Like most other places, Northeast India also shut down back in March 2020 due to COVID-19 and related issues. Over the last few months, various activities have been gradually restored through the so-called “Unlock” process after the severe lockdowns. However, tourism has remained the last priority, and only now after almost 7 long months, they are trying to reopen. As far as I can see, normal life has returned in most places and people are also beginning to roam around in the neighboring areas. I also made a quick visit to a nearby getaway from Guwahati, which was my first travel out of the city in 6 months. As far as I could see, most people were wear8ng masks but apart from that, everyone was going about their own businesses.
So, I think the local travel and tourism industry is entering a vital phase (At least those who managed to survive). A slow reopening is in the offing. It will be a slow recovery but that is all we can hope for as of now. Due to the difficulty in international travel, domestic destinations have a chance to win over domestic tourists.
I have created this post to provide up to date information regarding reopening or borders of the Northeastern states post-COVID. I will keep updating the information as new developments emerge over the next few months.
Post-COVID Travel in Northeast India
Post-COVID Travel in Assam (Unlock 5.0)
Assam has more or less resumed normal operations. I believe most of the places will reopen fully by the end of October. Various temples and historical sites have gradually reopened. The big National Parks of Assam remain closed during the rainy season anyway and reopen generally by end-October. So, this will coincide with the Unlock process.
Post-COVID Travel in Arunachal Pradesh
Arunachal is resuming Tourist ILP from 15th October. It resumed business ILP a few weeks earlier. There will be some SOPs to be followed, that I will try to elaborate later. As for transport, Tezpur to Bomdila shared cars are running. I am not yet sure about buses but will figure out soon. I am not yet sure about other circuits of Arunachal. SOPs also require to have a prior booking at the place you are visiting.
UPDATE 1: I just returned from my first visit to Arunachal after this post-COVID madness. However, it was not that easy. Here is what you need to know as of now…
- You get tourist ILP only through a local service provider. I applied online on my own but got no response. So, finally, I got it through my friends in Dirang.
- You need to get tested before going and you also need to provide a copy of the Covid-negative certificate to get the ILP. Also, the test report should be at max 72 hours old before you enter the state. So, you need to get tested, get ILP using the test report, and then enter the state within 72 hrs. Plan accordingly.
- You may also be asked to get tested at the inter-state entry point again. Although the system seemed lenient and we were not tested again, probably because we had all the details.
- Our papers were also checked and details collected while entering Tawang district.
- In any case, follow basic guidelines, carry masks & sanitizers, etc. Don’t do anything silly.
Post-COVID Travel in Meghalaya
Tourism hasn’t resumed yet in Meghalaya. Further announcements are awaited.
UPDATE 1: Meghalaya is opening tourist spots for locals (i.e. people of Meghalaya) from Oct 16th. Further reopening is expected soon.
Post-COVID Travel in Manipur
Tourism hasn’t resumed yet in Manipur. Further announcements are awaited.
Post-COVID Travel in Mizoram
Tourism hasn’t resumed yet in Mizoram. Further announcements are awaited.
Post-COVID Travel in Nagaland
Tourism hasn’t resumed yet in Nagaland. Further announcements are awaited.
Post-COVID Travel in Sikkim
Sikkim is reopening its borders for tourists from 10th October 2020. Hotels, resorts, homestays, and other tourism-related services will be operational from that point. Inner Line Permits for foreign tourists with valid visas will also be issued from 10th October 2020 while the advanced bookings for hotels and homestays started from 27th September 2020, although they need to follow certain strict SOPs.
Post-COVID Travel in Tripura
Tripura reopened its borders for tourists from 1st October. Some private buses from Guwahati to Agartala has also started running.