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

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.
In the morning, fly to Imphal (just over 1 hour). Visit the unique Ima Keithal, a market which is run solely by female traders that has been operating for hundreds of years. The market likely began in the 16th-century, when local men left the village en masse due to forced labour policies and women began trading to survive. Female activism has a strong and vibrant history in the region, including anti-colonial protests of the 20th century and, more recently, protests against sexual assault perpetrated by members of the military. Wander around stalls where traders hawk fish, vegetables, crafts made from bamboo and mtal, traditional phaneks (sarongs), innephis (stoles/dupattas), indigenous herbs, bangles and more. In your free time, consider visiting the Shri Shri Govindaji Temple.
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, home to Loktak, the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India. Known as the only 'floating park' in the world, Keibul Lamjao is made up of floating plant materials that have decomposed and solodified over time. As the home of 233 different species of aquatic plants, more than 100 species of birds, and 425 species of animals, it's also an incredible place to spend a day exploring. Look out for 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, stop in at Kigwema Village, a traditional Naga village. The Naga people, who are native to northeastern India and northwest Myanmar, are made up of a variety of tribes which share similar customs and warrior roots. Continue to Kohima, the hilltop capital of Nagaland. 
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, where the Angami Nagas repeatedly held off British forces who attempted 'punitive expeditions' into their hills. In 1897, after an invading British officer was killed, a bloody war raged for a year before a peace treaty was 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, establishingthe Khonoma Nature Conservation and Tragopan Sanctuary. In the afternoon, visit Naga Heritage Village for a glimpse of traditional tribal lifestyle and culture, as well as some historic remnants from the 19h-century British invasion. If time permits, visit the World War II memorial.
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 one-horned rhinos. It's one of the last parts of eastern India that's still largely untouched by a human presence. Remember to prepare for this long travel day by loading up some good podcasts, packing a book or asking people for their best car games. 
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.
Afterward breakfast, make the 7-hour drive to Shillong. You'll arrive in time for an orientation walk with your leader. For dinner, the street food in town is delectable, so perhaps head out tonight for some momos (dumplings) and chutney or local specialty jadoh (spicy and sour rice).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
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
  • Shillong - Single Root Bridge
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. Overnight train travel in India is a real experience, and many travellers find they make some of their fondest memories on board.  
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Rise and shine as the train pulls into New Jalpaiguri at around 6 am. Make tracks for Darjeeling (approximately 3 hours) and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure in this lovely Himalayan mountain town. If you have the energy, take a stroll around to check out colonial-era architecture. If you're feeling the effects of a few long travel days, maybe just grab  cup of the famous local brews and take  gander at the spectacular views of the Himalayas (weather depending, of course).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Darjeeling - Tiger Hill
  • Darjeeling - Toy Train ride
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Shake off the sleep with an early morning walk to Tiger Hill (approximately 1 hour). 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 your leisure. In the afternoon, transfer to Ghoom and board the Darjeeling Toy Train. Winding your way through the mount this 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 your 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 Expedition 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), Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night)

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

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

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