Located 304km northeast of Itanagar, the small market town of Along, or Aalo, serves as the district headquarters of the somewhat desolate West Siang District. The town is situated at an altitude of 300m in a scenic valley carpeted with orange orchards at the confluence of the Sipu and Siyom (or Yomgo) rivers. There are many beautiful Adi villages around town that offer a glimpse into the unique culture of the Adi people. Along also provides plenty of opportunities for trekking, hiking, river rafting and angling.

Amongst the highlights here is the Patum Bridge, located 4km from the main town. This 146-m-long iron bridge over the Siyom river offers breathtaking views of the town.

Stop by the local market at Along, which is run by Adi women – in contrast to most other businesses in the town, largely run by immigrants from nearby states. The market offers the region’s best oranges, and even unusual items such as dried squirrels.

Courtesy Eastern Frontier Tours & Travels
The green hills around Mechuka village
The green hills around Mechuka village

Around 14km from town, the suspension bridge over Siang river is another popular attraction. Made of cane and bamboo, the 60–70m bridge is a fine example of Adi craftsmanship. Bravehearts can take the exciting walk across the bridge and even take a peek at the river below through the bamboo weaving of the bridge floor. River rafting and angling are popular here.

Tip It is best to organise your visit here with the help of a tour operator

WHERE TO STAY

Most of the hotels in the town are located along Pharmacy Line. The Circuit House is an option if you do not get bookings at other places. Hotel Toshi Palace (Tel: 03783- 222838 Cell: 09436056379; Tariff: ₹700-1,350) is located across the State Transport Office in Aalo. It has 14 rooms and a decent restaurant.

At Nehru Chowk, Paktu, Aalo there’s Hotel Aagam (Tel: 223640, Cell: 09436696028; Tariff: ₹600– 1,200) with a restaurant and internet. However, homestays are the best option for those looking to learn about the local culture.

Madhu Kapparath
A road snaking its way up a hill in Lohit
A road snaking its way up a hill in Lohit

AROUND ALONG

Mechuka (180km)

The hamlet of Mechuka lies at an altitude of 1,828m in a forested valley, in West Siang District. The Siyom river – locally called Yargyap Chu – flows through the valley and offers river rafting and angling opportunities. The village is inhabited by the Memba, Ramo, Bokar and Libo tribes. Stop by the shops to browse through bamboo and cane handicrafts such as lamp-shades, baskets, toys, etc. The prime tourist attraction here is the 400-year-old Samten Yongcha Monastery, on the western edge of the village. The pristine Mechuka Lake is close by.

WHERE TO STAY

You can stay at the Circuit House or the PWD Inspection Bungalow. Private options include Hotel Magson (Tel: 03783-291728; Tariff: ₹400–600) and Hotel Holiday Cottage (Tel: 222463, Cell: 09436090511; Tariff: ₹400–500).

Lohit and Tezu (370km)

The administrative district of Lohit lies in the easternmost part of Arunachal Pradesh, with Tezu as its headquarters. The district is named after the Lohit river, a tributary of the Brahmaputra that flows through the region. North of Tezu lies the Mishimi Hills, with tropical evergreen forests dotting the foothills and pine forests blanketing its upper reaches. This border region bristles with mile-long army encampments. One of the engagements of the 1962 Indo-China War took place here.

Tezu is a small town with a bazaar, a Circuit House, a collector’s bung-alow, hotels and lush fields. Drive 47km east to Parasuramkund, a sacred lake believed to have been created by Hindu sage Parasuram’s axe. A fair is held on Makar Sankranti every Jan-uary, when devotees take a dip in the lake to wash off their sins.

Pasighat (105km)

Stretching along the banks of the Siang river, Pasighat was established by the British in 1911, as an administrative gateway to the Abor hills and the northern parts of the state. The scenic sunrise over the Siang river is the biggest attraction here.

Inputs by Shreya Sarkar

FAST FACTS

When to Go October to February; avoid the monsoon months (June to August)

Tourist Offices/ Permits

See Itanagar Fast Facts box

STD code 03783

GETTING THERE

State Arunachal Pradesh

Location Headquarters of West Siang District

Distance 292km NE of Itanagar

Route from Itanagar via NH52; then turn right onto NH229 and continue till Along

Air Nearest airport: Lilabari (241km). Another option is to take a ferry ride from Mohanbari (Dibrugarh) across the Brahmaputra to Oiramghat, which is at a short distance from Pasighat

Tip Avoid taking the ferry during the rainy season when the river is flooded.

Road Pasighat can also be reached by bus from Guwahati (overnight journey), Lakhimpur and Itanagar