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Impressions of Northeast India Itinerary

Day 1: Kolkata
Day 2: Imphal
Day 3: Imphal
Day 4: Kohima
Day 5: Kohima
Day 6: Kazaringa
Day 7: Kazaringa
Day 8: Cherrapunji
Day 9: Cherrapunji

Day 10: Night train
Day 11: Darjeeling
Day 12: Darjeeling
Day 13: Gangtok
Day 14: Gangtok
Day 15: Kolkata
Day 16:
Tour ends

Website, Images and text Steve Davey/stevedavey.com 1990 - 2023

Land arrangements are sub-contracted to Intrepid Travel, who have many years experience in running small group adventures.

Bookings are made through the Intrepid Tailor Made Dept. in London. Contact Steve Davey for information

INTREPIDPRIMARYHORIZONTALREDRGB

item15This tour is led by Steve Davey - a professional photographer, whose work appears in publications all over the world. He is the author of the bestselling Unforgettable Places To See Before You Die (BBC Books). Steve recently published Footprint Travel Photography, which covers everything that you would ever want to know about travelling with a camera. Click for more.

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Highlights of this trip

• Thriving city of Kolkata

• Tribes of Nagaland

• Rumtek Monastery

• Cherrapunji 'living bridges'

• Toy train in Darjeeling

• Kazaringa National Park

• Extensive photographic tuition

tour summary

tour itinerary

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Included in the trip price

• 14 nights hotel accommodation

• 1 nights overnight train

• 14 breakfasts

• 2 lunches

• 3 dinners

• Group arrival transfer

• Kolkata-Imphal flight

• Bagdogra-Kolkata flight

• 2 Kazaringa jeep safaris

Ima Keithal Market

Kigwema Village visit

Khonoma Village visit

• Living bridge walk

Mwallynong Village visit

Dwaki Village visit

Darjeeling Toy Train

Ghoom Monastery visit

• Tiger Hill sunrise

• Darjeeling visits

• Rumtek Monastery visit

Private vehicles as per itinerary

• English Speaking leader

Expert photographic tuition

Printable version of itinerary

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Start: 13 Nov. 2023

End: 28 Nov. 2023

Code: IONE23

Variable price structure.
Prices from:

8 pax 3095 pp
9 pax 3050 pp
10 pax 2995 pp
11 pax 2945 pp
12 pax 2895 pp

excl. flights, based on roomshare

Info about variable pricing

Min 8, max 12 people

Places left: 0

Trip is full

Trip is to be confirmed.

Single supplement: 750

Estimated current
flight cost 750

Impressions of Northeast India itinerary

 

The full itinerary of our unique travel photography tour to Kolkata and Northeast India with land arrangements and ATOL Bonding by Intrepid Travel, led by professional photographer, Steve Davey.

 

Day 1: Arrival - Kolkata

Welcome to India!

Arrive at Kolkata International Airport and meet with your representative who will assist by transferring you to your hotel. Standard Check in time at the hotel 14:00 Hours

Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) is the capital of India's West Bengal state. Founded as an East India Company trading post, it was India's capital under the British Raj from 1773–1911. Today it’s known for its grand colonial architecture, art galleries and cultural festivals. Kolkata is one of the most populated cities of India. Kolkata used to be one of the most important cities politically during the British rule, which has resulted in architectural influences. You can experience them with The Victoria Memorial, Fort William, Writer's, and many more such historical buildings. The city is famously known as the Land of Mother Teresa and Rabindra Nath Tagore. The city is centred on the east bank of the Hugli (Hooghly) River, once the main channel of the Ganges (Ganga) River, about 96 miles (154 km) upstream from the head of the Bay of Bengal.

Kolkata ’s culinary scene is also deliciously diverse, and after your welcome meeting you will head out with your leader and small group for your first taste. Dine at a wonderful restaurant specializing in seafood and local cuisine and celebrate the beginning of a new adventure.

Depending on our arrival time, we can set out to explore this most beguiling of Indian cities.

Arrival Transfer: Included on group basis

Meals included: Welcome Dinner

Accommodation: Siamton Inn or similar

 

Day 2: Kolkata – Imphal

In the morning, transfer to the airport to board a flight to Imphal.

Flight: Indigo Flight 6E-6514 CCU – IMF (0935 Hours – 1055 Hours)

Note: Flight timings are subject to change. Domestic Baggage Limit is 15 kgs. Check-in baggage and 7 Kgs Hand Baggage.

Upon arrival visit the unique Ima Keithal, a market that is run solely by female traders and 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 metal, traditional phaneks (sarongs), innephis (stoles/dupattas), indigenous herbs, bangles and more.

In your free time, consider visiting the Shri Shri Govindaji Temple.

Included Activities: Ima Keithal market

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: The Classic Hotel or similar

 

Day 3: Imphal

Meals included: Breakfast

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 solidified 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.

Included Activities: Keibul Lamjao National Park

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: The Classic Hotel or similar

 

Day 4: Imphal – Kohima

After breakfast leave Imphal and drive to Kohima (approximately 06 hours).

On the way there, stop in at Kigwema Village, a traditional Naga village. The Naga people, who are the Indigenous people of north-eastern India and northwest Myanmar, are made up of a variety of tribes that share similar customs and warrior roots. Continue to Kohima, the hilltop capital of Nagaland. Upon arrival check in at the hotel.

Included Activities: Kigwema Village Visit

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: De Oriental Grand or similar

 

Day 5: Kohima

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 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, establishing Khonoma Nature Conservation and Tragopan Sanctuary. In the afternoon, visit Naga Heritage Village for a glimpse of the traditional tribal lifestyle and culture, as well as some historic remnants from the 19th-century British invasion. If time permits, visit the World War II memorial.

Have a local lunch today experiencing traditional Naga cuisine consisting of rice (local variety), stew & boiled vegetable dishes (hinkevji, rosep aon), pickle (tathu), chutney (world famous chilli - bhut jolokia), 2 Non veg curry or smoked (fish and chicken or pork), rice pudding and rice beer. The preparation are with herbs and plants consisting of bamboo shoot, and also fermented meat or fish

Included Activities:
Khonoma Village visit
Local lunch

Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch

Accommodation: De Oriental Grand or similar

 

Day 6: Kohima – Kaziranga

After the breakfast transfer to Kaziranga (approximately 10-12 hours’ drive)

Kaziranga, the World Heritage Site is the oldest park in Assam & is located on the banks of the Brahmaputra River. Kaziranga National Park is a natural habitat for conservation of biologically diverse flora & fauna. It is inhabited by the world's largest population of one-horned rhinoceroses besides sheltering about 15 species of India's threatened mammals. There are numerous other major wildlife fauna.

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Dhanshree Resort or similar

 

Day 7: Kaziranga National Park

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Kaziranga National Park is one of the last areas in eastern India undisturbed by a human presence. It is inhabited by the world's largest population of one-horned rhinoceroses, as well as many mammals, including tigers, elephants, panthers and bears, and thousands of birds. The Park is open from November to April.

Visit Kaziranga National Park, where two-thirds of the world's magni#cent one-horned rhinoceroses reside, to take part in a thrilling jeep safari. Jeep safari in the Central Range. With Kohora as the entry point, the Central Range covers the Daphlang and Kathpora. Observe the rarest animals and more than 30 different species of mammals. This park has divided into 4 different zones. One can capture the wildlife photography.

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

Special information:
We require a scanned copy of your passport bio page at time of booking to secure a permit for your Safari. The safety of our travellers is our highest concern, and your tour leader/Guide has the authority to cancel or reschedule the jeep safari if they believe the vehicles available do not meet our safety standards.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Dhanshree Resort or similar

 

Day 8: Kaziranga National Park - Cherrapunji

After breakfast, leave Kaziranga and drive towards Cherrapunji (approximately 07 -08 hours drive).

Cherrapunjee, also known as Sohra, is a high-altitude town in the northeast Indian state of Meghalaya. It's known for its living root bridges, made from rubber trees. To the northeast, Mawkdok Dympep Valley View Point overlooks verdant gorges. In the surrounding hills, the Noh-Kalikai, Dain-Thlen and Kynrem waterfalls plunge from forested clifftops. South of town, Mawsmai Cave is illuminated to show its stalagmites.

Arrive and check in at the hotel. Rest of the day is free.

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Royal View Resort or similar

 

Day 9: Cherrapunji

Morning after breakfast drive to Mwallynong, the cleanest village in Asia, also known as 'God's own Garden'. With over 80 households, the village gives the ambiance of walking in a well-maintained park! Climb the 80 ft Sky Walk at Mawlynnong village for a bird's eye view of the Village, the plantations, and faraway plains of Bangladesh.

This will be followed by a 1.5-hour hike to the nearby living root bridge. It’s an awesome example of the tree sculpting practiced 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 Cherrapunji by evening

Included Activities:
Cherrapunji – Single Root Bridge
Mwallynong Village
Dawki village (only if time permits)

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Royal View Resort or similar

 

Day 10: Cherrapunji - Guwahati - New Jalpaiguri (Overnight Train)

Enjoy a morning of leisure to relax and unwind. Depart Cherrapunji and travel to Guwahati (approximately 4 hours).

From there, take an overnight train to New Jalpaiguri, departing at around 10 pm.

Train: Avadh Assam Express train no. 15909, Guwahati – New Jalpaiguri (22:00 – 05:35+1 Hours)

Train arrives on the following day.

Class: Air conditioned third class sleeper coach

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Overnight on board the train

 

Day 11: New Jalpaiguri – Darjeeling

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 the colonial-era architecture. If you're feeling the effects of a few long travel days, maybe just #nd a spot to enjoy a cuppa as you gaze at the spectacular views of the Himalayas (weather-depending, of course).

Standing high in the Himalayas at an altitude of 2134m, ‘Dorje Ling’, or place of the Thunderbolt, offers breath-taking views of snow-capped mountain peaks, with the Kanchendzonga rising higher than all the others. Often referred to as the “Queen of the Hills”, it remains just as alluring with its tiny waterfalls, little villages and a narrow gauge railway track. Surrounded by World Famous Tea Gardens and snow capped mountains, Darjeeling remains one of the most exotic destinations. Graeme Westlake in his book ‘ An introduction to hill stations on India’ refers to Darjeeling as having “A view Scarcely Unrivalled on Earth”.

Meals included: None

Accommodation: White Yak or similar

Day 12: Darjeeling

Early morning visit Tiger Hill for sunrise and back.

Tiger Hill: It is 13 kms from Darjeeling and one can see beautiful sunrise and Himalayan Range like Kanchandzonga , Mount Everest etc. One can see the horizon changing colours just before sunrise and then the entire Himalayan range turn golden. It is truly a majestic sight.

Breakfast at the hotel and then go to enjoy a toy train ride up to Ghoom then visit Ghoom Monastery (Subject to operation of this train & availability of the seats)

Toy Train: The spectacular landscape unfolds as the 2-foot gauge Darjeeling Himalayan railway, opened in 1881, labours at about 10 mph criss-crossing the road. It has tiny 4-wheel locomotives (some over 100 years old) like living legends. One can experience the sound, smell and romance of a bygone era. DHR is a work of genius and technological achievement of 1881. It has social and cultural importance. It is beautiful and has outstanding universal appeal. Based on its unique features, it is considered to be of lasting significance to mankind.

Note: Ticket window for Toy Train opens 120 days prior to date of travel as per railway guidelines and are easily sold out, thus, we would require full name, age and gender of all passengers to secure these.

Ghoom Monastery - This is oldest Monastery in the area which was built in 1875 and one can see the image of Mythey Buddha 15ft. height

Also visit Tibetan Self- Help Centre Or Refugee Centre (Closed on Sunday). This institute is run by Tibetan Refugees to preserve their handicrafts and one can see making of Tibetan Carpets, Leather work, Paintings and Wooden work etc.

Visit Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (Closed on Thursday):- The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute was started in Darjeeling when Tenzing Norgay climbed Everest to give training to learn Mountaineering and other adventure sports related to mountaineering and in that Institute one can see equipment etc.used by Mr. Tenzing Norgay and Everest Museum having complete details on Everest.

Included Activities:
Tiger Hill visit
Toy train Ride
Ghoom Monastery
Tibetan self-help center
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: White Yak or similar

 

Day 13: Darjeeling - Gangtok

This morning leave Darjeeling and drive towards Gangtok. (Approximately 4 hours’ drive)

At an altitude of 1750m, Gangtok became the state capital in the mid-19th century and has undergone rapid development since then. The downtown area is dominated by huge government buildings decorated with traditional Buddhist symbols. Gangtok is also a resting ground for people traveling to North Sikkim. Surrounded by Monasteries and Orchids, Gangtok is truly a travellers delight.

Upon arrival, have some time at leisure to rest or explore.

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Bamboo Retreat or similar

 

Day 14: Gangtok

After breakfast visit Rumtek Monastery.

Rumtek Monastery: 24 Kms. from Gangtok is the awe–inspiring Rumtek Monastery, the world Dharma chakra Centre and the seat of His Holiness, the Gyalwa Karmapa, who is the head of the Kagyupa order of Tibetan Buddhism. Behind the main monastery is the lavishly decorated Karmae Nalanda Institute of Buddhist Studies, which attracts students from the world over. Opposite the entrance to the Institute is a small hall featuring a beautiful jewel studded Chorten the Golden Stupa, which contains the ashes and remains of His Holiness the xvi Gyalwa Karmapa. According to legend, it is believed that after years of meditation, the first Karmapa was said to have been visited by ten thousand fairies who came to congratulate him each of whom offered a strand of her hair as a gift. These were said to have been woven into a black hat, which was passed down and is still at the Rumtek Monastery today. It is said that unless held on to by the wearer (who of course, cannot be anyone else but the Karmapa) or kept in a box, the hat would fly away.

Rest of the day is free.

Included Activities:
Gangtok – Rumtek Monastery

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Bamboo Retreat or Similar

 

Day 15: Gangtok - Bagdogra - Kolkata

After the breakfast drive to Bagdogra airport to take the flight for Kolkata.

Flight: Go First Flight G8-537 IXB – CCU (14:40Hours – 15:50 Hours)

Note: Flight timings are subject to change. Domestic Baggage Limit is 15 kgs Check-in baggage and 7 Kgs Hand Baggage.

On arrival at Kolkata, transfer to the hotel for the overnight stay.

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Siamton Inn or similar

 

Day 16: Tour ends

This morning after breakfast, transfer to the airport to connect your international flight back home, or you can arrange with Intrepid to stay for a day or more longer, to give yourself time to explore this incredible city further.

There are no other activities planned for the day if you wish to stay a night in Kolkata, please let us know and we can make arrangements accordingly.

Standard Check out time at the hotel 12:00 Hours

Departure Transfer: Included on group basis

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Although we have set out an itinerary above, there are always a number of gaps and things that are organised on the ground. One of the things that we specialise on my trips is wringing the most photo-opportunities out of any trip. In essence, this is the basis of all of our trips: it is not just the things that are listed on the itinerary that are the things that people remember, we are always seeking out things to stop for, engage with and photograph. There are a number of times when we have built in time to be flexible.

This is officially an exploratory trip: Steve has visited Kolkata on a number of occasions, but hasn't been to the other regions of this trip. We have secured the services of the incomparable Chetan as the local leader though, and he is experienced in the area. I am confident that we will be able to work together in our usual well-practiced way to create an incredible experience – even if it might be a little less polished than usual.

In some ways this is a positive advantage: seeing the way that Steve approaches a less familiar location gives a fantastic insight into how you can approach photographing new places that you travel to in future. If we simply usher you between pre-planned photo-opportunities, then you will learn less about how to take pictures yourself in future.

This trip has worked out more expensive than we had hoped. This is in part due to the higher costs of travel in the region, including taking two internal flights; but unfortunately due to the recent issues with Sterling following the UKs ridiculous mini-budget last year. The way that Intrepid prices up trips means that it will take some time for this shock to work its way through the system.

The single supplement has also come out rather high on this trip. Unfortunately this is a problem with any trip to India, where there is seldom such a thing as a discount for a single room. The single supplement on this trip is exactly what we are charged for a single place, and so there is nothing that we can do about it. It des mean though that we are simply unable to have any one in a single room without paying the supplement.

On this trip we will be covering some long distances. There is no way to avoid this. The reward will be the places that we are able to visit, but also the sheer fascination of being on the road in India and being able to get some inkling of just how vast and varied the country is.

 

To cope with the challenge of travel in the post-Covid era, we have introduced a variable pricing policy. Traditionally we have always priced our trips to be full, in order to keep prices as keen as possible. This means that dropping even a couple of places can severely affect the viability of a trip: more than that means we are running at a loss.

Rather than hike prices across the board to cover ourselves for people dropping out we have instituted this policy. The price varies per person, so if people drop out before paying the balance of the trip, but without us having the chance to replace them, then we are covered. In essence, this makes it more likely that the trip will still go ahead, and that we won't have to cancel the departure!

When you book a trip, you should assume and be prepared to pay the higher 8 person price. Obviously if the trip goes ahead with this number then you will benefit from more personal attention with your photography. Once we have the final payments in, and it is too late for people to pull out then we will notify you of the final price and action any refunds due to the actual numbers of people on the tour.

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