A Meghalaya trip is all you need, to explore the essence of North East India. Right from the elaborate Jaintia hills to the Khasi hills, the Meghalaya tour is an amazing opportunity to delve into the wonders of nature. For working individuals, you are certain to feel a home away from home! However, it is not easy to plan a trip here as you might go overboard with expenses.
This is your guide to understanding the culture and normal lifestyle in the state helping you plan better. With Treebo Hotels, the trip was super easy. So, let’s get going and keep noting details for a perfect Meghalaya tour.
Detailed Meghalaya Trip Itinerary
Day 1 – Explore Shillong
My Meghalaya trip started with exploring the amazing city of Shillong which is a fusion of traditional culture and modernism. It is a pretty safe place for a solo trip and remains crowded during the evenings. So, let’s begin decoding the best things to do in Shillong.
Best Things to Do in Shillong
1. Visit the Umiam Lake
Umiam Lake is one of the famous destinations surrounded by lush green hills and is spread across a huge area. Different boating options help you explore the lake and its beauty. Walking around the lake and soaking in the beauty of the place is also a good starter for the Meghalaya tour.
Nearby Food Options: Small Coffee Shop and Few Restaurants
Boating Price: INR 400 to INR 500
2. Explore the Don Bosco Museum
Your Meghalaya tour remains incomplete without visiting the spacious Don Bosco Museum. It is more like stepping into a cultural walk filled with elaborate models, paintings, pictures and artifacts of Meghalaya. The museum is cleverly divided into sections. Everything including the art, occupation, secrets of the hills to modern dynamism can be found here.
Check out a small souvenir shop at the entrance. Keychains with intricate carvings on the wood and the traditional fishing basket are rare, so pick them!
Entry Fee: INR 100
Mobile Camera Fee: INR 100 (Videography not allowed)
Note: They are very serious about the camera and can charge a fine of INR 1500 if caught.
3. Relax at Ward’s Lake
Ward’s Lake tops the list of tourist places as it is a must visit during your Meghalaya trip. It is best known for its wooden bridge that connects the huge park in its real sense. The place is straight out of a movie, filled with quaint benches, a series of floral scenarios, a spacious lake and greenery.
Various boating options are available here. You can find mouthwatering fresh juices, fruits and snacks right outside the lake and I promise, they are delicious! Check out the Juice Express stall and try their pineapple juice.
Entry Fee: INR 20 Per Adult
Boating Price: INR 200 for 25 Minutes (Paddle Boating)
Where to Eat?
My Meghalaya trip started super easy as Shillong has many cafes. You can order anything online or head out to the Police Bazaar. Make sure to place your order maximum by 9:00 Pm.
Famous Restaurants: Jiva Veg and Slice of Shillong
Where to Stay?
I stayed at Treebo Trend JKR Residency where I found super comfortable rooms starting from INR 2000. The staff helped a lot with my journey ahead.
What to Expect?
- Since Shillong is a hill station, most places including parks and viewpoints close between 5:30 Pm to 6:30 Pm. Plan accordingly.
- During monsoon season, load shedding is a common occurrence wherein you get electricity during certain intervals only. It is still super comfortable and easily manageable. Also, this is the case with most hotels and hostels.
Day 2 – Head to Dawki
My Meghalaya trip now took a turn as I took my next step in Dawki. While most people think of it as the famous Dawki River, Dawki is actually a large town. The Umngot river is spread across a huge border covering different parts of the town. Shnongpdeng and Darrang are the two villages by the Umngot River where riverside camping is available.
Top Things to Do in Dawki
1. Stay in Tents
One of the best things I did here was to stay in tents by the Umngot River. I decided to stay in the Shnongpdeng village as it is right next to the river. The thrill of staying by the lush green dramatic trees forming mountains is indeed surreal!
Since I visited in the monsoon, boating and cliff jumping were not the option due to the heavy flow of water.
2. Walk on the Dawki Bridge
Nothing is normal when you are on your Meghalaya trip. Meghalaya is particularly filled with suspension bridges and bridges formed by the living roots of trees. These bridges are made for villagers and tourists to cross rivers, valleys and waterfalls. Walking on the Dawki Bridge and taking pictures is one of the most thrilling things to do in Meghalaya. It is a suspension bridge that connects the village to the other end of the river.
The 165-meter-long bridge gives you chills as it constantly moves when you are on the top. Guess what? All you can see is the mountains in the front and the river beneath your vision. Now that was a scary yet such a worthy experience for life!
3. Engage with Locals
My Meghalaya tour took an emotional turn when I met the close-knit communities of the hills. Simplistic lifestyle and joy of living sparkled in people. Villagers engage in fishing and cooking for their daily means. Moreover, the locals here run small restaurants and homestay business as a means of their daily living. They have so many stories right from floods to foreigners staying in their homes. So, embrace your Meghalaya trip by making forever connections.
Where to Eat?
Being in a remote village, restaurants or snack shops are not available in the region. Here, villagers cook for tourists and that is the only food option. Dal, rice and vegetables are available. Chicken preparations are available too. Also, bread, Maggi and lemon tea are common for breakfast. A meal generally costs you from INR 100 to INR 150 here.
What to Expect?
- Due to load shedding, homestays use a dim light and no fans. You can use torches in tents.
- Monsoon season also has some special guests like bugs and insects during the night.
- Washrooms in the homestays are average yet manageable.
Day 3 – Enroute Mawlynnong Village
After a great time in Shnongpdeng village, it was now time to proceed with the Meghalaya trip to Mawlynnong. The Meghalaya tour was now coming to an exciting time by stepping in Asia’s cleanest village!
Dawki Waterfall Viewpoint & Bangladesh Border
On the way to Mawlynnong, I stopped by the Dawki Waterfall viewpoint and yes, it was all worth the hype. The force of the fall and the sound it makes is something straight out of a dream! You’re not allowed to use the wooden bridge however, it is one of the places in Meghalaya where you can be so close to the fall. Also, you get to see the Bangladesh border and an aerial view of the Umngot River on your way.
Best Things to Do in Mawlynnong Village
1. Take a serene walk in the Village
Just as it looks in pictures, Mawlynnong became the highlight of my Meghalaya trip. The sound of birds chirping, dripping rains and the silence of nature. It is more like stepping into a zone far away from the chaos of everyday life. You are certain to fall in love with the freedom that rolls in the air here.
2. Living Root Bridge
A few minutes away from Mawlynnong village is Riwai village. It is home to a single-decker bridge and one of a kind that you can spot on your Meghalaya trip. Must know that it takes a hike down towards the bridge and climbing up is a moderately tough job too! As the river flows below the bridge, the site is simply dreamy.
Entry Fee: INR 40 Per Person
Where to Stay?
The all-green village with no dust is a wonder from within. You can find top-notch homestays no less than a palace-like interior. Normal homestays cost around INR 2500 to 3000 for 4 people while the luxury ones start from INR 3000 to INR 5000 for 2 to 3 people. It is always better to negotiate at the beginning.
What to Expect?
- Mawlynnong is located on the border and phones here keep switching between Indian and Bangladesh time.
- Mawlynnong village has many shopping options however, it is costly compared to the Shillong market.
- You can get basic food with a special tomato chutney. Vegetarian and non-vegetarian options are also available. Meals cost from INR 100 to INR 200 here.
- Restaurants might charge extra for every next thing you ask, be aware.
- If it rains heavily, shops and local restaurants remain closed. However, the homestay owners might be your saviour.
- All snack packets are charged INR 5 to 10 extra in most parts of Meghalaya.
Day 4 – Enroute Cherrapunji to Shillong
Cherrapunji has traditional stay options with eighty percent being homestays. However, the Meghalaya trip for me was a bit different as Cherrapunji faced heavy rainfall and power cuts. I opted to head back to Shillong via Cherrapunji. The road trip was wonderful with jaw-dropping views from the top.
Best Things to Do in Cherrapunji
1. Nohkalikai Waterfall
Nohkalikai Waterfall has to be your first stop in Cherrapunji as it is India’s highest plunge waterfall. It was just for a few seconds I got lucky to spot the falls! Must say, there is no other site more thrilling and exquisite than this. The viewpoint gives you an aerial view of the falls.
2. Viewpoint No.2
While there is no such name for this place, the landscape is worth visiting. It is just 5 minutes walking distance from the main viewpoint of the falls. As you enter this landscape of lush greenery, all you hear is your inner voice. Even though it looks like a ditch, it is pretty walkable. Being all alone is a natural zone and is only something that you can do on your Meghalaya trip.
3. Shopping near Nohkalikai Falls
One of the best things I bought from the shops here was the special Meghalaya umbrella. Designed for heavy rains, it is a foldable umbrella only found here. You can find keychains, wood hangings, mini jewelry boxes and spices. Shop owners are firm and bargaining simply doesn’t work here.
4. Seven Sisters Waterfall
One of the thrilling things to do in Meghalaya is to bless your eyes with the view of the Seven Sisters waterfall. Imagine more than seven rivers flowing through the rugged trees and entering the Bangladesh border as swiftly as they can. Even after standing at the viewpoint, the sound of the waterfall is loud enough for the human ear.
5. Mawkdok Dympep Valley View Point
It is a famous destination for thrill seekers as it offers ziplining adventures here. When I visited in June, it was all fog; however, the valley view was awe-inspiring.
Where to Eat?
Halt at the Orange Roots Restaurant and go for the authentic thalis here. They serve unlimited but only vegetarian food.
The last day of the Meghalaya trip comes to an end with heading to Shillong again. I started early as I wanted to cover the maximum here.
Day 5 – Get Back to Home
1. Check out Shillong View Point
Visiting Shillong View Point is one of the famous things to do in Meghalaya. The viewpoint offers a surreal view of the city with hues of green and blue. You can choose to dress up in traditional Khasi clothes and click pictures. Shops here charge exactly double so do not waste time negotiating.
You can reach the point only by taxi as it is a military zone. You need to submit your phones to the front desk and show your photo IDs for verification.
Entry Fee: INR 50 Per Person
Vehicle Fee: INR 200 (Inclusive of both ways)
2. Visit the Elephant Falls
Elephant Falls is renowned for any Meghalaya tour and I went to check it out. It is a three-layer fall and has steep steps to hike down. As you hike downwards and reach the third layer, that’s when you get the views of the serene falls.
There are many souvenir shops and buying the pine cones home decor is worth every penny. You wouldn’t find that in the Shillong market. There are 2 to 3 small restaurants where you can find Chinese and non-veg options.
3. Pray at the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians
After being quick for the waterfall journey, I headed to the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians. This beautiful church is a place of worship and you can take steps upwards to reach the top. You get to witness great hues of colours in the sky and the place is huge!
4. Shop at Police Bazar
My Meghalaya trip has been swift going from one place to another and here I was at the last stop. Shopping at Police Bazar is one of the top things to do in Meghalaya. Check out what to buy and their costs.
- Thrifted clothes – INR 20 Onwards
- Khasi Shawls – INR 400 Onwards
- Normal Shawls – INR 200 to 300
- Mini Blankets – INR 200
- Hats and Caps – INR 150 Onwards
- Keychains – INR 50 Onwards
It is one of the best places to buy souvenirs and make sure to bargain. Take care of your belongings as the bazaar is extremely crowded.
Things to Carry for Meghalaya Trip
- An Umbrella
- Tea/Coffee Sachets
- Nutrition Bars
- A warm jacket
- Rucksack bag
- Hiking shoes
- Mosquito repellent
- Cash in hand
- Waterproof mobile cover
Best Time to Visit Meghalaya
I planned the Meghalaya trip in the first half of June which is also the onset of the monsoon. Monsoon is mesmerizing and all green in Meghalaya so you can plan a visit in May end or June start for the Meghalaya tour.
For comfortable weather, you must visit Meghalaya during winter from October to February. It is the time when you can witness the transparency in the Umngot River.
Now that you have everything set for the Meghalaya trip, pack your belongings and fly to the abode of clouds!