Things NOT to do in Arunachal Pradesh

- Bhavik Bamania

A series of travel guide for Arunachal Pradesh - one of the least visited and often ignored state of India.

Whenever you are planning to visit the Himalayas you often end up with visiting Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh or Uttarakhand, if you are done with these states you might plan for Sikkim or North West Bengal. But you often ignore home of pristine and virgin valleys - Arunachal Pradesh. Arunachal Pradesh lies in the far northeastern portion of India, Arunachal Pradesh is a home of 26 main tribes with 100 subtribes which are scattered across Arunachal Pradesh.

When you visit Arunachal you will come to know why this beautiful state despite blessed with everything a tourist wishes to see is constantly ignored by travelers. Firstly, whether you are a local tourist or foreign tourist you need a permit to visit Arunachal. Secondly, due to extreme terrain and constant ignorance from government bodies the infrastructure is at poor best hence simply ignored! However, recently there is a boost in infrastructural development but even after a recent boost, plenty of work needs to be done.

However, mass ignorance can be a curse and as well as a blessing, since you have no proper information about the state but on the other hand, you always wish somewhere in your heart to be there for a while leaving your mundane routine.

When I was planning my first trip to this virgin land I thought I have quite a bit of information reason, I am interested in this beautiful place ever since I was a kid, however, I admit I don't have everything which I should have to plan a perfect trip but who has everything everytime? but the point is often I got stuck due to the scarcity of information. And after the trip, I can say I ended up making a lot of mistakes don't worry it's not about regretting over my trip, it's just about things I should have avoided to do in my trip.

This would have been the first of its kind article on the things which you should NOT do when you are planning or traveling to Arunachal Pradesh. Because you may get many articles (however there aren't enough) on the things to do, but seriously you won't find articles on things not to do.

  1. Flights over Trains: If you can afford flight fares and you are quite determined about your trip I recommend you to book a flight rather than booking train tickets, now Arunachal Pradesh as "limited" access to Air traffic. The state has two functioning airports viz, Pasighat and Tezu while Itanagar soon gets the airport as well. The reason is, train travels are hectic and dull your entire enthusiasm would be lost in 40 hours of traveling specially when you are from the western part of the country, plus the fare is almost equal to the price of an AC car ticket.
  2. Minimal Luggage: This is perhaps the biggest mistake we have done, due to lack of information about weather, terrain, culture as well (despite claiming I have good knowledge about the state) we ended up with a bunch of luggage, can you imagine we have a total of 5 bags (including 2 backpacks and a handbag) with us. During the entire course of traveling, we were always cursing each other for "excessive luggage". So, what I want to convey is do your packing properly, I recommend you a good trek bag for the purpose, avoid unnecessary things just keep your umbrella and raincoats if you are going in summers and warm clothes if you are going in winters, though if you are going in summers specifically in Tawang, Ziro, Bomdila, Anini or Menchukha. Keep your warm clothes at least an inner.
  3. Always carry some hard cash: As soon as you reach Arunachal Pradesh you will find there is a high scarcity of ATMs and the installed ones are mostly out of service or empty machines. You have to struggle for your own money and to make it worse if an ATM has the cash you may end up with undeclared and infinite power-cuts. At last, you may end up standing in a long queue in an ATM or you may find yourself in front of some SBI point where they will charge you Rs. 10 per Rs.1000. Forget about stealing or robbery they consider this as a heinous crime and such things frankly speaking depends on your awareness and somewhat on your luck. So, the point is don't be afraid of carrying hard cash with you. The thing which is recommended to me by the locals.
  4. Stop being choosy over food: If you are choosy in terms of what to eat what not to, then Arunachal Pradesh is not for you. And yes don't pack your food with your luggage it will hurt you the most in your trip. Arunachal Pradesh is 100% meat consuming state and you won't get vegetarian food with ease and even if you get it you have to deal with the quality (by quality I mean simple regular food no "showoffs" crafts with the name to make it fancy, simple Dal, rice and potato you'll get everywhere though you will get some more option in cities but not in high hills, and if you say you are a traveler then you must be capable enough to adjust to what you are getting.
  5. Early to bed, early to rise, makes you wise: You won't find difficult to stay in Arunachal if you are habitual of wake up early in the morning, in Arunachal sun generally rises by 4 AM to 5 AM and sets by 6 PM max. So, what does it means? Your day starts by 4 AM and if you have a Sumo booking for your next destination make it 3 AM because generally the first or maybe the last Sumo left by 5.30 AM. That's the time when you are generally lying on your bed when you are at home.
  6. Keep buffer days in your trip: Perhaps the most important point, when you are planning your trip to Arunachal Pradesh, your trip MUST HAVE 2-3 buffer days in between. Entire North East is prone to uncertainty from weather to political environment everything is uncertain here. You have no idea when you will get into a situation of strike (bandh) or stuck somewhere in heavy landslides or avalanche. So, I insist you have 2-3 buffer days to deal with such circumstances, however, if everything goes fine with you then you can use these buffer days in further exploration.
  7. Forget about your phone: Perhaps the last point that came up while writing as of now, If you are a phone addict then Arunachal Pradesh will prove to be a perfect place to get rid of your addiction entire state has network issues, and as soon as you start to climb the network becomes worst and by reaching upper reaches like Menchukha you will find yourself in no network zone, only BSNL as the access and that too "poor". Thinking about life there? Well, I enjoyed it as I would call it "days of solitude". Apart from that, you should carry proper medication the roads are worst of its own kind and you may end up with back pain or vomiting due to high altitudes and deep valleys.
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