ChaloHoppo to Dzukou and Nongriat
We bring to you two most popular treks in Northeast India – Dzukou valley & Nongriat. Campsite Yedikha is considered as one of the best camping spots in Nagaland overlooking the terraced rice fields. A beautiful cheap campsite with the best food. Trekking in Northeast India will be unfulfilling if you miss visiting the Dzukou valley in Nagaland and Double-decker Living Root bridge in Nongriat, Meghalaya. Undoubtedly, Dzukou and Nongriat treks are the popular treks in Northeast India.
Walk down 3000 steps into the magical world of this Meghalayan village to witness the most amazing work of symbiosis between man and nature. In Nagaland survive a night in the alien bamboo land of Dzukou valley. Time to hit the gym, eh? If you are looking for the best treks in the Northeast, you are in the right place.
Reviews 1 Review5/5
Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging
Group Size Medium Group
The first time we thought of clubbing these two iconic hikes of Northeast India was in June 2017. We had called it the “Trek to Independence” and officially launched it on August 15, 2017.
From the moment you step out of your vehicle at the base village of Tyrna and till you come back up to board your car, a lot will change in you and words, unfortunately, won’t be able to describe that change. This trek is nothing like a typical trek as you need to climb down 3000 steps (you can count it as you go down) and cover an approximate distance of 3.5 km. Your knees will start to give in and you will be drenched in your sweat but you will recover every drop of that sweat when you cross multiple turquoise pools and finally reach the double-decker living root bridges. Blessed with beautiful streams, lush vegetation, pretty butterflies and great people Nongriat has managed to remain the same throughout, apart from some brick and mortar work coming to the aid of travellers. One cannot put a definite number to the days that you can spend in this natural fortress.
When it comes to Dzukou valley, the trek itself isn’t as challenging as the one you just finished but surviving a night in the barebone facility near the valley is the thrilling bit. The beauty of the hills covered in what looks like grass but are bamboo plants and the amazing sunset will be memorable. But when the sun sets is when your real adventure begins. Between stargazing and dinner, be prepared to help fellow trekkers and yourself since the only source of entertainment will be your sense of positivity and sense of humour and the only source of light will be the fire inside you.
Highlights of the tour:
- Staying in a handpicked boutique resort in Sohra(Cherrapunjee) jamming with a local band.
- Nature hikes and visiting waterfalls in and around Sohra (Cherrapunjee)
- Stopping over to experience local markets.
- Trekking to the Double Decker living root bridges and staying in the village for 2 nights!
- Hiking to Rainbow fall
- Plucking fresh fruits from trees on the hikes
- Overnight train journey! (that’s definitely something we need to take with a pinch of salt)
- Camping in serene environs overlooking terraced paddy fields of Jakhama village
- Village walk, through Jakhama village to see and appreciate the diversity of Meghalaya and Nagaland
- Trek to Dzukou valley and staying overnight in the most barebone dormitory you have ever seen in your life
- An attempt at acquaintance with the local Naga rice beer of the Angami tribe
- The Joy of camping and relaxing in a campsite that feels like a homestay after your hard night in Dzukou.
- Overnight accommodation on twin/triple sharing basis on all days (Day 6 will be in Dzukou Dormitory)
- Breakfast on all days (Except Day 5)
- Lunch and Dinner on Day 5, 6 and 7
- English Speaking Local Guide for Nongriat Trek (Day 2, 3 and 4)
- English Speaking Local guide for Dzukou Trek (Day 6 and 7)
- Transport in a Dzire/Innova/Tempo (based on the number of travellers) from Day 1 to 4
- Sleeper Train Tickets from Guwahati to Dimapur
- Transport in a Sumo from Day 5 to Day 8
- Breakfast on Day 5
- Lunch and Dinner from Day 1 to Day 4, and Day 8
- Flight Tickets
- Return Train Tickets
- All food & beverages cost apart from the ones mentioned above
- Entry fee to any monuments etc if any
- Inner Line Permits (You could make this online. If you want us to make it, it would cost Rs. 500 per person
- Any camera fees
- 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 the control
- Potters hired for personal use
- Anything not specifically mentioned under the head “Inclusions”.
The day you fly into Northeast India and drive to Meghalaya
Land anytime before 11:00 am in Guwahati.
It will take us about 2 hours to exit Guwahati and enter a cooler Meghalaya, on the way stopping for pineapples, other seasonal fruits and some chai near the Umiam lake. We should reach our boutique resort in Cherrapunjee just before sunset. Tonight lets enjoy the silence, the stars or the rain, come what may, for your wanderlust’s sake, this is your first day in Meghalaya! Let it sink in.
The day you do the trek to remember -walking over living root bridges
This is a big day. We need to wake up early. After breakfast drive to Tyrna village, the start of the famous Double Decker living root bridges trek. On the way, the guide will try and
let you pluck some local fruits that grow during that season if you wish(we take permission from the villagers before plucking anything and even compensate them for it).
This trek is nothing like a typical trek as you need to climb down a staircase, similar to walking from the top floor of a 100 storey building. Your knees will start to give in and you
may find your thighs shaking and you will be drenched in your sweat but you will recover every drop of that sweat when you reach your destination. After you reach the end of the stairs and finally see the Double Decker living root bridge, take a dip and freshen up. Because there is another trek(the next day) to go! This one will lead us to the Rainbow Falls. Trust us, if you need to hit the gym right away because you think you can’t handle this. Do that. You don’t want to miss this.
P.S. We will be only carrying a small backpack for the 2 days that we will be staying down in the village below. Specific instruction regarding the same will be given once you sign up for the trip.
Overnight at a homestay in Nongriat village.
The evening will be spent around the bonfire (depending on the temperature) and star gazing while sipping on hot red/ black tea.
Total drive time from Shillong to Tyrna parking lot will be 2.5 hours.
Total time taken for the trek to reach homestay from the parking lot will be 1.5 to 2 hours.
Total time for the trek from homestay to Rainbow falls is approximately 1 hour one way.
Carry a water bottle that can be filled up along the way. Refrain from buying mineral water and reduce the plastic content that is becoming a problem in Nongriat.
Overnight in a very basic homestay in Nongriat village.
The day you spend roaming in a tropical paradise
Waking up early(6 am) will ensure that you get to spend quality time near the Double Decker living root bridges before day trekkers start pouring in while getting a natural fish pedicure
at the pool in front of the bridges. Ideally, by 8 am, you should start the trek back to Rainbow Falls. This trek is more akin to a trek on a rugged stony trail.
This takes an hour from the homestay(which is near the Double Decker living root bridges). Come back in time for a swim in the pool in front of the Double Decker bridge before heading back to the homestay.
A packed lunch will be had near Rainbow Falls or we will come something simple on the spot!
Overnight at a homestay in Nongriat village.
The day you trek back and board the train to Dimpaur
Today we need to head back up to the top and get on the road again, the train later. But before that, we will check out a few delicious waterfalls, yeah?
The ascend can take up to 2.5 hours or an hour, depending on your speed and stamina. No pressure.
We will start early, as early as 7 am. Lunch will be had in Sohra(Cherrapunjee).
The day you realise Nagas could do with better roads
The hectic road journey from Dimapur to Kohima.
It would be surprising if you feel like you have been on roads worse than this. No, we aren’t referring mind-numbing hairpin bends. Just infrastructural negligence. This will last for 3 to 4 hours.
Rejuvenate at Camp Yedikha
At our campsite in Jakhama village, you will feel relaxed and realise the journey was worth the pain. Settle in your tents, enjoy the view on offer from the campsite, sipping hot ‘laal cha’(red tea). Oh, what a feeling it is!
Explore the Rice fields-
People who aren’t tired and are hungry to explore more can head to the rice fields down the campsite. Look around and feel you are in Bali or Vietnam. Watch the sunset, shoot a time-lapse or just seize the moment in your eyes.
Bonfire and meals
Veg And Non-veg meals for all, sip on some rice beer let the food settle in and stargaze lying down in your tent. A night to remember, to share with your grandkids.
It’s been a long day. Time to get some rest.
The day you trek to Dzukou valley and survive a night
Wake up call!
We will need to begin the day early. Wake up call at 6 am. Post Breakfast, we rush to the sumos waiting for us.
Drive to the starting point of the trek
It will take a 45 minute to 1-hour journey from the camp to reach the starting point of the trek through Viswema village.
Trek to Dzukou – steep climb followed by even path
The trek to Dzukou will take a maximum of 4 hours considering there will be the first time and slow trekkers. It’s a bit steep, slippery climb up the stairs, but only for about an hour. The initial walk is through a thick forest with giant rhododendrons trees.
The path flattens out thereafter making your walk easy unless rains have inundated the path.
6 km of walking on along a plain surface lined with small bamboo plants in a circular path gives passing views of the narrow Dzukou stream and glimpses of what the valley promises.
Reach the Dormitory.
Our abode for the night will be the only dormitory(nothing but a big concrete room with a roof) available at Dzukou. Relax your calves, stretch out and energize yourself with hot cuppa Noodles.
Sunset with Laal Chaa.
Admire the beauty Dzukou is while you sip on some ‘laal cha’. Watch one of the most serene sunsets one can come across.
Sit through the cold winds to count the uncountable stars in the sky. Gift yourself the sight of trails of Milky Way(based on Dzukou’s temperamental weather of course).
Sleep tight, it will be COLD.
Drive time: Jakhama to Viswema: 45 minutes largely on steep kaccha road
Trek time: 5 hours on an average, including fast and slow trekkers
Trek grade: easy to medium
Altitude: 8,045 ft
Trek gradient: Moderate. Mostly ascending trails with some steep stretches.
Water sources: 1 tap around 3 km after starting the trek
The day you get into the valley’s lap and head down to Camp Yedikha
Wake up and Head to the Valley
Wake up by 5 am to catch the sunrise in the valley. So far you have been admiring the valley from the hills; it’s time to head into the valley. The trail down takes about 1 hour. Walk through the mist, look around the dead trees in the middle of the green bamboo sea. Live!
Hike back for breakfast and start the trek back to base
Reach the dormitory, have Wai Wai and ‘Lal Cha’ for breakfast and start the trek back by 10 am. Walk back but don’t forget to look back, these are the last moments you share with the valley. Bid farewell and reach the starting point of Viswema trek where our Sumos will be waiting for your rescue.
Reach Campsite and dip in a natural riverside pool
An hour ride back and some hot food awaits you at this small riverside pool. It’s a short walk/ drive to this stream which is the perfect therapy for your tired body. Take a dip, gulp the food and then head back to the camp.
Bonfire, rice beer, repeat!
Drive Time- Viswema starting point to Campsite will take 1 hour.
Trek Time- 2 hours from the valley and Maximum 5 hours to the endpoint. (considering first-time trekkers and slow trekkers)
Distance Covered on wheels – 12km + 15 km
The day you take a train back to Guwahati/ Fly out of Dimapur
There are two ways of booking the return ticket for this trip:
a) Book a return from Dimapur (this means you need to leave the campsite at 6 am in the morning since flights from Dimapur usually depart by 12 pm or there about and you have to account for extra time)
b) Book a return from Guwahati for a flight the next morning and board a train from Dimapur at 4:56 pm, Jan Shatabdi express(12068) to reach Guwahati by 9 20 pm. You need to book an accommodation for the night in Guwahati.
This trip will be aligned with the first option.
Each cottage in this resort is differently designed. From the exteriors to the interiors, not a single cottage is identical. If room service isn’t your priority, this is the place to be.
The campsite itself resembles the terrace farms of Nagaland as it has three levels. The first level has the parking space, the kitchen area and a few tents. The second layer has most of the tents and the bonfire area. The third layer is the best as it offers an uninterrupted view of beautiful paddy fields of Jakhama village, with the backdrop of the hills. The whole campsite has a natural boundary of oak trees with flowers and orchids ornamenting it. It is only 5.4 km away from Kisama village, the venue of the annual Hornbill festival in Nagaland.
Nothing to describe the homestays in Nongriat apart from asking you to leave the conventional idea of stays and what they offer. Choose between rooms or camping on roofs.
This is just a bare concrete structure to let you spend the night in safety in Dzukou. We provide sleeping bags and pillows and try to make the place comfortable for you. But one should be aware that this place otherwise does not provide you with any kind of comfort other than a shelter for survival. It is a rectangular long hall where sleeping bags will be placed next to one another.
30 Days prior to arrival: 50% refund
15 Days prior to arrival: 25% refund
Less than 15 Days prior to arrival : 0% refund
What type of bag to carry?
Carry a small bag(10 to 15 litres) for your trek down to Nongriat village that can fit essential toiletries and change of clothes for 1 night to reduce the weight on your shoulders and make the trek easier.
Basic toiletries and allergy medications and tissue rolls (if you need)
head lamps/ Torches with batteries
quick dry towels
ID Proof – Voters card/ Pan Card/ Passport/ Drivers license/ Aadhar card (to be sent on mail upon confirming the trip to [email protected])
Other things that you may bring along :
Sun tan lotion
Playing cards and small board games,in case you don’t feel sleepy at night
Any sort of alcoholic beverages
Go pro for under water shots
We will have pick up and drop facility to and from the Guwahati airport once you share the arrival time of your flight.
Campsite: Please avoid carrying plastic bottles or even buying sealed bottles while at the venue as want to have a litter free zone as much as possible.
Swimming: You have to be careful as it’s deep and sometimes the current could pull you in. If you aren’t a swimmer, please mention that specifically and put a request for renting a life jacket on email.
Avoid plastic: Please avoid buying mineral water, specifically while in Nongriat(Double decker living root bridges village) since it is a major cause of pollution in the delicate eco system of Nongriat. Remember to take up whatever you bring down.
Service: Though we will try our best to give you great service, please understand we won’t be able to give you hot towels, bed tea and the like.
Entry to the states of Meghalaya does not require a permit.
A most definite yes, as long as you are okay travelling in a mixed group of other solo travellers or small group of friends.
Not all travellers who sign up for a tour with ChaloHoppo are swimmers so the experience doesn’t get hampered due to lack of that skill. It is certainly an advantage for those can swim but life jackets can be rented along with a guide to ensure safety of the travellers.
- Winter jacket
- balaclava/ beanie (something that covers your ears and your head)
- Sports socks and Swimwear for the Nongriat trek, you can also get swimming goggles or snorkelling masks, and swimming cap
- Raincoat (just in case, since you are travelling in ‘abode of clouds’)
- Trekking shoes (basic ones will do)
- quick dry towels (plastic bag/ ziplock to carry your wet clothes)
- Allergy medications and other medicines, since these are very remote places with very little access to most basic things.
- A non-disposable water bottle to fill water and AVOID BUYING MINERAL WATER
- ID Proof – Voters card/ Pan Card/ Passport/ Drivers license/ Aadhar cardYou can always buy these things from the Decathlon (1 km away from the airport) in Guwahati, if you wish.
Other things that you may bring along :
headlamps/ Torches with batteries
Playing cards and small board games, in case you don’t feel sleepy at night
Go pro for underwater shots
Ideally a 60-litre backpack should be convenient, however, there is no real hiking or trekking with the bags, so a suitcase or trolley is also fine.
Do carry a separate smaller bag(10 to 15 litres) for your trek down to Nongriat village that can fit essential toiletries and change of clothes for 1 night only to reduce the weight on your shoulders and make the trek easier.
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.