Rickshaw Run Northeast
The Details: Rickshaw Run Northeast India
Everything you need to know about the newest Rickshaw Run in the far northeast of India. If you landed here first, check out the main website here.
We’re calling this the Wild One, mostly because there’s only been one edition so far and we’re still not sure what’s going to happen on the second edition. Splendid.
- 1. The un-route
- 2. The dates
- 3. First edition highlights
- 4. Entry fee & what's included
- 5. The rickshaw
- 6. Pimp my rickshaw
- 7. Driving license & insurance
- 8. Permits for restricted areas
- 9. Saving the world
- 10. The warning: this is dangerous
- 11. I'm ready - sign me up
- 12. Subscribe and follow
- 13. Contact us
1. The un-route
DISTANCE: Depends how far you wobble off the edge of the map
TIME: 2 days test driving, 13 days on the road
PIT STOP MEETUPS: 2 locations to be confirmed
Most teams will head north into Assam and take on the seven northeast states in a vaguely clockwise direction. But you can go in any direction you want. We'll organise two meetups along the way in the first and second week so you can meet your fellow runners on the road. We're researching locations right now, but it's likely to be up north in Arunachal Pradesh followed by another one in Nagaland.
“Taking shortcuts down places that probably were not meant to be roads, smiling kids, delighted elderlies, enormous smiles, huge snakes, monkey attacks, ELEPHANTS!!!, ‘not possible’ off-roading, big rickshaws on tiny barges, potholes, speed bumps... All of it.
The run was great fun, this area of India is so beautiful and worth visiting … There are many firsts to do up here!”
Cornelia Fleischer, Northeast Pioneers Edition May 2023
2. The dates
Next edition: March 2024
29th February: Test Driving & Launch Party
1st March: Test Driving & Team Briefing
2nd March: Launch Day
14th March: Finish Line & Party
Coming soon: November 2024
13th November: Pre-adventure beers
14th November: Test driving and official launch party
15th November: Test driving and team briefing
16th November: Launch day
28th November: Finish line and finish party
"It was an amazing experience. Driving a rickshaw through the Indian countryside is such a unique experience. People are naturally drawn to you because you stand out everywhere you go. People are curious and want to meet you.
It was great that every stop we made we met someone new. So many handshakes, and smiles, and selfies and it was awesome. What The Adventurists offer makes it what it is. Keep up the great work."
Travis Meredith, Northeast Pioneers Edition May 2023
3. First edition highlights
Clemens Froelich, Austria
- A wild Rhino up close 20 metres bathing in front of us.
- Shared the rickshaw with monks who wanted to go river bathing and we gave them a lift.
- Taking in the views from Sela pass at 4200 metres altitude.
- Parked the rickshaw in an army camp overnight as we were breaking down in the middle of the night in Arunachal Pradesh. Luckily in front of an army camp. The soldiers helped us to park it safely and organised us a transport to our homestay.
- The intelligence agent at the checkpoint to enter Arunachal Pradesh who asked to take our rickshaw for a ride. We feared he would never return but just drove 50 metres to the next petrol station to say hi and show off with his friends.
- The visit at a local school at the Indo - Bhutanese border where we gave a speech about our adventure and the kids took dozens of pics with our rickshaw.
- The heavily armed soldiers with their loaded AK47s at a checkpoint between Sikkim and West Bengal who waved us down to pose for pictures with us.
- Wild yaks roaming around at the passes of Arunachal Pradesh with their up to 2 metre long horns. In the foggy and misty weather they seemed like animals from another planet.
Rob Weston, Australia
- Accidentally (not accidentally) finding an entrance to a game reserve and driving the rickshaw through mud to get within 100m of a rhino.
- Meeting locals in Megalahaya who advised of a bamboo walk in the mountains. We did a three hour detour and four hour hike to see it. All the locals we asking how we found it and heard about it as they rarely see any foreigners.
- Joining a rap video for a local Sikkim artist as back up dancers.
- The interactions with the locals and random situations that we found ourselves in everyday when we got off the main roads were the magical ones. We were up everyday at 4am to get 4 hours of driving done so that we had the rest of the day for Indian randomness on the backroads, in little restaurants, shops, swims in rivers, runs through tea fields, trekking, learning to cook at homestays, eating street food with locals and drinking with locals in their homes (sometimes even tea).
Cornelia Fleischer, Germany
The run was great fun, this area of India is so beautiful and worth visiting … There are many firsts to do up here!
Travis Meredith, Canada
It was an amazing experience.
Driving a rickshaw through the Indian countryside is such a unique experience. People are naturally drawn to you because you stand out everywhere you go. People are curious and want to meet you. It was great that every stop we made we met someone new. So many handshakes, and smiles, and selfies and it was awesome. What the adventurists offer makes it what it is. Keep up the great work.
Dotan Barak, Israel
Meeting the former headhunters of the Konyak tribe
The village of Longwa has residents from 6 tribes, including the Konyak tribe which our guide Jay-Lu belongs to. We had a spicy dinner (cry-worthy) with Jay-Lu's family in their kitchen/dining area. Half the village is in India and half in Myanmar (Burma), with the residents having dual citizenship.
A main attraction is taking photos with retired "headhunters" based on their claims, though their ages don't always match up with the practice ending in 1946.
There are also local shotgun manufacturers with shooting ranges set up around the village. No safety briefings before firing.
The road to Mokokchung
But we set out on the 150km journey that should take ~3 hours on a proper road. It was a hot, deserted area with the occasional biker or pedestrian. The road logic wasn't always clear - stretches of dirt and mud alternated randomly with short paved sections, speed bumps, and more.
We met some road construction crews and elephants dragging logs. This stretch turned an expected 3 hours into 12 long hours of bumpy, hot, confusing progress.
Living root bridges of Meghalaya via military base shortcut
"We're crossing the base on our way to the bridges," we replied. "Well, the road here is really bad. You won't be able to pass, especially not with a rickshaw."
"We'll try, at worst, we'll come back."
The road ahead was indeed broken, but somehow, we managed to cross it safely amidst the perplexed looks of farmers in the fields and car travelers who wanted to cross and follow us in trauma.
From there, we reached the beginning of the road to the bridges and pools. 2500 steps downhill, a dip in the pools, and 2500 steps uphill. A small climb ... 3 hours we thought. 3 hours turned into almost 7 hours of pounding knees, sauna-style sweating, a heart rate that sets records, and breathing in short supply. It turns out that from the second hill, there's a route with only 300 steps.
William Lonergan, USA
4. Entry fee & what's included
That makes it a measly £765 each for a team of three.
You can pay in instalments too, chopping the fee up into monthly chunks.
What you get for your money
A start of the art 3-wheeled, 4-stroke air-cooled rickshaw with third party insurance and all the other necessary paperwork.
Two days of adventure prep and test driving including rickshaw driving lessons from the Rickshaw Run crew.
Rickshaw repair lessons
Our expert mechanics will bestow their knowledge in sessions covering basic maintenance and repairs on the road.
Pimp your rickshaw
Submit your design from home and our team of artists will paint anything you want on your vehicle, including your charities' or sponsors' logos. We recommend matching your adventuring attire with your pimp job for maximum impact.
Launch Party & Launch Day Ceremony
A ruddy great big knees up including dinner, some free drinks and awesome local live music. Plus an official send off ceremony on launch day.
Finish Line & Finish Party
We set the stage for your finish line photo and round things off with another bloody great big knees up to swap tales from the road. Includes dinner, some free drinks, much back slapping and bad dancing.
Official Team Swag
- A Rickshaw Run patch to make your adventure blazer complete
- A Rickshaw Run t-shirt in case you forget spare clothes
- Some other stuff we're still deciding on
Team handbook with all the pre-adventure knowledge you need including nuggets of wisdom from previous teams.
Chat groups - before and during the run
Your team handbook has a chat group to meet your fellow Adventurists before you set off plus a teams only WhatsApp group for on the road chit-chat.
Daily coverage and Photo of the Day Competition
A daily opportunity to win the widely renowned photography prize, plus updates on our socials every day.
A community of likeminded idiots
Most importantly you get the company of fellow Adventurists. You're joining a collective of genius-idiots drawn to the call of overland stupidity.
Two weeks of some of the most underpant-stirring adventuring possible in a rickshaw.
Refundable Vehicle Deposit
The deposit is fully refundable and deductions will only be made if the rickshaw is seriously damaged or if there are bits missing. If you don't bring it to the finish line we'll need to use some of your deposit to recover it so it's best, and cheaper, to get it there yourself.
We understand the 'shaws will take a bit of a kicking because we've been running these adventures since 2006 so we don't deduct anything for normal Rickshaw Run grade wear and tear.
5. The rickshaw
"The rickshaw allowed us to go off the main roads onto dirt paths, goat trails, and open land. It simply went everywhere! This made the trip enjoyable since we could access any corner, meet people, and see landscapes."
Dotan Barak, Northeast Pioneers Edition May 2023
All of this pretty much guarantees something will go wrong. Which is exactly as it should be. If nothing went wrong it wouldn't be a proper adventure.
They're also not great at going up hills, which will be entertaining in the mountain sections, so we recommend packing light. But the raw power of 198cc is more than you actually need, so you should be grateful we haven't made the engines even smaller.
Bajaj Auto Rickshaw
4 stroke, air cooled
10.5 HP at 4500 rpm
4 forward, 1 reverse
6. Pimp my rickshaw
This may not technically be part of the official specifications but we consider it one of the most important elements. The more absurd and original the design the faster and more reliable your rickshaw becomes. This might not actually be true, but you are probably 2% more likely to be helped when you break down if you’ve got a giant smiling Ganesh painted on your trusty steed.
7. Driving license & insurance
Auto rickshaws are classed as ‘light motor vehicles’ in India which means a Category A or B Stamp in your IDP normally means you're all set.
It might be legal for you to drive a rickshaw in India using your legit IDP but not quite as legal to drive a rickshaw in your home country because of the way rickshaws are classified differently around the world. If you're legal in India you shouldn't have any problems but travel insurance providers are quite good at finding excuses to invalidate policies if you become an expensive problem. So double check your license set up with them. Any questions give us a shout at Rickshaw Run HQ.
Travel & Medical Insurance
Take a minute to imagine how proud your family will be when they get a $50,000 hospital bill because you were too lazy to do a bit of boring paperwork for your adventure. Then go and sort the boring paperwork instead.
8. Permits for restricted areas
Less formally, but equally important is informal permission you may need to enter remote areas. There are some hill tribes and communities you can't visit without an invite. So you'll need to check on local information as you go. Make sure you don't venture into any remote communities where unannounced tourists rocking up in a bright pink rickshaw may not be welcome without an invitation.
Arunachal Pradesh: Protected Area Permit (PAP).
Meghalaya: No permit. Local police or foreigner registration may be required in some areas.
Manipur: No permit. Police and foreigners office registration required.
Nagaland: No permit. Registration with Foreigners Registration Officer or the police.
Mizoram: No permit. Registration with foreigners office required.
Tripura: No permit. Registration requirements unclear, we're checking this.
Assam: No permit required.
9. Saving the world
Anything above this can be raised for any other registered charity of your choice.
How do we raise the cash?
You've got until 4 weeks after the end of your adventure to raise the minimum amount of £500. Teams often raise the most cash while they're on the road and just after they get back, but it's wise to start your campaign early.
If you don't raise £500 by the deadline, unfortunately you will go to hell. Together with Cool Earth we give you tips and resources to help you fundraise. Then 4 weeks after the finish line party we will pester you for your final total. But don't panic, we won’t set any dogs on you, or force you to sell your children. We will be very, very disappointed though and do a sad face at you.
10. The warning: this is dangerous
These adventures are definitely dangerous.
The website is written in a light-hearted fashion but you cannot overestimate the risks involved.
Your chances of being seriously injured or dying as a result of taking part are high. Individuals who have taken part in past Adventurists' adventures have been permanently disfigured, seriously disabled and even lost their life. This is not a glorified holiday, it's an unsupported adventure and so by its very nature extremely risky. You really are on your own and you really are putting both your health and life at risk.
This is what makes them adventures.