In my recent Eastern Bhutan tour with WindHorse Tours (the 2nd time with WindHorse), since I had to enter Eastern Bhutan by land through Guwahati, I decided to spend a little time visiting Assam after googling Majuli island and Kaziranga National Park. I was so excited seeing pictures of Majuli island and Kaziranga on the Internet. But I was blown away seeing the places in person, led by WindHorse tour guide Anand.
The 5-day WindHorse tour itinerary was just right, giving the opportunity to see Majuli island in one full day and Kaziranga in 2 days. The two places we stayed were very good, especially in that rural area of India.
The pictures of Majuli island on the internet do justify its beauty. I saw exactly same places as the ones on the internet. White sand, marshland and peaceful bamboo bungalow combined with friendly people make Majuli island inviting for a remote retreat. Majuli was indeed beautiful.
However pictures of Kaziranga National Park on the internet do not justify its real beauty. Early morning fog and sunrise as the backdrop for wild animals roaming the park made Kaziranga mystical. I saw those scenery only in pictures or movies but never in person until now. Marshland with all kinds of birds make the place so peaceful. A thick silence engulfed the place, broken only by bird chipping and ruffling sound of the wind on tall grasses. Kaziranga reminded me of Seregenti National park in Tanzania and the movie Out of Africa.
Around Kaziranga National Park are tea plantations and rice fields which gave a very soothing sight for the eyes. Tea plantation reminded me South East Asia and rice fields also reminded me of my home country, Vietnam. Assam looks more Asia than India as the region is bordered by Bhutan and China in the North and Burma in the South.
Besides the environmental beauty, nothing beat the friendliness of the people who were very simple. Majuli island and Kaziranga are still well kept secrets of the travel world, undisturbed by large tourist herds.
I am glad to extend my trip to Upper Assam, an unexpected magnificent discovery. Anand took us to beautiful sites in Majuli islands, sites that I pointed out earlier to WindHorse that I wanted to see. Anand took extra efforts to get Elephant Safari tickets which were only available the night before. Anand arranged everything for us, from transport to outings, trying to customize to our needs. Since I like walks, Anand gave us several walks in the village in Jorhat and Kaziranga. The walks and interactions with local villages were so pleasant and memorable. The tour was not only a sightseeing tour. Anand had made the tour to be sightseeing, along with walking with a lot of cultural experiences.
When I booked the Upper Assam trip, I was told by Ugen (WindHorse) that I would not regret the decision. I was then skeptical and did not know what to expect. Now I have to thank Ugen, Anand and WindHorse for giving me such a great experience.
I am looking forward to other off-the-beaten path destinations with WindHorse Tours.