There are many incredible things to do in Tawang, one of the top places to visit in Arunachal Pradesh. This town, known for its 400-year old monastery, the largest in India, also entices its visitors with the charming valleys surrounded by the stunning snow-capped Himalayan mountains. From monasteries to beautiful glacial lakes to impressive waterfalls, you will love your time here exploring Tawang attractions, whether you are here for a weekend or more.

While the winter snow makes it a magical Winterland, summer, monsoon, and spring brings in the best colors as the wildflowers, lush forested mountains, and valleys filled with flowing rivers, streams and waterfalls, making Tawang an all-year destination for every kind of traveler.

You can base yourself in this well-connected town to drive further as well, making it one of the best destinations. So in this post, I am sharing the top things to do in Tawang, things to know before you plan your trip, where to stay and what to do to help you make a fantastic Tawang itinerary.

TOP THINGS TO DO IN TAWANG 

Visit Tawang Monastery

One of the top things to do in Tawang is paying a visit to the iconic landmark, the Tawang Monastery. Did you know? It is the largest monastery in India and the second largest in Asia. This monastery, located atop a hill at over 10,000 meters, also known as the Gaden Namgyal Lhatse, is one of the oldest monuments, with its foundation dating back to over 400 years by Mera Lama Lodre Gyasto.

Best places to visit In Tawang
Tawang Monastery – One of the best attractions

The monastery is one of the top places to visit in Tawang, thanks to its rich history, stunning architecture, and excellent location. It offers a fantastic view of the Tawang town and the valleys beyond, including the beautiful Tawang – Chu valley. 

This monastery resembles a high-walled fortress in architecture, with tall stone walls forming the exterior of the spacious sanctuary spanning the hill. This mansion-like monastery is not just a place of worship but an institution itself.

More than 65 residential complexes ensure the functioning of the many monasteries, administration, and home to more than 400 Buddhist monks of different ages.

top things to do in Tawang

Tawang monastery is not just one of the top Tawang attractions, but it is a major site for the Buddhists undertaking religious and spiritual journeys.

The monastery is the venue for one of the most colourful festivals of Arunachal, the Tawang Festival, which is held on a very grand scale every year, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Tawang attractions

The prominent statue of Lord Buddha is the central attraction, which towers over its visitors at over 8 meters in height set amidst a beautifully decorated temple hall Dukhang. The temple’s interiors are adorned with intricate works, including different kinds of paintings depicting the Bodhisattvas.

Pay a visit to the well-preserved museum with ancient scripts and artefacts that give glimpses of its history, architecture, and the Buddhist scriptures.

Opening hours – 7 AM to 7 PM

Entry Fee – No entry fee

Distance from Tawang – 2kms

Pay Tributes at the Tawang War Memorial

There is no better place to understand the past of Tawang than visiting the Tawang War Memorial. It is one of the best places to visit in Tawang, where you can pay tributes to the martyred Indian soldiers who laid down their lives in the 1962 Indo-China War, in whose memory stands this 40-feet structure amidst the mountains of the Himalayas, overlooking the beautiful Tawang-Chu valley.

Tawang War Memorial is built to resemble a stupa, which you can reach by climbing a few steps. The prayer flags adorn the sky as you walk past the listings of the names of over 2500 Indian soldiers that gave their lives in the war.

The fantastic views of the mountains and the artefacts that remind you of the past will make you emotional for sure. 

It houses a spectacularly built stupa engraved with the names of all the soldiers who died a brave death during the war. The stupa and the artefacts preserved from the war is sure to give you goosebumps and is one of the most important places to visit in Tawang.

Opening hours – 7:45 AM to 6 PM

Entry Fee – None

Distance from Tawang – 1km

Check out Urgelling Gompa

Another ancient monastery that needs to be listed under the best things to do in Tawang is the Urgelling Gompa. This 400-year old monastery is considered the birthplace of the Dalai Lama VI.

Unlike the Tawang monastery, Urgelling Gompa is much smaller and a lot quieter. Located 3kms from Tawang, it is one of the sacred monasteries among the Buddhists.

Evenings around the sunset are the best place to visit the Urgelling monastery. The weather is pleasant, and the views are fantastic, especially after the monsoons and spring season.

Opening hours – 7 AM to 7 PM

Entry Fee – No entry fee

Distance from Tawang – 3 km

Pay Tributes to The Brave Martyrs At Jaswant Garh

If you wonder what to do in Tawang, how about paying respects to the brave soldiers laid to rest at Jaswant Garh? Located 21km from Sela Pass, you will pass through the memorial on the way to Tawang. 

This site is dedicated to the rifleman Jaswant Singh, killed during the Indo-China War in 1962. A temple-like structure is built as a memorial, where you can also notice the names of the other martyrs that have lost their lives. It is worth stopping by to pay your tributes to these brave soldiers.

Opening hours – Any time

Entry Fee – No entry fee

Distance from Tawang – 30 km

Enjoy the Peace At Taktsang Gompa

If you want to go to monasteries hopping in Tawang, one of the must-do attractions in Tawang you should check out is the lovely Taktsang Gompa.

miniature prayer wheels and rosaries

This elegant monastery, located atop a hill at an altitude of over 13,000 feet, is blessed with surrounding lush valleys and majestic pine-forested mountains forming their backdrops.

If you are lucky, you might experience the clouds and the mist floating over your head as you admire the stunning views of the landscapes from the edge of a mountain at Taktsang Gompa.

This well-kept Buddhist monastery was honoured by Guru Padmasambhava’s visit during the 8th century. Meditate in one of the monastery’s halls, feel the breeze and take in the views on your visit to this beautiful Gompa, one of the best things to do in Tawang.

tawang in arunachal pradesh

The best time to visit Taktsang Gompa is during the spring and summer seasons, as the monsoon and the winter months constantly experience road blockades due to landslides and heavy snowfall.

Opening hours – Day time

Entry Fee – No entry fee

Distance from Tawang – 50 km

Shop at the Tibetan Settlement Market

If you love shopping, one of the fun things to do in Tawang is visiting the Tibetian Settlement Market, one of the best places to buy local products. 

what to buy in tawang

Also known as the Vihara market, you can find a wide range of products in this local market in the small shops, including handicrafts, handmade products like jute bags, wooden toys, woollen items, artworks, and more, a perfect place to shop for souvenirs to take back home, mainly traditional Buddhist items like prayer wheels, paintings, and statues of Buddha.

shopping in tawang

The Tibetan market is also a place to try the various street food of Tawang, as there are many cute cafes and local restaurants where you can try delicious momos, Thupka, and soups.

Opening hours – Any time

Entry Fee – No entry fee

Distance from Tawang – 1 km

BEST THINGS TO DO IN TAWANG – ADVENTURE & NATURE

Admire the Beauty of the Sela Pass

One of the adventurous things to do in Tawang happens on your way to the town and out of it, the rugged Sela Pass at an elevation of almost 14,000 feet. It is the only road that connects Tawang and other towns around with the rest of the country.

tawang arunachal pradesh

Considered one of the highest high-altitude motorable passes globally, the journey along the Pass is packed with adventure. Thanks to the immense difficulty in making a road here, the winding roads are only made of gravel, filled with mud and can become dangerously slippery around monsoon and the winter season when it gets filled with snow. 

Apart from watching out for altitude sickness, driving through the Pass is another adventure you will love.

The Buddhists regard the areas around the Pass to be very auspicious, with the legend being the Pass home to over a hundred glacial lakes. 

top things to do in Tawang

Whether this is true or not, you can surely enjoy the gorgeous Sela Lake, which is one of the famous spots on the way to Tawang. Stop by this lake blanketed by snow during the winter or during the spring and summer when flowers decorate the areas around, and layers of mist envelope the lake’s surface, making it appear surreal. 

No matter when you plan to go, stopping at the stunning Sela Pass is one of the best things to do in the Tawang itinerary.  

Opening hours – 7 AM to 7 PM

Entry Fee – No entry fee

Distance from Tawang – 78 km

Witness The Gorgeous Nuranang Waterfalls

One of the unusual places to visit in Tawang is near Zemithang town, the beautiful Nuranang Waterfalls. Also called Jang Falls or Bong Bong Falls, or the native name Bap Ten Kang, witnessing the beauty of these spectacular waterfalls plummeting from 100 meters high at over 6000 feet amidst the beautiful mountains is one of the best things to do in Tawang for nature lovers.

places to visit in tawang in february
Best things to do in Arunachal

Did you know? A part of the Nuranang river, which originates at Sela Pass, drops off the peaks here, surrounded by the deep forests. If you time it right, you can walk to the base of the waterfalls and even walk behind swim, and relax in the vast pool below, thanks to its crystal clear waters.

top 10 Tawang attractions
Tawang attractions

It is located around just 40 km from Tawang town, so you can stop on your way to Bomdilla or Zemithang, or better, plan a day trip to Nuranang waterfalls from Tawang. Also, visit the hydel power plant beside the falls, which generates electricity for the nearby areas.

Opening hours – Daytime

Entry Fee – No entry fee

Distance from Tawang – 40 km

Admire the beauty of Madhuri Lake or the Shonga-Tser Lake

One of the top Tawang attractions is the pretty Shonga-Tser Lake, located within 30 minutes drive from the town. It is one of the top things to do in Tawang for tourists, and it is no surprise given the beauty of this location and its gorgeous secluded location.

amazing things to do in Tawang
best places to visit in Tawang

Shonga-Tser, a high-altitude glacial lake at 12,000 ft above sea level, is known for its excellent location amidst the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas and lush valleys. The lake became popular, attaining the name Madhuri after the lead Bollywood actress of the movie Koyla that was shot here.

Recommended: What is the best season to travel to Tawang?

You can take a hike around the lake, witness the beautiful bloom and the panoramic views. The lake is only open from late April to late October during summer, monsoon, and the early winter. It is best to visit Madhuri Lake during the summer when the roads are easier to navigate, and the weather is excellent.

best places to visit in Tawang

Opening hours – Daytime

Entry Fee – No entry fee

Distance from Tawang – 42 km

Admire the Beautiful Penga Teng Tso Lake

Located very close to the town is one of the fantastic places to visit in Tawang, Penga Teng Tso Lake. Also known as P.T. Tso Lake, this beautiful lake is surrounded by stunning mountains that will be decorated with rhododendron and other wildflowers if you visit during spring or early summer. 

best things to do in Tawang

The lake is one of the top things to do in Tawang in winter as it is frozen at that time, turning into a pretty skiing site. With the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas as the backdrop and amazing views available on every side, you will love your visit to the lake no matter when you go.

things to do in Tawang

It is on the way to Shong-Tser lake, so you can combine your visit to check out both the famous lakes of Tawang. The best time to visit Penga Teng Tso Lake is April to October.

Opening hours – Daytime

Entry Fee – None

Distance from Tawang – 17km

Explore the Beautiful Bumla Pass

Among the beautiful passes in Arunachal is Bumla Pass, located close to the Indo China border. Visiting this pass is one of the top things to do in Tawang for many reasons.

It is one of the remotest and furthest places in th state, accessed after you secure permits at the Office of the Deputy Commissioner in Tawang District and Indian army cantonment of Tawang. The pass is believed to be the passage the Dalai Lama took to escape from Tibet to India.

tawang valley

The location of Bumla Pass, at over 15,200 feet, is stunning, offering fantastic views of the many snowy peaks of the forested mountains of the higher Himalayas, the lush valleys dotted with the river, waterfalls, and flora.

The best time to visit Bumla Pass is on clear days of the spring, summer or after monsoons, from May to October, when you can have clear roads and manageable weather with clear skies. 

Entry Fee – No entry fee; but permits are required to enter

Distance from Tawang – 40 km

Hike to Gorichen Peak

If you want an adventurous trip, one of the top things to do in Tawang is to plan a hike to Gorichen Peak at a 25,000 feet altitude. 

It is the highest mountain in Arunachal, the third-highest Himalayan mountain peak in North East India. It is located between the Tawang and West Kameng districts of Arunachal Pradesh. You can get beautiful glimpses of Gorichen Peak on the way from Bomdila to Tawang.

Known as Sa-Nga Phu in the native language, the Kingdom of Deity, the mountain is a sacred peak for the Monpa tribe, who regard it as the protector of all evils.

Climbing this magnificent mountain is a challenge sought after by adventure seekers and mountain climbers. The trail offers splendid views of the valleys, with the peak providing a platform to soak in a 360-degree view of the top from above. 

Given the rugged terrain and the high altitude, this trek is not for beginners, though. This challenging trek is for you if you are a seasoned and fit hiker willing to hike the trail for over a week in one of the most difficult terrains in Arunachal. 

Tawang Arunachal Pradesh

Most trekkers attempt the peak at the onset of spring and in the summer when the weather is at its best.

Opening hours – Any time

Entry Fee – No entry fee

Distance from Tawang – 165 km

Enjoy Rafting in Kameng River

One of the adventurous things to do in Tawang is rafting in the Kameng River, one of the beautiful rivers in Arunachal. You can book your rafting tours after you arrive in Tawang. The best time for rafting is the summer months, from April to July. You do not need any prior rafting experience as well.

tourist attractions in tawang
tourist attractions in tawang

Depending on the activities and your preferences, you can book group rafting tours that involve pick up and drop or add hikes to the nearby spots and visiting attractions to the tour.

Try Mountain Biking

Thanks to its mountainous terrain, the areas around Tawang offer some of the most challenging tracks for mountain bikers. It gets better if you are a seasoned cyclist, but you can still try mountain biking in Tawang, even a beginner. 

From peaceful monasteries to gorgeous viewpoints on the mountain tops, you can choose from the many broad trails of different difficulties. If you are in Tawang in the summer, do not miss signing up for bike tours, which is one of the fun things to do here. 

OFFBEAT THINGS TO DO IN TAWANG

Check Out Nagula Lake

Another high altitude lake worth adding to your list of the fantastic things to do in Tawang is the pretty Nagula Lake located not far away from the town.

Its splendid location and the beautiful panoramic views are good reasons to visit this fantastic lake. Nagula Lake is also located close to the Indo China border, and you need permits if you plan to venture further around the lake.

tawang sightseeing

The best time to visit Nagula is during the summer season when the weather is pleasant, and you can spot many rare species of birds. 

Right after the monsoon is also a fabulous time as the lake will be at its maximum capacity, and the surrounding mountains and the valleys look lush with the fresh bed of forests after the monsoons.

Attend Tawang Festival

If you plan your trip right, you can attend one of the fantastic festivals of Arunachal – The Tawang Festival. One of the latest inclusions to the list of celebrations, this festival hosted by the tourism organization of Arunachal is the best event that combines cultural immersion with plenty of fun things to do and local activities.

Festival in Tawang

At this festival, you can witness the unique culture of some of the tribes, their traditional dance performances, take part in the native games, and taste a wide range of exquisite local delicacies of many tribes, including the local liquor. 

This 3-days festival is the perfect opportunity to explore the best of Tawang and be introduced to the unique heritage and culture of the state.

Head to Gyangong Ani Gompa

One of the lovely offbeat things to do in Tawang is visiting the nunnery Gyangong Ani Gompa. This monastery was established by Merag Lama, the founder of the main Tawang Monastery, for his sister. It is home to over fifty nuns and a pretty temple worth stopping by.

You have two options to reach Gyangong Ani – you can take a cable car from Tawang Monastery or do a small hike to reach the monastery, which starts at the north of Tawang Gompa.

Opening hours – 7 AM to 7 PM

Entry Fee – No entry fee

Distance from Tawang – 2 km

Witness the Kinds of Locals In Homestays

If you are wondering where to stay in Tawang, I am biased to the homestays for many reasons. Although you can find plenty of hotels in Tawang in all budget ranges, experiencing a homestay in Tawang is one of the top things. 

hotels in tawang

You get glimpses of the lives of the locals, get to taste their best food, alcohol, and get to know the many different stories and people.

I was bowled over by the warmth, kindness and hospitality of the people of Arunachal, which I only got to experience first-hand because of all the homestays that I stayed in.

hotels in tawang

Healthy home-cooked meals, family-friendly homes, friendly and helpful hosts will make your trip better, just like it did to me. So book your homestays when in Tawang for an incredible experience.

Visit Nearby Towns and Villages

While you can easily spend a weekend or three days in Tawang(or more), you can certainly get more of Arunachal’s beauty by exploring the many tiny hamlets nestling amidst the mountains.

how to reach Tawang

You can check out the nearby Zemithang, Bomdilla, Dhirang, and other smaller villages for experiencing the local ways of life, going off the beaten attractions to go hiking, camping, and living with the locals. 

You can plan your trip with North East Explorers for offbeat stays, and unique experiences as their local expertise mean they know the best of Tawang and other places.

Explore Banggachhang Lake

Among the lesser-known lakes in Tawang worth checking out is the lovely Banggachhang lake, located next to the Banggachhang Gompa. It is one of the sacred lakes to the Monpa Buddhists, with the legend being that the Guru Lopon Rimpoche visited this lake to meditate.

places to visit in Tawang in December

You can either drive to the lake or plan a hike, with the trail starting close to Sela Lake near the pass. This glacial lake is completely frozen during the winter months, but when the spring arrives, the landscape transforms beautifully as the snow melts while the wildflowers bloom in the surrounding valleys in the mountains.

photos of tawang

It is one of the most secluded lakes in India, and getting there is an adventure for sure, whether you are driving or hiking. But no matter how you get there, you will love the stunning vistas, so make sure to check out this unusual place to visit near Tawang.

Opening hours – Daytime

Entry Fee – No entry fee

Distance from Tawang – 100 km

Plan Trips to Hot Springs

Not many know many beautiful thermal baths or hot springs located in remote Arunachal villages surrounded by stunning valleys dotted with mountains. These hot water springs are known for their medicinal value because of their high sulphur content. 

If you are looking for some adventure in secluded locations, planning a trip to any of these hot springs is a fun idea.

Thingbu Hot Spring – Thingbu is one of the remote villages in Arunachal accessed by a drive of about 4 hours from Tawang. Although you cannot plan a day trip, you can stay a few days to experience the beauty of this village, especially its fantastic location. 

The village is home to Thingbu hot springs in the Mago Chu River. You can also plan a hike from Jang village or drive from Jang to reach this pretty hot spring which is an excellent attraction to relax in the winters.

Hot Springs in Mago – Another remote village is Mago, home to many hot springs nestling amidst the mountains. You can spend overnight in the village and check out some of them along the local river.

HOW TO REACH TAWANG

Due to its remote location, you will need at least a day or two to reach and another two to return even if you opt for the fastest means of transport. Ensure you take this into account while planning your Tawang itinerary.

tawang tourism

By Air

The fastest means of arriving at Tawang is by taking a flight. The nearest airport to Tawang is Tezpur Airport, also known as Salonibari Airport, located in the neighbouring Assam state. It is about 390km from Tawang.

There are regular flights from many major Indian cities to Tezpur Airport. Once you reach there, you can book a cab to Tawang, which will take 6 to 7 hours or more depending on the weather conditions.

You can book a flight to the nearest Kolkata International Airport or the international airport of Guwahati, also known as The Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport if you are flying to India from abroad. From either of the airports, you can choose between cabs and buses.

By Road

The longest means to reach Tawang is choosing to arrive by roadways. The nearest city to start your journey by road is arriving at Guwahati or, better, Tezpur.

You can get a shared Tata Sumo or Mahindra Bolero from either of these cities or book a private taxi. The upside to the road trip to Tawang is all the fantastic landscapes you will pass by.

By Train

The nearest railway station to Tawang is Rangapara Railway Station in Thakurbari, Assam, about 383 kilometres. But only a few trains run to this station, mainly from Delhi to Rangapara. 

From this train station, you have to book a private cab which will take around 11 hours to arrive at Tawang.

WHERE TO STAY IN TAWANG

It is not difficult to find Tawang hotels in all budget ranges, whether traveling alone or with your family. 

If you are looking for hotels, check out Yul Pemakhar, which is 1km from the centre, and close to the main monastery. 

Hotel Jhaktsang is an excellent hotel for families or couples looking for rooms with spacious balconies, views, and a better ambience. They also offer to pick up and drop services at an additional cost.

Hotel Taktsang is also an excellent hotel for couples and people traveling with kids.

If you are looking for homes and apartments, check out Vamoose North Hill, known for its excellent location and valley views. 

If you want to stay close to the centre, Vamoose Dolma, located close to the old market, is the best choice.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THINGS TO DO IN TAWANG

What should I know before traveling to Tawang?

Here are some tips and things to know before planning your Tawang trip.

Tawang and other places in Arunachal have minimal access. Along with that, the weather and the seasons heavily influence the road conditions. So avoid peak monsoons and winter days when roads are blocked due to landslides and snowfall.

Also, Tawang is a high altitude town, which means you might be prone to altitude sickness. It is best to be prepared(with medications and checkups) before you start your trip, especially if you have some pre-existing medical conditions or any elders who may have them.

Many underestimate the harsh weather, just like the high altitude conditions, which is not advisable. This is true, especially if you are planning to travel to Tawang during the winter when the temperatures drop to negative all the time. 

So make sure to carry winter wear, including jackets, several layers of clothes, proper water-proof hiking shoes, gloves, and headgear.

You need to secure a permit to visit Arunachal Pradesh, known as ILP. Check this guide to find out how to get one.

Is it safe to visit Tawang?

Yes, it is safe to visit Tawang. Before travelling, some things to note are acclimatization to high altitudes, the weather, and road conditions.

Is Tawang safe for solo travel?

Yes, you can travel alone in Tawang or any part of Arunachal without worrying about safety. Make sure you take the general precautions, and you will enjoy your trip to this beautiful state.

What is Tawang famous for?

Tawang, the beautiful hilltop town in Arunachal, is famous for its 400-year-old monastery, the largest Buddhist monastery in India, and the second-largest in the world, after the Potala Palace in Lhasa.

How to reach Tawang from Tezpur?

Most people prefer driving from Tezpur in Assam to Tawang, which takes around 6 to 8 hours, depending on the weather conditions. You can also reach Tawang from Tezpur by train, which takes 6 hours. 

How to reach Tawang by air?

The nearest international airport from Tawang is in Guwahati, 480 km. The nearest domestic airport is in Tezpur, 6 hours away.

What is the best time to visit Tawang?

The best time to travel to Tawang depends on your preferences and the kind of experiences you are looking for. Check this detailed Tawang weather guide for deciding what the best time for you is.

Is there snow in Tawang in May and June?

You may witness snow-covered peaks of the Himalayas from the town all year round, provided the temperature is ideal, but the best time to experience snow in Tawang is from January to March.

PS: I traveled in Arunachal with North East Explorers as a part of the partner collaborations, but all the opinions and thoughts are my own. 

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TOP TRAVEL TIPS & RESOURCES

Below is the list of the travel resources you can use to organize your travel – from flights to insurance and everything. These are the resources I use myself, which is why I recommend you for a hassle-free travel planning experience and fantastic trips.

Booking Flights: To score flight deals, search on Jet Radar, Kiwior 12go.Asia (for Asia planning). Book and fly mid-week, taking red-eyes flights or those in the early mornings for better deals and lower prices. Avoid check-in bags on a budget airline.

Booking Trains: The best websites for booking trains anywhere in Europe are Rail Europe and TrainLine. Both are easy to manage online and track your journeys.

Booking Cars: For the best prices and easy handling of renting a car for road trips and day trips, I’d recommend Discover Cars or Rental Cars, available throughout the world.

Accommodations: I typically use HotelsCombined or Booking.com to book hotels. There are special getaway deals with amazing discounts(over 50%!) for this year on Booking.com, and you can find them here.

I use Hostelworld and Agoda to book hostels as the deposit is low, easy change/cancellation is available and reviews are excellent on both. Depending on the destination, I love staying in VRBOs/homestays.

Travel Insurance: No matter whether it is a short trip or longer trips abroad, I strongly recommend buying travel insurance for international trips. I recommend either World Nomads or SafetyWing for international travel insurance.

Tours: Being a solo traveler, one of the best ways to optimize my time, budget, and super importantly, meet amazing people from all over the world is by joining tours, especially food tours, walking tours, day trips, culture, and history tours.
You will get a local’s perspective, the best opportunities to experience places and people closely. I book using GetYourGuideKlookViatorand Voyagin.

Reshma Narasing

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