Backpacking trip to Meghalaya
Meghalaya backpacking trip is a custom-tailored experience including serenity, peace, and adventure all at the same time.
Now, the name Meghalaya has its own significance. It means the land of clouds in the Sanskrit language. The name is true in all sense as Meghalaya is the wettest place globally and is usually covered with clouds.
Now, Meghalaya is famous for various things and Limestone Caves is one of them. These caves can also be considered as one of the many specialties of the place. Also, the caves have another name for themselves and are rightly called ‘Caves in the Abode of the Clouds’.
Moving on, adventure sport is also one of the reasons people go to Meghalaya. So, activities like trekking, camping, mountaineering, rock-climbing, and water sports are all part of the pack here.
The peace and serenity of the place mixed with options for unleashing the adventure junkie in you make it one of the perfect destinations to visit in India.
Best time to visit Meghalaya is between October to June when the weather in Meghalaya is nice. During this time, one can enjoy the full experience of visiting Meghalaya.
Avoid the state during heavy rainfall season at all you'll end up is one foot deep muddy waters all over the place and your trip would be ruined in that case.
Coming back to the attractions, Shillong enjoys a pleasant atmosphere, beautiful lakes, lush green mountains, pine forests, exotic orchids, and more. Which combine to make it one of the finest hill stations in the North East.
While covering 4 essentials locations in Meghalaya, Shillong, Cherrapunee (Sohra), Dawki, and Mawlynnong, we get to explore more. It's not just about the places but variations in culture, cuisines, and rituals followed by the people, and more.
Additionally, In Meghalaya, every other city has its own significance. Such as Shillong being the rock capital, Mawlynnong the cleanest village in Asia, Cherapunjee the wettest place on Earth, and Dawki being famous for crystal clear water.
Due to the reason that all this and more are covered in our itinerary, you'll be having a fun, and memorable trip experience.
1st Day: Reach Guwahati and Transfer to Shillong via Umiam Lake
2nd Day: Shillong to Cherrapunji via Laitlum
3rd Day: Trek to Double Decker Bridge
4th Day: Cherrapunji sightseeing, drive to Mawlynnong and Stay at Dawki
5th Day: Dawki to Shillong
6th Day: Shillong to Guwahati
Guwahati to Guwahati:
|Triple Occupancy||19500 / Person|
|Double Occupancy||22000 / Person|
|Triple Occupancy||20800 / Person|
|Double Occupancy||22500 / Person|
|Triple Occupancy||21200 / Person|
|Double Occupancy||23500 / Person|
|Triple Occupancy||22300 / Person|
|Double Occupancy||24000 / Person|
|Triple Occupancy||23600 / Person|
|Double Occupancy||25800 / Person|
|Triple Occupancy||24500 / Person|
|Double Occupancy||27500 / Person|
|Triple Occupancy||25500 / Person|
|Double Occupancy||28500 / Person|
Itinerary (Guwahati to Guwahati)
1st Day : Reach Guwahati and Transfer to Shillong via Umiam Lake
- Meet upon arrival at Guwahati Airport / Railway Station.
- After the initial introduction, we travel to Shillong which is famously known as the Scotland of the East and is at an altitude of 4908 feet above sea level.
- Explore Cafes and Local market of Shillong in the evening.
- Overnight stay in Shillong.
2nd Day : Shillong to Cherrapunji via Laitlum
- Breakfast will be served in the morning.
- After that, the group will head towards Cherrapunji (4,400 ft.), the wettest place in the world.
- En route, the group will visit Elephanta falls and Shillong peak for a short sightseeing tour.
- The rest of the day will be spent visiting waterfalls between Shillong and Cherapunjee followed by exploring Mawsmai cave in the evening.
- Overnight stay at Cherrapunji.
3rd Day : Trek to Double Decker Bridge
- Post breakfast, the group will head for trekking towards one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites - Double Decker Living Roots Bridge. If time permits, we shall go exploring and trekking to the Rainbow Falls as well.
- Return to Cherrapunji by evening.
- Overnight stay at Cherrapunji.
4th Day : Cherrapunji sightseeing, drive to Mawlynnong and Stay at Dawki
- We'll have an early breakfast, after which we'll explore the various places in Cherrapunji including the two cave sites, the Nohkalkai waterfall, and the seven sister falls.
- Later on, we'll continue on the road-trip further to Mawlynnong, also known as Asia’s Cleanest Village.
- Afterward, we'll drive to Dawki, from there the India-Bangladesh Border is just 2 hours away. In here, you can roam around in between the India-Bangladesh border which is an unbarbed area free of any strict army vigilance, unlike most border areas.
- Finally, we'll head down to our riverside camps.
- Post-check-in, we'll have dinner, barbeque, and bonfire.
- Overnight at the campsite in Dawki.
5th Day : Dawki to Shillong
- After breakfast, the rest of the day is for adventure activities.
- The group will head off for adventure activities including cliff jumping, boating, snorkelling, and more. Except for these three activities, anything else would be at a personal expense.
- Later, we'll drive back to Shillong with an evening at leisure.
- Guests are free to explore the city in the evening as this will be the last day for the Meghalaya backpacking trip and by this time, we would have already covered all our itinerary checkpoints.
- Overnight Stay at Shillong.
6th Day : Shillong to Guwahati
- Breakfast will be served in the morning.
- Post breakfast, the group will drive from Shillong to Guwahati.
- On reaching Guwahati, you can head back home according to your own convenience.
- The tour ends and we'll conclude our Meghalaya backpacking trip.
*You are advised to book flights for Day 6 as the group will be reaching Guwahati around 5 PM, booking your flight tickets accordingly.
Transportation for all the 6 Days from Guwahati to Guwahati.
Two nights accommodation (hotel stay) in Shillong
Two nights accommodation (hotel/homestay) in Cherrapunji
One night accommodation (camps) in Dawki
Breakfast in Shillong and Cherrapunji
Dinner and Breakfast in Dawki
Cliff Jumping Dawki
Snorkelling in Dawki
Boating in Dawki
Bonfire + Barbeque at Dawki
First aid kits
Expenses on any activities which are not mentioned in the itinerary.
Any type of insurance including travel, health, and more.
Expenses of personal nature are not covered.
Additional expense added due to unforeseen circumstances such as cancellation/roadblocks/landslides/strike or any other natural causes would not be covered.
Anything not mentioned in Inclusions.
We would not be liable for theft/misplaced items.
No cancellations will be taken over the call or WhatsApp message. Please reply to the email of the payment receipt that you have received at the time of booking regarding the cancellation.
Free Cancellation up to 60 days before the departure date (Booking amount is non-refundable)
If you're canceling the trip and opting for a refund within 59 days to 45 days of the Departure Date then only 10% of the total trip cost (calculated after subtracting the booking amount) along with the booking amount (non-refundable) will be charged as a cancellation fee and remaining sum would be refunded.
If you're canceling the trip and opting for a refund within 44 Days to 30 Days of the Departure Date then only 25% of the total trip cost (calculated after subtracting the booking amount) along with the booking amount (non-refundable) will be charged as a cancellation fee and remaining sum would be refunded.
If you're canceling the trip and opting for a refund within 29 Days to 15 Days of the Departure Date then only 50% of the total trip cost (calculated after subtracting the booking amount) along with the booking amount (non-refundable) will be charged as a cancellation fee and remaining sum would be refunded.
If you're canceling the trip and opting for a refund within15 Days to 8 Days of the Departure Date then only 75% of the total trip cost (calculated after subtracting the booking amount) along with the booking amount (non-refundable) will be charged as a cancellation fee and remaining sum would be refunded.
If you're canceling the trip and opting for a refund within 7 Days from the Departure Date then 100% of the total trip cost (calculated after subtracting the booking amount) along with the booking amount (non-refundable) will be charged as a cancellation fee and remaining sum would be refunded.
You are not applicable for a refund if you fail to show up on the day of departure under the given timeline that has been provided to you beforehand.
There would be no refund provided in case there occur some problems due to government orders, harsh weather conditions, protests, landslides, or any other unforeseen circumstances. On the occasion of any such happenings, we have a backup plan ready most of the time and we'll be moving onto that. There are times when we would have to cancel some activities mentioned in the itinerary but it's only due to the reason that we would be bound by a circumstance that is not in our control.
If a trek is called off at the last moment due to a natural calamity/unforeseen circumstances (like rain, snowfall, earthquake, landslides, strike, bandh, etc.) then the participants would be provided with a travel voucher for the same amount that can be used within 365 days of the issuance date for any package worth the same amount.
If a trek/trip has to be aborted midway due to a natural calamity/unforeseen circumstances (like rain, snowfall, earthquake, landslides, strike, bandh, etc.). In that case, no refund would be provided.
JustWravel will not bear any extra expense due to any natural calamity/unforeseen circumstances (like rain, snowfall, earthquake, landslides, strike, bandh, etc.).
Cancellations policy differs for popular destinations and also during peak season, kindly confirm with your operator once.
Things To Pack
Rucksack (60 Liters+)
Backpack Rain Cover
UV Protected Sunglasses
Comfortable Pants (Prefer Cargo/Trek Pants )
Socks (2 Cotton)
Sturdy Comfortable Shoes
First Aid Kit
Mobile Charger/Travel Charger
Sunscreen Lotion (SPF 20+)
Documents – ID (Driver’s License, AADHAR Card, Voter ID:: Passport and Visa copy for Foreign Nationals)
Additional Information about Meghalaya
Long back in 1970, Meghalaya separated two districts of Assam and got the stature of an autonomous district. Covering an area of 8,660 square miles, it occupies a part of the great Deccan plateau.
The culture and tradition since then are influenced by the history of Meghalaya. It has a mixture of cultures from Bangladesh and other neighboring states.
The Garo, Jaintia, and Khasi tribes in Meghalaya love to spend a peaceful life with meaningful virtues.
The language in Meghalaya is never trouble for English being the binding force. The local people communicate with Garo, Khasi, Nepali, and Marathi languages among themselves.
Cherrapunji, the wettest region in the state, is known for receiving the highest rainfall in India. It has the double-decker living root bridge as a popular tourist spot. Tickets are available on weekends.
The weather in Meghalaya is pleasantly cold in the summer. However, carry good warm clothes if you are traveling in winter.
The weather in the hill stations can be extremely cold. Therefore, it is better to be safe with some good warm clothes in your backpack.
Meghalaya backpacking trip is going to be a fun trip via a road trip. Road Trip to Meghalaya will be thrilling as you will be exposed to the extreme beauty of the hill routes and heritage sites.
The villages in Meghalaya are clean and people in Meghalaya are extremely kind. The culture of Meghalaya is based on traditional Buddhist culture.
Festivals in Meghalaya reflect the true culture and tradition of the state. The divine heritage of Meghalaya is worth exploring. You will be joyful to be living a different life within their people.
A backpacking trip to Meghalaya will be perfect as they can travel and unveil some of the best tourist destinations in Meghalaya within a few days.
The itinerary for backpackers in Meghalaya would range from 4 days and 3 nights to 7 days and 6 nights.
You can take any travel pack and enjoy your vacation in Meghalaya. The best places to visit in Meghalaya include some of the panoramic waterfalls, trekking points, and hill stations.
Some interesting spots for tourists in Meghalaya are Nohkalikai Falls, Umiam Lake, Umngot River in Dawki, Krem Liat Prah, Mawsmai Caves, trek points on hills and many more.
There are several hotels and lodges in Meghalaya that are completely safe and certified under travel websites. You can also book these hotel rooms online.
The famous food items in Meghalaya are spicy meat and fish. Rice is their staple food. However, the cuisines in Meghalaya have a unique taste than other neighboring states. Their selection of spices and ways of cooking differs from others.
The best way to visit Meghalaya is via train, the railway station, being close to the city of Guwahati, is a lot more convenient.
Meghalaya has serene beauty and rich culture that visitors all around India and the world enjoy. If you have never traveled to this amazing state, it is time to plan a trip to Meghalaya with JustWravel.
History Of Meghalaya
Meghalaya is one of the 29 states in India and falls in the northeast region of the country. The formation of this state was done on 21st January 1972 by separating two states of Assam.
With Shillong as the capital of the state, it stands tall as one of the peak destinations preferred by tourists in India. The attraction for Meghalaya is the heavy rainfall it receives and is the wettest place on earth not only in India. Also, the heavy range of flora and fauna it does have.
Moving on, some other important facts about the state is that, here the official language is set to be English. This might seem strange at first but is justified looking at the population diversity which is covered by Christians majorly. On the contrary, Hinduism is the religion present in the minority.
Moving on, if we talk about second, then followed by English, two other languages are vastly popular in Meghalaya namely Khasi (33.81%) and Garo (31.60%).
The people in this state are majorly dependent upon agriculture which constitutes 80 percent of the workforce in Meghalaya. Afterwhich, tourism activities and hospitality are some of the other popular careers for the people in the state.
One of the facts that attract tourists to Meghalaya is the sheer number of the waterfall, limestone caves, and an array of unexplored attractions that you might accidentally land onto.
There exists one Double Decker Root Bridge, which is one of it’s kind and only present in Meghalaya across the whole world. During the backpacking trip, you'll get to see this famous heritage site of Meghalaya as well.
Also, if you’re interested in archeological findings then you’d be interested to know that remains of dinosaurs have been discovered here and it is a site of archeological importance.
Apart from that, you can explore more than 500 caves as there are a plethora of them present in the vicinity. Additionally, due to the state being such an unexplored territory you’d get to know a ton of myths and legends about Meghalaya as well.
If you’re an audiophile and are interested in listening to heavy music then Shillong might naturally attract you due to being heavily influenced by rock culture. There are plenty of local bands that can bring peace to your ears that are aching for some good music.
Talking about Shillong, how can we forget about good cafes in the place, can we? Not. So, if you’re in Shillong then do not forget to visit Dylans Cafe, Shillong Cafe, ML 05, and many more to try some authentic Meghalaya cuisine while on a backpacking trip.
One of the most important things you should know before leaving on a Meghalaya backpacking trip is that nobody should disrespect the local culture and the tribes. As they are the ones that majorly govern the whole ecosystem around the state. Additionally, there are only three major tribes that exist in Meghalaya namely The Jaintias, Garo, and Khasi tribes.
Now, if you’re talking about Meghalaya, you just cannot ignore the Mawlynnong village as it is awarded as the cleanest village in the whole world. From here, you can easily watch the India-Bangladesh border, which is also visible from Dawki.
One more interesting thing to know about Meghalaya is that here matriarchy is followed instead of patriarchy which is the commonly followed practice over the world. In Meghalaya, you can easily spot a female’s family accepting her male counterpart to come and live with them after the unification of them through marriage.
Also, due to the high rate of people speaking English, the literacy rates and other related things are on the upside. So, you’re more likely to meet people who are educated and well behaved while you’re in Meghalaya.
How To Reach Meghalaya
The journey to reach Meghalaya from Delhi can be done via a road trip as well. But it is not the most optimum route as it takes 35 hours in theory and 55+ hours in real to get to the destination. This means that you’ll have to cover more than 2.5 days of travel at once, just to reach Meghalaya.
So, by the end of your road trip, there are chances that you’ll be more than exhausted and then there’ll be another 2.5 days of the journey to return to the book the flight.
The nearest airport from Meghalaya is in Guwahati namely Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport. But in case you're someone whom we can call an ultra extremist adventurer then you can opt for a full-on road trip along with Meghalaya backpacking.
The journey from Delhi to Meghalaya via train is also possible but it’s the second preferred option after choosing the flights. The only reason for that can be the amount of time flight saves and the comfort of the medium. Otherwise, if you’re someone who would like to enjoy a train journey across the route, then there are many options present onto the requested route.
Mostly trains would show a journey time of approximately less than 2 days as they’ll be running continuously with fewer stops. The average cost would come anywhere from about 2500-4000 rupees.
Best Time To Visit Meghalaya
If you’re planning to visit Meghalaya then please keep in mind that the best time to start checking for Meghalaya Itineraries is between October to April. During this time, you can expect the weather to be nice and kind to you, with not too many wintery cold breeze or the summer heatwave.
It’ll be a pleasant experience with a little bit of drizzle here and there as you already know that it is the wettest place on earth, so you can expect rainfall at any moment. The temperature goes around from around +-20 degrees celsius to +-5 degrees celsius.
Although, it is not advised to opt for a Meghalaya Backpacking trip during the monsoon season as you’ll not be able to travel to any of the locations in your itinerary due to heavy rainfall.
Famous Places To Visit In Meghalaya
Meghalaya is famous for waterfalls and Nohkalikai is one of the most famous among them all. It has a height of 1115 feet and has the title of the tallest waterfall in India. Along with that, if you’re someone who wants to get in awe then this waterfall is surely your cup of tea. Don't miss out on this one mesmerizing experience while on a backpacking trip to Meghalaya.
Double Decker Living Root Bridge
It is the second time that we’re mentioning this place here and well! There are plenty of reasons for that. While you already know that it’s the only one of its kind double-decker root bridge in the world.
But did you know that being a root bridge, it has advantages such as with every rainfall, it gets stronger in comparison to any other kind of bridge such as one made from steel.
The elephant falls got its name during the British Empire when someone spotted an elephant-shaped rock near the falls and started referencing it as the same. Sadly, the rock is not there anymore as it was destroyed but the name still sticks.
The fall is situated in Shillong and you cannot miss it for the world when on a Meghalaya backpacking trip, as it is one of the attractions for both Shillong and Meghalaya. Moving on, it was originally called Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew, which is the Khasi name for the fall and is still being used by the local/tribals to refer to the same.
If you returning from Shillong without visiting Laitlum Canyon then you have missed one of the most amazing views you can ever get in Meghalaya. But, if you’ve ever been to the canyon then you are aware of the bird’s eye’s view of Shillong. Now, moving forward, there’s a trek included while you move towards the Laitlum Canyon, which is a heavy plus point and gives you double the fun.
They are part of the Garo-Khasi-Jaintia range and belong to the very adamant Khasi Tribe, which comes into a prominent standing among the tribes in Meghalaya. Now, They are an important landmark when visiting Meghalaya and we don’t think that at this point, you’ll question that statement.
It is also known as the seven sisters waterfall, as the said waterfall has 7 sections which are designated onto one of the seven sister states of the northeast by the locals. It is a very significant point in the itinerary and one should visit these waterfalls to get a view that provides you with an introspective space while on a Meghalaya backpacking trip.
Don Bosco Museum
If you’re someone who’s high on information and wants to consume as much as they can then this is the kind of place that attracts your vibe. The reason being that while visiting the museum, you’ll be getting to know about the eight states of the northeast in detail with facts, documents, and artifacts.
Adventure Activities In Meghalaya
Meghalaya might seem like a place just down with rain and all you can explore is nature at its best. But along with the fact that it is very very true, another fact is that you can enjoy a plethora of adventure activities here as well. Most of which we'll be covering during the backpacking trip to Meghalaya.
Meghalaya At a Glance - State Summary
We have covered Meghalaya as deep as we could have but for those who don't like to read much, there's a short summary section for you as well. Go ahead and gorge into the zone details about the zone called Meghalaya - Abode of Clouds.
Known as Scotland of the East, as it is popularly known for its pure breeze and scenic locations, Meghalaya is one of the Seven Sisters. Located in north-east India, Meghalaya offers the world a unique experience of culture and geography. So here are some of the amazing facts that one should get to know about this phenomenal place:
- One of the smallest states by population and area, it houses its 2.9 million residents in an area of just 22,720 sq. km. The smaller the place, the more you get to explore it thoroughly. Known for having abundant greenery, caves, waterfalls, and clear skies, it offers one of the best views to wake up to every day. Meghalaya and its picturesque locations and flora and fauna provide the best getaway locations.
- It is home to some famous people like Arundhati Roy, who has authored The God of Small Things, Listening to Grasshoppers, The End of Imagination, and many other books. It also houses the former speaker of Lok Sabha PA Sangama. He was also the Chief Minister from 1988 to 1990.
- The Tribal communities have existed for centuries in Meghalaya and their rituals, tradition, and culture are still practiced. Tribes have their own costumes, cuisines, and ideologies. Some of the popular tribes in Meghalaya are Garo, Jaintia, and Khasi. The Khasi tribe is the largest one to exist in the state. Most of the population of the place consists of Tribal communities.
- The highest rainfall records globally have been recorded in Cherrapunji, which was earlier known as Sohra. Stilt houses are seen in the area in order to protect the bases of houses from being washed away due to heavy rains. The best time to visit this tiny town is from September to May as the misty waterfalls and ancient caves give you the best routes for a drive-through.
- Home to waterfalls like Nohkalikai, Elephant Falls, Langshiang Falls, Krang Suri Falls, and many more. Out of all these, Elephant falls is the most scenic and the most popular tourist attractions in Shillong. Nohkalikai is known for its famous plunge pools, which also attracts a fair amount of tourists as well every year. All waterfalls are surrounded by lush green forests that house animals like common leopards, jackals, bears, deer species, giant squirrels, and reptiles like vipers, cobras, pythons, and many more.
- The folk dances of Meghalaya are distinct and unique to their states like the Nongkrem Dance, which is a religious festival in thanksgiving to God Almighty for a good harvest, peace, and prosperity of the community; held during October-November at Smit near Shillong. Other dances include the Wangala dance, which is part of the Wangala festival. It is a major festival of the Garos which is celebrated during autumn after the harvesting season. The festival which lasts for four days and nights is accompanied by dancing and enjoyment and the most phenomenal sight is the warrior’s dance which is the Dance of a Hundred Drums on the final day which is a spectacular sight. Dances from this state try to bring together the natives by creating fun and joyous atmospheres like the Dorsegata dance and the Yahoo dance. You need to at least see this once in your life and a backpacking trip to Meghalaya is one nice opportunity to do so.
- The various caves located in this state make it unique and a popular tourist attraction. Caves like Arwah cave - which consists of Meghalaya limestone rocks caves which were carved by mother nature, Mawsmai caves - which has naturally formed rocks in different shapes and sizes, Mawmluh cave - which is 7 km long, Krem Phyllut and Jaintia hills, which is more than 22km long and connects two ancient caves in the area.
- The majority of the population are Christian in the tiny state of Meghalaya. The other religious communities that exist in this place are Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs. This shows the secular nature of the state which is favored by its residents and is also responsible for creating a harmonious atmosphere.
- Home to the maximum number of bridges, Meghalaya proudly exhibits its living and root bridges. Most of the bridges are located in Cherrapunji, which were built hundreds of years ago. The most popular living bridge is the double-decker root bridge and single-decker root bridge in Shillong which are unique and make for the prime tourist attraction sports. These bridges were built by Garo and Khasi tribes who have mastered the art of wrapping thick roots together to form a structure that has a capacity of holding more than 50 people. These bridges look as if they were taken straight out of a fairytale and have been recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.
- Another interesting fact about Meghalaya is that it shares an international border with Bangladesh. Meghalaya has been fenced completely and the bordering town located next to the border is Dawki. Even if it’s a small town, Dawki is the ultimate destination for adventure sports like kayaking, camping, zip-lining, and snorkeling. It is absolutely sublime with crystal clear waters and a delightful boat ride is offered in the lake which makes for an eventful and peaceful day. The main attraction is the Dawki bridge which is a suspension bridge over the Umngot river which has a fairytale hidden inside. It is close to the cleanest possible village in Asia which is Mawlynnong.
- Lastly, the cuisines of Meghalaya are very popular as well. The popular cuisines are Jadoh, Doh-Khlieh, Nakham Bitchi, Pumaloi, Doh-Neiiong, Tungrymbai, Pudoh, Minil Songa, Pukhlein, and Sakin Gata. These wholesome meals are responsible for the healthy appetites of the natives and the tourists that visit the beautiful state.
It was my first trip with JustWravel and it was an amazing experience. The food was exceptional. These guys are best in the business. Guneet and Rohan Sir organised it really well. Looking forward to more trips with them. Cheers.
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