Northeast bike trip


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Almost immediately after my Karnataka+Goa Motorcycle Trip, I set off on my next ride through the Northeast of India. The first step was for me and Perezosa (that’s my motorcycle) to catch the train to Kolkata, and then set off from there.

Like the Karnataka-Goa trip, I’m going to write a series of posts about this trip. This was a longer trip, and much much more eventful, not least because I had enthusiastic and energetic company in the form of Hakim and his motorcycle for part of it!

Highlights

I’m writing posts about some of these places in detail, but here’s a quick summary, in list form!

  1. Santiniketan: This is a town three hours North of Calcutta, set up as a haven for the arts by the family of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. It has a very unique, peaceful feel to it. There’s lots of greenery, open spaces, museums, and good street food.
  2. Santiniketan to Phuentsholing (Bhutan Border): I’ve already written briefly about the drive to Shantiniketan here. Basically it was nice in the morning, then sucked a lot because of pollution and traffic, and then became alright again because a kid smiled at me and I reached the tea estates as the sun started setting.
  3. Phuentsholing: I was a little apprehensive about getting the permits, and the immigration people gave me a lot of headaches, but it all worked out in the end. Plus, I met a gang of nice people who I tagged along with for my Bhutan ride!
The 108 chortens at Dorchu La in Bhutan
The 108 chortens at Dorchu La in Bhutan
  1. Bhutan: Where I didn’t ride alone. Many conversations were had with my lively gang of motorcyclists. Tiger’s Nest monastery was visited again. The lovely people of Bhutan, and the amazing roads beckon in this small, beautiful counry.
In the village. I've always wanted to take one of these pictures with light coming in through slits in the window (or roof!)
In the village. I’ve always wanted to take one of these pictures with light coming in through slits in the window (or roof!)
  1. A village near the India-Bhutan border: Thanks to some new friends we met at Phuentsholing, we got to spend two days at a village near the border. This was an eye-opening experience in many ways, not least the (brief) experience of a different way of life, the struggle for education to reach the villagers, and a lot of pork and rice liquor.
This boatman was very amused when I asked him permission to take this picture
This boatman was very amused when I asked him permission to take this picture
  1. Manas national park: This was where I spent my new year, and saw lots of birds!
  2. Guwahati: We came to Guwahati multiple times in the trip. True to its marketing, it really is the gateway to the Northeast. Our drunk AirBnB host talked nonstop for half an hour about how he doesn’t trust the owners of the apartment, and how he felt bad that we felt it necessary to lock our doors (because that indicated to him that we didn’t trust him!)
  3. Nameri National Park: We had an amazing walk in the forest with a great guide. Then, we extended our stay because some experienced birdwatchers were conducting a workshop for the locals and they let us join. So many birds, so many colours!
Just kids playing with wood
Just kids playing with wood
  1. The ride to West Arunachal Pradesh (Tawang and Zemithang): Buddhism, my second fall on black ice, and amazing views all around!
  2. Guwahati again: Our second AirbNb, Madhumita’s homestay, was an amazing find. More great food was had, both at the homestay and at a restaurant called Mising Kitchen.
This is me. I am so excited because I am the water is extremely cold, and I am not wearing anything. This was at the end of a hike; there was no one around, and I really felt like getting into this "pool", but didn't want to wear wet clothes after. So...
This is me. I am so excited because I am the water is extremely cold, and I am not wearing anything. This was at the end of a hike; there was no one around, and I really felt like getting into this “pool”, but didn’t want to wear wet clothes after. So…
  1. A brief trip to Meghalaya: I was back to riding alone, so I didn’t really do much. A few great walks were had in Shnongpdeng and Nongriat. The roads were amazing throughout, and the root bridges were marvellous. More will come in the post 😊
The view from my room in Majuli
The view from my room in Majuli
  1. Majuli: My favourite place on the trip! It really was an amazing place to spend a few days. Plus, I had the best fish I have ever had in my life, hands down. Watch out for the post, because I’m excited about writing it!
An elephant charged at my safari jeep! I was too stunned to be scared. Two warning shots had to be fired before this guy decided to go back into the forest
An elephant charged at my safari jeep! I was too stunned to be scared. Two warning shots had to be fired before this guy decided to go back into the forest
  1. The way to Darjeeling: I had to go to Darjeeling for my Basic Mountaineering Course. On the way, I stopped at Kaziranga for a night, and had a great safari. An elephant and a rhino charged at me, and I saw more amazing birds. I had a pleasant drive in the rain on the final stretch to Darjeeling.

Links to individual articles:

This is my current plan for splitting up this journey into separate articles (subject to change of course):

  1. Part 1: Bhutan
  2. Part 2: The village on the India-Bhutan border
  3. Part 3: Assam – The National Parks
  4. Part 4: West Arunachal Pradesh and Tawang
  5. Part 5: Meghalaya
  6. The Long Rides: Calcutta to Phuentsholing, and Darjeeling to Delhi through the painful plains.

Watch out for the posts, and I hope you enjoy them! If you have questions about the places, or about travel in India, leave a comment below!

2 comments

    Author’s gravatar

    I am looking forward to reading your upcoming articles, especially the one on national parks in Assam. It seems like you had an exceptional bike trip. 🙂

    Reply

      Hey Lydia,

      Thank you for reading! The trip was really nice in many different ways. I hope you enjoy the entries as they come!

      Reply

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