Family time in the Northeast
To the northeast of India, lies a region unparalleled in beauty, cultural richness, vibrant colours and delicious cuisines, all waiting to be discovered and explored. Making a trip to Northeast India with your family is a wonderful vacation option, and with our information guide, you can certainly enjoy your vacation to the hilt.
Best time to visit Northeast India
If you’re someone who wants to go during the tourist season, then the summer months of April, May and June are the ideal time to visit the northeast. The weather is mostly pleasant, but some lower-lying regions like Arunachal Pradesh can get pretty hot. Barring such regions, you’ll have clear skies, and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy.
Now, if you’re looking for chilly weather and sporting your woollens, then it’s during wintertime that you should consider vacationing in the northeast. Winter months or ‘shoulder season’ in this part of the country start around the end of October and stretch all the way till March. But be warned, while some parts are bearably chilly and cosy, other parts of northeast India like Arunachal Pradesh can be bitingly cold. In lower altitude regions like Mizoram and Tripura, the weather is nippy and ideal for some hill station getaways. Pack your woollies well, and be prepared for snowfall (especially in the higher-altitude parts of northeast India, between November and January).
But if you are ready to get wet in the rain and experience some lush greenery, then plan your trip to the northeast during the monsoon season. From the end of June till September, you’ll find valley upon valley drenched and lush with greenery. The tropical climate indicates heavy rainfall, so this might affect public transport. There may be landslides, so commuting might be a struggle.
Where to stay
While there are hotels and resorts in Guwahati that would cater well to finer tastes and travellers who like to vacation in comfort and style, the real fun is in having a more rustic and local experience. Choose from a variety of lodges and homestays all over the different states in Northeast India to get a real taste of this gorgeous region.
How to get there:
- By Air: Various major cities in India have direct flights to the states of Assam, Manipur, Tripura and Nagaland. Guwahati is the only metropolitan city that provides access to the other cities in the northeast, for travellers from others of India and the world. Once you’ve landed at Guwahati, you can connect to Silchar, Dimapur, Agartala, Aizawl, Tezpur, Jorhat and Dibrugarh via road. There are some helicopter services available as well.
- By Train: There are various train services that run across the country. Which connects to many cities in northeast India. But it’s important to note that they are the slowest mode of transport for reaching any city in the northeast, owing to weather changes that may cause obstructions on the railway network.
- By Road: Travelling to the northeast by road is a popular option for the scenic routes that present themselves along the way. There are bus services that run to and from West Bengal to Guwahati. Once you reach Guwahati you can board an ASTC bus from Paltan Bazaar, which connects to other states in Northeast India. Alternatively, you can also travel via private buses, taxis and Volvos that run across the region.
Places to visit
Umiam Lake, Shillong
Umiam Lake is a great place for families, especially children, with some fun activities like sailing, kayaking, speed boating, water-skiing and rowing. And while you’re drying off, you can also picnic by the lake, in lush meadows brimming with beautiful flowers all around.
Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh
Tawang Monastery or Tawang Gompa is considered the largest monastery in India, and the second-largest in Asia. It is the main hub of Buddhist practitioners and travellers in Arunachal Pradesh. It has beautiful architecture and artwork and is a great place for some solitude and spiritual introspection.
Buddhism is one of the main religions in Northeast India – (picture credit: raimond-klavins-unsplash)
Tiger Hill, Darjeeling
Situated above Darjeeling’s highest railways station, Ghoom, Tiger Hill sits at an altitude of 8,500 ft. Hike up there on a clear day, and you are left in awe of the breathtaking view of the Himalayan Mountain Range, which looks even more majestic at sunrise. If you’re lucky, you could catch a glimpse of Kanchenjunga, and, even, Mount Everest.
Air force Museum, Shillong
Take your kids to a place of history and technological prowess, at the Air Force Museum in Shillong. Housing fighter planes, rocket bombers, life-sized and miniature models of different aircraft, uniforms, missiles and whatnot. It even houses the MI4 helicopter, which played an important role in the 1971 war.
Keep in mind
Travelling to and commuting in Northeast India is great if you keep certain things in mind:
- Hire an experienced driver while navigating the hilly terrains, sharp curves and potholes, and rainfall in Northeast India.
- Always travel with a guide or someone you know, never alone.
- Always carry an extra pair of clothes and socks with you, and a light scarf or jacket.
- Private cars or taxis are the most flexible mode of transport.
- Choose a reputed transport company.
A vacation through northeast India is like no other. With no dearth of culturally rich monuments, attractions and festivals, natural beauty, a deep reservoir of history and respect for their roots, the people and places of northeast India will take you on an unforgettable journey.
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