Meghalaya Tourism Guide: Things To Do & See, Food, Stay
Meghalaya, the gorgeous state of clouds, waterfalls and breath-taking beauty has a poetic charm and attracts tourists from all over the world. Get set for a memorable trip which you will cherish all your life and here is our Meghalaya tourism guide to help you know everything about the state.
Meghalaya Tourism Guide
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Best Time To Visit Meghalaya
Mesmerising Meghalaya is an all year round tourist destination. But the best time to visit Meghalaya is between the months of October and March. Blessed with a moderate climate almost throughout the year, every season of the state has its own charisma.
The summer season starts in the month of April and extends till June. The weather is extremely pleasant in the mornings and evenings. Summers are great for exploring the unexplored corners of the state and indulging in activities like hiking. Tourists can also enjoy the three day festival of Shad Suk Mynsiem and Chad Sukra festival celebrated in April.
Monsoons hit the state in June and last till about September. The state receives heavy rainfall and looks beautiful with appealing lush green landscapes that add a different charm during the season. However, visiting Meghalaya during monsoons should be avoided as heavy rainfall might hinder the excursion to tourist attractions in Meghalaya. But if you wish to spend a rejuvenating holiday admiring the nature, monsoons are best.
October and November are the autumn months. The weather is very pleasant and it is a great time to enjoy the famous Autumn Festival celebrated in Shillong. The state comes alive with vibrant colourful rituals, music and dance.
The winter season starts in November and extends till March. The weather is extremely cold with foggy days. Getting engulfed in fog amidst gorgeous surroundings uplifts your mood and takes you to a different world altogether. Adventure seekers can go trekking and sightseeing through thrilling mountainous terrain. Tourists can make the most of their holiday by witnessing lot of cultural programmes and festivals like Kite Flying Competition, Flower Shows, Music Festival, Wine and Food Festival and Rock Shows. The Strawberry Festival celebrated in the month of February serves as a treat to honeymooners or those looking for a romantic retreat. The Ranikor festival, also held in February offers an array of activities like dance, music, trekking, archery, Soccer and Volleyball.
So, Meghalaya can be frequented by tourists all through the year. When are you planning your Meghalaya trip?
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How To Reach Meghalaya
Meghalaya is quite easily accessible through road, rail and air.
There is a small airport at Umroi, about 35 km from Shillong, the capital of Maghalaya. The Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati, located at a distance of 120 km from Shillong is very well connected to the rest of India with regular flights. Shared cabs and taxis are available from outside the airport to take you to the destination of your choice.
Helicopter service is also available Guwahati to Shillong and from Shillong to Guwahati daily except Sundays. The ride takes about 20 minutes and gives you a terrific view of the entire terrain.
If you are planning to travel to Meghalaya by train, the nearest railway station is again in Guwahati. It is located about 104 km from Shillong and very well connected with all major cities of India. You can take a bus or hire a cab to reach your destination.
The state has a good network of roads with regular bus services. Tourist taxis are also available. National Highway 40 connects Shillong with Guwahati.
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Travelling Within Meghalaya
Getting around Meghalaya is quite easy with a number taxis, buses and car rentals. The Meghalaya Transport Corporation buses are very economical and mostly clean. Taxis are plenty and prove to be much faster when compared to buses. There are shared taxis as well where the driver often picks up additional passengers going to the same destination. For sightseeing hiring a cab for the full day is the best bet. Ensure that the fare is fixed before travel.
Where To Stay In Meghalaya
Meghalaya, the abode of clouds, offers some astoundingly wonderful accommodations to choose from. If you are a nature lover and want enjoy nature at its very best consider staying at Ri Kynjai (Shillong) or Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort (Cherrapunjee). If you prefer a more royal stay, Royal Heritage Tripura Castle (Shillong) and Aerodene Cottage are the best options. Travellers looking for a home away from home should stay in home stays like Pine Hill Homestay (Shillong), Traveller’s Nest (Shillong), The Escapade Inn (Cherrapunji) and Mid Pine Homestay (Shillong). Apart from these, there are plenty of budget hotels like Hotel Barbareek (Shillong), Atithi Guest House (Shillong), Shubham Hotel (Shillong) and Hill Top Chateau (Shillong) for travellers on a budget.
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Places To Visit In Meghalaya
Meghalaya is blessed with so many unique places that you can easily spend a month exploring this wonderful state and still crave for more. Here is a list of some of the most interesting places to visit in Meghalaya.
Enclosed by pine trees, Shillong the quaint capital of Meghalaya is nestled amidst Garo and Khasi Hills. Commonly referred as the ‘Scotland of the East’, Shillong is known for its charming scenery and amazing weather. The city is a perfect place to seek relaxation away from the hustle bustle of the city life. Sparkling waterfalls, exciting mountain peaks, pristine lakes, remarkably beautiful golf courses, museums and zoo make Shillong one of the best places to visit in Meghalaya. Do visit Lady Hydari Park, one of the most popular Shillong tourist places which houses a mini zoo with about 73 species of birds and 140 species of reptiles and mammals. Umaim Lake is a famous man-made water body known for thrilling water sports and fun activities like boating, kayaking and water cycling. Nature lovers should definitely visit Shillong Peak for a stunning view of the surrounding hills and valleys. Other interesting places include Elephant Falls, Don Bosco Museum, Ward’s Lake and All Saints Cathedral. Shillong is also very famous for its colourful culture, jovial people and mellow music.
Come and get drenched in Cherrapuni, one of the wettest places on Earth. Cherrapunji is home to dense forests, natural caves, flourishing green flora and fauna and thundering waterfalls. Do visit the Double Decker Living Root Bridge and get awed by the creative mix of human innovation and natural wonder. Do not miss visiting the majestic Nohkalikai Waterfalls, the tallest plunge falls in India. Krem Phyllut is also a major Meghalaya tourist spot owing to the caves it has. Other appealing places include Mawsmai Cave, Dawki, Thangkharang Park and Dainthlen Waterfall. Because of its enchanting ambience and spotless beauty, Cherrapunji is a great place for honeymooners and couples looking for some quiet time.
3. Mawlynnong Village
Nestled in the East Khasi District, Mawlynnong Village is one of the most exotic Meghalaya tourist places. This village has been voted as the cleanest village not just in India but in Asia. Now isn’t that amazing? Well, you will be surprised to know that this village is completely managed by the villagers and is popularly known as ‘God’s own garden’. Everything is so clean and tidy that it will be very difficult to find even a single piece of straw or dirty roads here. Moreover, the village looks so picturesque that the roads actually seem to be freshly laid amidst the lush green surroundings. In fact, there are bamboo garbage bins in every corner of the village. Mawlynnong Waterfall is a must visit tourist attraction and a sight to behold. Do not miss visiting the live root bridge which is supported by pint sized stones and proves to be a mystery for everyone who visits it. Since this village lies in the Indo-Bangladesh border area, there is a point known as ‘Sky View Point’ which lets you take a glimpse of the landscapes of Bangladesh as well. Your trip to Meghalaya is incomplete without visiting this serene village.
Things To Do In Meghalaya
Meghalaya is a perfect place to explore all aspects of nature. Get to know nature in its true sense with some of the best things to do in Meghalaya.
1. Double Decker Living Root Bridge
Nestled in the lush green forests of Cherrapunji, the Double Decker Living Root Bridge is an excellent example of the most creative collaboration of mankind and nature. It is 3 kilometres long and stands at a height of 2400 feet. Tourists have to take a trek to the rainforest which normally takes about 7 hours to reach the bridge. As the name suggests, the bridge has two decks, the upper bridge is about 20 metres long and is difficult to reach if one is not physically fit to climb to the top. The bridge crosses the Umshiang River and at the site of the bridge there is a guest house where tourists can stay for a very nominal price. There is also a small shop selling biscuits, chips and cold drinks for all those who are keen to refuel themselves. Do take a walk on this unique bridge for a once in a lifetime experience as it is one of the most exciting Meghalaya tourist places.
Meghalaya tourism guide tip: Be sure to wear comfortable hiking shoes and carry plenty of water.
2. Nohkalikai Falls
Nestled a few kilometres away from Cherrapunji, lies the most beautiful and grand Nohkalikai Falls. It is the tallest and the highest single-drop waterfall in India with a height of about 1115 feet. The spectacular waterfall is a wonder in itself and its picturesque beauty has the capacity to mesmerise anyone. The waterfall is a sight to behold because when the water gushes down it appears like a thick white rope falling from a cliff. Nohkalikai Waterfall is a paradise for nature lovers and photo enthusiasts. Apart from enjoying the scenic beauty one can also indulge in activities like bird watching, trekking, camping, swimming and angling. Nohkalikai Falls are definitely the pride of Meghalaya which you simply cannot afford to miss.
Meghalaya tourism guide tip: Avoid visiting the fall during monsoons as thick cloud cover may ruin the view.
3. Umiam Lake
Encircled by thick coniferous forests and East Khasi Hills, Umiam Lake is the most beautiful Shillong tourist spot. This manmade pristine lake is vast and covers an expanse of 221 square kilometres. It is one of the best things to do in Shillong which gives you a chance to be in awe of the perfect inventiveness of nature and human’s limitlessness. Do watch the setting sun here as the sight is purely magical and you are going to treasure it all your life. The lake is dotted with few small islands and the Lum Nehru Park adjoining it is a hotspot for picnics. Apart from the immense scenic beauty, the lake is also a popular hub for thrilling water sports and fun activities like water cycling, kayaking, boating and yachting. Shilling sightseeing is incomplete without visiting this charming lake.
4. Mawsmai Cave
What do you think the moment you hear the word caves? Ancient? Mystifying? Fascinating? Well, Meghalaya is home to some amazing caves and Mawsmai Caves are one of the most accessible caves in Meghalaya. Located about 6 kilometres away from Cherrapunji, these breath-taking caves are the most notable landmarks in Meghalaya. This limestone cave is beautiful and boasts of a wide entrance with a dark and mysterious inside. When you enter the caves you are greeted by stalactites and stalagmites and you can see how the roof and the floor of the caves are joined together to form pillars. Furthermore, some openings of the cave are quite large while some are so small that one has to kneel down and bent their heads. Mawsmai Caves provide a great opportunity for history buffs and photography fanatics. If you are keen to explore something beyond waterfalls and rainforests, Mawsmai Caves is the place for you.
Meghalaya tourism guide tip: Be sure to carry a torch if you wish to explore the dark corners of the cave.
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What To Eat In Meghalaya
Meghalaya’s natural beauty is a major crowd puller but it’s delicious food is the reason why the tourists keep coming back here. Meghalaya food mainly consists of rice, vegetable curries, fish and meat. Let’s go on a culinary journey of Meghalaya to placate our taste buds.
- Start your Meghalaya journey by tasting a very popular dish, Jadoh. It is an appetising delicacy prepared with red rice and meat or pork or chicken along with spices, onion, garlic and vegetables.
- Do try Nakham Bitchi, a well-liked soup consumed before meals. This spicy soup is made from dry fish, vegetables and lots of chillies and spices.
- Dohkhlieh is a must try salad made with minced pork, onions and chillies.
- Pumaloi is a steamed delicacy made with powdered rice resembling the South-Indian Idlys. It is one of the most favourite Meghalaya food served during festivals and celebrations.
- If you are in a mood to indulge, try Doh-Neiiong, the richest and the most satisfying dish of Meghalaya. It is a fried pork curry dish flavoured with black sesame seeds, pepper, onions, chillies and spices.
- If you have a sweet tooth you should definitely try Pukhlein, a sweet dish made with powdered rice and jaggery.
- Do not leave Meghalaya without trying Kyat, a fermented rice beer.
- Other mouth watering delicacies include Pudoh,Tungrymbai, Minil Songa, Zunka Bhakar, Momos and chilly pork.
- Besides the delectable Meghalayan fare, you will also get Indian, Chinese and Continental cuisines.
Meghalaya food is an exotic mix of cultural influences and traditional ingredients. Get set for an extreme gastronomic adventure.
Money In Meghalaya
The currency of Meghalaya is Indian Rupee. Notes come in the denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 2000. Money can be easily exchanged in banks and private money exchangers. ATMs are widespread, but not all ATMs are working so it is advisable to carry adequate cash. All major debit cards and credit cards such as MasterCard, Visa and American Express are widely accepted. There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency the visitors can bring during their visit.
Travel Tips For Your Meghalaya Tour
Our Meghalaya travel guide is packed with insider tips and important information that you need to know before planning your Meghalaya trip.
- Keep your identity proofs and other important documents handy.
- Hindi, Assamese and English are the three most spoken languages in Meghalaya.
- There are regular power cuts in many places and therefore torches, power banks and extra batteries are recommended.
- Do not drink tap water here.
- Do carry a medical kit.
- In case of an emergency, dial 100 (Police) or 102 (Ambulance).
Meghalaya is all set to welcome you. Are you ready? Hurry! Plan a trip to this wonderful state and do not forget to refer to our helpful Meghalaya tourism guide.
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