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2023 - The year that was for ChaloHoppo!

A recap on our ongoing journey through North-East India

Hidden water fall in Pynursla, Meghalaya- River hike experience with ChaloHoppo
Hidden waterfall in Pynursla
Hey fellow travellers!

We’re already over a month into 2024, and while it would have been ideal to have shared our learnings, biggest challenges, highlights and upcoming ideas/plans for 2024 at least a few weeks ago, the month of January in the travel industry is usually kept aside to take a breather following the chaos, firefighting, adrenaline rush, joy, and finally the sigh of relief that the end of December brings along with it!

The first half of January was spent attending family weddings (it seemed like that’s what the whole country was doing at that point of time) and the second half has just been about finding our feet for the year, catching up with the team on their individual learnings, expectations and seeing how we can mould everything together to have a beautiful 2024!

Arunachal Pradesh Cover
Sela Lake in November

Before we come to what we have planned for this year, I’d like to thank all of you that engaged with our content on social media, those who enquired with us and couldn’t make the trip happen, but hopefully will soon, the entire team at ChaloHoppo who worked tirelessly to ensure we showcased this part of the country to a lot more people, and most of all to those who trusted us with their holidays and travelled with us!

In 2023, 1,789 travellers (367 trips) travelled with us in 2023. This brought many joyous highs, a few very challenging lows that test you and your team’s character, and a whole bunch of learnings!

While there are countless stories to tell you about our travels, guests experiences, CH work life, or random facts we learn about the region every day from our guides and hosts, here are a few key highlights from the year gone by.

January 2023 -Arunachal Pradesh

We ventured into the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas, introduced experiences and regions across Namdapha, Wakro, Roing, Pasighat, Aalo and Dibrugarh.

An ideal destination for those looking to get a taste of Arunachal Pradesh, but at the same time not engage in very long hours of driving.
 Great for birdwatchers, river lovers and leisure seekers!

January 2023- Meghalaya

Started trips to Garo Hills, Meghalaya – We don’t think we have done justice to this Western side of Meghalaya just yet. While we’ve identified some lovely hosts and experiences, including the viral Wari Chora, and have hosted multiple guests on this circuit, we’re still working on providing a finesse to these experiences, and at the moment are encouraging those who are willing to rough it out and stay at basic properties to experience the beautiful landscape and canyons in the region.

March to May 2023

We launched our first ever Set Departure to the Western side of Arunachal Pradesh, and while the rains played spoilsport on one of the trips, there were a lot of key takeaways/feedback from each and every edition of the trip that led us to revisit this circuit and revamp the product for the next season.

June and July 2023

Reflecting on the feedback of our March to May Western Arunachal Pradesh itinerary, we revisited the West Kameng and Tawang districts in the peak monsoons, eager to add new experiences and give our guests a much more fulfilling and wholesome trip.

A google search for a holiday to Arunachal Pradesh is likely to bring you the following destinations – Bomdila, Dirang and Tawang. We went beyond these usual towns and met with some lovely folks in Shergaon, Sangti, Bishum Phudung, Chug and Zemithang to introduce newer regions and much more fulfilling experiences, and launch a brand new trip –

Of Lore, Lakes and Landscapes- Western Arunachal Pradesh 2024“- Click here

July 2023

A first look at Anini, a chapter of tourism in Arunachal Pradesh that is waiting to explode. Some of the most gorgeous waterfalls, valleys, people and rivers in the country!

We’ve just launched our latest set departure to these parts a few days back, and if you’re looking for a destination touched by a handful of outsiders, this is where you should be planning a trip this year. We’re happy with what we have on offer – While nature does three quarters of the job in places like this, we’ve identified some lovely people in the town and nearby valleys to showcase this place in the best way possible – A great mix of adventure, culture and leisure! –

Tales, Traditions and Tributaries of Anini and Beyond – Eastern Arunachal Pradesh 2024 – Click here

August and September 2023

We’ve always said that the Monsoons are the best time to visit Meghalaya. It isn’t for everyone due to the unpredictable weather, the downpour of rains in the wettest place on earth or the power grid failures. But if you’re okay to look past these hurdles, put on your raincoats when it’s pouring and venture out into the lush green hills and forests, you’re in for a treat!

At times the rain can be overpowering, and you need to be comfortable sitting indoors, reading a book or playing a board game and enjoying the orchestra of thunder, lightning and the sound of rain like you’ve never seen or heard before! At other times, you will be making the most out of the day exploring the forests and waterfalls which are at their very best during these months. It truly is a remarkable time to be here!

While we’ll continue to try and lure you to the state during the monsoons, we know a lot of you won’t take the leap of faith during these months. Sharing a few pictures from our time in these months to hopefully change your mind!

These Meghalaya trips are always a lovely mix of work and pleasure, and some of our personal favourite times in the state! Off-season perks!

October to December 2023

We’ve got no time to go exploring the earth during these months, both fortunately and unfortunately, but that’s because you do!

There were two occasions during this quarter (Dussehra holidays in October, and just before Christmas in December) where we were simultaneously hosting more than 150 people across different parts of the region.

Being responsible for 150+ different emotions, and 150 hard-earned holidays at the same time is a daunting task, and while there were a lot of challenges, the “WE DID IT” at the end was worth every anxious moment!

Through these travels there have also been some special times when we’ve worked closely with the local communities to create impact in areas that go beyond just Travel and Tourism.
A. Pynter Village

We have been working with the local community to bring traditional Khasi music, played on local instruments, to our travellers. For this, we have supported the village in constructing a traditionally made Khasi hut where the musicians can practice and present their art to guests who visit the village. And what’s best is that this has not only brought music (and some beautiful memories) to those who visit but even the members of the village who now come out to support this dying art that only a few still practice. It’s heartwarming to see the dozens of young children that come out of their houses to witness the show that the musicians put up.

B. Training and certification of guides
Team ChaloHoppo at a Living Root Bridge Foundation Event
Team ChaloHoppo at a Living Root Bridge Foundation Event

We partnered with the Living Root Bridge Foundation in Pynursla to train young guides in the region. With the tourism industry offering various economic opportunities for young boys and girls, we facilitated certification of 15+ guides in the nearby villages to take up guiding as a part-time/full-time occupation.

C. Encouraging Hyperlocal entrepreneurs
Inclusive growth is one of the backbones of ChaloHoppo and we’ve always believed to thrive in the region we would need to facilitate entrepreneurs all across the states we work in. We’ve identified and guided people from Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam and helped them set up their own small businesses, ventures and social media pages!
D. Cultural Awareness Through Collaborations
Aakanksha Monga in Majuli
Aakanksha Monga in Majuli

Collaborating with storytellers such as Sai Sethu and Aakanksha Monga to showcase and spread the culture and practices of the Sherdukpan and Monpa people in Western Arunachal Pradesh, and the stories of Majuli and its people respectively

What do have in store for 2024?

The Seven Lakes Trek in Anini
The Seven Lakes Trek in Anini
  1. Diving deeper into the caves, waterfalls and truly unique landscape of the Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya beyond the already popular tourist spots.
  2. Adventure centric trips in Eastern Arunachal Pradesh with a focus on multi-day treks, rafting and angling
  3. Water activities in the Khasi Hills such as Grade 3 and Grade 4 rafting, discovering ancient trails, and encouraging the purchase of local produce.
  4. Introduction of Bespoke Tours and Set Departures to Mizoram

We’re also keen on building and adding value to our small community a lot more! When we started ChaloHoppo, the vision was to bridge the gap between Northeast India and Mainland India by using travel as a vehicle. As our community has grown over the years, we feel it is important to bridge this gap not only through travel, but by also leveraging our social presence. We are hoping to educate a larger number of people about the people, places, cultures and practices of the region via informative posts, reels, blogs and collaborations this year!

Sunset in Meghalaya
Sunset in Meghalaya
A large part of why we’ve been able to do what we do is because of the constant support of family, friends, wellwishers, lovely travellers and the small community that we’ve been able to build. We’d love to hear from all of you on your experience, suggestions, or even just a Hi!

Cheers,

With that, we hope to cross paths with you in 2024, and we wish you all the very best for this journey ahead.

Write to us!

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