North-East India is one of the most fascinating places of India and of the world, located at the northeastern region of India, and consisting of 7 states, called collectively as 'the seven sisters'. Much of the region has been left unexplored till date, owning to the regions formidable terrain consisting of mountains, hills, rainforests, river, jungles and predators, and deficiency of infrastructure. The small sized region has one of the highest biodiversity density found anywhere in the world.
While most people in the north-east understand and speak English, Hindi is not very common except in Arunachal pradesh, Assam and Tripura to some extent, so travellers here should pick up a few phrases in the local languages if possible. The Northeast is the most culturally distinct from the rest of India, and many separatist movements exist here; however, there have been no occasions where tourists have been attacked or have faced any disturbances.
NE India is completely connected with the rest of the world with excellent communication facilities with all the major telecommunication companies like Reliance, Vodafone, Aircel, BSNL etc being fully functional.
The main entry point for any north-eastern state is Assam, if one is entering from within India. There are a few entry points from Bangladesh (Dawki in Meghalaya) and Myanmar (Moreh in Manipur) but entry is restricted to local traders/govt. officials.
Entry into Arunachal Pradesh requires a Protected Area Permit (PAP) for non-Indians and an Inner Line Permit (ILP) for Indian citizens. Permits are issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, but the easiest approach is to get your Indian visa with a special endorsement allowing travel in the state. Individual travelers are allowed access only into major towns and sights; travels off the beaten track generally require a registered tour group of four or more people.
Assam(Gopinath Bordoloi Airport, Guwahati), Manipur (Imphal Airport), Nagaland (Dimapur Airport) and Tripura (Agartala Airport) have direct flights from other parts of India (Delhi and/or Kolkata). There are two other major airports serving upper regions of Assam and neighbouring areas - Dibrugarh Airport and Silchar Airport. There are helicopter services to Naharlagun (14 km from Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh) and Aizawl (Mizoram).
There are good train connections from most of the major Indian cities to Assam. Assam and Arunachal Pradesh are the only states in the region with rail lines. The important station in Arunachal Pradesh is Naharlagun which runs between New Delhi, Guwahati via different stations. Important stations in Assam are Guwahati, Bongaigaon, Lumding, Tinsukia and Dibrugarh. The fastest train from Delhi is Guwahati bound Rajdhani Express (28 hrs) followed by North-East Express (32 hrs) and Dibrugarh bound Brahmaputra Mail (42 hrs), while the fastest train from Kolkatta(Howrah) is Saraighat Express. Train track in Assam is not electrified and is single lane, so delays are a norm. There are narrow gauge trains to Arunachal Pradesh and Barak Valley area but they are very much prone to cancellation, delays and are not at all comfortable.
All the states have good network of roads in urban areas. There are regular long journey buses from West Bengal to many north-eastern states. Self-driving is not a good idea as all roads pass through heavy forest reserves and areas infested by insurgents.
North East India is famous for its delicious and ethnic delicacies. The cuisine includes world famous vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes. North East has earned accolades for the various dishes prepared from local herbs and spices.Apart from local dishes , it is also equipped with restaurants and hotels serving conventional Indian foods ( both North Indian and South Indian). So as far as eating is concerned , there will be no problem for the tourists.
Assam is famous for its local made brewery known as "lao-paani". It is a alcoholic beverage made using rice and local herbs and gives an instant high. It is usually available in local markets in Assam.
See cities articles for more listings.