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Best time to visit North East India

Discussion in 'North East India' started by KiaanShah, Dec 14, 2016.

  1. KiaanShah

    KiaanShah New Member

    I want to visit a few destinations in North East India like Sikkim, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh. One of the important factors for me when going on holiday somewhere is the weather. There has to be pleasant weather, and it should be the tourist season in order for me to enjoy the holiday.

    So I need to know when the best time to visit North East India.

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, welcome to the forum!



    States belonging to North East India are the following: Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. This part of India shares borders with Bhutan, Bangladesh, Tibet (China) and Myanmar. However, because of their isolation, they are less visited as compared to the other states of the country. But if you would like a bit of an offbeat experience, places that can satisfy that innate wanderlust in you, North East India can satiate that craving. For those that are unfamiliar with the region, it's always important to know and understand the climatic conditions of each destination prior to reaching them. This way, you would know what types of clothes to bring, how to plan your itinerary or just whether the time you're reaching the place is a suitable time for sightseeing or activities.

    Best Time to Visit North East India

    Since North East India is a vast region, we would divide this guide into several sections. The best times to visit each state would be highlighted, at least in brief. This way, you can plan your trip to North East India accordingly.

    1. Arunachal Pradesh - We can divide Arunachal Pradesh into four distinct regions, namely: the Tropical Zone, the Subtropical Zone, the Temperate Zone and the Alpine Zone. With these four regions, it would be easier to classify the climatic conditions of the state.
    • Winter (November to February) - The winter season is a good time for visiting any of the three lower-lying areas which are the Tropical Zone, the Subtropical Zone and the Temperate Zone. Temperatures remain on the lower side, around 20°C, but can go as low as -11°C in the Temperate Zone. Thus, along with proper warm clothing, you can enjoy sightseeing during this time. Itanagar and Ziro Valley, belong to the Tropical Zone and Subtropical Zone respectively. On the other hand, the Alpine Zone, regions like Korle and Tuting, experience extreme winters. Temperatures reach below zero even in December but aside from that, heavy snowfall can occur, leading to road blocks and landslides. It's best to avoid the Alpine Zone areas during the winter, except if you'd like to experience snowfall or maybe you're okay with delays or postponements in your itinerary.
    • Summer (March to May/June) - For the summer season, you can visit all three zones, except the Tropical Zone. Temperatures in this area can reach beyond 40°C at times, so it might be very uncomfortable for sightseeing. Alternatively, there are some wildlife sanctuaries in this area, so you can opt for a wildlife safari instead as the chances of spotting animals are higher. For the remaining regions, the summer season is a good time to visit them. For instance, in the Subtropical Zone, temperatures remain under 30°C so the climate is still very mild. In the Temperate Zone, temperatures are even lower at around 20°C while it remains below 15°C for the Alpine Zone regions. Sightseeing or indulging in adventurous road trips are good options for this season in Arunachal Pradesh.
    • Monsoon (May/June to October) - The monsoon season is definitely not a good time to visit the higher areas of the Temperate Zone and the Alpine Zone. The heavy rainfall can lead to road blocks and landslides, sometimes to roads becoming patchy too. For the remaining two regions though, you can enjoy visiting them during this time, as they are enveloped in lush greenery, waterfalls become fuller and lakes become deeper. Temperatures remain around 20°C to 25°C for these two regions. If you are a nature lover, then you would be mesmerised by the greener beauty of Arunachal Pradesh during this season.
    2. Assam - In contrast, Assam has a typical subtropical climate, with little variations between its regions. The main features of the climatic condition in Assam is humidity and extreme rainfall during monsoon.
    • Winter (October to March) - Ideally, the winter season is the best time to visit Assam. This is the time when humidity is at its lowest. Temperatures range around 10°C to 20°C but it can get even lower at times. January is usually the coldest and driest month. Do you enjoy religious sites? Well, this would be the best time to explore the temples of Guwahati, like the Kamakhya Temple and Bhuvaneswari Temple. For the history buffs, head on to cities like Tezpur or Silchar. Trekking, adventure activities or nature trailing, you can do them all during winter. You can even enjoying witnessing the famed Bhogali Bihu Festival, celebrated with such fervour in the state. This is a type of harvest festival, with lots of foods, music and merry making, it's sure to delight the culture lovers.
    • Summer (April to June) - The summer season extends from April to June. Temperatures in Assam remain around 35°C to 38°C during this season. With these high temperatures, sightseeing might not be that feasible. You can, however, explore the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks of Assam during this season, before they close for the monsoon. The best wildlife reserves in Assam are the Kaziranga National Park and Orang National Park. For something a bit more offbeat, try visiting the largest river island in the world, Majuli, located in the Brahmaputra River. Do make sure that you wear light cotton clothes and hydrate yourself as the humidity in the region can be high during summer.
    • Monsoon (July to September) - The last season, the monsoon, sees a high amount of rainfall in the state. Aside from that, the Brahmaputra River and Barak River overflow, leading to heavy flooding in many areas of Assam. Even the national parks of Kaziranga and Orang are not spared from these flooding issues. July is usually the wettest month, with an average of 500 mm of rainfall, continuing for the next months. If you must visit Assam during this time, avoid Guwahati and nearby areas, instead, opt for hilly regions like Haflong or Diphu.
    3. Manipur - Manipur has the same subtropical climate as Assam but it does differ when it comes to its rainfall patterns. Temperatures are also generally lower in this region, owing to its topography of having hilly surroundings.
    • Winter (November to February) - The winter season is the best time for exploring Manipur, with temperatures around 18°C to 30°C. January is usually the coldest month. You can indulge in sightseeing during this season like exploring the temples of Bishnupur or the more modern city of Imphal. In higher areas, temperatures can go even lower so make sure you bring proper clothing. Snowfall is rare but can occur in higher lying regions. If you love historical places, do visit and explore the Khangkhui Cave and Thalon Cave, located in Ukhrul and Tamenglong, respectively.
    • Summer (March to April) - The summer season extends from March to April, a very short time as compared to the other seasons. Temperatures usually remain under 35°C in the lower lying areas. Because of the hilly regions around the state, temperatures here are slightly lower even in the midst of the summer. You can visit the various wildlife areas of Manipur during this time. The Yangoupokpi Lokchao Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Chandel, spreads over the Indo-Myanmar border areas. Aside from monkey species such as the pig-tailed macaques and stump-tailed macaques, the sanctuary is also home to the only ape specie in India, the hoolock gibbon. You can also explore the lesser known reserve of the Zeilad Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Tamenglong.
    • Monsoon (May to October) - The last season, the monsoon, is also the longest season in the state. The region receives rainfall from the months of May until October. The months of July and August receive the highest rainfall, averaging around 300 mm each. Temperatures remain around the 30°C mark. Blessed with abundant jungle areas, Manipur is a sight to behold in the monsoon months. You can explore the only floating national park in the world, the Keibul Lamjao National Park in the Bishnupur district. The water of the Loktak Lake, where the floating phumdis can be found, becomes fuller during this season. On the other hand, areas like Thoubal and Senapati, boast of lush forests and water bodies that become more alive during monsoon.
    4. Meghalaya - Located to the southwest of Assam, sharing a border with Bangladesh, is the state of Meghalaya. It has often been dubbed as the wettest place on Earth. It is a state blessed with natural beauty and attractions, thus rendering one speechless at every twist and turn.
    • Winter (October to February) - The winter season extends from October to February, with temperatures ranging around 6°C to 16°C. Because of the mild temperatures, this is the best time for sightseeing around the region. Its capital, Shillong, experiences temperatures that can go as low as 2°C. Being a hilly region, you would enjoy the beautiful views of both the clouds and mountains. Churches, waterfalls and lakes are just some of the attractions of the city. Tura is a bit of an off the beaten track destination, boasting of hilly treks and caves. The Siju Caves of the city is relatively unexplored, definitely a must visit for the nature lovers. However, make sure you bring at least some light woollen clothes as the temperatures can be quite chilly especially if you're used to the temperatures of the plains.
    • Summer (March to May) - Summer season in Meghalaya is still very mild, with temperatures below 28°C. Hilly regions of the state like Shillong and Jowai are must visits during this season. Jowai is a developed city in the state but still has that natural scenery to it. With an elevation of 1,380 metres above sea level, temperatures here are milder during summer. The largest collection of monoliths, known as the Nartiang Monoliths, can be found in this hill station. Religious sites like the Durga Temple and Jowai Presbyterian Church are also worth exploring during this season. Then, there's the Umlawan Cave, the longest natural cave in the country that is yet to be explored by tourists.
    • Monsoon (June to September) - The last season, the monsoon, extends from June to September. Meghalaya receives an annual rainfall of around 11,000 mm in many areas, which is quite a lot as compared to the previous regions. July is usually the wettest month so if you are not a fan of rain, you must avoid this month. However, the monsoon lends its hands to make the state live truly up to its name, the Abode of Clouds. The two wettest places on Earth, Mawsynram and Cherrapunjee, are located in Meghalaya. Unlike the other regions, both Mawsynram and Cherrapunjee receive rainfall almost all-year round though the heaviest ones are during the monsoon. Mawsynram has fewer attractions like the Mawjymbuin Cave and Mawsmai Waterfalls. On the other hand, Cherrapunjee has plenty of attractions like the Living Root Bridges, Nohkalikai Waterfalls, Arwah Cave and many more.
    5. Mizoram - Mizoram is located at the southernmost part of North East India. It shares borders with both Bangladesh and Myanmar. Owing to the lush forest cover of the state, about 76% of the region is covered in forests, it has a mild climate all-year round.
    • Winter (October to February) - The winter season extends from October to February, with temperatures ranging around 15°C to 20°C. This is the driest season, with clear blue skies and pleasant climates. This is the best time to explore the capital, Aizawl. The city has a number of heritage sites that you can explore like the Reiek Heritage Village and Phulpui Grave. On the other hand, hilly regions like the Durtlang Hills and Paikhai can give you a great view of the distant mountains and valleys. The Pawl Kut Festival is also celebrated during the month of December or January. This is the main post harvest festival of the state, celebrated with various rituals and of course, lots of foods. Winter is usually the peak tourist season for Mizoram but because this is kind of an off the beaten track destination state, it's rare to find throngs of tourists around.
    • Summer (March to April) - The summer season in Mizoram extends from March to April. Temperatures remain around 22°C to 26°C so the climate is still very mild. During this season, it's best to explore the wildlife areas of the state, like Champhai. Champhai has various wildlife reserves, noteworthy of which is the Murlen National Park. This national park is known for its dense forests that are so thick that even sunlight rays cannot penetrate into them during normal days. Wild animals such as leopards, barking deers, sambars and Himalayan black bears also reside in the national park. Other must visit wildlife reserves here are that of the Lengteng Wildlife Sanctuary and Palak Wildlife Sanctuary.
    • Monsoon (May to September) - The last season is the monsoon, extending from May to September. Temperatures remain on the lower 20°C mark. June is usually the wettest month of the region, with an average rainfall of 400 mm. Because Mizoram has quite lush forests, the monsoon season makes the state look even more green. However, if you are not used to heavy rainfalls, you might need to skip visiting the region during this time. But if you are in for an adventure, regions like Serchhip and Lawngtlai has pristine landscapes, still not exploited or destroyed by modernism or commercialism. Nature trailing during monsoon can be a very unique and enjoyable experience. Numerous waterfalls also dot the regions, making a side trip to them all worth it.
    6. Nagaland - Next we have Nagaland, located on the eastern side of the region, sharing a border with Myanmar. Nagaland mainly has a tropical monsoon climate.
    • Winter (October to February) - The winter season extends from October to February, with temperatures around 4°C to 15°C. This is Nagaland's driest but coldest season. This is a good time to visit the state, just remember to bring your heavy woollens especially if you're not used to the cold temperatures. The capital of the state, Kohima, is very festive during winter. The annual Hornbill Festival is celebrated during the first week of December, wherein all tribes of the state participate in performances, musical shows, games and just a gala of a time. On the other hand, there are various heritage sites in Kohima that one can explore like the Kohima War Cemetery, Naga Heritage Village and Kohima Museum. You can enjoy sightseeing around the city because of the milder climate. Kiphire and Mokokchung have wonderful trekking trails that you can also indulge in during winter.
    • Summer (March to April) - The summer season in Nagaland is very short, from March to April. Temperature remain under 32°C even at the peak of summer season. Though considered as an off-peak tourist season, you can enjoy budget hotel rates and packages during this time. By the end of April, you might even experience light rain showers in the region. Wildlife areas around Nagaland are teeming with wild animals and lush flora. You can make your way into such areas, like the Intanki Wildlife Sanctuary and Fakim Wildlife Sanctuary. Both wildlife reserves are relatively unexplored, in contrast to the wildlife areas of Southern India.
    • Monsoon (May to September) - The last season is the monsoon, extending from the months of May to September. Temperatures remain around 28°C, with the month of July being the wettest. Annual average rainfall is around 400 mm for the state. Regions like Mon and Phek become stunning during monsoon. They are covered with lush forests and come monsoon season, these forests become even denser. These areas are also home to rural villages, where you can interact with the locals during heavy rainfalls.
    7. Sikkim - This state is located at the far northwestern region of North East India. It shares a border with Nepal to the west, Tibet to the north, Bhutan to the east and Bangladesh to the south. Generally, we can divide Sikkim into two regions for climatic divisions, namely, Northern Sikkim and Southern Sikkim.
    • Winter (December to February) - The winter season extends from December to February. Temperatures average between 7°C to 10°C in the lower lying areas. In Northern Sikkim, temperatures can go beyond zero degree celsius. Areas like Thangu Valley, Lachen and Lachung remain inaccessible during this season due to heavy snowfall. Other areas like Gangtok, Rinchenpong and Pelling remain cold but can still be visited. Though not the peak tourist season, a visit to Sikkim during this time can be very memorable especially as you view the distant snow-covered peaks and maybe experience snowfall in hilly areas. However, you need to bring your heavy woollens and jackets as temperatures can render you chilly.
    • Summer (April to June) - The summer season in Sikkim extends from April to June. This is considered as the peak tourist season of the state. Temperatures remain around 25°C in the lower lying areas and around 10°C in the higher lying areas. This is the best time for exploring the higher areas of Lachen and Lachung, where you can even find snow even in some areas in the peak of summer. Aside from the monasteries, these areas boast of natural beauty. The Yumthang Valley, located in Lachung, transforms into a riot of colours during summer. It is North East India's very own Valley of Flowers. You can also go on an adventurous journey to Mount Katao, where you can find snow almost all-year round but summers would be the best time to explore the region.
    • Monsoon (July to September) - The monsoon season extends from July to September, with temperatures around 15°C. This is considered as one of the off-peak tourist seasons of Sikkim. Entry to higher areas are restricted due to heavy rainfall which can cause landslides and ultimately, road blocks. If you must visit Sikkim during this time, it's best to explore the lower lying areas like Kalimpong, Namchi and Geyzing. Even Gangtok is a good option during the summer, as temperatures here are mild enough, that you can explore the surroundings easily.
    • Post Monsoon (October to November/December) - The last season is the post monsoon, extending from October to November, sometimes up to the middle of December. Again, this is an off-peak tourist season in Sikkim, just before the winter season. The landscapes are generally greener but the temperatures are not yet that cold. The monasteries of Geyzing and Yuksom are best explored during this time. Plus, you can also enjoy trekking around the lush forest areas of the regions. Further, the view of the Kanchenjunga range during this season is quite clear. Hotel rates are quite lower as compared to the peak tourist season of summer as well.
    8. Tripura - Last is the state of Tripura, sharing a border with Bangladesh to the west. Tripura is a small state, the third smallest in India, in fact. Uniquely enough, Tripura experiences moderate rainfall all throughout the year, even during summer season.
    • Winter (October to February) - The winter season extends from October to February, with temperatures around 20°C to 25°C. This is the state's driest season, but usually, at the beginning of October, rainfall still occurs. There are scattered rain showers around November to February as well. No doubt that the capital, Agartala, is a must visit during this time. Heritage sites like Ujjayanta Palace, Neer Mahal and Malancha Niwas are best explored during this season. Further, you can have peaceful and comfortable darshans in temples like Tripura Sundari Temple and Kamaleswari Temple. Agartala is also home to various lakes, which can be visited all-year round but winters provide for more serene views for the tourists.
    • Summer (March to April) - The summer season extends from March to April. Temperature remain under 33°C during this time. By April, it's not unusual to experience scattered rain showers as well. Because of the higher temperatures, animals in wildlife sanctuaries come out from hiding to seek some relief from the nearby water bodies. Thus, you can visit such wildlife reserves, with higher chances of spotting wild animals. Most popular wildlife reserves in Tripura are the Gumti Wildlife Sanctuary and Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary.
    • Monsoon (May to September) - The last season is the monsoon, extending from the months of May to September. Temperatures remain roughly the same. The wettest month is June, with an average annual rainfall of around 390 mm. Tripura is savaged by seasonal flooding too so this is not the best time to visit the state. But if you are okay with the sudden onsets of rain, try out areas like Ambassa and Udaipur. Both are blessed with scenic beauties and has a number of heritage sites within them.

    As you can see, the best time to visit the North East India, depends on the region you're visiting. Since this part of India is vast and varied, there are differences when it comes to their climatic conditions. Generally, regions bordering to the mountainous regions of Tibet, namely, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, have higher alpine areas that are inaccessible during winter. Then, for the remaining states, they are savaged by the monsoon season, rendering them a bit inaccessible during these months. Just refer to the guidelines above so that you can plan your trip to the north eastern states of India accordingly.

    I hope this helps!:)