Q: I’m a 25-year-old based in Mumbai. I would like to visit the Northeast with my parents, aged 54 and 50. We are looking to travel in January or February for about 7D/6N or a maximum of 8D/7N. Is this the best time to visit the region? Places I have zeroed in on are: Guwahati, Shillong, Cherrapunji, Mawsynram, Kaziranga National Park, Bomdila, Tawang, Tezpur and Majuli. Can you please suggest an itinerary? We prefer budget accommodation in the range of 1,500 – 2,500. I hear that the road to Bomdila and Tawang is not very good and that visiting Arunachal Pradesh requires Inner-Line Permits?

Marco Says: First, yes, Jan-Feb would be a good time to visit the Northeast. You have a wishlist of three states, but given that your outer time limit is eight days, I suggest you drop one. Assam you should keep, of course, but choosing between Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh will make your trip more relaxed instead of slugging out long periods on the road. My recommendation would be Guwahati–Shillong–Cherrapunji–Kaziranga–Tezpur–Guwahati; or alternatively, Guwahati–Tezpur–Bomdila–Tawang–Bhalukpong–Guwahati. If you are keen on Majuli, however, you could consider Guwahati–Kaziranga–Majuli–Sivasagar–Tezpur–Guwahati.

Arunachal Pradesh is a Protected Area and all visitors are required to obtain permits to enter the state. Domestic tourists need an Inner-Line Permit which can be secured from the Arunachal Pradesh Resident Commissioner’s office or liaison offices located in New Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, Shillong, Dibrugarh, Tezpur, North Lakhimpur and Jorhat. See arunachalpradesh.nic.in. As to roads, the Bomdila–Dirang–Tawang route is an arduous drive, thanks to frequent landslides, so account for delays and make sure to reach your destinations before nightfall. You should certainly be able to find accommodation within your budget in most stops.