Before I share my top 5 places to visit in North East India, let us know about Northeast India as a whole.
About North East India
The North East India comprises of eight states – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
Each of the states has cultural and linguistic diversity within themselves, unique and native to them. For instance, Arunachal Pradesh is home to 26 major ethnic groups and 110 subgroups, Assam to 29 ethnic groups, Manipur to 33 recognized ethnic groups, Nagaland to 17 major Naga tribes and other subgroups, Tripura to 19 ethnic groups, Sikkim & Meghalaya to 3 major ethnic groups. Mizoram is the land of the Mizo ethnic group.
Northeast India is diverse geographically too. The state of Arunachal Pradesh is blessed by the Eastern Himalayas and it receives the first sunrise in India. Assam is mostly plain except for the Karbi Hills and Borail Range as hilly regions. Meghalaya is the land of waterfalls, caves and hills. The Patkai and Naga hill ranges of the Eastern Himalayas are in Nagaland – the land of Nagas and warriors. The Lushai Hill mountain range extends from Manipur to Mizoram. The Jampui Hills, part of the Lushai hills are in the North of Tripura. Sikkim is blessed with the 3rd highest peak in the world – Mt. Kanchenjunga.
Here are my top 5 places to visit in North East India
1. Phe Phe Falls, Meghalaya
Phe Phe Falls, also known as Phea Phea Falls or Phi Phi Falls is a two-tier waterfall in the Shkentalang village near Jarain in the West Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya. The name of the waterfall means paradise in their local Jaintia language.
Phea Phea Falls is one of the best waterfalls in Meghalaya. I have visited the waterfall thrice. Each time was a unique experience. My favourite things to do at Phe Phe Falls are kayaking, hiking, and diving into the natural blue waters at the waterfall.
The Phe Phe Falls trek starts from Paradise Adventure Camp. Cross two rivers, once on a Kayak and then by walking and descend a last hill to reach the Phe Phe Falls.
The best time to visit Phe Phe Falls is throughout the year. This is how it looks during the rainy season (monsoon months) –
I have written a detailed travel guide for Phe Phe Falls in Meghalaya. You can take help of the article and plan your trip to the majestic Phe Phe Waterfall.
Phe Phe falls looks like the following during winter months –
Where to stay in the Phe Phe Falls trip?
At Paradise Adventure Camp there are cottages, cabins and tents for accommodation.
Where is Phe Phe Falls Camp located?
The Phe Phe Falls Camp (Paradise Adventure Camp) is located near Jowai-Dawki Road about 10 km from Jowai town.
How to Reach Phe Phe Falls Camp?
To reach Paradise Adventure Camp, the nearest convenient town to avail transport facilities is to reach Jowai town from Shillong in Meghalaya or Guwahati in Assam.
2. Mawlyngbna, Meghalaya
Mawlyngbna is an adventure destination in Meghalaya. It is located in the East Khasi Hills District about 15 km from the wettest place on earth – Mawsynram. Did you know that Mawsynram in Meghalaya receives the highest rainfall in the world? Mawlyngbna is at a distance of 14.6 km from Mawsynram town.
Mawlyngbna Traveller’s Nest is situated at the top of a hill above the Mawlyngbna Village. At the traveller’s nest, cherish the panoramic view of the village and the plains of Bangladesh.
I love Mawlyngbna for two reasons in particular. Firstly, the view of the Bangladesh plains, the Meghalaya hills merging with the plains and the sunset views from Mawlyngbna Traveller’s Nest. Secondly, the adventure activities such as Kayaking and River Canyoning at Umkakhoi Lake.
Apart from the activities near Mawlyngbna Traveller’s Nest, you would also love to explore Oslo Waterfall, Umdikain Waterfall, Riat Riam Khasaw Falls, visit the Split Rocks, take a walk in the community forest – Law Adong, or be fascinated by the Krem Mawpun cave.
You can know more about it by reading this travel guide on Mawlyngbna in Mawsynram, Meghalaya.
Where to stay in Mawlyngbna?
There are two places to stay in Mawlyngbna-
1. Mawlyngbna Traveller’s Nest
2. Mawlyngbna Umkakhoi Cottage
What are the places to visit in Mawlyngbna?
The places to visit in Mawlyngbna are – Fossil Park, Oslo Waterfall, Umdikain Waterfall, Riat Riam Khasaw Falls, Split Rocks, Ka iew Luri Lura and Mawpun Cave.
3. Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh
Sangti Valley is a quaint offbeat destination in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. It is situated about 13.5 km from Dirang town.
The Sangti river flows through the valley surrounded by beautiful hills. When the peaks nearby are covered with clouds, the view of coniferous pine trees in them looks beautiful.
If you love slow travelling, Sangti Valley is the place. Take a walk in the Sangti Village, interact with the Monpas and learn about their culture. The Monpa ethnic group are the local inhabitants of Sangti Valley.
During your stay at Sangti, you can spend your time visiting the Sangti Mahayana Buddhist Temple, camping by the river or going for some nearby treks and hikes. The Monpa Trail trek is a new adventure and culture trek from Sangti Valley which ends in Thembang Village. There are other offbeat short hikes too.
If you are headed to Tawang, halt your stay for a night at Sangti Valley to rejuvenate yourself.
Where to stay in Sangti Valley?
You can stay in these homestays in Sangti Valley –
Sangti River Campsite
Norubu Ga-tsal Homestay
What are the places to stay in Dirang town?
The places to stay in Dirang town are –
Pemaling Lords Inn Dirang
4. Kohima, Nagaland
Kohima is the capital city of Nagaland. It is situated about 1444 m above sea level on the top of a hill range. The scenic view of Kohima’s surrounding hills and mountains is pleasing to the eyes. Morung Lodge and Homestay near Oking Festival provide one of the best panoramic views of the town.
The land of the Angami Nagas, Kohima was initially known as Kewhima or Kewhira. It was named after the wildflower found which was found in the mountains of Nagaland. The Britishers named it Kohima unable to pronounce its local Angami name.
Kohima is culturally rich and historically prominent. The Indian and British soldiers defeated the Japanese soldiers during the Battle of Kohima in 1944. The Kohia War Cemetry is dedicated to these brave warriors.
People often visit other hill stations in Northeast India not knowing other beautiful hill stations like Kohima. I had the chance to explore Kohima during my treks to Mount Saramati, Mount Japfu and Dzukou Valley.
What are the places to visit in Kohima?
The places to visit in Kohima are –
Nagaland State Museum,
Kohima WWII Cemetery and Kisama Heritage Village.
These Kohima tourist places can be completed within a day.
What are the places to stay in Kohima?
The places to stay in Kohima are-
Mechüki Backpacker Hostel,
Morung Lodge, and Homestay,
The Palm Guest House,
Niraamaya Retreats Aradura Kohima,
Central Guest House.
5. Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
Tawang is the most popular hill station in Northeast India apart from Gangtok in Sikkim. It is located in the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh. Situated at about 3048 (10,000 ft), Tawang is one of the highest hill stations in India.
Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh shares a mountainous border with Bhutan and Tibet. The Monpa ethnic group are the local inhabitants of Tawang and they speak the Monpa language.
Did you know that Tawang Monastery is the largest monastery in India? It is also the oldest and 2nd biggest monastery in Asia.
The name of Tawang town was birthed based on the monastery. The etymology of the name Tawang translates to Chosen Horse – Ta meaning Horse and Wang meaning Chosen. Check out the Tawang Government Website to learn about its formation. The monastery is the highlight of the culture, religion, and spirituality of the Monpa people – a perfect boost for Tawang tourism.
If you love snow, the best time to visit Tawang is in the winter months – December and January. In October, the annual Tawang Festival is organised by the state government’s tourism department. In the month of January every year, the monastic Torgya Festival is organised in Tawang Monastery. The lakes remain frozen and full of snow during winter.
During the summer months, if the weather is clear, the views are spectacular. I went for the Basic Mountaineering Course in Arunachal Pradesh last year. Our trek started near the Nuranag (Jang) Falls.
What are the places to visit in Tawang?
The top places to visit in Tawang are –
Sela Pass & Sela Lake,
Penga Teng Tso or PT Tso Lake,
Sangetsar Tso Lake (Madhuri Lake),
Nuranang Waterfall (Jang Falls),
Chaksam (Iron Bridge) and War Memorial.
What are the places to stay in Tawang?
The places to stay in Tawang are –
Hotel Mon Valley,
Here’s a Travel Guide Book by Jitaditya Narzary & Holiday Scout on Arunachal Pradesh which will help you plan your trip better.
These five destinations- Phe Phe Falls, Mawlyngbna, Kohima, Sangti Valley and Tawang are five of my top offbeat North east India tourism places. Each state in Northeast India has places that are beautiful, unique and yet to be explored. Mizoram and Tripura are two states that I plan to visit very soon.
I would love to hear about your top places to visit in Northeast India. Share your list in the comment section.
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