• packing list NE india

Inside My Backpack | Full Packing List for NE India

I love writing packing lists! Northeast India was cold when I was there BUT the best time to go to NE is in the cold months, as outside of them the monsoon comes. Please read my guide to NE with all the NE India FAQ, answered to help plan your trip to this diverse and lesser travelled area of India!

I’m going to share what I packed and also what I wish I’d left home and remembered to bring along.
Places to Visit in Bomdila monastery

Places to Visit in Bomdila18 Full packing list for NE India

65L Backpack.

There were opportunities to buy fabrics and textiles on this trip with amazing tribal prints and you’re probably going to want to pick up some bags and scarfs. Although you don’t need much packing-wise for this trip, I recommend taking a larger bag. See backpack here: REI Crestrail 65L Backpack

Big Purse.

I’m guessing if you’re coming this far into India then you are going to want to document it! I took my favorite Fossil which I kept electronics in since we were out most of the day, all day. Fossil is always my go to and I have nearly 10 of them! Ah!

Clothing I packed for NE India

2 pairs of jeans.

I packed two pairs but really only should have taken one. I wore my black skinny jeans every day and they were absolutely perfect. I wouldn’t have changed that. I only wore the other jeans once to mix up my outfits but it wasn’t necessary. You don’t really sweat in the cold!

sela pass arunachal pradesh

1 pair of long thick yoga pants.

I slept in these every night. It was SO cold at night so this is probably the warmest most comfortable sleep pant.

1 pair of thin leggings.

I didn’t wear these once! They don’t fit under skinny jeans and as we were in the car a lot it wouldn’t have been comfortable.

12 cute tops.

I packed for this trip the same way I would for London. I packed my favorite short sleeve and long sleeve tops from Urban Outfitters, Top Shop, and ASOS.

ziro valley tribals

Black leather jacket.

I was in this constantly. Again, I don’t think I’d change this as I only felt cold during the day in Tawang and I wouldn’t carry a bulky winter jacket around for two days. I grew up in Ohio winters so during the day I didn’t mind the chill. The thing is the cold parts were at night, so a big jacket wouldn’t help then either.

places to visit in dirang

2 cardigans.

I took 1 cream zip up hoodie that was like a fake cashmere which was great and cuter than just a grey hoodie. I also took 1 long tassled crochet tan kimono type thing that I got on Nasty Gal a couple of years ago. I would layer my top, a cardigan, then my leather jacket.


4 pairs of socks.

I’m all about black ankle socks and took four pairs (it’s all I had). Could have used 10! I wore them every day except one which yes, means I wore each pair twice. I swear though I wasn’t sweating at all!

15 pairs of undies.

1 sleep tee-shirt.

2 pairs of shoes.

I took my black ankle booties (you guys loved on Instagram!! My mom picked them out I think!) which I wore most days. I also took my brown burlap Tom’s for the plane rides to and from, wore them a couple of days. I did not take any sandals and was okay with that. Take flip-flops is hotel showers gross you out.

tawang nunnery


3 dresses.

I took 2 too many. I had intentions of wearing them with leggings or over my jeans but didn’t. One Free People dress I wore the first day in Guwahati and it was perfect weather for it. The other two sadly were not touched.

assam tourist

bihu dance assam

1 pair of dressy trousers.

Again, these weren’t worn. I’d have loved to but skinny jeans were best as they are ankle length so never dragged on the ground.

2 big ass scarves!

1 of which I borrowed from a friend and one I brought myself and these I draped over my leather jacket when I was chilly or put it over my head to block the wind.

tawang monastery

Jia Bhorelli goats


Other than leaving the two dresses at home, I was pretty pleased with myself. I know I bitched about being cold but leather boots, jeans, and a leather jacket with layers really was as much as I could have worn. Especially if you are going other places than NE India on your trip, it’s crazy to take a big puffy coat. You should take gloves and if you’re not comfortable wearing a scarf on your head, take a hat. A thick fleece would have been nice, but if you are traveling to warm destinations after it is kind of a pain to take around and these thick shawls are maybe just as warm. It was such a low temperature I would have complained no matter how covered I was!

places to visit in dirang

Accessories I packed:

I took a tiny bit of basic jewelry which I never wore except my Seiba bracelet. I also took my favorite sunglasses! Of course I took my real glasses too. I took extra hair ties and hair clips.

ziro valley tribals

ziro valley tribals

Toiletries I packed:

Shampoo, Conditioner, It’s a 10 miracle spray, mini beach salt spray, body wash, razor, First Aid beauty face wash, solution, extra s, toothbrush and toothpaste, floss, Q Tips, mini Burberry Brit perfume, body lotion, and a comb. I should have taken mini nail polish and clippers – 10 days means a lot of nail growth! I did not take a single piece of make up other than lip stuff that was in my purse and would not have touched it if I’d taken it.


So, I took a carry-on backpack from Just Porter which I love because it really protects my laptop. I didn’t mention it in the bags at the top because if you’re not a blogger you don’t really need most of this, but in case you are here’s what I took: brand spankin’ new 13″ mac book pro retina, GoPro, MI phone, power bank which came in handy ALL the time as my phone was trying to find 3g and killing the battery, needed music in the car, all the chargers (ugh I hate carrying so many chargers!), memory stick, and Canon camera which I did use just for the rhinos. I downloaded movies before going!

kazirangaI always leave my 1 TB Transcend portable hard drive at home and just keep all photos on my phone/camera and back them up to my laptop each night. If something happens like my bag gets stolen, I don’t want to lose my hard drive. PRO TIP: you cannot use your computer in Tawang, it’s passed 10,000 feet and the pressure can cause issues to your hard drive destroying your computer.

In my purse:

Passport, wallet with money, ATM card, emergency credit card, Werkenntwen business cards (that I had made for $5 on Fiverr!), Clinique nude lipstick, YSL pink lipstuff (I don’t know this miracle stuff is!), chapstick, and NARS turkish delight lipgloss. I kept my phone, portable charger, camera, and GoPro in here during the day.

And I think that’s it! All the things I packed for 10 days in NE India!

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About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Betsy February 16, 2016 at 1:12 am - Reply

    Nice post! I am going to Darjeeling and Sikkim this summer. I won’t need so many warm clothes.

  2. Joella February 16, 2016 at 6:59 am - Reply

    I love being nosy at other people’s packing lists! And your photos are gorgeous. I was writing up my packing list for Nicaragua earlier- but unfortunately I realised I have about 4 photos of myself (and the stuff I wore) the whole 3 weeks I was there. This is what happens when I travel without my official camera man (aka Justin haha!) as all the people I met on the trip were not bloggers and didn’t take photos of themselves everywhere they went haha!

    • Rachel Jones February 16, 2016 at 10:10 am - Reply

      haha isn’t that the worst! I felt the same when I was in Hawaii, I packed so many cute clothes and was there for a whole month- i have like 5 photos of my outfits to prove it :( … don’t worry Joella I believe you looked cute every day! lol

  3. Meg March 10, 2016 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    What would you recommend for men? Is it true that foreigners should not wear shorts while in India? I just can’t imagine my 17 and 15 year old sons wearing pants while we are there (or my husband, for that matter).
    Also, what do you carry when you go shopping at a market or bazaar? Do you use your big Fossel purse or something smaller?

    • Rachel Jones March 11, 2016 at 11:35 am - Reply

      Men don’t really were shorts here, they almost always wear long pants (I don’t know why) but kids can definitely wear shorts. My boyfriend wears his swim shorts all over India no problem. When shopping I take my Fossil purse and often take another bag to fill up (just like a grocery bag)

  4. Arun March 26, 2016 at 8:34 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel.Thank you for the blog posts about your visits to Dirang and Tawang.Im from south India and found those posts really informative as I have a month long mountaineering course in Dirang..I have one query Is it possible to find homestay once you reach over Dirang or Tawang ? I really liked the part of your journey describing about homestay life and interaction with local guide.I hope to do so and capture the vibe of these places.

    • Rachel Jones March 30, 2016 at 1:30 pm - Reply

      Hi Arun,

      A time passes I start to forget names of homestays and such but I do mention in my posts on Tawang and such where I stay so you can thsoe places- you’ll see on tripadvisor most places only have maybe 3 or 4 options of places so its good to reach out ahead of time.

  5. Kristen August 22, 2016 at 3:18 am - Reply

    Hi! Love the list. Where did you get that cream zip up from??

    • Rachel Jones August 22, 2016 at 9:10 am - Reply

      I borrowed it from a friend but I think she got it at Zara.

  6. Punita December 28, 2017 at 10:49 am - Reply

    Love the details you have provided!!

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