Places to Visit in Arunachal Pradesh – Arunachal Pradesh Itinerary
The remote and relatively unexplored state of Arunachal Pradesh is one of the seven states (some say eight and include Sikkim) making up Northeast India, also called the Seven Sisters. There are several beautiful places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh, which however may be rather difficult to get to, yet make the region one of India’s best-kept secrets! Follow our Arunachal Pradesh itinerary for a great trip along this undiscovered paradise!
Where is Arunachal Pradesh?
Arunachal Pradesh is as spectacular as it is wild. Although the travel infrastructure is lacking, making traveling here very challenging, it is ultimately rewarding, especially if you like to get off the beaten path. Many Arunachal Pradesh destinations are relatively unheard of, even in the rest of India (referred to as mainland India in this part of the world), and it is probably one of the most beautiful regions we have ever traveled in.
Arunachal Pradesh borders Bhutan, Myanmar and China. It totally deserves its name of ‘Land of the Dawn-Lit Mountains” with many of the places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh being hidden deep in its hills or quietly nestled within the valleys in between.
Festivals in Arunachal Pradesh are amongst some of the most lively and colorful of all those held in Northeast India, whilst the villages and the tribes of Arunachal Pradesh showcase a rich cultural heritage unlike that found elsewhere.
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PAP and ILP for Arunachal Pradesh
International tourists need a Protected Area Permit (PAP), and domestic tourists need an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to enter Arunachal Pradesh. The permits need to be carried around and be made accessible when requested, usually at various check points along the state and upon registration at hotels, homestays and guesthouses, which are required to keep a copy of the permits.
Many of the more basic hotels and homestays will not have access to a photocopy machine so be sure to carry many copies of the permit, your passport and your visa to India (if you are required to have one) to avoid delays and complications at the various Arunachal Pradesh destinations! We were carrying 20 copies of each and used about 12!
Indian tourists can apply for an ILP online, as well as at several offices around the country, whilst foreigners can apply for a PAP via a tour agency. There have been reports of foreigners applying for a PAP independently, but the Arunachal Tourism website suggests that PAPs are to be applied through local approved tour operators only.
We got ours very painlessly through Holiday Scout, who requested copies of our visa and passport, handled the application, and sent us the PAP when we were still outside of India.
Foreign tourists in a group of two or more can obtain a PAP to visit Arunachal Pradesh destinations for a period of 30 days, for a cost of $50 per person. An ILP on arrival facility also seems to be available to domestic tourists at selected ports of entry.
Our PAP contained the list of places we wanted to travel in, which were basically all those in which travel is allowed. This facilitated our plans because we could then decide on our Arunachal Pradesh itinerary once we were already in the state, since we had not yet made a comprehensive list of places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh!
Arunachal Tour Agency vs. Independent Travel in Arunachal Pradesh
Let us start off by stressing again how difficult independent travel in Arunachal Pradesh is. Because we had time for this, and because we were on a restricted budget, we chose this mode of travel anyway, although we did use the services of Holiday Scout (a specialized Arunachal tour agency) in some regions.
We have absolutely no doubt that if we had the budget for it, we would have used an Arunachal tour agency to travel around the state. This is not only because it is more comfortable, but also because several places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh are not easily accessible unless you have your own private vehicle. Public/shared transport will only take you from town to town (with shared vehicles running only once a day in some cases), whilst auto rickshaws run within town perimeters.
Independent travel has the advantage of keeping costs down, which is essential if, like us, you are traveling long-term on a relatively restricted budget. We found that it is perfectly possible to travel from place to place using shared transport, even if this was rather difficult, uncomfortable and rather time consuming.
We would have loved to stop to take in the spectacular and often mesmerizing scenery and snap some photos during our journeys, but of course this was not possible on shared transportation (the infamous sumo rides!). Some Arunachal Pradesh destinations are accessible from town and can be visited by auto rickshaw or on foot, but we can safely say that we had the best experiences on the days we were on tour with Holiday Scout.
Having a local guide truly makes all the difference in destinations that are remote, unknown and tribal as those in Arunachal Pradesh! Because of a lack of tourist infrastructure, guides are not easily accessible, and again, these are best arranged via an Arunachal tour agency.
A Review of Holiday Scout
As mentioned before, we were on tour with Holiday Scout on some parts of our trip, particularly during our time in Dirang and Bomdila. Holiday Scout plans out and arranges custom tours throughout all of Northeast India as well as in other parts of the country.
We were incredibly impressed with how Sange, the young and energetic owner, could arrange literally anything in any part of Northeast India. Traveling in the region is challenging and although quite a few people speak English, communication can be difficult sometimes, especially if requesting unfamiliar items or services.
Sange runs Holiday Scout smoothly, and tended to all of our needs with a smile when we were on tour. He also helped us immensely when we were traveling around independently! We had the pleasure of meeting his very friendly and courteous staff on several occasions during our Arunachal tour, and we can only confirm that they have been well-chosen and well-trained. It is evident that Sange selects only the best personnel to join his team!
We can very confidently recommend Holiday Scout to anyone looking for an Arunachal tour or a more extended trip around Northeast India!
Best time to visit Arunachal Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh is a large state, with many of the best places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh located quite far to one another. Traveling around Arunachal Pradesh involves long and tiring journeys along roads which are in a very bad state, so the best time to visit Arunachal Pradesh is when the roads are dry. May to September is not the best time to visit Arunachal Pradesh due to the poor and muddy condition of the roads.
The period October to December is considered to be the best time to visit Arunachal Pradesh. This is the start of the dry season, road conditions are as good as they get, and although it can be very cold in some of the Arunachal Pradesh destinations, snow has not yet (usually) blocked any of the roads. If you would like to avoid snow, it would be best to be there before mid-November though!
We traveled through Arunachal Pradesh from mid-October to mid-November, and we thought that this period was just perfect! We were also lucky enough to experience the fascinating Tawang Festival which takes place towards the end of October, so we believe that this is the best time to visit Arunachal Pradesh!
March to May, just before the start of the monsoon, is also considered to be a good time to visit Arunachal Pradesh.
Getting to Arunachal Pradesh
If you are coming from outside Northeast India, the entry point to Arunachal Pradesh is usually the Assamese state capital Guwahati. In fact, this is where we started off our Arunachal Pradesh itinerary. If you are already traveling in Northeast India, you can access Arunachal Pradesh from other entry points within the state such as Pasighat.
Guwahati in Assam is connected to various parts of India via flights. Check out the best deals here.
Trains and buses to Guwahati run frequently from various towns in India.
Places to Visit in Arunachal Pradesh
Twelve tourist circuits including many of the popular places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh have been identified by the Department of Tourism. The routes you choose need to be indicated on your application for ILP/PAP, however it is very possible to get all of them approved and hence plan out your Arunachal Pradesh itinerary once you’re already in the state.
The routes are the following:
- Tezpur – Bhalukpong – Bomdila – Tawang
- Itanagar – Ziro – Daporijo – Aalo – Pasighat
- Pasighat – Jengging – Yingkiong – Tuting
- Tinsukia – Tezu – Hayuliang
- Margherita – Miao – Namdhapa – Vijoynagar
- Roing – Mayudia – Anini
- Tezpur – Seijosa – Bhalukpomg
- Ziro – Palin – Nyapin – Sangram – Koloriang
- Doimukh – Sagalee – Pake Kessang – Seppa
- Aalo – Mechuka
- Daporijo – Taliha – Siyum – Nacho
- Jarampur – Manmao – Nampong – Pangsau Pass
We traveled on a combination of routes 1, 2 and 10. This Arunachal Pradesh itinerary seemed to combine the most popular places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh, and the few travelers we encountered during our travels, were roughly traveling along these same paths too.
We believe the best places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh include the Tawang Monastery and the Sela Pass in Tawang, the Ziro Valley, and the little remote village of Mechukha, among others. Not much information about traveling in Arunachal Pradesh is available, and the little that is, is often confusing.
Read on as we show you exactly how to get to these Arunachal Pradesh destinations independently, based on our experience in traveling within the state.
Arunachal Pradesh Itinerary including Places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh
Our three-week Arunachal Pradesh Itinerary took us along the following route:
- Guwahati (Assam)
- Ziro Valley
- Dibrugarh (Assam)
Arunachal Pradesh destinations are plentiful, and we would have loved to stay longer and explore other parts of the state, but the PAP restricts the duration of our stay, and staying longer would have also set our Northeast India travels back, meaning that we would have had to miss on other important destinations.
We know that we will be back for all the other places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh though!
Guwahati (in Assam), your gateway to the places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh
Getting to Guwahati
Guwahati is the gateway to Northeast India for those coming from other parts of the country. Flights to Guwahati can be booked here. Trains from different cities in India run to Guwahati.
Hotels in Guwahati – Where to stay in Guwahati
Guwahati is not a small city, and if you’re using it only as a layover, you might want to stay close to the train or sumo station, depending on what form of transportation you intend on taking. The sumo area is located right behind the train station in a district called Paltan Bazaar. We stayed at Hotel Monsoon Palace which is located about 10 minutes’ walk away from the train station.
The airport in Guwahati is about an hour’s drive away from Paltan Bazaar, more in heavy traffic. A shared cab cost Rs 300 (€3.75) each. We spent ages negotiating the cost but couldn’t get any of the drivers to reduce the price further. This was possibly due to the period being a high season since we arrived smack in the middle of the Durga Puja festival.
Initially we thought we were being overcharged, however we noticed that other local commuters were also being charged the same price. There is also a bus in operation, but timing is haphazard, and we only noticed it after we had already started our commute.
Guwahati to Bomdila
Sumos from Guwhati to Bomdila run from the sumo station right behind the train station in Paltan Bazaar. They leave at around 6am and the uncomfortable eight-hour journey costs Rs 700 (€8.75) each. Alternatively, you can take an ASTC (Assam State Transport Corportation) bus to Tezpur and get a sumo from there.
Sumo tickets can be (and should be) pre-booked. If, like us, you are not of a tiny stature (and by tiny we do not even mean thin, we really mean tiny), you should either opt for seat numbers 1 and 2 (front seats near the driver), or alternatively opt to purchase multiple seats (more on this later).
Bomdila is located in the West Kameng region of Arunachal Pradesh and is home to some beautiful monasteries and a lively market.
You can read a full post about the logistics of getting to Bomdila, what to do and where to stay by following this link.
Sumo from Guwahati to Bomdila – Rs 700 (about €8.75), 8 hours
Recommended length of stay in Bomdila – 1 full day
Bomdila to Dirang
Sumos make the one-hour journey from Bomdila to Dirang. You may also travel from Guwahati straight to Dirang instead of stopping in Bomdila, but we do advise you to include both destinations on your list of places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh, time-permitting!
You can read all about Dirang by following this link.
Recommended length of stay in Dirang – 1-2 full days
Dirang to Tawang, one of the most popular places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh
Sumos run from Dirang to Tawang or from Bomdila to Tawang, so it is perfectly possible to travel to Tawang from both Arunachal Pradesh destinations.
Tawang is surely one of the most beautiful places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh and should be included on your Arunachal Pradesh itinerary. There are many places to visit in Tawang and around it, including the spectacular Tawang Monastery (the second largest in the world), and the Sela Pass (on the way to Tawang).
Sumo from Dirang to Tawang – Rs 500 (about €6.30), 7 hours
Recommended length of stay in Tawang – 3 full days
Tawang to Bomdila
You will need to backtrack along the route you came from in order to leave Tawang, so again it makes sense to use Bomdila (or Dirang) as a stop along the way. We did see sumo journeys from Tawang to Itanagar being advertised in town, but that journey could take close to 20 hours which we strongly advise against! Sumos also run from Tawang to Tezpur.
Sumos can be booked from the sumo counters in the market area of Tawang. If you are there during peak season, we advise you to book ahead, ideally on your first day in Tawang!
Sumo from Tawang to Bomdila – Rs 500 (about €6.30), 6 hours (it’s mostly a downhill ride and takes less time when compared to the inbound journey)
Bomdila to Itanagar
The sumo from Bomdila to Itanagar picked us up at our homestay at around 6am. Sumos can be booked from the sumo stands in town. The back-breaking journey was unpleasant, to say the least, although part of the route was via Tezpur in Assam where the roads are in far better condition than they are in Arunachal.
Itanagar is the state capital of Arunachal Pradesh, and is a busy, dusty town with not much in terms of attractions. We recommend that you move out of there as soon as possible. It is however well-connected, and a good place to include as a stopover on your Arunachal Pradesh itinerary.
We arrived in Itanagar at around 5pm. The sumo from Bomdila stopped us right outside the sumo station from where we immediately booked our tickets for the Itanagar to Ziro leg planned for the following day. Several stands found within the same area sell tickets to similar destinations.
Hotels in Itanagar
We stayed at Hotel Blue Pine, located literally and very conveniently at the back of the sumo station. Phone – 087320 75315. It is a no-frills hotel but was decent enough as a stopover. Other hotels in Itanagar can be booked here
Sumo from Bomdila to Itanagar – Rs 900 (about €11.25), 11 hours
Recommended length of stay in Itanagar – overnight stop
Itanagar to Ziro, one of the most scenic places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh
This is one of the shortest journeys on our Arunachal Pradesh itinerary. The sumo left at 5.30am, and we were in Hapoli town in Ziro Valley at around 10.30am.
Ziro Valley is one of the most beautiful of all the Arunachal Pradesh destinations, and is a very serene place in which to spend time in. There are plenty of places to visit in Ziro Valley, and observing an animist Apatani tribe ritual (one of the tribes of Arunachal Pradesh) remains one of the most memorable of our Northeast India travel experiences!
Read all about the Ziro Valley, how to get there and what to do, in our dedicated Ziro Valley post.
Sumo from Itanagar to Ziro – Rs 400 (about €5), 5 hours
Recommended length of stay in Ziro Valley – 3 full days
Ziro to Daporijo (but consider going to Pasighat instead)
This was probably the only ‘mistake’ in our itinerary. Our next destination was Mechukha. The town of Aalo (Along) is the gateway to Mechukha, and we had read from different online sources that the best way of traveling from Ziro to Aalo was to first get a sumo to Daporijo and then another one to Aalo… big, fat mistake!
When we arrived in Daporijo, after a horrible sumo ride, we were told that there are no sumos running to Aalo, and that there never were. The only manner of public/shared transportation from Daporijo to Aalo was a once weekly bus (leaving on Monday).
There’s nothing much to do or see in Daporijo either, so we would really advise you to avoid stopping here if you intend taking shared transportation to Aalo, and to opt for Pasighat instead. Of course, if you are on a private Arunachal tour, or you have your own driver, Daporijo is indeed the logical stop on the way from Ziro to Aalo.
Hotels in Daporijo
The only hotel worth mentioning in Daporijo is the Singhik Hotel, phone 03792 223 103
Read about things to do in Pasighat, and where to stay further on in our Arunachal Pradesh itinerary.
Sumo from Ziro to Daporijo (leaving from Itanagar) – Rs 1000 (about €12.50), 7-8 hours
Recommended length of stay in Daporijo – overnight/none
Recommended length of stay in Pasighat – 1 full day
Daporijo to Aalo
As mentioned above, the only form of shared transportation out of Daporijo turned out to be a once weekly bus running on Monday. Because we did not wish to spend much time in Daporijo, we opted to share a private sumo with a French couple who also found themselves in our same disagreeable situation.
A private sumo from Daporijo to Aalo cost Rs 10,000 (€123). We know that we were totally overcharged for this, but after spending a long time trying to reduce the price, we realized that the sumo drivers would not budge from their requested amount, and very few of them seemed willing to make the challenging journey anyway.
Since we did not intend spending several days in Daporijo waiting for the bus, we decided to pay up and leave to Aalo there and then, a decision we did not regret! We can’t stress this enough; if you are planning your Arunachal Pradesh itinerary using public and shared transportation, be sure to avoid Daporijo on the way to Aalo!
We had also planned to use Aalo as a stopover, but unplanned circumstances (a bandh/strike in Mechukha, our following destination) meant that we would spend a few more days there. This wasn’t too bad though, as there are several tribal traditional villages in the area around Aalo which can be visited.
We walked 5km along the highway to the closest village named Kabu, a serene place with a couple of small shops by the river. Auto-rickshaws are plentiful and it is probably possible to organize a tour around the Aalo region from town.
Hotels in Aalo
If you are taking early morning shared transport from Aalo, we recommend staying at Hotel West in the center of town, phone 03783 222 566.
Private sumo from Daporijo to Aalo – Rs 10,000 (about €123), 9 hours
Bus from Daporijo to Aalo (leaving on Mondays) – Rs 270 (about €3.30)
Recommended length of stay in Aalo – 1 full day
Aalo to Mechukha, one of the most remote places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh
Sumo tickets from Aalo to Mechukha can be booked from the main sumo stand near the old market. The sumo stands located close by to the Toshi Hotel did not seem to be selling tickets to Mechukha. The sumo picked us from our hotel at the center of town just after 5.30am.
Mechuka is destination yet to be discovered, and one of our more enjoyable places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh.
Here’s our comprehensive guide to Mechukha, including a list of homestays and things to do!
Sumo from Aalo to Mechukha – Rs 600 (about €7.50), 8 hours
Recommended length of stay in Mechukha – 2-3 full days
Mechukha to Aalo
The way back to Aalo was uneventful. We recommend you spend a night in Aalo before heading out to Pasighat. Sumos running from Mechukha to Aalo can be booked from one of the stands on the main road in Mechukha village.
Sumo from Mechukha to Aalo – Rs 600 (about €7.50), 8 hours
Recommended length of stay in Aalo – overnight
Aalo to Pasighat
Sumos to Pasighat can be booked from the sumo counters in the old town area, or from the sumo counters near Toshi Hotel. Sumos to Pasighat leave early morning at around 5.30am and later in the day at around 11.30am. Not being fans of early morning, we preferred taking the later one!
This was the first and last shared sumo ride during our trip around Arunachal Pradesh which was not packed full, and we could ‘enjoy’ the ride rather comfortably!
We had no real ideas for Pasighat, but Sange from Holiday Scout brought us in touch with Kalut and Joshua. Joshua is from Ledum, one of the surrounding traditional villages of the Adi Tribe. He and Kalut picked us up in Pasighat and proceeded to take us to Ledum, pointing out and explaining about other villages on the way.
The Adi people were incredibly hospitable, showed us round their fruit and tea plantations, and golden paddy fields. They offered us lunch made from organic ingredients grown in their fields, as well as rice wine.
We also got dressed up in their traditional clothing which *almost* didn’t fit. The people of Ledum take pride in having their village declared the cleanest in the East Siang district. We got to drink lots of tea, chew sugar cane, and left the village with a large bag of oranges and a bottle of rice wine!
Though there is not much to see in Pasighat itself, the surrounding area was simply amazing! This is one of the places in which we believe that having a guide is essential. It would have been next to impossible to find out about Ledum village, or to visit the region independently.
Hotels in Pasighat
We stayed at Hotel Aane which worked out just fine, phone 0368 222 3333. Other hotels in Pasighat can be booked here.
Sumo from Aalo to Pasighat – Rs 400 (about €5), 4 hours
Recommended length of stay in Pasighat – 1 full day
Pasighat to Dibrugarh (in Assam)
Getting to Digrugarh in Assam involves first getting from Pasighat to Kareng Ferry Ghat via winger (the big brother of a sumo, used mostly in Assam which is far more comfortable), riding the ferry to the other side of the river and getting on another shared vehicle to Dibrugarh. The whole trip can be booked at the sumo stands in Pasighat located near the market.
The ferries used to cross the Brahmaputra river are nothing short of archaic, and the journey is an ‘attraction’ in itself, if you appreciate going local! Cars and motorcycles can be taken up on the ferries which are more akin to rickety rafts.
Once you get to the other side of the river, you need to walk around 1km to the parking area where a shared vehicle should be waiting for you.
Journey from Pasighat to Dibrugarh – Rs 350 (about €4.30) excluding ferry; Rs 60 (€0.75) ferry crossing, about 5 hours total.
Dibrugarh is very well-connected to the rest of Assam.
Where to stay in Dibrugarh
We stayed at a very central apartment called Nikii’s Place (no relationship here), which we booked through Airbnb. Use this link to register with Airbnb and get more than €20 off off your first booking! You can find other accommodation options also on Booking.com.
Transportation in Arunachal Pradesh, and how to get to places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh
Transportation in Arunachal Pradesh will be one of your biggest headaches if traveling independently, which is why we totally recommend getting either a full Arunachal tour, or at least having your own vehicle and driver, if you have the budget for it.
If like us, you choose to travel independently, you will be using sumos to travel between different Arunachal destinations. ‘Sumos’ are literally Tata Sumos which are used as means of shared transportation in the state, a region where other vehicles are highly unsuitable.
Typically, two people are seated next to the driver (seats 1 and 2), four are seated in the middle row and four are seated at the back. We have been on journeys on which three people are seated next to the driver and six are in the middle row!
Being squashed is merely an understatement. Traveling in a shared sumo is easily the most uncomfortable mode of transport we have ever used, especially since we are not small people. We found seats 1 and 2 to be the most comfortable, but even so, we would find bruises around our body by the evening.
Try to put in as little as possible in your daypack which you carry on your lap. Seats 5 and 6 are the second most comfortable places, since if sitting in seats 3 and 4, you will be made to get up often, i.e. every time someone from the back row needs to get in or out.
You may find that paying for three seats instead of two works better for you. We did this a couple of times and the difference it made to our comfort level was appreciable! However, sumo tickets are not cheap (sometimes they can cost up to Rs 1000 or €12.50 depending on the distance traveled), so this was not always possible.
You will avoid being squashed by using private transportation (in the form of sumos or scorpios) of course, but you should know that the roads are in seriously bad condition. Places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh are widespread along the state, so lengthy journeys on bad roads are unavoidable!
There is also a helicopter service operating in some parts of the state, but baggage restrictions are enforced, and we were told that it carried a rather poor safety record!
Homestays and Hotels in Arunachal Pradesh
Homestays can be found in most destinations in Arunachal Pradesh. Hotels in Arunachal Pradesh are few and far between, and mainly limited to the main cities. The quality of hotels in Arunachal Pradesh may be different to that in the rest of India, and quite a few amenities such as heating may be lacking, although small fan heaters are sometimes provided. Hotels in Arunachal Pradesh often provide hot water in tin or plastic buckets brought to your room upon request.
Homestays in Arunachal Pradesh are a far better way in which to experience traditional family life in different villages and districts. Staying at homestays provides a more personal and warm experience when compared to hotels in Arunachal Pradesh, and we highly recommend this form of accommodation. Finding homestays may be difficult, so we have typically listed different ones in our individual destination posts about Arunachal Pradesh.
Connectivity in the places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh
Connectivity is pretty sketchy in some of the Arunachal Pradesh destinations, and because we knew this beforehand, we carried sim cards from Vodafone, Airtel, Jio and BSNL. Overkill you may ask? Not at all!
Jio worked only in Pasighat and was useless everywhere else. Vodafone and Airtel were pretty decent most times, though data connection would be mostly limited to 3G, and rarely 4G. There was no data connection (at all) in Daporijo, whilst Vodafone seemed strongest in Aalo. There was a phone connection with Airtel, Vodafone and BSNL at all the main places on our Arunachal Pradesh itinerary except for Mechukha.
Supposedly Mechukha’s only phone connection is BSNL (though data rarely works), but the BSNL equipment had been damaged the day before we got there, so we were completely cut off. Data connectivity in Tawang is very poor (especially the outskirts), so be sure not to rely too much on that when making plans for places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh!
If you are a foreigner, be sure to get your sim cards at the airport. Getting a sim card at any of the phone outlets in town is best described as ‘challenging’ and you will be asked for details like your permanent place of residence in India, references, all forms of imaginable documentation etc.! Phone companies in India seem very reluctant to hand out sim cards to foreigners, so do yourself a favour and get your sim cards at the airport where the process is so much easier (do go prepared with a copy of passports, visa and a passport photo anyway!)
Food in Arunachal Pradesh
Food in Arunachal Pradesh changes with district. Whilst the food in destinations close to the Himalayas such as Bomdila, Dirang, Tawang and Mechukha is similar to Tibetan and Chinese food, with lots of momo, thukpa, noodles and fried rice on the menu, that in the Ziro Valley focuses on meat products and includes delicacies such as smoked frog, rat, bee larvae and chicken cooked in bamboo (super tasty!).
The Monpa people of West Kameng and Tawang also use a variety of yak products in their dishes, with yak cheese curry (chura kumtang) being a popular local specialty, which we absolutely loved.
Rice is easily the staple throughout the region, although different varieties are popular in different Arunachal Pradesh destinations. Apong, or fermented rice beer can be found in most villages and is particularly refreshing on hot days!
Food in Arunachal Pradesh is typically boiled or smoked rather than fried and the dishes are far less spicy or thick when compared to the rich cuisine of Northern India. Boiled vegetables and salad are a common accompaniment to main dishes and provide welcome relief if you are not partial to spicy food!
Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh
The people of Arunachal Pradesh are tribal, and the different regions and districts in the state are home to different tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. Each tribe has its own particular customs, typical dress, festivals, farming methods, own language and traditions. It is incredible to observe such diversity within one state. The tribes of Arunachal Pradesh sometimes overlap from one district to another, but even so, you can observe slight differences between tribes in different districts.
Some of the more famous tribes of Arunachal Pradesh are the Apatani tribe of Ziro Valley and the Monpa tribes of Tawang and West Kameng, since these destinations are some of the most popular places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh. It is worth noting though, that there are 26 major tribes and more than 100 sub tribes in Arunachal Pradesh, all of which preserve a rich cultural heritage which cannot be experienced elsewhere.
Festivals in Arunachal Pradesh
During our travels in Northeast India, we were completely overwhelmed by the sheer amount of festivals that just seemed to be happening around us. Festivals in Arunachal Pradesh are among the most lively and colorful of all!
The Tawang Festival (held in October) was easily one of the most interesting, with great performances by different tribes and troupes showcasing their heritage and culture.
Music Festivals are very popular with the Ziro Music Festival (held in September), being one of the most popular of all festivals in Arunachal Pradesh, whilst the Losar festival in Tawang (held in February) is an important celebration welcoming the new year. Mechukha also holds a festival to promote adventure tourism in the area, and is held in November.
We advise you to try to check out as much information as possible about festivals in Arunachal Pradesh when planning out your Arunachal Pradesh itinerary. It is a time of merriment and fun, and you will often get a good insight into the culture and traditions of that particular area when attending one of the festivals in Arunachal Pradesh!
We hope that our Arunachal Pradesh itinerary helps you plan out your travels in this spectacular and yet-to-be-discovered region!
We would like to thank Holiday Scout for sponsoring parts of our trip in Arunachal Pradesh. Opinions expressed in this post are, as always, our own.