6 Reasons why you should visit North East India

Written By: Anna Phipps

India is one of the world’s most exotic, fascinating and captivating travel destinations in the world. While the Taj Mahal, the forts and palaces of Rajasthan and the backwaters of Kerala are popular sights, very few travellers visit the remote, tribal lands of North East India.

North East India is tucked away in between Bangladesh, Tibet, Bhutan and Myanmar and is a world away from the chaos of Delhi and other tourist clichés you might expect when you think of India.

Visit North East India

north east india tribes

These diverse and beautiful, remote tribal lands are only just opening up to tourism and are home to some of the most intriguing tribal people, rare wildlife and stunning scenery in India.

Why you should visit North East India

The North East is still a relatively unexplored paradise for intrepid travellers.

Its popularity is growing and the region is quickly becoming India’s hottest new destination so to if you want to witness this region so blissfully untouched by tourism (so far) then you’ll have to visit soon!

1. Meet tribal people and learn about their unique way of life

meet the apatani women of north east India
Apatani Woman

Remote North East India has been cut off from the rest of the world for ages and so it’s one of the rare places in the world where you can meet authentic tribal people who live a very different way of life even in this modern age.

North East India is one of the most culturally diverse areas of the world.

It is home to over 200 tribes including unique, fascinating tribes like the opium smoking, headhunter tribes in Nagaland and the facially tattooed, sun and moon worshipping Apatani tribe in Ziro Valley, Arunachal Pradesh.

One of the best ways to experience the vibrant and unique cultures of North East India’s intriguing tribal people is through one of the many amazing tribal festivals.

northeast India headhunter man
Headhunter man

Witnessing the riot of colour, music and dance and even some sacrifices and unique rituals of a traditional tribal festival in North East India is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

Don’t worry, they don’t practise head hunting anymore.   But it’s a fascinating experience to meet the tribal people and find out about their way of life.

It’s best to take a tour with a local guide if you want to be made to feel welcome and to really understand about their way of life.

Going to India? Read 10 Tips to Empower First Timers to India

2. See rare and endangered wildlife

endangered wildlife north india rhino
endangered rhino of Northeast India

Because the region is so unspoilt and unexplored North East India is a refuge to many rare and endangered animals.

There are many fantastic UNESCO listed national parks where animal lovers can take safaris and witness exotic animals in their natural habitat.

Kaziranga National Park in Assam

One of the most famous is Kaziranga National Park in Assam where close up sightings of engaged one horned rhinos are pretty much guaranteed (even the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited here on their India tour).

Manas Wildife Sanctuary, also in Assam, is home to more endangered species than any other sanctuary in India.

Or visit Nokrek National Park in Meghalaya to look out for red pandas, tigers, elephants, rare breeds of macaques and marbled cats.

3. Tibetan culture (without visiting Tibet)

twan monastery northern india

North East India is nestled up against the border of Tibet and parts of the mountainous state of Arunachal Pradesh actually used to be part of Tibet.

Visit the remote Tawang region where colourful Tibetan prayer flags flutter over the peaceful valleys.

You will experience the enchanting, serene and colourful Tibetan culture and religion carrying on peacefully in the historic monasteries, prayer wheels and stupas.

Be sure to enjoy delicious and authentic Tibetan food like momos and thukpas.

4. Explore unspoiled nature and stunning scenery

north east india scenery

North East India is home to some of the most stunning, diverse and unspoilt scenery in India.

From the snow capped peaks of the soaring Himalayan mountains, to the grassy plains of Assam and the steamy forests and majestic waterfalls of Meghalaya – North East India showcases unspoilt nature at its finest!

5. Experience a totally different and hassle free side to India

man by prayer wheels in east india

If the horror stories of dirt, hassle and chaos put you off visiting India at all then, exploring North East India offers you the chance to experience a totally different side to India.

  • This region is just so different that sometimes I could hardly believe I was still in India – the scenery, the food, the people, the culture everything is different.

See how to travel in India with these Train Travel Tips

Even though a lack of infrastructure makes traveling here a little bumpy and slow moving at times, I found North East India a welcome escape from other parts of India.

The chaos and hassle that you get in the more touristy parts of India disappears in the North East.

No one tried to cheat me or touch me or even sell me anything.

The people of North East India where some of the friendliest and most genuine people I’ve ever met on my travel.

6. Get off the beaten track

remote india travel countryside of north east

North East India is still unexplored, authentic and blissfully untouristy.

In this increasingly globalised world it can be pretty hard to really ‘get off the beaten track’ nowadays.

North East India is still totally authentic.

remote northern india

As the region has only just started to open up to tourism, restrictions on travel and permit requirements are becoming more relaxed but the region remains blissfully untouched by tourism and unexplored.

In fact some parts of the mountains in Arunachal Pradesh have not even been mapped!

‘Yes, this means that traveling here can be a bit bumpy and there’s no luxury hotels but if an adventure is what you’re after than North East India is the place to come!

There aren’t many places in the world with blank spaces on the map.

There aren’t many places where people have hardly any idea that the modern world exists, where creatures have yet to be named and mountains yet to be climbed.

But North East India is still totally off the beaten track. It’s an amazing feeling to go somewhere hardly anyone else has gone but you’ll need to go now before everyone else does!

Tips for visiting North East India

north east india roads
Not your average travel experience
  • North East India consists of 7 sister states – Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura.
  • All have different cultures, tribes, languages, food and scenery that are just heaven for intrepid explorers!
  • Some states, like Assam and Meghalaya, have better infrastructure and are easier to travel than others.
  • States, like Arunachal Pradesh, require special permits.
  • Nagaland has very little infrastructure.
  • It lacks public transport and tourist facilities meaning traveling here independently can be quite difficult.

But North East India is an amazing and unique destination that’s totally worth the extra effort, after all isn’t that the meaning of ‘off the beaten track!’

visit north east india
Why You Should Visit North East India

To make planning your trip easier check out Tips for Traveling in North East India and more posts on North East India first.

Read Next:

A Feast to Remember in Papua New Guinea

7 Things to do in Rishikesh

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • World Nomads - Digital Nomads or Frequent Travelers.
  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

About Anna Phipps

Anna has been on an indefinite journey around Australia, South East Asia and India ever since traveling slow, independently and on a budget. She fell in love with India and is now based there in Goa. She shares her tips and experiences for traveling and working abroad on her blog GlobalGallivanting to inspire others to travel full time too.

Leave a Comment

27 thoughts on “6 Reasons why you should visit North East India”

  1. Having visited North East India for 4-5 times now, I really felt connected to this article. The way you have described the article is mesmerizing which kept me reading till the end.

    I would be very delighted if you can also write an article on places to visit in North India too.

    Reply
  2. Being an Indian too, North India is my most favorite. We often talk about Uttarakhand and Himachal and overlook this stunning part of India altogether. But it has immense potential as far as tourism is concerned. And the best part is, it is not much commercialized as of now unlike rest of India. Great post though. Keep up the good work 🙂

    Reply
  3. Loved to see the detailed blog on North East. Not been to north east ever apart from a few days trip to Meghalaya. Insightful and extremely useful.

    Reply
  4. Hi Dave and Deb, thanks for sharing such amazing information about our north-east India. I am from Assam state, Jorhat district. Glad to know that you have enjoyed the tour.

    Reply
  5. I am from North east india, Sivasagar,Assam. Glad that you have experienced one of the untouched part of India.

    Reply
  6. North East India is a very good place in an Indian. Many places in North East India are worth seeing. The information that you have given about the culture and places that’s useful for me. I will definitely use your blog info on my trip.Thanks!

    Reply
  7. Northeast India is a beautiful eye sighting place to visit especially Meghalaya and Mizoram
    they are breathtaking places and views…
    thanks for sharing this places and giving a good review of my country…

    Reply
  8. North India is an awesome place to visit, it is most fascinating and a great experience to visit north east India. They have great traditions and incredible hospitality manners. Thanks to TheplanetD for providing such great information regarding a great place. Ali Tinwala

    Reply
  9. I still dream about my backpack journey for a month to this part of my country !! Thanks for sharing the post.North East India is truly amazing 🙂

    Reply
  10. They are very read the photos, and the landscape, I liked the post I loved to know a different culture congratulations for the post

    Reply
  11. Very convincing!(=
    I am very curios about India and it’s definitely on my travel list, I’m always amazed when I’m seeing pictures of the stunning scenery and remote villages…

    Reply
  12. what a beautiful description of northeast india. Added to the list, Surely gonna give a visit to this part of india. Its looking like heaven.

    Reply
  13. Truly fantastic photography & post! I stay in India & I had been in Asam & Manipur, awesome places to visit. October to March is the best time to visit Manipur. I’l definitely visit the remaining places. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  14. North East India is a very beautiful place.North East India cultures is very different n beautiful.Your article are very nice but your images mind blowing.

    Reply
  15. What a lovely post Anna!

    I’ve been to India before but not to the North-East. I’d love to go there someday. Wow! You’re so right, the locals in this region hardly look Indian at all: Fascinating!

    Reply
  16. Firstly thanks for the nice place selection to visit india.Such india is a big country but you notice that all most amesing places.Thanks you.

    Reply
  17. wow..what a great post and also shared awesome things about northern east India.. Wonderful information about Indian Tourism. Thanks for sharing.

    If any corporate travel management services or business travel to travel in India or USA or any Europe Countries or any other countries kindly contact us
    http://www.visvasindia.com

    Reply
  18. Hey Anna, my wife and I spent 4 months in India last year and we are planning a return trip in 2017.
    We missed the North East last time around but it’s definitely back on our itinerary now.
    Amazing photos btw.
    Pete

    Reply
  19. how can go Pakistani for visiting India but your information is very useful and wonderful experience to see your blog and also great information you posted thanks for sharing with us.

    Reply
  20. How long would you need to go to India to do it right? I think an American can get a 30 day visa? Seems like we’d need to visit a dozen times just to see most of the country. What a beautiful and diverse place!

    Reply
  21. Great post and shared so awesome things of beautiful india. You shared so good things of india culture and natural places are so good things of that place. Stunning photos you shared.

    Reply