North East India – Arunachal, Meghalaya

2015 : Pune

Pune is one city that brings in warm memories with the very mention of it. I have had so many incredible experiences, met some amazing people, traveled to some exotic places and those were some of the best days of my life. The city and the people made me understand many things in terms of culture, behavior, love, passion and the most important of all TRAVEL.

My passion for travel had started after I met this lovely person, Nikil Singh
https://www.instagram.com/mototales_official/, before which I was not used to travel many places at all! Hence, I began my very first ride to Panshet dam, Pune. Although It was a very short ride (camping for just one night), the experience was amazing. From then on, I decided to visit as many places as I can. I then started with traveling on the coast of Maharastra and covered some good places in and around Pune. Ever since, my thirst for exploring places had increased.

This story / Travelogue is all about sharing my experiences from my travel , giving some information to the people who needs to plan their travel .

2018: Chennai

Finally in Jan 2018 along with my friends SASI https://www.instagram.com/sasi_kumar15 & ABHI https://www.instagram.com/abishakeraju/ , planned a 11 day trip to Tawang and Meghalaya & we started with a motto 

” The plan is not to plan anything.”

DAY 1 : We started our journey from Chennai and flew to Guwahati. Upon landing, we had checked in for the night. The next day morning we headed up to Tawang .

1.

DAY 2 We hired a car from Awe rides near Guwahati airport and started to Tawang. There were 2 routes that led to Tawang ,
1. Guwahati >> Tawang via Tezpur , Bhalukpong, Bomdila .
2. Guwahati >> Tawang via Bomdilla , Rupa , Orang .

We decided to take both the routes.
Guwahati to Tawang — Route 1.
Tawang to Guwahati — Route 2.

Guwahati >> Tawang via Tezpur , Bhalukpong, Bomdila .

Awe Rides Car depot
On the way to Tawang..

Though it was a pleasant start from Guwahati to Arunachal boder , after clearing the Border check post with the proper ILP ( Inner Line Permit ) , we entered Bhalukpong , where the real challenge was waiting . 

For ILP – Either you can apply online or please contact Debo Season Tours – +91-97062 38326
Cost for ILP – Rs.100.

Arunachal Border Arch ..
ILP checking at Border

It was 06.30 PM , and still we needed to go 98 kms in the dark to Bomdilla. The roads were extremely bad at that time , and it was off-roading in the dark and also full of traffic.

Roads condition .
Road Block in the night.

After crossing the terrible roads and traffic , we finally reached Tenga and still proceeded to go to Bomdila. Thankfully, the roads were much better from Tenga all the way to Bomdilla!

Bomdila..

Around 10 Pm , (temprature was 2°C) we reached Bomdilla.We were literally freezing upon reaching and it was extremely difficult to find a place to stay that late in the night!
However, after 30 mins of searching we finally found a decent hotel with room heater for extra price.

Note : Most of the Hotel will give room heater only for extra amount . Heater price Rs. 250.

We stayed a night in Hotel Nambrog, Bomdilla .
A good place to stay for a night. Parking available here .

DAY 3In the morning ,we filled our tank and we started our drive from Bomdila to Tawang.

Bomdila View from my Balcony.
Some Stretch of good roads to Tawang
War memorial
Again Off-Roading .. 😦 .

After a very adventurous journey (on/off roads), we were tired and stopped for a quick lunch at the Indian Military Canteen .

Indian Military Canteen.

The journey again continued heading to Sela Pass on the way to Tawang .

Road to Sela …

We reached SELA PASS – 13700 FT above the sea level. It was extremely cold over there with heavy winds .

Tawang District
Sela Pass
(Literally as like a Ice Cube…)

After spending some time in Sela , we started to Tawang amidst all the clouds and it was extremely cold. We Loved that!

After a long struggle, we finally managed to find some good rooms in Tawang HOTEL MON Paradise and that was an incredible night with a temperature of minus deg celcius. The view in the morning was absolutely breath-taking when I stepped out of my room ……

Tawang Town view

DAY 4 : In Tawang , we had some important bucket lists places to go and visit and the main thing was

Tawang Monastery – which is the largest monastery in India and second largest in the world after the Potala Palace in LhasaTibet.

Tawang Monastery

The next day we had planned to go even beyond Tawang all the way up to the North ( Madhuri Lake , Bum La Pass, etc ). But due to bad weather and road conditions, we were not permitted to go there.

Note: Incase of travelling to Bum La Pass and near by places , only the locals Tata Sumo( which can be arranged by Hotel itself ) are allowed . There maybe a restriction like No Private vehicles are allowed in bad weather conditions / Heavy snow fall .

After spending 2 beautiful nights in Tawang and we headed back to Guwahati and this time we took the 2nd route:

Tawang>> Guwahati via Bomdilla , Rupa , Orang .

DAY 5 : The roads in this route were pretty good , but it was very risky to drive in this route because of many twisty mountains and sometimes at night, elephants may cross the roads( reported by the locals )
Driving on this route is incredible as it goes to the border of Bhutan also . We were driving on a mountain between India & Bhutan . I even got a message from my Service Provider ” Welcome to Bhutan “.

On Day 5 , We started around 12 pm from Tawang , reached Dirang by 6 PM and took a break for food . Post that , we proceeded to drive to Guwahati and this route was long and full of hills . Be careful if you are traveling in this route either solo or riding in bikes . I recommend , not to ride in this route if its dark . Because there will be no locals after 6 PM max and you will be all alone in the mountains and there is no fuel stations until you reach near Orang.

We were completely exhausted after 14 hrs of continuous driving and finally managed to reach the highways. We still had 100 kms to reach Guwahati, but being drained off all energy, we decided to sleep in a petrol station for that night.

But we were not able to sleep for more than 40 mins and had to proceed to Guwahati. By then, it was already 2.30 AM in the morning.

The highways were in a very bad condition and all the trucks were coming in high beams. The visibility was so less due to fog all over that we literally could not see even when a truck was coming opposite to us.

Around 4 AM , we reached Guwahati and stayed over in a Lodge.

DAY 6 : After completing the snow mountains traveling in Arunachal , we decided to go to Meghalaya – the land of Greens.

We reached Shillong by evening and found a very nice place to stay thorough OYO . OYO 17225 Hideaway Heritage

The rooms were pretty cheap and the location was too good which made us to stay for 2 days in Shillong. You can get some good food options in a cheaper price. Overall , it was a very nice place to stay.

Some of the Shillong photos ,

British Bungalow
Say Hello …. to a young traveler from Israel.
Focus
Mr. Pradeep

DAY 7 : With recommendations from Mr. Pradeep – Incharge of
OYO 17225 Hideaway Heritage , we started exploring around Shillong , a beautiful place “ Laitlum”

Actually a sign board but no one noticed

After tasting some fantastic rice beers , we left Laitlum and came to shillong for an evening .

Note : Actually you are not allowed to take any photos of villagers / kids or the village . All the photos we took in Laitlum were clicked without the knowledge of the people.

After this photo , the kids started calling the village people , we immediately left the place …
Streets of Shillong

Streets of Shillong

Streets of Shillong

DAY 8 : After a night stay in Shillong , we started to go Dawki in Meghalaya which is almost near to Bangladesh .

But we found a place in the village Shnongpdeng , where we met some really interesting people:

  1. Mickey – the guy who arranged camps and activities, the perfect business man.
  2. Boat guy –  I don’t know his name , the man who inspired me to do any job with love .
  3. Mickey’s brother –  who is working for Mickey and very interesting and cool dude to make fun.
Suspension Wire Bridge
The Bridge…
view from the bridge
Actually he is Fishing there…
Camps
Mickeys Brother – Legend in Diving
With Mickey …

In Shnongpdeng  , we stayed with the khasi hills community people ( khasi people ) who were the most well organised and responsible citizens I had ever met!

In Shnongpdeng , its a highly recommended place to stay where you can do Zip Lining , Kayaking , Boating , Fishing , Diving , Tents , Camp fire party etc etc everything will be arranged by
Mickey +91-98626 02776
Bright Star camps , Shnongpdeng.
Price will be reasonable , don’t miss …!!!

Some of the rules in the village are :

  • Everyone should talk in their own language ( Khasi Language )
  • Even though they know Hindi, they are more than comfortable to talk in English.
  • Every child in the village should go to school compulsory upto 8th or 10th standard.
  • There is no police station in the village , rather the village youth formed a group called ” Village Defense Association “
  • No one can enter / go out of the village after 10 pm because of the safety of the people.
  • The main occupation is fishing and they manage to keep the village and the river banks as clean as possible. In the absence of fishing, they actively arrange camps, trekking and other activities for the tourists coming into to their village.
Me & Sasi with Khasi People

In spite of many rules that the locals follow, it somehow doesn’t stop the inflow of tourists / travelers .

DAY 9 : After Shnongpdeng , we headed to Mawlynnong , which is said to be the Asia’s Cleanest village .

Mawlynnong is so commercialized with full of crowd and they will charge you unnecessary parking token and since we found nothing special over there, we just left immediately and started to cheerapunji.
Its better to avoid Mawlynnong.

Cheerapunji gave us a very warm welcome which was in total contrast with the climate in Arunachal. We also did some zip lining on the way to cheerapunji . The experience were good overall.
One more place that was in our bucket list was to go for a trek on the Living Root Bridge which was also recommended by the local people over there.

Finally after some off roading into the dense reserve forests, we managed to reach a place in the Cherrapunji-Mawsynram Reserve Forest and found a Home stay . The village had no electricity and our evening and night was in complete darkness.

We managed to light up a bonfire with the help of few locals and that turned out to be the best night of our entire trip.

DAY 10 : In the morning, we were woken up by the sounds of birds chirping and we were completely spellbound by the view around us.

We then started our trek down the steps, to reach the Living Root bridge.

Sasi On Adventure…
Abhi enjoyed the joy of achieving something that we desired.

And eventualy we found the best swimming pool of the nature , which made our day even better

It was very hard to climb up to the village again and with a very heavy heart we had to pack our bags and return to Guwahati.

DAY 11 : And we flew back to Chennai with a resolve to cover other places in North East soon .

See you soon ….

It was truly a wonderful travel experience through the terrains of Arunachal and Meghalaya where we got to learn many things about the place, people, culture and last but not the least, about ourselves.

Even through all our ups and downs, there was nothing that stopped our hearts from achieving our passion.

“ Step out of your comfort zone , meet new peoples, admire the nature because Life is all about creating memories”.

 Places We missed to see :

Madhuri Lake
Bum La Pass
Nuranang Falls
Gorichen Peak

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