Handful of Horizons

Meghalaya trip itinerary

One Week at Meghalaya: The Abode of Clouds

Meghalaya is heaven amidst clouds. For those of us who have only seen this state on the map of our country, this state has a lot of surprises to offer. There were moments when we couldn’t believe our eyes. With an abundance of waterfalls, canyons, caves, and forests, Meghalaya offers a varied list of terrains. We guarantee you that a week spent in this beautiful state will stay with you for the rest of your lives. We have listed our 8-day itinerary here and also other viable options that you may take as per your choices.

Which is the best time to visit Meghalaya?

The amount of rainfall that happens in the state is immense. Therefore going from June to October might make it difficult to commute to some tedious destinations. All the waterfalls will look majestic at these times. But if you want to explore the caves. this is not a good time to go. All the caves will be flooded with water. Hence November to March is the ideal time. There will be an average amount of water in all the falls and you can explore the offbeat caves in the state as well. All the treks will be comparatively easier since the paths will not be slippery. Although, if you want to see the beautiful capital city Shillong drenched in pink with cherry blossoms, we recommend you to wait till the last week of November and plan your trip.

Places to visit in Meghalaya

Now this list is going to be endless. For us, wherever we turned seemed like a spot to be explored. Each time we sat in the car and looked around, the stellar landscapes made us take out our phones and capture them. There are the major tourist attractions, of course, consumed by families and groups of tourists taking selfies all around. And then there are the offbeat places, that are hard to reach and mostly unknown. These places are the ones that made us gasp and pinch ourselves to make sure it was not a dream. Our itinerary is a combination of both. You can add or delete places as you wish. The main tourist spots include Cherrapunji (locally known as Sohra), Shillong, Nongriat, and Mawphlung. We will have a detailed look at all these places in the following sections.

How to commute

To commute through the state, there are many options. We went to Guwahati airport and pre-booked a cab for the whole trip. The driver picked us up at the airport and went with us throughout the trip. We had also booked all the stays. Our Guest tours helped us to book the hotels and cabs for the whole trip. If you want to ride bikes and visit places on your own, there are numerous bike rental options available in Guwahati as well. It costs around 10,000 for 10 days. Otherwise, you can also take local taxis to commute from one destination to another. This might be cheaper than having a single taxi for the whole trip.

Vaccination requirements

If you are not fully vaccinated, make sure to take an RT-Pcr 72 house before heading to Meghalaya. The entry point of the state has strict checks for these. If you are vaccinated make sure that the certificates are easily accessible in your phone.

Day 1: Commute to Shillong

The day we arrived at Guwahati, we chose to spend it traveling from Guwahati to Shillong. We reached Shillong around 3 in the evening. En route, we stopped at Umiam lake. This is a small lake with options for boating. We did not go boating, but just sat down on the meadows and enjoyed the serene view. This was not an out-of-the-world-looking destination, but you can stop just to sit down and have some snacks while overlooking the lake.

Our next stop was Ward’s Lake, Shillong. This is a beautiful location if you are going during the cherry blossom season. The blossoms alongside the lake and the park is indeed a must-see, if you are going in the cherry blossom season, Make sure to check your calendars and plan your trip during this season to make the most of it.

Cherry blossoms at Ward's lake, Meghalaya
The pink palettes

There are a few more destinations at Shillong like the city Cathedral, police bazaar, etc. We did not go to these places as we did not feel like exploring the city and shopping. But if you are up for it, then please go ahead and try these spots. We had our dinner at Cafe Shillong. It is a beautiful and cozy little cafe with local and non-local cuisine. Our stay was booked at Cassiopeia Inn, a small place with all the facilities.

Day 2: Cherrapunji (Sohra)

Arriving at Cherrapunji (locally called Sohra) was like reaching the place that we have studied about in our childhood. There are a lot of places to visit here. We started our exploration from Mawkdok valley. This is indeed a magical place to visit early morning as the sun shines over the distinctive hills merging with one another. Remember the sunrise drawings with the sun rising amidst mountains, that we used to do as kids? This place is like those drawings turning into reality. The snowcapped mountains glittering with sunlight is a great start to the day.

Wei Saw Dong Falls

Our next stop was Wei Saw Dong falls. There is a little bit of trek to go down to the falls from the parking lot. It is not a tough one. But it gets a bit steep towards the end and has some bamboo steps as well. So it is not advisable to carry lots of luggage or to go with small kids who cannot walk. There is a diversion that comes during the trek. One goes to the waterfalls and the other one is to a viewpoint. Both should be visited. We recommend that you walk to the viewpoint first, see the waterfalls in their full glory. This waterfall has many tiers to it. Only at the viewpoint can you see the whole of it. Once you get the complete picture of it, you can go through the other route and reach the destination.

Wei So Dong falls, Meghalaya
Wei So Dong falls from the viewpoint

Nohkalikai Falls

Yet another waterfall awaited us in Sohra. Now this one has a very hectic trek to reach its lowest point. There is also a smaller and less hectic trail to reach the top point. The fact that this is India’s highest plunge waterfall makes this one special. There are steps to go down. But these steps are not there till the end. After a point, it becomes a normal trek. If you are planning to go down, make sure you reach early and have enough time in hand. As you know, it becomes dark very early in Northeast India and hence it is better to start early and get back early. We reached around 11 in the morning and it was already cloudy. We had to wait for some time for the fog to lift up and get a glimpse of the Nohkalikai Falls. So better you reach early with proper sunlight.

Nohkalikai falls, Meghalaya
Nohkalikai falls

Mawsmai and Arwah Caves

Caving in Meghalaya is the ultimate adventure. When there are extremely mysterious and long caves in the state, these two caves are the major tourist attractions. These caves are easy to explore and have lights installed from start to end and are very accessible for all age groups. Make sure to check out the fossils imprinted on the rocks in the Arwah caves. There is a high chance that you will miss it.

7 Sisters Waterfalls

Our day came to an end at the very famous 7 sisters waterfalls. As we went in November the amount of water in these waterfalls was also very little. As it was evening fog had covered most of the landscape as well. But the sound of water was very evident and we could see the paths of the water that would be there when the falls is in their full glory.

Our stay for the day: Aisha Guesthouse, Sohra

Day 3: Nongriat village and rainbow falls

This day was extremely special and we know that we would cherish it forever. It started with us at the parking lot of Tyrna village where our driver dropped us and handed us over to a guide. This guy ate breakfast with us and took us on the trek of almost 10,000 steps to reach the most exquisite sight we saw during the whole trip. Yes, I admit that the trek was somewhat too much, but the destination was totally worth it. First, we walked to the Nongriat village to witness the double-decker root bridge. It is still a mystery to see how the tribal people of this state managed to guide the trees to make these root bridges. However technologically advanced we become, these are the things that even leave scientists speechless. We were staying at a basic homestay next to this root bridge.

Root bridges in Meghalaya
Root bridge, up, close, and personal

A small shop is there from where we had Maggi, omelets, and coffee. We went and kept our bags at the homestay and resumed our trek to the rainbow falls. We were in a bit of a hurry since there was a general saying amongst tourists that the rainbow will not be visible after 12 pm or so. There is no point going there if the rainbow is not to be seen. Hence we reduced our rest times, (actually, there were none) and put all our efforts to reach the falls before 12. And to our own surprise, we were pretty early. We reached there around 11 itself and witnessed the rainbow in full glistening over the waterfalls. God, what a sight it was!! At that moment we realized that the whole trip was worth it.

Rainbow falls, Meghalaya
Glistening rainbow at rainbow falls

The trek back from rainbow falls ended us dipping in the serene and clear blue waters of the blue lagoon falls. This is a place where you can take a swim, enjoy, and relax after the hectic trek. The water is a bit cold, but once you get in, it is alright. We stayed here for a while. With help of our guide, we even made our way to the base of the waterfalls. Mind you this path is very slippery and is not recommended if you are not up for an adventure. We reached back to our homestay and relaxed our legs. The evening was spent eating the delicious dinner at the homestay and staring at the stars sitting on the front lawn of the stay.

Blue lagoon falls, Meghalaya
Swim break at blue lagoon falls

Our homestay was Rympei Iing Guesthouse

Day 4: Caving at Mawhmluh caves

When we planned our trip to Meghalaya, one thing was certain for us, and that was caving. This state is known for its long caves with astonishing geological marvels. We certainly wanted to explore the most mysterious krem puri, the longest sandstone cave in the world. But there was no guide available and the terrain had become very slippery. Hence, we changed our plans to make it Krem Mawmluh. Krem means caves in local Khasi and hence will be the starting of all the cave names.

The caving expedition was fulfilled by a local adventure camper. They sent a guide with us after getting us in the attire. We were given jumpsuits, boots, and helmets for protection. There was a small trek towards the cave and it added to the mysteriousness of the journey. It was quite interesting to reach the start of the cave and then to begin the whole expedition. But it looked like it was another planet. The whole experience was extremely surreal.

We spent the rest of the day relaxing at our stay Omega Inn. Elephant falls were very nearby, so we had the option to visit that as well. But we chose to take proper rest as the next day was adventurous as well.

Day 5: Mawlynnong bamboo trek

One of the most exciting things that we had planned for Meghalaya included the Mawlynnong bamboo trek. We had read so many scary things online and therefore wanted to do this trek at any cost. Our friends back home had warned us not to do it, looking at the dangerous pictures available online. But our adventure bone made us more excited all the same. To reach the trek drive to Wahkhen and take the entry ticket. The entry starts at 8.30 am and is available till 5.30 pm. Washrooms and small refreshments are available at the parking lot.

The peak of the Mawlynnong bamboo trek, Meghalaya
The peak of the Mawlynnong bamboo trek

To be frank, this trek is kind of a man-made adventure rather than a natural one. The path is beautiful and scary, but it is all bamboo laid over concrete pillars. So it might not give you the leisure of a natural trek to a mountain top. Nevertheless, it is a good experience. Walking through narrow bamboo paths carefully constructed is fun. We rested for some time at the peak and trekked our way back. There is a small waterfall and stream on the way back where we got down and meditated to the sound of water.

Last phase of the Mawlynnong bamboo trek, Meghalaya
En route to the Mawlynnong bamboo trek

The next stop was Asia’s cleanest village Mawlynnong. We reached there in the evening and walked around the village. The mobile networks in this village is very limited. We stayed at Hala Tyngkong Homestay.

Day 6: Umngot river

Dawki is famous for its crystal clear waters from where the Umngot river shines at its best. Our driver took us to Dawki first to see the cleanest river in Asia, Umngot. En route, he showed the Bangladesh border as well. It crosses Dawki also. You can take a boat ride here. But the water was not that crystal clear and hence we decided to go further to Shnongpdeng. This is a spot nearby to Dawki but has extremely clear water and many more adventure activities. There is snorkeling (although there is no particular aqua life you can witness(, jumping to the water with life jackets, kayaking, zip-lining, and normal boat rides.

Crystal clear waters of Umngot river

We chose kayaking and was smooth and peaceful. The bottom side of the river was completely visible even though the depth in the middle regions was too much. Post lunch we headed back to Mawlynnong and spent the night there exploring more of the village.

Also read Gurudongmar lake: A paradise lost in mountains.

Day 7: Krang suri and Phe phe falls

Our last day in Meghalaya was as stunning as our first. We made our initial stop at Krang suri falls, which is like 15 minutes walk from the parking lot. There is an option to rent life jackets and swim to the bottom of the falls. It is extremely cold in the early morning though. After krang suri, we rushed to the phe phe falls. From the parking lot, you have to walk down to a pond from where a boat will take you across. It cost us INR 100 per head. After getting out of the boat, we have to walk for almost 30 minutes to reach the first tire of the waterfalls. One has to cross the falls and then walk some more to go down some muddy steps to reach the third tire. Please ask any locals working there if you are confused about the route. But make sure you go down, as it is one of the best waterfalls in the whole state.

Krang suri falls, Meghalaya
Krang suri falls on a bright sunny day

We ended our day by reaching Laitlum canyons to view the best sunset in the state. Make sure you reach by 3.30 as there is a high risk of missing the sunset if you are late. We stayed at Rockski BnB for the night.

Phe phe falls, Meghalaya
Looking at the magnificence of Phe phe falls

Day 8: Sacred forest and drive back to airport

Before heading back to the airport, we visited the sacred forest at Mawphlang. The Khasi indigenous tribes believe in sacred forests and it is a place where they summon their deities for performing rituals like sacrifices. There are lots of guides available here, one of whom will accompany you to explain everything about this place. Our guide took so many photos and videos as well. After wrapping up we headed to Guwahati airport to catch our return flight to Bengaluru.

Things to pack

  • Warm clothes as many places tend to have extreme low temperatures
  • Snacks for the treks and campings

Also, note that all the tourist spots of Meghalaya have entry tickets. Make sure you have enough money in cash as online payment methods are not accepted in most places.

Total trip expenses

Our total trip expense excluding flight charges was 48,000 INR. You can save further by taking local cabs at Meghalaya or renting bikes if you feel comfortable. Please reach out to us in the comments if you want to know more about our journeys and related expenses, we will be happy to help.

Check out our blog article on a Photospecific trip to Bali’s Gates of Heaven.