Surprisingly, Arunachal Pradesh has a good connectivity and you can easily travel using local and shared transportation. The government has identified 12 tourist routes. On these routes, buses and shared sumos are readily available. Let me share my experiences with the local transportation along with the cost.
Entering Arunachal Pradesh
Depending on which route you take, you will have to decide the entry point in Arunachal Pradesh. Generally, Tezpur or Guwahati works as a good entry point for the western routes; the ones covering Tawang and Ziro valley. For the eastern routes, Itanagar works best.
Guwahati – Tezpur – Bomdila
As I had opted for the Tawang route, I decided to start from Guwahati itself. Now, Guwahati has a direct bus till Bomdila, which is in between Guwahati & Tawang. Reaching Tawang in one day from Guwahati is a difficult task. Anyways, it is not possible by using local or shared transport. However, you can try reaching Tawang in one day if you are traveling in a personal vehicle, still not recommended.
I didn’t get the direct bus from Guwahati to Bomdila. So, I took the bus till Tezpur and from there, I headed to Bomdila in a shared Sumo. The bus from Guwahati to Tezpur cost me Rs 200 and the shared Sumo’s cost from Tezpur to Bomdila was Rs 500. Now, it is possible to reach Tawang from Tezpur directly in one day. But, the Sumos and buses start way early in the day and I had reached Tezpur at 11 AM.
The bus from Guwahati to Tezpur took around 5 hours. I reached Bomdila in 8 hours from Tezpur. Generally, I would have been able to reach in maybe 6 hours, but there was construction work going on the roads, which caused the delay.
Bomdila – Dirang – Tawang
From Bomdila, you again have two options. One local bus starts at 5:30 AM from Bomdila and costs around Rs 300. Shared sumo starts at around 6 AM and cost Rs 500. The Sumo takes around 8 hours while the bus can take upto 10 hours. While going from Bomdila to Tawang, you will cross Sela pass. The 13,700 feet high pass is draped in a snow blanket most of the times. Due to that, a lot depends on the weather also.
Now, you can take a stop in Dirang, which is 130 KMs away from Tawang and would cut 3 hours in the journey. But, the road from Bomdila to Dirang is pretty smooth so it’s okay to stretch from Bomdila to Tawang in one go without taking a stop at Dirang. Also, personally, I didn’t like Dirang that much. It had a lot of construction work going on and there were no noteworthy attractions that attracted me. Reaching Dirang from Bomdila cost me Rs 150.
Also, the Sumos charge Rs 500 from Dirang to Bomdila. So, by taking a stop in Dirang, you wouldn’t save any money in traveling. In fact, I spent Rs 600 for nothing, Rs 150 extra for Bomdila to Dirang and Rs 450 for a night’s stay in Dirang, which was no good.