How to plan for an offbeat honeymoon trip in Northeast India?
So you are hitched. Congratulations!
Planning for that 1st special honeymoon isn’t easy. You either need to be an avid traveller or you need to have an expert wedding planner to chart out the perfect plan for your honeymoon. When couples especially us Indians think of our honeymoon, the first thing that pops up would be to go to a foreign location like Las Vegas, Barcelona, Dubai, Kyoto, Harbour Island, Mauritius, Bali, Maldives and others. When it comes to choosing destinations within India, we limit ourselves to places like Munnar, Alleppey, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Jammu & Kashmir, Goa, Agra, Kodaikanal, Nainital, Ooty and many others that are without a doubt great places to be in.
But have you ever stopped and thought of planning your honeymoon in Northeast India? Most of you would not have, but we are here to help you with a list of offbeat honeymoon destinations in Northeast India. This is not a compilation of the typical “top honeymoon destinations in Northeast India” and such other gazillion lists churned by holiday package providers, without experiencing the place themselves. These have been handpicked by our team and are perfect for couples who choose to stand out of the crowd!
Here are the offbeat destinations around which you can plan your honeymoon in Northeast India:
1) Mawphanlur – Meghalaya
Welcome to an authentic Meghalayan village far from the hustle and bustle of city life anywhere in India. Mawphanlur is that perfect painting that you may have hanging on your walls.
If you are someone who can enjoy the minimalism that life sometimes offer you will love this place for your honeymoon in Northeast India. You will only find a few cottages in this village, which may not offer luxury, but definitely, are comfortable. Mawphanlur is surrounded by little green mounds, a few blackish or dark grey coloured big rocks. You can enjoy a bit of Kayaking or ride the pedal boats on one of the ponds. If you aren’t someone who enjoys the water, then just take a walk around the village guided by the faint sound of cattle bells. If you are into photography or have been waiting to try your hand at poetry and enjoy diving into nostalgia, you might want to stay back forever.
The weather of Mawphanlur is highly unpredictable, be prepared to experience 4 seasons in a day, and that is a lot of fun. It can be windy and there might be some rainfall. In the morning, when you go up on the meadow and lay down your picnic mats; you might witness that on one side the sky is clear with the sun beaming its rays across. From the other side, you might see clouds rapidly chasing to cover the sky and you. As you lay on the mat and gaze at the sky, you may feel like you’re inside a natural planetarium and everything around will appear animated. On one side of the meadow, there will be few goats grazing the grass and down the stream, you might we see a small young shepherd with his herd of cattle. If you find the evenings too chilly, then you can even light a bonfire and sit on the wooden benches stationed outside the cottages and enjoy the warmth of the fire as the cold wind kisses your cheeks.
Location: Mawphanlur is located around 90 to 96 km from Shillong.
Read about the 6 interesting conversations starters when you meet locals on your trip to Meghalaya
2) Nongkhunum Island – Meghalaya
Have you ever dreamt of spending a couple of days of your honeymoon on a river island away from the usual crowd that you might find in the already famous islands like Andaman and Nicobar? If you just nodded your head and agreed, then keep scrolling down.
Nongkhunum island popular as the 2nd largest river island in Asia was discovered only in late 1996. This island with a sandy beach has only 11 huts on the entire island. The beach has been formed by the bifurcation of the Kynshi river into the Phanliang river and Namaliang river. You can camp on this island or stay in cottages and thoroughly enjoy the serenity of the place which is also home to many species of butterflies, birds and flowers. It is one of the most beautiful, magical, and mesmerizing islands that you will set foot on. Waterfalls, sandy beaches, abundant meadows, huge trees, playful cattle; you bring a checklist and you will run out of ink by just ticking boxes! Wouldn’t you enjoy your honeymoon in Northeast India in a place like this?
Location: Nongkhunum island is located in West Khasi hills about 6 hours away from Guwahati (one way) and it is 4 hours away from Shillong.
Also Read about the Island with a natural light bulb to know more about Nongkhnum island.
3) Mechuka – Arunachal Pradesh
Are you someone who has been fascinated by the Derby races or do you enjoy watching those vintage cowboy movies? No, we are not taking you to Derby to watch the horses race against each other. But what if we tell you that we will take you to a land where, unlike cowherds that you normally see on Indian roads, you will come across herds of stray horses grazing around? If you love walking across lush green valleys, then the summer would be the perfect time as Mechuka turns fluorescent green from May right till August. Sit on the bank of a stream and dip your feet in the cold stream as the sun shines over the vast green meadows.
Would you like to pluck some fresh berries? If yes, then keep that fruit basket ready. As you hold hands and step together on these vast pastures of greenery you will come across wild berries that appear like red freckles on the grass. Hurry up and pick those colourful wild berries from the grasslands before the horses beat you to it.
Wouldn’t it be exciting to spend your honeymoon in Northeast India at a place like this?
If you follow a little bit of Bollywood, then you would know that even the Bhai of Bollywood, no brownie points for guessing – yes, Salman Khan had set foot in Mechuka to attend the Mechuka Festival in 2018. So this offbeat town of Arunachal Pradesh is gradually getting the attention it deserves.
Location: Mechuka is located in the Shi- Yomi district of Arunachal and it is approximately 20 hours away from Guwahati.
Also, read about the Top 18 reasons why you should visit Mechuka to get excited and book your tickets right away.
4) Ziro valley – Arunachal
Okay, so how many ‘DDLJ’ fans do we have here? Did you just try to raise your hand in silence? Ah! Don’t be shy. Most of us who were born in the late ’80s or the early ’90s have watched this blockbuster at least once. So do you remember the picturization of the song “Tujhe Dekha Toh Yeh Jana Sanam” – Simran (Kajal) walks through the abundant paddy fields and Raj (Shahrukh) appears from the middle of the yellow mustard flowers?
Would you like to go somewhere where you will get enough time to not only be mesmerized by nature but perhaps recreate the DDLJ magic in your own way? Let’s take you to the land of Ziro, where the fresh air with its tantalising aura weaves magic in nature around and it always works like a charm. The beautiful tall pine trees in the locality appear like a natural fortress for the ‘king of the night’ – the Moon, as it slowly rises behind them giving its admirers goosebumps. The paddy fields of Ziro create an alluring illusion that makes them appear like vast pastures of goldfields filled with oxygen-rich air.
In the mighty state of Arunachal Pradesh, where the sun’s rays first reach India, where more than 80% of the land is under forest cover, rests the pristine valley of Ziro. This lush valley is home to the Apatanis, a photographer’s muse. Lavish green paddy fields cover the valley’s land for the most of the year even when harvesting is over. You must try the local brews here, which range from plum, peach, kiwi, rice and millet that will put you in a state of trance and you will have the memorable moments of your honeymoon in Northeast India.
Location: Ziro valley is located in the lower Subansisiri district of Arunachal Pradesh. It is approximately 12 hours away from Guwahati.
5) Dirang West Kameng Arunachal
Dirang has never been a destination. It has always been about a pit stop while chasing the larger than life dream honeymoon destination in Northeast India -Tawang, for many couples seeking snow and high mountains. It has always been under the shadow of Tawang. You choose between a halt at Dirang or Bomdilla. This usually is dependant on who you are booking your trip through and which agency has a better connect in which place.
But if Dirang wasn’t en route Tawang, it would still be a place worth visiting. And here is why.
Barring Dirang town which is nothing noteworthy, the village of Dirang is made for a walk. Starting from the 16th century Khastung Gompa, which gives you panoramic views of the valley, walking down through narrow lanes, passing by piles of wood stacked up for drying, old mud and brick houses built in the traditional Monpa way with corn drying outside most of them, walnut trees, a few women going about their daily chores and the occasional kids crossing your path is a soul-filling experience. Difficult to make it look grander than that.
There is the Dirang Chu that will stay with you until you leave the valley. Drive down or up to surrounding villages and you will see beautiful kiwi and orange orchards. If you are here you must also try the local brew here made of millet grains and maize. The local drinks are called ‘rakshi’ and ‘bhangchang’.
After grabbing a rejuvenating lunch by the riverside, head to the Sangti valley which is 12 km away from Dirang. It will take around 40 to 50 mins by car to reach Sangti. When you reach the Sangti valley, a nursery rhyme might pop up in your head – ‘Baa, Baa Black sheep, Have you any…?’ Step into Sangti to find out why? The wildflowers spread across the fields, give you a warm welcome. Isn’t that rustic romance calling you for your honeymoon in Northeast India? If that wasn’t enough, then let’s tell you an open secret – Sangti valley is also the land of the migratory black-necked cranes.
Location: Dirang is located in the Kameng district of Arunachal. It is approximately 10 hours away from Guwahati.
6) Mangan- Sikkim
Tucked away in the lap of the eastern Himalayas lies the beautiful hamlet of Mangan – the capital of North Sikkim. Mangan dresses with the grand peaks of the Himalayas, thick jungles, and crystal clear streams that glitters when the sun shines. Vibrant and vivid monasteries add the colour of spiritual ambience to the enticing scenic beauty. It is home to one of the six oldest monasteries, the ‘Labrang Gompa’. If you are someone who is an admirer of architecture, then you must pay a visit to this Gompa which is known for its interesting mix of Tibetan and Indian Vihara style engineered structure. This monastery is a visual treat as it also boasts of carved paintings on the walls. Sit back, relax and enjoy the tranquillity that surrounds the place.
The best reason for choosing Mangan as one of your honeymoon destinations in Sikkim is simply its lack of popularity in the usual tourist circuits even though choosing the right property to stay at gives you a stunning and unparalleled view of the Kanchenjunga. Don’t you think this would be a perfect treat for your honeymoon in Northeast India?
You can choose to spend a couple of nights here going ahead to Lachung or the Gurudongmar lake and we can help you plan your getaway.
The town also hosts the Mangan, music festival, which is held in December by the Sikkim State tourism department. Famous local bands and other bands from various parts of Northeast India take part in this musical extravaganza which takes place for three days. You can also find stalls of local handicrafts and local cuisines at this festival. If you travel in December, you can attend this event.
Location: Mangan is located in North Sikkim. It is approximately 2 hours 15 minutes away from Gangtok by road.
7) Majuli – Assam
A mini Assam within Assam. If you want to experience the raw essence of an Assamese village, then hop on to your ferry to visit the land of the monastic island of Majuli. If you and your beloved are fond of travelling via water then this can be a perfect getaway.
While crossing the Brahmaputra river you will soon realise its vastness. As the ferry sways a little and you embark on the journey; for a few hours you will only be able to see the waves on which you ride to reach Majuli. Majuli which is popularly known as the largest river island in the world may get submerged underwater due to the rapid erosion happening on the island. Upon reaching the island get ready to meld with the vaishnavite monks and their traditions. Seen through the ‘pop- culture’ lens and through the lenses of those who travel, the imagery of monks and their whereabouts has been formed. The monks in this popular representation are surrounded by colourful prayer flags at high altitudes and most of them are draped in red robes.
A contrasting life of monks awaits across the mighty Brahmaputra. One that has no representation in popular media. No fanfare. These monks live in beautiful flood plains surrounded by water on all sides, dotted with mustard fields and wetlands inhabited by a myriad of birds. Mostly embattling the wrath of the raging only ‘male’ river in India. They are clad in white dhotis and kurtas. Some are under the oath of never cutting their hair, some have taken a vow of celibacy while others are married and pass on the skill of traditional mask making through generations.
Why are we suggesting you visit this place during your honeymoon in Northeast India? That’s because we feel true happiness can be found away from the usual ways of celebrating a honeymoon. 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.”
You can go on a two-wheeler ride to cover the Uttar Kamalabari Satra where the monks aren’t allowed to touch anyone and keep their hair long. You will be having a ‘satvik’ meal prepared by the monks at Aouniati Satra. But remember to take your shower before you set out for the ride. Next you will visit the Samuguri village where you meet the mask makers and see a brief demonstration of the Kshatriya drama, the pottery village where bare hands are used to create pots (you can try your hand as well) and eventually stop at one of the riversides where you can ask the local fishermen to give you a ride in his canoe, into the sunset.
In between all this, the beautiful wetlands of Majuli make the place favourable for birds to thrive and for you to act like an ornithologist for a day.
Location: Majuli is located in the Brahmaputra river. It is approximately 9 hours away from Guwahati.
8) Manas National Park
Sharing its border with Bhutan’s Royal Manas Park; Assam’s own Manas National Park was proposed as a forest reserve way back in 1905. The Manas National park based at the foothills of Bhutan-Himalayas in Assam was declared as a tiger reserve in 1973 and it became a world heritage site under UNESCO in 1985.
Did you know that this national park serves as a reserve for not one but several diverse species? Because of its unique geographical, ecological and environmental structure, this national park serves as a reserve for both tigers and elephants (2003). You can also see several endangered species here like the Assam Roofed Turtle, Hispid Hare, Golden Langur, and Pygmy Hog. It is globally renowned for hosting a lot of wild water buffaloes. If bird watching is your passion, then you will not be disappointed, as there are more than 450 species of birds here. Great hornbills, bulbuls, brahminy ducks (The ruddy Shelduck), fishing eagles, falcons are some of the birds that can be seen. It has the largest numbers of the endangered Bengal Florican.
The mixed/varied flora of this national reserve forest will allow you to see rich biodiversity which is a result of the combination of Brahmaputra Valley semi-evergreen forests and Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests. Did you know that the landscape of the Manas National park is the only forest reserve where Terai grasslands merge with Bhabar grasslands? Manas is not only known for its rich biodiversity but its scenic beauty which consists of forested hills, alluvial grasslands, marshlands, tropical evergreen forests and riverine tracts. It is surrounded by the Bhutan Hills in the north, and the Manas river flanks the park in the west.
If you plan to visit this national park during your honeymoon in Northeast India, then you should note that it remains closed from June to September. The ideal time to pay this park a visit is from October to April.
Location: Manas National Park is located in Assam. It is approximately 3hours 10 mins away from Guwahati.
9) Villages around Balipara
What if you could experience the authentic lifestyle of three different villages in close proximity to one another? Most of us – the city dwellers miss the opportunity to see a vernacular lifestyle be it on our own community or any other. Don’t you think it would be refreshing to experience the living habits of different villages and learn about them during your honeymoon in Northeast India? Something unusual and offbeat that perhaps a very few like us will suggest.
9.1) Nyishi Homestay
Experience the daily lives of the Nyishi tribe of the Arunachal Pradesh mountains in this homestay. You will find the Nyishi homestay standing on slits and politically situated in Assam.
In the busy traditional kitchen, you will notice that breakfast isn’t a part of Nyishi tradition. Yes, they only have 2 meals a day and that includes heaps of rice and meat. But for the guests, they serve sticky rice with a local chutney and tea to go with it. You must try this at least once. Bread and butter are also available upon request.
Your hosts will prepare a complete traditional meal with boiled vegetables, pork with herbs and fish (for the non-vegetarians), chutney out of local leaves and chillies, dal, a dry aloo sabzi for lunch and dinner. The preparations are delicious and will be different for lunch and dinner. There is a spacious courtyard too, and small hills behind will make your experience special.
Activities to indulge in:
- Take a short hike to visit an actual treehouse and have breakfast with the family sitting up!
- Learn to dance like the Nyishis and dress like the Nyishis
- Learn to cook a traditional Nyishi recipe
- Visit the market to buy local wild leaves and vegetables.
- Go rafting on the Kameng river
9.2) Garo Homestay
Learn the lifestyle of the Garos of Meghalaya who maintain a homegrown holistic farming approach. They take tremendous effort to keep their village green and clean. They are experts in handicrafts, weaving, fishing and cultivating economically important plants. The Garo homestay like every other homestay is known for the irreplaceable hospitality of the hosts and the amazing food on offer. You will find this homestay appealing if want to understand the process of traditional weaving and dyeing.
Breakfast isn’t really a part of Garo tradition, but the spread that is presented by the host is something to look forward to. Puri sabzi, eggs, butter bread, milk and something traditional will be decided on the day you visit. For lunch and dinner, the hosts prepare a completely traditional meal where you will be spoilt for choice. Garo food is rare to find commercially and once you taste it, you would be surprised as to why there aren’t more restaurants serving it!
Activities to indulge in:
- Do rafting on Kameng river
- Learn to make traditional recipes of the Garo and you would love it if you are a foodie.
- Try your hand at traditional loin loom/ handloom weaving and organic dyeing
- Play games with village children in their sprawling compounds
9.3) Mising Homestay
You can get to see the everyday life of the Mising tribes predominantly belonging to both Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. A traditional cottage on stilts with a fireplace/ kitchen inbuilt makes the whole set up quite cosy. A beautiful sit out area in the courtyard with bamboo furniture completes the setting. An adorable homestay to spend your honeymoon in Northeast India.
Like most other northeastern tribes, breakfast isn’t a part of Mising tradition. However, sticky rice with jaggery and tea will be served and it is good to set you up for the day. For lunch and dinner, the hosts prepare a completely traditional meal. When we say traditional it isn’t just the food. Even the plates that the food is served in is made fresh by cutting and intelligently tweaking banana stem. The setting of the lunch makes it even more special. Yes, you will be served by the river bank. The food and the local brew. Dinner, which is another lovely traditional Mishing meal can be had by the bonfire or in your traditional hut which has a kitchen and a fireplace.
Activities to indulge in:
- Row a fisherman’s canoe (depending on the water current)
- Cross over to a seasonal sandy island on a canoe and feel like Tom Hanks in castaway (don’t worry you will be brought back)
- Try your hand at traditional loin loom/handloom weaving
- Cycle through the village lanes
Location: These homestays are located near the Balipara Foundation and the approximate time to reach would be 4 hours and 40 minutes.
If these places in Northeast India have been able to increase your curiosity and you have thought of spending your honeymoon in the land of the 7 Sisters and their Brother(Sikkim) then you can get in touch with us here. We hope you will find these offbeat places for your honeymoon in Northeast India unique.