Meghalaya literally translates to the Abode of the clouds, it’s also one of the relatively easier states to access in the North East thanks to its close proximity to the Guwahati Airport in Assam. We did a 7 day trip to Meghalaya back in October 2017 with a travel group from Mumbai.
Meghalaya stands out as one of my best trips in India, because of the amazing photos I clicked of all the waterfalls and the local children. As you read through the post you will understand why I loved Meghalaya so much :). You can also judge that by the fact, that this is my first Indian travel story on this website.
Itinerary for the 7 day trip to Meghalaya
Here’s the rough itinerary that we followed for the 7 day trip to Meghalaya:
- Arrive at Guwahati airport or Railway station till 10 am and move towards Tuber village in East Jaintia Hills. Settle down in Homestay.
- Local sightseeing for rest of the day.
- Wake up early morning 5 am (sunrise time 4:30 here) and go to a local village waterfall, followed by visit to the famous Krangshuri waterfall.
- Boating at Umngot river, and then visit Asia’s cleanest village – Mawlynnong and visit the Single decker living root bridge close to the village.
Travel to Cherrapunji. There are plenty of things to do in Cherrapunji and visit:
- Mawsmai cave
- Seven sisters falls
- Nohkalikai falls
- Mawkdok valley
- Eco park
- Stay @ some hotel.
- Day 4
- Trek to Double Decker living root bridge.
- This will easily take up half you day, so if there is any energy left some sightseeing can be done on the return journey.
- Day 5
Move to Shillong. Things to do in Shillong include:
- Elephanta falls,
- Air force museum etc.
- Ward’s lake,
- Shillong peak,
- Shopping In police bazaar/ bada bazar. Stay in 1 big room / Dormitory.
- Day 6
- Move to Guwahati and visit some places in Guwahati like the Assam State Museum & Guwahati Zoo, Guwahati Planetarium OR head to Kaziranga.
- Day 7
- Depart to the airport from Guwahati OR spend the day in Kaziranga and catch the flight home on Day 8.
Note – The itinerary can be cramped in 5 days if you are on a tight schedule.
Transport Options for the 7 day trip to Meghalaya
Also its important to note that even though the Meghalaya govt runs buses offering tours, I would still recommend either hiring a car on your own or joining a group for the tour.
Meghalaya overall is really safe for tourists and you can definitely do this solo, but transport will be an issue as most sightseeing destinations fall on routes, which are not covered by public transport. So if you really want to do it solo:
- Be prepared to take it slow, hitch-hike or join a group as a solo traveller like I did.
- or shell out money for a private car and then do the tour.
The sumo we rented costed us ₹20000 (and can accommodate 7-8 people) for the entire duration of the trip back in October 2017. By now, the rates must be somewhere around ₹25000-₹30000.
Best Time to Visit Meghalaya
Late October (post-monsoon) till May is the best time to visit the North East in general. If you are travelling specifically to experience the crystal clear waters of Dawki then I would suggest visit in late January.
7 day trip to Meghalaya – Day wise itinerary
Day 1 – Stay with a local family in Tuber village in East Jaintia Hills
Our group leader had been previously to this village for doing some social work. A lot of these villagers were targeted for forced religious conversions due to their ethnic minority in the region.
During his stint of social work, he had made a lot of friends in the village and as a result we were offered a stay with the local family on our 1st day.
After arriving at Guwahati around 12 noon, we got into our Sumo and headed to Tuber village. On the way we stopped for lunch and then snacks in the evening. It was a really long. But the kids in the house made us forget the fatigue once we reached.
Our food was prepared by a bunch of kids, as you will see in the photos. We were all very tired and just crashed to our beds, no sightseeing today except for the occasional photo on the way.
Day 2 – Krangshuri blues and Dawki greens
Today was the day when our 7 day trip to Meghalaya began in all earnest, in these areas the sun rises by 5-5:30 am and its pretty sunny by 6:30. We got up and ready and then I went for a quick village walk. It was probably one of the best walks of my trip. I met and played with so many children, it was almost therapeutic.
Here are some snaps from the morning walk.
We drove to Krangshuri after our breakfast. You need to hike down to reach the Krangshuri waterfalls from the start point. Mid way through the hike you will get an excellent wide angle view of the waterfalls. Make sure you stop and click photos there.
Once, we reached the Krangshuri waterfalls, we had to find the local boy (guard) who would give us life jackets so that we could jump into the falls. The water was super cold but it felt so so good. We spent a good hour or so swimming in the falls, followed my an extended photo session. Since, we were the only ones we had the entire falls to ourselves. The local guide was also very helpful and kept a watch on us throughout, from the safety perspective.
TIP – Tip the guy, specially if he’s keeping a watch on all of you. There are a couple of spots where if not careful, you might be falling down the valley with the waterfall. The guide clearly mentioned those to us and stood there to ensure we stayed away from those places.
The Umngot River – Boating at Dawki
There are 2 main spots where you can boat on the Umngot River, either at Dawki near the Indo-Bangladesh border or at Shnongpdeng. Shnongpdeng is relatively less touristy and resultantly less crowded. However, since we were on a group tour and the itinerary stated that we stop at Dawki, we did the same.
We booked 2 boats for us and we were taken around the river for a 30-40 mins ride. The ride takes you across from close to the Bangladesh border to the other side of the Dawki Bridge – a suspension bridge over the Umngot River. Once on the other side, they give you some time to do photography and walk around river banks.
If you really want to experience crystal clear and transparent waters then the best time is January. But when we visited in October, the place still looked pretty stunning. So anytime after the monsoon is a good time as in monsoons the water turns a little muddy.
TIP – Please ensure that you don’t have international roaming enabled on your postpaid phones. Vodafone had billed me 6000 for 10 mins of data usage (which was later reversed when I gave them proofs about my travel and how I wasn’t in Bangladesh).
The Cleanest village in Asia – Mawlynnong
Mawlynnong was voted the cleanest village in Asia by Discovery India in 2003. While it was really commendable in 2003, now a days when I travel to North East almost all places are very clean. All North Eastern states have done a tremendous amount of work to ensure cleanliness and keep most places spick and span.
We roamed around the village, had lunch at one of the local restaurants followed by a walk across the village. We could see the locals making special baskets out of bamboo to hold Betel-nuts (Supari).
Single decker root bridge
A trailer of what was to come few days later when we would be visiting the worlds largest double decker living root bridge. This one is a single branch across the small river and it takes a hike of around 10 mins to get to the bridge. You do have to pay a small entry fee (25-50/person, collected by the locals and you are given a receipt).
The bridge itself is a good exhibit, if you haven’t seen living root bridges before. But just in case you are coming here after going to the double decker root bridge you can give this one a skip.
After the bridge we went back to our stay in Sohra, lit up a bonfire and shared some cozy travel strories.
Day 3 – Things to do in Cherrapunji
Cherrapunji is well known as one of the wettest places in India. Luckily, for us we experienced sunny weather throughout. Due to incessant rains, the biggest sightseeing attractions or things to do in Cherrapunji include waterfalls.
We had plenty of waterfalls to cover today, so we started with the one which is easily accessible and can be seen directly from the road – Seven sisters waterfall.
Seven Sister’s Waterfall
As the name suggests, there are 7 different streams falling from the mountain top. But unless you are visiting just after the monsoon, it would be difficult to see all 7 in action.
It’s the tallest plunge waterfall in India and has an interesting legend around it. The story is a riveting read and I would highly recommend you read it here. I also got some pretty good photos of the waterfall from the viewpoint and unlike 7 sister’s waterfall this one was in full flow, with its own personal rainbow to boot.
Meghalaya has an extensive network of underground caves, some of which are still undiscovered. Mawsmai Cave is at a stone’s throw away from Sohra (Cherrapunjee). There is a network of underground caves which is full of beautiful and sometimes scary stalactites and stalagmites.
It costs you INR 20 as the entry fee. There is a short hike through the forest to reach the main entrance of the cave. When I visited this cave back in 2017 it was a big deal for me and it seriously blew my mind away. However, since then I have been to much larger and grander caves in Vietnam and Thailand.
Still, its one of the most well preserved caves in India, so would highly recommend.
Mawkdok Dympep Valley view point & Wah Kaba waterfalls
We stopped at the Mawkdok Dympep Valley view point for some photos and lunch. And then we ended up zip-lining. Zip lining is definitely on top of things to do in Cherrapunji, as you can choose between 3 different lines and duration. The experience was great and its a decent duration for the money you pay. The rates are fixed but if you are a bigger group you can haggle a little for some discounts.
After the zip-lining, we headed to Wah Kaba waterfalls. There is plenty of place to park your vehicle at the Wah Kaba entry gate. After that you need to descend around 300-400 steps and you reach a beautiful small stream that flows down into the Wah Kaba waterfall. As per the local guy, one can trek further down for like 1-2 hours to the bottom of the falls.
But it was getting dark and we had no equipment or the skill to down in darkness, so we came back up and headed back to the homestay.
Day 4 – Double Decker Root Bridge trek and Rainbow falls
While Krangshuri has been gaining popularity of late, Double decker root bridge trek remains the most popular destination of Meghalaya among trekkers. We started early today (or at least what I like to call early) around 8-8:30 am and were at the start point of the trek to the bridge around 9 am. Just want to clear it up top, the trek is long but not very difficult and it has a mix of sections – you climb down first, then you climb up and so on.
The trek can be divided into 2 parts:
- Trek from start point to Double decker root bridge. (Roughly 3500 steps – 1.5-3 hours one way based on your fitness)
- Double decker root bridge to Rainbow falls (Another 45 mins to 1 hour)
Our plan was to go upto only the Double decker root bridge, since we had already seen so many waterfalls yesterday and most of my trip mates weren’t willing either. So in case you want to go upto rainbow falls, start early. If you can start the trek by 7:00 AM or before you will be back to the start point by 12-1 PM.
Carry lots of fluids and some snacks. In case you don’t no need to worry as there are plenty of shops available alongside the route at various places.The most thrilling part of the trek for me was crossing the 2 iron suspension bridges en-route.
After the trek, we had a filling lunch and then in the evening we visited Eco Park.
We spent some quite moments at the park, followed by the most hilarious one of the entire tour. Our group leader had become a good friend by now and while we were discussing something he was giving a lot of GYAAN. As a result, a girl from the group got frustrated and called him Jhaaatu (Indian Slang).
The sheer suddenness of the move had us all rolling on the park benches laughing and as you would have guessed by now, till today everyone calls the group leader with the same name.
Day 5 – Things to do in Shillong
Air Force Museum
We kicked off our Shillong sightseeing by visiting the Air Force Museum. It’s a small museum located across the road from Elephant falls. We stopped here and saw the exhibition of some planes that have served and are still in operation for the IAF.
This one is pretty popular with the tourists and after lot of days of being the only tourists around, it was a pleasant change to see so many folks around.
The original Khasi name for the falls is Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew, which translates to – The three – step waterfall. The name Elephants originated in the British era when the Englishmen spotted a giant rock that looked like an elephant near the fall. This rock was destroyed in the 1987 due to an earthquake.
This is located inside the Army zone and you need to line up in the queue for a document check before proceeding to the view point. The view point is essentially a tower with a telescope that gives you panaromic views of Shillong.
My favourite place in the Shillong itinerary. The lake and the park is beautiful. It was autumn when we visited, so the golden leaves were falling off in the park. It was crowded yet so peaceful. We did boating here for an hour and spent another couple of hours just sitting in the park and talking. Loved every bit of my time here. Must visit.
Day 6 – Shopping and Guwahati sightseeing
We stopped at Umiam lake en-route to capture some photos, however, it was a very foggy and windy day so could capture only a couple of decent shots. But the maggi at that place was amazing :).
Then we shopped for some souvenirs to take home, followed by a visit to Guwahati Zoo in the morning, followed by the Assam State Museum visit. (Rhino park was closed on the day we visited).
Other than that we also spent some time at Dighalipukhuri Park opposite the museum. We went on an evening cruise across the Brahmaputra river and visited the Umananda Temple.
We also visited the Guwahati Planetorium and watched one of their hour long shows about the planets.
Day 7 – Afternoon flight back to Mumbai
We got up late, had a break fast and then headed straight to the airport to catch our flight back home.
- Flights – Approx. ₹11000 for Mumbai – Guwahati return
- Tour Cost – ₹16000 from Guwahati airport to Guwahati (Included almost everything from 3 meals, snacks and stay etc)
- Personal food expenses and entry tickets in Assam – ₹500.
- Souvenir shopping – ₹500~1000.
You can do this trip on your own as well:
- the car shall cost you around ₹25000 (for a Sumo), so if its 6 people that roughly translates to ₹4000/person.
- Accommodation is cheap and for ₹1000-₹1500/night you can get a room for 2. So that’s approximately ₹500-750/night.
- Other expenses would be food (personal preferences) and sightseeing. Ideally, it shouldn’t cost you more than ₹12000-₹15000/person.
If you need the review and details about the tour company for this 7 day trip to Meghalaya, you can DM me on my Instagram id – the.backpacking.coder
Soon, I’ll be embarking on my first trip post in this covid era – 1.5 months in Himalayas (Himachal Pradesh & Sikkim). If you would be interested in keeping a track of the trip and getting daily updates, you can keep in touch on Instagram/subscribe to the blog or the youtube channel.
Interested in backpacking Asia Or Europe?
If you are planning solo or group backpacking trips across Asia or Europe, you can check out my other trips:
- Vietnam – https://thebackpackingcoder.com/backpacking-vietnam-from-india/
- Cambodia – https://thebackpackingcoder.com/backpacking-cambodia-from-india/
- Bali, Indonesia – https://thebackpackingcoder.com/bali-itinerary-10-days/
- Maldives – https://thebackpackingcoder.com/maldives-trip-from-india/
- 2018 Euro Trip [Finland, Norway, Iceland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands]
- Entire Trip Blog – https://thebackpackingcoder.com/northern-lights-trip-from-india/
- Finland – https://thebackpackingcoder.com/2-days-in-helsinki-finland/
- Suommenlina Sea Fortress Day Trip – https://thebackpackingcoder.com/day-trip-to-suomenlinna/
- Bergen – https://thebackpackingcoder.com/2-days-in-bergen-norway/
- Tromso – https://thebackpackingcoder.com/things-to-do-in-tromso-norway/
- Northern lights hunt with price & tips – https://thebackpackingcoder.com/northern-lights-hunt-from-tromso/
- Iceland Road Trip (7 days) – https://thebackpackingcoder.com/iceland-road-trip-itinerary/
- Belgium, Bruges – https://thebackpackingcoder.com/must-do-things-in-bruges/
- Luxembourg – https://thebackpackingcoder.com/luxembourg-city-in-a-day/
- Giethoorn – https://thebackpackingcoder.com/day-trip-to-giethoorn-from-amsterdam/
- Zansee Schans – https://thebackpackingcoder.com/zansee-schans-from-amsterdam/
- Marken & Volendam – https://thebackpackingcoder.com/volendam-and-marken-from-amsterdam/
- 2019 Euro Trip [Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary]
- Germany – https://thebackpackingcoder.com/must-eat-food-in-germany/
- Bratislava, Slovakia – https://thebackpackingcoder.com/2-days-in-bratislava/
- Czech Republic, Kutna Hora from Prague – https://thebackpackingcoder.com/day-trip-to-kutna-hora/