Planning a trip to Meghalaya? This post talks about the must have Meghalaya experiences.
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So, let’s begin!
The North-eastern region of India remains fairly unexplored away from the popular tourist routes. That is such a shame as the region boasts of breathtaking beauty. Meghalaya is one of the seven states there and one of the most beautiful. I have visited the place twice, once with friends and once with my husband. In the course of two visits the one lesson i have learnt is to forgo any itinerary and just go with the flow.
During my second trip here, we (my husband and i) took long road trips through desolate landscapes, came across hidden waterfalls, enjoyed the network free Zones and relaxed as never before. Before talking about the five must have Meghalaya experiences, here is all the travel information you need to know for planning a trip there.
MEGHALAYA TRAVEL GUIDE
Shillong does have an airport but with limited flights and high fares. The better option is to catch a flight to Guwahati. From there catch a cab to Shillong. Private as well as shared cabs are also available from Guwahati’s Paltan BaZaar to Shillong. The picturesque road trip takes three hours.
Add a stop at the beautiful Umiam lake (Barapani lake) just before entering Shillong.
Except for some local Shillong sites like the view point or Elephant falls, Shillong does not have much sightseeing. All the best places are at least two or three hours away and are accessed via road trips. You have to hire a driver and negotiate a price for all the days of your trip.
DAY 1: Reach Shillong and do all the local sightseeing including the Shillong view point and Elephant falls.
DAY 2: Set off for Sohra (Cherrapunjee) which receives the highest rainfall in India. See the Nohkalikai Falls, Sweet falls and some caves like Mawsmai or Arwah cave.
DAY 3: Check out the single decker root bridge, Mawlynnong village (Asia’s cleanest village) , Nohwet view point and set off for afternoon/sunset boating at Dawki lake.
DAY 4: Make a morning trip to Krang Suri falls and return back to Guwahati by evening/night.
NOTE: The Double Decker Root Bridge requires a whole day trip in itself. So add an extra day if you want to include it in your itinerary.
THE 5 MUST HAVE MEGHALAYA EXPERIENCES
1. BOATING IN DAWKI LAKE
This was my absolute favourite experience in Meghalaya. Dawki lake (aka Umngot river) bordering Bangladesh, is one of the most beautiful lakes in the country with crystal clear emerald green waters and panaromic vistas all around.
It is a three hour ride from Shillong, along a partly bumpy track. Boating costs are around 700-1000 rupees. The boatmen take you for a spin around the lake as well as to the small island near it. The rocky island can also be used for overnight camping.
Honestly, words cannot do justice to the beauty of the place.
FLASHPACKER TIP: Visit during winter, preferably December-February , when the water is at its best. The first time i visited during the month of April when it was raining, the water was muddy and there was no boating whatsoever. Plus try to time your visit during the afternoon , so that you can enjoy boating during sunset..it is a surreal experience!
2. VISIT THE KRANG SURI FALLS
A spontaneous decision to visit this little known gem, on the day we had meant to leave, turned out to be one of our best travel decisions. The Krang suri falls are not well known at all but definitely a must visit.
Getting upto there takes some dedication: It is a three hour drive from Shillong, located amongst the less visited Jaintia Hills. The journey through some of the most isolated villages of Meghalaya is very scenic.
And the reward for this effort is well worth it. A short 10 minute trek down the hill reveals this stunning waterfall with gorgeous blue waters, hidden amidst hills and trees. Don’t forget to visit the waterbody above the falls where boating facilities are available. The best part was the complete absence of tourists, except for some locals, which made the experience extra special. Go there, before the place becomes TOO well known and inundated with crowds.
FLASHPACKER TIP: Bring your swimsuits and splash around in the waterfall- Its safe and fun ! Changing rooms are available , along with a restaurant.
The other stunning falls in the state is the more famous Nohkalikai waterfall, located in Cherrapunjee. This gorgeous fall is best visited during monsoons to catch it in its full glory.
3. MARVEL AT THE LIVING ROOT BRIDGES
The Living root bridges are one of the most unique phenomena in the country. Basically the giant roots of the trees have been used to make natural bridges to help in crossing water bodies in these mountainous states. They are of two types: Single decker and Double Decker.
We visited the Single decker root bridge and while it is certainly stunning, the ambience is somewhat ruined by the presence of hordes of tourists jostling for pictures.
If you have the time and the energy, do the Double Decker root bridge hike which requires a whole day and going down three thousand steps.
FLASHPACKER TIP: The only way to beat the crowds is to start early preferably 7 AM and leave by the time the crowds start arriving after 10.
4. TAKE A VIEW FROM ANY OF THE VIEW POINTS
The amaZing landscapes and scenery in Meghalaya are some of the most picturesque in the country. So go up one of the many view points to take a look.
One of the best is the Nohwet view point near Mawlyonnong village (well known as Asia’s cleanest village). Do not waste much time there as it is nothing but a tourist trap. Use the village as a meal stop only and take the time to go to Nohwet or any other view point nearby. The Nohwet view point has bamboo ladders and a tree house like viewing deck. Climb up and gaZe at the hills and valleys of Bangladesh all around.
FLASHPACKER TIP: Don’t forget to bring your cameras to capture the stunning views all around.
5. GET LOST ON AIMLESS ROAD TRIPS
On one of the days, we set off for Wah Rashi waterfalls. Six hours later, we had lost track of all directions but stumbled upon tiny Thangskin falls, a local hidden gem. A couple minutes trek downhill and we found our perfect spot to sit, stare and catch a cold beer! Right in front of the waterfall. No tourists…only us!
Our directionless car journey took us past swathes of absolutely barren land with only hills, fields, small falls and streams to give us company! And therein lies the true beauty of this state, where every wrong turn can lead you to some beautiful spot!
FLASHPACKER TIP: The only thing you need is a sense of adventure ! So Set aside plans and become a child once again
So these were our choices for the Five must have experiences in Meghalaya. We hope this Meghalaya travel guide inspired you to plan your own trip soon. Have you ever been to any of the North east states? Share your stories and comments with us!