Explore India’s lushest and most remote corner

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 eclectic 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 marshlands of Keibul National Park, 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.


Start
Kolkata, India
Finish
Kolkata, India
Destination
India
Style
Original
Theme
Expedition
Code
HHSI
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Embark on a two jeep safari drives in 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 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 romantic than a steam-powered locomotive ride.

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 metres 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.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019.
View the 2020 itinerary
Namaste! Welcome to Kolkata. Vibrant Kolkata is a hub for Bengali theatre, dance, poetry, art, music and film, and there's usually plenty to choose from at the city's many venues. Your Intrepid adventure begins with a welcome meeting a 6 pm. If you arrive with time to spare, consider visiting the grand Victoria Memorial and spending some time relaxing in the attached park where locals sip chai and chat.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

See our guide to Kolkata here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/kolkata-travel-guide/
In the morning, fly to Imphal (approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes). It's located in the state of Manipur. Visit the unique Ima Keithal Women's Market, which is run solely by women. The largest of its kind in Asia, possibly the world, this market is a superb example of women's empowerment. It is difficult to say when it was established, though many say it came into being sometime in the 16th century. Traditionally women in Manipur have always been at the forefront of politics and fighting inequality. Around 4000 women traders sell all manner of goods here: fish, vegetables, bamboo and metal craft, traditional phaneks (sarongs) and innephis (stoles/dupattas), indigenous herbs, bangles and jewellery.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Imphal - Ima Keithel Women's Market
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy a full day excursion to Keibul Lamjao National Park, which is home to Loktak Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India. This iconic lake is known for its circular floating swamps and is the only 'floating national park' in the world. It's the home of 233 different species of aquatic plants, more than 100 species of birds, and 425 species of animals, including Indian pythons, sambar, barking deer, civets, monkeys and gibbons.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Depart Imphal in the morning, travelling by road to Kohima (approximately 6 hours). On the way there, you'll stop in at Kigwema Village, where Naga people reside. The Naga, a people native to north-eastern India and northwest Myanmar, are made up of a variety of tribes which share similar customs and warrior roots.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kigwema Village visit
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Set off in the morning on a half-day excursion to Khonoma Village. In Khonoma, the Angami Nagas fought a fierce battle against the British, who came in an expedition to these Naga Hills in 1879. The inhabitants of Khonoma place a lot of emphasis on wildlife conservation and have established The Khonoma Nature Conservation and Tragopan Sanctuary. In the afternoon, visit Naga Heritage Village for a glimpse of tribal lifestyle and culture of various Naga tribes from all over Nagaland. Also check out the World War II memorial (if there's time).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Khonoma Village visit
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
In the morning, drive to Kaziranga (approximately 10-12 hours). This is your gateway to Kaziranga National Park, which hosts two thirds of the world's great one-horned rhinoceroses. It's one of the last parts of eastern India that's still largely untouched by a human presence.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kaziranga National Park - Morning Jeep Safari
  • Kaziranga National Park - Evening Jeep Safari
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Embark on an early-morning jeep safari out in Kaziranga National Park. Look out for elephants and other wildlife such as deer, wild boar and of course the famed one-horned rhino. Local birdlife to look out for are eagles, parakeets, lovely blue-tinged Indian rollers and many more. Later in the morning, depart Kaziranga and drive to Shillong (approximately 7 hours). 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kaziranga National Park - Jeep safari
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Make the 3-hour drive from Shillong to Mawlynnong. 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. Take a walk around the gleaming, litter-free streets – where residents are Khasi – then make a 1.5-hour trek to the nearby living root bridge. It’s an awesome example of the tree sculpting practised by the Khasi people. Stop at Dawki and admire the crystal-clear waters of the Umngot River, as well as the border with Bangladesh. Return to Shillong. If time (and group energy) permits, it may be possible to walk to Shillong Peak for views over the town.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cherapunjee - David Scott trail & Nokhalika waterfall
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Please note that smoking is banned in Mawlynnong.
Enjoy a morning of leisure to relax and unwind. Depart Shillong and travel to Guwahati (approximately 3 hours). From there, take an overnight train to New Jalpaiguri, departing at around 10 pm.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Arrive in New Jalpaiguri at around 6 am. Drive to Darjeeling (approximately 3 hours) and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. If you have the energy, check out colonial-era architecture, visit Buddhist monasteries, or just stroll the mall. Alternatively, rest your legs and relax in this lovely Himalayan mountain town.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Darjeeling - Tiger Hill
  • Darjeeling - Toy Train ride
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Check out our Darjeeling guide here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/top-5-things-to-do-in-darjeeling/
Early in the morning, walk to Tiger Hill (approximately 1 hour) to catch a glorious sunrise over the snowy peak of Kanchenjunga – the world’s third highest mountain. In the afternoon, transfer to Ghoom to board the Darjeeling Toy Train and enjoy a ride of a lifetime, winding your way through the mountains. The journey on the Toy Train, a classic steam-powered locomotive, is probably the most romantic way to experience the Himalayan landscape.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Head to Gangtok in the morning (approximately 4 hours). 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. Perhaps head to local viewpoint and, if it's clear, spot the majestic peak of Khangchendzonga in the distance.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Sprawling down a mountain ridge, this town is a haven for Tibetan Buddhists. Visit the monastery at Rumtek and perhaps hike to the old Gompa a little further down the road. In spare time, perhaps pick up some local tea, or explore the Tibetology museum. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Gangtok - Rumtek Monastery
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Drive to the airport in Bagdogra (approximately 3 hours), then fly back to Kolkata (approximately 1 hour). If the hustle and bustle is 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
The trip comes to an end this morning.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

No meals are included on this tour

Transport

Plane, Private vehicle, Heritage Train, Overnight sleeper train, Boat, Metro, Taxi

Accommodation

Hotel (14 nights)

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
  • Kaziranga National Park - Jeep safari
  • Cherapunjee - David Scott trail & Nokhalika waterfall
  • Darjeeling - Tiger Hill
  • Darjeeling - Toy Train ride
  • Gangtok - Rumtek Monastery

Dates & availability

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Important notes

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. Please bring 5 passport size photographs for your permits in Nagaland and Sikkim.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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