Top Things to Do in Tawang

Sitting in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas, Tawang Valley is a highlight of Arunachal Pradesh. The town is home to the largest Buddhist monastery in Asia.

Tawang Gate

Table of Contents

  1. About
  2. Things to do
  3. How to plan a Trip to Tawang
  4. Hotels and Resorts in Tawang

About

With its tranquil environment, unsullied nature, and rich cultural heritage, the ancient town of Tawang is a handful for the true explorer has come to be recognized for offering natural beauty, spiritual solace, and a generous dose of adventure, for every seeker.

Geography

Tawang

The town of Tawang is the district headquarters of the Tawang district tucked between the borders of China and Bhutan on the western edge of Arunachal Pradesh. The city lies about 450 KM from the state capital of Itanagar, 555KM from Guwahati and 320KM from Tezpur. The settlement spread to the north of Tawang Chu River Valley, and rises to a maximum elevation of 8757 Feet, with the highest point of the region at Gorichen Peak, at 6858 ft.

History

It is believed that the name of Tawang comes from the grand Tawang Monastery that sits on a mountain ridge overlooking the valley. The name is a derivation of Ta meaning “horse” and Wang means “chosen”. Legends say that the site of the Tawang Monastery was chosen by a horse owned by Lama Lodre Gyatso, the founder of the historical Monastery. In 1681, when the Lama was looking for a site and couldn’t find any, he sat in this region to pray and seek divine guidance. After his prayers, he found his horse missing, and eventually found the animal grazing atop the hill. The hilltop area was the palace of the ancient King Kala Wangpo. The Lama took this to be a good omen and started work on establishing a temple, which would eventually become the largest Tibetan monastery in Asia.

[Also Read: 10 Beautiful Monasteries of India]

Grand Tawang Monastery

Things to do

Tawang tourism has a lot of interesting things to do and to take part in. Apart from the popular tourist places, you can also try these activities –

  • To get a deeper insight into Tawang’s culture, book a homestay with a local family and get a glimpse into the lives and lifestyle of the people there. There are many homestays in Tawang which offer stay, food, and local tours.
  • For an ultimate on-the-road adventure, go backpacking and camp up at designated camping grounds where you will find plenty of international trekkers and hikers assembling for a thrilling experience.
  • If you are a trekker, pro or hobby, definitely do the Gorichen Trek. It’s one of the most difficult trek routes in the region. But it’s also the most exciting thing to do here. The trek starts from Jang, about 30 Km from Tawang town, and takes you to the Chokersam base camp. The trek lasts 15-20 days and passes through dense forests, alpine meadows, glacial lakes, and imposing views of the Himalayas.
  • Walk the Bailey Trail, an ancient trade route through the Eastern Himalayas. Now, mostly a nature trail, the Bailey Trail offers stunning views of the two highest and most prominent peaks – the Gorichen Peak and the Kangto Peak.
  • You can also visit the villages of the Monpa tribe, one of the oldest settlers in this region.
  • Visit during the Tawang Festival. First started in 2012, this event puts the heritage of Arunachal Pradesh at the forefront. The three-day-long cultural extravaganza tribal folk dances, music concerts, art exhibitions, movies, flower shows, food festivals, heritage tours, and religious ceremonies.
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Places to visit

With breathtaking natural beauty, spiritual vibes, and abundant options for adventure, Tawang has endless sightseeing options for every kind of traveller.

  • Tawang Monastery – a 17th-century Buddhist monastery with breathtaking views, and also a prominent venue for local festivals.
  • Tawang War Memorial – The famous tourist spot memorial monument commemorating soldiers of the Indo-China War.
  • Nuranang Waterfall – a glacial waterfall sitting atop 6000 feet, and the most popular in the state.
  • Tsonga Tser/Zonga Tiger Lake – a popular adventure haunt for water sports, hiking, bird watching, and picnicking.
  • Tse La Pass – a mountain pass at 13,700 feet and famous for views of 101 lakes.
  • Bailey Trail – an ancient trade route and now a famous viewing point for Gorichen & Kangto Peak.

1. Tawang Monastery

The interior of the Monastery
  • How to Reach – The monastery is located only 2KM from the main town. You can take a local taxi or rent a car or even trek to the mountain ridge to reach the monastery.
  • Timings– 7AM-7PM
  • Entry Fee– Free
  • Time Required– 1-2 Hours
  • Tips– Visit during the Tibetan festivals of Choksar, Losar, Ajilamu, or Torgya, to see the local cultural events and celebrations.

2. Tawang War Memorial

War Memorial
  • How to Reach – The memorial is located about 4KM from the main town. You can book a local cab or rent a car to reach.
  • Timings– 7.45 AM-6 PM
  • Entry Fee– Free
  • Time Required– Less than 1 hour
  • Tips– You can visit during sunrise or sunset for stunning views of the Tawang Chu Valley.

3. Nuranang Falls/ Bap Teng Kang/ Tiger Falls

  • How to Reach – The falls sit at about 30KM from Tawang town. The only way to reach is to book a cab or rent a car to travel and return.
  • Timings– Sunrise to Sunset
  • Entry Fee- Free
  • Time Required– 1-2 hours
  • Tips– Also visit the Hydel Power Plant adjacent to the falls.
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4. Sangetsar/Madhuri Lake

Sangetsar/Madhuri Lake
  • How to Reach – The lake area sits at about 35KM from Tawang town. You can book a cab for the day to travel and return.
  • Timings– Sunrise to Sunset
  • Entry Fee– Free
  • Time Required– 1-2 hours
  • Tips– Visit during early hours for a day picnic and treks around the lake area.

Popular Nearby Places

Besides the local places, you can also include other interesting destinations nearby on in your Tawang itinerary. Check out some of these places for an ultimate trip –

1. Pakke Tiger Reserve

Pakke Tiger Reserve
Tiger Of Bengal India Tree Animal Fields Tiger
  • How to Reach – The national tiger sanctuary is located 110 KM from Tawang. The only way to travel is to book an outstation cab for 1-2 days to travel and return.
  • Entry Fee– INR 40, Jeep Safari: 1500 for half-day, Elephant Safari: INR 100
  • Time Required- 1 Day
  • Tips- You can also visit the city of Tezpur nearby.

2. Nameri National Park and Forest Reserve

Nameri National Park and Forest Reserve
  • How to Reach – The forest is in Assam, about 265KM away. The only way to reach is to book a cab for a day or two to travel and return.
  • Timings– 10AM-6PM
  • Entry Fee– INR 50
  • Time Required- 1 day
  • Tips– You can also try the camping options available in the forest.

3. Itanagar Wildlife Sanctuary

Itanagar Wildlife Sanctuary near Tawang
  • How to Reach – The state capital is located at 442KM from Tawang. You have to book a cab or rent a car for two days to travel and return.
  • Timings– 9AM-5.30PM
  • Entry Fee– Free, separate charges for safari
  • Time Required– 1 day
  • Tips– Visit in autumn or early spring for animal and bird spotting.

Places to eat in Tawang

On your tour, you can find everything from traditional ethnic recipes to international dishes. Check out these best-rated restaurants in–

  • Dragon Restaurant
  • Orange Bar
  • Dharma Coffee House
  • Woodland Restaurant
  • Northeast Flavors
  • Yangke’s Café
  • Phun’s Café

How to Plan a Trip to Tawang

How to reach Tawang

By Train

There is no direct rail connectivity to Tawang. The nearest railway station is in Tezpur, about 330KM away. Tezpur is well-connected to the rest of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, and other major nearby towns and cities. There are frequent trains from Itanagar, Bomdila, Guwahati, Shillong, etc. From Tezpur, you can take the local cab or rent a private car to reach Tawang by road.

By Road

Tawang is well-connected to the rest of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya etc. via NH 13 and NH 15. There are regular state-run and private buses to Tawang from Bomdila, Tezpur, Guwahati etc. Although the routes are long and the roads are rough, it makes for a scenic ride. The best way to travel to Tawang from any of these towns and cities is to rent an outstation car or book a cab and drive through the forests, rivers and valleys of the mountain foothills.

By Flight

There is no airport in Tawang. The nearest airport to Tawang is in Salonibari, in Tezpur, about 317KM away. You can also fly to Guwahati from any other major cities/towns across India and then travel to Tawang from there. From either of these airports, you have to book an airport taxi or rent a private car to reach the mountain valley.

Best time to Visit Tawang

Tawang weather can be classified as a temperate mountain, with warm but pleasant summers and cold and frosty winters. There is also occasional snowfall in Tawang in winters. The best time to visit is in the summer months but before the onset of the rains, i.e., between March and June, when the temperature here is comfortable enough to explore the outdoor sites. But, if you like a snow-covered mountain valley, and want to enjoy some winter sports, then you can also visit the town in winter. However, it’s advisable to skip the monsoon season, between late June and early September, when the region receives quite a lot of rainfall.

[Also Read: 8 Best Solo Travel Destinations to visit in India – Best Tips & Tricks]

Best Hotels and Resorts in Tawang

Check out some of these best hotels for a great Himalayan experience –

  • Hotel Mon-Valley and Restaurant
  • Dondrub Homestay and Resort
  • Govt. Tourist Lodge Tawang
  • Dewa Elegance
  • The Shangri-La Serene
  • Hotel Monyul
  • Hotel Tawang Center Point
  • Gayki Khang Zang

Experience the beauty of Tawang by booking a car rental to take you to all these places with a local driver. Install Savaari cab booking app for offers and discounts on outstation rentals.  

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Top Things to Do in Tawang for a Memorable Trip!
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Top Things to Do in Tawang for a Memorable Trip!
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Sitting in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas, Tawang Valley is a highlight of Arunachal Pradesh. With its tranquil environment, unsullied nature, and rich cultural heritage, the ancient town of Tawang is a handful for the true explorer.
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I grew up sneaking away to read the well-worn travel magazines I found at my grandfather's house. Today I write stories of my travel experiences and adventures.

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