Bum La pass
The Bum La pass is a mountain pass that connects India and China by road. Tourists are allowed upto the reception centre at the pass and to visit the Bum La Gompa. Venturing further is off-limits and is the privilege of army personnel.
This place is best visited during September - October. During other times of the year, the weather is really tricky, raining and snowing at whim. Unlike Sela pass, which is used heavily by civilians, the army has no committed reason to keep the road to Bum La in top shape. They will clear the snow just enough for a 4-wheel drive army vehicle with chains to its tyres to move reasonably well.
Tawang Arts and Crafts Emporium
Tawang craft centre is a place where craftsmen weave cloth and artistes make Monpa masks in a traditional way. This is one of the very places in India where authentic and traditional Tibetan crafts are made and can be bought. If you are looking for a souvenir from the trip, this will probably be your best bet to get something that's unique and local.
What to eat
You will get to eat Tibetan style snacks such as soup, momo, thukpa, etc. Meat eaters are more at an advantage here with different types of items ranging from chicken to pork available. If you visit during Losar (new year on Tibetan calendar), you will get several types of local savoury and sweet delicacies, usually made of local grains or rice, sugar, jaggery, sesame and cinnamon.
Tawang has several handicrafts of wool, local wood and gemstones. You can visit the main Tawang market to shop for pouches, gloves, mittens, sweaters, masks and fashion accessories.
Getting to Tawang
Tawang does not have any railways or airports. The nearest commercially active airport is at Guwahati. Tezpur, the nearest Assamese city to Tawang at 320 km away and an air-force city, is getting a commercial airport under the government's Udaan project. However, there is a special air service in the form of Pawan Hans, a helicopter shuttle between Guwahati and Tawang. Even if the helipad at Tawang is unserviceable, there is a backup helipad at Bomdila.
Railways and road
The nearest railway station is at Bhalukpong, a town at the border of Assam and Arunachal. Tezpur city also has a railway station. However, neither stations is serviced by regular trains with a reliable schedule. The nearest railway station with frequent trains from all over India is Rangia. While Guwahati is transport-wise the most connected city in Assam, it is on the southern side of the Brahmaputra river, whereas Tawang is to the north. Thankfully, all trains that halt at Guwahati also halt at Rangia, a town to the north of the river. So Rangia is a good tipping point to considerably reduce the commute time to Tawang, without having to touch Guwahati. There are several state buses that ply from Rangia to Tezpur. From Tezpur, you can take an SUV service to Tawang (read next section).
The only transportation from Assam to Tawang is from air-force city of Tezpur, a city at the confluence of Brahmaputra and Kameng rivers. The highway from Tezpur to Tawang narrows considerably after passing the village of Tippi. Also there is heavy movement of large army vehicles on the highway. As a result, there is no bus service on the highway. You should take a public transit SUV vehicle to Tawang. These vehicles leave very early in the morning to start a 10-hour journey to Tawang. They start near the Tezpur market. In peak season, you should book your seats a day in advance.