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  • Writer's pictureKirk

Arunanchal Pradesh - Remote Travel Adventure

Updated: Oct 1, 2023

This is not an easy province in India to visit. As mentioned in the yesterday's post, not only is a visa to India required, but a separate, more difficult visa to this province is required. I currently hold a 10 year visa for India and I secured a visa for Arunanchal Pradesh through an acquaintance of mine that lives in the province.

There are no hotels to speak of in the province. At least not as most westerners would consider. I slept in a cot in a home with no conveniences to speak of. Although there was indoor plumbing, the toilet was at floor level and you had to squat over it. A bucket of water with a scoop was supplied to flush after use. I'm really not sure what arthritic 80 year olds do.

I really hated to get up during the night to go to the bathroom but my large prostrate would not accommodate. Using the light from my phone I would walk to the bathroom, but I would usually encounter the biggest cockroaches I've seen in my life. No point in killing them, others would just take their place.

In the room where I slept I discovered a nest of wasps or wasp like insects. The room was always filled with insects as there were large gaps in the floor of this raised building for entry. At first this bothered me, but you get used to this type of thing quickly.

In the morning a cold shower woke me up in a hurry. In the winter this could get quite brutal, but a necessary task.

Electricity was available but far from reliable. Nearly everyday there was an outage lasting for many hours. I think it was not available more than it was available. Power line "accidents" were a daily occurrence. Many caused from locals trying to do their own wiring to steal power.

The main city in the province is called Miao. There you will find many open market structures selling food, clothing, and everyday items. At certain times of the week they also have a farmer's market concept where locals bring their home made or grown goods to sell.

There are few trees in the province anymore. The forests have been decimated by the local tribes for home building as well as for the heat source. Although deforestation is illegal, it is difficult to enforce. The only national government presence I saw was the military. But they do not seek conflict with the local tribes.

One day I was stopped by a military officer and questioned as to why I was there. After he learned I was American he was quite fascinated and became very friendly. I really don't know why, but I was grateful for the tone change.

The Lisu people are abundant here. A mix of Tibetan Chinese and Burmese people. I found them to be very kind and helpful people. They have their own cultural dances which are quite beautiful. They were my favorite people in India I encountered.

On one occasion upon leaving India from Kolkata, I made the mistake of telling the immigration officer I visited Arunanchal Pradesh on this trip. He seemed quite interested. To the point he pulled me from the immigration line and interviewed me in a private room. The interview was quite intense as he was very interested in why I visited this area of India. I found later the reason was so few Westerners enter this part of India and they are concerned due to terrorist activities there.

I have been to other remote areas of the world but everywhere it seems Westerners are common. Here is a place you will feel isolated if you seek Western companions. It is also, by far, the most difficult place to access of all my travels. Both in terms of logistics and communications as tribal language is predominant here. The language translation app for Hindi is of minimal use!

Pictures of the Lisu people:

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