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West and South Asia From Turkey to Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Ladakh and Bangladesh
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Old 3 Jul 2012
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North East India

Has anybody here ventured into the north east of India on their bike?

I'm planning on spending some time exploring the region, on an Enfield this winter so would appreciated some tips, contacts etc.

Thanks in advance
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Old 3 Jul 2012
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You need a special permit to enter/leave Sikkim. I got mine in Darjeeling but I forget the details. It was got in an obscure office slightly out of town and not well indicated. It was free and it was checked at at a police post, in and out. Roads are fine, through forest and river valley.

Check Rough Guide etc for details, permits in this area. Things can/do change without notice. Much of it is Gurka populated, with a very different culture from the rest of India. If you go in winter the nights are bitter cold, and cheapie accommodation is unheated. You'll wear all your day clothes in bed with loads of blankets.

The views of Kanchenjunga are astounding from Darjeeling and you can see Everest on a clear day. You can buy cheap mountain gear there new as I believe it is made in neighbouring Nepal or China - stuff like North Face etc. Recently the rupee has lost against some western currencies so now's the time - before the fraudulent bankers do us in.

If you get too cold, go to Rajastan - it's nice there in winter. Jaisalmer is good.

I missed out on the troutfishing in Sikkim etc which I regret.
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Old 3 Jul 2012
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Thanks for the info Caminando.

While I will spend some time in Sikkim my main objective is further East.
Permits are now not required for any of the Easten states other than Arunachal Pradesh even this is easier to obtain.
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Old 3 Jul 2012
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Hi Cy - my permit was obtained Dec/Jan 2011/12. You will have a great time in the region. Don't forget to use the train for the bike for long distances, eg Delhi - Mumbai or Varanasi etc. - really some roads are beyond belief! Ah hang on - I have friends who keep bikes in India who do Goa - Rajastan on the bike and they find it oK. So cancel that!

I get the impression it's not your first time in India.

I hope and expect others will chip in with info.I don't have as much info as I'm sure others have.
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Old 17 Aug 2012
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I've driven my car around Maghalaya a bit, very beautiful and enjoyable and a great break from the usual intensity of India. Cherapunjee is an lovely little place (in the dry season!), and the road from Shillong is stunning and empty. I'd highly recommend trekking a little bit down from Cherapunjee to see the root bridges in the jungle.

Tripura was also nice, though there were convoys which one had to join. Lots of tribes, though not as untouched as those in Bangladesh. Very friendly people.

I went through Assam a little, though aside from seeing the Brahmaputra is was no so exciting. Plus there is a lot of trouble there at the moment, which may restrict access. In my experience in India, Assam has the worst roads.

Unfortunately I did not get to any of the other NE states as permits were required at the time. Mizoram is meant to be very beautiful especially south of Aizawl.

Nagaland is also meant to be very ethnically interesting.

I am not sure if you'll get into Manipur as it was basically a warzone a couple of years ago, and may still be for all I know.

Sorry not to be of much help. I'd be very interested to read about your experiences there. One thing to bear in mind though; it's all near sensitive borders, so it remains to be seen how much of the outer NE states you can visit.

With the de-restriction of NE states to foreigners (they are still restricted to Indians I believe) and political reforms in Burma, we might just see that border open within our lifetimes.

Good luck

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