At Kolkata, there was hardly any time to spend. But we had to book in a hotel to freshen-up. To our surprise, it turned out to be the cheapest one of all. At Rs. 200, the Krishna Vilas near Esplanade was a terrific money-saver. The food was even better and it worth every penny. We went to the Park Street by the Metro and after a bit of confusion over buying and using the tickets, we roamed around the place found it quite appealing.
At 8:30 pm, the Yeshwantpur Express would leave for Bangalore. It has been an outstanding tour and there was nothing untoward during the train journey to spoil it.
I must say it was an unbelievably good tour to the north-east. From a tour that started with trepidation, we ended in awe. There are plenty of conflicts in the region and they cannot be ignored. However, it isn’t a war zone and generally the place is peaceful.
For states like Arunachal, a two people group is better than a crowded one. It is largely free of daily tourists and hence is not prepared for a rush of humanity. One also needs to spend time here, for not everything happens quickly. It is safe to say that to understand the state, you’ll need at least a month.
Assam is a good wildlife state; and more or less that’s about that. Here, a team of four will be very handy and cheap. The violence in the state is a truth one has to live with. But it must be said that one has to be terribly unlucky to be caught in crossfire.
Meghalaya is a terrific place for someone who has time and a vehicle on hand. There is an unmistakable serenity around this state and should not be missed. Cherrapunjee can be disappointing, but some caving would be delightful.
Sikkim is a paradise for tourists wishing to take one’s family along. It can also be a very good place for a driving holiday. It can tend to be a little expensive, but do not miss the government-run craft center.
State Bank ATMs can be found in major cities. Petrol Bunks are also in abundance in most places; but Arunachal doesn’t have that many. Hindi works everywhere. People are friendly and helpful. Food can be a problem as restaurants sometimes shut down by 6:30. Everything works on trust here, and one can trust pretty much everyone involved in the tourism business. However, don’t take the tour-operator’s word in places like Sikkim and Darjeeling.
You might travel the rest of India twice over; you might fly past innumerable countries and see as many exotic places as you can. The north-east though is slightly different. It is a difficult place to travel and it might also be disappointing at times. It isn’t a show-piece nor is it always a “fun” place. For the fact that a culture and a people so different co-exist in one country, it is a must-visit for every young Indian.