Motorcycling Through the Hidden Gems of Northeast India

Updated on Jul 12, 2024 | Indian e-Visa

Adventure lovers seeking for some challenging experiences, a motorcycling trip in the Northeast is the best way to fulfill your dream. The rugged mountain ranges, the lush-green valleys, the dense forests, the charming rivers, and the unique cultural experiences, will add to the thrill of a motorbike ride in the Northeast.

The northeastern part of India is breathtakingly beautiful taking you through the roads less traveled that will simply refresh your mood and rejuvenate your senses. As the road is quite challenging, and the weather conditions are unpredictable, this road trip will be suitable for those who are daring and are ready to explore the challenging terrains.

Planning your trip for a Motorcycle Adventure through Northeast India: Routes, Attractions, and Accommodations

The best way to start your trip is to do a thorough research on the best routes navigable, attractions, and accommodations available. Knowing which route to take will help you to prepare according to the road conditions in advance, visit the famous sightseeing places, stopovers on the route, and book your stay in advance.

It is important to know the best months to visit Northeast, which is the dry season, starting from October to May. Avoid traveling during the monsoon season that is from June to September, as during these months, the region receives heavy rainfall and in most places flooding and landslides can make motorcycling quite dangerous. It is always better to travel during the dry season, the temperature is pleasant and weather conditions are better.

If you are up for a motorcycling adventure in Northeast India, the best routes are the Northeastern Himalayas, the Arunachal Pradesh Circuit and the Brahmaputra Valley.

The Arunachal Pradesh Circuit will take you through the different places in Arunachal, its remote villages, buddhist monasteries, undulating terrain, twist and turns, etc. The Northeastern Himalayas will take you through Darjeeling and Sikkim with winding roads, waterfalls, rivers, lush green forests, charming villages and monasteries. The Brahmaputra Valley offers road trips on the plains, you will be able to navigate through Kaziranga national park and local villages.

Knowing where to go and what places to visit, plays an important role in choosing the route. Since there are many attraction sites located along these mentioned routes, you are going to have a thrilling road trip along with exploring Darjeeling tea gardens, Gangtok, views of the Kanchenjunga mountain ranges, Tawang Monastery, Bomdila Pass, Kaziranga National Park, etc.

Also, plan in advance the places and hotels you will be staying along the route. Prefer to book your stay according to your budget, Northeast offers a wide range of accommodations, starting from homestays, guesthouses, lodges, hostels, hotels to luxury resorts. As accommodation might be limited in some areas, make sure to book in advance.

Consider checking conditions of the motorcycle, make sure it is in good condition, important safety features are included, and space to carry extra fuel. Do keep a list of the petrol pumps along the route and service stations, as in remote areas you won't find petrol pumps for miles.

Obtain the necessary road permits and paperwork, as some areas require you to present special road permits, for example to enter Arunachal from Assam, you will need a road permit. It is important to check the permits required at different places, get these permits ready before going on your trip.

The Northeastern Himalayas, the Arunachal Pradesh Circuit and the Brahmaputra Valley are the dream road trip destination of the bikers.

The Arunachal Pradesh Circuit

The Arunachal Pradesh Circuit is famous for its rugged hilly terrain, dense forests, valleys, meadows, rivers, waterfalls, ancient monasteries and the quaint villages on the hill slopes and deep inside the jungles with indigenous tribes. The road along this route is quite challenging, with sharp curves, waterfalls on the roads, and off-road pathways that have been washed away by landslides. This route is a blend of challenge and fascinating beauty.

This challenging and scenic route starts from the city of Guwahati in Assam to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. The route welcomes you with green hills, dense forests, and quaint villages with tribal people. The first stop is Tawang, located at a height of around 3,048 meters above sea level, famous for the Tawang Monastery (the largest monastery in Arunachal Pradesh) and the scenic beauty. As you enter Arunachal Pradesh, you will need to show your entry pass into the state and other ID proofs.

The route continues towards the challenging Bomdila Pass, offering mesmerizing views of the surrounding landscape, the snow covered mountain ranges and the green valleys. Along this route you will find many remote villages and Buddhist monasteries, letting you know about the local people and culture, up close.

When riding through this route, stay alert about the weather conditions, avoid traveling during the monsoon season.

From Bomdila Pass, ride towards Dirang, then Ziro and finally Pasighat, each of these places have their own cultural identity and the region is blessed with greenery and small towns and villages.

The Arunachal Pradesh Circuit route will let you ride through the hilly terrain, winding roads, dense forests, rivers and remote villages, home to some of the indigenous tribes of the region, for a wonderful trip.

The Northeastern Himalayas

The Northeastern Himalayas of India include the beautiful places of Sikkim, Darjeeling, and Kalimpong. The region is blessed with beautiful valleys and hills, rivers, waterfalls, dense forests comprising different types of trees and rich culture and traditions. The route along this road is quite challenging, motorcyclists have to ride through sharp turns, and rugged terrain, however the route offers breathtaking scenery.

The road trip starts from the beautiful town of Darjeeling famous for the tea gardens, heritage toy train ride and the colonial buildings of the British era. As you ride through the town, you will be welcomed by the local markets, charming landscape, and the local villages, each with its own rich culture and traditions.

From Darjeeling, the route continues towards the beautiful quaint town of Kalimpong, famous for its tea gardens, old Bungalows, different types of orchids, wildflowers and other rare species of flowers. As the town was a British station, here you can find many colonial buildings built by the British. And apart from Hinduism, most people here follow Buddhism, so here you can find many Buddhist monasteries.

Your next stop will be Pelling, from Kalimpong, the route offers views of the Kanchenjunga mountain range, and is famous for the oldest monasteries of the region, the Pemayangtse Monastery.

When riding through this winding route, be aware of the weather conditions, avoid traveling during the monsoon season. Be well-prepared to face any challenges while riding, as the weather conditions are unpredictable in this region.

The road trip will continue towards Gangtok (capital of Sikkim), famous for its waterfalls, rivers, lakes, verdant hills and valleys, orchid gardens, Buddhist monasteries, quaint villages located on the hilly slopes and the views of the Kanchenjunga mountain ranges.

The Northeastern Himalayan route will let you ride through the challenging terrain, and lets you explore the scenery and know about the local culture and tradition of the region. Motorcyclists who love adventure and nature will have a wonderful time exploring this part of the motorcycle route.

The Himalayas in India have always been a wonderful escape from the fast pace of life down in the cities in the plains. Even the British when they ruled India used to move up to the mountains during the summer months in the country when it used to get scorching hot.

The Brahmaputra Valley

The Bramhaputra Valley

The Brahmaputra Valley is famous for the Brahmaputra, the Kaziranga wildlife sanctuary, tea gardens, the ancient temples, historical sites, scenic beauty, and the rich culture and tradition of the region. The road along this route is less challenging and will let you explore the true beauty of Assam upclose.

This scenic route starts from the city of Guwahati in Assam to Tezpur, famous for its ancient temples, historical sites, and monuments. One of the famous historical sites is the Da Parbatia temple and the Agnigarh hill, built in the 6th century. The route welcomes you with rice paddy fields, tea gardens, one of the longest bridges, and small villages.

The route from Tezpur, continues towards the Kaziranga National Park which is famous around the world for its one-horned rhinoceros. The wildlife here also comprises the elephant, tiger, deer, buffaloes, monkeys, etc. The entire region is a blend of wetlands, dense forest, and grasslands.

From Kaziranga National Park, you will head towards Jorhat, which is famous for its tea gardens, in fact tea leaves are exported to foreign countries. Next stop is Sivasagar, which is the ancient capital of the rulers of Assam, the Ahom Kingdom. Here, you can visit the ancient forts, temples and palaces.

The Brahmaputra Valley route is filled with lush green countryside, charming tea gardens, small villages, forests, rivers, ancient temples, historical sites, and wonderful views. When riding through the Brahmaputra Valley route, carry water, necessary supplies and extra fuel. As the region experiences high humidity and rainfall, stay alert, especially if you are riding in the rainy season, as tree falling on the roads is common during heavy rainfall, and floods.

Beyond the Usual: Northeast India's Off-the-Beaten-Path Treasures

Northeast India is famous for its greenery and hidden travel gems. From beautiful riverside valleys, tea gardens, historical places, to cultural experiences, the region offers you an exotic experience.

Dzukou Valley perched in between Nagaland and Manipur is home to some of the exotic flora and fauna, found only in this region. The flora comprises different rare species of orchids and rhododendrons. For nature lovers, photographers and adventure lovers this is one of the best destinations offering scenic views.

The Living Root Bridges of Meghalaya is another fascinating hidden spot to visit in Northeast India. These natural root bridges are made from the root of ancient trees, over the rivers and streams. The Living Root Bridges of Meghalaya are not only functional, used by the villagers to cross rivers and streams, but they are a sight to visit and wonder about.

If you are thinking about exploring an exotic national park, the Kaziranga National Park in Assam is one of the most popular national parks, not only in India, but around the world, for its one-horned rhinoceros. This national park is also home to other wild animals like elephants, hippopotamus, buffaloes, wild boar, tigers, deer, and many unique species of birds.

For a cultural experience, visit Majuli, situated in the midst of the Brahmaputra River in the famous Brahmaputra Valley. It is referred to as the world’s largest river island and attracts tourists and pilgrims as it has many ancient Hindu monasteries known as Satras. The region is the center of Neo-Vaishnavite culture with rich historical significance, and rich ethnic communities. Visiting Majuli will bring you closure to the culture of the region and help you gain spiritual significance. If you want to have another unique cultural experience, visit the Mishing villages in the Brahmaputra Valley, which are an indigenous tribe, living in houses made from bamboo, built high above the grounds, which prevents it from submerging during floods.

The most important treasure of Assam are the tea gardens, without a visit to the tea garden your trip is incomplete. Some of the tea estates are from the colonial era and still continue to provide high-quality tea leaves that are exported to foreign countries as well. Enjoy watching the tea-making process, and the breathtaking surroundings.

Dive into Culture and Traditions: the Heart and Soul of Northeast India

One of the best experiences to indulge in while traveling to Northeast is immersing yourself in the culture and traditions of the region. Home to around 200 tribes, each with their own customs and traditions, and different lifestyles.

For those interested in history visit the historical sites and museums. Visit the ancient capital of Ahom Dynasty in Assam, here you can visit the Kareng Ghar (it's a palace), Rang Ghar (an Rang Ghar), Shiva dol (temple dedicated to Lord Shiv), etc. To know the history of the region and see the important artifacts, documents, etc, visit the museum in Guwahati.

Attending festivals and cultural events, northeast is famous for its vibrant festivals like the Bihu Festival in Assam, the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland, Wangala Festival in Meghalaya, Sangai Festival in Manipur, etc. These festivals let you get a glimpse of the traditional music, dance, food and help you to interact with the local communities.

For an authentic stay experience like the locals do, you can opt for homestays and community based tourism. This will let you know the lifestyle of the locals, their customs and traditions, occupation, agricultural activities, farming, fishing, cooking, etc.

Visit local markets and bazaars like the Shillong Bazaar, Fancy Bazaar in Guwahati, Gangtok market, Imphal market, Hong Kong market in Dimapur in Nagaland, etc. In these markets you can purchase local handmade items, textiles, spices, garments, spices, vegetables, etc.

Those who are want to try the traditional cuisines of the region should try the traditional Assamese thali (it includes rice, dal, local vegetables, bamboo shoot, mashed potato or aloo pitika, fish curry with tenga, dhekia haak or fiddlehead fern, etc), dishes from Nagaland (made from axone or fermented soybean, fermented dry fish, boiled vegetables, smoked pork, etc), and other dishes from different states.

Immersing oneself in the local culture of the region is one of the best authentic experiences to know about the northeast. Whether it's visiting the historical places, local villages, attending festivals and cultural events, opting for homestays or tasting the local cuisines, you are going to have an exotic experience.

Weather and Road Safety Tips for Motorcyclists: Navigating Northeast India's Roads with Confidence

To go motorcycling in Northeast India, it is important to follow the safety tips like staying safe on the road, prepared to deal with the weather conditions, wearing safety gears, etc. As the region will be unique for first time travelers to Northeast India, be sure to follow the following safety points:

As Northeast India has unpredictable weather conditions, almost rainfall all throughout the year and heavy rainfall during the monsoon season, accompanied with flood and landslides, be prepared for unpredictable weather conditions. Check the weather conditions, make sure to travel during the dry season, pack your rain gear and warm clothes.

Northeast India is the land of around 200 tribes, each having their own customs and traditions; have respect for the local customs and traditions of the region.

While embarking on your motorcycle trip make sure to wear your helmet, hand gloves, and extra protective clothes, make sure to wear safety gears.

Since parts of Northeast India in the remote and hill regions do not have street lights, do not ride after dawn, visibility can be poor due to fog and rainfall in some areas. Also, make sure that your headlight is working.

While riding a motorcycle during the summer season, it might be hot and humid, keep your body hydrated and take a break in between.

Since the roads in Northeast India are twisting, be aware of sharp turns. It is better to drive slowly and be aware of coming traffic, especially buses and trucks. Avoid unwanted accidents and mishaps.

While on a motorcycle trip be prepared for emergency situations, ensure to have a first-aid kit, your charged mobile phone, and a map or GPS. Always keep your family members informed about your onward journey and the time of arrival.

If you follow these tips, you are likely to reduce the risks of unwanted mishaps and will have a wonderful road trip. Always stay alert, drive slow and prioritize your safety.

Gear Up for Motorcycling Through Northeast India: the Must-Have Gear and Supplies

Those planning for a motorcycle trip through Northeast India, should prepare a list of important gears and supplies to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable road trip. To help you with packing your essentials we have listed the following:

Motorcycle gear: It should include a strong extra protective helmet, riding gloves, extra protective clothing, rain gear and extra warm clothes.

Extra tools and sparing parts: Do carry a toolkit which has the basic tools like tyre repair kit, spare bulbs, etc.

Reliable navigation equipment: Use GPS and smartphones, but keep a map as well, in case the two don't work in some remote locations with no network.

First-aid kit: Do carry a first aid kit which includes fever tablets, cough syrup, cold and flu, pain relievers, bandages, antiseptic wipes, etc.

Maintain personal hygiene: Although it might be difficult to maintain personal hygiene while riding on the roads, keep wet wipes, hand sanitizer and other hygienic items.

Camping gear: Riders planning to camp on the way, will have to keep a tent, sleeping bag, camping stove, food supplies, water, etc.

Keep sufficient cash and travel documents: In most parts online payments may not be available, so keep enough cash for your journey. Also, keep your ID proof and entry pass, which are required to show to enter in some regions.

Other personal items: Pack a sunscreen lotion, insect repellent (must have), sunglasses, flashlight, portable charger, etc.

By packing the mentioned items, motorcycle riders are going to have an enjoyable and comfortable journey.

Final Thoughts on the Exploration of Northeast India's Hidden Treasures

Motorcycling through the off-beaten path in Northeast India is a unique experience. The different routes of the region will take you through the plains of Brahmaputra Valley with greenery to the rugged terrain of the Northeastern Himalayas and Arunachal Pradesh Circuit with scenic beauty.

When you prepare for your road trip, consider the route you will take, the places you would like to visit in this route, accommodation, essential gear and supplies, staying safe on the road, preparing to deal with the weather conditions, wearing safety gear, etc.

Although the road trip may be challenging in some parts of the route, you will have the chance to explore the breathtaking beauty of the region, the hills and mountain ranges, the green countryside, the remote villages, the rivers, waterfalls, the dense forest and the rich culture and traditions of the region.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a list of some of the important frequently asked questions about the motorcycling trip in Northeast India:

Is there any requirement for a special license to ride a motorcycle in Northeast India?

If you are planning for a motorcycle trip in Northeast India, you will need a valid motorcycle license. In case of international travelers, you will need to show your home country's motorcycle license and the International Driving Permit as well.

What is the best time/month/season to go motorcycling in Northeast India?

The dry season, that is from October to April is the best time to go motorcycling in Northeast India. Before you start your trip make sure to check the weather conditions and accessibility of the roads.

What are the highly recommended hidden-gems to visit in Northeast India?

There are many off-the-beaten-path destinations to visit in Northeast India, for example, Ziro Valley in Arunachal Pradesh, Dzukou Valley in Nagaland, Dawki in Meghalaya, Jatinga in Haflong in Assam, etc.

Planning for a motorcycle ride in Northeast India? Can I rent one?

There are rental companies in Northeast India in some of the main towns and cities, you can rent a bike according to your choice. But make sure to rent well-maintained motorcycles.

What are the specific safety concerns that motorcyclists should be aware of when motorcycling in Northeast India?

There are many things that you need to be aware of while embarking on a road trip in Northeast India like be prepared for unpredictable weather conditions, twisting roads, be aware of coming vehicles and road conditions. Ensure to wear protective gear, remain alert, follow the safety rules and respect the local customs and traditions.

What are the specific traffic rules that motorcyclists should be aware of when motorcycling in Northeast India?

While riding on the roads in Northeast India, follow the traffic rules, as the roads are twisting, drive slowly and be aware of coming traffic. You must wear safety gear like helmet, gloves, etc.

Up for a thrilling motorcycle road trip in Northeast India? What are the essential gears and items that you need to pack?

Make sure to pack essential gear and supplies, extra protective helmet, riding gloves, extra protective clothing, rain gear, extra warm clothes, extra tools and sparing parts, GPS and smartphones and maps, First-aid kit, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, sufficient cash and travel documents, sunscreen lotion, insect repellent (must have), sunglasses, flashlight, portable charger, etc.


Northeast India has so much to offer to its tourists, to enjoy the perfect holiday in the hills we have listed the best places to visit. If you eagerly want to know, check this link Why is North East India so special for Tourists? It’s time to make a change, and opt for a destination filled with beauty, culture and traditions.