A 7 Nights 8 Days trip to Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh) Northeast India

Visited the Himalayas in Arunachal Pradesh. Pictures and words are very less to express the feeling which you get in Himalayas.

The route we took — https://drive.google.com/open?id=16osP4Es3V3gwhTvppYMMe1kCq1CB6lsI&usp=sharing

At Quintype, we are lucky to have an unlimited leave policy. The expectation is that we use this judiciously and give 3x advance notice. We knew we wanted to go on a vacation in mid April and accordingly applied a li’l over a month in advance. The destination wasn’t decided till a couple of weeks before the leave began.

This was to be our first long vacation post marriage. Amith had wanted to visit Tawang last year, but things didn’t work out then. This year luckily we could bank on the experiences our colleague to make the trip happen. He had recently visited with this family. They had booked their tour via Enchanting NorthEast. Their facebook page .

We also booked out trip via them. Trust worthy people, they made all the travel and stay arrangement from Assam. And we booked flights to and from Guwahati Airport. And yes I must say they took care of us really well, we didn’t found any hassle in our overall trip. A big thanks to these guys.

Day 1: Travel from Guwahati Airport to Bomdila (Arunachal Pradesh)

It was recommended to reach Guwahati before 10am so there is ample day light to drive in. And we booked our flights accordingly, but our flight from Bangalore Airport got delayed by 4 hours. It is a 3 hour flight to Guwahati. Because of flight delay we reached around 1pm and we were short in time to reach Bomdila(Around 8000ft elevation).

There are two routes to reach Bomdila one is via Rupa(a small town) and other is highway road via Tezpur. The former we couldn’t take as we would have to travel through night and that route doesn’t get any traffic at night and would be an unnecessary risk. But on the way back, we managed to see the views of that route.

We stopped for lunch at Delicacy restaurant. I ordered Assamese Thali as recommended by our driver. Every item was good but there is one item called bamboo shoot pickle. It is very popular with the locals. But its taste and particular smell was difficult for us to bear.

Bamboo shoot pickle(took this picture from google)

To enter Arunachal Pradesh you need Inner Line Permit. It can be applied online by anyone. Our Tour Agency did it for us. Basic ID/Address proof documents are needed.

As our flight got delayed by 4 hours we were running late by that time. The roads were crazy mountain roads. Less vehicles on the road, forest around and for few parts, roads were under construction. We were in hurry to reach Bomdila as it was late and people sleep there early. We reached Bomdila by around 11pm. We started around 1pm. Drove for almost 10 hours with only a couple short stops in between.

The last 1km of main road to the guesthouse was under construction. There was an alternate route, but our driver wasn’t aware of it. Thus began a 1km sprint uphill with our suitcases. It was very cold, around 2–4 degree celsius. And this being the first exposure to the high altitude air, we had difficulty breathing. Somehow managed to reach the guesthouse.

While the dinner was warm and tasted good, we had difficulty eating it due to how cold we felt. Things were much better once we switched into our thermals and warm clothes.

Day 2: Travel from Bomdila to Tawang via Sela Pass (Arunachal Pradesh)

We started around 8 am from Bomdila. After stopping at 1 or 2 places we reached Sela pass, which is around 13700 feet above m.s.l. and 104Km from Bomdila. Temperature was around -4 to 0 degree and cold winds were blowing from time to time. It is okay in the mornings, worsens as the day progresses. The army jawans find it tough but soldier on (pun intended).

There are two lakes and one army canteen at this place. Our driver said, take a look at this place don’t keep legs on ices as that can be dangerous. We went bit ahead around 400meters, captured some photographs spend some amazing time together.

We went this way and spent one of the best time together

It was only we two surrounding was fully snow, like white mountains. After this we decided to come back to our car, and we are seeing there is fog all around, wether changed so quickly, we didn’t realised. All we could hear was other peoples voice and we forgot the way from where we came because there is no road as such. There is no internet, no google maps, no phone network 😱. For some time we got scared but luckily we somehow figured out the way. And reached safely till our car.

The army maintains a canteen here. Fair prices. Chocolates, coffee, maggi. Maggi is staple diet. Samosa, Pakodas are sometimes made when some officer is coming. Anything hot becomes cold within a couple of minutes of exposure to the cold air. After drinking one coffee we started from Sela Pass to go to Tawang.

Way to Tawang from Sela pass

And we reached Tawang around 5 pm took rest in the guest house.

Day 3: At Tawang Local Site seeing

The plan was to stay at Tawang for two full days. First day was local sight seeing. We went to Monastery which is at top of Tawang.

360 degree view of Tawang Monastery
Inside view of Monastry

After visiting Monastery we went to Buddha temple, which says the story of Gautama Buddha. This is located a little lower than the Monastery, in terms of altitude, but is on the other end of of Tawang. Both of these places are high enough, that one can see the entire Tawang city. Then we had lunch at restaurant called “Taste of Tawang”, we tried Thukpa, momos, butter tea. I loved the Thukpa. After lunch we visited war memorial which says story of 1962’s Sino-Indian War.

We finished this and came back to our guest house had chai and pakoda as that’s the best thing to have at that weather. I loved dining table shown below😄. This was placed in our guest house.

Day 4: Tawang to Bum La Pass (India China border)

Tourist requires a pass to enter Bum La and a vehicle which is Arunachal Pradesh registered. Small cars are not allowed, as roads are dangerous. Local agencies in Tawang or guest house people will help with this. You need to get pass done one day before you wanted to go Bum La.

We started for Bum La around 8.30 am. Bum La is around 37km from Tawang. Distance is not much but it takes around 3–4 hrs to reach Bum La as roads are crazy. Very narrow roads which has snow both the sides. There is army everywhere so you will see army trucks going and coming.

Crazy roads

On the way we saw Pangateng Tso Lake.

Pangateng Tso Lake

Then we reached Y junction there is one army canteen. People call this Y junction because there are two ways from this one goes to Bum La and other goes to Madhuri lake(Lakes named after the Bollywood movie shoot Koyla).

From Y junction we went to Bum La which is 15,200 feet above m.s.l. I have less words to explain the feeling I got there. Heavy winds, 15,200 feet high, you are on top of the mountain which is full of snow. Amazing! 😄

Salute to the 🇮🇳 Indian army jawans who are staying there in such a tough condition to protect us. Because of you guys we are safe here at our homes.

Here people get altitude sickness and breathing issue because of height and weather. Just keep drinking warm water is one suggestion.

Bum La at 15200 feet

And we reached on top 15200 feet 😄. Main destination of this trip. India China border Bum La pass.

After Bum La pass came to Y junction and we saw snow fall started. So we could not visit Madhuri lake. Army timings are also there to go to these places before 2pm. We came back to Tawang, and relaxed for rest of the day as this journey was crazy.

Gallery of the way to Bum La

Day 5: Tawang to Dirang (A beautiful city on the banks of valley)

We started from Tawang around 8am. We went to Nuranang, a very beautiful waterfall! The song Tanhai tanhai tanhai from the 1997 Bollywood movie Koyla was shot in parts here also.

Nuranang water fall

Then visited Jaswantgarh War Memorial. Which says the story of this Legend, who was fighter for 1962 war.

Then again we crossed Sela, but this time view was different because weather was good. So we could actually see lakes and places around.

We reached Dirang around 4pm. We visited a valley called Sangti valley, which is situated about 15 kilometres from Dirang. This place is not well known to the outside world, very few tourist infra exists here.

Black-necked cranes migrate to this valley from China during the months of November and December and after the winter months are over, they set back to their homes during April and May. These birds are referred to as tung tung ka uk by the people of Sangti Valley.

Sangti valley

Then we came to our guest house at Dirang and relaxed.

Day 6: Dirang to Kaziranga (Assam)

We started around 8am from Dirang. After reaching Tenga valley, we got to know that there is block because of some army official was visiting. There is also construction going on that phase, so the road is blocked between 12 pm to 5pm. Faced with a block totalling 9 hours, driver decided to go back and take some other route. This was the route that we would have taken from Guwahati to Bomdila, had we not gotten late. In a way we got to experience what we had missed. After travelling through the route, I must say it was a good decision to not try this road in the evening time.

And just like that, we reached Kaziranga around 4pm and stayed in Wild Grass Lodge, which is very popular.

Wild grass lodge at Kaziranga

Day 7: Kaziranga national park

We did a jeep safari to Kaziranga national park. Bookings were done at the wild grass lodge where we were staying at Rs 1850. We went to The Western Range (Bagori Nagaon). It has more of the Rhinos and Elephants. We saw, Rhinos, Elephants, Wild Buffalos, Wild Boars and many birds.

Rhino at Kaziranga National Park

On the way back, we clicked some photos at Tata Groups Hathikulli organic tea estate. Then we went to Orchid Park. We had lunch there, We ordered Assamese thali which consist of a bowl of rice and 18 types of saag.

Assamese thali

After lunch we saw orchid park and cultural program held there. They presented 3 to 4 types of tribe dance forms. One was bihu dance as bihu festival was going on.

Some dance form of tribes

We came back to our Guest house around 5pm. While having snacks interacted with few more tourist families, spent around 2–3 hour with them. We had dinner together.

Day 8: Kaziranga to Guwahati Airport

We started from Kaziranga around 8.30 am. reached Guwahati airport around 2pm. Took flight from there and came back to bangalore.

👏Thanks to http://www.enchantingne.com/ for helping us throughout our trip to form wonderful memories.

Entire Northeast is beautiful, people there are very polite and helpful. More than the destination I enjoyed the journey through different mountains and valleys. I would like to share few important points one should know before visiting this place -

  • Medication for altitude and motion sickness is must.
  • A thermos flask to keep hot water
  • General medicines
  • Thermals, spare footwear, sun glass, etc.

If you are planning to visit this place and have some question, then please drop comment and I would be happy to answer those.

Senior Frontend developer; https://www.iamtrapti.com/ ; Sharing life with Amith George (https://medium.com/@amithgeorge)