India Expedition: Sikkim, Assam & Nagaland

India Expedition: Sikkim, Assam & Nagaland

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16 Days
From

$3245

$3156

India Expedition: Sikkim, Assam & Nagaland

16 Days Starting and ending in Kolkata

Visiting: Kolkata, Kolkata – Dimapur – Kohima , Kohima - Kigwema Village - Khonoma Village - Kohima, Kohima - Jorhat, Majuli Island - Jorhat, Jorhat - Kaziranga National Park, Kaziranga National Park, Shillong, Shillong – Overnight train, Darjeeling, Gangtok

Tour operator:

Intrepid Travel

Tour code:

HHSI

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

1 - 12

Physical rating:

Medium

Age range:

15-99 years

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians

Tour operated in:
English
Interests:

History, Wildlife Tours

Activities:

4WD, Rail Excursion

From:
$3245
$3156 (USD) The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$89
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Tour Overview

Set off on a 16-day expedition to the unspoiled wildlife reserves, spectacular wetlands and rambling mountain villages that make far-flung northeastern India so spectacular. Learn about the cultures of Sikkim, Assam and Nagaland, search for the iconic one-horned rhinoceros in Kaziranga National Park and take a winding journey on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. Explore the floating villages of Majuli Island, visit Gangtok’s controversial Rumtek Monastery and check out a living root bridge – the handiwork of the Khasi people. Be prepared to be wowed by a side of the country few visitors see.

Highlights

  • Embark on full day trips to vast national parks, including Kaziranga National Park, home to two-thirds of the world’s one-horned rhinos, wild boar and incredible birdlife.

  • Wander through thousands of market stalls in Ima Keithel – a female-run bazaar where every vendor is a woman – and discover the local history of feminist activism.

  • Learn about the proud warrior traditions of the Naga people and their resistance against colonial forces, exploring hillside villages like Khonoma and Kigwema.

  • Visit a lush Khasi village dubbed the cleanest in India by the former prime minister, then hike to a living root bridge that looks like something out of a fairy tale.

  • Gaze out at the Himalayas from the Darjeeling Toy Train as it winds its way through the mountains – it doesn’t get much more fun than a steam-powered locomotive ride.

  • Embark on full day trips to vast national parks, including Kaziranga National Park, home to two-thirds of the world’s one-horned rhinos, as well as wild boar, tigers, elephants, panthers and some incredible birdlife.

  • Travel to parts of India seldom seen by tourists, and be rest assured that with a local trip leader by your side every step of the way, you’ll find the best lookout points, dinner spots and local secrets.

  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll learn about our Intrepid Foundation partner, Positive Change for Marine Life. Donations help them to nurture ocean health with community-led conservation initiatives that inspire coastal restoration, sustainable fishing practices and waste-management. Intrepid will double the impact by dollar-matching all post-trip donations made to The Intrepid Foundation.

Itinerary

Expand All
Day 1: Kolkata
Location: Kolkata
Accommodation: Hotel

Namaste! Welcome to India. Your adventure begins in vibrant Kolkata – a hub for Bengali theatre, dance, poetry, art, music and film. You’ll have a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight. If you arrive early, maybe visit the grand Victoria Memorial and spend some time relaxing in the attached park. Tonight, why not head out for a welcome dinner with your group – your trip leader will always have some great suggestions.

Day 2: Kolkata – Dimapur – Kohima
Location: Kolkata – Dimapur – Kohima
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

This morning after breakfast, you’ll take a private transfer to the airport and board a flight to Dimapur. When you arrive, you’ll have some time for lunch before driving to Kohima – the capital city of Nagaland – stopping along the way to stretch your legs. Arrive in the late afternoon and enjoy a free evening, to relax at your accommodation or take a walk around the colourful houses in town to get your bearings.

Day 3: Kohima - Kigwema Village - Khonoma Village - Kohima
Location: Kohima - Kigwema Village - Khonoma Village - Kohima
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

Set off in the morning on a half-day excursion to Khonoma Village, stopping at Kigwema Village on the way – a traditional Naga village. The Naga people are the Indigenous people of northeastern India and northwest Myanmar, made up of a variety of tribes that share similar customs and warrior roots. After meeting the locals here, continue to Khonoma, where the Angami Nagas held off British forces from coming into their hills. In 1897, after an invading British officer was killed, a bloody war raged for a year before a peace treaty was signed. The resistance of the local Nagas is held in high regard across Nagaland. Today, the inhabitants of Khonoma place a lot of emphasis on wildlife conservation and you’ll about the Khonoma Nature Conservation and the Tragopan Sanctuary while you’re here. This afternoon, visit the Naga Heritage Village for a glimpse into traditional tribal life and see some historic remnants from the 19th-century British invasion. Then, visit the World War II memorial (if time permits), before heading back to your accommodation for the night.

Included Activities:
-Kigwema Village visit
-Khonoma Village visit

Day 4: Kohima - Jorhat
Location: Kohima - Jorhat
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

This morning, leave Kohima and drive towards Jorhat. Grab a window seat if you can and watch the rolling scenery pass you by. When you arrive this afternoon, you’ll visit the local tea plantations for a tasting and a visit to the Tocklai Tea Research Center. Walk around the lush surroundings of the plantations and learn why this is an important industry for Assam’s growing urban centre. Later, you’ll have a free evening to relax, find some dinner or go for a walk.

Included Activities:
-Jorhat - Tea Plantation Visit

Day 5: Majuli Island - Jorhat
Location: Majuli Island - Jorhat
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

Travel to Majuli today – located on the Brahmaputra River, this is one of the largest river islands in the world and has been the cultural capital of Assam ever since the 16th century. Take a ferry to the island, looking out for the many migratory birds that call this place home. When you arrive, visit the Anuati, Uttar and Kamalabari satras (monasteries that are linked with the Ekasarana tradition of Vaishnavism). Interact with the local monks here with a visit to the monk’s quarters. Then, visit the Mishing tribal village, a pottery making village and a mask making village to learn about the local handicrafts and cultural traditions. Later, return to Jorhat for the night.

Day 6: Jorhat - Kaziranga National Park
Location: Jorhat - Kaziranga National Park
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast, dinner

After the breakfast this morning, take a private transfer to Kaziranga National Park – this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the oldest park in Assam and sits right on the banks of the Brahmaputra River. Kaziranga is a natural habitat dedicated to the conservation of the biologically diverse flora and fauna within. The park is also home to the world's largest population of one-horned rhinoceroses and shelters about 15 different species of India's most threatened mammals, including tigers, elephants, panthers and bears. After some free time for lunch, you’ll have the option to visit the Kaziranga Orchid Center before soaking up a free afternoon. Tonight, enjoy a group dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 7: Kaziranga National Park
Location: Kaziranga National Park
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch, dinner

Set out on two jeep safaris through Kaziranga National Park today, scheduled for the early morning and the evening to maximise the chances of spotting wildlife. Look out for elephants, deer, wild boar and, of course, the famed one-horned rhino. Local birdlife is also plentiful, so keep an eye on the sky to spot eagles, parakeets, blue-tinged Indian rollers and more.

Included Activities:
-Kaziranga National Park - Morning Jeep Safari
-Kaziranga National Park - Evening Jeep Safari

Day 8: Shillong
Location: Shillong
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

After breakfast, leave Kaziranga and drive towards Shillong. When you arrive, head out for an orientation walk with your leader. For dinner tonight, the street food in town is recommended, so you might want to head out straight after your walk for some momos (dumplings) and chutney or local specialty jadoh (spicy and sour rice).

Day 9: Shillong
Location: Shillong
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

Drive to Mawlynnong today. This tiny village has made a huge commitment to sustainable and eco-friendly living – efforts that saw it crowned ‘Asia’s Cleanest Village’ by India’s former prime minister. When you arrive, take a walk around the gleaming, litter-free streets among the Khasi residents, then head out for a 1.5-hour hike to the nearby living root bridge. The bridge is a perfect example of the art of tree sculpting, practiced by the Khasi people. Stop at Dawki and admire the crystal-clear waters of the Umngot River and the border of Bangladesh. Return to Shillong this afternoon and if time (and group energy) permits, maybe walk to Shillong Peak for some gorgeous views over the town for sunset.

Included Activities:
-Shillong - Single Root Bridge

Day 10: Shillong – Overnight Train
Location: Shillong – Overnight train
Accommodation: Overnight sleeper train
Meals Included: breaksfast

Enjoy a leisurely morning, then say goodbye to Shillong and travel to Guwahati. From here, you’ll take an overnight train to New Jalpaiguri, departing at around 10 pm.

Day 11: Darjeeling
Location: Darjeeling
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

Rise and shine early this morning as the train pulls into New Jalpaiguri at around 6 am. Make tracks for Darjeeling, where you can enjoy the rest of the day at leisure among the Himalayan mountains. Maybe take a stroll around the town to check out the colonial-era architecture backdropped by mountain peaks. If you're feeling the effects of a few long travel days, maybe just find a spot to enjoy a cuppa as you gaze up at the spectacular views of the Himalayas (weather-depending).

Included Activities:
-Darjeeling - Tiger Hill

Day 12: Darjeeling
Location: Darjeeling
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

Take an early morning walk to Tiger Hill today to catch a glorious sunrise over the snowy peak of Kanchenjunga – the world’s third-highest mountain. Then, return to Darjeeling for a few hours at leisure. In the afternoon, you’ll transfer to Ghoom and board the Darjeeling Toy Train. Winding your way through the mountain, this classic steam-powered locomotive is probably the most romantic way to experience the Himalayan landscape.

Included Activities:
-Darjeeling - Toy Train ride

Day 13: Gangtok
Location: Gangtok
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

Head to Gangtok this morning. This is the capital of the northeastern state of Sikkim. Its chaotically laid-out townscape and jovial atmosphere make it a nice place to walk around. Maybe head to a local viewpoint and if it's clear, spot the majestic peak of Khangchendzonga in the distance. Tonight, you’re free to find a local dinner or find a good spot to watch the sunset.

Day 14: Gangtok
Location: Gangtok
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

Sprawling down a mountain ridge, Gangtok is a haven for Tibetan Buddhists. This morning, you’ll visit the monastery at Rumtek – also called the Dharma Chakra Centre, this monastery is the centre of the Karmapa controversy. A lengthy battle has been played out in the Indian courts, with two rival organisations (the Tsuphu Labrang and the Karmapa Charitable Trust) each supporting a different candidate for the 17th Karmapa, claiming stewardship of the monastery and all its contents. Since 1992, the monastery has been the site of pitched battles between monks supporting the two different candidates. After, maybe take up a hike to the old Gompa, a little further down the road. In your spare time this afternoon, maybe pick up some local tea or explore the Tibetology Museum.

Included Activities:
-Gangtok - Rumtek Monastery

Day 15: Kolkata
Location: Kolkata
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: breaksfast

Drive to the airport in Bagdogra this morning, then fly back to Kolkata. If the hustle and bustle are too much to bear after your mountain getaway, you can explore the vast green fields of the Maidan (also known as ‘the lungs of Kolkata’) or take refuge in the beautiful botanic gardens along the banks of the Hooghly River.

Day 16: Kolkata
Location: Kolkata

With no activities planned for today, your trip comes to an end this morning. If you’d like to extend your stay in India, just speak to your booking agent.

What's Included

  • Meals
    14 breakfasts, 1 lunches, 2 dinners

  • Accommodation

    Hotel (14 nights), Overnight sleeper train (1 night)

  • Imphal - Ima Keithel Women's Market

  • Kigwema Village visit

  • Khonoma Village visit

  • Kaziranga National Park - Morning Jeep Safari

  • Kaziranga National Park - Evening Jeep Safari

  • Shillong - Single Root Bridge

  • Darjeeling - Tiger Hill

  • Darjeeling - Toy Train ride

  • Gangtok - Rumtek Monastery

show more

Included Activities

  • Imphal - Ima Keithel Women's Market
  • Kigwema Village visit
  • Khonoma Village visit
  • Kaziranga National Park - Morning Jeep Safari
  • Kaziranga National Park - Evening Jeep Safari
  • Shillong - Single Root Bridge
  • Darjeeling - Tiger Hill
  • Darjeeling - Toy Train ride
  • Gangtok - Rumtek Monastery

Transport

  • TRANSPORT IN INDIA:
  • Main roads in India are usually very busy with an assortment of vehicles from the biggest trucks (who always have right of way) down to bikes (and animals!). Overtaking on blind corners at speed is common as is the total use of the horn as a form of communication. Our leaders have complete authority to remove groups from local transport if the driver is not driving safely. Drivers of our private vehicles are experienced and well trained. if you are uncomfortable with your driver, please always let your tour leader know immediately. Please ensure you wear your seat belt at all times.
  • TRAVEL TIMES:
  • Distances in India do not reflect the driving time and to cover 100km may take much longer than you would expect at home, even if much of the route is on a highway.
  • TRAINS:
  • India has a massive network of trains and millions of people travel by rail every day. Trains often travel the length of the country over several days. Trains are a great way to see the countryside and get you away from the busy road system. Delays and cancellations are common on trains. Your tour leader will check the train status to see if there are delays and will do their best to keep you informed of any changes.
  • From December to February, delays are more common, especially in the north of the country due to fog. It’s not uncommon for trains to be delayed for up to 12 hours. On occasion, your trip will may to be rerouted to allow for these delays. Your tour leader in conjunction with our local office will advise any changes to the itinerary.
  • The Indian Railway system is one of the largest railway networks in the world and quite complex. Seat allocation is completely computerized on a centralized reservation system and we do not have control over seat allocations. Despite booking tickets months in advance of a departure your group's seats, or sleeping berths on overnight trains, maybe spread out within one carriage or multiple carriages of the same class. There’s a chance you’ll be sharing a compartment with local travelers of either gender.
  • For a detailed look into the experience of travelling by overnight trains read more here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/india-trains-guide/
  • AUTO RICKSHAWS:
  • On this trip, we travel on the local style of transport called an auto-rickshaw. These small, motorised three-wheeled vehicles are a common form of transport in India and do not have seatbelts.
  • FLIGHTS:
  • Airlines in India are of excellent quality. Airports are becoming more modern (especially in the major and tourist cities). To enter the airport, you must have a copy of your flight ticket and passport. Schedule changes and delays do occur, especially when weather conditions make visibility poor.

Accommodation

  • ACCOMMODATION:
  • Some of the accommodation along the way is basic or simple, staying in local guesthouses and homestays. Some may have shared bathroom facilities with cold water only. We use a mixture of air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned rooms. Some areas of India experience daily load shedding. This is where the power may be turned off at certain times of the day and usually occurs for a few hours in the early afternoon. Most hotel properties have a restaurant or cafe serving local meals. Many restaurants and hotels do not serve alcohol for religious reasons or due to local laws.
  • SHOWERS:
  • Showers at some hotels only have hot water at peak times (usually morning and evening). Outside of these times, you may need to speak to reception to obtain hot water.
  • ROOM ISSUES:
  • If you have any issues with your room, please speak to the hotel and your tour leader right away rather than your travel agent so that the problem can be addressed without delay.
  • SLEEPER TRAINS IN INDIA:
  • Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned (fan-cooled at times), a great way to travel long distances and still get maximum time in each place. Depending on the route, we travel 2AC or 3AC class as not all classes are available on all routes. Due to the complexity of the ticket purchasing system and high demand for tickets, we are unable to offer upgrades to other classes.
  • Second Class or 2 Tier AC (2AC) carriages have 4 berths in the compartment section and 2 berths in the aisle bay and individual reading lights. Third Class or 3 Tier AC (3AC) has 6 berths in the compartment and 2 in the aisle bay. Both have curtains for privacy. There are no sinks or charging points in these classes. During the day, bunks are folded away and serve as seats. Toilet facilities are located at either end of the carriage. There is usually an Indian style squat toilet at one end and a western-style toilet at the other. You will need your own toilet paper or tissues and cleanliness will depend on the number of people using them.
  • Beds are padded bunks, with sheets, pillow and blanket provided. Some people prefer to bring and use their own sleeping sheet. Your luggage travels with you on the train, so packing light will make your journey more comfortable.
  • Many trains have a dining carriage or a food/snack cart that is brought through the carriages. There are also plenty of vendors selling tea, coffee, water and snacks during the journey, although the hygiene may not be up to standards you are used to at home.
  • Please note you may be sharing with other members of your group or locals on a mixed gender basis. Tickets are booked on a real-name basis using your passport details. We book for all members of the group at the same time, but unfortunately, this is no guarantee that we will be accommodated all together on the train. Your leader will do their best to swap with other travellers to allow people who booked together to travel together, but please be aware that this is not always possible. We may at times ask male travellers to swap with solo female travellers for safety considerations.

Important Information

  • 1. A single supplement is available on this trip and is available for all nights with the exception of the overnight train on day 10.
  • 2. You must bring 5 passport-size photographs for your permits in Nagaland and Sikkim.
  • 3. Please provide your full name exactly as it appears on your passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for flight tickets and national park permits. Ticketing fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases, you will be required to cover the cost of issuing a new ticket.
  • 4. Luggage limit for the included flights is strictly 15kg for checked baggage and 7kg for carry on.

Check out our Q&As

  • Is this trip right for you

    This trip takes you to a part of India rarely seen by foreign travellers and is ideal for those who have been to India previously and are keen to explore more. Our past travellers have commented that each day is an adventure, varied from the day before and full of interesting glimpses of India which are impossible to find on any other trip.

    You'll likely be of as much interest to the locals as they are to you – be prepared for plenty of selfies and conversations.

    We cover a lot of ground on this trip. There are some long travel days by train and van, including on winding mountain or bumpy local roads, particularly in Nagaland. It's not unusual for journeys to take longer than estimated and travel times to vary from one departure to the next.

    Parts of this trip travel to over 2000 me above sea level. It can get colder than you might expect in India so make sure you check the weather at your time of travelling to help you pack and bring a jacket and layers just in case.

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Please contact us for latest COVID-19 policies

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Intrepid Travel has been taking travellers around the world for over 30 years

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Yes

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Since 2002, The Intrepid Foundation has supported over 130 organisations across the world. We’re creating positive impact through the joy of travel, community and connection.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Over 50% of traveller travel solo with Intrepid. You can choose to share a room with another solo travelle of the same sex for no additional charge, or choose to pay a single supplement if you’d like your own room. Please request this when booking, and we will secure you a single supplement wherever possible. Please note, if you are booking a last-minute trip, it may be harder for us to secure a single room

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Nov 24, 2024 - Dec 09, 2024
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Feb 01, 2025 - Feb 16, 2025
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Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Intrepid Travel allows you to make 10 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 56 days before the start of the tour.

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    Intrepid Travel allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform intrepid travel, 56 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    Intrepid Travel requires a minimum deposit of 400 USD per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 56 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of intrepid travel charges.

    Up to 56 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 55 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 60% of booking price.

    At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

  • COVID Protection

    Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
    From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

    However, we continue to strongly recommend that all travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and other Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

    This policy excludes all Polar trips and select adventure cruises, where testing and vaccination remains a requirement. Please refer to the Essential Trip Information of your chosen tour for more details.

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