How to Travel Solo in Meghalaya in a Budget8 min read

Meghalaya

Duration – 4 days

Meghalaya, also known as Cloud Home, is divided into seven major districts – East Garo Hills, East Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills, Ri-Bhoi, South Garo Hills, West Garo Hills, and the West Khasi Hills. If you are planning to visit Meghalaya, then you should know that this is a peaceful state and is not commercialized. Why?

 

Well, because for the most part of history it has remained cut off from India due to ethnic problems. But what entices travellers to come and see here is the mass of green found everywhere where you set your eyes. It is known to be world’s wettest region and is also the home to the famous Living Root Bridges. This travel guide will help you plan your trip to Meghalaya in the most accommodating way.

 

I travelled solo here and if you are fretting over how safe the place is, rest assured, there is nothing to worry about. This state will make you feel at home and you would wish that only if you could stay here forever.

 

 

How to Reach

Reaching Guwahati first

Flights 

Shillong has a small airport at Umroi but there are few direct flights to Shillong. You will also notice that the flights are quite costly due to the low-frequency. So, instead of checking for Shillong flights, you should check for the Guwahati flights as it will be more economical for you.

Trains

The nearest railways station to Meghalaya is Guwahati Railway Station. You can check the train timings and cost for trains on www.irctc.co.in with respect to the state you are coming from.

 

Reach Shillong

Scooty

The distance between Guwahati and Shillong is about 100 KMs so you can easily rent a bike (which I did) and drive to Shillong. The highway is breathtakingly gorgeous so trust me, you won’t regret it. You can rent bikes from Awe Rides at an economical price.

Bus

i. From Umroi Airport – There is a 28-seater bus which costs about INR 100/- and runs on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Note: From Shillong, the bus leaves at 11 AM

ii. From Shillong Airport – The bus costs about INR 250/- and leaves the airport at two timings: 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM only.

Note: From Shillong the bus leaves at 6.30 AM and 9.00 AM. Tickets will be available at Tourist Information Center, Police Bazaar and Meghalaya Tourism Information Center, Guwahati Airport.

 

Things to See and Itinerary

Meghalaya_Infograph
Right Click to Download on the Go Itinerary

 

Day 1 – Shillong

After reaching Shillong, best would be to find a hotel in the Police Bazar. There are many options to stay here, plus it is the main market of this hill station. You will be able to find all the amenities here and if in case you would like to buy something, you will easily get it. Although, the place is a little crowded though. You can also find street food to eat and roti with vegetables just for INR 20/-. (YES!)

After placing your bags and taking rest, head out and explore the places below which are in Shillong and can be covered in a day –

Umiam Lake 

This lake comes on the way from Guwahati to Shillong and looks immensely gorgeous during the sunset. If you wish then before going entering Shillong, you can stop here and sit beside the lake. But if your backpack is heavy, then the lake is not that far. You can easily return back from the Police Bazar.

This lake was originally constructed as a part of Hydel Power project, it has now become a tourist destination. You can witness a gorgeous reflection of the sky and take amazing pictures of both sunset and sunrise. It is a very picturesque place.

Shillong View Point

After Umiam lake, you can move to this place which lies 10 KMs from Shillong and is also the highest point in Meghalaya. You can see the panoramic view of the city, from up here along with the cascades of waterfalls; completely gorgeous and breathtaking!

Elephant Waterfalls

This gorgeous waterfall is located 12 KMs from Shillong and is shaped in the form of steps. It is said that this name was given by a British officer. While visiting this place he saw a rock here that resembled like an Elephant. Hence the name, ‘Elephant Waterfalls’, but sadly, this rock got destroyed in an earthquake. Due to this the structure of Elephant is not visible anymore.

After this return back to the hotel and relax as you have to leave early in the morning the next day. It is best to have dinner by 8 PM since post 9 PM everything starts to get shut down.

Day 2 – Cheerapunji

Leave early in the morning the next day and head out to Cheerapunji. Last stop is the Double Nongriat Village. The drive is really serene and full of green and I am sure you will stop a lot on the way itself to soak in the beauty. During my time, it started to rain, but luckily I had a raincoat to cover myself up and my Backpack was waterproof, hence I still drove in the rain. Best feeling ever!

Mawkdok Valley

Mawkdok Valley left me speechless with its beauty! This valley is charming and the serenity surrounding this place will completely blow your mind. The valley is extremely green with the dense plantation that stretches across the entire highway. When I reached here, the entire valley was covered with clouds, making it heavenly to look at. Also, you can also engage in zip lining over here.

This place comes right on the way and is right beside the main highway that leads to Cheerapunji. In fact, you can also do zip lining here.

Insider: If you will move a little ahead, you will also find several tea stops. Over here, the number of tourists are less as comapred to the main point of Mawkdok Valley. But do not worry, the view is absolutely gorgeous from here as well and more peaceful.

 

Nohkalikai Waterfalls

From Mawkdok Valley move witness these gorgeous waterfalls! It will be almost an hour ride from the Valley. Once you reach, you will be asked to pay minimal entry charges to see the waterfalls. These falls have an interesting story behind its name.

The story goes something like this –

There was a young woman named Ka Likai who had a daughter from her earlier marriage and had married for a second time to a new guy. Her second husband loathed his step-daughter. So, one day when Likai returned home after work from the fields, she was surprised to see her husband had prepared the evening meal and even served it to her. Likai ate the meal without any suspicion until she discovered her daughter’s finger in the betel nut basket. Distraught with grief and remorse, she rushed to the nearby cliffs and threw herself from the end of the precipice adjoining the waterfalls. The falls has ever since been known as Nohkalikai which means the “Leap of Likai“.

 

Nohkalikai Waterfalls
Nohkalikai Waterfalls

Seven Sister Waterfalls

Take a U-Turn and go to see the Seven Sister Waterfalls. Here, you can first find a place to keep your backpack (Details below) and can head out towards the falls. These falls can be seen from the roadside parking area itself. You can eat Maggie and have a hot cup of ‘Chai’ here and can peacefully enjoy the serene view from the road.

Additional – Garden of Caves (Laitmawsiang)

If you want to explore a remote place in Meghalaya and have a little time in hand then this is the exact place you should go. It is in a silent village, Sohra and the entry charge for this place is just for INR 20, with an additional INR 20 for the cameras. It is the least explored places with lesser tourists here. To reach here, one has to take a detour from the main highway and enter a remote village to explore this place.

 

Garden of Caves, Meghalaya
Garden of Caves, Meghalaya

Day 3 – Double Decker Living Root Bridges 

If there are any marvellous wonders around the world, then Nongriat Village is surely one of them. The village is a man-made wonder where the Ariel roots of Banyan tree are spiralled and twisted together to form a sturdy yet a completely beautiful bridge.

Located in Meghalaya, it has around 3,000 steps one way. Towards the end of the bridge, your legs will start shaking because it is not easy to climb up or down from it.

Below, you will find all the details of how to reach this place, where to stay and a secluded waterfall named Rainbow waterfalls.

How to Reach 

Shillong – Cheerapunji – Tyrna Village – Trek to Nongriat – Double Decker Living Root Bridges – Rainbow Waterfalls

 

Tyrna Village

Scooty/Bike: I rented an Activa from Awe Rides that charged me INR 650 per day. There are parking facilities available in Tyrna Village so you can easily get your own vehicle to reach here

OR

Bus+Private Cab: You can also take a government bus to Cherrapunji which starts from Police bazaar in Shillong. This will cost you around INR 350 or you can also take a shared taxi from Anjali Cinema Taxi Stand till Tyrna Village. Well, if you are opting for a shared cab till here directly from Shillong, then you would miss out on the places that are mentioned above. Renting a scooty is actually a win-win situation, but if you do not know how to ride a scooty, buses are your best friend

Nongriat Village 

From Tyrna Village, the trek starts till Nongriat Village where you have to climb down around 3,000 steps. There will be pit stops on the way from where you will be able to buy food items and water bottles. You will also come across two suspension bridges made of iron rods on the way.

Insider: There is no need to take a guide for this place as the pathway is very simple and straightforward. In the Tyrna parking area, many people will force you to take a guide. Do NOT get convinced.

 

 

Double Decker Living Root Bridges 

Once you enter the Nongriat Village, the double-decker living root bridges is just 50 steps walk from the Nongriat village which is built by the Khasi tribe. You can take a dive in the river and swim, which will instantly make you feel like you are home again.

Stay: I stayed in the Serene Homestay which is run by Byron and his family and would suggest that you stay with them too. Trust me, you will just love their hospitality and the environment. For just INR 200-300, they provide you with hot water, food and a comfortable bed every night. You can contact Byron at – +91 9615252655 and book the stay for your visit too.

 

Rainbow Waterfalls 

If you want to explore the village further then you can trek for another hour. On a bright sunny day, you will be able to see a rainbow formation on the clear blue water from this place. From Nongriat Village, I took a guide to this place who charged me INR 300.

 

 

Day 4 – Dawki 

Today, leave early from the Nongriat Village and start hiking. The drive from Tyrna Village to Dawki is for three hours. This is in the Jaintia Hills district and has a famous river Umngot, that lies between the India and Bangladesh border. The water is so clean that you can see the rocks inside the river and you can take a boat ride here to enjoy the clear river water. You can also see Bangladeshis standing across the border.

 

Garden of Caves, Meghalaya
Garden of Caves, Meghalaya

The Route I Followed – Map

Below, I am providing the route map that I followed in the four days of my trip. You will see that to go to Dawki from Ceehrapunji, I have to again cross Mawkdok. There is no other way to go to Dawki that this one. Hope it helps! 🙂

 

Typical Costs 

Travelling in Meghalaya 

I rented an Activa for 5 days which cost me around INR 650 per day. However, if you do not want to rent a bike then you can take a government bus that runs from the Police bazaar in Shillong till Cherrapunji for INR 350 only. This bus will cover Mawkdok Valley Viewpoint, Eco Park, Nohkalikai Falls and the Seven Sister falls so you don’t have to worry about missing anything.

To reach the Double Decker Living Root Bridges (Nongriat Village), which lies 13 KMs away from Cherrapunji, you will need to take a cab as local transport is not available for this place.

 

Hotel Prices

  • Shillong: The cheapest place to stay will be in the Police Bazaar, where an average stay would cost you somewhere around INR 1,000

 

  • Cherrapunji: You can stay in ‘By The Way’ hotel which is the cheapest and is quite close to the Seven Sister waterfalls

 

  • Nongriat Village: A homestay will cost you INR 300, which will also include dinner and breakfast

 

  • Dawki: You can contact a homestay in Shnongpdeng – 9615762788, which is the best option for budget-friendly travellers

 

View this post on Instagram

Oftentimes when I am #traveling alone in an overcrowded bus and sitting right next to the window with my head stuck outside, I could almost feel that I can reach out and touch that little part of my being. During such moments I happen to ask myself, what it feels like to be #alive? They say the quest to truly discover yourself is by finding the destination and the path will be laid down on its own. But I have lost myself so many times even after discovering the destination that I am not really sure what to believe in anymore. And then during such moments #nature draws you in and gently lets you out. You pull yourself a little towards the #unpredictability and push away from the conformity of religion and the rulebook of society, and you realise #life is out there, out there in the open.. #Misty #FoggyMorning #Moody_Way #Sombrescapes

A post shared by unravelling_travelling (@radhika_nomllers) on

 

Meghalaya is a gorgeous place and I am sure you would fall in love with it like I did. It is a place close to my heart where I can happily stay forever. Hope you get to say the same too!

Comments

  1. Shakti Chauhan

    Very well written Radhika. Could you please let me know what is the right season to see this beautiful place.

    1. Post
      Author
      Radhika Sharma

      Thank you Shakti 🙂

      Well, you could visit in any season, but I specifically went during the rainy season. Even though it is Cheerapunji and the amount and volume of rainfalls increase tremendously, but the weather was really beautiful and the landscapes were lush green 🙂

  2. Debdip Samanta

    Hello madam! thank you for this post.It really helps alot!My question is What to do of the scooty or bike that I want to hire?My mother has vomiting problem,so She won’t be able to make it by car.I have to hire a bike to ride with her.But how will I dispose of the bike after reaching shilong?Please help me out!

    1. Post
      Author
      Radhika Sharma

      Hey Debdip!

      Glad you liked the article 🙂

      From where are you traveling to Meghalaya? I took a flight till Guwahati, Assam, because it is the most economical.

      From Guwahati, I rented an activa/bike from Awe Rides. You can return it back to them once you reach Guwahati, so plan accordingly. Hope this helped.

      Enjoy your travel with your mom 🙂

  3. Debdip

    oh! ok.I have understood now.Did you drive up to places like Shillong view point,Umiam lake ,Cherrapunji by your bike?If so ,then it was wonderful! Thanks. 🙂

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      Author
  4. Vivek

    I wish to ask whether it was safe to carry the scooty all around without having any fear of any damage or stealing of the same, because at times you have to cover those 3000 steps down and up journey, covering large time…….

    1. nomllers

      Hi Vivek,

      It is completely safe you don’t have to worry about it at all 🙂

      There are many cars/bikes being parked in that area and the people who take the parking fees take care of the vehicles.

  5. Naquib Alam

    Hi Radhika,
    Your post is really great and helpful. I with one other friend is planning to visit north east during Christmas this year for 10 days. Is December a good time to visit these places? If yes, what other places you suggest could be covered in 6 more days along with the itinerary you posted?

    1. Post
      Author
      Radhika Sharma

      Hi Naquib 🙂

      Glad that you found the article helpful. December would be a great time, although it will be really cold so pack accordingly.

      Since you have extra time in hand, why don’t you go to Dzukou Valley in Nagaland? I had plans to go there as well along with Meghalaya but sadly I did not have 10 days in hand.

      You can also go to Sikkim, which will take you almost a day to reach from Meghalaya. 5 days would be a good enough time to explore that place. Here is a guide that we wrote on Sikkim a while back – http://www.nomllers.com/north-west-sikkim/

      Hope this helps. Do let me know which place you picked in the end 🙂

  6. Pingback: A Complete Guide of Things To Do in Spiti Valley, India Including How to Get There - The Daily Adventures of Me

  7. Jagan

    Radhika – Amazing write up and wonderful depict of the places 🙂

    So the itenary you mentioned is this perfectly doable in 4 days or should I put a buffer ??Also I have a day more (planning 5 days) #any other place I can include apart from above itenary??

    I see you did a solo travel,just a check of this circuit is safe to do solo or any other pointers I should keep in mind.

    TIA For all the info and help

    1. nomllers

      Hi Jagan,

      Thank you so much and glad you liked the article 🙂

      Well, yes all this can be covered in four days, however, you will be needing a fifth day to go all the way back to Guwahati to return your scooter. But if you an extra day in hand try visiting the living root bridges as well. There is double-decker living root bridges which I covered in the article, however, there is another one called living root bridge which is a little far away as well.

      And yes, it is completely safe as a solo traveller. Of curse be a little cautious, but people are really nice and helpful 🙂

      Have an amazing trip!

  8. Mandar R khedekar

    Hi radhika,
    A honest Confession…seeing all ur amazing posts pictures and blogs I’ve become ur fan by now😊. You’ve inspired me quite a lit to travel and explore.
    On that note…Im planning to do a meghalaya 5 day trip in Jan 3 rd or 4 th week. Any idea about the best time to visit? I will probably follow the same itinerary as you have posted.
    Also if you could suggest places to stay over that would be awesome.
    Cheers!

    1. Post
      Author
      Radhika Sharma

      Hi Mandar,

      This is so sweet of you! Thank you so much for all the love 🙂

      According to me, Meghalaya is good all round the season. I went in the worst of the times – monsoons and still enjoyed thoroughly 🙂

      So yes, January would be perfect.

      Also, in the guide there is a section called “Hotel Prices”, you can check for the stays and recommendations over there 🙂

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      Author
  9. Prakhar Gupta

    I love to read your itenary because of that flowchart you always put in. I started following your journey over insta and blog also vlog since last month( a little late may be) but I’d say I love your writings and insta posts.

    so thank you for giving the chance to travel with you via your insta and blog.

    1. Post
      Author
  10. Raghav Taneja

    Hi Radhika!

    I am planning to visit in December and your wonderful post has surely made me frantic.

    How are the roads in Meghalaya?
    Is it advisable to book the hotels and car beforehand or will it be fine do it on the spot?

  11. Raghav Taneja

    Hi Radhika

    I am planning to visit in December and your wonderful article has surely made me frantic.

    How are the roads in Meghalaya?
    Is it advisable to book the hotels/homestays beforehand or will it be fine do it on the spot (cost and availability-wise)?

    1. Post
      Author
      Radhika Sharma

      Hi Raghav, thank you for appreciating the article 🙂

      Roads in Meghalaya are perfect and very very smooth. Maybe in a few places you will find some hiccups, but nothing major.

      You can book the rooms on the spot. Just for Nongriat village (if you are planning to go), try to book the place a day or two earlier. Although I did book the room on the spot in Nongriat as well, however, since the rooms and beds are limited in number and many tourists trek to that place it is better to book a little in advance.

      Enjoy your trip!

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