Meghalaya 3 Day Itinerary
I visited Meghalaya for the first time in the month of May. In this post, I am sharing my 3 day Meghalaya itinerary which talks about top attractions, travel tips, budget, and suggestions especially for first-time travellers.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
MEGHALAYA- THE 'ABODE OF CLOUDS'
Meghalaya, the ‘abode of clouds’ is one of the natural wonders of India. It is the home of the Garo, Khasi and Jaintia communities. A trip to Meghalaya is often defined by picturesque landscapes, lush green meadows, roaring waterfalls and a wonderful journey through the clouds. In short, it is a hidden gem for every nature lover and adventure seeker.
BEST TIME TO VISIT MEGHALAYA
Meghalaya has a cool and pleasant climate throughout the year. However, the best time to visit Meghalaya is from September to May when the rainfall is relatively less. July is considered the wettest month and planning a tour during this time of the year might hinder your travel plans. But if you are looking for hefty discounts on air tickets and accommodations, this is a good time to visit. If you are planning a trip to Meghalaya in the month of December, you will be able to witness the crystal clear water of the Umngot River.
ARRIVING IN GUWAHATI
The easiest way to reach Guwahati is either by flight or train. My journey to the ‘abode of the clouds’ started from Kolkata via flight which takes an hour to reach Guwahati. It is by far the most convenient way of travelling to Shillong from anywhere in the country. Our scheduled time of arrival was at 9:40 p.m. but due to bad weather conditions the flight was delayed for the next four hours. We stayed overnight in Guwahati and begun our journey the next day.
HOW TO REACH SHILLONG?
Shillong is the capital of Meghalaya but direct flights from Kolkata are not frequent as well as costly during the peak seasons. Guwahati and Shillong are well connected by a four-lane highway and the approximate travel time between the two cities is three hours. There are buses and shared taxis available from Paltan Bazar and Guwahati Railway Station but hiring a cab from Guwahati for the entire trip would be more convenient. Our driver Kishore is a very friendly person and has a good knowledge of all the places in Meghalaya. With him, the journey was fun and enjoyable. You can contact him on his mobile number - 8011361179
DAY 1 - A JOURNEY TO THE 'ABODE OF CLOUDS'
After having a hearty breakfast, we freshened up and checked out of the hotel at around 10:00 a.m. Finally, our journey to the ‘abode of clouds’ has begun.
Umiam Lake – A manmade wonder
On our way to Shillong, we stopped at Umiam Lake, also known as the Barapani Lake. It is a vast reservoir with enchanting sight. When we reached the lake it was already drizzling but the beauty of the spot got doubled because of the rain. We strolled along the landscaped garden and admired the view. You can also embrace the moment by taking a boat ride in the calm waters.
Pork steamed momos for lunch
It was late afternoon and we were already starving. Being a foodie at heart I was looking for an authentic experience. Finally, we ended up in a local eatery and ordered pork steamed momos. Pork and chicken momos are very popular in Shillong and a must try delicacy when you are here. After a sumptuous meal, we headed towards Laitlum Grand Canyon.
Laitlum Grand Canyon – A picturesque marvel
It takes around an hour to reach Laitlum Canyon from Shillong. It is a secluded spot in nature's lap away from the hustle and bustle of the main city. Holiday in Shillong is incomplete without visiting Laitlum. It was around 4:00 p.m. when we reached the spot. But it was all covered with mist and we could not witness the panoramic view from there.
Note: If you have enough time, you can start early morning and trek down to the nearby village. It takes around two hours to trek through the rocky trail and reaches the village. Climbing back is difficult and takes approximately three more hours. So make sure to wear comfortable shoes.
Overnight stay in Ken and Twill
After a long day, we reached our guest house, Ken and Twill. This place is located amidst nature away from the city centre. The cosy and spacious rooms with wooden flooring offered a really comfortable stay. After a simple yet delicious dinner, we retired to bed with lots of wonderful memories.
DAY 2 - GETTING A GLIMPSE OF MAWLYNNONG AND DAWKI
The next day we started our journey around 8 o’ clock in the morning. The scenery on the way is fantastic and we got to witness the true flavour of Meghalaya engulfed in clouds. We stopped on our way to capture the moment and admire the scenic beauty around.
Living Root Bridge – An impressive work of the Khasi tribe
There are numerous living root bridges in Meghalaya. And we visited the one near Mawlynnong. This manmade bridge in Meghalaya attracts travellers from far and near. It took us around twenty minutes to reach this root bridge from the parking ground. It is a rough gradation and we walked down a flight of 200 steps. The magical sight of the crystal water flowing down the bridge makes it a perfect spot for nature photography. However, standing on the root bridge and taking photographs is strictly prohibited.
Mawlynnong – Cleanest village in Asia
From the living root bridge, we proceeded towards Mawlynnong village. It is known as the cleanest village in Asia. This tiny hamlet with 100% literacy rate is an unexplored paradise on Earth. The villagers lead a happy and simple life by selling a variety of handmade items. After a delicious meal, we started our onward journey to Dawki. There are a number of guesthouses in Mawlynnong and you can even spend a night here if you wish to.
Umngot River – A magical ferry ride
The trip continued to the Umngot River in Dawki, a small town in the Jaintia Hill District. The distance between Shillong to Dawki is around eighty-two kilometres. The scenic beauty around the Umngot River is a treat to the eyes. On the other side of the river is the Sylhet town of Bangladesh and we could even spot some Bangladeshi tourists from a distant. The river water was not crystal clear but the boat ride amidst this placid surrounding was an absolute experience.
Arriving in Cherrapunjee (Sohra)
The day ended after we reached our resort in Cherapunjee, commonly known as Sohra. Sa-I-Mika is a beautiful resort amidst lush green hills. It is a perfect combination of Khasi hospitality and a peaceful stay. Even the food was delicious. We relished on the traditional Khasi cuisine, a must try for a gastronomic adventure.
DAY 3 - SIGHTSEEING IN CHERRAPUNJEE
I woke up to the sounds of gentle rain and went out for a leisurely walk. The sight of lush green hills covered with clouds on top looked really fascinating. As this was the final day of the trip, we started off early.
Dainthlen Falls – An offbeat attraction
Our first stop was Dainthlen Falls. It was not on the list but Kishore recommended us to visit this place. And truly speaking, I was thrilled at the sight. It is one of the not so popular waterfalls and hence an unspoiled beauty of nature on Earth.
Nohkalikai Falls – Highest plunge waterfall in India
After Dainthlen Falls, our next spot was Nohkalikai Falls. With a height of over three hundred thirty-five meters, Nohkalikai Falls is the highest plunge waterfall in the country. We captured some beautiful pictures and headed for the Seven Sisters Falls, the fourth highest waterfall in India.
Seven Sisters Falls – A fascinating sight of seven waterfall cascade
Also known as the Nohsngithiang Falls or the Mawsmai Falls, it is a formation of seven waterfall cascades that flows down the hill. When we reached the spot, the sky was clear and we were lucky enough to get a perfect view and shoot some stunning photos.
Note: If you are an adrenaline junkie, do go for a zip lining experience near the Seven Sisters Falls. It is safe and experts will guide you.
Mawsmai Cave – Heaven for thrill seekers
Our trip continued to the Mawsmai Cave. This cave is a visual treat for everyone. There was a small ticket counter at the entrance from where we bought tickets before entering. Once you enter the cave, it feels like a mysterious land. Only a distance of one hundred and fifty metres is open for visitors. There are a few places where you need to bend or twist, but this limestone construction is suitable for tourists of all ages who are physically fit. Also, there is sufficient lighting for visitors to trek through. As we never had such experiences, it was kind of an adventure for all of us.
Jadoh and chicken for lunch
All major attractions in Cherrapunjee are located close by and a half day is enough for sightseeing. On our way, we found a decent food stall and ended up ordering jadoh (Khasi delicacy) and chicken curry for lunch. The food was tasty and affordable.
Note: Cherapunjee is the home to the Double Decker Living Root Bridge. This place is a trekkers’ paradise and it takes an entire day to savour the magnificence of this spot. As it was a 3-day tour, it was not possible for us to visit this living root bridge. If you are planning to visit Meghalaya, I would recommend you to extend your stay for a day and go for a trek to the Double Decker Living Root Bridge.
Elephant Falls – The three-staged waterfall
Finally, we bade goodbye to Cherrapunjee and travelled back to Guwahati via Shillong. On the way, we stopped at Elephant Falls. This is a three-staged waterfall which is named by the British. We had to climb down a flight of stairs to reach the bottom. We spent around forty minutes at the Elephant Falls and proceeded for our onward journey.
BIDDING ADIEU TO MEGHALAYA
We reached Guwahati around 9:00 p.m. and stayed overnight in a hotel pre-booked through the Oyo app. We had an early morning flight to Kolkata. Finally, the trip ended on a good note.
SOME ESSENTIAL TIPS TO CONSIDER BEFORE PLANNING YOUR MEGHALAYA TRIP
The travel time between Guwahati and Shillong is approximately 3 hours and you can even travel the same day without taking a halt.
Shillong faces uncontrollable road traffic during the peak office hours. So it is recommended to plan your day’s trip accordingly.
Shillong is known for its authentic cuisine. There are some of the awesome cafes near Upper Shillong with lip-smacking vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. Food in Shillong is affordable.
If you are looking for a quiet and peaceful stay, avoid accommodations near Police Bazar.
There might be short spells every now and then. So do not forget to carry a rain jacket or an umbrella.
The average temperature in May ranges between 23 degrees Celsius to 15 degrees Celsius which often comes down at night. So it is better to carry a few light woollen clothes.
Most of the attractions in Meghalaya close by 05:00 p.m. So you need to plan accordingly.
Mawsmai Cave is watery. It is recommended to wear waterproof shoes when you are trekking through the cave.