Buckle up for a big adventure with these 7 exhilarating road trips that make up some of the region’s best scenic drives.
“Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.” ― Erol Ozan
Road trips in Northeast India are journeys that take you through some of India’s most sublime end-of-the-world landscapes. Having only recently made its way onto Indian travel itineraries as an offbeat and budget-friendly destination, Northeast India has a rich and diverse historical, natural and cultural legacy and the best way to experience it is through a road trip.
Exploring this pristine region with your own wheels gives you the freedom to detour to crystalline mountain lakes, stop to gawk at the gorgeous green hillside, and pull over wherever the aromas of fresh food beckons.
If you’ve got wheels, wanderlust and a spot of time, here’s some adventure fuel – the best road trips in Northeast India!
1. Shillong to Cherrapunji
The road from Shillong to Cherrapunji is unbelievably picturesque. Winding through millennia-old forests, the road treats you to spectacular views and some seriously refreshing weather. On the way, stop at the beautiful bridge across the Mawkdok Valley (you can also try zip-lining here). Once at Cherrapunji, visit the Mawsmai limestone caves, the Seven Sister Waterfalls, the Thangkarang Park and the Nohkalikai waterfalls.
2. Guwahati to Moreh
This is an once in a lifetime road trip passing through some of the most spectacular mountains and valleys in Assam, Meghalaya and Manipur. The road from Guwahati to Moreh is rife with cultural and natural attractions , with some history, whimsy, and adventure thrown into the mix. Here’s some more good news. There is a trilateral highway being built from Moreh in Manipur to Mae Sot in Thailand that is expected to be completed by 2016!
3. Jorhat to Mechuka
From Jorhat, the gateway to upper Assam, the road rolls north to Mechuka, passing through the craggy forested hills, vast meadows and tiny hamlets. This is a road which transforms a routine adventure trip into a mesmerizing cross-cultural experience. The destination village, Mechuka, presents a picture worthy of a postcard. Do visit Mechuka’s tribal weavers who skillfully use primitive loin looms to turn thread directly into wearable clothes and utility items.
4. Tezpur to Tawang
The stretch from Tezpur to Tawang passes through picturesque virgin forests and lush green valleys. The drive, although a little rough, can be eased into by stopping over at Bhalukpong, which is a gorgeous valley town on the way. When in Tawang, don’t miss the butter tea and morning prayers at the Galden Namgyal Lhatse monastery, which is the second largest monastery in the world.
5. Gangtok to Tsomgo Lake
Tsomgo Lake, locally known as the Changu Lake, is located 12310 m above sea level and is approximately a 50 km scenic (and scary!) drive from Gangtok. Fortify yourself on the way by making frequent pit stops at the small roadside food joints that serve hot and spicy noodles along with freshly brewed mint tea. Also, check out one of the world’s highest ATMs at Thegu and the Indo-Chinese trading post at Sherathang.
6. Kalimpong to Zuluk
With 32 wild hairpin turns and bends, the stretch between Kalimpong and Zuluk is made for those who love an adrenaline rush. This drive, with its jaw-dropping scenery and miles of winding roads, is sure to make you go gaga over the beauty of the region. Taking out your cameras and capturing the views is definitely inevitable, but for a change, enjoy the serenity and the simplicity of a rustic picnic beside the River Reshi at Reshikhola. Remember to pick up your trash, if any, when you leave!