The Last of The Tattooed Headhunters
View from the homestay in Longwa
A fisherman in Majuli

ChaloHoppo to meet the headhunters of Nagaland and find peace in Majuli

from 36,000

It is a rare occasion when, in under 9 days, one gets to explore places and cultures which are so fragile and their existence is a race against time. The journey to the world’s largest river island and then exploring the remote world of the erstwhile headhunters of Nagaland will be an experience to remember.

  • Reviews 3 Reviews
    4/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Culture, Food and wine
  • Activity Level Leisurely
    1/4
  • Group Size Medium Group
    5
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All about ChaloHoppo to meet the headhunters of Nagaland and find peace in Majuli.

Majuli island in Assam, the largest river island in the world may get submerged submerged forever due to the rapid erosion happening in the island, and then you visit the Konyak tribe in Nagaland, the last of the feared tattooed headhunters who are octogenarians, since the practice of headhunting and the consequent tattoos were abolished in the 1960s.
It so happens that these two cultures thrive in places of immense natural beauty and you get to see different terrains, different flora, while you are welcomed by the naturally hospitable Missing tribe and the Nagas!

To get some international perspective, here’s how The Lonely planet exudes Majuli’s charm, “The island is a relaxed, shimmering mat of glowing rice fields and water meadows bursting with hyacinth blossoms.” On the other hand this is what famous historian William Dalrymple writes about his visit to Mon,”By the time we had risen into the heights of the easternmost ranges of the Himalayas, the old men all wore elaborate body tattoos, while many had inserted antlers and tusks into their ears and noses. The young men carried shotguns slung on their backs as they rode around scowling on Enfield Bullet motorcycles. It felt properly wild, a real borderland..”

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • All accommodations on a twin sharing basis.
  • Transport from chaloHoppo’s Ziro festival campsite to Majuli in a Sumo followed by a ferry.
  • Transport from the ghats in Majuli to the stay and drop back to ghat in a Tata magic or similar.
  • Ferry charges to and from Majuli.
  • Transport from ghat through Nagaland and drop to the railway station in a Scorpio or similar.
  • All permits(including Inner  Line Permits) and parking charges
  • Bike/ Scooty on rent with fuel for a day in Majuli.
  • English speaking guides in Majuli, Mon and Longwa.
  • ChaloHoppo guy as the tour leader.
  • Breakfast and dinner on all days.
  • Lunch on two days.
  • AC 2 tier tickets from Simalguri to Guwahati.
Whats not included in this tour.Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.
  1. Airfare charges
  2. All food & beverages cost apart from the ones mentioned above
  3. Trekking shoes and clothing ( Any personal equipment)
  4. Any camera fees
  5. Hotel & driver tips (if any)
  6. Entry ticket fees to Museums, Parks, etc.
  7. Any personal expenditure (Toiletries, medicines, etc.)
  8. Cost incidental to any change in the itinerary/ stay on account of flight cancellation due to bad weather, ill health, roadblocks and/or any factors beyond control.
  9. Anything not specifically mentioned under the head “Inclusions”.
  1. Day 1 Ferrying into Majuli

    After breakfast leave your campsite so you can start your journey to the charming island of Majuli. Let life slow down while you explore the Mishing villages of Majuli. The island, being a haven for vibrant Vaishnavite culture has a lot of activities that you may indulge in. Whether you choose to visit the famed mask-makers house or maybe experience the traditional hymns and dances in the Xatras(Traditional Schools of Vaishnavite culture), Majuli has a lot to offer. Check into your bamboo cottages that you will be staying in for a night.

  2. Day 2 Cycling around Majuli

    Let life slow down while you explore the Mishing villages of Majuli. The island, being a haven for vibrant Vaishnavite culture has a lot of activities that you may indulge in. Whether you choose to visit the famed mask-makers house or maybe experience the traditional hymns and dances in the Xatras(Traditional Schools of Vaishnavite culture), Majuli has a lot to offer. You can rent some cycles or scooters if you would like to explore the island on your own. You can also go on a country boat ride if you can request the fishermen to do so. Overall you will experience the bliss of Majuli and the calm of this river island will definitely have a soothing influence.

  3. Day 3 Enter the wild east

    Drive past the Assam border to enter the land of the Nagas, and not any Nagas, the Konyaks, also known as the last of the tattooed headhunters. You will slowly leave the plains and tea gardens of Assam and head towards higher elevation on bumpy roads. The drive slowly starts to give you the feeling that you are entering a different zone, something unknown. Thatched huts and flowering plants serving as boundaries of homes will welcome you into Nagaland. The clouds should be right up there with you. But you have to understand that this will be one of the bumpiest rides of your life and hence prepare accordingly. Check into your comfortable stay for the night after trying some local food. For non-vegetarians, this will be a beginning of a different trip, a food trip.
    Total drive time from Majuli to Mon town will be 7 hours.
    Overnight in cottages overlooking Mon town.

  4. Day 4 Interacting with the last face tattooed king and camping in a tea garden.

    Today we hope to meet the last surviving face tattooed headhunter Angh, i.e. the chief or the king of a Konyak village. Usually, he is found sitting in his kitchen drinking dearly bitter black tea with other old men, all of whom wear tattoos on their wrinkled skin. The king or his men don’t really speak English but a conversation can be facilitated with the help of the local guide cum translator. Don’t forget to ’pay’ your regards to the Angh.
    A further drive of 2 hours on absolutely terrible roads takes you to the village of Shiyong where you meet the author of “The last of the tattooed headhunters” and live in her working farmhouse overlooking a tea garden. You have to understand that it is a homestay but Phejin is a lovely lady. Spend the evening in the village or in conversation with the author and learn about the Konyaks and their tattoos.
    We will spend some time picking up handloom and handicraft products from the local market. The Konyaks make some amazing products and this is a great way of supporting the local community as well as have a fascinating shopping experience.
    Total drive time from Mon to Shiyong village (30 kilometres) will be 2 hours.
    Please note that the roads are in such a bad shape that you may have to get off the car every now and then.
    Overnight in hiking tents facing a tea garden.

  5. Day 5 Tea gardens and bliss

    If the first day was just about greeting and interacting with the lady who authored the book, ”The Last of the Tattooed Headhunters”, today we explore her tea estate, walk to her village and see the Konyak way of life. This day was added to the itinerary as a day to relax, interact and even do nothing. At night a small bonfire and a huge night sky full of stars await.
    Overnight in hiking tents facing a tea garden.

  6. Day 6 A night at the opiated border town of Longwa

    The day has to be started early. Pack some bread and jam and grab a few bananas and off you go another bumpy ride(on the same road) to visit the village of Longwa known for the unique geographical location of the village chief’s house. The house is split exactly in half between India and Burma. Take a walk through the King’s house and then pay a visit to the opium den where locals go about their daily routine of smoking opium sourced from Burma. The village gets more fascinating as you visit the gun maker’s house and understand the nuances of the gun culture in Nagaland. It doesn’t end here as now you have the option of buying some really cool craftwork from the blacksmith’s house(if he’s home). It’s a very special experience to buy an artist’s work from his workshop and that’s what Longwa offers.
    You can head back to your homestay for lunch, which is a delight in itself with a beautiful view of the Konyak hills from every room. Take some rest and head out for a walk to explore the border and village in general.
    Total drive time from Shiyong to Longwa will be 4.5 hours.
    Overnight in a homestay overlooking the hills of Longwa village.

  7. Day 7 A day in Longwa exploring the unique border village

    You can experience a beautiful sunrise in the village and if you are an early riser, a hike up to the India Burma border pillar no 155 will give you a bird’s eye view of the village. Ignore the men with rifles patrolling the pillar and the border and focus on the clouds below you. Rest of the day you can spend as you like, walking and hiking.

    This day has been added on request and feedback from travellers who wished they had an extra day in this border village doing nothing but just soak in the beauty of the place.
    Overnight in a homestay overlooking the hills of Longwa village.

  8. Day 8 A night in the train reflecting on the trip

    Today it is time to bid goodbye to your hosts and to Nagaland. We drive out by 10 am. This train ride will be an equally exciting and important part of the trip. Let’s just leave it to the day when you board the train.
    Total drive time from Longwa to Simalguri(railway station) will be 5.5 hours

  9. Day 9 Fly out of Northeast India

    The train chugs into Guwahati early in the morning. Board your flight with memories for a lifetime.
    Any flight after 12 pm can be booked. 

Camping

Le Maison de anand

No Frenchmen running this property but the Mising man is a sweetheart who serves up some delicious traditional cuisine.

Konyak tea retreat
A tea estate in Nagaland, not Assam! Aren’t you curious already? There are only two rooms in the farmhouse and they are awesome.
Jellei’s homestay
In a place as remote as Longwa, getting somebody’s home to stay in, is a blessing. On top of that every room, though absolutely basic offers a stunning view of the Naga hills.


Teiphaa cottage
This is as luxurious as it gets in Mon. You have got a geyser, clean beds, homely food and a warm host.

The Stay includes

Le Maison de anand, Majuli

  • Access to 24 hour running water supply.
  • Essentials (towels, bed sheets, soaps, toilet paper)
  • Electricity
  • Dining room 
  • Hot water

 

Konyak tea retreat:

 

  • Attached bathrooms
  • Access to 24 hour running water supply.
  • Essentials (towels, bed sheets, soaps, toilet paper)
  • Parking on premises
  • Electricity
  • Common kitchen accessible to guests if they want to cook their own food 
  • Dining room and sitting area
  • Hot water

Jellei’s homestay

 

  • Attached bathrooms
  • Access to 24 hour running water supply.
  • Electricity
  • Balcony/ sit out area
  • Hot water

Teiphaa cottage, Mon

 

  • Attached bathrooms
  • Access to 24 hour running water supply.
  • Essentials (towels, bed sheets, soaps, toilet paper)
  • Parking on premises
  • Electricity
  • Dining room and lounge
  • Balcony/ sit out area
  • Hot water

 

 

 

 

 

The cultural diversity of northeast India is so vast that we can’t blame outsiders for not being aware of communities in the region who are purely vegetarians, so much so that they avoid eating onions( they are indigenous to the region, in case you are thinking about communities from mainland India who have settled here). Having said that, we must admit that the region’s food habits especially in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya are predominantly non vegetarian with a whole lot of red meat based preparations. But the states have warmed up to tourists recently and almost every place you visit will provide the Indian staple diet of rice, dal and sabji, even chapatis if you are lucky. As far as Tripura, Assam, Manipur and Sikkim are concerned vegetarians have decent number of options. Your craving for butter paneer may not be satisfied, but you will do just fine as far as maintaining your health and strength is concerned.

Entry to the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland will require an inner line permit, which will be taken care of.

Extra nights can be booked based on availability. You can also visit our Custom trip section to plan a different trip.

Overall Rating
4/5
Nishant Sinha
Reviewed On 17/10/2017

Thank you for your valuable review!

RISHABH GOEL
Reviewed On 17/10/2017
5/5

Nagaland is a very untouched area in terms of tourism. Specially the northern part.. which is covered in this trip. The roads were really bad at the time I went. (Sept, 2017) but it was a very good adventure. So people who are really interested in learning about tribal culture and the culture of north eastern villages.. people who are ready for adventures rather than wanting luxury and a sense of surety of things.. its really good for them. accommodations were pretty comfortable.. the views were breathtaking.. Chalohoppo guys are really friendly and helpful and you will definitely have a good time travelling with them .

Rose Aloor
Reviewed On 23/06/2017
5/5

The beauty of our trip to NE was in the personlized selection of places to stay,away from the city to give us a feel of Meghalaya and Assam. We were constantly updated on authentic food and local markets . Each place we stayed at ,threw us a surprise by way of architecture and culture. This experience was possible only because of the care and personal involvement of the ChaloHoppo group. would reommend to see NE with ChaloHoppo rather than the bigger trip organizers

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Package Confirmed Dates Trip Status Trip Status Price (PP) Excluding Flights  
October 1, 2018 - October 9, 2018
Available
36,000