Want a step by step guide that shows you how to reach Tawang Monastery? You have found the right article! We travelled extensively through North East India and Tawang was definitely a travel highlight for us.
Bordering Tibet and situated in Arunachal Pradesh, India’s least populated and least visited state, Tawang is a real hidden gem of India. In this article we will share our step by step guide on how to reach Tawang Monastery, so you can experience this magical corner of India too!
How to Reach Tawang Monastery? Tawang monastery is reached via road transport from North East India’s capital of Guwahati. The journey will take a total of 18-20hours. Travellers must first take the 4-6hour bus from Guwahati to Tezpur where an overnight stay is advised. The next step is to hop on a shared sumo jeep from Tezpur to Bomdila which will take about 6hours. The final day of travel from Bomdila to Tawang via shared sumo will take approximately 7hours.
However there are a few other steps you need to consider before travelling to Tawang such as inner line permits and the treacherous road conditions.
There are some alternative routes and modes of transport for those who prefer more comfort or who have limited time. So read on for a more detailed step by step guide on how to reach Tawang Monastery.
You can also watch our Tawang adventures in our travel vlog below:
Step 1. Reaching Guwahati
The first step to reaching Tawang Monastery is to make your way to the capital of North East India – Guwahati. Fortunately, there are many flights and trains that travel to Guwahati daily. The below table outlines travel times and prices from India’s main cities to Guwahati:
Step 2. Get Your Permit for Arunachal Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh is a restricted area, therefore all visitors are required to have an official permit before being allowed entry. Both Indian nationals (not native to Arunachal Pradesh) and foreign tourists are required to obtain permits to enter this state.
Permits for Indian Citizens:
- Permit Type: Inner Line Permit (ILP)
- Cost: ₹100 or ₹400 for an instant online permit
- How long does it take: 1-3days
- Validity: Up to 30days
- Apply online: You can obtain your Inner Line permit easily online here.
- Apply in person: You can apply in person in the following locations:
- Delhi: Resident Commissioner, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, Kautilya Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi.
- Kolkata: Deputy Residence Commissioner, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, CE-109, Sector-1, Salt Lake City, Kolkata
- Guwahati: Deputy Residence Commissioner, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, R.G. Baruah Road, Guwahati-78102
Permits for Foreign Nationals:
- Permit Type: Protected Area Permit (PAP)
- Cost: $50usd
- Validity: Up to 30days
- How long does it take: 1-3days
- Where: You can apply for your PAP in person at the Deputy Residence Commissioner in Guwahati located on Baruah Road.
- What documents will you need:
- A copy of your passport
- A copy of your Indian visa and entry stamp
- A filled-in application form (you’ll get it in the office)
- ₹3533/$50USD in cash
Step 3. Guwahati to Tezpur
(for those with limited time, you can skip this step and go straight to step 3.1)
Once your permit is all set and you have made your way to Guwahati you now need to make your way to Tezpur. The journey from Guwahati to Tezpur is 175km and will likely take you 4-6hours.
There are many comfortable air conditioned buses travelling between Guwahati and Tezpur daily and you can book tickets online for about ₹200. See our full article for more information about booking bus tickets online in India.
Once in Tezpur it’s likely you will need to stay a night unless you arrive early enough in the morning. We do advise to stay the night in Tezpur as driving the mountainous roads between Tezpur and Tawang is not advised during the evening for safety reasons. So here are a couple of recommended hotels for you to stay at for one night:
₹900 / $12USD
This is where we stayed during our time in Tezpur.
It is a comfortable budget friendly hotel with great food! Its also centrally located.
|The Bhowmick’s Bungalow |
₹1000 / $14USD
A boutique heritage bungalow with vintage charm. This property also has a beautiful garden to enjoy. At this price, we totally recommend staying here is you are in Tezpur!
|KRC Annexe Tezpur|
₹2500 / $35USD
For a touch of luxury in Tezpur you can choose this hotel with clean, comfortable room and great wifi.
Step 3.1 Guwahati to Bomdila
We recommend travelling from Guwahati to Tezpur for comfort and ease of transport. But if you have limited time and don’t mind 14hours plus in a shared sumo, then you can opt to take a shared sumo from Guwahati straight to Bomdila.
This will be a very long and tiring journey but will ultimately get you to Tawang a day quicker. Shared sumos from Guwahati to Bomdila will cost you about ₹1000 and depart Paltan Bazaar sumo counter at 6am.
You need to book your tickets the day before and be ready for a rough 14hour ride. While you are booking your Guwahati to Bomdila tickets see if you can pre-book your Bomdila to Tawang tickets to save you the hassle when you reach Bomdila.
We also found this helpful agency where you can pre book your trip from Guwahati to Tawang online.
If you choose to travel straight from Guwahati to Bomdila please skip step 4 and go straight to step 5.
Step 4. Tezpur to Bomdila
(If you choose to travel straight from Guwahati to Bomdila please skip this step and go straight to step 5. )
Next up you need to make your way to Bomdila. This will be a long 6hour journey, but the views will make it worth while. Bomdilla itself is also a great town to visit and stay for a few nights if you have the time.
For travel from Tezpur to Bomdila you have two main options. Shared sumo for those on a budget (like us) or private car for those who want comfort and flexibility to stop and admire views and sights along the way. Here is a breakdown on both options.
Shared sumo from Tezpur to Bomdila
- 6 hours
As budget travellers, we travel by shared sumo for most of our travels through Arunachal Pradesh. We want to be upfront with you, with at least 11 people in the jeep, travellers should not expect comfort.
Travelling via shared sumo was some of the most uncomfortable moments we have had on our journeys. One of the main downfalls of travelling by shared sumo is the inability to stop and admire sights as you wish.
But for budget travellers this may be your only option. Expect to pay about ₹600 per seat and we advise to always book your sumo seat the night before departure (at least) as jeeps leave very early and often sell out fast.
Taxi /private car from Tezpur to Bomdila
If you have the budget travelling by private car is definitely your best option. Not only will you have more comfort, but you can ask your driver to stop at sights along the way, making the most of your journey.
Step 5. Bomdila to Tawang
Shared sumo from Bomdila to Tawang
Be ready for an early start as shared sumos usually depart as early like 5-6am. Just like our other recommendations for sumo bookings, it’s always best to book the day before if possible as seats can book out very fast.
Unless of course you have pre booked through a travel agency. The trip from Bomdila to Tawang will be impressively scenic, but road conditions will be rugged and the ride will be fairly uncomfortable. This journey will take you at about 6-7hours in total and you will be relieved when you finally reach beautiful Tawang.
Taxi /private car from Bomdila to Tawang
A private taxi from Bomdila to Tawang is an excellent choice if you have the budget, just remember to pre book to save you the hassle. Be sure to stop off and admire Sela Pass, Dirang village, Nuranang Waterfall and many of the other stunning view points you will stumble across. The journey via private taxi will take about 6hours or 7-8 with a few longer stops and will cost you at least ₹5000.
Best time to Visit Tawang
The best time to visit Tawang is between March & November when the weather is pleasant and temperatures do not drop too low. We recommend avoiding travel during the winter months between December-February as there is a high risk of snowfall which could cause road blockages and hinder your travel plans.
Once you reach beautiful Tawang you will need to find accomodation. Here are a couple of our top recommended stays for Tawang to help you have the most amazing Tawang experience.
|The Oak |
₹2800 / $40USD
Just 5mins walk from the main market this hotel has a great location. If you are after a clean and comfortable stay with large rooms and glowing guest reviews then The Oak is a great choice!
₹800 / $11USD
For a more personal and traditional experience we recommend trying one of Tawangs many homestays. J.C homestay offers basic but authentic accommodation with a local family. The location of the property is away from the city, in a quiet village for a truly peaceful stay.
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