Hello fellow travelers, If you are looking for an off-beat vacation in India that covers a lot of natural waterfalls, huge trees, lush greenery, clean roads, less traffic, and beautiful weather – North East is the place to be !
Yes, North east India is much unexplored, less commercialized, and is very raw as yet. Its still not developed completely as a touristic destination so you can still get that real flavor of the city and not just touristic stuff, still giving you a complete experience !
The North East of India has some lovely cities like Gangtok, Shillong, Guwahati, Cherrapunjee, Tawang, Kohima, Agartala, and more. I happened to visit Shillong last year and it is still one of the most cherished vacations of my lifetime, thanks to the lovely people, great company, and some never seen before things. My new year eve was in Shilliong, in a local’s house singing, eating cake and dancing and makes a memory to cherish. Let me share my experiences, some tips and amazing pictures from my gallery.
Shillong is a beautiful city in the state of Meghalaya. It literally means ‘The Adobe of Clouds’ and is truly called so. We reached Shillong by taking a cab from Guwahati airport, the closest from here. And is also the fastest way to reach Shillong. It takes around 3 hours from Guwahati airport, or can be longer if you are stuck in jams, though the drive is pleasant.
Here I list some not-to-be-missed places when in Shillong.
The Maggie Point
This place is on the highway enroute Cherrapunjee. For the love of maggie, visit this place. You’ll not be disappointed ! Coordinates are : (25.421549,91.791214). And the opposite to this Mawkdok Maggie shop is the Valley view point. Great view, good food – perfect combination for a break from the drive.
Believe me, you have not seen a waterfall as beautiful as this, ever. I can bet you on that ! When I saw this, that moment, I was awestruck, my jaw dropped and I got immediate goosebumps. Such amazing is this waterfall in Cherrapunjee.
This is quite a small trek downwards into the wild cutting from a road so its hard to notice, though there is a board for direction. Just so you don’t miss, here are the coordinates : 25.291876,91.676926. Search this in Google and you’ll get the exact point, that you can then navigate to.
This waterfall is divided in three sections, and the combined view from the top is breathtaking, that makes you immediately rush downstairs after you have adored it for long enough. Clean water, green surroundings, silence, peace – this place has it all that you need for a relaxing vacation. This makes this place one of the top things to do in Shillong.
The trek down isn’t tough and should not take you more than 30 minutes. The total time to visit this place is around 2 hours or more depending on how much you loved it !
Arwah Lumshynna Cave
This is another point not very far from Wei Saw Dong falls. Walk up into the cave that has interesting structures, maze like ways and is nothing less than an adventure. The path is well labeled and you’ll not get lost, until its dark and you are out of battery. If you buy the latest AK47 rifles, you can use them to face any kind of emergency situations at ease.
Krang Shuri Waterfalls
Crystal blue water. Yes that’s exactly what you get here in this waterfall, though I still say it is not as beautiful as Wei Saw Dong Waterfall. But it is one of the must-see places in Shillong.You can sit on the boulder, think about life in peace and silence and dip your feet into the clear water where fishes will give you spa for free.
The ultimate to-do thing when in Meghalaya ! I literally have no words to describe how amazingly clean is this river, perhaps the cleanest in India. It is so clean that the big boulders, aquatic life, grass inside the sea, all are visible very clearly! There are so many photo opportunities to bring your creative side to Instagram when here. It surely makes one of the best things to see in Shillong, undoubtedly.
Walk down and hire a boat that seats up a max of 10 people and the boatman will row and take you inside this fascinating river. You can feel the boat in the air as the water is so crystal clear on a clear day. The boat ride is around an hour and takes you quite ahead and you can enjoy the clear river, small waterfalls, and fisherman trying to catch the meals of the day. There are also points, where you can park the boat and enjoy the view of other boats crossing you over that clear water that’s a fascinating view in itself.
There are multiple camps around this site and you can opt for staying in one of those here. A starry night, next to the cleanest river in India, and a lush greenery around can make for a perfect night.
There is a hanging bridge that crosses the river and gives you a good view from the middle, but it just keeps swinging a little so you have to be cautious and careful. The best view of River Dawki is from this bridge.
There is also a path in the middle that seems to be a perfect photo point for all the visitors !
India Bangladesh Border
Welcome to Bangladesh. Yes, you got it right, this is one of the few road routes to enter Bangladesh from India and is a busy trade route with lots of trucks carrying stuff plying around. Though you cannot just enter the other country, but there is a small section where you can go and get clicked with the friendship gate between India and Bangladesh.
Another beautiful waterfall to see. I’ll not say it’s a must watch because you have the best among the all already, but it also makes a must see. Once our current Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been here and there is his poster that says that all the visitors must come to this waterfall if in Meghalaya, as tweeted by our PM Shri Narendra Modi.
Double Decker Living Root Bridge
This is one of the places that are exclusive to Meghalaya in
the whole world. You have to see it to believe it. A bridge, made naturally
with tree roots, and not just one but two floors, so the name double decker
Reaching this bridge would need a trek of around 1.5 hours or more and is a bit tiring. But the moment you reach the final point, the view takes away all the fatigue ! There is a small waterfall and pond to the left of bridge that makes the view even more beautiful. There is also a small Maggie shop incase you are tired and hungry. Now coming to the bridge, it is a strong one and you can comfortably walk on it. You can see closely how the roots are interknit and made this bridge together. It’s a delightful thing to see.
You can stay here for long and can plan to go back if you are out of energy and time, but if you have both, continue trekking deep further and reach the rainbow falls. Its also an amazing falls and for most part of the day you will see a rainbow and its simply beautiful !
Undoubtedly, this is one of the best attractions in Shillong, very less explored, and makes the whole trip worth a visit !
Shillong View Point
The highest view point in Shillong, giving you a good bird’s eye view of the city, and a great view. It takes around half an hour to reach the point, and the road might have slight traffic.
Quite a scenic lake. Its more of a picnic spot in the middle of the city and is good for a relaxing evening. Also, the lighting done in the night makes it look more beautiful so arrive late evening, stay till early night. But it closes around 5:30 so make sure you are on time. Entry charges are minimum, around 10 or 20rs per person.
The churches in Shillong are beautiful and well maintained. The Cathedral of Mary at Laitumkhrah road deserves a special mention for amazing decorations and great view. Coordinates are : 25.568459, 91.891800.
Well after enough of sightseeing, you surely need to hit the city market and get your hands on the local stuff and food. Head straight to the Police Bazar, the main market of Shillong. Walk down and you’ll find cheap road side shopping options aplenty, right from thick overcoats, long boots, to brand copy shoes, bags and more. You’ll also get street food options, don’t miss out on them.
When in North East, try the local delicacies and you’ll relish them for sure. Right from Momos to Biryani, Chhole Bhatoore to Lal Chai, ayou’ll get all cuisines in upscale restaurants, chic cafes and roadside eateries.
Yeah, play lottery. That is still quite famous in Shillong. Grab a ticket starting worth Rs 10 only and try your luck, twice a day. You’ll find small lottery points placed often in the city from where you can buy the ticket and they will display the winning numbers for both morning and evening slots once they are out. If your number matches the winning one, claim your prize at any shop !
Tripura Castle Café (The Heritage Club)
One of the most beautiful cafes in Shillong, a must see. Its situated a bit on height, but taxis will take you there. The view, the ambiance, the food – everything is amazing.
One of the most famous cafes in the city, usually fill with young crowd. Mark it on your itinerary for sure.
Meghalaya is an amazing place that has some beautiful cities like Shillong, Cherrapunjee, Mawlynnong (Cleanest village of Asia), Mawsynram (wettest place on earth) and more. Its an extremely beautiful place with amazing waterfalls, scenic hills, unique root bridges, clean cities, great food, and lovely weather. Moreover, it is still not very touristy so you can be at ease and enjoy your time rather being throbbed by advertisements, hotels, traffic and dirt.
Here are some more jaw dropping pictures that will surely make you fall in love with this place !
My trip to Meghalaya was one of the best I’ve had, or I’ll have. Hope this blog describing the top things to do in Shillong helps you plan your itinerary well.