ASSAM & ARUNACHAL PRADESH: CYCLING IN VALLEYS, ISLAND IDYLL & RIVER CRUISE
Cycling in the picturesque mountain valley of Arunachal Pradesh, Land of the Dawn-lit-Mountains
River cruise on the Brahmaputra river on a comfortable houseboat
Explore Majuli, one of the world's largest river islands and a microcosm of Assamese culture
Rafting and walking safari at Nameri National Park in Assam
10 nights / 11 days
16 to 26 December 2019
Cycling & village hiking
JTI Adventure boat in Assam
Basic guest houses and camping
DAY 1 | 16 December
After arrival at Dibrugarh airport, drive for 150 kms/4 hours to Roing in Arunachal Pradesh. Check in to your guest house for the night.
DAY 2 | 17 December
Post breakfast this morning, check out of the guest house and buckle up around 50 kms of cycling (with a coffee stop in between) through the breath-taking hills and valleys of Arunachal Pradesh. Stop to have a packed lunch at a campsite, before driving (22 kms/1 hour) to Namsai. Check in to your guest house for the night.
DAY 3 | 18 December
After breakfast, check out of the guest house and visit to the Golden Pagoda Buddhist temple and join the monks in their prayer session. Post the temple visit, cycle for around 30 kms towards the border of Assam and stop for a tea break at a local school. Next, drive for 35 kms/1 hour to Digboi Refinery and, after a packed lunch, visit the Digboi Museum. Check in to your guest house for the night.
DAY 4 | 19 December
Post breakfast, we begin our cycling trip of 34 kms through Tai Phake villages, experiencing the unique history and culture of the 150 Phakial families residing in this less explored region. Enjoy lunch at a local's residence before cycling through tea garden country to reach your campsite for the night.
DAY 5 | 20 December
Early in the morning after breakfast, drive 130 kms/4 hours to Neamati Ghat to embark on our JTI Adventure boat for your river cruise on the mighty Brahmaputra. Start cruising towards Majuli, one of the world’s largest river islands and a microcosm of Assamese culture. The island is a stronghold of the peaceful religion of neo-Vaishnavism; its elegant island satras (monastery) – some for celibate monks, some for families – showcase a unique way of life where the faithful live simply, offering worship through gayan-bayan (songs and musical instruments) and readings.
Once docked at Majuli, set out on a cycling trip of 24 kms through the river island before turning to the boat for your overnight stay.
DAY 6 | 21 December
After breakfast this morning on the boat, embark on a 38 km cycling trip from the ghat to a famous island satra, tiny villages, markets and more. Majuli represents rural idyll in Assam, so there will be plenty of bucolic scenes to capture for avid photographers! Stop along the way to discover the island's culture as well as a crucial cuppa, before heading back to the boat for lunch. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure on the boat, or interact with your guide to learn more about the unique arts, crafts and culture of neo-Vaishnavites in Majuli.
DAY 7 | 22 December
We spend another day docked at Majuli and cycle 15 kms through the countryside to visit another island satra. Head back to the boat for your meals and leisure, before setting out again in the evening for a Sattriya dance recital by artists performing exclusively for you. Return to the boat for a good night's sleep.
DAY 8 | 23 December
Start cruising downstream today and reach Biswanath Ghat in the afternoon. Upon docking at the ghat, explore a nearby river island strewn with ruins of ancient temples. Return to the boat for your overnight stay.
DAY 9 | 24 December
Early this morning, after tea and light snacks, drive for 72 kms/2 hours to Nameri National Park. Located in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas in the Sonitpur district of Assam, this park is excellent elephant country with many to be seen lazily grazing on grass. The park is also an ideal habitat for a host of other animals including tigers, leopards, sambars, dholes (Asiatic wild dog), pygmy hogs, sloth bears, capped langurs and Himalayan black bears. A birder's paradise, the White-winged Wood Duck, Rufous Necked Hornbill, and Blue-bearded Bee Eater are a few of the 300 species of birds that reside at Nameri National Park.
Enjoy breakfast at Eco Camp, before heading off on a hike for two hours into the park. Stop midway for a tea break and then onto a rafting adventure of another two hours on the Jia-Bhorelli river, with the view of the breath-taking eastern Himalayan range to your back. Return to Eco Camp for lunch, and then head off for a cycling experience of around 30 kms through a few villages. Late afternoon, drive for 48 kms/1.5 hours to head back to the JTI Adventure boat for dinner.
DAY 10 | 25 December
Start cruising towards Guwahati today. Dock at a sand bank for the night and enjoy a bonfire dinner.
DAY 11 | 26 December
This morning, cruise towards Uzanbazar Ghat in Guwahati and disembark to head to Guwahati airport for your onward journey.