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Perfect tea plantations, elephants, rhinos, blue mountains, rice fields and the red Brahmaputra valley are the emblems of this region. Just below the foothills of the Himalayas, and on the borders of Bhutan and Bangladesh, Assam has a strong local culture and identity, most obvious in the strong flavours of the cuisine and the traditional dress of the Assamese.
This is a varied state and choosing the best places to stay in Assam is highly dependant on why you're visiting the region, but your choice includes eco-lodges where you can sleep close to the elephants and rhinos, or beautiful old working tea plantation houses.
Assam has a number of important archaeological sites and ancient temples, and a smattering of extremely charming villages, if you're interested in the region's ethnography, while there are also several national parks to choose from, and even the opportunity to explore the region by raft, along the mighty river.
A drive of one hundred kilometres through Assam can take you through flood plains, rainforests, rice paddies and the alpine conditions of the Himalayan foothills. And there's the range of flora and fauna to match, so Assam has always been popular with naturalists and nature lovers.
As for the highlights, the Kaziranga National Park is one of the best places in the world to spot rhinos and Indian elephants, Nameri National Park is a bird-watcher's paradise, the quaint heart of Guwahati, right by the Brahmaputra River makes for a nice day's exploration, the strange Maidams at Charaideo are sometimes compared to Egypt's pyramids and it's definitely worth trying the tea!
Our pick of the best places to stay in Assam range from a characterful bargain property close to Kaziranga to a gorgeous eco-lodge on the banks of the Diphlu river.
For great value
- The Wild Grass Lodge in Kaziranga is a charmingly ramshackle 18 room eco-lodge, very close to the Kaziranga National Park. Peaceful and welcoming, there's no air-conditioning or mini-bars, but there's a fantastic old dining room decorated with stag's heads and oil paintings of birds, and the menu is basic but with some excellent local specialities. Rooms start from £11 per night.
- The Baruah Bhavan Guesthouse in the old heart of Guwahati, has been converted from a large, green painted, 20th Century home just a few minutes walk from the Brahmaputra River. There are six comfortable rooms, all decorated differently, and an elegant glass topped table where excellent home-style dishes are served.
For a wildlife experience
- The Diphlu River Lodge is right on the edge of the Kaziranga National Park with four thatched, stilted cottages looking onto the river and the other eight arranged in a circle around a meadow. Secluded and very comfortable, this is a wonderful spot for birdwatching, as well as for embarking upon elephant or rhino safaris.
Best Hotels in Assam
Baruah Bhavan Guesthouse 6 rooms from $34Guwahati (Uzanbazar)
A quaint guesthouse in Guwahati’s Old Quarter, just a three-minute walk from the Brahmaputra River. Homely, charming and an ideal stop-off on your way to Kaziranga.Less £Sights nearby - Central city locationLively area - In the thick of the action.Local markets - Good for local colour.
Prabhakar Homestay 5 rooms from $57Guwahati (Assam)
This charming guesthouse, located in a quiet corner of town has been in the Bora family for years. A truly immersive stay, antiquated rooms make guests feel as though staying with a family member. Relax amidst the gardens in bloom and with a cup of Assam chai and some delicious home-cooked food.Hideaway - A perfect little spot to escape from bustling Guwahati. The Bora family will make you feel right at home.Sights nearby - Take the ferry across to the Umananda Mandir, a temple located on a small forested river island.Local markets - Artfed stocks plenty of locally made goods, ideal for gifts.Great walks - Explore the quaint winding lanes of Old Guwahati by foot.
Infinity Resort Kaziranga 18 rooms from $78P.O. Kaziranga, Dist. Golaghat, Assam
Pampering in the heart of nature! Relax into a simpler pace of life while enjoying ultimate comfort and premier service. Spacious rooms are furnished elegantly in bamboo and wood. Outdoor pool, spa and massage help unwind. Delicious menu in restaurant. Opportunity to explore stunning natural beauty.In/by a Nature Reserve - Located within Kaziranga Wildlife Park, a designated World Heritage Site by UNESCOSafari - Possible to see tigers, rhinos, buffalo, deer and elephants in the National parkBirdwatching - There have been over 480 resident and migratory bird species in KazirangaSwimming Pool - Outdoor pool
IORA – The Retreat 42 rooms from $78Dist. Golaghat Kaziranga,, Assam
A brilliant 20 acre spot to relax in, yet a stone's throw away from the Kaziranga National Park. Spacious, wooden furnished rooms overlook a pool and are close to the in house spa and gym. Do not miss the safaris into the park to see The Big Five. Tea fields also make up the beautiful landscape.Hideaway - Nestled in 20 acres gives it the perfect hideaway location.Birdwatching - A national park with some beautiful national birds.Swimming Pool - Outdoor poolRemote - Off the beaten track.
Diphlu River Lodge 12 rooms from $208Assam
A gorgeous eco-lodge on the banks of the Diphlu River, right on the edge of Kaziranga National Park. Hands down the region’s best place to stay.Back to Nature - Wildlife viewing including rhino spottingOutstanding locationBirdwatching - There are some 400 species of birds residing in the Kaziranga.Barefoot Luxury - For total relaxation.