12 Things Not To Do On Your Trek To Dzukou Valley
Google search Dzukou and you find blogs or articles on ‘How to do a trip to Dzukou’ or ‘Why to do a trip there!’ This blog is going to be different from them. Most blogs tell you things you should do when you go to Dzukou Valley or share their personal experience. But this blog will specifically talk about the things you should not do, especially while planning a trip to this remote location.
These common mistakes might cost you getting lost in Dzukou, missing out on enhancing your experiences or ignoring the cheaper options. This will help you plan a trip to Dzukou without any hiccups. Consider this as your guide to not mess up your trip to Dzukou valley.
This video might inspire you to plan your trip to Dzukou, but only after reading this list of Do Nots!
Why should you trust us:
We have been organising experiential tours and treks in Northeast India since 2016. We have learnt from our mistakes while dealing with different situations over these years. We only wish the best for anyone travelling to the Northeast and hence, this blog.
We hope that you find it useful. Here are the 12 Things to not do on your trip to Dzukou valley:
#DoNot Stay in Kohima
A 4-hour back-breaking journey from Dimapur will lure you to book a hotel room in Kohima as soon as you reach there. DO NOT!
Why stay in concrete buildings when you can camp in a nearby village?
Rather than wasting your money on booking a room in Kohima, pick yourselves up for another 40 minutes of the journey south.
Villages like Jakhama, Kigwema or Mima are far better choices. You will not only get an authentic experience living with locals but also a refreshing view of terraced rice fields (in case you pick Camp Yedikha). People who love camping and families who want to inculcate camping lessons in their kids are most welcome at ChaloHoppo Village Camp Yedikha in Jakhama.
People who are not comfortable camping can also see home-stays in these villages.
Apart from the serene vibes, you will also be making your base closer to the trek points to Dzukou. This will eventually help you to do away with the ever so slow Kohima traffic.
#DoNot Walk to the starting point of the Viswema trek route
Making the mistake of walking all the way to the starting point of Dzukou trek, via Viswema route can cost you a lot more than money!
This is not the wisest decision to take for a number of reasons:
A, if you are not an avid trekker it will drain you out before you even start the trek. The road seems easy but starts getting rugged and uphill within a few meters. It is an easy 7-8 km stretch which will physically drain the *duck* out of you.
B, if the weather makes a shift during your trek, you will have a hard time. Showers can be passing by or last till days in and around Dzukou. The drenched you struggling with your backpack before you have started the hike should be avoided at any cost. On the other hand, if it remains sunny and humid, you will be shedding sweat along with tears.
C, if you manage to maintain a constant speed and cover the distance without any fuss, another hour of hike awaits you, followed by a 2-hour trail. A slight misjudgment in time and you are left stranded midway in a dark jungle.
Even if it’s a bit expensive, you should take the transport. It’s good to travel on a budget but not wise to save up on this cost. You might save up on this cost but on the expense of not making to Dzukou at all.
#DoNot Rely on hitchhikes to the trek starting point
This is for all you optimistic travellers; the Hitchhikers! Another common mistake which travellers do is attempting to hitchhike to Dzukou Valley.
A lot of travellers wait at the Viswema entry point of the Dzukou valley for hours in hopes of getting a lift from there to the trek starting point. DON’T!
Since most of the travellers come in groups (pre-booking their sumo or their private SUVs), you might end up waiting there till you see the sunset but hardly get anyone to take you up. Please note that you have to be extremely lucky to get a hitchhike on this route.
Don’t waste time hoping to hitchhike, rather pre-book your own sumo or pre-book a group trip where your transport is taken care of if you are travelling solo.
#DoNot Leave Inner Line Permit (ILP) as the last thing on your list
Waiting for your Inner Line Permit at the last minute in Dimapur can be a big mistake at times! The office takes time to process your documents and you might have to spend another day in Dimapur.
It is advisable to get your ILP before boarding the train to Dimapur. Getting your permit isn’t a tedious process but it is indeed a time consuming one! There are no ways of getting it done online and you will have to go through the Indian Bureaucratic web!
Either land in Guwahati 2 days before and get it from the Nagaland House or get it done from the one in Delhi or Kolkata. In any case, you will have to submit your documents a day prior to holding the Permit in hand.
Leaving it for Dimapur might result in you getting it too late for catching your sumo to Kohima. This will invariably lead you to spend a day more in your stay in Dimapur.
Or Be smart like us, to have friends in Nagaland who can do it on your behalf and send you the copy!
#DoNot go trekking to the valley without a local guide
There is a scraggy line which can make an adventure a big mistake. Cross this line while living adventures and you can end up not living anymore!
This goes out to the hundreds who come to Dzukou thinking that they will explore the valley by themselves. But trust us when we say this, a guide in Dzukou Valley is the most reliable person you will need. Go search the internet and you will find numerous reports of trekkers (without a guide) getting lost in the valley. With confusing trails and each trail looking almost the same, there are more chances of you getting lost in the valley than making back safe. The whole valley is covered with thick bamboo and one wrong decision can make you a missing trekker in the valley.
And if you get lost, it is unlikely that you are going to make it through without food, water and absolutely no network connectivity. To add to this, the unbearably cold night will not let up on you.
Take a guide. They are locals and know their area like the back of their hand. Not only you will not get lost, but also enhance your experience with their knowledge of the land.
PS We have local professional guides leading all our Dzukou Valley treks.
#DoNot Forget your Energy Bars and Water
Not taking any energy bars/light snacks and water on your trek will always result in a disaster. If you think that Dzukou’s trails will have small shops, serving Maggie and chai? No, it doesn’t! You will be going through a dense jungle only dependent on the snacks you are carrying! The small occasional streams on the trail go dry in winters. Get your water along, irrespective of the season. Also, make sure your bottle is a non-disposable one!
PS The wrappers of your energy bars don’t belong to the jungle! Take them back. Or you might end up paying for it since Dzukou Valley has been declared as a plastic-free zone.
#DoNot Pack light, Pack Smart for Dzukou
“Pack smart, not light!”, a wise quote from someone who learnt from his mistakes, I guess.
You should not commit to packing too light hearing that trek might go on for 4 hours. You should pack smart but not compromise on the essentials. You should know that rainwear during monsoons and your thick jackets during the winters should be the first thing to enter your backpack!
There is no electricity in Dzukou and headlamps, portable chargers will be more reliable. It is advised to carry a flask and good trekking shoes too. Also, a good sleeping bag if you are not going through any tour operator.
#DoNot Take the Jakhama trekking route if you are a novice trekker
You heard from the locals and everywhere on the internet that it is a shorter route. Don’t go by those words!
It is a shorter route by distance but extremely steep and uphill. If you are a beginner trekker you should take the Viswema route. It might take you more time but will be easy on your muscles. Even if you consider yourself a professional trekker you should reconsider taking the Jakhama route. Taking this route during monsoons can be a big mistake which can lead you to lose your trail and get lost. Even worst, you will fall off the slippery rugged trail. Most numbers of lost trekkers reported, took the Jakhama route.
Be slow but steady, take the Viswema route.
#DoNot Expect any network when you are up in the valley
No, there is no network in Dzukou! It is still one of the blessed lands where our live videos, phone calls and conversations over texts haven’t reached. Telling your family that you are going to inform them once you finish the trek won’t be possible. Spare your parents and friends from worrying about you, call them before starting the trek and tell them clearly that you will have no network or electricity for the next 24 hours.
Get some time off your phone. Get off social media. Truly cut off!
#DoNot Start your trek to Dzukou after 12 pm
A lot of you who don’t research well don’t know that you can’t start your trek to Dzukou post 12 pm.
You will take at least an hour from Jakhama and about two hours from Kohima to reach the trek starting point of Viswema route. Post this an hour-long hike and two hours of walking on plain trail awaits you. Doing all this post 12 pm will result in you trekking in the dark, which you should definitely avoid.
You should be aware of the fact that the sun sets in the east pretty early and with it ends your hope of trekking in the dark jungle.
Also, thinking that you can trek to Dzukou on the same day you reach Dimapur is a big mistake. It takes you 4 hours to reach Kohima from Dimapur (depending on the traffic). With flights landing in Dimapur in the afternoon and even early morning trains can’t make the trek possible on the same day.
#DoNot Take your drone to Dzukou
That drone shot of Dzukou valley might look great on your profile, but can you get it? Well, it is certainly not going to be easy. There is prior permission that needs to be taken and the process may not be that simple, so it may be better to avoid unless you are a filmmaker or a professional photographer coming for a specific project. In that case, it would be wise to go through a local tour operator since they can do the negotiation on your behalf.
The new rules ensure that if you fly your drone over Dzukou, your drone would be confiscated, the footage deleted and you may have to pay a fine of up to Rs 5000.
PS Forget drones. Capture the beauty of Dzukou with your eyes, maybe?
#DoNot Miss out on interesting experiences in the nearby villages
You are so hooked on to visiting Dzukou that you oversee the beauty which lies in the nearby villages. Do not miss out on the interesting experiences in the villages around Dzukou Valley. You can find a number of options around Kohima on both western and southern strips. If you are tight on time and don’t want to fray away from your route, the southern Angami villages should be your best bet.
Jakhama, the one village which stands out not only with its charming terraced rice fields but also with its rich intact forts and history. Step into this village hosted by humble locals and you might land up sharing a meal with them.
Kigwema and Mima can also be other options hosting beautiful houses decorated with seasonal flowers. Mima is known for its honey cultivation and some intense volleyball games in the local courts.
PS We choose Jakhama as our base for Dzukou Valley trek. Apart from a beautiful campsite, we take our guests for village and field walks. Not to forget tasting the rice beers in local’s homes.
Now that you have taken note of the mistakes you might have committed, we know that your trip to Dzukou would be a seamless experience. We hope that you are reading this blog before planning your trip to Dzukou Valley and this is not a case of stumbling across the piece in hindsight. Spread this blog with your co-travellers and let them know your advice comes from a trusted source! There won’t be any regrets on your trip to Dzukou Valley.
Safe trip! 🙂
In case you want to book a trip to Dzukou through us. You can click here.
In case you want to know how can you plan a trip to villages nearby, click here.