Amongst the Cloud! Monsoon Road Trip in Meghalaya

Monsoon Road Trip in Meghalaya

With a name that literally translates to ‘the abode of clouds’, it couldn’t be far off from rain and Monsoon. While places like Mawsynram and Cherrapunji are known around the world as two of the wettest places, there a whole different feeling in chasing the Monsoon amidst the lush, stunning valleys and serene villages of Meghalaya. So why to wait?  Just plan you must awaited road trip to Meghalaya in this monsoon.

Itinerary can be followed

Day 1: Drive to Shillong from Guwahati visit Umiam Lake & Don Bosco Museum

Day 2:  Explore Scotland of east Shillong 

Day 3: Visit Shillong Peak & Elephant Falls & transfer to Cherrapunjee

Day 4: Explore Cherrapunji 

Day 5: Drive to Dawki and Mawlynnong

Day 6: Drive to Jowai- Krangsuri Waterfalls,Nartiang Monoliths  

Day 7: Return journey to Guwahati & experience a Cruise to River Brahmaputra

Cost of Vehicle

A  sedan car from Guwahati will cost you around Rs 3300 – Rs 3600 per day and an SUV will cost you Rs 4500 – RS 5000 per day.

Umiam Lake Retreat,Barapani,Shillong
Umiam Lake Retreat,Barapani,Shillong
Umiam Lake in Monsoon
Umiam Lake in Monsoon

Day 1- Guwahati to Shillong via Umiam & Don Bosco Museum

Guwahati to Shillong distance is 100 kms and its takes approx 3 hrs by road.I have traveled to Shillong after a gap of 8 years and I was really surprised to see the well developed 4 lane road to Shillong from Khanapara. The road is mostly open on 2 sides, except for few locations where it was blocked due to landslide. I had lunch on the way & coming back at Nongpoh – the Woodland dhaba. This dhaba has many items in its menu and prices are reasonable. Traffic was less and disciplined. The barapani lake provides a mesmerising view on the way to Shillong. You can stop by road side and admire the nature’s beauty.

Activities:

In the evening you can go for shopping in the police Bazar market or taste some awesome local food and other continental foods in numerous eateries available in Shillong city. Some of the best eateries are Jiva Sizzlers, Qzine Restaurant, Jadoh, Dylan’s Café, The Wok etc.  One of the must-try dishes in Meghalaya is Jadoh a popular Khasi delicacy. Suruchi is the most popular Bengali eatery located near Police Bazar.

Where to Stay:

There are so many hotels and homestays are available in Shillong city which suite everyone’s budget. But we have stayed in Umiam Lake Retreat which is 17 km away from Shillong town. Hotel Gateway,Hotel Sapphire,Hotel Rialto,Hotel Pegasus Crown,Early Holiday Home are located near Police Bazar area. Hotel Polo Towers is one of the luxurious hotel near Polo Ground.

Night View of Police Bazar in Shillong
Night View of Police Bazar in Shillong
Way to Cherrapunjee
Way to Cherrapunjee

Day 2- Exploring Shillong

Shillong was a small village until 1864, when it became the new civil station of the Khasi and Jaintia hills. It remained the summer capital of Eastern Bengal and Assam for many years. In 1874, on the formation of Assam as a Chief Commissioner’s Province, it was chosen as the capital of the new administration. An earthquake destroyed the city in 1897, necessitating its complete rebuilding. In January 1972, Shillong became the capital of the newly formed state of Meghalaya

The romantic city of Shillong is one of the important tourist destinations in the northeast. It is often referred to as the “Scotland of the East” due to its striking similarity with the Scottish highlands. The city derives its name from “Leishyllong”-the Superpower or God who is believed to reside on the Shillong peak, overlooking the city.

Following are few best tourist points in Shillong which you can include in your Meghalaya travel plan.

  • Wards Lake
  • Lady Hydari Park
  • Don Bosco Museum
  • Elephant Falls
  • Shillong Peak
  • Ever Living Museum
  • Mawphlang Sacred Forest
  • Khasi Heritage Village
  • Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians
Double Decker Root Bridge,Nongriat
Double Decker Root Bridge,Nongriat
Dainthlen Falls Homestay,Cherrapunjee
Dainthlen Falls Homestay,Cherrapunjee
Seven Sisters Falls,Cherrapunjee
Seven Sisters Falls,Cherrapunjee

Day 3 & 4- Exploring Cherrapunjee

Among the wettest place on the Earth, Cherrapunjee with its clean and pristine surroundings is an excellent place to sit back and unwind.With a unique climate gifted to the area, its untouched beauty and an environment similar to the freshest dew drops, Cherrapunjee is sure to refresh you inside out. The waterfalls in the area only compliment the climate and the flattering pleasant air around. 

Where to Stay-

There are so many luxurious resorts like Polo Orchid,Pala Resort,Jiva Resort,Sai Mika, Kutmadan etc & budget hotels like Coniferas, Cordial,La Kupar’s Inn etc.But we have stayed 10km ahead from town in Dainthlen Falls Homestay We had our lunch at Jiva Grill, most stunning food in Cherrapunjee.

Note- if you are enthusiastic & trek up to 4000 steps(up & down) and it will take round Trip to Double Decker Root Bridge and back – 5 hours to 7 hours, so spare a full day for Double Decker Root Bridge near Tyrna Village,visit Rainbow falls also.

Here are some of our favourite places to visit in Cherrapunji.

  • Maswami cave: Let this be the first thing to see in the area. This is the shortest and most well-maintained caves in Meghalaya centrally located near the city centre.  Some top street food joints are also available here which serve delicious Maggi, Momo, Egg, Tea etc.
  • Seven sisters fall: Before reaching the Maswami cave you can see the wonderful seven sister fall or Mawsmai falls from one side of the road. You can stop here for a family photo taking the amazing falls in the backdrop.
  • Thangkharang Park: It is one of the most wonderful and well-maintained parks of Cherrapunji. You can catch a glimpse of Khoh Ramhah rock and plain of Bangladesh from this park. One of the tallest falls in Cherrapunji, Kynrem fallscan be seen from the park.
  • Eco Park: This is one of the scenic park located in the centre of Cherrapunji.  You can stroll around the park and amused by the pleasant weather and scenery of the park. Different rides for children’s are also available in one the corner.
  • Awrah Cave: It is a wonderful cave where you can see some prehistoric fossil on its wall.  A pleasant walkway leads to the cave, taking 30 minutes to cover. The stunning walkway passes through an enchanting forest of amazing surrounding which offers thrilling and fulfilling experience.   This a huge network of caves only a portion of it is open to the public.
  • Dainthlen falls:  This is one of the biggest falls in Cherrapunji which is formed by a hilly river flowing down from the top of a cliff. Monsoon is the best time to spot Dainthlen falls which become magnificent with a large volume of water.
  • Wei Sawdong falls: It is the most beautiful 3 tire falls located around 30 minutes walking distance from Dainthalen falls. You have to walk down by following a rough jungle trail of bamboo made stairs and stones. It’s better to go for this trek if you are physically fit.
  • Nohkalikai Falls: This one of the tallest waterfalls in entire India plunged down from a height of  1115 feet. Your trip is not complete if you did not take some amazing photos of this fall. You can also get down to the base of the fall from where a trekking route start.  But don’t try it along without a local guide.
  • Double Decker living root bridge
  • Kynrem falls
  • Garden of caves
Mawlynnong Village
Mawlynnong Village
Dawki
Dawki
Riwai Living Root Bridge
Riwai Living Root Bridge

Day 5-Drive to Dawki & Mawlynnong-Riwai Living Root Bridge

Mawlynnong/Mawlynnong Village located in the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya, also referred as ‘God’s own garden’ has won the acclaim of being the cleanest village in Asia in 2003. The village known for its cleanliness is located around 90 kms from Shillong and is a community based ecotourism initiative. The community has made collective effort to maintain the ambience of a clean village. The village offers picturesque natural beauty, a trek to the living root bridge at a neighbouring village Riwai. The village also offers a sight of natural balancing rock, a strange natural phenomenon of a boulder balancing on another rock.Mawlynnong Boutique Cottage is the best place to stay near Living Root Bridge.

Dawki:  Dawki is our next stop on the same rote. After driving down through a circle of winding roads you can see the plain of Bangladesh and the border town Dawki.  Resist yourself to stop at this place if you are not planning to spend the night in Dawki. Instead, drive for 30 minutes more until you reach Shnongpdeng village or Darrang village where more adventure waiting for you.

Shnongpdeng village:  Shnongpdeng village is the bustling hub 8 km from Dawki mainly focuses on water-based adventure sports. Monsoon is a bit lifeless here. Still, we spot many tourists enjoying this place during monsoon.  You can notice fish jumping around your boat and fisherman catching fish in the river.

Where to Stay-

Dawki and Mawlynnong are quite remote places tucked in the west corner of Meghalaya. Except for basic homestays, no other options are available to stay in both places. In Dawki you can stay in a camp near the river bank or opt to stay in a homestay. In Mawlynnong village Hala tong Homestay, Hala Tyngkong Homestay and steam side guest house are few best homestaysWe stayed in the Riwai Boutique Hotel in Mawlynnong to experience the rural lifestyle of Meghalaya.

Krang suri Falls
Krang Suri Falls
Monoliths of Nartiang
Monoliths of Nartiang

Day 6- Drive to Jowai

Located in the Jaintia Hills district, Jowai is famous for its scenic setting and breathtaking views with the perfect mix of heritage and culture.

Located in the Jaintia Hills district, Jowai is famous for its scenic setting and breathtaking views – like all other cities of the state. The place is a rich mix of heritage and cultures which reflects in the lifestyle of the town folks. Lakes are the main attraction of Jowai. The Thadlaskein Lake and Lalong Park are the famous tourists hot spots while Syntu Ksiar is also a popular destination on the shores of river Myntdu.

Where to Stay-

The small town of Jowai has very few options for stay. So we stayed in an offbeat place amidst scenic surrounding. Tyrchi Inn, Orchid Inn, Highwinds Lakeside are some places to stay in Jowai. A small waterfall and river flowing nearby offer a priceless view.

Following are the best point to visit in Jowai in your Monsoon trip in Meghalaya.

  • Ilong Park: Located on the outskirts of Jowai, this a gorgeous place which offer a great view of the valley and the hills.  This is a favourite place for angling and strolling around the park and breath fresh air.  Travellers nests are also available in the park for night stay.
  • Nartiang Durga Temple: It is located beside the ruins of Summer Palace of the Jaintia King.
  • Nartiang Monoliths: This is a prehistoric monoliths park filled with different size monoliths. It was erected in A.D. 1500, by U Mar Phalyngki, a deputy to the Jaintia king. Many legends are associated with this place.
  • Krang Suri Waterfalls: It is one of the most discussed waterfalls in Meghalaya which looks heavenly during monsoon. The giant fall plugging down from the top to a turquoise colour natural pool is one of the best instagrammable photos of Meghalaya.  You need to walk down for around 20 minutes to reach the pool driven by the falls. A cave is also formed in the back of the fall. Which is particular to this falls only. Though it’s a bit tricky to approach the base of it in monsoon, however, the thrill and excitement it offers from close were unimaginable.
  • Tyrshi Falls: Located 5 km from the main highway, it’s a wonderful waterfall sited before reaching Jowai town. One needs to walk downhill to reach the fall. The valley below looks enchanting from the viewpoint of Tyrshi Falls.
  • Thadlaskein Lake: It is a stunning artificial lake on the way Jowai. Stop over in this lake and feel some fresh air and stroll around the lake to freshen up after a full day of adventure.
  • Wahkhen village: If you are looking for more hardcore adventure and trekking then you must visit Wahkhen village on the next day. A great Bamboo trail takes you to the top of a giant rock mountain.  This place is also known asMawryngkhang Trek.  Go for this trek if you are strong and brave enough to climb stairways made of bamboo to reach the top of a giant rock.
Cruise to River Brahmaputra
Cruise to River Brahmaputra

Day 7- Return to Guwahati & Cruise to River Brahmaputra

Today we bid adieu to the wonderful land Meghalaya.  Start the last day in a relax mode if enough time is available for you to reach the airport.

If you want stay this night in Guwahati then you must try Sunset River Cruise INR 350 (from 6-7pm)in Brahmaputra or you can enjoy Dinner Cruise INR 1300 (8-10pm) also from Alfresco Grand near Fancy Bazar in Guwahati.

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Best Places to stay in Meghalaya

Umiam Lake Retreat,Barapani,Shillong
Umiam Lake Retreat,Barapani,Shillong
Dainthlen Falls Homestay,Cherrapunjee
Dainthlen Falls Homestay,Cherrapunjee
Mawlynnong Boutique Cottage,Riwai Living root bridge
Mawlynnong Boutique Cottage,Riwai Living root bridge

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