17 Jun 2018 - 10:09pm | Upasana Medhi
From tailor-made itineraries to experiencing a place like a local, OK North East is adding a big dollop of imagination to the process of booking an adventure or experience trip or an accommodation at a stunning yet unexplored place in the Northeast of India.
Jim Ankan Deka, an Assamese photographer, musician and the founder of Eastern Fare, a production house in Bangalore, came back to North East in 2015 and started travelling extensively in search of hidden and unexplored places. He, along with his friend Debjani Hazarika, started the company OK North East in 2017 with an aim to bring foreign tourists to untouched and not very well-known places in the North east of India.
Within one year, with more than 30 homestays, resorts, farm stays and campsites, OK North East has become one of the most sought-after travel companies in the north eastern part of India. Curated by a dedicated travel design team, the company has launched 5 innovative experiences, and will continue to add to the collection as new journeys are created. The trips by the team at OK North East are designed to encompass emotive experiences such as indulgence, connection, celebration, romance or replenishment.
The idea started sometime in 2008 when few foreign travellers enquired for information on North-East. Jim was running a page on Facebook then, which was also the first page on North-east India. Till 2015, his team at Eastern Fare took care of the page with regular updates of imperative, fun and frolicky facts about the North-East and North Eastern Personalities as well as putting forward the significant travel destinations to a worldwide audience.
OK! North East still gives out free information, but, this time, more substantially. The company has started camping on Yoga, meditation and life-skills training in unexplored places of North-East India specially designed for the travellers traveling from abroad as well as bikers and backpackers from India.
By the mid of 2017, the company started a campaign to help out villagers in the interior places of the Northeast by providing them with training on soft skills and client management as well as helping them to set up at least a room of their house or hut as a travellers’ den. This is mainly to help out the women in the rural or semi-urban areas as most of them don’t have any source of regular income.
As most of the travellers prefer to visit not very touristy but significant places, sometimes it becomes difficult for them to get a hotel or other accommodation in such places. The team at OK! North East has been travelling to various interior places where there is an opportunity for tourism, mostly the rural and tribal areas of North-east.
The OK! North East website has over 400 articles on different subjects of Northeast. Foreign travellers often share their amazing travel stories through the website. The website is full of stories by amazing travellers like Rico Reißmann, who had walked all the way from Germany to India, or on globetrotter like Willem Betts, a 7.2 ft tall photographer from Canada or Carlos from Spain who is a surfer and on a mission to India in search of spirituality and have been undergoing rigorous meditation practices.
“We’re always testing new ways to help our community members tell their stories, and this is one idea we are exploring,” said Jim. “We’re excited to continue looking at ways that help the hosts and guests share their travel experiences.”
OK! North East is supported by Everything Outdoor, an adventure storehouse, By The Way, a hangout zone, and Jenie’s Mascara, a fashion house in Guwahati mainly catering to foreign travellers.