots for the sports include Manas River in the Manas National Park, Jia Bhorali in the Nameri National Park, and the Subansiri River in Arunachal Pradesh.

2. Ziplining
: Ziplining is perhaps not as common as white water rafting, but can be one of the most beautiful experiences you have in the North East. The natural beauty of the cities here need no introduction, and whizzing through the air across the hills only adds to the vantage of this bounty. The village of Mawkdok in Cherrapunjee is famed for its ziplining adventure. The sport is a guided one, and can be partaken by anyone who’s not previously experienced in it as well. The lesser known Snophedan village in Dawki offers ziplining opportunities as well.

3. Cave Exploration: Home to some of the longest cave networks in the world, the NorthEast is an absolute treat for experienced cave spelunkers. However, those that have never tried the sport will have no trouble adjusting to the activity either, as most of the cave systems in the region are adapted for tourist explorations with guiding signs, well made walking platforms and handlebars to hold on to. Some caves require a fair bit of crawling and dodging, so tourists with temporary or chronic physical ailments should inquire ahead. Meghalaya has the most number of cave networks , including the Mawsmai, Awrah and the Krem Liat Prah caves.

4. Outdoor camping: If camping under the open stars is your thing, then the North East has plenty to offer you. The stunning natural beauty forms the biggest allure among campers here, although the hill stations have several designated camping sites throughout. Of course, camping lodges and resorts are available galore, but pitching a tent under the open air can be a great way to experience nature as well. Certain events, such as the outdoor Ziro music festival, lead to a spike in camping rates in the North East.

Which are the most adventurous places for trekking in North East India?

1. Goechala Trek: Traversing through blooming forests of oak and rhododendrons, Goechala Trek runs through the heart of Sikkim. Offering uninterrupted views of the surrounding Himalayan peaks, the Goechala Trek has earned its popular reputation as one of the best things to do in North India, if trekking is on your itinerary. For all birdwatchers, you might even come across several rare bird species on the way, so keep your camera handy.

2. Nathu La Pass: Lying a little east to Gangtok, Nathu La Pass strikes a perfect balance between leisure and adventure. The trails here vary from difficult to moderate, and cross several valleys, waterfalls and grasslands all the way. Taking a detour to the Tsomgo Lake is a popular option, and is sought after by several trekkers using the trail. Taking a yak safari on the way can also enhance one’s time here. The Nathu La Pass trek demands one to take their time with the climb; being fairly high in terms of elevation, a quick pace could throw one’s oxygen levels off balance. For safety purposes, it is best to attempt the trek during the peak summer months, ideally between April and May.

3. The Cherrapunji Root Bridges: One of the most unique treks in the North East, the Cherrapunji Root bridges promise to take your breath away. Quite simply put, the root bridge is a natural bridge formed out of the living prop roots in the Cherrapunji forests. Being the acclaimed ‘wettest place on Earth’, the ample rainfall in the hill station has led to this wonderful overgrowth. The root bridges have been in place for over 500 years, and can support the weight of a whole herd of elephants together. Trekking across the root bridge is truly an adventure, coupled with the scenic rainforests that surround it on all sides.

4. Singalila Trek: One of the most challenging Himalayan routes, Singalila Trek is among the most famous things to do in North East India. The strenuous trek takes about 8 to 10 days to complete, and is best attempted by seasoned hikers. The reward however, comes in the form of uninterrupted views to the Himalayan peaks, and the popular Sleeping Buddha landscape formed by the Kanchenjunga and the surrounding peaks. Interestingly, the Singalila Trek can be attempted both during summer and winter, with both seasons coming with their own perks- while winter brings stunning views of the snow clad mountains, summer trekkers will have the privilege to watch the mountain forests blooming away in all their glory.

Which are the best places for river rafting in North East India?

1. Nameri National Park: Assam’s Nameri National Park is popularly known for its elephants, tigers and fish. The Park, however, is a great spot for water sports as well, and rafting is one of the most popular sought of adventures here. The Jia Bharali region within Nareli is rife with rapids that fall between Grades III and Grade IV, making it an excellent location for rafting among those seasoned in the sport.

2. Brahmaputra: Any discussion on rafting spots in the North East would remain incomplete without a mention of the mighty Brahmaputra, the longest river in the world. The river segment between Tuting and Pasighat especially, is known for its turbulent rapids, and is frequently sought after by adventurers in the North East. The river travels through scenic rainforest clad landscapes, making the adventure all the more worthwhile.

3. Kameng River, Assam: Traversing through secluded areas of towering, rocky cliffs, the Kameng River is a mystical place to raft in. The rapids here are of varying levels, and although seasoned rafters should thrive in more turbulent waters, those just beginning may choose to opt for milder areas. The quietness of Kameng adds to the charm of rafting here, making it one of the most magical things to do in North East India. 

Which are the best National parks to visit in North East India?

1. Kaziranga National Park: A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Kaziranga National Park is indubitably the best National Park that one can visit in the country. Apart from housing an impressive range of rhinoceroses and tigers, the national park is also home to a wide variety of birds. Safaris- whether by jeep or elephant- is the best way to explore the park. There are several camping lodges in the area as well.

2. Nameri National Park: Nestled by the border of Arunachal Pradesh, the Nameri National Park is known for its impressive host of wild game. Nameri’s rivers, however, form half its charm. Proper documentation will grant one permission to swim, fish or raft in the Nameri rivers. Fishing is a major occupation here, with the waters here rife with the rare Golden Mahseer fish.

3. Namdapha National Park: Namdapha is the largest and most diverse National Parks in India. The Park was started as a Tiger Reserve, but later expanded its horizons to protect all the flora and fauna that came under its boundaries. The Namdapha Park is also home to an impressive range of rare bird species, with the current count being more than 420. 

Which are the best mountain biking routes in North East India?

1. East Khasi Hills: If you’re taking your bike to the North East, the Cherrapunji hills serve as a great location for a biking adventure. Starting in Guwahati, the route will take you through Shillong, Meghalaya's picturesque city, then to one of the wettest areas on the planet, and lastly to the mesmerizing terrains of the East Khasi Hills. Going a little farther down, the route will lead to some amazing sights such as India's cleanest hamlet, live root bridges, and a few additional cool waterfalls.

2. David Scott Trail
: The David Scott Trail stretches 16 kilometers from Mawphland to Lad Mawphland. The trek path is named after David Scott, a British official and diplomatic representative for the British Raj, who created a pony cart connection between Cherrapunji in Meghalaya and Bangladesh. Although the trail is widely used for trekking, the David Scott trail is popular among bikers as well.

3. Guwahati - Shillong Trail: The Guwahati to Shillong trail is an excellent road to take whether you’re going on a biking excursion, or simply traveling from the first hill station to the next. The road is fairly easy to navigate, with several signs pointing out the directions. There’s a lake that falls on the way as well, making the ride all the more scenic.

What is the best time to visit North East India?

The best time to visit North East India would be during the months of Indian summer, ideally between April and June. The pleasant weather of the North East hill stations offers a cool respite from the scorching heat of the cities. If you visit during the monsoon showers of the late summer months, Cherrapunjee might be a great addition to your itinerary.

Where can I enjoy paragliding in North East India?

Paragliding is a popular sport in the Northeast, and there are several regions that support the activity. Shillong and Sikkim are two popular paragliding spots in the region. Meghalaya, however, stands out among all its sister cities, offering not only the ideal weather for the sport but some of the most dazzling aerial views in the country as well. 

Where can I go skiing in North East India?

Mount Katao in Sikkim is a popular skiing destination in the region. Yumthang Valley, Tawang and Puni Valley are some of the other popular spots for the snow sport. As winter months clad the hills in velvety layers of snow, skiing  becomes one of the most famous things to do in North India.

Where can I go skiing in North East India?

Mount Katao in Sikkim is a popular skiing destination in the region. Yumthang Valley, Tawang and Puni Valley are some of the other popular spots for the snow sport. As winter months clad the hills in velvety layers of snow, skiing  becomes one of the most famous things to do in North India.

Is North East India worth visiting?

Northeast India is a must visit for travelers of every taste and disposition. With several tribal cultures colliding in one region, the North Eastern region becomes a melting pot of history. Those looking for culture-specific experiences will have a gala time exploring the native art and festivals in the North East. However, the hilly regions make for an ideal visit for the adventurer as well as the nature lover, housing some of the country’s best national parks and rivers. 

Where can I enjoy kayaking in the North East?

If you’re into milder water sports, kayaking might be one of the best things to do in North East India. Home to multiple rivers, this simple sport is an absolute joy to try, especially when the rivers meander through scenic forests and clifftops. Meghalaya is one of the best places to try kayaking at, although the rivers of Assam are well suited to the sport as well.

Newly Added North East India Experiences

North East India Things To Do Reviews

Dipendra Shah
Reviewed: 14 Feb 2021
Experiencing North East India’s unparalleled beauty was always on my mind but I had my quirks. I did not want the usual air travel or train travel so I signed up for a Motorcycle tour of the Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh with Thrillophilia. And, boy! Was I impressed? Hell Yes, My friend and I bagged ... Read More
Vaishno Bhattathiri
Reviewed: 24 Feb 2021
It was a last-minute decision to explore the northeast and luckily we found Thrillophilia. Had a whale of a time, riding our motorbikes at 3500 meters and having connected to nature. Exploring the Tawang Monastery, examining the historic buildings, and gazing upon ancient scriptures, all on our 11-d... Read More
Chandrani Prajapat
Reviewed: 17 Feb 2020
We really enjoyed this camping so much, we felt comfortable in both stay and activities and we even enjoyed the meals there. We took part in the other activity which was not in the package the price was not expensive. A good place to avoid the hectic city and spend your time in the lap of nature wit... Read More
Mohini Chattopadhyay
Reviewed: 17 Feb 2020
It's really a nice place and all facilities available in this park, The forest was truly amazing along with stunning one horn rhinoceros of the whole world found here at this park which make the place popular, This jeep safari make us see closer to the amazing animals. I felt with the beautiful scen... Read More
Geeta Marar
Reviewed: 17 Feb 2020
Booked:Dawki Tour
Interesting tour, Nice start from Shillong the journey went great as the transport was in good condition along with a professional-driver, Great meal they served us, awesome trekking and the fun activity at Dawki was really full of fun and excitement all happened with safety measured. This experienc... Read More
Dipendra Shah
Reviewed: 17 Feb 2020
Actually this is one of my favorite camping experiences I attend so far what makes it a favorite because of the following- 1. The place is so beautiful with breathtaking scenic all around us 2. The stay, food, and facilities were tip top 3. On-time picks-up with comfortable transport. Lastly, it was... Read More

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