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Tawang to Shillong

Not all journeys go as planned. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ๐Ÿ™‚

ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย  ย ย ย ย ย ย ย The next part of our trip was in Meghalaya, so we had to get to Shillong. It is almost 17-hour journey from Tawang. we did not prefer to travel all day long, hence we broke this journey into 3 days, took a different route and added a few more places to visit our list. Ideally one can cover this distance in two days, taking a break at Tezpur or Guwhathi depending on the next destination.

We thought we will go to Bomdila (Stay) >Pakke tiger reserve > Tezpur>Nagoan (Stay )> then head to Shillong, roughly 5.5 hour journey each day. But the driver was firm on taking regular (much used) route, till Kalaktang (again passing through Bhutan border and to take a left deviation from Orang village.

Drivers in the northeast, prefer to stick to standard routes and do not entertain changes that easily. We could not convince our driver to take the route we planned. He outrageously denied our route option. He said, ” Its always safer to go in the road which is much used, as we can get help faster if there are unpleasant situations”. That was the end of the discussion. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Not caring about which route to be taken, I slept for an hour, as I was sleep deprived for a couple of days now. Atharv slept during the day while traveling and kept us up all night. The same thing with other three kids, they all slept well in the vehicle and were booming with energy by the time we wanted to crash on the bed. Our agenda to keep kids away from gadgets was at the cost of our much-needed sleep.

One hour from Tawang, when I woke up, we were in front of Nuranang falls ( Jung falls). ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Falls is about 500 m trek (150 steps), from the parking lot. The baby was sleeping in the vehicle. I stayed back and everyone started to trek. I was so jobless, I started counting lines on the seat cover. Nope! not for much time, 10 min and I decided to risk it. There was absolutely no signal on the phone, so the driver said he would wave at us from the top, if the baby wakes up. I agreed.

Happily, I jumped out of the traveler and ran down towards the falls.

Jung falls is a huge waterfall, from a stream which flows into Bhutan after covering some distance in Arunachal. We had the place for ourselves, except the army camp which was set up beside the stream. The sprinkle of water, the cold wind and the sound of gushing water, what else is needed? place is good for camping as well.

Aarushi wondered where so much water coming from? while Pranav was super excited to see, how army officials can camp in such beautiful places? There was nobody to restrict us from playing in the water, but it was so cold we dint even think of playing in water. we enjoyed the place for half an hour and headed back, as there was chances of snowfall. We had to cross sela pass (13000ft) to reach Bomdila, before sunset.

What a view it was, it looked like a milky ocean with the sailing mountains, and then god showered snowflakes to enhance the view.

The beautiful Sela looked totally different that day. Dull, little snow here and there with Visibility 10-20 m, we all were super excited to see the snow, also little worried about less visibility. Less visibility is not good when you are on mountain roads. Bharath ( our driver ) looked very confident. He was like, “I have come here so many times, I can drive these roads blindfolded”!! We were so afraid, Just to deviate all from that thought, I started digging our snack sack, we got buzy in a minute. ๐Ÿ™‚

Yes! we had a huge snack bag, below the last seat, which was filled with cakes, biscuits, candies, bread, jam, etc.

“Pulse” was our national chocolate ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ , Avi brought a whole pet jar, as it was the most wanted item amongst snacks.

Travel tip: its always good to have candies to save ourselves from motion sickness, or just to make your kids quite.

it was very difficult to get vegetarian food that day. This was a tough day for us. We had to survive on cake biscuits and bread. The cold, grumbling stomach, and cranky toddlers, what not? A couple of us already had got headache, as we did not eat well in the morning. Finally! we found one hotel on the outskirts of Dirang, somehow managed to get rice and dal. it was already 2:30 we still had one hour more to reach Bomdila.

From there, we did not stop the vehicle anywhere till we reached Bomdila. It was already dark and roads inside Bomdila were very bad, due to rain. The last twenty minutes we had a pretty scary drive, especially when google maps lost GPS connection! End of the days journey, we reached Monastery accommodation.

A budget place with basic amenities, but this place was very cold compared to Dirang. Even though we are coming down south, we forgot monasteries are always on top of mountains!! It was raining when we reached there, so we couldn’t remove any luggage from the vehicle. we had to just run to our rooms and wait till the rooms got warmer. Very Kind staff served us tea, and dinner by 8pm, as there was no power, we could not use the heaters in the room. I still get chills even now, when I think of Bomdila.

Travel tip: One need to order dinner well in advance, like before 5pm. and do not miss ginger tea, it was the best!

Day 8

Finding happiness is an art we all have by birth and lose it as we get old.
The empty courtyard filled with happiness!

The next morning, when we woke up, it had stopped raining and we could see the beautiful monastery from our balcony. Kids played in the courtyard in front of dining area. we had to leave early and breakfast was available only after 8am. We just ate instant food which we had and left the place. we could not go to the monastery despite staying in monastery guesthouse. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ an hour later, we crossed Kalaktang, bidding bye to Choegyal home stay , where we stayed, the first day of our journey. Cool breeze and greenery everywhere, it was a very calm journey.

On the way, we stopped by a cafe where we got nice hot tea and super clean eco-toilets.

It was a few kilometers left deviation from Amatulla-kalaktang road, there was a fresh fruit shop. Where we found a lot of local variety fruits. Anyone going to Arunachal should taste Persimmons fruit, locals call it Japani phal. I have tried it here in local supermarkets, but its nothing in comparison to eating fresh from yard. Very crispy and juicy and oh no! i want now :(. The sad thing is, we did not get the fruit anywhere else . We should have picked more fruits when we were in Arunachal ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

After we cross Arunachal and enter Assam. “Refreshment hotel and restaurant” is one place for food amongst very few options. we could see Bhutan from this hotel. ๐Ÿ™‚ Decent food and lemon soda is worth a try.

From then, it’s a highway drive till Nagoan, paddy fields, flat land tea estates. We passed through 15-20 settlements not paying much attention to which villages or towns it was. By 4:30 in the evening, we saw Brahmaputra river, we were so happy, we reached Tezpur. There is a bridge to cross Brahmaputra river in Tezpur to reach Nagaon, which is further 70 km. There were a couple of places of visit in Tezpur, but we had to skip them as we were already late.

Travel tip: so it is a bad option to go via Nagaon, when traveling Tawang to Meghalaya, as drivers prefer the highway. And there are no good hotels to stay in Nagaon. Oyo rooms which showed promising photos, turned out to be below average places.

There was another shocker for us in Nagaon, After we reached our hotel, our driver called and told us that, he is not able to come with us for the further trip, as there was some document issue for the vehicle. So, the travel agent will be arranging another vehicle and a good driver. We were very sad. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Bharath was already 11th member of our group, we felt very bad about he will not be coming with us to Meghalaya. Hmm, we had to carry all the luggage to the hotel, to empty the tempo traveller and it was quite a task.

Day 9

The whole idea of Nagoan stay was because we wanted to explore the Nagaon – Jowai route, which is supposed to be scenic with a lot of waterfalls and a lot of greenery. Next day, Jubain joined us with a better vehicle, we started our journey and with a great breakfast somewhere near Bhorghat point. Our maps asked us to go straight towards the south. But the driver told us, Meghalaya is towards the right side from that point. We showed him google maps and he was like, ‘Sir hum map pe vishwas nahi karte hain, itna toh muje pata hain ki, Meghalaya rightside hai”. (“sir, i do not believe in maps, all that i know is, meghalaya is right side from this point.” we stopped the vehicle and gave a call to the owner and even the owner was not happy with changing route. So, we had no option to travel by highway. Disappointed us started the journey towards Meghalaya.

Blue: the journey we planned and the journey we took.

It was a monotonous, traffic highway drive till we reached Jorabat. Then we took a V-turn to cross Assam-Meghalaya stare border, and the magic happened. Suddenly Clean, well-marked, slightly curvy roads showed up. Green mini cliffs both the sides, with well paved roads.

We were enjoying the drive, and the driver stopped the vehicle and asked us if we want to eat in a pure veg restaurant. ๐Ÿ™‚ โค โค

North to south Indian, Chinese to continental, you get everything there. Food was super yummy and the only thing we hated there, was fruit salad with icecream ๐Ÿ˜ฆ . Fruits tasted like raw, pale, bottle guard, ( i still wonder, what fruits he used?) and in addition to that, he served it with chocolate ice cream, the combination killed our tastebuds.

The further journey was a treat to eyes, there is a tremendous difference in vegetation, climate, and look of the sky, from Assam to Meghalaya, as we start gaining little altitude traveling into Meghalaya. Jiva veg hotel gave us an idea of how clean, Meghalaya is. The tempo traveler had a dustbin in the front. when asked, the driver said its compulsory for all tourist vehicles to carry a dustbin. Wow!

As travelers, we should understand and respect the law of the state. How I wish Bangalore has such stringent law on waste management.

Passing through Shillong, we headed towards our destination Jowai. we kept calling the hotel we booked, but had not got an answer since morning. I and Avinash were a little worried about this booking. The place looked like savanna grassland, till our eyes could see, we saw only small hillocks and grass. No buildings or people to be seen. while google maps shouted “you will reach your destination in 750 m”, I really panicked as we could see nothing but dry grass around. Then 400m ahead, the road took a bend, and we finally saw 3 huts we booked! ‘Paradise adventure camp’, reaching the place itself was a adventure.

Parking the vehicle, we were very eager to check-in. We all were totally tired. To our shock, the person who came out of the reception told us that, there is no accommodation available as rooms were all full. What!! ๐Ÿ˜ก we argued with him showing booking details and confirmation mail from It was of no use. Later we realized, he had 2 accounts in and he uses only one. we had booked from the other account. How misleading is that?

We were hungry, angry, feeling lost and it was almost dark. we had to travel 40 km back to Shillong or 35 km forward to Dawki to find an accommodation!! This was a crazy moment.

To be cont….

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