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 India 2009 - Part 6 - Map for this journey and some additional info

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Restricted Area Permit - situation in 2009

Every foreigner needs this permit for entering and travelling around Arurunachal Pradesh (AP). Getting this is the key for coming there and it is quite easy to obtain if you know how. Then you can enjoy AP, where we did not met any single foreigner during one month of travelling (we even did not meet any foreigner in open Assam, that supprised me). AP was closed to foreigners till about 1994 (because it's sensitive area that China still claims as a part of Tibet). Later permit used to be issed for group of 4 people and 15 days only. From about 2007, permit is for minimum of 2 people and for up to 1 month.

Travel agency must apply for it, it must list all to be visitied (usually written as district capitals of different districts, so better to list allmost all Arunachal there as it's not quick and cheap to issue new permit). It is the offical in Itanagar who decides what town/village can be listed in the permit, so I believe some sensitive places like Walong of Kibithoo - too close to to China or Myanmar probably could not be there (but you can still try to go there and can succeed, especially if you have the capital of that district written there). There are generally no police or military check posts inside AP. Only army posts close to the border with China, about 20-30 before the boder (when the road is there) or in villages where distinct path leads to easy pass to China (e.g. Mago). Note, that I was told that Bhutan itself can be unoficially visited from AP for a few hours as there shoud be no checks there. But you can not sleep there. You may try it ....

The permit can more or less be issued only in Itanagar, capital of AP. Travel agencies working outside AP need to submit application using someone in Itanagar. You need this permit before entering AP, so the only solution is to send copies of passport photo page and Indian visa to the travel agency electronically and they will send you electronically the permit. So you don't need to visit the travel agency at all if you don't want want to, everything can be done remotely. My permit is here. You just need to print enough copies of it, black&white are sufficient, every bigger village has copy machine anyway.

You will never need the original, just black and white copies of the permit are given to hotels in AP or when entering AP. So in fact you don't need to visit the travel agency at all, you pay them in advance e.g. by Western Union. You can find my copy here. It can be arranged for more people that do not need to travel together. Many travel agencies refuse to arrange you only the permit without package tour. 50 usd per person goes to AP government, so expect to pay 100 usd per person to the travel company.

My permit was issued by Lawrence Koj of Traveler Journey Club. When I was in Bomdila, I talked to Tsering Wange of Himalayan Holidays and he claimed to be willing to issue the permit (and only permit) to independent tourists as well. But this was not tested, both me and my friends who visited Arunachal before used Lawrence Koj. List of AP travel agencies.
gorichen area map
For most of it's part, this trek follow so called Bailey trail, used by colonel Bailey in 1913 and by invading Chinese in 1962 as well. More about trekking in Tawang district can be found in this good book of Harish Kapadia. From Tse La pass, instead of following good path west to Mago, we continued north, with no path,  to go directlly to the lake under Gorichen mountain. This was probably the most beautiful part of the trek. More can be seen in the Russian military map, full size here. It took 9 days of gentle trekking.

This is an intresting option to approach Gorichen mountain, still not climbed by foreigners probably, in order to avoid Indian military at Mago village. Although they were ok with our general Arunachal permit when we came from Gorichen and headed out to Tawang, they would probably not be ok when coming to Gorichen. Especially with the aim of climbing it (better no say this to them, but this is a problem if you are with porters). It lies directly on the border with China and this border is off limits to foreigners oficially. Without stops, if would take about 5 days to reach basecamp of Gorichen from Chander/Larjab (out way). It's not bad compared with 3 days from Jang (clasical way) and there are no army posts on the way. Plus the way from Jang to Mago is quite boring in the canyon and dense forest, especially when going this twice.

And don't forget about Kangro seventhousander not far from Gorichen, still not climbed from the south (climbed from China) :-)
gorichen detail map
bailey trail

You can see from this plan from Harish Kapadia book, that the road up to Chander (and eventually Larjab) starts from a place called Munna. But the final part under Gorichen is incorrent on this plan - 1 valley is missing, the Russian map is correct. You can see Kangto seventhousander here as well. Unfortunatelly, it's not visible from Tse La pass of from under Gorichen mountain. I wonder why anyone did not attempt to climb Kangto from Gorichen side. This is probably the best access path over dense forest / jungle.
arunachal roads map
This road map was painded next to the road. Although no being complete map of roads in eastern Arunachal, it shows correctly (in contrast to ReiseKnowHow map) the area around Wakro and the way to Anini.
glow lake
This is a beautiful jungle trek for about 3 days (2 days up, 1 day down). In order to visit higher places of northern Namdapha national park (or Kamlang Wildlife Sanctuary) it would be better start from Hawain, capital of new Anjaw district (up to 200? it was all Lohit district). Hopefully a path is still passable from there to Wakro. It used to be used before road following Lohit river was build. If the path is not passable, it would still be shorter to return do Hawai probably (as the 3500m pass is closer to Hawai then to Wakro). Original Russian military map (where that path is visible) is here.

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