[Trip Report] 10 Day trip to Assam/Meghalaya (Christmas/New Yr 2017/18)

#1 Jan 6th, 2018, 12:43
Join Date:
Nov 2011
Location:
Pune
Posts:
38
  • rajarams is offline
#1
A special thanks to @Karikor for answering all my queries and helping with the itinerary/acco.

Name:  RAJ_0976.jpg
Views: 112
Size:  45.0 KB

Name:  RAJ_1488.jpg
Views: 101
Size:  55.4 KB

Name:  RAJ_9586.jpg
Views: 109
Size:  53.4 KB

Name:  RAJ_9771.jpg
Views: 98
Size:  73.2 KB

Name:  WhatsApp Image 2017-12-25 at 12.10.42 AM.jpg
Views: 108
Size:  35.4 KB



Part #0: The Planning - Updated in the comments..
#2 Jan 6th, 2018, 12:45
Join Date:
Nov 2011
Location:
Pune
Posts:
38
  • rajarams is offline
#2

PART #0: The Planning.

(Edit: With Paragraphs)
Last dec/jan, we went to Gujarat. So, the plan for this year started as early as Apr/May. For some reason, i decided to check out NE. Started off with the usual HVK forum route of Guw-Dirang-Tawang-Bum La-Tawang-Kaziranga-Shillong-Mawlynnong-Cherrra-Guw.

Then the reading started. I like reading travelogues as they help me understand/appreciate a place from a personal POV rather than a commercial one. I found the above itinerary to involve too much of driving (for my comfort) and touch only touristy places in Megh. I definitely wanted to do the double bridge trek. I went thru practically every post on NE trips on HVK, TBHP and India mike. India mike posts (and particularly Karikor's ) showed a lot more of Megh than what most people visited. That got me hooked to Megh.

So, the itinerary went thru lot of revisions and finally became Guw-Kaz-Shillong-mawlyngbna-Mawphlang-Cherra(3 nights)-Dawki-Shillong-Guw - More of a Megh trip with addition of Kaz. And lot of offbeat places in addition to all the touristy stuff.

We were 4 families (2 from Pune, 1 from blr and 1 from CBE). Three of us decided to meet at blr and fly to Guw from there. Tickets booked in Jul. In Sep, Jet introduced direct flights to Guw from Pune, at 20 K cheaper rates. But i wouldnt have chosen them due to their odd timings (3 am) as it is difficult with kids. Zoomcar booked from Guw (2 scorpios, a figo) and an awerides sedan for the 4th fmly (which joined in late).

Airasia (from blr-guw) did tons of changes to their dep time over the months (due to winter timings) that until the last day i was confused abt the exact dep time. We flew on a friday evening from Pune to blr, stayed overnight at Adyar Ananda Bhavan and took the 7 am flight from blr to guw ..and the trip began with tons of kids roaming on the plane, exchanging seats every few mins.....
Last edited by rajarams; Jan 7th, 2018 at 15:47.. Reason: Adding Title
#3 Jan 6th, 2018, 13:09
Join Date:
Aug 2006
Location:
Homeless
Posts:
19,459
  • nycank is offline
#3
Yo ! Please use paragraphs. Absence of which makes it difficult for people to read and appreciate your effort. It's just a few carriage-returns
#4 Jan 7th, 2018, 15:46
Join Date:
Nov 2011
Location:
Pune
Posts:
38
  • rajarams is offline
#4

Part 1: Entry into NE and Zoom!

This was my first time with AirAsia and i was pleasantly surprised. I had pre-booked the meals cosidering that we were flying out by the 7 am flight. The food was good - particularly the south indian combo of 2 mini idlis, 2 paniyarams (referred to by them as puttu) and some upma along with the typical South sambhar. Landed in Guw at around 10.30 AM. Had booked Zoomcar from 12 anticipating the 1 hr journey from the airport.

Ubers & Olas in Guw prefer the cash option rather than the paytm one. So, if you are booking, use the cash option. Otherwise the drivers ask you to cancel the booking. Zoomcar office on G.S.Road is around 45 mins drive away from the airport. Nowadays they have started offerring an airport pickup option for extra 500 bucks. Since i booked long time back, i wasnt allowed to change to it. From a taxi pov, just pick any local taxi guy outside the airport rather an Uber/Ola. They quote the same amt as Uber. Cost me 600 per taxi (we were 4 families with lot of luggage - so multiple taxis) and a 40 min drive to G.S.Road.

Then started the Zoommer boomerangs. The zoomcar app nowadays connects to the map to give directions. For some reason, mine (and not others) pointed me to Amaravati Path (the lane adjacent to Nilomani Phukan path where zoomcar was). So, i took my taxi guy into this street and we ended up staring at a dead-end. Walking around the street, i could hear the voice of the kids of my friend. Then i peeked over a parapet wall to see all of them next to a zoomcar. If it had been only me, i would have just jumped over, but 2 adults, 2 kids and countless bags cannot make it over unless we were in an ironman challenge. Maybe i hadn't downloaded the parapet wall update patch yet!

So, a 1.5 km reroute later, i was the their outhouse. Actually outhouse is too prestigious a term to be associated with this office. It was more of an unused security cabin allocated to them. Three of us had booked 2 scorpios and a figo. The figo guy had been upgraded to aspire (was intimated few days earlier). We saw only one scorpio there. On enquiring, the guy there very calmly said "Sorry, your reservation has been cancelled, your car is not available due to an accident". So, a call was customer care was made. The lady said in an even calmer tone, "We were trying to reach you to tell you this from 7 am in the morning". Just that they didn't realise flights don't have mobile connectivity yet. What the lady actually meant to say was "Sorry sir, no car. You can take a flight back to bangalore". And they had no other car available. Only one in their compound was a figo which was booked for a day trip later that evening. We somehow made them understand that cancelling that one day trip made more sense than our 10 day booking. So, if it was any of your booking that got cancelled, sorry! So, my other 6 ft friend, moved from a stately scorpio to a tiny figo with al of us pitching in to share luggage.

For my scorpio, it had just come back from a stock car race. The side view mirror was shattered. The front bumper could fall anytime and so on. The guy at least gave me a new side mirror and asked me to find a garage guy to fix it and claim the bill. I instead asked him to fix it while i have lunch, which he did. More zoomer horror was to come the next day...

The good part of all this. Right outside the lane on G.S.Road was Chennai kitchen where the kids were kept busy with idli, dosas and everything else that a southie can come up with. So, a tip: Upon landing in Guw, don't worry about your lunch/dinner. If you are taking a zoomcar, this restaurant right outside is the best place for it. And i can vouch for them just based on their Pongal (which, IMO, is one of the difficult ones to perfect).
#5 Jan 7th, 2018, 17:57
Join Date:
Nov 2006
Location:
Chennai, India
Posts:
223
  • Ravichandar is offline
#5
Interesting read!
#6 Jan 8th, 2018, 17:15
Join Date:
Nov 2011
Location:
Pune
Posts:
38
  • rajarams is offline
#6

Part 2: Kaziranga

The drive from Guw to Kaziranga was uneventful and not so tiring. Few things to note: The sun does set early, very early. 4.30 pm and we were staring at darkness! Also, the AH1 beyond the tezpur turn is sort of a forest corridor and has tons of speed bumps (well-marked and good that they are there), so progress is slow on these roads.

You will actually see many rhinos right from the road. Yes, for a city dweller that's awesome and mandates a photo, but don't spend too much time here. You will get to see the rhinos at a close distance, very close. We were on that section late night (5 pm!!) and hence didn't know this at all. Saw them on the way back from Kaziranga. But by then, it was more like "Oh, just one rhino and that too so far, not worth a stop" :-)

Stay: We stayed at Wild Grass Lodge - awesome place. Highly recommended. The manager/owner Mr.Manju responds on emails and have never seen more details from any hotel guy. He suggested all alternate options if i were not interested in his place, all details at the safaris etc.2.5K for a room in stilt cottages (5-7 rooms in one). Included an awesome bfast. Not the usual bread/butter stuff - had toast, fruits, poori, 2 sabjis etc for bfast. The lunch/dinner is 200 bucks buffet and comes with at least 3-4 sabjis including local variations. This is for veg, non-veg is 300.

Safaris: There are two kinds of safaris - Elephant & Jeep. For both, the best bet to get the preferred slot is through your hotel guy. 2 slots for elephant safari - 5.30 am and 6.30 AM - 1 hr each. The safaris can happen on three ranges - the western, central and the eastern. It is better to do the elephant and jeep safari on different ranges. We did elephant on the western and the jeep on the eastern. The central is very crowded and usually more for foreigners. The eastern range is more for those interested in birds.

We went for the 5.30 AM slot and it was AWESOME. 5.30 am is NOT too early in Assam. You are probably the only sleepy guy there. The neighbourhood rooster is in full flow already and the sun is almost out. The 5.30 slot is better because 1) your day starts early 2) You get to experience the misty, cold sunrise. It is cold during winter, so be prepared with winter wear particularly the head-cover as the cold mist sinks in. Elephant safari costs 900 bucks a head and totally worth the money. We saw rhinos, wild buffalos, deer and wild boar. The whole elephant ride experience is worth a trip to Kaziranga.

Similarly, for the jeep safari , you have to enter b4 10 am for the morning slot and b4 2 pm for the evening slot. We went to the eastern one as central was full (Christmas weekend). was a 30 min drive from our hotel, but we enjoyed the open-top cold jeep drive. Saw lot of birds, rhinos and wild elephants. Costs around 2 to 2.5 K per jeep (depending on the range).

Tips: If you plan to do both, retain the tickets from the first one as the 100 rs per person entry is common to both the safaris. Tip the elephant safari mahout at the start so that he can go away from the crowd and show more interest in searching out animals (and tell stories). The boarding of the elephants is almost done in panic mode (due to the crowd). The elephant seats 2 adults per side (or 2 adults + a kid). So, have your seating plan done beforehand so that you don't get confused while getting on the elephant. If you are a group, plan people such that people in front/behind you can click your photos!

After finishing both the safaris, we had lunch at Wild Grass (felt that this was a much better option than any on the road). Left Kaz at around 2.30 pm for Shillong. a 6 hr drive, but it was very easy. Zoomer problems kicked in. I had noticed on the day 1 itself that my brake was not so good. But i was able to manage, so ignored it. But on day 2, on two occasions, i wasn’t able to stop on time behind the vehicle in front stopping for speed bumps and had to go to the opposite lane to "overtake" it (lucky on both occasions that there was no opp traffic). Asked a cop for a garage and the guy found out that my brake fluid was empty (leaky tube). 30 mins there , a thread with quickfix and refill of fluid, he gave a lifetime guarantee and i was off to the hills of shillong! We stopped for dinner at Jiva Veg, again a very nice place to stop between Guw/Shillong. Maps suggests a u-turn far ahead of Jiva, but the divider has a gap right in front...
Meghalaya has begun...
#7 Jan 8th, 2018, 17:38
Join Date:
Nov 2006
Location:
Chennai, India
Posts:
223
  • Ravichandar is offline
#7
Nice report. Too tempting... Too many places to see and too little vacation time!

Similar Threads

Title, Username, & Date Last Post Replies Views Forum
Trip Report : Meghalaya and Assam Jun 25th, 2012 16:35 6 6205 Other Areas


Posting Rules

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Forum Rules»
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.3.2
© IndiaMike.com 2018
Page Load Success