Although Aalo (Along) mostly serves as a stopover to your actual destination – Mechuka, but Aalo (Along) has gained quite a popularity due to its beautiful countryside. Aalo (Along) is a small town and the headquarter of West Siang district. Aalo (Along) is an unexplored tourist hub with scenic valleys carpeted with orange orchards at the convergence of the Sipu and Siyom rivers. Aalo (Along) being the home to Galo tribe you can experience many beautiful Galo villages around the town that offers a glimpse of the unique culture of the Galo people. And luckily if you happen to be at Aalo (Along) during the Mopin Festival, which is the most popular festival amongst the Galos and is celebrated during the month of April, then be prepared to get dazzled by the performance!
With the completion of exploring Ziro – The Land of Apatanis, our 2nd leg of the trip – exploring the adorable forgotten valley – Mechuka begins!
If you have just landed here in this page, we are on our 17 Days long journey to explore the Unexplored Arunachal and we are following the below itinerary.
Nov 1 : Day 1 : Kolkata – Dibrugarh
Nov 2 : Day 2 : Dibrugarh to Ziro
Nov 3 : Day 3 : Ziro Sightseeing
Nov 4 : Day 4 : Ziro to
Nov 5 : Day 5 :
Dapirazo Pasighat to Along
Nov 6 : Day 6 : Along Sightseeing
Nov 7 : Day 7 : Along to Mechuka
Nov 8 : Day 8 : Mechuka Sightseeing
Nov 9 : Day 9 : Mechuka Sightseeing
Nov 10 : Day 10 : Mechuka to Along (Igokato Village)
Nov 11 : Day 11 : Along (Igokato Village) to Jengging
Nov 12 : Day 12 : Jengging to Tuting
Nov 13 : Day 13 : Tuting Sightseeing
Nov 14 : Day 14 : Tuting to Yingkiyong
Nov 15 : Day 15 : Yingkiyong to Pasighat (Ledum Village)
Nov 16 : Day 16 : Pasighat (Ledum Village) to Dibrugarh
Nov 17 : Day 17 : Dibrugarh to Kolkata
Unexplored Arunachal Series :
Unexplored Arunachal | Ziro | Part 1
Unexplored Arunachal | Aalo (Along) | Part 2
Unexplored Arunachal | Mechuka | Part 3
Unexplored Arunachal | Tuting | Gelling | Part 4
Unexplored Arunachal | Ledum Village | Part 5
Nov 4 : Day 4 : Ziro to
Today, we woke up by around 6 AM and were quickly done with our morning chores. Generally Mr Chada and family starts their day by around 7:30 AM. We already informed Mr Chada yesterday, that they do not need to be bothered with our breakfast, as we’d be leaving very early in the morning and requested that if he can arrange a cup of tea for us, we’d be pleased enough. Well, this is a very common issue with Bengali people! Our morning chores are somehow connected with a cup of tea and a Ciggerrate. This, sometimes, really becomes an issue for us for any early morning journeys.
Our original plan was to move to Dapirajo today and then to Aalo (Along) next day. However, as the bridge which connects Dapirajo to Aalo (Along) got disrupted around 2-3 days before our arrival, we had to change our plan to proceed to Pasighat and further to Aalo (Along) from there. Pasighat is around 300 KM’s from Ziro. As we had to travel a long way today, we wanted to start as early as possible to utilize the daylight.
Finally, at around 7:15 AM, with a heavy heart, bidding good-bye to Mr Chada and family we left for our next destination – Pasighat. On Day 2, while arriving at Ziro, we missed a lot of scenes e-route, as it was already dark by then. So, today, we chose to take a few stopovers carefully considering the long distance.
In between, we went to Chulluyu village nearby Yazali, which is homeland to the people of Nishyi tribe. Luckily, some festival was going on and locals were celebrating and dancing in their local attires.
Chulluyu village really intrigued us. A green village situated at the hilltop overlooking the green meadows and the beautiful Subansiri River is simply just a picture-perfect destination to relax for a day or two. Although, this time, we had our limitations, however, we promised ourselves to halt here for a day if I’m coming back to Ziro again. That way the journey to Ziro will also be easier and faster.
NOTE: You’d find contact details of homestays below if you wish to include Chulluyu Village in your itinerary on your way to Ziro!
We reached Potin by around 11:45 AM. Shiva suggested having an early lunch today, as, after Potin, we won’t find much quality options along the Assam highway.
While exiting to Assam through Kimin Gate, Shiva suggested us to check out our permits at the gate so that we don’t land into any trouble thereafter. Generally, it’s not needed, however, it’s always best practise to check out while exiting so that in case of any troubles, govt. can have proper information on entry and exit of all the tourists.
Thereafter, the drive through the Assam Highway was completely uneventful. Everyone almost slept throughout the journey except me, because of being seated at the front seat! As we had to travel a long way, I literally put off my camera inside the bag to refrain from frequent stopovers. But still, I managed to click a few shots of the green meadows whenever I stopped for a ciggy break in-between!
It was completely dark when we reached the Ruksin Check Gate as it was already around 5:30 PM by then. Here, we again had to show our ILP and check-in for entering into Arunachal.
The drive up to Pasighat from Ruksin gate is just around 35 KMs. Pasighat is the headquarter of East Siang district and the gateway to the Abor hills. Primarily there were settlements of Adi tribesmen who are still living in the villages in and around Pasighat.
Finally, we reached our destination for the night – Takar Homestay by around 6:30 AM. Noticing us, a young chap came up and asked about our booking details. We were then shown the tents which I quite liked a lot. It was more of like what we experienced at Jhallong River Camp except that the tents were better here. The tents were placed inside a structure of steel bar formation like a cottage with asbestos on the top to get protection in case of rain. In the front, there’s a wide veranda with all the basic amenities like Electric Kettle, Tea Bags, Complimentary Water etc. There were well-placed chairs and table in the veranda for you to enjoy the solace of nature.
The tents were pitched on one row of the premises, whereas the cottages, dining place and the other facilities are on the complete opposite. I really liked being cut-off and detached to enjoy the adventure. As it was pitch dark, I couldn’t notice the surrounding. However, by the loud sound of a stream flowing by, it seemed that the place is nearby a river. The cottages on the opposite were beautifully decorated with differently coloured fairy lights. Along with that, the soothing sound of the river stream made me feel calm and relaxing.
Suddenly after a while, a howling sound started developing out of the wind due to the huge peepal trees within the premises. It felt like there’s a storm coming in. Sometimes the greatest storms can bring out the greatest beauty. With all the peepal trees around, the cool breeze felt quite pleasant. Soon, it started raining like cats and dogs. In the meanwhile, the attendant came running with a Pot of Tea. We all pulled our chairs together and gathered up in the veranda. It’s hard to draft the experience in words. With cottages at the opposite, decorated in beautiful fairy lights getting blurred due to the rain along with the howling sound of the wind resulting out of the storm and the soothing sound from the flowing stream with a cup of piping hot tea felt like an adventurous dream! I must say, we quite enjoyed the evening.
Later, at around 9 PM, we were served dinner. As this is more of a resort, it doesn’t include the food package. So you have to order it separately on a-la-carte as per the menu or meal system. We went by the meal system to keep it under budget. However, the meal system is only Veg and offers Rice / Roti, Dal, Sabji and Salad which is charged at Rs. 200/- per meal. If you wish to have Non-Veg dishes you’d have to order it separately on an a-la-carte basis. We ordered 4 plate of Chicken Curry which was charged at Rs. 265/- per plate.
Just to clear out the confusion, Takar Homestay is same as well known Donyi Hango Camp Homestay And Resort. In Arunachal, govt encourages the locals by providing a subsidy to build up homestays to boost tourism and also provides regular training to the local people on hospitality manners and guiding them on hosting the guests. So Donyi Hango is a full-fledged resort who also arranges camping in their premises and by the Siang River. They have also set up a homestay in the same premises by the name Takar Homestay obviously to take advantage of the subsidy! Well, I was not aware of this before. Because Donyi Hango has quite a mixed reviews in Google, so I kinda avoided that and booked Takar Homestay instead after going through District Tourism website. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the same! Although luckily, against all those reviews on Google, my experience was quite good.
Pro Tip: As both Donyi Hango Camp Homestay And Resort and Takar Homestay is in the same premises, there’s no way you can differentiate. So unlike your other homestay experiences, don’t assume the prices to be on par with them. It’s not at all a homestay. The rooms are more of like Cottages of which the charge is high. However, the tents are a cheaper option though.
After having our dinner, we roamed around the property for a while. Although the natural experience didn’t last much longer, as another group of guests chose to have a barbeque around the garden with loud music. I was wondering how the host allowed such thing at such a tranquil place. Upon asking the hotel boy, he said, the host only provided that music system. It’s charged separately. Well, that explained all my queries.
Later, we called off the day and went off to bed.
Total KMs Travelled: 330 KM
Nov 5 : Day 5 :
Dapirazo Pasighat to Along
Our morning started over cloudy weather with a windy cool breeze. Walking barefoot over the wet grass due to rain throughout the night felt like a nature trail. Today we woke up naturally by around 6:30 AM in the morning. Actually in Arunachal, generally people have early dinner by around 8 – 8:30 PM and wents to bed by around 9 – 10 PM. So you see, unlike us the city dwellers they follow a healthy lifestyle. So after spending around 4 days, we too got used to it.
Today, our plan was to move to Aalo which was formerly known as Along. Aalo (Along) is the headquarter of West Siang district. If you are reading from the beginning, you might have understood by now that a lot of districts are named based on the name of the River and Valleys. Although, this is not true for all the districts but only for a few such as Subansiri and Siang districts. Such as Ziro belongs to Lower Subansiri district which is named after the beautiful greenish Subansiri river. Subansiri District is further broken down to Upper and Lower Subansiri District. Ziro is the headquarter of Lower Subansiri district whereas Dapirajo is the headquarter of Upper Subansiri district.
Same with the Siang districts which are named after the majestic bluish Siang River. Depending on the banks of the river, it’s further divided into East and West Siang. Further, it also has Siang district and an Upper Siang district. Pasighat is the headquarter of East Siang whereas Aalo (Along) is the headquarter of West Siang district. Anyway, hope you get the idea and let’s not dive into the complicated details, as these are really not necessary for tourism. However, having a basic geographical idea helps, as you’d need to apply your ILP where you need to mention the districts and entry/exit gate according to your circuit and point of interest.
In the meanwhile, I went up to the owner lady Mrs Yane Dai, to get our bills done and joined her up for some chit-chat. From the google reviews, I knew she ought to be rude, however, it didn’t feel as such. She’s more of like missing the smile or to be more specific, missing the sweetness of speech. Although I can’t vouch for what happened with other guests who stayed here, however, for us, just for a night, accommodation and fooding wise it was really a great and adventurous experience. I always take the online reviews with a pinch of salt based on the number of persons saying good or bad. And not only that, but I also consider their detailed reviews. For example, if someone is saying the service is bad or slow, I generally tend to ignore that. Because my purpose of tourism is to enjoy the nature and outdoors. For accommodation, I just need a clean bed to crash on and friendly host with whom I can discuss and learn about their culture. So except for the points, I’m interested in, I take everything else with a pinch of salt. However, yes, the service is slow. You must continuously follow up to get things done. Although, she suggested me to stay for another night, however, we didn’t feel like staying at a town.
Although we had our breakfast included with the accommodation tariffs, but they mentioned, the breakfast time is from 9 AM onwards. We didn’t want to wait that long. So, after having tea and paying all the bills, we left for our destination for the next 2 nights – Aalo (Along) by around 8:00 AM.
Upon starting, Shiva exclaimed me “Aaj jitna marji gari rokiye! Aj to aramse pauch jayega” (Take as many stopovers as you want for smoke and photography. We’ll reach well within time today). That gave me enough hint that the journey won’t be much longer today.
First, we stopped by the Pasighat Bridge for the mystic view of Siang River over the clouds.
We are already starving for breakfast by then. However, all the dhabas we came across were closed. Luckily after driving for a while, we found a dhaba for breakfast by around 10:00 AM. It was a small Dhaba around the roadside which mostly served as stopovers for a meal. So they had very limited options. But considering our starves, roti sabzi along with a piping hot cup of tea, felt heavenly. Shiva though preferred to had “khana” i.e. rice meal. Well, I told you already, people in this part of the country prefer to have rice meal 3 times a day.
The road gradually turned out to be a complete disaster. Or maybe I should rephrase that there is no road at all! Next, we stopped by the Hanging Bridge. Shiva explained that the river used to be greenish once. However, due to China releasing cement into the water, it turned into grey.
The drive by the Siang River along with Orange Gardens seemed really beautiful. In the meanwhile, I took a lot of stopovers by the beautiful countryside yellow rice fields.
The drive further up to Aalo (Along) was not much interesting. Although I kept halting en-route to capture some Adi lifestyles.
Well, unfortunately, we didn’t find any eateries by the roadside for lunch. So, after reaching Aalo (Along), Shiva drove us to a few restaurants for lunch. However, as it was already 3:30 by then most of them didn’t have anything left. After going through all the possible eateries we could find by the road, finally, we came across a small restaurant at the Along (Aalo) bazaar, who still had a few meals left. Me, Trisha and Shiva chose to have chicken meal whereas Mom, Mani and Akash went for Chicken Noodles as they only had 3 Meals left. Even though the meal seemed to be okay, but the noodles were not good at all.
As the evening was approaching by, Shiva drove us to our shelter for the next 2 nights – Reyi Homestay. It was almost 4:30 by then. There was a little bit of daylight still remaining.
At first glance, Reyi Homestay looked more of a posh bungalow. The rooms were beautifully decorated and really spacious. The rooms, washrooms and the whole property is really neat & clean and well maintained. The drawing room is well decorated with local traditional items and various plants. The owner seemed to be a greenery enthusiast. It felt like the whole property is carefully decorated by an interior designer. The whole property is kinda huge! The entrance itself is kind of that of a bungalow. There’s a 24×7 gatekeeper at the entrance like at VIP Bungalows. One needs to drive downhill a bit from the entrance to reach the bungalow. Around the bungalow, there is an orange garden, a farm and what not! We quite liked the place.
We got freshened up and joined together at the drawing-room. Mrs Lingam Ete bought us Tea and asked for our preference of Roti / Rice for Dinner. She joined us over a conversation on request of mine. Well, it turned out that they are one of the richest family in Aalo (Along). They own a local news channel and also the cable connection i.e. STB in Aalo (Along). Well, that explains the situation! It’s actually a bungalow! I’m not sure why they are into homestay business and hosting guests with being such a rich family! Maybe they really like to host guests and show them their town around. Upon asking about the orange garden they said they also have an export business of oranges and various other fruits. Mr Liduk Ete himself looks after the garden.
Well, opposite to my thinking, it turned out that, even being such a rich family, they do quite engage with the guests. Although they are really busy into lots of calls and the business, but that doesn’t refrain them from engaging with the guest or doing one on one interaction. For other tasks though, they have few housemaids, who take care of the daily chores like cleaning, cooking, and looking after the guests such as serving food to the guests etc.
Rest of the evening was mostly uneventful. We relied on the TV to kill the time. Later, at around 9 PM, we were served dinner and soon we called off the day.
Total KMs Travelled: 103 KM
Nov 6 : Day 6 : Along Sightseeing :
Although we didn’t have much plans today, except to explore local bustis around Aalo (Along) and get to know the culture of Galo people. But getting accustomed to the local lifestyle, we woke up naturally by around 6 AM. We took our own sweet time to get done with the morning chores. Soon, we were served Tea and then Breakfast.
Finally, we started our day at around 8:30 AM. Aalo (Along), is more of a quaint town and home to Galo tribe. Same as like Apatani and Adi (that we experienced before in this journey), Galo too is the descendants of Abotani. The Galo tribe too worships Donyi-Polo. As explained before, Donyi-Polo translates to sun and moon and has been described as ‘the nature of the universe as the eyes of human conscience.’
Mopin is the most popular festival amongst the Galos which is celebrated during the month of April. The main Goddess that is worshipped during the festival is Mopin Ane. She is as important to the Galos as the Goddess Lakshmi is to Hindus, and is believed to bring in fertility and prosperity to the community. So if you are interested in experiencing the local festival of Galo people, Aalo (Along) is more than just a stopover for Mechuka.
First, Shiva drove us towards Paya Village. One needs to cross the hanging bridge over the beautiful greenish Siyom river and walk uphill a bit to reach the village.
The local villagers were quite friendly. They were really amazed about our purpose of the visit! We spent our own sweet time to walk through the village and interact with the locals.
After a while, exploring through the village, we came back and spent some time by the Siyom river before proceeding to Pobdi village. Well, it was nothing different than Paya busti. It’s just another village. Well, one thing I must mention is that the Galo people live a much more sustainable life to us that is so much less damaging on the environment and live up to old age due to their natural lifestyle. Unlike cities, you can spot a lot of old men and women around the village. The traditional huts were mostly made of the wooden structure along with clay tiles and hay as shade. Well, this keeps the rooms cooler during the day and warmer during the night.
Noticing us, a couple asked us about our purpose of visit. When we mentioned tourism, they were so happy that they invited us to their house. At first, we were really hesitating as we city people generally belives, going to someone’s place without informing them in prior is like disturbing them or it’s more of an awkward situation for the host. However, we couldn’t evade them. They really wanted to share their culture and tradition with us.
Well, throughout Arunachal, they mostly use stool made of cane for sitting. It’s same as in old Bengali tradition which is now extinct here in Bengal. They offered us Rice Beer along with fried fish. They explained that throughout Arunachal except for the Tibetian tribes, it’s a local custom to welcome guest with Rice Beer. They shared a lot about the local’s way of lifestyle and stories about daily life here in Along.
While discussing various things with them, we shared our plan to travel Mechuka tomorrow. I was afraid when they informed us that students have called for a “Chakka Jam” (strike) tomorrow. The strike will be from 5 AM – 5 PM, and no vehicles will be allowed to move throughout the city and neither any shops will be allowed to operate. Noticing us being tensed, they assured us that it won’t be much of an issue, however, we should really consider either staying in Aalo (Along) for another day or leave early morning by around 4 AM to avoid any issues.
Next, Shiva drove us to Kabu busti, however, we had already explored 2 villages and it didn’t make any sense to go through another. So we requested him to drive us out for lunch. He drove us to a restaurant which we also approached yesterday but had to return as they were out of any food. The food was really tasty and finger-licking back there. Later, after having our lunch, we went ahead to explore the market and then finally we returned back to our homestay by around 3:30 PM.
Once we were back to the homestay, we asked Mr Liduk Ete about the “Chakka Jam” (strike). As he’s into news media, we thought he’d have the most updated news to share with us and guide us accordingly. He too confirmed the same and further informed us that although there will be police and armies deployed across the streets however students generally pelts stone at the moving cars in order to stop them. Thus, he too suggested us, leaving early morning in order to avoid any hassles. He told us that the strike is only effective within the town – Aalo (Along). So once we cross the border of the town, there’d be no more issues.
Pro Tip: Well, I have been to tribal villages of North East before. And I know from my experience that generally in these tribal states things breaks down suddenly now and then. And if you are planning to visit these states such as Arunachal, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur etc. you must keep buffer days and a backup plan to exit in case things breaks down drastically.
Mrs Lingam Ete recommended us taking dinner early by around 8 PM so that we can get at least few hours of sleep and leave by around 3 PM so that we can cross the town well ahead of 5 AM. Mr Liduk Ete informed us that, students will start roaming and monitoring the town from tonight in general. However, he asked us to call him anytime for help in case of any issues on the road. He further assured us that they generally won’t affect the tourists.
He further shared with us that the strike has been called by the students union considering the bad condition of road and scarcity of medical facilities. Well, I’m not much into politics at all, however from what I have seen around in these last few days, I think the strike and their demand is justified. We city-dwellers won’t ever understand what it feels like to have a medical emergency in these remote tribal villages. The village hospitals are only equipped with basic medical facilities and in case of any critical issues, one is expected to travel downhill which would take you 2 days to get proper medical attention. Imagine that during a medical emergency. And considering I have been travelling through the state for 4 days now, the state of the road at most parts of Arunachal (except the state highways), is really in drastic condition. The journey of a mere 2 hours takes around 4-5 hours on such roads.
When Mr and Mrs Ete left, Shiva informed us that these kinds of situations have been called up by the locals themselves. I didn’t get that properly in the beginning. Shiva further explained to us that they don’t let non-tribal people stay here in peace. They make their life hell. And that’s why the doctors and medical practitioners or contractors who come from outside leaves after a few days leaving their work in a pending state. And now due to the lack of facilities, they are declaring a strike.
Well, what can I say! There’s a famous quote in my state “Ek hate tali baje na“. The literal meaning of the same is you can’t clap with one hand. Although a more proper phrase that fits here is “It takes two to tango“.
The evening was mostly uneventful. We were served dinner by around 8 PM and soon after having our dinner we cleared all the bills and called off the day.
Total KMs Travelled: 30 KM
Inner Line Permit (ILP) / Protected Area Permit (PAP) :
Arunachal being a tribal-state is a restricted zone. Thus, Indian Citizens (except the native people of Arunachal) needs Inner Line Permit (commonly referred to as ILP) and foreigners need Protected Area Permit (PAP) in order to visit Arunachal.
One can either apply it online through the web-portal accessible at https://www.arunachalilp.com/ or offline at various cities such as Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, Shillong, Tezpur, Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur, Jorhat.
Please check out the detailed procedure of applying ILP / PAP at Unexplored Arunachal | Ziro | Part 1
How To Reach :
If you wish to travel to Mechuka, it’s best to start from Pasighat. You cannot really travel up to Mechuka in a single day. You have to break it at Pasighat (optional, depending on when you are reaching Pasighat). Form Pasighat, you need to break at Aalo (Along) and then travel all the way to Mechuka.
There are several ways you can reach Pasighat.
- You can choose to directly fly to Pasighat. Along with that, there is a regular Pawan Hans helicopter service which connects Pasighat with various regional airports such as Guwahati.
- Or else, you can fly to Dibrugarh and take a private vehicle if you can afford or opt for the regular ASTC Bus / Line Sumos to Pasighat from Dibrugarh.
- If you prefer to come via Guwahati, you can also choose to take a train / fly to Guwahati. From Guwahati, you can take an Auto / Bus to Kamakhya Railway Station. In the meanwhile, if you have a buffer day, explore the famous religious Kamakhya Temple at Guwahati. From Kamakhya Railway Station there’s a daily train to Murkongselek Railway Station in Jonai of Dhemaji district of Assam. Kamakhya – Murkongselek Intercity Express which is also known as Kamakhya – Murkongselek Lachit Express is one of the best trains in this route. From Murkongselek Railway Station there are Line Sumos up to Pasighat at regular intervals.
- Murkongselek Railway Station is also connected with Dibrugarh. However as I mentioned previously, if you are taking a train/flying to Dibrugarh, it makes no sense to take a train to Murkongselek. Instead, you can opt for the regular ASTC Bus / Line Sumos to Pasighat from Dibrugarh as it’d be more convenient.
- Finally, as always, you can also take a private vehicle from Dibrugarh if you can afford.
- Lastly, just for your information, there’s a daily boat service available from Dibrugarh to Oiramgaht from where one can reach Pasighat by local bus. But with Line Sumo’s and ASTC Buses, this is not a convenient option anymore.
From Pasighat, onwards, there are regular Line Sumos up to Aalo (Along). Aalo (Along) is well connected by daily Line Sumos from Pasighat / Itanagar / Dibrugarh / N. Lakhimpur / Silapathar / Jonai. So you can also directly travel to Aalo (Along) from these towns if you wish to skip Pasighat.
Further from Aalo (Along), there are regular Line Sumos up to Mechuka.
NOTE: From Ziro though, the best route is to proceed to Dapirajo and then further to Aalo (Along). However, as the bridge which connects Dapirajo to Aalo (Along) got ruptured 2-3 days before our arrival, we had to change our plan and had to move to Pasighat instead.
Important Links :
- Arunachal Tourism Website : You can look up through Arunachal Tourism website for insights on various circuits, places to visit, local culture and traditions and accommodation options.
- East Siang District Website : You can go through the East Siang District Website for insights on places to visit, local culture and traditions and accommodation options in East Siang.
- West Siang District Website : You can go through the West Siang District Website for insights on places to visit, local culture and traditions and accommodation options in West Siang.
- TripAdvisor : TripAdvisor Forums is a very good place to get your questions answered for anything related to Tourism.
Takar Homestay / Donyi Hango Camp Homestay And Resort, Pasighat: Our experience at Donyi Hango Camp Homestay and Resort was quite charming and adventurous. We opted for the tents when we were asked to choose between Tents and Cottages because the tents were cheaper than Cottages. The tents are actually placed inside a structure of steel bar formation like a cottage with asbestos on the top to protect from rain. In the front, there’s a wide veranda with all the basic amenities like Electric Kettle, Tea Bags, Complimentary Water etc. There are well-placed chairs and table in the veranda for you to enjoy the solace of nature. The soothing sound of the stream from the Siang river nearby felt calm and relaxing.
The tents were pitched on one row of the premises, whereas the cottages, dining place and the other facilities are on the complete opposite. I really liked being cut-off and detached to enjoy the adventure. The cottages on the opposite were beautifully decorated with differently coloured fairy lights. As I didn’t go inside the cottages I can’t comment about its whereabouts.
Just to clear out the confusion, Takar Homestay is same as well known Donyi Hango Camp Homestay And Resort. In Arunachal, govt encourages the locals by providing a subsidy to build up homestays to boost tourism and also provides regular training to the local people on hospitality manners and guiding them on hosting the guests. So Donyi Hango is a full-fledged resort who also arranges camping in their premises and by the Siang River. They have also set up a homestay in the same premises by the name Takar Homestay obviously to take advantage of the subsidy!
As both Donyi Hango Camp Homestay And Resort and Takar Homestay is in the same premises, there’s no way you can differentiate. So unlike your other homestay experiences, don’t assume the prices to be on par with them. It’s not at all a homestay. The rooms are more of like Cottages of which the tariffs are high as cottages should be. However, the tents are a cheaper option though.
As this is more of a resort, the accommodation doesn’t include a food package in the tariff. So you have to order it separately on a-la-carte as per the menu or go by the meal system. We went by the meal system. However, the meal system is only Veg and offers Rice / Roti, Dal, Sabji and Salad which costs Rs. 200/- per head. If you wish to have Non-Veg dishes you’d have to order it separately on an a-la-carte basis. The food was really tasty and finger-licking.
Reyi Homestay, Aalo (Along) : Our experience at Reyi Homestay was exceptionally outstanding. The property is huge and more of a posh bungalow. The rooms were beautifully decorated and really spacious. The rooms, washrooms and the whole property is really neat & clean and well maintained. The drawing room is well decorated with local traditional items and various plants. The owner – Mrs Lingam Ete is an avid nature lover herself. Around the bungalow, there is an orange garden and a farm which is self-maintained by the owner Mr Liduk Ete
The rooms though laid out oddly a bit within the property, however, it’s fine considering they planned to host guests later on. So one of the rooms, which I’d say the best room is within the main premises and shares the same entrance with that of the host. However, two of the remaining rooms are to be reached by going downstairs to the complete backside of the bungalow. Well, one can easily say that those two rooms were added later on to host guests.
The owner – Mr and Mrs Ete are one of the richest family in Aalo (Along). They own a local news channel and also the cable connection i.e. STB in Aalo (Along). Although they are really busy into lots of calls and the business, but that doesn’t refrain them from engaging with the guest or doing one on one interaction. For other tasks though, they have few housemaids, who take care of the daily chores like cleaning, cooking, and looking after the guests such as serving food to the guests etc.
The couple is very helpful and co-operating. During our stay, local students union declared a strike – a complete “Chakka Jam” from 5 AM – 5 PM. With influences of Mr and Mrs Ete, they helped us crossed the town early morning. We left at around 3 AM and Mrs Ete even insisted and prepared us Tea before leaving. With all being an exceptionally great experience, there was only one thing that turned us off – Food. Well, I have no complaints with the quality as such, however, it lacks taste. The food was not tasty at all and felt very pale in nature. And let me also remind you that, fooding is not included in accommodation package and is charged separately at Rs. 450/- per head per day for Dinner and Rs. 200/- per head per day for Breakfast.
Lunch at Potin (Day 4) : Rs. 800/- (For 7 Pax)
Donyi Hango Camp and Takar Homestay, Pasighat : Rs. 2200/- per tent (Food is not included in accommodation package)
Food at Donyi Hango Camp and Takar Homestay, Pasighat : Veg Meal is charged at Rs. 200/- per meal. Chicken Curry was charged at Rs. 265/- per plate. Tea was charged at Rs. 25/- per cup and they provided 2 bottles of Mineral Water on each tent upon our arrival which we thought of being complimentary however later we found that it was actually charged at Rs. 20/- per bottle.
Breakfast on way to Along (Day 5) : Rs. 230/- (For 7 Pax)
Lunch at Along (Day 5) : Rs. 710/- (For 6 Pax)
Reyi Homestay, Along : Rs. 2000/- per room per night (Food is not included in accommodation package)
Food at Reyi Homestay, Along : Dinner is charged at Rs. 450/- per head per day and Breakfast is charged at Rs. 200/- per head per day.
Lunch at Along (Day 6) : Rs. 1435/- (For 7 Pax)
Vehicle : Rs. 5500/- per day
Our Total Costing for this whole trip was Rs. 2,35,000/- (excluding the flights) which is about Rs. 40,000/- (rounded off) per head.
Yali Hapu Taba, 6 Brother Homestay – Chullyu : +91 87943 86484. I came across this homestay while roaming through the village. The homestay looked quite quaint and relaxing amidst the nature.
Yane Dai, Donyi Hango Camp & Takar Homestay, Pasighat : +91 94360 43393 / +91 70055 86217. Website : Donyi Hango Tours
Reyi Homestay, Aalo (Along) – Mr. Liduk Ete : +91 87940 21061 / Mrs. Lingam Ete : +91 97742 39776. Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Shiva, Driver : +91 99547 77434 / +91 94019 47966 / +91 86381 73035. Very friendly and co-operating young chap to travel with. During our course of 17 days tour through tribal villages of Arunachal, he became a family member to us. Although he prefers to get called by his self-named nickname – Nick to maintain the style!
Dipankar Da, North East Travels : +91 89722 47306. Dipankar Da is more than a friend to me and my go-to solution when for North-East destinations. He’s very reliable and knowledgable when it comes to Birding, National Parks, Tiger Reserves and destinations in North East.
Unexplored Arunachal Series :
Unexplored Arunachal | Ziro | Part 1
Unexplored Arunachal | Aalo (Along) | Part 2
Unexplored Arunachal | Mechuka | Part 3
Unexplored Arunachal | Tuting | Gelling | Part 4
Unexplored Arunachal | Ledum Village | Part 5