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The Complete Guide on Talle Valley Trek

On November 2014 I travelled with an assignment to explore a trek in Arunachal Pradesh. After 14 days of exploration I found a trek in Ziro known as Talle Valley trek. The moment I finished the trek I knew that it could be an excellent trek in future. It has all elements that you can expect from a trek. The highlights would be walking through the rain forest of Arunachal, forsaken camping places and close interaction with Apatani tribe “, says Soumya Mitra, our Trek Leader who explored this trail in November 2014. 

Here are the 3 reasons why Talle valley trek in Arunachal is a must-do

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The ancient Apatani Tribe of Ziro Valley

It’s the land of ancient tribes. Their customs and traditions are as heady as their welcome drink Apam – a sweetly fermented rice beer. And Ziro is the hotspot of their culture. This is strikingly different from the surrounding areas of this land because of its wide, well-made roads, large expanse of paddy fields and a pot pourri of cultures and traditions that rise to a hilt in this town. Since the time it started hosting an annual four day music festival, Ziro started attracting music lovers and artists from all over the world. When you’re here, don’t forget to try the farm fresh oranges, pineapples and kiwis sold around this place.

Ziro – your basecamp for the Talle Valley trek. Ziro is 115 kms away from the your rail head Naharlagun. The journey takes about 4 hours. Picture by Indiahikes team

But apart from the cultural hoo-ha that surrounds Apatanis, there’s another reason why they are of utmost importance as far as Talle Valley trek goes. Apatanis play a pivotal role in preserving biodiversity in Talle Valley. Yes, Apatanis are known for their highly evolved agriculture and pisciculture.

While they value their traditions, they also keep nature close to their hearts. And so they have ‘taboo periods’. These are time lines when hunting or entering the forests is prohibited. Failure to comply by taboo rules earns strict punishment by way of isolation and food restrictions. And this is one of the prime reasons why forests of Talle Valley have preserved certain species that have been wiped out from other parts of the country.

Ziro is home to the Apatani tribe. Apatanis used to practice facial tattoos before; they have now dropped this custom. Picture by Indiahikes team

Three valleys and two rivers

The Talle Valley trail winds up and down mountains, valleys and across rivers. On this trek, you cross the Pangey Valley, Talle Valley and Ziro Valley. All three are picturesque, surrounded by robust, green mountains.

The hike will take you over and along the Talle and Pangey rivers. Though river crossings are easy, the water is cold. For a large part, the trail goes along these rivers. Picture by Indiahikes team

A trek through biodiversity zone

The trek dips into the Talle Valley Wildlife Sanctuary that’s spread over 337 square meters. Welcome ferns and Hollong trees stand tall as the trek begins. These are typical vegetation found in tropical rain-forests. As the trek climbs, white bamboos emerge. And gradually, the thick canopy of leaves give way to delicately clustered deciduous trees like pines and silver firs.

Under the diverse canopy thrives a long list of endangered species of flora and fauna. Pleiublastus simone, a partially white coloured bamboo is found only in Talle Valley. And clouded leopard is one of the popular endangered species found in this biodiversity zone. These forests are crowded by lichens, orchids and ferns that aren’t found on other treks in India.

View of the Nimapema range of Bhutan en route Talle Valley. Picture by Indiahikes team

Talle Valley trek is a bird watcher’s paradise. With a wide colour of wings hovering and fluttering from amidst rainforest, pines and bamboos, you see different birds peeking out of every nook of this trail. Crested kingfisher and common green magpie are a couple of species to look out for.

Dense Forests of Talle Valley. Picture by Indiahikes team

➤ Short itinerary

Day 0: Train journey from Guwahati to Naharlagun; Train Number: 15617 – GHY NHLN I C EXP –Depart 21.20 pm – Arrive 5.00 am (Travel Time: 7 hours 40 minutes)

Day 1: Drive from Naharlagun to Ziro – 100 km, 5-6 hours.
Day 2: Trek from Mani Polyang (5,577 ft) to Pangey Valley (6,200 ft); 5 hours, 9 km
Day 3: Trek from Pangey Valley (6,200 ft) to Talle Valley (8,100 ft); 7 hours, 10 km
Day 4: Trek from Talle Valley (8,100 ft) to Pangey Valley river camp (5,250 ft); 7 hours, 10 km
Day 5: Pangey Valley river camp (5,250 ft) to Hong village (6,480 ft); 5 hours, 7 km
Day 6: Drive from Hong to Ziro (4 km) and then to Guwahati. Drive from Ziro to Naharlagun – 100 km. Train journey from Naharlagun to Guwahati -363 km (Train No15617 – GHY NHLN I C EXP)

Talle Valley – Trail Map by Indiahikes

➤ Trail Information

Day 1: Drive to Ziro

  • Altitude: 5,577 ft (Mani Polyang)
  • Time taken: 5-6 hours drive to Ziro from Naharlgun Railway station, which is an overnight train journey from Guwahati.Pick up from Nahargun at 6:30 AM.

Ziro is a town located in the Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh. It is famous for its lush green paddy fields.

Ziro Town. Picture by Indiahikes team

It was also in the news for featuring in the shortlist for getting inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Ziro township has a hospital, telephone exchange, court, post office, vegetable market, more then 10 medical shop, more than 4 semi wholesaler ration shops.

The three airports close by are are Guwahati (460 kms), Dibrugarh (260 kms) and Lilabari (130 kms). The nearest railways station is Naharlagan, which is at a distance of 100 kms.

The journey to Ziro will be planned in such a way that you arrive at Ziro no later than 5 pm. You will camp at Ziro for night. Homestays are available. The following morning, the trek begins from Mani Polyang, a picturesque little village in Ziro.

Homestay at Ziro. Picture by Indiahikes team

Day 2: Trek from Mani Polyang to Pange Valley

  • Altitude: 5,577 ft to 6,200 ft
  • Time taken: 5 hours, 9 km
  • Trek gradient: Easy. The trail has gradual ascents and descents throughout. A couple of sections through the forest, around 2 hours into the trek, are steep but short.
  • Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water before starting from Mani Polyang since there are no water sources on the way.

Post breakfast, begin the trek from Mani Polyang, a picturesque little village in Ziro. The trek starts through the Talle valley forest sanctuary with the Pange river flowing beside you.

Clouds hovering over Mani Polyang. Picture by Indiahikes team

Post breakfast, begin the trek from Mani Polyang, a picturesque little village in Ziro. The trek starts through the Talle valley forest sanctuary with the Pange riverflowing beside you. It is a 9 km easy, flat walk to Pange valley with an altitude gain of roughly 700 feet. The trail mostly passes through tropical rain forests scattered with bamboo trees and ferns. Peacefully grazing mithuns and birds will give you company throughout the trail.

The dense forests of Pange Valley. Picture by Indiahikes team

In about 5 hours you will see the PWD guesthouse on your right and a forest bungalow to your left. This is the landmark for your first campsite. Your campsite will be setup at Pange Valley for the night. If you’re trekking on your own, you can arrange for accommodation at the Bungalow by taking permission from the DFO in Hapoli.

Pange Forest Camp. Picture by Indiahikes team

Day 3: Trek from Pange Valley to Talle Valley

  • Altitude: 6,200 ft to 8,100 ft via a section at 9,000 ft, which is the highest point of this trek
  • Time taken: 7 hours, 10 km
  • Trek gradient: Moderate. Begin with a mostly level walk for an hour followed by a steep ascent for about 3 hours to culminate in a descending trail.
  • Water sources: Carry sufficient water. Refill your water bottles completely at the 2 water sources that you find – 1 hour and 2.5 hours into the trek, since this is a long day.

Today’s trek is long and tiring, as you climb from 6,200 ft to 9,000 ft and descend to 8,100 ft, to reach the campsite. 

Trekking through the Dense forests. Picture by Indiahikes team

The trail stretches on the left hand side of the Pange river.

Pange river flowing. Picture by Indiahikes team

After about an hour’s walk, the trail begins to ascend. It is a steep climb for close to three hours and it takes you through two clearings that open up to spectacular mountainous views of Nimapema of Bhutan.

The strenuous climb ends at the highest point of this trek at 9,000 ft, where rhododendron forests thrive. There are multiple paths leading to the villages below from this point. Take the path which descends through bamboo forests and the villages in order to reach the campsite. The entire day’s trek will take you about 7 hours covering a distance of 10 km. Camp for the night at Talle Valley, surrounded by lush green mountains.

Strenuous Climb through the thick jungle! Picture by Indiahikes team

Day 4: Trek from Talle Valley to Pange Valley River Camp

  • Altitude: 8,100 ft to 5,250 ft
  • Time taken: 7 hours, 10 km
  • Trek gradient: Moderate. The initial gradual descent gives way to steeper descents within 10 minutes of trekking.
  • Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water before starting. You can refill your water bottles at a hut that you’ll come across after about 4 hours of trekking.

Begin the fourth day with a gradual descend alongside the river for ten minutes. There is a point on the trail known as Tragopan point. It lies two hours ahead of Talle Valley. On this day, you’ll be treated to an assortment of colourful wild flowers and lichens. The morning light’s narrative amplifies the beauty a notch higher.

Heavenly Landscape – Talle Valley. Picture by Indiahikes team

The flora and fauna in the valley will captivate your attention. As this trail is easy, it gives you ample amounts of time to pause and take in the beauty around. In this 6-7 hour trek, you descend from 8,100 feet to 5,250 feet. Camp for the night along the Pangey river.

Day 5: Trek from Pange Valley river camp to Hong village

  • Altitude: 5,250 ft to 6,480 ft
  • Time taken: 5 hours, 7 km
  • Trek gradient: Easy – moderate. A gradual ascent in the beginning is followed by a gradual descent for a couple of hours. Today’s trail is not defined very well so you will need to make a path through the forest. Ensure you stay with the group.
  • Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water from the camp site since you will not find any water source on the trail.

On the last day of the trek, you ascend from 5,250 feet to 6,480 feet, though not at a stretch. The trail gradually ascends, followed by a couple of hours of gradual descend. It it’s a climb all the way to Hong village, where the trek ends. You will cover a distance of 7 km in 5 hours to reach Hong valley.

Explore the village and meet the local Aptani tribes of region.Camp for the night at Hong village. The landscape is starkly similar to the European country side.

Hong Village. Picture by Indiahikes team

Day 6: Drive from Hong to Ziro

Pick-up will be arranged from Hong village to Ziro. It is a quick 20-25 minute drive from Hong to Ziro (4 km).

Side – Excursion:

Tao Tibe is av village which is inhabited by only one old couple and has beautiful views of the surrounding forests. By walk it is about 40 minutes away from the Siiro Resort(Ziro). Move in the direction of Old Ziro, take the road which goes left, around 200 metres from the hotel, head into Tarin fish farm, walk past the pools of water there and walk up the steps you see on the left, leading into the hills. The steps eventually give way to an opening that leads to the top of a hill, overlooking the Tao Tibe village below.

After the trek, you can also visit Kibo village in Aalo Valley. The picturesque valley is located in Menchkha, which is a 8-hour drive from Ziro Valley. This quaint village located further north is famous for hosting the Arunachal Pradesh festival.

A lake in Aalo Valley. Picture by Indiahikes team

Life crawls at a slow place in Kibo Village. Picture by Indiahikes team

Kibo Village hosts the Arunachal Pradesh Music Festival every year. Picture by Indiahikes team

When you walk into Kibo village, you feel as if you’ve crossed over to a different country. This place has the most unique atmosphere. Picture by Indiahikes team

➤ Inner Line Permit (ILP)

For this trek, it’s mandatory for everyone to obtain the Inner Line Permit, including Indian citizens. It will be available on all the Railway Stations, through which you enter Arunachal Pradesh. The counter is open 24/7.

It is best to apply and obtain the ILP from the Naharlagun Railway Station. At the counter, please mention that you’re applying for an ILP to visit the Lower Subansiri district.

Post the completion of the trek, if you wish to visit Kibo Village in Aalo Valley, you have to obtain a separate ILP for the same. While applying for the same, please mention that you’re applying for an ILP to West Siang District.

Shortly, it can also be obtained online. Here’s the official link.

For an ILP, Indian Citizens should carry a Government Photo Id Card like Aadhar Card, PAN Card and Passport. Driving License is not accepted. The cost per person is Rs 410/-

Citizens of Pakistan, China and Bangladesh should apply for No Objection Certificate from the Central Government, New Delhi. After getting the NOC, you can apply and get the Protected Area Permit from the Commissioner Office at New Delhi.

All other foreign nationals can directly apply for the PAP – Protected Area Permit from the Commissioner Office at New Delhi, Itanagar and Guwahati. The cost per person is $50.

Important Notice -Arunachal Pradesh Government. Picture by Indiahikes team

ILP Procedure Counter. Picture by Indiahikes team

➤ How to get to the base camp – Ziro

The best way to get to the base camp – Ziro is to take a flight to Guwahati and then a train to Naharlagun. 

Upon your arrival at Naharlagun Railway Station, private cabs can be arranged by Indiahikes to take you to Ziro (Cost of cab around R.5.500 to be shared by trekkers).

Nearest Airport to Ziro: Guwahati – 460 km

Train from Guwahati to Naharlagun:

15617 – GHY NHLN I C EXP –Depart 21.20 pm – Arrive 5.00 am – 7.40 hrs

Private taxis are available from Guwahati to Naharlagun, which will approximately cost Rs. 4000–5000.

Transport: Transport from Naharlagun Ziro can be arranged by us at an extra cost. Participants are expected to share the cost of the cab (approximate cost Rs. 4000 to Rs.5000 per vehicle, one way from Naharlagun to Ziro. No service tax is applicable on transport cost. Indiahikes only arranges the vehicle pick up and is not responsible for any issues during transport.

  1. Naharlagun to Ziro is approx 100 km
  2. It will take 3 ½ hrs to reach Ziro from here
  3. Share taxi available from Naharlagun to Ziro, charges are 400/- per person
  4. Private taxi will cost approx 4000-5000/- (sumo type vehicle)
  5. There is train running from New Delhi to Naharlagun every Sunday.

Naharlagun Railway Station. Picture by Indiahikes team

➤ How safe is the Table Valley trek?

Talle Valley is predominantly a dense jungle trail. The terrain harbours several wild animals like bears, apes and clouded leopards. It’s highly dangerous to stray from the trail and wander into the wilderness. Do not leave your campsite at any point in time. Since you will be trekking through thick forests, chances of getting bruises and scratches are high. You need to be mindful of branches and twigs while you walk.

Exit points on the Talle Valley trek

A motor road reaches Pangey valley and goes all the way to Talle. In case there’s a medical emergency, exiting via this road is easy. However, it might take a few hours to arrange a vehicle since the mobile network in the jungle is poor.

Closest hospital

The closest hospital is in Ziro, in case of an emergency that requires advanced medical attention.

➤ How to get fit for the Talle Valley trek

The Talle Valley trek is an easy to moderate trek. There are no technical sections to walk on. You will be covering an distance of 33 kilometers over four days of trekking. This is no easy feat and warrants the required preparation.

Cardiovascular endurance
This trek requires a good amount of cardiovascular endurance. You can begin by jogging everyday. Start jogging at a slow pace and then keep increasing your pace day by day. In order to be prepared for high altitude trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets.

In case you’re just starting with a regular fitness routine, you can phase out your distance targets in the following manner –

  • Target completing 5 km in 45 minutes when you begin
  • Gradually increase the distance to 7 km. Target completing this in 63 minutes
  • Before you go on the trek, you should be able to walk at least 10 km at a stretch. Target completing this in 90 minutes

In terms of speed, make sure you’re able to jog 5 km in 35 minutes before the start of the trek. If you are 45 years old and above, your target should be completing at least 3 km within 29 minutes before you go on the trek.

Strength – Target 3 sets of squats with 20 in each

The trail is mostly under forest cover and you will need to watch your step as you descend. This can be harsh on your knees and thighs. The muscles on your legs need to be strong enough to endure this patch. To strengthen your legs you can start with 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set and work towards reaching your target in 3 weeks.

Flexibility

Trekking with a backpack requires some effort and agile muscles. For this, you can do some stretching exercises – stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly. On your trek, it is important that you arrive on the slopes with your muscles relaxed.

➤ What to take on the Talle Valley trek

Bare necessities

  1. Trekking shoes: You will need trekking shoes with good grip. Sports shoes will not be comfortable enough. You can watch this video to learn to choose the right trekking shoes.
  2. Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential- especially during months of April and May.

Clothes

  1. Three warm layers: You will need at least three warm layers (two lights layers such as fleece and woollen and one padded jacket) for this trek. Add another layer during winter season.
  2. Three trek pants: Wear one pair and carry one pair. 
  3. Three collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Again, wear one and carry one. A common mistake that trekkers make is not changing their t shirts often enough. Regardless of how cold it is, the body tends to sweat a lot. Trekkers who don’t change to fresh clothes fall ill due to wet clothes and are often unable to complete their trek.A common mistake that trekkers make is not changing their t shirts often enough. Regardless of how cold it is, the body tends to sweat a lot. Trekkers who don’t change to fresh clothes fall ill due to wet clothes and are often unable to complete their trek.
  4. Thermals (Optional): Those who are more susceptible to cold can carry thermals to wear at night.

Accessories

  1. Sunglasses: Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. There might be snow at the upper campsites regardless of the season. So carry a pair of sunglasses.
  2. SuncapThe sun is intense at higher altitudes and a sun cap is absolutely essential to keep your face and neck safe from sunburns.
  3. Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of fleece or woolen hand gloves. One pair of water proof gloves.
  4. Balaclava: You may use woolen scarves instead as well.
  5. Socks (2 pairs): Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woolen socks for the night.
  6. Headlamp / LED torch: Mandatory
  7. Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.

Others

  1. Daypack (20 litres): If you are offloading your backpack, you will need a smaller backpack to carry water, medical kit and some light snacks.
  2. Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturiser, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. If you plan to use wet wipes to clean up after a trek, make sure you do not leave the used wipes/tissues back in the mountains since these are not biodegradable. The same holds for used sanitary napkins. Carry a zip lock bag to put used tissues and napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose wet tissues and sanitary napkins in the mountains.
  3. Cutlery: Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons.
  4. Two water bottles: 1 litre each
  5. Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.

Mandatory Personal Medical Kit 

  1. Diamox – 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
  2. Crocin – 6 tablets (fever)
  3. Avomine – 4 tablets (motion sickness)
  4. Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
  5. Combiflam – 4 tablets (Pain killer)
  6. Disprin – 6 tablets (headache)
  7. Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhea)
  8. Digene – 10 tablets (acidity)
  9. Omez/ Rantadine – 10 tablets (antacids)
  10. Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
  11. Gauze – 1 small roll
  12. Band aid – 10 strips
  13. Cotton – 1 small roll
  14. ORS – 10 packets
  15. Betadine or any antiseptic cream
  16. Moov spray (aches, & sprains)
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