ChaloHoppo to Tawang
Embark on a journey through white snowy roads that once was a bloody battlefield to ultimately reach a monastery where you experience absolute calm. The beautiful valleys that precede the mountain town quietly invite you to stay a little longer. Don’t book your return tickets yet!
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging
Group Size Medium Group
Tawang is truly mesmerising. With frozen lakes, snow capped peaks and the second largest monastery in the world to boast about. But the experience of Tawang is accentuated by the journey that leads you to it. Stop and admire the valleys towns of Sangti and Dirang, live in homestays and be at the receiving end of Monpa hospitality before you drive higher to listen to the tales of the brave men in camouflage. Everything about the road to Tawang is heartwarming as long as you are prepared for the freezing temperatures.
Highlights of the tour:
- Morning chants at Bomdilla monastery
- Make momos with locals
- camp next to Kameng river
- Try the local brew of the Monpas
- Drive through one of the highest motor-able roads in the world
- Visit the historic bum la (pass) situated at 15,200 feet
- Experience Monpa homestay
- Stay in comfortable, clean and hygienic accommodation
- Breakfast on all days
- All permits, entries etc
- Internal travel during the trip
- English Speaking guide
- Your Personal Purchases
- Anything not mentioned in the Inclusions
- Excess stay & meals due to bad weather conditions/strikes, resulting in flight delays or any other form of transport
Day 1 (2nd October)
Start your drive to the West Kameng District of Arunachal
Start the drive from Ziro to Itanagar in the morning and stop at the capital for a quick snack before continuing your journey towards Elephant, a small army town in Arunachal Pradesh. Stay in a cozy cottage and a great view. Enjoy kiwis and food at night, before hitting the bed.
Day 2 (3rd October)
A night in Bomdila
Drive from Elephant to Bomdila in the afternoon and check into the Monastery guest house by evening. Step out into the market and shop for local memorabilia in the evening. Sleep early as you will need to wake up early to partake in the morning chants at the Monastery.
Day 3 (4th October)
Drive up one of the highest motor- able roads in the world
Wake up very early and walk to the Gompa on time for the morning chanting where all the Lamas come together to pray. After the prayers are over, return to your guesthouse for breakfast, after which you can leave towards one of the highest motorable passes in the world – Sela pass. Stop for a cup of tea and some hot maggi as you appreciate the magnificent beauty of the Sela lake. Shortly after, stop at the Jaswant Ghar, a war memorial dedicated to a hero not known as well as he should be. Learn more about the love story of Sela and Jaswant and how it affected the Sino-Indian war in 1962. Thereafter, make your way to the Monpa town of Tawang. On reaching, check into your guest house. After you rest for a while, make your way to the fountainhead of Buddhism in Arunachal Pradesh, The Tawang Monastery. Meet the Lamas and learn more about the culture and history of the land. At 5:30 pm, there is a lights and sound show at the war memorial in Tawang which you can go to to pay your dues to the thousands of Indian soldiers who lost their lives in the Sino- Indian war. Evening at leisure.
Day 4 (5th October)
A 600 year old bridge and traditional paper making
Wake up early and leave your guesthouse after a hot cup of tea and a light breakfast. Once done, we can head out and start the day lighting butter lamps in the Khinmey gompa. This monastery belongs to a different sect of Mahayana Buddhism which we will tell you more about when we are there. Thereafter, make your way to the famous Jung falls. Relax there and experience the grandeur of the waterfall. Proceed to Mukto basti, one of the older villages in the region where you get to see the art of traditional handmade paper making in one of the cottages. Walk around the village and try some local food. Make your way back to Tawang. On the way, visit Chaksam, a hanging bridge built in the 14th century connecting two banks over the Tawang chu. If the current permits, you may be able to dip your feet into the frozen river if you dare. Return to your guesthouse for a bonfire later. Evening at leisure.
Day 5 (6th October)
Bum La, Sangetsar Tso and other high altitude lakes.
After a comfortable night of sleep, start your day early as you go further up towards the Bum La pass. Bum La is a historic and extremely significant military post, which has border meets between India and China every year. It was the same pass that was used by the Chinese to infiltrate India in 1962. The Commander at the post will run you through all the details before you make your way to Sangetsar Tso, a lake brought to fame by the movie Koyla. It is also commonly known as Madhuri Lake due to the very same reason. Lunch can be done at the army shop by the lake. After lunch, drive up to the Taksang Gonpa (15 minutes drive) where the great Master,Guru Padmasambhava had spent some time to meditate. As per legend, he was welcomed at the site by a tiger. You will be seeing many other lakes during the course of this drive based on the weather and clarity. Once done, return to Tawang for a night around the bonfire.
Day 6 (7th October)
The beautiful valley of Sangti
After an early breakfast, make your way to the fabled Sangti Valley, the land of the migratory black necked cranes. Meet your host at the homestay while he helps you settle into your rooms in the village. Thereafter, the valley is yours to explore. Whether you choose to laze around by the river or walk around the beautiful valley, Sangti will not fail to impress. You could even borrow the hosts angling rod and try your hand at some fishing if you please. In the evening, sit with the locals while they teach you to make some of their traditional dishes which you may have heard of such as momos and thukpa. Sip on some of the local brew (aarak or mar chang) while you get to know your hosts better. Evening at leisure.
Day 7 (8th October)
Wake up comfortably for breakfast. Thereafter, we can take a walk around Sangti valley. An early picnic lunch can be organised after which we will head back to the plains of Assam. Check into your accommodation on the Assam Arunachal Pradesh border and rest a while. Evening at leisure.
Day 8 (9th October)
Drive back to Guwahati
After breakfast, head back to Guwahati to make it in time for your flight.
Bid goodbye to the north east, but only until we meet again.
Elephant – The Retreat
Comfortable cottages in the middle of a jungle with the river flowing in front of you and fruits growing around you.
The perfect stay for a great experience of the Monastery. Go for an early morning walk for the chanting session and stay for as long as you want.
Tenzin Guest House –
A homely guesthouse, situated a few kilometers before you enter the Tawang market with a warm and welcoming host. The host is a teacher at the Tawang Monastery and has done a PhD in Buddhist Philosophy.
Letro Homestay –
A cozy homestay run by an extremely sweet couple, who ensure you have a very raw experience of the region. Nothing fancy, Nothing over the top.
IORA, Bhalukpong –
Adjacent to the river with a nice open space, makes for a great last night in the North East.
20 days prior to date of arrival: 75% refund
20 to 12 days prior to date of arrival: 50% refund
Less than 12 days prior to date of arrival: 25% refund
Less than 72Hrs prior to the time of arrival: 0% refund
The sources of such warnings should be checked and speaking from the perspective of locals living in the region(three of ChaloHoppo’s 4 member core team are from Tripura and Assam and the fourth one from Kerala) we can say that though some parts of Northeast India do have cases of groups clashing against government forces from time to time, it doesn’t affect a tourist as long as the route is chosen wisely and hours of commute are decided smartly, much like traveling in any other part of the world.
If you have seen warnings in the advisory pages of governments, then we want to remind you that governments will always take precaution and not be in sync with the real situation. Northeast India is absolutely safe with warm and welcoming locals. You should have no issues even going to the most interior places. As with any other tribal dominated region respect the local culture and don’t hurt their sentiments, and you will have a great time in a beautiful place.
The trip starts from the ChaloHoppo campsite in Ziro and ends at Guwahati airport.
Entry to the states of Assam, Manipur*, Tripura, Meghalaya and Sikkim* don’t require any kind of permits and possessing an id card bearing one’s address should serve the purpose and foreign national can carry their passports. However to enter Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram one needs to obtain an ILP or inner line permit which is very simple to get. Foreign nationals need to obtain a PAP or Protected Area Permit. Read our detailed blog (insert link) on where the different ILPs can be obtained from and other related queries.
*Though Manipur doesn’t require an ILP but if one enters Manipur via Nagaland then an ILP is required. People travelling to North Sikkim need to obtain a permit and foreign nationals need to carry a photocopy of their passport to enter Sikkim as the permit is made at the checkposts on producing the photocopy of the passport.