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If you want to uncover some of nature’s secrets here in Arunachal Pradesh, there is one hidden location that you need to visit.
The gorgeous and secluded Sangti Valley.
An emerald paradise that’s tucked away in the mountains with the flowing Sangti river snaking through it. It’s the very definition of serenity.
If you want to know why it’s so special, keep reading as I’ll go through all the reasons you should add it to your Arunachal adventures below.
1. Sangti is a hidden secret in Arunachal Pradesh
A lot of tourists when they head up the Tawang road in West Kameng only think to visit the main cities and towns along the way. Balukpong, Bomdila, Dirang, The Sela Pass etc.
They don’t even think about going off the beaten track into the lesser-known Monpa villages. Hence, why there is such little tourism and infrastructure here!
But, if you’re willing to go on a little faith and divert, you will be richly rewarded by Sangti Valley.
From the breathtaking views, the friendly locals and being present in nature, you may discover it’s the very best part of Arunachal Pradesh.
But, it’s also no secret that tourism in Arunachal is ramping up. Even comparing now to when I visited two years ago, things are changing and developing all the time.
So, make sure you visit it now while it still has its undiscovered charm!
2. It’s only a few kilometres away from Dirang
Although this destination is ‘off-beat’, you’ll be glad to know that it’s easily accessible from the main West Kameng circuit road in Dirang.
So, even if you are on a road trip up to Tawang, you can still fit Sangti Valley in on your journey there.
When you reach Dirang Basti Village (not the main Dirang City), you will need to turn off and cross over the bridges on the Dirang Chu River to access the road heading to Sangti Valley.
Where is Sangti Valley and how to get there
Sangti Valley is hidden away in the wider Dirang Circle in West Kameng, North East India.
The distance from Dirang to Sangti Valley is 13 kilometres. But, due to the bumpy, potholed roads, the whole drive will take you around 40 minutes without stopping.
There is one road in and one road out, so to get back to the main road in Dirang will be another 40 minutes.
It’s easiest if you have your own means of transport to access Sangti Valley. There are no traditional ‘buses’ here. But, maybe there will be some sumo jeeps or sharing taxis heading this way from Dirang which you can enquire about in the main town.
You can also hire a taxi to Sangti from Dirang, but the prices are sky high due to road quality. You could pay up to 3,000 rupees for a private car!
For more information on public transport options in North East India, make sure you check out my detailed post here. I made quite a few mistakes the first time around, this will make sure you don’t make them too!
3. Sangti is the perfect location if you want peace and quiet
India on the whole can be loud, crazy and hectic. I know more than most after living in the capital city of Delhi for over a year!
But, Arunachal Pradesh is where you can escape all of that. In fact, you won’t feel like you’re in India at all.
Instead of traffic, horns and people yelling, you’ll only hear a river flowing, bird song, animals and the odd hello between locals.
So, if you’re visiting this state for peace and quiet, Sangti Valley will be your sanctum.
You could even mistake this place for Heaven on Earth and if that isn’t a reason to visit I don’t know what is!
4. It’s more about the people you meet in Sangti
There isn’t an endless list of things to do in Sangti Valley per se. It’s more about the interactions with the locals and learning about the Monpa way of life.
Arunachal Pradesh really hasn’t been touched by the modern world just yet. People get up at sunrise, pray at their temple, work hard during the day on the farm, eat dinner as a family and sleep around sunset.
There’s a special beauty in this simpler way of life that has to be admired.
I loved the fact I was welcomed here with open arms and people were curious to meet me. Find out where I was from, invite me in for a local tea or Ara (alcohol), and even meet their children and show me their homes.
Meet the Brokpa Shepherds and their sheep!
One of my favourite experiences in Sangti Valley was meeting the Brokpa shepherds rally their sheep on their way back from a long day of grazing in the fields.
There seemed like hundreds of them all hungry for their dinner, so we went to say hello and joined them.
As soon as the shed opened, the sheep ran inside the hut for their dinner! They all huddled around the pens full of food and it was hilarious watching them.
So, if you do happen to visit around sunset, make sure you keep an eye out for a fluffy sheep army!
We asked the shepherds questions about them and one of the sheep was sick, so he was fed some medicine. Also, we found out that most of the sheep were imported from different countries like Russia and New Zealand.
5. But, there is enough to do to keep you occupied
Although Sangti Valley is a tiny valley in Arunachal Pradesh, there is plenty to do here if you wanted to explore.
I know I’m guilty of wanting something to do while I travel all the time and have a hard staying put. So, here are some of the things to do in Sangti Valley I would recommend;
Things to do in Sangti Valley
Take a stroll through Sangti Village
Sangti Village is a quaint area filled with traditional Arunachal Pradesh houses and Brokpa huts in the countryside.
You’ll find women chatting with friends, children playing outside, small shops selling fruit and vegetables and the smoke from the fires on the rooftops.
It’s a small but friendly place and there is always something new to discover here.
Visit Sangti Mahayana Buddhist Temple
As you walk towards the river banks, there is a gorgeous and colourful temple.
The people in Sangti Valley are Mahayana Buddhist, similar to Tibet, and the paintings in the temple reflect their faith.
You’ll also find prayer wheels that you’re welcome to turn, but make sure you take your shoes off before entering.
If you’re on your way to Tawang, the second largest Buddhist monastery in the world can be found there! So, this will be a sample of that.
Cross over the suspension bridge to Sangti River
One of the highlights of being in Sangti Valley is being so close to the river. Here, is where you’ll really see how beautiful Sangti is.
You will need to cross over the suspension bridge covered with prayer flags first and this will give you a beautiful panoramic view of the valley.
There is a campsite by the river now (which I’ll explain later), but you’re free to go exploring on the river banks if you want to. These views really took my breath away.
The best time to visit is at sunrise, when you can see the sun rising over the valley. But, when we visited at sunset at around 4 pm, it was a lovely time to visit. The weather was cooler with a nice breeze.
Warning – there are quite a lot of mosquitos and midges here due to it being warmer. So, make sure you bring bug spray!
Enjoy a warm chai with a view
The one benefit to their being a campsite here now is the fact that they have a small restaurant that can make hot drinks and some snacks.
One of my favourite parts of my second visit to Sangti Valley was enjoying a warm cup of tea on the riverside.
Just sipping on tea, hearing the river flowing through the mountains and being lost with my own thoughts. It was perfect!
Try the Kiwi fruit
Sangti Valley has the perfect climate for growing Kiwi fruit here and you can buy bags of them all over the place! It’s incredibly fresh as it’s direct from the source and cheap by the kilo too.
So, you may find kiwi on the menu for breakfast or dessert and it’s delicious!
They even make Kiwi wine now in Ziro Valley in Arunachal now, so watch out for that being sold in the area. It was a little sour, but personally, I loved it.
6. The Black Necked Crane settles here every November
If you’re a bird lover, then you may want to coincide your trip with the migration of the Black Necked Crane who makes a home here each November.
The Black Necked Crane is a sacred symbol in the Buddhist religion and is a rare species that can only be found in the colder climates of Tibet, India and Bhutan.
In Bhutan, there is a whole festival to celebrate this bird and a special crane dance that is performed during this time. It is also the state bird of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
As well as Sangti Valley, there are also other attractions in Arunachal Pradesh for bird lovers like the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary. It’s located near Bomdila and you can find over 450 species of birds there.
7. It’s somewhere you will never forget
Sangti Valley leaves its mark on you in the subtlest of ways.
It may be the fact that it was so peaceful and when you’re in a noisy place you’ll crave the sound of a pin drop.
Or, you’ll remember the friendly faces and hospitality of the people there. Maybe you’ll think of it when you imagine paradise and use its memory to escape there.
Either way, it won’t hit you at first. But, this tiny, unexplored oasis will stick in your mind long after you’ve left Arunachal Pradesh.
It’s paradise and it’s waiting for you to discover it.
Where to stay in Sangti Valley
If you’d rather make Sangti a stop on your adventures and stick around for a day or two, there are some places to stay in Sangti.
There are both homestays in the village and even a luxury camping site by the river. So, there is something for all budgets;
Letro Homestay & Campsite
The main place to stay here in Sangti Valley is the Letro Homestay which includes rooms inside a local home and also a campsite.
Their tents range from luxury to basic, or you can bring your own tent and pitch up for the night here too.
When I popped over for chai, I had a look around the luxury tents and these had a double bed, plug sockets, running water and an attached bathroom with a western toilet too.
The luxury camping is around 4,000 rupees per night, so it’s not cheap. But, you’re mainly paying for the location.
Dirang Boutique Cottages
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay as a base to explore this beautiful area of West Kameng, Dirang is a good choice.
Not only is this on the way to Tawang, but from here you can access some of the region’s top attractions and off-the-beaten-track villages too.
I stayed in Dirang Boutique Cottages which is a brand new property that opened up in 2019. They have eight spacious rooms inside cosy cottages based on traditional Brokpa huts.
It’s run by a local family on a farm, so they also cook up amazing organic dishes on their menu.