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Tawang brings to mind folklores and mythical characters. This fabled land is home to the Mompa tribe and the largest Buddhist monastery in India. Once a part of Tibet, The Republic of China still doesn’t recognize it as part of India. The current Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 to find refuge in the this monastery before moving south to Assam, where he lives in exile.

By the time you drive up from the tropical environs of Assam to the snow-covered Sela Pass at an elevation of 13,700 ft, you truly begin to believe that you are in a mythical land. Mountain sides dotted with colorful prayer flags and yaks add to the aura. There’s also a sense of solemnness when you stop to pay homage at the memorial of the Indian solider who single-handedly guarded a post near Sela Pass against the Chinese during the 1962 invasion.

This state is one of the last bastions of indigenous tribes who still follow the lifestyle of their forefathers and can trace their origins to central Tibet, Mongolia and China. The Mompa tribe is a major tribe in this region. Visit their homes, enjoy their cuisine and pick up a few steps of the local dances.

The places and activities on this route have been chosen to give you a sample of life in the North East. Begin the trip with a meal at a private residence in Guwahati. En route you will be spending the night at a home stay located in a tea estate in Assam and at Bomdila in Arunachal Pradesh. The drive from Bomdila to Tawang is the longest (183 kms/8 hours) through the snow-lined Sela Pass.

On the way down, you will be visiting Dirang – famous for its hot water springs and waterfalls, and you will visit a very old fort which is now being used as settlement. End the trip with a night’s stay at a boutique property located in a tea estate in Assam. A truly fitting finale reminiscent of myths from a bygone era.

Please note: This trip can be replicated any time from mid-October to end-November/ mid-February to mid-May. The pricing depends on the number of people travelling. In November 2018, the cost per person was INR 76,000 for a group of 9 people.

 

 

 

Itineraries

Day 1

Time : 10:30 am

Guwahati - Bhutiaali Gaon

Arrive at Guwahati airport via the morning flight. Group to assemble by 10.30 am at the airport, otherwise arrive a day earlier and we will arrange accommodation and airport transfer for you at an extra cost. Drive to Sapoi Tea Bungalow (139 km / 3 hours). On the way, stop for an authentic Assamese thali lunch. Go for an evening walk around the tea estate.

Day 2

Time : 8:30 am

Dirang

After breakfast, proceed to Dirang (250 km). En route stop for a picnic lunch. The stop here is just to break the journey to Tawang.

Day 3

Time : 8:00 am

Tawang

After breakfast, you will head towards Tawang (129 Km / approximately 4.5 hours). On the way, experience the beauty of Sela lake at Sela Pass (13,746 ft) and Jaswantgarh, a memorial to the brave soldier who fought against the Chinese army during the Chinese aggression in 1962. The evening will be spent relaxing after checking in to the hotel Please note: Lunch will be at the army camp just before Sela Pass.

Day 4

Time : 10:00 am

Tawang

Our guesthouse is located at a very scenic spot in Urgilling on the outskirts of Tawang and we recommend an early morning walk around this little hamlet. You will then go to see the Tawang Monastery (The Gaden Namgyal Lhatse, which was built in accordance with the wishes of the 5th Dalai Lama in 1680-81), the Ani Gompa (women's monastery), the war memorial and the craft centre. You can have lunch and spend a leisurely evening in the Tawang market centre.

Day 5

Time : 10:00 am

Tawang

After breakfast, you will head to Shonga-Tser Lake with a packed lunch, where you can explore the picturesque surroundings. Optional and applicable only for Indian citizens: explore Bumla Pass and Sangetsar Lake. Please contact us for details if you would like to go to Bumla Pass.

Day 6

Time : 8:00 am

Bomdila

In the morning, you will drive to Bomdila (171 km / approximately 5.5 hours), the land of the Mompa, Sherdukpen, Aka (Hruso), Miji and Bogun tribes sparsely scattered over the region. En route there will be a basic lunch at the army camp.

Day 7

Time : 9:30 am

Bomdila

After breakfast, head out for a day's excursion in and around Bomdila which will cover the Bomdila Monastery, apple orchards, Dirang Dzong, the lower Gompa situated in the bazaar street and the Bomdila market.

Day 8

Time : 6:30 am

Balipara

Early in the morning you will drive to Balipara (133 km / approximately 4 hours). Breakfast will be en route at Tenga Valley. You will be staying at a heritage hotel. Enjoy a high tea and a bonfire in the evening. A fitting finale to an epic journey.

Day 9

Time : 10:30 am

Memories

After breakfast, check out from the hotel and proceed to Guwahati (190 km / approximately 4.5 hours) for onward destination. Please book evening (post 4 pm) return flights from Guwahati. Or, you could spend a night in Guwahati. This, along with airport transfer, can be arranged for you at extra cost.
  1. Accommodation in double/twin bedroom.
  2. All meals (first day lunch to last day breakfast)
  3. All transfer by Toyota Innova (4 pax + driver per car)
  4. All sightseeing as per itinerary
  5. Local guide in Tawang and Bomdila
  6. Inner Line permit
  7. Packaged drinking water & light snacks during journey
  8. Evening tea or coffee
  9. Taxes
  1. Visit to Bumla pass with car hire subject to permission from DC office in Tawang and weather conditions. Only local vehicles with permits are allowed and permits are not given to foreign passport holders.
  2. Airfare
  3. Tips, porter charges, camera fee, laundry and telephone charges.
  4. Drinks and snacks other than those mentioned
  5. Any personal expenses.
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  1. :

    Julie, Thank you so much for a lovely trip – Arunachal Pradesh has been on my “bucket list” for a long time and I wasn’t disappointed – I’m REALLY glad I did this trip with you (and the other lovely people in the group)! Loved all the different kinds of food and the journey, though long, was amazing – so much so I couldn’t take the usual car-induced-naps that I am famous for! Am still dreaming of the mountains, the prayer flags, the beautiful old stone buildings and the thukpa. As for the brilliant hand woven textiles with their myriad colours – they are something else! Seeing how much work goes into them made them even more precious.
    Would love to write a lot more, but I think I’ll save that for a longer blog. To sum it up, for a mountain-addict, this was worth every minute spent on the road! Thanks again to you and your team.

    • :

      Sheri I am glad you could make the trip and thank you for your nice review.

  2. :

    Exploring the Unexplored Slice of Paradise – Arunachal Pradesh!
    What a week + it has been, traveling through Assam and Arunachal Pradesh on my maiden trip to the North-East with Curtain call Adventures, very carefully curated by Julie Katgi! Had a fantastic time exploring the unexplored region and soaking in the natural beauty, experiencing the stunning spectacle of the layers of mountains adorned in breadth-taking fall-colors, rolling like a tapestry! Absolutely mesmerizing view as we drove endlessly, passing the snow-tipped Sela Pass towards our final destination – Tawang, bordering China and Bhutan. The trip was so designed to give us a feel of the places and the people – a colorful reflection of the land and lifestyle of the Monpa tribe and their sub-tribes and even getting to spend a day in a tribal village – Kilpit. The Tawang fest gave us a flavor of various attractions related to their culture, tradition and of course sampling the tribal food and drinks! On our way back, we broke journey in Dirang, famous for the beautiful waterfalls and kivi, avocado and orange orchards. The finale of the trip was our stay at a lovely British-Assam heritage property amidst a tea plantation.

    The trip was very meticulously and thoughtfully curated a by the very charming & warm Julie Katgi who is a store-house of knowledge and information of this region. I can say without hesitation that if one has to travel to the North-East, travel with Julie and Curtain call Adventures!

    Thank you, Julie for the detailed planning and your thoughtful gestures during the entire trip to nature’s paradise! I have not had enough of the natural beauty and look forward to exploring other regions of N-E with you.

    • :

      Thank you for the wonderful review. It was a pleasure traveling with you and looking forward to more travels together

  3. :

    This mythical part of the world would have remained as part of my mythology ‘heard about but never seen’ stories had I not travelled with Julie on this trip to Tawang. Spectacular landscapes make the arduous and long drives entirely worthwhile. The hotels are mostly very basic though the three nights in Tawang were in a cheerful family run hotel with large rooms! The company on the trip was wonderful and Julie takes care of many small details and her knowledge of the region and deep love for the place makes her the ideal travel guide and companion! Comfortable cars and excellent drivers make the difference because large tracts of time are spent getting from one place to the next. In the end nothing prepares you for the sheer scale and beauty of the Himalayas, breathtaking grandeur absolutely beautiful! I had a super time so thanks Julie!

    • :

      Eliam, Thank you and looking forward to more travels

  4. :

    It was always a thought that we had to see the NorthEast , and we are so happy we did it with Curtain Call Adventures . The trip was meticulously planned down to the minutest detail . Arunachal Pradesh though a very beautiful place has very difficult terrain but thanks to the excellent drivers we could traverse it effortlessly. Each of the hotels organized by Curtain Call Adventures had a charm of their own and met our requirements. Julie knowlegde about the local cuisine helped us chose the right dishes and they were amazing . My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the local brew. An absolutely beautiful place and trip made even more beautiful by the company we traveled with ,Julie is truly an ideal travel companion to the North East and we look forward to many more such trips

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Since it is a limited number of travellers and we do have fixed costs, there is a cancellation charge.

If you cancel your booking 45 days prior to departure date, you will be charged 40% of your total booking amount.
If you cancel your booking 10 days prior to departure date, a 60% fee will be deducted from your advance payment.
Cancellation with less than 10 days from date of departure will be charged at 100% of your total booking amount.

Costs have been calculated on 6-7 adults traveling on twin sharing basis and 6-8 children. It will change depending on the number of people travelling and mode of transport if you wish to change it.

Yes, we do. The additional cost is to cover expenditure incurred for permits and entry fees that are higher for non-Indian travellers.

Inner Line Permit is an official travel document issued by the Government of India to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected/restricted area for a limited period. It is obligatory for Indian citizens from outside those states to obtain a permit for entering the protected state.
Foreign passport holders too need to apply for this.

Yes. Clients must be insured to cover the costs of medical emergencies/ expenses incurred due to weather conditions, prevailing road conditions, political situations, natural calamities, change in flight schedule, mechanical malfunction, or any such unanticipated events or any acts of God.

In Guwahati and Balipara, the major restaurants, hotel and shops will accept credit cards but elsewhere you will need cash for transaction.

The weather will be pleasant during the day and very cold at night. Carry at least a light jacket and a scarf or the day; a warmer jacket and thick shawl for the evening.

There might be a few mild showers so carry a waterproof jacket. Good sturdy walking shoes are a must.

Sun screen, sun glasses, insect repellent, a cap and a pair of binoculars are recommended.

A valid photo Id (Aadhar card, Voter's Id or driving license. Passport with valid visa for foreign passport holders).

Carry cell phone and camera chargers.

In Guwahati and Balipara, the major restaurants, hotel and shops will accept credit cards but elsewhere you will need cash for transaction.

Carry basic medicines and any medication that you might be using.

Yes. A good selection of locally sourced vegetables will be provided.

Road conditions are unpredictable in this region and could be under repair. Re-routing or itinerary changes can be made by the guide. Also, there will be short distances of dirt road between villages.

Accommodation has been planned at a beautiful heritage bungalow in a tea estate, and at basic, standard hotels.

Access to medical facilities is available in all locations.

Tips: hotel staff for a 3 night stay Rs. 200 – Rs. 250/- and driver for a week Rs. 1000 – 1500/-.

Restaurant: a meal for 4: Rs. 2500 to 8000/-

In October, Assam is very pleasant. Day time you will need a cap or scarf to protect you from the sun and in the evening, a light jacket. In Arunachal Pradesh, the weather will change from pleasant to cold so carry a light jacket and a scarf during the day and a warmer jacket and thick shawl for the evening.

Yes, there will be Wi-Fi available in certain places but not so in most of Arunachal Pradesh and in remote parts of Assam. We recommend you carry your 4G hotspot.