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Flowers at Market, Calcutta, India

Kolkata and Eastern India

Explore thriving tea estates, mingle with tribes and explore the colonial past of majestic Kolkata.

Travelling to Kolkata is considered by many to be discovering the country’s cultural hub. Spend a little time here and gain insight into how 13-plus million people live together before stepping off into the surrounding regions. 


It’s all here. Things to see and do, places to explore and moments to discover.

Private Houseboat in Assam

Experience rural Assam on board a private houseboat, fully crewed including a chef and host. Choose your route from a single day to three nights on the MV Rudra Singh.

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Iconic Indian Railway Journeys

Ride the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. Experience the foothills by Indian rail.

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Darjeeling Toy Train

From Darjeeling to Ghoom Monastery, ride the classic, toy train.


Visit this thriving city and learn about its colonial past.


Visit the historical hill station of Darjeeling and learn of our colonial past.

Sunrise over Khangchenzonga

Watch sunrise over the third highest mountain in the world, Khangchenzonga.

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Darjeeling, India
Darjeeling, India
Bhutia Busty Gompa, Darjeeling, India
Darjeeling, India


Visitors tend to retreat from Kolkata and the steamy plains to enjoy the cooler climes of these beautiful regions. Reaching Darjeeling in West Bengal and beyond into Sikkim is achieved by either an overnight train from Kolkata or a short flight to Bagdogra followed by a three-hour drive.

The old colonial summer retreat of Darjeeling is a hugely popular destination, surrounded by spectacular views, lush tea estates and thickly covered forests. Darjeeling itself is now rather crowded, dirty and noisy however one can stay just outside in some glorious little home-stays such as Glenburn Tea Estate and make day trips into the town. The idyllic setting and stunning views of the Kangchendzonga range are well worth the visit.

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Sunrise at Mount Kanchenjunga, Sikkim, India
Sikkim, India
Yuksom Nature Trail, Kanchenjunga National Park, Sikkim, India
Sikkim, India
Terraced Fields, Sikkim, India
Sikkim, India
Yak, Tsomgo Lake, Gangtok, Sikkim, India
Gangtok, India


Continuing across the border from West Bengal you enter Sikkim. This state is renowned for its rich variety of plants and flowers as well as its ethnically diverse population. Sikkim is an orchid lover’s paradise while the monasteries of Rumtek and Pemayangtse are just two among a wealth of fascinating centres of Buddhism in the state. Organic farming and ecotourism have really taken off here and serious trekkers are exploring the less developed routes on offer.

Glimpse of the Golden hour in Koliabhomora Ghat, Brahmaputra River, Tezpur, Assam, India
Tezpur, India
The Rajmahal, Assam Bengal Navigation, India
ABN Rajmahal, Farakka, India
MV Rudra Singha, Brahmaputra, Assam, India
Rhino in kaziranga national park
One horned rhino in national park, India


Head east from Kolkata by plane and fly to Guwahati or Dibrugarh, the eastern state of Assam to spend time cruising on the mighty Brahmaputra River. There are some excellent boat options on which you can spend four, seven or 10 nights onboard exploring this far-flung part of India. For wildlife enthusiasts, stay at Diphlu River Lodge and visit the excellent Kaziranga National Park, home to the endangered one-horned rhino. Assam is renowned for tea production. Every year in December the tea planters come together and celebrate with a Tea Festival.

Naga Boy, Nagaland, India
Mon, India

Nagaland, Meghalaya and Arunchal Pradesh

Better known for the Hornbill Festival every December, Nagaland is also rich in history.  The Hornbill Festival celebrates the rich culture of Nagaland. This annual melange of cultural displays from all 16 tribes of Nagaland, known as the last head-hunters, includes colourful pageants showcasing the cultural treasures of the Land of the Nagas.

You can reach Nagaland from Assam if you wish to combine the land of tea with tribes. We are fond of Phejin Konyak who is a fascinating lady, owner of the Konyak Tea Retreat and great-granddaughter of the infamous tattooed head hunters of the Konyak Nagas.

Kohima, the state capital, is home to one of the most important battles of World War II. It is home to the WWII cemetery and museum. Walk Kohima Ridge, the site of one of the bloodiest of all battles fought between the British and Japanese.

Neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh was called the North-East Frontier Agency by the British, it was effectively a no-go zone. Today you can reach Debang valley from Assam. The Reh festival is celebrated every February by the local Mishmi tribal villages. Wakro is home to the Mishmis,  a Mongoloid tribe with Tibetan-Burmese origin. The abundance of natural beauty, colourful and charming tribes and ancient archaeological sites make the place a perfect destination for nature lovers, adventurous tourists, archaeologists, and anthropologists.

Meghalaya, known as the Scotland of the East, has breathtaking scenery. The Living Root Bridges are the most extraordinary pieces of art and engineering by the Khasi’s. The David Scott Trail is a beautiful one day trek covering 17 kilometres through spectacular scenery. Named after the British administrator during the British Raj his operations lasted 29 years in the Khasi Hills.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Joe Parkes

As a child I read voraciously so the seed of travel was planted by none other than Enid Blyton. Family holidays ran the gamut from icy dips in the early summer seas of Cornwall, to camel rides in north Africa, from Times Square to Tenerife. A GAP year upon leaving school cemented the travel bug. After graduating University and before stumbling, happily, into a career in the travel industry I spent a couple of glorious years exploring southern and east Africa, large swathes of South-east Asia, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

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Kate Hitchen

My travels were first inspired by my love of the UK, which I take as much pleasure in exploring as countries far and wide. For me, travel is all about the adventure, the people I meet and the food I sample along the way.

In fact, I am never happier than when I’m cycling, trekking or simply eating my way through a country! My heart and head regularly pull me east, notably to India but I may also be found wandering through the galleries and piazzas of Italy or daydreaming about fresh ceviche in the far west.

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Speak to our experts

Our team is waiting to help you tailor a trip that will leave you with stories for a lifetime. Call us on

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Kate Hitchen was excellent and managed to book and organise our trip to India perfectly, it was even better than expected. Thank you.


Outlining a trip and having Joe fill in the details and make suggestions or changes meant we had a wonderful experience.


Charlotte knows India extremely well. Very happy to answer even the most trivial of questions. Nothing is too much trouble.


Why Choose Steppes?

These may be uncertain times but they are, without a doubt, still full of opportunity to discover the extraordinary safely. Through knowledge and expertise, we can connect you to those destinations embracing travellers with the added confidence of flexible booking and decades of insight.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary once again?

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