Expert-Led Group Tour

India Group Tour - Tribes of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh

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16 days

from £4,195pp
  • Explore unspoilt regions of India that are untouched by the 21st century
  • Spend time in the company of the various tribes of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh
  • Journey through breath-taking landscapes, from mountain passes to riverbeds
  • Gain an insight into the 160-year-old tea heritage in Dibrugarh

This is undeniably last frontier country and some of the wildest land in India. Travel through Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland, discover regions of India engulfed in mystery, inhabited by vibrant and zealous people, and journey through landscapes vast and largely explored.

Begin your journey in Arunachal Pradesh, known as ‘the land of dawn-lit mountains’. A land of supreme natural beauty and rich ancient traditions. This region of India feels like an entire world of its own. Nine large Himalayan rivers flow through this area, on their course to the plains of Assam, and each of these form spectacular valleys inhabited by a variety of fascinating tribes. This pioneering journey continues, via Assam, into the state of Nagaland. Among other tribes, Nagaland is home to the fierce Konyak warrior tribe who’s facial tattooing and recent history of headhunting make them an extraordinary people to spend time with. Warm and welcoming they will invite us into their homes and meeting halls – an opportunity that will soon vanish as most of these former headhunters are in their seventies.

As with our other Pioneering Group Tours, this trip will be accompanied by one of the Steppes’ team. This not only means that a friendly face will be there at all times – willing to help out and deal with any issues that might arise – but it also gives us the chance to explore a destination that is just as new for us as it is for you.

This trip will be joined by Joe Parkes, one of Steppes’ India Travel Experts. Joe has travelled extensively in India and has a passion for sharing his knowledge of experience of this magnificent country with others.

Why join this group tour to Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland?

One of the key highlights of this tour is the privileged visits to the local tribes of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. Astoundingly, in a single state as small as Arunachal Pradesh, more than 100 tribes and sub-tribes live here, tracing their indigenous history to faraway places in Mongolia and Southeast Asia.

In Nagaland, spend time in the presence of the Konyak tribe, former head-hunters, where you will be able to spend time sitting talking to the elders – an incredible experience.

Is it safe to travel to Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland?

Yes. Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh are both politically sensitive areas with certain groups campaigning to be a separate state and not part of India. However, this situation rarely impacts on tourism and when it does is more likely to be in the form of peaceful roadblocks or protests rather than anything more sinister. The people of this region are very friendly and welcome tourists. However, please note that unforeseen road closures may mean altering the itinerary.

What will the road conditions be like in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland?

Road conditions are very poor in this region of India, so road journeys may take a long time and are likely to bumpy and windy at times. We have detailed rough journey times in the day to day itinerary, seven hours being the longest journey, from Dibrugarh to Mon. It is advisable to pack a travel pillow or cushion. As above, road closures do happen and this can mean last minute changes to the planned itinerary. All part of a pioneering journey.

What is the accommodation like in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland?

Accommodation in these two areas of north-east India is rather simple but rooms are clean and have private bathrooms. Hot water is sporadic at times and will occasionally be provided in a bucket. It is suggested that you pack a sleeping bag liner and a travel pillow. WIFI is not always available but is surprisingly common.

Is this tour suitable for solo travellers?

Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places does provide security and peace of mind. We handle all the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour Lecturer.

If you are willing to share, we will always do our best to match you up with another solo traveller of the same sex so that you do not have to pay for a single room.

If you would prefer the privacy of your own room and would like this guaranteed, then the single room price supplement will apply.

How fit do I need to be to enjoy this tour?

You need to be relatively fit to enjoy this tour, there will be a number of walks to the local tribal villages, which may be up steep slopes and over uneven ground. In addition, there are several long travel days, which can be tiring, so we have taken this into consideration when rating the activity level for this tour. You will be in remote areas during this trip with limited/basic/no medical facilities.

Please make sure you bring a good comfortable pair of walking shoes as some of the cities and areas we visit will have uneven surfaces.

What is the food like in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland?

The staple food in Arunachal Pradesh is rice along with fish, meat and green vegetables. The Arunachali’s prefer not to have their meat fried, and it is therefore either boiled or smoked. The most common meat is that of an animal called Mithun (Bos frontalis), a member of the cattle family found only in the North East.

Nagaland is the home of the fiery Naga King Chilli, one of the hottest in the world. Naga chilli chutney is everywhere but tread carefully, it is ferocious. Dishes tend to involve pork or chicken and rice but with plenty of fresh local vegetables as well.

This won’t be a tour for ‘foodies’ and eating can get slightly repetitive. It’s worth bringing a few favourite snacks from home e.g. cereal bars, sweets, nuts, as road journeys are long and opportunities to stop can be few and far between. Packed lunches will be provided where possible and where lunch stops at restaurants cannot be guaranteed.

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • Accommodation as indicated
  • Internal flights within India
  • Meals as indicated
  • Transportation in an air-conditioned vehicle
  • Accompanied by Joe Parkes throughout
  • Accompanied by a local English speaking guide
  • Entrance to all sites mentioned
  • Hotel accommodation with meals as stated
  • Gratuities for local guides, drivers and porters

what is excluded

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not mentioned
  • Items of a personal nature

TO ALLOW FLEXIBILITY, OUR GROUP TOURS DO NOT INCLUDE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS AS STANDARD. WE CAN ARRANGE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS ON YOUR BEHALF AND THE ABOVE IS AN INDICATION OF COST, BASED ON RETURN FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM LONDON. ALL INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS FROM THE UK ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Itinerary note
Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland are developing regions for tourism. The roads may be quite bumpy and windy, making journeys slow and tiring. The days will sometimes be long, and temperatures may vary, due to the difference in climate between the coast and highlands. Road closures do happen and this can mean last minute changes to the planned itinerary. All part of a pioneering journey.

It is worth bringing a few favourite snacks from home e.g. cereal bars, sweets, nuts, as road journeys are long and opportunities to stop can be few and far between. Packed lunches will be provided where possible and where lunch stops at restaurants cannot be guaranteed.

Accommodation across this whole part of India is very limited. What is available is of a very basic standard. For the mostpart there is running water and electricity but expect for this to be intermittent in certain places. We have included accommodation that is the best of what is available in each place.

Situated on the northern bank of the Brahmaputra, Tezpur is a beautiful and multifaceted city steeped in mythology and history. The city has an abundance of archaeological sites, hills, lakes and gardens. Its history is further enriched by the mythological romantic story of Usha, the beautiful daughter of King Banasura and Aniruddha, grandson of Lord Krishna. It led to a furious battle of Hari Hara between the Gods, Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna. Truce was made when Usha and Aniruddha got married.


Group welcome dinner
In the evening, there will be a welcome dinner introducing Joe Parkes from Steppes Travel, as well as your local guide, both of whom will travel with you throughout your time in India.


You will be staying at Pride Plaza Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 2

Fly Delhi to Guwahati


Arrival into Guwahati. Transfer to Tezpur.
On arrival into Guwahati, you will be met by your local guide and where you will drive to Tezpur, a journey of around five hours.

Guwahati, in Assam, is a major developing city in East India, and often referred to as the Gateway of the North East. The city is on the banks of the Brahmaputra and has airport links to the main cities. The region of Guwahati is rich in wildlife with Asian elephants, python, tiger and primates.


Arrival into Tezpur
On arrival, transfer to your hotel, where you will have the remainder of the day at leisure.

You may wish to visit Mahabhairab Temple, believed to have been built by King Bana, which has one of the biggest and oldest Shivalingas in the world. A Shivalinga, also known as a lingam, is an abstract representation of the hindu deity Shiva. It attracts thousands of devotees, especially during the Shiv Ratri festival. Other historic temples in the vicinity of Tezpur include Holleshwar, Bhairavi and Rudrapada temple.


Lunch and dinner included.


You will be staying at KRC Palace, bed and breakfast

Day 3

Tezpur to Ziro
Today will involve a long travel day of around eight hours as you travel from Tezpur to Ziro.


Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.


You will be staying at Hotel Blue Pine, bed and breakfast

Day 4

Visit Ziro’s Tribal villages
The next two days you will spend time in the Ziro valley, with the Apatani tribal villages of the Hong, Hari and Hija. These villages are rarely visited by foreign travellers, so it will be a unique experience and an honour to visit them. The people who live here belong to a society untouched by notions of time and money and are completely trusting of each other. The tribes are welcoming but listen to your local guide, who will advise you if and when you can take photographs.


Apatani tribe
Ziro is home to the Apatani tribe, who settled in this region several centuries ago, moving from Tibet. The unique feature of the Apatani tribe is the tattooing of the women's faces and their nose plugs. Just as the tail is the distinctive part of the male dress, so is the nose plug peculiar to the Apatani women. It is the ambition of each woman to wear the largest possible nose plugs, which are made of wood.

The Apatani people design beautiful handloom and handicraft products, besides practising paddy and fish cultivation. The area is biologically rich with a diverse and varied range of flora and fauna from sub-tropical to alpine forest.

One of the most beautiful hill stations of Arunachal Pradesh, Ziro is located in the midst of the pine-clad mountains and is the headquarters of the Lower Subansiri District inhabited by more than 50,000 friendly Apatanis. The region is uneven and dotted with a number of hillocks overlooking the lush paddy fields. On the east, a high ridge demarcates the plateau from the wooded hills of the lower region.


Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.


You will be staying at Hotel Blue Pine, bed and breakfast

Day 6

Ziro to Daporijo
After breakfast, depart Ziro for Daporijo, a journey of around six hours. Enroute visit the beautiful and ethnic tribal villages of the Hill Miri tribe.


Hill Miri
The Hill Miri, also known as the Nyishi, are the largest tribe of Arunachal Pradesh, with an estimated population of around 300,000. They speak a Tibeto-Burman language, but the exact origin of their language is disputed. They are known for their excellent craftsmen of cane and bamboo. The Hill Miri men wear a unique hairstyle, while the women wear cane blouses.


Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.


You will be staying at Singhik Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 7

Daporijo to Aalo
After breakfast, drive down to the picturesque town of Aalo, a journey of around six hours. During the journey take in the stunning scenery and break the journey with a visit to the Darka village, inhabited by Adi Gallong tribe who are part of the Galo central Eastern Himalayan tribe.

Daporijo is a small scenic town with a number of suspension bridges over the Subansiri River made of bamboo and cane, a testimony of rich tribal craftsmanship.


Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.


You will be staying at Hotel West, bed and breakfast

Day 8

Aalo
Spend today exploring the local villages inhabited by the Adi Gallong tribe and experience their rich cultural heritage.

Return to your hotel in the afternoon, where the remainder of the day is at leisure.

Aalo, formerly known as Along, is situated in a picturesque valley at the meeting of the Sipu and Siyom rivers, set against the backdrop of lush hills and one of the oldest towns in this region. It is a popular region for trekking, hiking and angling.


It is also the gateway to Menchuka, a small town located in a picturesque valley near the Indo-Tibet border.


Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.


You will be staying at Hotel West, bed and breakfast

Day 9

Aalo to Pasighat
Today, drive to Pasighat, a journey of around five hours. Drive through stunning mountains, with scenic views of the River Siang. Stop en route to explore the Adi Minyong tribal village, who are known for their rich tribal heritage. Time permitting, take a walk on one of the breathtaking hanging wooden bridges in this region.


Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.


You will be staying at Hotel Serene Abode, bed and breakfast

Day 10

Pasighat to Dibrugarh
Depart Pasighat and drive to Dibrugarh, a journey of around three and a half hours. Drive along India's longest combined rail and road bridge, the Bogibeel Bridge. Built over the mighty Brahmaputra River the bridge is 4.94 kilometres long and was opened in December 2018, after taking 16 years to complete. Continue your drive to Dibrugarh.

Pasighat is Arunachal’s oldest town, founded in 1911. It is referred to as the gateway to Arunachal Pradesh and is in an area of natural beauty, known for its many waterfalls, hanging bridges and mountain cliffs.


Dibrugarh
In the afternoon, take a walk in the nearby tea plantations.

In the evening, enjoy a cultural evening at the Mancotta Bungalow lawn performed by an ethnic dance group. The word 'Chang' literally means on stilts and is an ancient design from Arunachal Pradesh to protect properties from flooding and wild animals.

Assam's original tea city, Dibrugarh is the gateway to Eastern Arunachal Pradesh. Despite this, it has managed to retain some charm from its glory days and is still home to pretty tea gardens. The must-do experience is a stay in a colonial-era tea bungalow retreat and a tour through the rich tea gardens. Dibrugarh is located on the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra River, the starting point of many river cruises.


Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.


You will be staying at Mancotta Chang Bungalow, bed and breakfast

Day 11

Dibrugarh to Mon
Depart Dibrugarh after breakfast and drive to Mon, a journey of around six hours on poor quality, dirt roads. Visit the village of the Konyaks, one of the main Naga tribes. They are easily recognisable from other Naga tribes by their pierced ears and tattoos which they have all over their faces, hands, chests, arms, and calves. They are known for their excellent wood carving, handicrafts and blacksmith skills.

Arrive into Mon in the late afternoon, where you will have the remainder of the day at leisure.


Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.


You will be staying at Thiepha Cottage, bed and breakfast

Day 12

Day Trip to Longwa
This morning drive to Longwa Village, around one and a half hours from Mon, on windy, dirt roads. The unique thing about Longwa is that the inhabitants of the village have dual citizenship. The Indo-Myanmar border passes directly through the village sometimes running through peoples houses. The chief’s house lies one half in India and the other in Myanmar. The villagers don’t need a visa to move around and can roam freely. Longwa is a quiet and serene place with hospitable Naga people. Meet the local Konyaks and see their collections of enemy skulls. Learn about their culture, traditions and history and experience their current way of life. Later this afternoon you return to Mon. 




Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.


You will be staying at Thiepha Cottage, bed and breakfast

Day 13

Mon
Spend today exploring Mon and a number of its surrounding tribal villages, which may include Chui, Shangnyu and Langmeang.


Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.


You will be staying at Thiepha Cottage, bed and breakfast

Day 14

Mon to Sivasagar and onto Dibrugarh
Today, depart on your last road journey from Mon to Dibrugarh, a journey of around six hours.

Stop in Sivasagar and visit the Ahom monuments and temples that encompass the 600-year-old history of the Ahom dynasty. Continue to Shiva Dol and Shiva Sagar, a huge 125-acre water tank that was built in Sibsagar by Queen Ambika in 1734 AD. On its bank are three temples. Shivdol is the most important of these and attracts a large number of devotees on Shivaratri.

Continue to Rang Gharit, Asia's largest amphitheatre that was built as a cultural playground of the Ahom Swargadeos or kings. It was constructed in 1746 during the reign of King Pramatta Singha. The king and his officers would sit in the auditorium and watch indigenous games like wrestling, buffalo fights and more.

Lastly, visit Talatal Ghar, a seven-storied building with four floors below the ground and three floors above the ground. It is an amazing palace built for the Ahom Kings but at the same time an exceptional architectural concept given the period of history in which it was built.

Arrive into Dibrugarh in the late afternoon with the remainder of the day at leisure.


Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.


You will be staying at Mancotta Chang Bungalow, bed and breakfast

Day 15

Dibrugarh departure
After breakfast, travel to a local tea estate for a tea tasting of different types of tea grown and produced in the region.

Gain an insight into the 160 years old heritage tea garden and learn all about tea, its origin, how it is grown and its quality. The estates come alive with teams of colourfully dressed tea pickers, predominantly ladies, who pluck the delicate buds and leaves. The harvest is taken every day to the factory where it undergoes an age-old process of being turned into the finished product. All stages of the process are carefully controlled to ensure that the product which leaves the factory is of the highest quality, a quality that has made Assam tea world famous.

Depart for the airport in the late afternoon where you will be transferred to connect with your onward flight.

Fly Dibrugarh to Delhi


Breakfast and lunch included.


You will be staying at Pride Plaza Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 16

Day at leisure in Delhi


Delhi may be one of the world's largest metropolises, but architectural wonders - new and old - fill the city, hidden beneath Delhi's urban sprawl. Mughal treasures, including the Red Fort and Jama Masjid, are complemented by more recent additions to Delhi's architectural heritage, such as the stunning Lotus and Akshardham Temples. Meanwhile, contemporary Delhi thrives in Connaught Place, which with its colonially-designed buildings, is the most westernised part of the centre. Globalisation is in evidence, with brand names splashed across every storefront.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of India

Joe Parkes, Travel Expert

"It was extremely helpful to work in conjunction with Joe and his much more up to date knowledge of India and arrive at an itinerary which we were happy with. We enjoyed the whole trip and probably what made it special for us was the fact that all the arrangements worked so well and we really didn’t have to worry about anything at all. Even when we decided to make a small change it was dealt with efficiently and promptly. We can't think of anything that would have made our trip more enjoyable."

"The service from start to finish has been excellent. Joe was very quick to respond to any queries and put together an excellent itinerary at short notice."

"A pleasure to deal with Joe. Efficient, helpful, knowledgeable and fun!"

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Kate Hitchen, Travel Expert

"Kate was calm and bent over backwards to accommodate my jitters about going to Kashmir in the light of tighter FCO guidelines just a few days before our departure. She was absolutely correct in advising against what I thought we should do. Several times during the holiday we said that, 'Kate was dead right about that!'."

"We asked for a rather particular kind of Indian holiday. You delivered it in full. Highlights? Honestly, each day was a highlight in itself. "

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Tour expert

Joe Parkes

Joe Parkes
Only sitting still when at work Joe is a keen runner, cyclist and open water swimmer in his free time. Travel has long been a passion and with over a decade arranging trips to the Indian Subcontinent Joe has travelled the length and breadth of the Indian Subcontinent – equally at home shinning up a coconut tree in Kerala as he is discussing the merits of his beloved Liverpool Football Club with a monk in Bhutan. When not travelling, or racing around in the outdoors, Joe loves spending time with his wife and little boy.

Despite having travelled to India on at least twelve separate occasions, Joe has spent very little time exploring the far north-east of India. A brief foray to Nagaland in 2018 inspired this pioneering journey through both Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh that promises to be a real adventure.
Enquire about this Expert Led tour:

Group Size:

Min 6 / Max 10

Tour Expert:

Joe Parkes

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