Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Aalo (Along) - a picturesque Adi valley

Along (Aalo) -the headquarter of West Siang district is located at 300m elevation. This educational hub is at the confluence of Sipu and Siyon rivers, with photogenic Adi (Abor) villages. The road to Aalo from Pasighat is excellent until you take a left diversion before a bridge. Some parts of the roads caved in during the heavy rains. 8hrs of bone tattling ride from Pasighat will take you to Aalo going through lush green forest with river in the valley on your side. The waterfalls on your right side is a relief from the muddy and slushy roads.

Hotel Aagam (Nehru Chowk, Yubo complex, 9436645055, 03783 223640, dm/s/d/dlx/st Rs.200/500/600/1000/1200) is the best value option with water heater and newly painted rooms with small balconies entering through the toilet. The next door Hotel Yomgo offers cheaper rooms (dbl Rs.350 with shared bathroom and cold showers).

CARRY CASH!!! ATMs at Aalo may not be working and if working, there will be a queue of 50 people. Megha was impressed with the preferential treatment for women in ATMs with separate queue for women. The men/women closer to the machine will have more than 2 cards with ATM pin written on a piece of paper, of the others in the queue behind them. The machine spits out only 1000 currency notes.


River Trek through Adi villages:
To visit the photogenic Adi villages, we marched on foot to Kabu village, one hour walk from Aalo town on the road to Tato. Don't be frightened by the machetes and guns carried by the villagers. Ask the friendly people for the school building once you reach village on your right side. Cross the football ground to reach the iron bridge built in Dec 2009 -  a good spot to watch the Mithuns, coming to drink water at dawn and dusk. The old bamboo bridge got washed away in the heavy monsoons of june 2012. Fishermen from Assam win bids in the range of 1lakh in the auction for fishing by casting nets in Yomgo river. Kabu village river boundary reaches to 7km on both sides from this bridge.

From the bridge, get down to the left side of the river bank and walk along the river on the round rocks. If you go right, you can reach Patum bridge in 6hours. Paia is 2hrs of trek from this bridge to the left. After a while, you need to walk up to the paddy fields to cross a difficult section. Follow the path until the iron bridge from Paia to Pobdi is visible. The picture perfect Adi village is visible on your right side. The houses are built by wood supported by stilts and thatched by palm leaf. The size of the houses are more than a hut, measuring up to 2000sqft. The thatched roof last up to ten years. Right to the iron bridge is the hair raising bamboo decked wobbling bridge.

Once you cross this bridge precariously, a steep trail leads to the main road from Aalo to Tato, from where you can get a city bus to Aalo at 12pm. We boarded the same bus and went to Bene village, where a barbeque was in progress after a puja with the cow skull kept on a tripod like wooden poles (hogi). Apong (rice beer) was loaded into the bus from another village, villagers told us about 'Mani Sir' - a school teacher from Kerala.


  1. There are no gaurs in that region, only Mithuns?

    Can you point me to the location of Tato on the map - is it on one of the main roads out of Along - to Daporigo or Mechuka?

    Can one walk one one's own without guides to these villages?

  2. Tato is enroute to Mechuka/Menchuka. It's the midway between Aalo and Menchuka. It's a small town but I don't think there is any option to stay (unless you've some good friends in the Indian Army). From here there is a road bifurcates to another place called Monigong, which I heard to be a beautiful place but with horrible roads (hence we decided to skip as our car was giving us trouble).

  3. BTW, Romin, how many days you guys spent in Aalo? I think I need to plan for a proper Aalo trip for next time as this time we were there only for a day.

    1. We stayed 2 days in Along, 3 days are recommended to trek to the Adi villages along the river. Patum bridge is a recommended trek by locals.

  4. We did not hear about Gaurs from the villagers. We spotted a few mithuns on the road to Menchukha.

    Search for "tayi, arunachal pradesh" in GMaps. I guess that is the diversion to Tato. This tiny place was the last place the road ended - Menchukha people used to trek up to here in 2days before the roads completed. There is a small accommodation at a restaurant in Tato- Jobin had stayed here. There is no mass transport to Monigong as of now.

    You can walk around the villages without a guide as far as you are culturally sensitive. Be discreet with camera.