ChaloHoppo to an Arunachal Pradesh Full of oranges!
It is not every day that you get to visit a geographic location that remains cut off from the rest of civilisation for half the year due to the lack of a motorable land. In winters nature allows you enter Dambuk and use the dry river bed as a road. Hope you have an appetite for oranges!
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- Vacation Style Holiday Type
- Activity Level Leisurely
- Group Size Medium Group
Dambuk is special. You may not have heard about it and it doesn’t yet feature in the traveller’s list of top places to visit in the northeast of India, but the promise of Dambuk is real. Dambuk happens to be a small region in the Lower Dibang Valley of the most unexplored state in the country, Arunachal Pradesh. Comprising mainly of Adis and some Idu Mishmi tribes, Dambuk becomes a prisoner of nature from early April to late October when two rain-fed rivers – Dibang in the east and Sisar in the west – wall it in with water. (a beautiful description we found from a journalist’s notebook) The only way one gets to visit Dambuk in the summer is on a country boat, a helicopter or on elephant back. In the winters, however, nature allows you to drive to this magical village using the dry river bed as a road (an experience we can promise is going to be thrilling).
- Stay in comfortable, clean and hygienic accommodation, mostly homestays and traditional cottages.
- All entries, parking, tolls
- Transport from Guwahati to Dambuk and back
- Rafting in Dambuk
- Train tickets to and from Guwahati
- Guide wherever required
- 1 ChaloHoppo guy to lead the tour
- Inner line permits to enter Arunachal Pradesh
- Excess stay & meals due to bad weather conditions or strikes, resulting in delay of flights or any other form of transport
- Soft drink charges, table drinks, bottled water, laundry, cigarettes, telephone expenses, beer and liquor charges
- Lunch and Dinner
- Any other item not mentioned in “Cost Includes” section above
- Your Personal Purchases
- Any insurances
A train ride where we break the ice
Like every trip to Northeast India, you need to fly into Guwahati. Arunachal Pradesh is quite far from the Guwahati airport and this particular destination requires you to take an overnight train to enter Arunachal Pradesh. This journey to the last station in Assam before you cross over into the gargantuan forest-covered region of Arunachal Pradesh is a time to get to know fellow travellers, as we break bread and play different games.
The train departs from Kamakhya station at 8:30 pm and reaches Murkongselek station at 8 am.
Driving across a dry river bed to reach a remote village
As the train chugs into the station. Prepare for your drive to Dambuk. This is one of the most fascinating drives one can ever take as we drive across a river bed. Yes, there is no road, and locals wait for the winters to approach when the riverbed dries up and serves as the road. It is inaccessible in summers due to the high levels of the river. If you are familiar with the visuals of the salt flats of Rann of Kutch, this will remind you of the same but beneath your feet will be white rocks.
After the 45-minute off-road drive check into your resort facing the mighty Dibang river, as blue as the picture on the right shows. Breathe some of the freshest air and look at the rugged mountains behind these royal blue waters.
The resort you will be staying consists of simple bamboo huts with minimal to no extra fittings. As authentic as it gets without being uncomfortable.
It offers the most stunning views of the Dibang river, you will have to be there to believe it.
The village/ resort is your playground to ride ATVs, cycles or even feeding salt to the Mithun( the state animal of Arunachal Pradesh).
Exploring the village of Dambuk and Bomjir and rafting
There isn’t much that can be written about this day since what you will do depends on how you are feeling that day. Honestly, doing nothing and just going for a walk along the riverside is as good as doing multiple activities. We do have a casual rafting experience planned for you on the very river that you see from your cottage.
The traditional huts of the Adi tribes are something that will definitely draw your attention and we will enter some of the homes to see how it feels living inside an Adi hut.
Oh did we mention the local oranges which you will be feasting on? This village is known for them and you should get your hands full, before the exports to UAE finish them off.
A sumo ride and train to Guwahati
Today’s morning should be utilised in taking in the views and just being one with the place. Since it’s time to bid farewell to your hosts and hop to your Sumo for a ride back to the station after lunch. On the way make a stopover at Pasighat to enjoy views of Bodak ghat and Ranaghat before driving to Murkongselek to catch your overnight train to Guwahati.
Total drive from Dambuk to Murkongselek will be 3 hours and the train journey will be 12 hours long.
Train departs from Murkongselek at 7 pm and reaches Guwahati at 7 am.
Bye- Bye Northeast India
Board your flight/ train back home, until you return.
In case you want to visit the Kamakhya temple, then flight tickets can be booked in the evening so that you get enough time for the visit.
You will reach Guwahati at 7 am if the train reaches on time.)
Huts that could lure kings to stay in them. Thanks to the proximity of the Dibang river, you won’t need white noise to put you to sleep.
The cultural diversity of northeast India is so vast that we can’t blame outsiders for not being aware of communities in the region who are purely vegetarians, so much so that they avoid eating onions( they are indigenous to the region, in case you are thinking about communities from mainland India who have settled here). Having said that, we must admit that the region’s food habits especially in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya are predominantly non vegetarian with a whole lot of red meat based preparations. But the states have warmed up to tourists recently and almost every place you visit will provide the Indian staple diet of rice, dal and sabji, even chapatis if you are lucky. As far as Tripura, Assam, Manipur and Sikkim are concerned vegetarians have decent number of options. Your craving for butter paneer may not be satisfied, but you will do just fine as far as maintaining your health and strength is concerned.
Entry to Arunachal Pradesh will require an inner line permit for domestic travellers. Foreigners visiting Arunachal Pradesh have to get a protected area permit or PAP.
Extra nights can be booked based on availability. You can also visit our Custom trip section to plan a different trip.
A most definite yes, as long as you are okay travelling in a mixed group of other solo travellers or small group of friends.
The sources of such warnings should be checked and speaking from the perspective of locals living in the region 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 travelling in any other part of the world.
If you have seen warnings in the advisory pages of governments, then we would like to remind you that governments (of different countries)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.
Because so less is known about the region in general, it may be a wise idea to get in touch with some travel experts before you plan your trip.
The roads in Arunachal Pradesh are like most mountain roads in India, i.e. not in a great shape. So your cup holders in the car may not really work. But the roads aren’t risky to be driving on, just a little uncomfortable.
Homestay: Please understand that you will be staying in homestays and not hotels, and hence you are requested to treat the host and the family not as professional staff but as a family that is hosting guests.
Avoid plastic: Please avoid buying mineral water, since it is a major cause of pollution in the delicate eco system of the places you are visiting. Carry a reusable water bottle and fill filtered water or spring water. The hosts and your guide can assist you in showing where the water can be found.
Respect local culture: You are travelling to remote parts of the country where people speak freely and sometimes it comes across as rude, but understand that their intention isn’t to hurt your sentiments, just that they perhaps lack the skill of sugar coating and diplomacy. During your tour you may see things that may surprise you like a cat roaming around in the kitchen while you eat. But understand that many of these things are part of the way of life here and hence respect the same.
More than 45 Days prior to arrival: 75% refund
30 -45 Days prior to arrival: 50% refund
15- 30 Days prior to arrival: 25% refund
Less than 15 Days prior to arrival : 0% refund