Offbeat Things to Do in East India: Unusual Activities, Location

Northeast India is an entirely different world from the mainstream India and is one of the least explored regions in the country. The secluded geographical location has caused the Northeast to be loosely connected with the happenings of the rest of the country. This is one of many reasons that there is always an air of mystique and intrigue that surrounds the states concerning Northeast India. The ‘Seven Sister’ states hold many unexplored unseen destinations that will leave you stunned. Here is a list of the top unexplored hidden gems in Northeast India for your next dream vacation.

Places to Visit in Northeast India

Nathula Pass, Sikkim

Once part of the ancient Silk Road, the 14,450 ft. high Nathula Pass is a popular tourist spot. A few hours’ drive east of Gangtok, Nathula Pass offers tourists a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of city life. Hire a cab and drive down the road towards the pass, often called one of the scariest roads in India, to enjoy the beauty of this hillside and catch a glimpse of the Chinese side of the border. Regardless of the time of year you visit, this is one place you’ll always see some snow.

  • Best Time to Visit: May to October
  • Visiting Days: Wednesday to Sunday
  • Key Attractions: Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir, Staircase To Indo-China Border, Tsomgo Lake, Mandakini Waterfalls, and Mera Bharat Mahan Hill
  • Nearest Airport: Bagdogra Airport, Siliguri
  • Nearest Railway Station: New Jalpaiguri, Siliguri
  • Places to Stay: Hotels in Siliguri

Kaziranga National Park, Assam

The Kaziranga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its dense forests, elephant-grass meadows, and swampy lagoons is home to the largest Indian rhinoceros population. The park is one of the best known biodiversity hotspots in India with four pre-defined tourist circuits. Each of these circuits has its own distinguishing feature. This 430 square kilometer national park is also the breeding ground for many other animals and birds.

  • Best Time to Visit: November to April
  • Jeep Safari Timings: 8:00 AM to 10.00 AM and 2.00 PM to 7:30 PM
  • Animals to Spot: One-horned Rhinos, Royal Bengal Tigers, Asiatic Elephants, Swamp Deer, and Wild Water Buffalos
  • Nearest Airport: Guwahati International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Helem and Furkating Junction

Tsomgo Lake, Sikkim

Also known as the Changu Lake, the Tsomgo Lake presents an ethereal view of rugged mountains. The lake stands at an altitude of 12,400 ft. and looks different around the year. In the late spring, the lakeside is covered with flowers in full bloom while in winter, it freezes solid. There are a number of legends and myths associated with this lake that are significant for Buddhist monks and Sikkim’s faith healers. For tourists, a yak ride is a moment to remember. In the winter, you can even take a yak ride on the frozen lake.

  • Best Time to Visit: March to May, October to December
  • Key Attractions: Tsongo Passenger Ropeway, Yak and Mule Rides, and Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir
  • Nearest Airport: Bagdogra Airport, Siliguri
  • Nearest Railway Station: New Jalpaiguri
  • Places to Stay: Hotels in New Jalpaiguri Railway Station

Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh

The Tawang Monastery, also known as the Golden Namgyal Lhatse, is the largest monastery in India and the second largest in the world. Located at a height of around 10,000 feet, the monastery offers a panoramic view of the entire Tawang River Valley. The monastery houses residential complexes for the monks, a Buddhist cultural study center, school, temples, a library, and a printing press. If you can appreciate the finer points of art, a visit to the Tawang Monastery can transport you to a whole new world.

  • Best Time to Visit: March to October.
  • Key Attractions: Mandala Wall Murals, Buddhist Thangkas, Chitenpa’s Footprint, and Buddha Statue In Dukhang
  • Major Festivals: Choksar, Losar, Ajilamu, and Torgya
  • Nearest Airport: Salonibari Airport, Tezpur
  • Nearest Railway Station: Rangapara and Tezpur

Ziro Valley, Arunachal Pradesh

Surrounded by mountains that reach the sky, Ziro Valley is home to the Apatani tribe. There are a number of trekking routes around this valley that makes it one of the most popular adventure spots in Northeast India. Apart from the scenic beauty, the Ziro valley offers tourists an insight into the local culture and tribal lifestyle. It is also the venue for one of India’s most popular annual music fests.

  • Best Time to Visit: March to October
  • Ziro Festival: September/ October
  • Key Attractions: Tarin Fish Farm, Kile Pakho, Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Meghna Cave Temple, Shiv Linga, Kile Pakho, Midey, Ziro Puto, Pine Grove, Dolo Mando, and Midey
  • Nearest Airport: Jorhat Airport and Lilabari  Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Naharalagun and North Lakhimpur

Goechala, Sikkim

When it comes to trekking routes, there’s nothing quite like Goechala. This 10-12 day trek offers a glimpse of 14 Himalayan summits including Mt. Kanchenjunga. From the gushing Teesta River, the Paha Khola Bridge and Viburnum plantations to the rhododendron forests of Phedang, this is one of the most beautiful treks you will ever embark on. It’s not hard to understand why this is one of the top places to visit in Northeast India.

  • Best Time to Visit: March to April
  • Key Attractions: Tashi Tenka, Rabdentse Monastery, View of the Rathong Valley, Khecheopalri Lake, and Kanchenjunga National Park
  • Nearest Airport: Bagdogra Airport, Siliguri
  • Nearest Railway Station: New Jalpaiguri

Cherrapunji and Mawsynram, Meghalaya

Rainfall can be beautiful! Located about 80 km apart, Cherrapunji and Mawsynram are the wettest places on earth. Both Cherrapunji and Mawsynram receive over 450 inches of rain every year and are blessed with panoramic vistas of scenic beauty. These hills offer a number of trekking routes too. No matter when you visit these family destinations in Northeast India, you’ll always be able to see and hear the beauty of raindrops falling from the sky.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to May
  • Key Attractions: Double Decker Living Root Bridges, Nohkalikai Waterfalls, Krem Phyllut, The Eco Park, Khoh Ramhah Rock, Wakaba Falls, Dainthlen Waterfall, Mawsmai Caves, Mawsmai Falls, Dawki, Mawlyngbna, and Mawkdok Dympep Valley
  • Nearest Airport: Shillong Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Guwahati
  • Places to Stay: Hotels in Guwahati

Mawlynnong Village, Meghalaya

Mawlynnong Village is one of the most unique villages in India. Though it abounds in scenic beauty, the village is best known for its focus on cleanliness. Mawlynnong, often referred to as God’s own garden, is one of the most popular tourist places for solo travelers in Northeast India. Apart from nature lovers, the village is a favorite with trekking enthusiasts as well. There are also a few natural wonders you’ll want to explore here.   

  • Best Time to Visit: June to September
  • Key Attractions: Living Root Bridges, Balancing Rock, Byrdaw Falls, Church of the Epiphany, Rymben Falls, Sky View, and Mawshun Cave
  • Nearest Airport: Shillong Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Guwahati Railway Station

Pelling, Sikkim

Pelling is the second most popular tourist attraction in Northeast India. People come here to see the Khangchendzonga Peak, explore biking and trekking routes, take a closer look at the monasteries, or just to enjoy the town’s scenic beauty. Pelling also offers a number of adrenaline-boosting activities. In addition, there’s birdwatching, fishing, bathing in hot stone baths, cultural shows, traditional house visits, limbo storytelling sessions, and jungle walks to experience.  

  • Best Time to Visit: September to May
  • Key Attractions: Pemayangste Monastery, Sangachoeling Monastery, Tashiding Monastery, Yuksom, Rabdentse Ruins, Darap Village, Sewaro Rock Garden, Kanchenjunga National Park, Kaluk, Singshore Bridge, Rimbi River, Khecheopalri Lake, Changey Waterfall, Ravangla, and Kanchenjunga Fall
  • Nearest Airport: Bagdogra Airport, Siliguri
  • Nearest Railway Station: New Jalpaiguri

Gangtok, Sikkim

The cheerful city of Gangtok is one of the most popular hill stations in Northeast India. With mountains shrouded in mist and valleys covered with lush greenery, Gangtok beckons nature lovers, trekking enthusiasts, and photographers. A holiday here relaxes the body, mind, and spirit. Even if you’re not a mountaineering expert, a walk around the hills surrounding Gangtok can give you a clear view of the snow-capped Khangchendzonga Peak. Maybe, it’ll even inspire you to make mountaineering your new hobby.

  • Best Time to Visit: September to October and March to June
  • Key Attractions: Baba Harbhajan Singh Memorial Temple, Magnan, Mahatma Gandhi Marg, Tsomgo Lake, Nathu La Pass, Hanuman Tok, Ganesh Tok, Tashi Viewpoint Kanchenjunga, Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary, Saramsa Garden, Do Drul Chorten, Rumtek Monastery, Enchey Monastery, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Seven Sisters Waterfalls, Phodong Monastery, Himalayan Zoological Park, and Tashiding Monastery
  • Nearest Airport: Bagdogra Airport, Siliguri
  • Nearest Railway Station: New Jalpaiguri
  • Places to Stay: Hotels in Gangtok

Key Takeaways:

  1. “Living Root Bridges in Meghalaya”
    • Unique bioengineering marvels; perfect for eco-tourism enthusiasts.
  2. “Night Safari at Kaziranga National Park”
    • Experience the thrill of spotting wildlife at night in their natural habitat.
  3. “Caving Adventures in Jaintia Hills”
    • Explore the mysterious underground world; ideal for adventure seekers.
  4. “Tea Tasting and Heritage Walks in Darjeeling”
    • Indulge in the rich history and flavors of Darjeeling tea plantations.
  5. “Cultural Immersion in Tribal Villages of Odisha”
    • Gain insight into the traditional lifestyles and customs of local tribes.

Final Thoughts

Northeast India is a captivating destination that promises a unique and unforgettable experience. With its unparalleled natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality, it’s no wonder that the region is fast gaining popularity among travelers. Whether you’re an adventure enthusiast, a nature lover, or a cultural explorer, Northeast India offers a diverse range of activities that will leave you mesmerized and yearning for more.