• The Don't Miss Places to Visit in Bomdila

The Don’t Miss Places to Visit in Bomdila

Bomdila Arunachal Pradesh was one of my favorite towns in Arunachal Pradesh. This small town has a population of less than 10,000 people, is 8,800 feet above sea level, and is the home of the Monpa, Aka, Miji, Sherdukpen, and Bogun tribes.

Places to Visit in BomdilaPassing into Arunachal Pradesh does require an ILP (inner line permit) or foreign permit (read more on that here.) So, you do need to plan ahead before you visit as a foreigner, while Indian nationals can pay for the ILP then and there for 100 Rs. It’s worth the planning because there are plenty of places to visit in Bomdila as well as things to do in Bomdila!

To get to Tawang, the most famous tourist attraction in this area of Arunachal, you have to pass by Bomdila anyways so take a day and night to spend some time here… and eat some Tibetan food! Momos!

Places to Visit in BomdilaThis is a Tibetan Mastiff. Cool dog! He’s still a puppy and will get much bigger.Places to Visit in Bomdila

Places to Visit in Bomdila monastery

Where to stay in Bomdila | Bomdila Hotels

There are not many options for hotels in Bomdila, as this state and most of the NE in general is only recently becoming ready for tourism. There are only TWO hotels in town & there are 7 B&B’s listed. I recommend staying at a B&B (homestay) to get a comfortable local experience.

Places to Visit in BomdilaEntrance to Sange’s mom’s house

Places to Visit in Bomdila

Places to Visit in BomdilaAs part of the Holiday Scout tour, we got to stay with our guide Sange’s mom and sisters! It was sooo cool! His sisters were so shy and quiet, and his mom was so kind and beautiful. They made us an amazing dinner of momos, thupka, some corn dish, dal, and more.

Places to Visit in Bomdila moms

Places to Visit in Bomdila momos

Places to Visit in Bomdila momos

Places to Visit in Bomdila momosFor breakfast we had soup, thupka again I think, and “momo locos” which is bread made from the same dough as momos (it’s really good). We also had some fresh pears they grew.

Places to Visit in Bomdila

Places to Visit in Bomdila

Places to Visit in BomdilaWe actually came back and stayed another night on our way back down the mountain a few days later. We had this delicious potato/noodle soup dish served on rice (with bread… carbs, carbs, carbs) and because I LOVE carbs, I was in heaven.

I declined trying the local alcohol, which is served hot, because I really don’t like the taste of liquor and would feel bad asking for something to chase down the bad taste with. Anna tried it and seemed to like it although not enough to finish it. We noticed lots of women here were drinking even near the monastery. Maybe because it’s so cold!

Places to Visit in Bomdila

Places to Visit in BomdilaWe had a few giant blankets on our beds which was great because the Bomdila weather is pretty darn cold. I slept awesome here. We were soon to find out, it was nearly as cold as Tawang! Families seem to spend their time around the fire in the kitchen until bedtime. Some people even sleep in the kitchen near the fire.

Places to Visit in BomdilaHomestays may not have western toilets or showers with a shower head above. You can heat water with the fire and use a bucket to bathe, and if you’re in India you should be used to the squatting toilets by now, right!? :) Hotels on the other hand will have this. For me, I just chose to think about my showers ahead of time and know that when I was staying somewhere very cold I would skip washing my hair and would just do a quick hot bucket bath then wrap up again by the fire.

It was worth “roughing it” so to speak (not that it really was, but I think for some it may be) because the family environment is so great when you travel. It’s cozy. You can see what the houses are like (for example one room is just for prayer) and what the family vibe is like here. I loved staying with Sange’s family.

Places to visit in Bomdila and things to do in Bomdila!

The Bomdila pass is where you can go for great views of Kangto and Gorichen Peaks which are the highest peaks in the state. You’ll also see great views just driving further north from Bomdila to Tawang.

Places to Visit in Bomdila

Places to Visit in Bomdila

Places to Visit in Bomdila

Tour the village in the afternoon. Explore the markets and do a little shopping.

Places to Visit in Bomdila

Places to Visit in Bomdila

Places to Visit in Bomdilamake sure you negotiate! “You can bargain on MRP. It’s your right”. That’s making sure you aren’t paying more than the set rate on the item you wish to buy. It’s often written.

Places to Visit in Bomdila

Places to Visit in BomdilaPeppers which are particular to this area only

Places to Visit in Bomdila

You cannot miss the Bomdila Monastery (GRL Monastery). Because Sange grew up in Bomdila, he was welcomed very happily here and showed us all around. It’s always great to get that local view. This is the #1 attraction in Bomdila.

Places to Visit in Bomdila monastery

Places to Visit in Bomdila monastery

Places to Visit in Bomdila monastery

Places to Visit in Bomdila monasteryDid you know Tibetan monks have been nominated for a GRAMMY for their amazing deep chants at another monastery? Crazy!

Places to Visit in Bomdila monasteryThis mandala is made in detail with sand during a religious festival. Once the festival is over, it was destroyed (all that hard work!) as a symbol of life always changing and the lack of meaning of material things.  

Places to Visit in Bomdila monastery

Places to Visit in Bomdila monasteryThe now Dalai Lama the 14th, who I heard speak a few years ago.

Places to Visit in Bomdila monastery

There are craft centers and emporiums to do some shopping and buy local handicraft.

There are also apple orchards to visit and orchid farms. We didn’t do this, as we stopped at Tipi on the way up to Bomdila and weren’t really into touring the orchids. They were mostly dead that time of year and we weren’t keen to take time learning about the flowers (sorry).

Meet a fortune telling monk!  As I mentioned, we stayed at his mom’s twice. The second time was on our way back down the mountain a few days later. This was one of the coolest bits about the tour, as our guide knows this monk, also called Sange ( Sange Lama) who meditated (studied) in the jungle alone for 9 years.

He came to our house (okay, Sange’s house but it was feeling a lot like home!) and had tea, sat with us in the prayer room, and read our fortunes. It was very cool. I will be writing about that experience in one of my friday “this is India” stories.

Had we not been on the Holiday Scout tour, we would not have had this cool experience nor would we have gotten to see the Monpa home life.


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About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Hippie in Heels, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Victoria@ The British Berliner January 5, 2016 at 11:56 am - Reply

    Happy New Year Rachel!
    Bomdila looks amazing! I’d love to visit and stay with the locals. And the food looks, just yum. Nice one!

  2. Abdel January 7, 2016 at 9:37 am - Reply

    Amazing snapshots Rachel. Yummy Momo’s. I think you enjoyed your trip, I wish i would share momo’s with you.

  3. K. N. Tiwari January 12, 2016 at 8:39 am - Reply

    It is nice to see your Bomdila visit note where many unexposed pockets around Bomdila are awaiting for “Nature lovers” like you.

  4. Laura January 13, 2016 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    Your posts are making me SERIOUSLY want to book on this tour and go to NE India. It looks and sounds so amazing.

  5. Elisa Zen January 21, 2016 at 2:58 am - Reply

    Looks like a wonderful place! A must see!!

  6. Tenzin April 12, 2016 at 8:28 am - Reply

    I miss my hometown Bomdila

  7. SANJIV MONGA May 16, 2016 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    Hey Rachel, such a lovely piece ! I’ve been to Bomdila too, infact, I’ve been travelling to Arunachal since 2002. The article is dated January this year. You went there earlier I presume. There is now a pretty good hotel, Lungta Residency, owned by an ex-student & dear friend, Lobsang Chombay. And btw, ‘momo locos’ is actually called Ting-Mo’s !
    Just thought I’d let you know so you can update the information. And did I tell you I know Sange too ! Cheers !

    • Rachel Jones May 16, 2016 at 1:53 pm - Reply

      Hi Sanjiv,

      Thanks for all that info! Lucky of you to know Sange, he’s a great guy! And yes, I was there earlier in I think October.

  8. Arjun June 5, 2016 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    My birth place bomdila I am missing this place.

  9. nalin p patel January 27, 2017 at 5:53 pm - Reply

    Can you please share contact number of homestay in Bomdila?

  10. sushant das April 6, 2018 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel,

    We are planning a trip in the coming months to bomdila and the info you provided was really helpful. However, contact number of any of the homestay there?

  11. Shilpa May 13, 2018 at 7:28 pm - Reply

    Beautiful description, Rachel! We just spent 4 wonderful days st Tawang!

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