Northeast India is a place for those travellers wanting to experience a true adventure and discover some of the worlds most offbeat and unique travel locations. The region is a cluster of eight unexplored states which are diverse, culturally rich and scenically beautiful.
Bordering countries such as Tibet, Bhutan, Bangladesh Nepal and Myanmar each of the eight states is unique in its culture and landscape. We spent 2 months exploring Northeast India and had an unforgettable time. But is Northeast India safe to travel?
Is Northeast India Safe to Travel? Some states in Northeast India have had a history of internal violence and military intervention. However, these times have long since passed and all of the eight states are now very safe travel destinations. The majority of cultures in Northeast India are kind and peaceful. In Fact, four of Northeast India’s states have the lowest crime rates in India.
As adventure travellers, we were captivated by Northeast India, which is why we have written this post. We want to pass on as much information to fellow travellers who also want to experience India’s hidden gems of the Northeast.
In this article we will go into more detail regarding the safety status of all eight north eastern states as well as providing some great travel tips and information for each region.
The table below shows India’s state crime rates from 2018 with each of Northeast India’s states highlighted. Source
Crime Rates in India
|Arunachal Pradesh *||175|
|Jammu and Kashmir||280|
Safety in Arunachal Pradesh, Northeast India
Arunachal Pradesh Crime Rate: 175
India’s least populated and least explored state is an adventurer’s paradise. Arunachal Pradesh is incredibly diverse and is adorned with green rolling hills, snow capped mountains, ancient buddhist monasteries and over 26 distinctive tribal cultures.
We spent 3 weeks exploring Arunachal Pradesh and it was ultimate adventure! We left this state mesmerised by the authenticity of the cultures we encountered and the stunning scenic beauty of the region.
We found Arunachal Pradesh to be a very safe state and the people of the region are kind, helpful and peaceful. China does not recognise India’s sovereignty over this area and once invaded India in 1962 near the border. This is why the border areas of Arunachal Pradesh are now heavily guarded by the military. However, the region is still calm and safe and there has been no major military action since 1962.
One of the main safety concerns for this region is transport. Many of the roads in Arunachal Pradesh are hilly and windy and are not well maintained. This makes journeys slow and prone to landslides and accidents.
We encountered many landslides and sketchy roads during our travels in Arunachal Pradesh, you can check out our video below where we capture our Journey to Ziro where during monsoon.
Attractions in Arunachal Pradesh
Ziro – Recently labeled a UNESCO world heritage site, Ziro is a beautiful valley laden with bright green rice paddy fields, bamboo villages and a rich tribal culture. When we visited Ziro we soon learned it was one of the most authentic travel destinations we had ever visited. We felt extremely safe during our time in this peaceful and picturesque valley. For more info you can read our full Ziro Travel Guide >>
Bomdila – Bomdila is a very spiritual town which can be visited on your way up to Tawang. This small hill station is home to beautiful buddhist monasteries and authentic homestays. We felt extremely safe in Bomdila and would recommend to spend one or two days here on your way up to Tawang.
Seppa – Sepa is an interesting and off the beaten path town in Arunachal Pradesh. Located on the impressive Kameng river we visited Seppa for a couple of days while journeying from Ziro to Bomdilla.
We enjoyed spending a couple of days here meeting locals and discovering the culture in the bamboo villages nestled on the hill sides. Seppa did feel safe and most of the restaurants and shops closed very early from memory about 7pm. However, although there are a couple of hotels, accomodation was harder to find in this town.
Tawang – A beautiful hill station located on the border of Tibet and home to the famous Tawang Monastery. The picturesque town of Tawang is perhaps Arunachal Pradesh’s most visited travel destination. Although this state is on the border of Tibet and is heavily guarded by Indian military, it is still a very safe place to visit.
The most dangerous thing we encountered was the dogs at night, which became unfriendly and aggressive. So we recommend catching a taxi or hiring a motorbike if you are wanting to get around Tawang after dark. For more information you can also read our article on instructions for reaching > (opens in a new tab)”>Tawang Monastery>>
Mechuka Valley – A very offbeat location that is hard to reach, however it’s serenity and natural beauty is what drives people to travel here. You may also be able to find some of the fammed bamboo bridges on your way to Mechuka as you pass areas such as Along.
Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary – A densely forested and vast area located between Bomdila and Tezpur. Home to tigers, elephants and many more animals, this sanctuary is truly ancient and wild and can be visited on your way to Tawang.
Things to Know Before You Go
Permits: All visitors to Arunachal Pradesh are required to hold valid permits to enter, even Indian Nationals not native to Arunachal Pradesh are required to do so. For more information on how to obtain your permit you can read our > (opens in a new tab)”>blog post here>>
Prices: Prices for accomodation and transport are slightly higher in Arunachal Pradesh compared with other states across India.
Accomodation: Arunachal Pradesh is a largely wild and off the beaten track state which isn’t set up like other main tourist areas in India which means hotels and transport can be difficult to organise in some regions.
Some of the very offbeat cities in Arunachal Pradesh had hotels which would turn us away, we are not sure if this was because we were a couple or if they lacked the correct paperwork to house foreigner nationals.
Although we did end up finding suitable accommodations, we found this to be one of the main struggles in some of the cities of Arunachal Pradesh, including Seppa, Itanagar and Naharlagun.
Pro Tip: Skip the not so pleasant cities Itanagar & Naharlagun if you can or just stay one night if necessary and make your way to the rural areas of Arunachal Pradesh.
Safety in Assam, Northeast India
Assam Crime Rate: 329
As per the crime rate statistics Assam has the highest crime rate among all of the north eastern states. In the past, ethnic tensions have caused sporadic violence and protests throughout Assam. However these outbursts are rare these days and almost never effect the tourist hot spots of Assam such as the tea plantations and wildlife sanctuaries.
We spent one week in the capital city of Guwahati and although the city was large, crowded and polluted we still ended up loving our time there and felt relatively safe. We did however witness pick pocking incidents on the streets, so keeping your wits about you in this city is important. You can see our Guwahati travel video above.
Assam is considered the gateway to seven sister states of the north east and is a plateau region and home to Guwahati the capital city of the Northeast and the mighty Brahmaputra river.
Like us, many travellers will use Assam as a stop off before exploring other states in the northeast, but this state does have its own attractions worth visiting as well. In Assam you will find flourishing wildlife sanctuaries, rice paddy fields and sprawling tea plantations.
Attractions in Assam
The Assam tea industry is India’s largest tea producer and one of the largest producers of tea in the world. So it’s fair to say there are plenty of beautiful and tranquil tea plantations to visit in this state. Many of the state’s major plantations lie west of Tezpur and in the surrounding rural regions of Dibrugarh city.
Kaziranga National Park is A World Heritage Site located in Assam which is home to abundant wildlife including tigers, elephants, exotic birds, deer and the world’s largest population of Indian One-horned Rhino. The waters of the area are even home to majestic river dolphins.
Majuli is India’s largest river island and is a serene place that takes you back in time. This island paradise is home to serene wetlands, wooden stilt houses, lush rice paddy fields, wooden boats and tribal villages. This is definitely a place for travellers wanting to get off the beaten track.
Safety in Manipur – Northeast India
Manipur Crime Rate: 93
Manipur has a history of military violence over the years, but these issues have eased and become much better. Manipur also has one of the lowest crime rates in India and is considered a safe place to travel for tourists. Main cities and tourist locations are considered very safe, but if you are visiting very rural areas it’s best to travel with a guide who knows the area.
Few travellers reach Manipur, a vast lowland region that borders Myanmar. This is a lush area with rolling hills and far reaching lakes, rivers and wetlands making it a great travel destination for nature lovers. Often called the Land of Jewels, Manipur is known for its many cultural folk dances and strong patriarchal society where women hold very strong leadership roles.
This state enthusiastically celebrate festivals bringing it’s rich culture and heritage to life. Some of the major festivals in the state are, Yaoshang, Gaan Ngai, Cheiraoba, Lai-Haraoba, Kang, Heikru Hidongba, Kut, Ningol Chakkouba, Mera Houchongba and Lui.
It is also important to note that, foreigners visiting Manipur need to register at the CID Office in Imphal.
Attractions in Manipur
The largest freshwater lake in north eastern India, Loktak lake is located about 50 km from the main Imphal city and is a beautiful peaceful place to visit. Home to many rural fisherman this lake is famous for its many circular floating islands.
Moreh-Tamu International Market
A vibrant and bustling market situated on the border between Manipur and Myanmar. Located 11km from Imphal, visiting this market would be an exciting glimpse into the cultural similarities of both Manipur and neighbouring Myanmar.
A vibrant green valley of rolling hills, pure rivers and wildflowers, this area links the states of Nagaland and Manipur. Well known for its many treks and tracks this is a great place for nature and adventure lovers. The area is very off the beaten path and not yet set up for tourism, so it’s best to bring your own tent or travel with a guide if you plan on doing multi day hikes. Discover North East is a tour company that organise Dzukou Valley hikes with great reviews on Tripadvisor.
Safety in Meghalaya – Northeast India
Meghalaya Crime Rate: 91
Recent statistics show that Meghalaya has the second lowest crime rate among all Indian states. We spent about 2 weeks in Meghalaya and felt it was a very safe and friendly place to travel. It is also a safe place for solo travellers and due to the lack of tourism here you will not be harassed by touts or scammers.
From our experience, road conditions were also very good and we did not encounter any landslides or issues while travelling, even during monsoon. You can read more information on visiting Meghalaya during monsoon here >>
Meghalaya is easily accessible from Guwahati and is an alluring hidden gem to be discovered. This beautiful exotic region is adorned with incredible natural scenery and unique and peaceful culture.
Rolling green hills, crystal clear lakes and rivers, wild jungles, rushing waterfalls, epic canyons and ancient living root bridges are all reasons to visit this jewel in Northeast India.
Attractions in Meghalaya
We spent a week discovering the bustling musical city of Shillong. The metropolitan centre of Meghalaya is a great place to experience live music events and discover the humming markets such as the giant Iewduh Bara Bazar.
Laitlum Grand Canyon
A great day trip from Shillong and an incredibly beautiful sight! This is a huge canyon which treats visitors to epic far reaching views!
Living root bridges
Visiting the living root bridges of Nongriat was a highlight for us. Travellers must hike 2hours to reach the remote jungle village where there are a couple of guest houses for visitors. Once you have reached the village of Nongriat you can take day hikes and discover the historic living root bridges, crystal blue pools and stunning waterfalls of the area. There are plenty of bridges to discover in the area and we recommend to stay 2-3 days in Nongriat if you want to discover some of the lesser seen but equally as beautiful roots bridges.
Things to know before you go.
Public transport is few and far between in Meghalaya, so you will need to hire your own bike or rely on private taxis for most of your transport. This can make things slightly more expensive for budget travellers.
Safety in Mizoram – Northeast India
Mizoram Crime Rate: 149
Mizoram did have a period of tribal turmoil for about 25 years till the mid-eighties. However, these rebellions ended in 1986 and Mizoram has been a very safe place since. Mizoram has a very low crime rate and the people of this state are extremely peaceful and friendly.
Mizoram is the far distant state of northeast India and is tucked away between Bangladesh and Myanmar. The beauty of this land is unparalleled with its lush green forest, pristine mountain ranges, bamboo groves, green paddy fields, and gushing waterfalls.
Named the land of the Highlanders, or the Mizos, Mizoram is also rich in culture with many cultural festivals on the annual calendar. This hidden gem see’s very few tourists and is an excellent place for those who truly want to get off the beaten path.
Attractions in Mizoram
Located near Thenzawl this spectacular waterfall is the highest in the state. These falls can only be seen from a distant viewpoint but there are also other falls in the area that can be seen up close.
Located deep in the southern corner of the state this is the largest natural lake in Mizoram. The lake lies in a wild jungle region which is rich in biodiversity where many species of bird and wildlife, even elephants can be seen.
Murlen National Park & Lengteng Wildlife Sanctuary
Located northeast of Aizawl these two jungle areas are in rich wildlife and are home to tigers, leopards, sambar, deer, Himalayan black bear, wild boar, gibbons and many more. A great place for animal and nature lovers to visit.
Things to know before you go
Entry Requirements: All visitors must get an Inner Line Permit before entering the state and foreign tourist must also register at Office of Superintendent of Police CID in Aizawl. You can find more information here >>
Dry State: Mizoram is a dry state and all sale and consumption of alcohol is prohibited.
Safety in Nagaland – Northeast India
Nagaland Crime Rate: 57
Nagaland, the world of warrior head hunting tribes, is perceived by many as dangerous and threatening. However this practice was only ever actioned in times of tribal conflict and the act of headhunting among tribes has ceased since the early 80s.
We have met quite a few people who have travelled to Nagaland, female solo travellers included. Their experiences were that of kind, friendly and welcoming locals. In fact, as per recent statistics Nagaland has the lowest crime rate among all the states in India. So it is fair to say that Nagaland is a very safe place to visit in northeast India.
Visitors come to Nagaland to experience the warrior tribes, rich culture, lush green scenery and vibrant cultural festivals. This off the beaten path state is a peaceful and serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The full glory of Naga culture is unveiled at their vibrant and traditional annual festivals, particularly the Hornbill Festival that occurs in December. You can explore Nagaland independently but many recommend taking part of your journey as a guided tour to get a real insight into the deep rooted culture of the state.
Attractions in Nagaland
Visit a Traditional Naga Village
Visiting a tribal village in Nagaland is almost a must. It is here you will get to experience the true authentic culture of Nagaland. Some traditional villages include Khonoma, Kigwema, Longwa, Phesama.
Due to a lack of public transport and many villages being set in remote areas many travellers choose to visit these villages with a guide. A guide will also help translate and provide more in depth information during your journey. Alder Tours and Travel does great Naga village tours.
Attend a Naga Festival
Attending a festival in Nagaland will give you a deeper insight into the culture of Nagaland. Cultural harvest festivals are celebrated with great enthusiasm in Nagaland and they are a great place to experience local customs, clothing, dance, rituals and food.
The Hornbill Festival is the most famous in Nagaland but there are many other festivals you can attend throughout the year such as Sekrenyi, Tsukheneye, Aoleang, Naknyulem, Mimkut, Tokhu Emong, Tuluni.
Safety in Tripura – Northeast India
Tripura is a very safe place to travel in North East India. As per the latest statistic, the crime rate is low and people of this land are kind and friendly. However, Tripura was listed as the capital of crimes against women in India in the year 2010.
Since then, the figures have significantly decreased and local governments have worked hard to reduce the number of crimes against women. Tripura is now considered relatively safe for women, however many locals will recommend for females not to travel alone after dark.
This northeast Indian state is surrounded by Bangladesh. The state sees very few tourists but it’s main draw card is its heritage sites, temples and palaces.
Tripura is also home to some incredible archaeological sites including the amazing Unakoti carvings which date back as far as the 7th century. As well as its many historical and ancient marvels, Tripura is also known for its rich culture, crafts, wildlife sanctuaries and hilly green scenery.
Safety in Sikkim – North East India
When Indian’s think if safety in northeast India they think of Sikkim. Sikkim has one of the lowest crime states in India and is considered a very safe place for visitors and travellers.
The people of Sikkim are very kind and helpful and your main concern for safety is likely road transport. Due the mountainous nature of Sikkim’s roads, journeys can be long and windy and can be prone to snow fall and landslides
Sikkim is a small but beautiful mountainous state in North East India. Home to the third highest mountain in the world this state is considered one of the cleanest and most peaceful states in India.
Wedged between Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal, Sikkim has a unique culture and history and is known for its famous Darjeeling tea estates and incredible scenic hikes. Sikkim is an incredible travel destination in India for those who are wanting experience its traditional culture dramatic natural scenery.
Attractions in Sikkim
Sikkim is an incredible place to connect with nature and explore the region through many of its scenic adventure treks. Some of these treks include Goecha La Trek, Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek, Tholung Trek, Tosar Lake Trek and many more. Some travellers might want to embark on these treks independently, but many choose to travel with a guide. For those interested in finding a reputable trekking company, Hidden Paradise Adventure Tours has great reviews on Tripadvisor.
Darjeeling is a beautiful hill station surrounded by its famed tea fields and historic buddhist monasteries. With it’s Himalayan vistas and bustling bazaars, Darjeeling is one of Sikkim most visited hill stations.
This gem in northeast India is a vibrant blue glacial lake surrounded by rugged mountains. Located 35km from Gangtok it is a great place to be at one with nature and also get a glimpse of the majestic yak!
Sikkim has quite a few hot springs, many which are known for their healing powers. Some of the most well known hot springs in Sikkim include; Reshi Hot Spring, Ralong Hot Spring, Yumthang Hot Spring and Yumesamdong.
We hope this article on safe travel in northeast India was helpful and has convinced you that the northeast is a safe travel destination. We encourage all travellers to make the journey to this remote corner of India to experience the diverse culture and landscapes of the incredible northeast!
If this article was helpful you may also want to check out our Safe Places to Visit in India blog post.
Cheers, Native Travellers
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