Owing to its mostly mountainous terrain, Arunachal Pradesh doesn’t have its own airport. If you want to fly to Arunachal, you have two options, North Lakhimpur’s Lilabari Airport and Guwahati’s Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, both in Assam. Out of these Lilabari is the closest one to Itanagar, Arunachal’s capital city. It receives flights four days of the week, mostly from Guwahati and Kolkata.
The distance of 72 km between Lilabari Airport and Itanagar can be covered in 2 hours. You can get on a state transport bus or hire a taxi, both of which are easily available outside the airport. But, if you’re looking for better connectivity and more flight frequency, Guwahati Airport is the better option. It receives flights from all the major cities around the country like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata. But Guwahati to Itanagar by road is around 315 km which would take about 8 hours to cover.
A flight from Guwahati to Lilabari Airport would take much less time but cost a bit more than a bus or a taxi. Guwahati Airport also handles international flights from countries like Thailand, Nepal, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan.
A train journey not Arunachal Pradesh is a fest for the eyes, and you will come across some of the most beautiful sights along the way. The mountains may slow you down but offer some breath-taking vistas in the bargain.
At 15 km the Naharlagun railway station in Arunachal Pradesh is the closest one to its state capital, Itanagar. It was started in 2015 and handles few trains as of now like the New Delhi - Naharlagun Arunachal Express and Naharlagun - Guwahati Intercity Express. Once you alight at Naharlagun, you can easily find state and private buses which will take you to Itanagar. You can also hire a taxi, although it will cost you more.
At 34 km, the Harmuti Railway Station in Assam is a bit farther away, but has more trains passing through. It will take you 1 hour 15 minutes to reach Itanagar by road by bus or taxi. But the best way to reach Arunachal Pradesh by rail is to come into Guwahati Railway station and continue onwards by train to Naharlagun. Guwahati enjoys the best connectivity in the region with the rest of the country. You can reach Guwahati from major cities such as Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata.
Trains and aeroplanes might be the fastest ways to reach Arunachal Pradesh, but a road trip is the most interesting one. The winding mountain roads will challenge your driving skills and awe you with stunning vistas. The unreal scenery seems straight out of a picture postcard. The twisting roads add an element of drama while snaking sinuously over the mountains and through the valleys.
The state-owned Arunachal Pradesh State Transport Service (APSTS) has its headquarters in Itanagar. It runs its bus service to some major district headquarters like Tezpur and Guwahati in Assam, Shillong in Meghalaya and Dimapur in Nagaland. Every town and village in Arunachal Pradesh has its own bus station, so you won’t be left stranded.
Apart from buses taxis are the only other form of public transport. If you’re driving yourself, you will find many options. National Highway 52, NH 15 and NH 415 are the national highways that run into Arunachal Pradesh. You can reach Itanagar from Banderdewa, North Lakhimpur, Tezpur and Guwahati.
Also check out the best time to visit Arunachal Pradesh before your plan your journey.
The state-run APSTS buses provide the best coverage in and around Arunachal Pradesh. You can choose between luxury and semi-luxury buses and you also get the option of private operators. Since every town and village has their own bus station, you can easily expect to find a bus to take you anywhere around the state.
By Sumo Taxi
These rugged vehicles have you covered for shorter distances. Considerably faster than buses, these take up to 10 people at a time. The drivers provide you some excitement with their driving prowess over the rough terrain.
Driving on the mountain roads is not easy. Unless you have an extensive driving experience, taking your own car is not recommended. But if you do, be ready for a test of your driving skills, which will be tested to their limit. Perhaps this is the very reason that draws driving enthusiasts to a road trip in Arunachal.
If you’d like to travel in style, swoop into Arunachal Pradesh in a helicopter. Naharlagun has a helipad that operates the Arunachal Helicopter Service that will connect you to nearby areas. However, do note that you will need a permit to avail of the helicopter service.
Thomas Cook’s Arunachal Pradesh Tour packages are filled with the magic of the mountains. To experience nature at its wildest, book your Arunachal holiday online. You can also drop into the nearest Thomas Cook branch and let us help you design your dream holiday.