The North-Eastern States of India have largely remained off the conventional tourist itineraries. The lesser-known states of Northeast India have a lot to offer to nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts and the warm hospitality of people from these states makes it a truly wholesome experience.

The Northeastern states have a relatively low cost of travelling, making them the ideal choice for budget-friendly travel. Budget travel offers advantages like cost savings, authentic experiences, flexibility and freedom, skill development, sustainability, and other unique opportunities.

A Budget Traveler’s Guide to Northeast India

The article aims to help budget travellers discover lesser-known states of the North Eastern part of India and encourage offbeat adventures. It is an attempt to introduce travellers to the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Northeast India, which is often overlooked in mainstream travel itineraries.

Why visit Northeast India?

The seven states of Northeast India
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The seven states of Northeast India are famous for their unparalleled natural beauty. It is home to different ethnic groups with their language, traditions, and food, making each of them unique because of their unique cultural identity, which is mostly influenced by their history and geography. These states are also a perfect escape for adventure enthusiasts who can participate in activities like trekking, river rafting, caving, and many more. Each state has its distinctive cuisine, characterized by the use of fresh herbs, bamboo shoots, fermented foods, and minimal oil, offering a plethora of affordable and flavorful dishes that cater to various tastes.

Budget travel trip for Northeast India

Budget travel trip for Northeast India
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The best time to visit Northeast India is from March to June, but the prices are usually raised during these months. It is always better to visit during the off-season for affordable prices of accommodation, transportation, and activities. Opting for public transport facilities can save a lot of money as these might not be the most comfortable or fastest, but they are much cheaper than private taxis or rental cars and also give an authentic travel experience. There are many options for budget-friendly accommodations. These places cost less and provide opportunities to connect with the local population. A proper budget plan should begin with looking for discounts and travel deals on various websites.

Destination Highlights

some hidden gems of northeast India
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Northeast India comprises seven states of which states like Assam and Meghalaya are relatively well-known when compared to other unexplored but equally enchanting destinations. The monasteries in Tawang, The Hornbill Festival of Nagaland, the ancient temples and palaces of Tripura, and the Loktak Lake of Manipur are some hidden gems of northeast India. While Sikkim is becoming increasingly popular among tourists, it is still relatively lesser known when compared to Assam and Meghalaya.

Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh, known as the “Land of Rising Sun”, is a hidden gem known for its landscape, diverse cultures, and unique experiences. Some top attractions of Arunachal Pradesh are:

Tawang: Located at an altitude of over 10,000 feet, Tawang Monastery is one of the largest monasteries in India. It is the spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism in Arunachal Pradesh. It offers breathtaking views of the surrounding Himalayan mountains.

Ziro Valley: Ziro Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is known for its picturesque landscape, rice fields, and tribal culture. The Apatani Tribe calls it their home and the tribe is known for their unique agricultural practices and traditional ways of life.

Arunachal Pradesh offers many budget-friendly activities including trekking and hiking from Tawang to Bum La Pass and Mecuka Valley, visiting the monasteries, and the local markets. A person can also visit the tribal villages and go for nature walks and birdwatching.


Manipur has several attractions that highlight Manipur’s diverse offerings, from natural beauty and wildlife to rich cultural and historical heritage, making it a fascinating destination for travellers. Some of these attractions are:

Loktak Lake: Loktak Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India and is known for its floating circular swamps, which are called Phumdis in the local language. It is a site to behold.

Imphal: The capital city of Manipur has the Kangla Fort, a historic fort that features temples, sculptures, and historical artefacts. It also has Shree Govindajee Temple, a significant Vaishnavite temple with a serene ambience and beautiful architecture. One of the largest markets run exclusively by women is also in Imphal.

A budget traveller can visit the floating islands called Phumdis. They are unique to Loktak Lake and are made of soil, decomposing organic matter, and vegetation. Participation in local festivals in Manipur can be another interesting activity for a budget traveller.


Known as the “Abode of Clouds”, Meghalaya is a treasure trove of natural beauty. It has many waterfalls, caves, and other offbeat attractions that are unique to the state. Some top attractions of the state are:

Living Root Bridges: These bridges can be found in several locations in Meghalaya and are worth visiting to witness a marvel of bioengineering. These bridges are made from the roots of rubber trees and are man-made.

Cherrapunjee: Cherrapunjee is known for its heavy rainfall but it also features beautiful waterfalls like Nohkalikai and Seven Sister Falls. There are several caves to explore in this region.

Meghalaya’s natural and cultural attractions can be enjoyed without spending a lot of money. A person can opt to stay at a budget homestay and visit the waterfalls and cabs by boarding a shared taxi from the capital city of Shillong.


Manipur is known for its scenic landscape, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality. It is known as the “Land of the Hill People”. Some top attractions of Mizoram are:

Aizawl: The capital city of Mizoram is located 1,132 meters above sea level and is known for its panoramic view of lush hills and valleys. There are many beautiful places to explore like the Solomon’s Temple, Mizoram State Museum, and Bara Bazar for local handicrafts and produce.

Vantawng Falls: It is the highest waterfall in Mizoram. It cascades from a height of 750 feet and is surrounded by lush greenery, making it a picturesque spot.

A budget traveller can take a cultural tour through Mizoram. It includes various festivals, local cuisine, and village tours. A nature walk through Mizoram offers a budget-friendly way to immerse oneself in the state’s stunning landscapes, lush greenery, and diverse flora and fauna.


Nagaland is famous for its tribal culture. It has a rich history and scenic landscapes. Some major attractions of Nagaland are:

Kohima: The capital city is known for its historical significance and scenic beauty. The Kohima War Cemetery, Kisama Heritage Village, and State Museum are a must-visit for understanding the culture of Nagaland.

Dzukou Valley: Often referred to as the “Valley of Flowers,” Dzukou Valley is Nagaland’s most picturesque and sought-after destination. It is located at the border of Nagaland and Manipur.

A budget traveller can opt for activities like trekking and can also explore the local crafts of Nagaland


Ujjayanta Palace: Located in Agartala, it is a magnificent royal palace now serving as a state museum. It displays artefacts, sculptures, and paintings.

Neermahal: Neermahal is located at Rudrasagar Lake and is known as the “Lake Palace of Tripura”. It is an exquisite water lake that combines Hindu and Mughal architectural styles.

Tripura can be explored with minimum expense through activities like heritage walks through the city and also visiting wildlife sanctuaries.


Sikkim, nestled in the Himalayas, has gained popularity recently due to its beautiful landscape and rich biodiversity. Top attractions of Sikkim are:

Nathula Pass: It is a high-altitude pass that was a part of the historic Silk Route. It has beautiful views and is strategically important.

Zero Point: It is the last outpost of civilization and the place where three rivers meet amid snowcapped mountains.

The Chenrezig statue and skywalk are tourist attractions in Pelling that budget travellers must look forward to while in Sikkim.

Sample itineraries for Budget Travelers

Proper planning is key to affordable travel plans
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Proper planning is key to affordable travel plans. Here is a sample itinerary that focuses on experiencing North-east India’s diversity:

Day 1

Arrive in Guwahati and visit Kamakhya Temple, and Bhramaputra River, and try some local Assamese cuisine. Stay in budget accommodation.

Day 2

Travel to Shillong by shared taxi or bus and check into a budget accommodation. Explore Ward’s Lake, Don Bosco Museum, and Police Bazaar.

Day 3

Visit Shillong Peak, and Elephant Falls in the morning and travel to Cherrapunjee later by a shared cab.

Day 4

Trek to the Living Root Bridge, and visit Mawsmai Cave and Seven Sisters Falls. Stay the night in Cherrapunjee in budget accommodation.

Day 5

Travel to Cherrapunjee and Mawlynnong Village and continue to Dawki from there. Return to Shillong and stay the night there.

Day 6

Travel to Kaziranga National Park and check into a budget lodge. Relax and prepare for the next day’s safari.

Day 7

Early morning jeep safari in Kaziranga and then return to Guwahati and prepare for departure.

Essential Travel Information

budget travel guide Northeast India
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One very important piece of travel information about Northeast India is the requirement for an Inner Line Permit in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Manipur. Although ATMs are available, it is always better to have some cash in hand while travelling through the region. The most important thing is to take care of the cultural and tribal sentiments of the localities.

Planning a budget travel through Northeast India may seem tough to first-time travellers! But with the help of this article and your passion for exploring the unknown, you are sure to figure out the best way! We hope now you have a fair idea of the many options available in terms of adventure, and travel that are friendly on the pockets. So, follow this budget travel guide, and set out on an experience of a lifetime. Bon voyage!

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