OT Travel Itinerary: 5 Days In Meghalaya, The Abode Of Clouds

Embark on a journey to explore stunning destinations that will leave you spellbound, from breathtaking rivers to picturesque and unique villages
Meghalaya is a state in northeast India
Meghalaya is a state in northeast IndiaShutterstock

Nestled in northeastern India, Meghalaya has much to offer to travellers, especially if you are looking for natural beauty. From its captivating capital Shillong to elaborately constructed root bridges, its picturesque villages and shimmering rivers, the state offers a truly mesmerising sensory experience. Embark on a journey to explore stunning destinations in Meghalaya that will leave you spellbound. Here is a curated five-day itinerary to make the best of your holiday.

DAY 1

Shillong

Embark on your Meghalaya adventure starting from the vibrant capital, Shillong. With its picturesque rolling hills, Shillong was endearingly labelled the "Scotland of the East" by the British. There's an abundance of activities to indulge in, but you could experience the best of Shillong in the first two days of your trip, before venturing into other captivating parts of the state. Here's how to do it.

After an early breakfast at one of the many cafes or bakeries, visit the horseshoe-shaped Wards Lake, locally known as Nan-Polok. Even in a place as picturesque as Shillong, the lake is a spectacular sight with its isles and bridges. Next head to Spread Eagle Falls which gets its name from the unique shape resembling an eagle spreading its wings. This waterfall is situated in the Shillong Cantonment area, on the outskirts of the city.

For lunch, head to the Police Bazaar area. It has some great shopping potential with shops selling local handicrafts, clothes, and souvenirs. And several local restaurants where you can sample traditional dishes. Post-lunch, visit the Don Bosco Museum to learn about the culture, history, and traditions of the northeastern states of India. The museum showcases artefacts, photographs, and exhibits that provide insight into the region's rich heritage. For dinner, head to Cafe Shillong Heritage in Laitumkhrah and enjoy a cosy meal in a rustic setting featuring a blend of Khasi and international cuisine.

The markets of Shillong are full of local handicrafts
The markets of Shillong are full of local handicraftsRajib Dey/Shutterstock

DAY 2

Start early with a visit to Shillong Peak for panoramic city views and surrounding hills. On a clear day, you can even glimpse the plains of Bangladesh. Alternatively, factor in a visit to one of India's oldest golf courses—the Shillong Golf Course, renowned for its scenic views. Even if you're not a golfer, you can take a leisurely walk around the course and enjoy the tranquil surroundings.

The Shillong Golf Course
The Shillong Golf CourseManjit Kumar Sarma/Shutterstock

Next, pack some lunch and drive to Mawphlang Sacred Forest, about an hour from Shillong. Take a guided tour through the dense forest, home to ancient trees, unique flora and fauna, and sacred groves revered by the Khasi tribe. After the forest tour, visit the nearby Lum Kyllang Rock, a massive monolith perched on a hill. Or drive to Elephant Falls, one of the most popular tourist attractions near Shillong. The falls are named after a rock that used to look like an elephant and are breathtaking to witness as the water cascades down in three stages.

Take a relaxing walk along Umiam Lake's banks
Take a relaxing walk along Umiam Lake's banksDaniel J. Rao/Shutterstock

We recommend you do not miss Umiam Lake. Situated among Shillong's lush green hills, it is a natural wonder that will leave you awestruck, while the hills surrounding it offer a stunning panoramic view. Taking a relaxing walk along the lake's banks is an excellent way to unwind, or you can take part in boating, kayaking, or water sports.

Head back and have dinner at one of the restaurants in Shillong which have live music. And do check out the marvellous Meghalayan Age Store for a variety of local arts, crafts, textiles and agri-produce.

DAY 3

If you want a dose of adventure, set this day aside for the Mawrygkhang Trek. It takes about three to five hours to complete. The journey begins at Wahkhen village, located approximately 50 km away from Shillong, where an extraordinary bamboo trail and skywalk await. It's important to note that public transportation to this village is non-existent, adding to the sense of exclusivity. This trek, however, is not for the faint-hearted or those with acrophobia. The trail is constructed entirely of bamboo and hovers above the formidable Wahrew River, heightening the adrenaline-inducing experience. As you traverse the path, it gradually descends until reaching the awe-inspiring Mackling Cliff. Read more about it here.

Alternatively, head out for a fossils trail. Nestled in the picturesque East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya lies the village of Mawlyngbna, renowned as the adventure hub of the state. This charming hamlet holds a remarkable treasure—fossils dating back an astonishing 200 million years, providing a glimpse into the ancient past. Explore the wonders of Krem Mawpun, a mesmerising cave awaiting your discovery. While you're here, immerse yourself in a world of adventure. Mawlyngbna offers a variety of activities for visitors, from invigorating hikes leading to breathtaking waterfalls to the fascinating fossil park. Explore the wonders of Krem Mawpun, a mesmerising cave in the area.

DAY 4

At the double decker living root bridge in Nongriat village
At the double decker living root bridge in Nongriat villageTalukdar David/Shutterstock

You should use your second-last day to witness one of Meghalaya's most remarkable natural wonders. Nongriat, a picturesque village nestled in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya State in north-eastern India, is renowned for its remarkable living root bridges. Among them, the Jingkieng Nongriat stands out as an impressive double-decker suspension bridge. The village, characterised by small huts built on elevated platforms, offers a truly unique and captivating experience.

Alternatively, visit Cherrapunji, a two-hour drive from Shillong. Locally known as Sohra, it is best visited from May to September, when lashing rains drape the place in a resplendent green. You can also do the root bridge trek from Tyrna village. Lush green mountains can be seen while walking amid the dense vegetation. There are a few villages along the way. After one such village appears a Y-shaped junction, the left path of which leads to the double-decker bridge and the right to the single-decker bridge. Below the second bridge connecting the village of Nongriat lies one of the bluest natural pools one can hope to see.

DAY 5

This is your last day, so it is time to head back to Shillong. One the way, stop at Meghalaya's Whistling Village, Kongthong, around 52 kms from Shillong. Even in the bountiful Meghalaya (the abode of clouds), where every bend in the road leads to a breathtaking vista, each waterfall is tailor-made for an Instagram grid, and even butterflies flit about in shades that would put a colour shade-card to shame, this village is a unique cultural experience

Getting There

Shillong Airport, also known as Umroi Airport, is the closest airport to Shillong, situated in Umroi, approximately 30 kilometers away. It serves as a small regional airport with limited flight options, primarily connecting Kolkata to Shillong. For a convenient air travel experience, visitors can take a flight to Guwahati Airport and drive from there. Alternatively, they can choose a train journey to Guwahati followed by a scenic road trip to Shillong.

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