"A chance to trek the high mountain passes, get involved first hand with Buddhism culture and fall in love with rural India at it's finest"
Let’s take a trip back to ancient times, when traders crossed the Himalayan watershed to bring caravans packed full of wool, yak butter and precious stones from Tibet to Assam, where they’d exchange their goods for salt, tea and cloth. In 1913, this route was explored by F.M. Bailey and his team of British surveyors, and came to be known as The Bailey Trail. The route you’ll follow on this trek aligns partially with this ancient trade route, crossing high mountain passes and winding through interlocking valleys. Journey through sub-tropical forests, high grasslands and barren Himalayan pastures, admire alpine lakes, visit traditional villages and monasteries and interact with friendly locals along the way.
Your tour begins in Assam, an ancient city steeped in folklore and mythology. As you drive along a modern highway to Tawang, you’ll pass three great ridges, including the formidable Sela Ridge (4,900m). Tawang is encircled by a horseshoe of mountain ridges, with the magnificent peak of Gori Chen at one side and Kangdo on the other. Over the course of seven days, follow The Bailey Trail to cross the Tse la Pass (4,550m) and the huge Sela Ridge. Traversing through river valleys, you’ll spend time in the monastery at Tawang and see the sights in the Dirang Valley before returning to Guwahati via the Bomdi la Pass.
We understand that tourism often helps to alleviate poverty and develop communities and, as part of the global tourism industry, acknowledge that they too have a crucial role to play in providing commercial benefits and financial impetus in local communities. The company is conscious of both the negative and positive impacts its operations potentially have within sensitive environments and communities, particularly in the Himalayas where most of our trekking and adventure operations are conducted.
To ensure that they operate in as responsible a way as possible, we train all of its tour leaders and support staff on sustainability practices. One example is their ‘Leave no Trace’ policy, which ensures that campsites and trails are left free from any waste. The company even extends this policy to include the waste left by travellers who have come before them, collecting and disposing of any extra rubbish in a safe manner.
Arrive in Delhi’s international airport and receive a traditional ‘Swagat’ (welcome) before transferring to your hotel.
Transfer from your hotel to the airport for a flight to Guwahati. Upon your arrival, drive to Assam. This ancient city was formerly known as Sonitpur, and is steeped in folklore and mythology. The ‘city of blood’ conjures up images of the legend of Usha and Aniruddha, and also of the battle between Hara and Hari.
After breakfast, drive to Dirang (Arunachal Pradesh), stopping at the Orchid Research Centre at Tipi en route. Of India’s 1,000 orchid species, over half are found in Arunachal Pradesh.
Take an early morning transfer by vehicle to Chander. If the weather is clear, you’ll get your first snowy panoramic view. Here, your trek begins with a steady uphill walk through forests. You’ll arrive at a yak pasture, which will be your campsite.
Today’s trek is fairly difficult, with 5-6 hours of walking through coniferous forests and two steep climbs along a ridge to reach the camp near Chang la pass (3,650m). You’ll be rewarded with fantastic views of the Himalayan watershed and the Sela range surrounding the valleys.
Climb steadily through coniferous, juniper and rhododendron forests to cross the Posing la pass (3,950m). Descend to cross a glacial stream, then ascend to an alpine pasture where you’ll camp. Potak (4,200m) is situated at the confluence of two streams.
A steady uphill trek beyond the tree line takes you to the Tse la pass (4,550m). Admire a small alpine lake below the summit, as well as spectacular panoramic views of river valleys, the Sela ridge and the peaks of Gorichen (6,500m) and Kangdo (7,090m). Tonight’s camp is located at Lortum.
Today is between eight and nine hours long, and begins with a leisurely downhill walk. Next, you’ll climb steadily on a near-virgin trail to reach the Khokar la pass that connects the Lortum and Luguthang valleys. Encountering many false crests makes this part of the trek quite challenging. Reaching the top, you’ll enjoy beautiful views of alpine lakes and the river valley in the distance. The descent into the valley and on to the campsite is one of the most stunning parts of the tour. Luguthang, a cluster of houses and a gompa, sits at 4,500m. Enjoy great views of the Tawang Chhu Valley from the ridges surrounding Luguthang.
Today is another long and arduous day, with two high pass crossings as well as a number of ascents and descents. The average altitude of today’s trek is 4,500m, which makes it even more challenging. Tonight’s camp is situated in a lovely pasture at Tsonai. You’ll certainly be grateful to arrive at camp after a long day of trekking!
Awake to stunning views of the great peaks. Your final day of trekking consists of a two to three hour hike to Kya la, before you make your descent to the Sela Pass. Here, you’ll transfer to your jeep to drive down into the Tawang Chhu Valley. The drive through the narrow and rugged valley, and then through scenic countryside to Tawang, is most enjoyable!
Explore the famous Galden Namgyal Lhatse (Tawang Monastery). The 350-year-old monastery is the fountain-head of the spiritual life of the Gelugpa Sect of Buddhism. The internal walls of its assembly hall and the Dukhang shrine are decorated with murals depicting various saints and divinities. The silk-wrapped silver casket that contains the Thangkas of the Goddess Palden Lhamo (the monastery’s principal deity) was painted with blood drawn from the fifth Dalai Lama’s nose. Admire the enormous 26-foot high statue of Lord Buddha and, in the afternoon, participate in a cultural song and dance programme.
Continue your sightseeing with a visit to a Buddhist nunnery, craft centre and the 15th century Urgelling Monastery, birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama. In the Mongolian invasion of the early 18th century, the Dalai Lama’s original monastery at Urgelling was destroyed. All of the monastery’s most valuable contents were taken to Tawang monastery, including the gold and silver Kagyur (holy scriptures). They are preserved in Tawang monastery to this day. A modest gompa now stands at this site. After an early lunch, return to Dirang via the Sela pass.
Visit the Sangti Valley, the Yak Research centre, Monpa heritage village and Dirang Dzong.
Return by vehicle to Assam (six to seven hours) and check in to your hotel.
Transfer to Guwahati airport where you’ll board a flight back to Delhi. Check in to your hotel and spend the rest of the day exploring or relaxing.
Take a transfer to Delhi’s international airport and board your onward flight.
- The rate shown is a 'from' price per person (on a double sharing basis)
- Click 'Ask a Question' up above to speak to the operator directly about this tour's departure dates, availability and costs
- Refunds: 80% refund available until 30 days prior to check-in; 50% refund available 15 days prior to check-in; 25% refund available 6 days prior to check-in; within 5 days of check-in there will be no refund.
- Breakfasts while staying at hotels
- Full board meals while camping
- English speaking monument sightseeing guides at cities
- Full trekking service including food and equipment (apart from personal equipment)
- Travel insurance
- Indian visa fees
- Any monument entrance fees
- Flights (domestic/international)
- Any optional activities or services not mentioned in inclusions
- Services of any professional English speaking tour leader/escort during the tour
- Miscellaneous expenses for tips, laundry, drinks, any medical emergencies and souvenirs etc.