Bikes, Bonfires & The Hornbill Festival

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In the company of a group of riding aficionados, set off on a signature journey, led by professional biker and travel designer, Candida Louis. Candida has led more than 32 customised biking group tours, biked internationally and once even went on a trip that lasted 7 months. With her, expect challenging terrain, life-changing experiences and a new direction to ride, every day.

Throughout, rack up as many memorable experiences as you do miles. And at the Hornbill Festival, eat lots (and lots) of delicious food, watch Naga tribes showcase their culture, listen to musical performances, take part in chilli-eating contests and more.

Quick Overview

Trip Dates: 02 Dec - 09 Dec
Availability: Yes, 6 spots left
Places Covered: Nagaland
Category: Adventure Trips Mixed Groups Biking

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Our journeys are always built with your safety in mind. We use private cabs for transport & city center hotels for stay. We also collaborate with tourism boards for local support.

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Our groups are deliberately small. We believe such groups make for better shared experiences. Start off as strangers but come back as friends for life.

Kaziranga: where the wild things are

Drive into the heart of the park for a glimpse of one-horned rhinos, elephants, swamp deer and if you are lucky, the Royal Bengal Tiger.

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You’ll meet other members of your crew as everyone gathers at the airport. Then, we’ll be transferred to the hotel to check-in (the bikes will be at the hotel).

After lunch, we will visit ‘Treasured Wheels’, a vintage car and bike museum on the outskirts of Guwahati. There will be plenty of treasures to gawk at - around 50 cars and 25 bikes in the collection, which ranges from a 1921 Chevrolet to a 1940 Royal Enfield and a US-made Paradrop Scooter from 1933 to a Triumph 350 from 1934.

It’s a beautiful area too, surrounded by litchis, guavas, bay leaves and neem trees, with treehouses built in their midst. If you’d like, you can spend the night here. Sure, the accommodation is basic but the ambiance is superlative. You’ll eat around a bonfire, under a thousand stars, and the only sounds you’ll hear are those of the forest.

It’s an early start this morning, Get ready for a long day of riding. The journey will be challenging, especially the last 50 kms or so, with roads that are dusty or covered in mud.

After reaching Kohima late in the evening, we’ll head straight for the Hornbill Festival, and revel in the riot of color and festive atmosphere over the next two days.

As the festival begins, watch as all the tribes enter, each performing traditional songs and dances to the low beat of long wooden drums, re-enacting rituals from their earlier days as warriors, slicing the air with ceremonial knives and enacting mock battles and torching enemy villages.

Browse the food stalls to eat like a local – there’s an exotic menu on offer but it’s not for the fainthearted! Take your pick from dried squirrel soup, the fried silkworm larvae or a freshly cooked frog, accompanied by a refreshing draught of rice beer. Don’t worry, if you’re not in an adventurous mood, there’ll be plenty of momos and pork, bamboo and fish dishes too.

Note: Wear an extra layer of warm clothes and a thick pair of socks when venturing out into the night, as it tends to get quite chilly.
Kohima will be buzzing and rightly so. The Hornbill Festival attracts travellers from all over the world.

Don’t forget to attend the hottest event (literally!) at the festival – the chilli eating contest. Face-off against brave old ladies and red-faced men to try to beat the record - 17 Naga King chillies (has often been ranked the world’s hottest chili) devoured in one minute.

There will be plenty of activities throughout the two days, such as car rallies, and demonstrations of wrestling and archery, a literary festival, displays of skills and physical prowess like greased bamboo-pole climbing.

Later: you can visit the World War II Museum at Kisama, that showcases exhibits from the famous ‘Battle of Kohima’ . This was the turning point in the war with Japan. Many brave soldiers sacrificed their lives fighting in this decisive battle.
We will ride down to the historic village of Khonoma. The ride to the village will be difficult, but extremely interesting. Take a walk around the village, known for its conservation projects and also for the battles against the invading British army and later, the Japanese. 

After lunch, we will return to Kisama. Spend the rest of the evening at the festival.
We’ll ride out from Kohima after breakfast. It’s a beautiful route: green hills, the lake ahead, and the sky above, filled with Amur Falcons, who are making their own journey. 

There will be a long off-road section right after we cross the bridge that lies across the lake, until all of a sudden, we’ll emerge from the undergrowth and hit the tarmac. Then it's through small, quaint villages and all the way to Mokokchung.

After riding 100 kms on hilly roads, we’ll reach the tea town of Jorhat. You will spend the night in an old colonial-era bungalow inside a tea estate, where you can get some quality, much-deserved R&R.
You can pay a visit to the tea factory and see the complex method that goes into the making of tea.
Wake up to an exciting day! We will start early and take a ferry to cross over to Majuli Island. Majuli is one of the largest river islands in the world, with a unique culture and tradition. 

Crossing over to the island is an adventure in itself. The ferry carries people, cars, bikes, livestock, commercial goods and whatnot! The ride on the sands of Brahmaputra after disembarking is a joy! Enjoy a peaceful night at the island.
We will take an early morning ferry to mainland Jorhat and then ride for about 100 kms and stop at the outskirts of Kaziranga.

Given its tall, dense grasslands, tropical wet evergreen forests, interconnecting streams and numerous small lakes, it’s no surprise that it’s one of the most beautiful World Heritage Sites in the country. The park is also home to two-thirds of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceroses and has the highest density of tigers in the world.

We’ll be staying at an Eco Camp which is built on bamboo stilts and is lit by solar power. It’s located on the banks of the Dhansiri River, which means that you’ll be able to take a boat safari and see river dolphins, apart from elephant and jeep safaris through the park.
Enjoy a night by the fire and dinner under the stars.
Today, if time permits, you can opt for an elephant safari that starts at 5.30 in the morning. The safari lasts for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. 

After you return from the safari, you will be transferred to the airport to catch your flight back home. 

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