ChaloHoppo to Meghalaya and chase the monsoons
Seasonal waterfalls at every corner fed by the rains, glistening green pine trees, misty skies and lush green meadows. Meghalaya truly lives up to its name of being the ‘abode of clouds’.Geared with a raincoat one can truly enjoy a wet and wild adventure. Don’t forget to pack a quick dry towel!
Reviews 3 Reviews5/5
Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging
Group Size Medium Group
With abundant activities like river canyoning, kayaking, zip lining and lots of swimming, this trip is meant for those with an adventurous spirit. A trek that takes you right to the heart of the living root bridges where you live amidst nature’s wonder and then move to challenging the the waterfalls of a Khasi village as you trek along its course while jumping, sliding and scrambling. There will be more relaxed times like when you kayak over still waters and enjoy nature walks and camp around a bonfire. Once the adventurous soul in you gets its kick move on the city of Shillong where you can chill in cafes and shop to your heart’s desire, if you wish.
Here’s a video that our friends captured the first time we explored Mawlyngbna. It’s around 3 minutes but give you an idea of what to expect: bit.ly/RiverCanyoning
- Stay in comfortable, clean and hygienic accommodation
- Transport to and from Guwahati airport in Swift Dzire/Innova/ Force Traveller
- Breakfast on all days
- One ChaloHoppo guy as a tour leader
- Parking and toll charges
- Driver allowance, food and accommodation
- River canyoning in Mawlyngbna
- Airfare charges
- All food & beverages costs apart from the ones mentioned above
- Any camera fees
- Hotel & driver tips (since the locals earn low wages, your tips will show your appreciation)
- Entry ticket fees to Museums, Parks, etc.
- Any personal expenditure (Toiletries, medicines, etc.)
- Cost incidental to any change in the itinerary/ stay on account of flight cancellation due to bad weather, ill health, roadblocks and/or any factors beyond control.
- Anything not specifically mentioned under the head “Inclusions”.
Entering the abode of the clouds
Welcome to Guwahati! But your real journey begins when you drive on NH 40 to be lead you away from the bustling capital city of Assam to a cooler and greener Meghalaya. Enroute stop to pick up some juicy and delicious pineapples from the little town of Nongpoh. If you like pickles, then pick those as well. Stopover at a cafe in Upper Shillong to be in atmosphere that reflects Shillong’s love for automobiles. Check into your stay in Cherrapunji and walk around to absorb the vibe of the place.
The itinerary assumes that you start the drive latest by 11 am.
Total drive time from Guwahati airport to Cherrrapunji will be 4.5 hours.
A trek to the bottom of Cherrapunji
Waking up early would give you the chance to explore the beautiful stream that flows behind the resort. After breakfast drive to Tyrna village, the start of the famous Double decker living root bridges trek. The descend takes a maximum of 2 hours (3600 steps) as you trek an approximate distance of 3.5 kms. Avid trekkers can even complete the descend in 45 minutes. On the way, the guide will try and let you pluck some local fruits that grow during that season, if you wish(we take permission from the villagers before plucking anything and even compensate them for it). This trek is nothing like a typical trek as you need to climb down a staircase. Your knees will start to give in and you may find your thighs shaking and you will be drenched in your sweat but you will recover every drop of that sweat when you reach your destination. After you reach the end of the stairs and finally see the Double decker living root bridge, the guide will take you to a hidden rock pool for you to freshen up (since the pool in front of the Double decker bridge may be crowded). The evening will be spent around the bonfire (depending on the temperature) and star gazing while sipping on hot red/ black tea.
Total drive time from Cherrapunjee to Tyrna parking lot will be 1 hour.
Total time taken for the trek to reach homestay from the parking lot will be 1.5 to 2 hours. Carry a water bottle that can be filled up along the way. Refrain from buying mineral water and reduce the plastic content that is becoming a problem in Nongriat.
Stairway out of paradise
Waking up early(6 am) will ensure that you get to spend quality time near the Double decker living root bridges before day trekkers start pouring in while getting a natural fish pedicure at the pool in front of the bridges. Ideally by 8 am, you should start the trek to Rainbow falls. Today’s trek is more akin to a trek on a rugged stony trail. This takes an hour from the homestay. Remember to carry packed lunch since you won’t be back till about 3 pm. The blue rock pools will make you want to stay there forever but then you have to trek back up to Cherrapunji today. Be equipped with torches, since it will be likely that you may have to trek in the dark. The ascend once you reach the homestay can take up to 2.5 hours. Upon reaching your resort give yourself the well deserved rest and sleep.
Life jackets are essential for you to be able to enjoy the blue rock pools of Nongriat if you don’t know how to swim.
Total time for the trek from homestay to Rainbow falls is approximately 1 hour one way.
Total time for the trek from homestay to parking lot (Tyrna) will be 2 to 2.5 hours.
Total drive time from Tyrna parking lot to resort will be 45 minutes.
Driving to Mawlyngbna where dinosaurs once walked
Honestly after you have seen the Rainbow falls from such close quarters, all other falls before the monsoon will seem petty. So skip all the usual sightseeing and head straight to the Arwah caves where you can spot stalactites and stalagmite formations. The cave will be interesting for those probably haven’t been inside a cave before. After that head towards Mawlyngbna village..
To describe this destination, we have come up with an analogy, see if it makes sense to you. If you grew up in Mawlyngbna, you would never need an adventure park in your life and we say this because of the river canyoning activity that the river in Mawlyngbna offers! Beyond canyoning the village is filled with serene spots in the jungle and some interesting fossils.
After you get some rest, our local guide can take you on a short walk to one of our favourite spots in the jungle to unwind and swim around in nature’s pool. You may then return to your accommodation for some tea after which you have the evening set aside for leisure.
Total drive time from Cherrapunjee to Mawlyngbna will be 3 hours.
A tryst with a wild river
Mawlyngbna is our favorite place for a summer/ monsoon retreat. River canyoning your way to the ‘Um kha koi reservoir will be the highlight of the day. Jumping off rocks, crawling, scrambling, sliding over others, basically trekking over the river’s route is what river is canyoning is all about.
Once the canyoning is over, get your kayak and relax over the still waters, then go ziplining, and if you have energy left then dive into the waters of the Um kha koi.
A small trek to Lew Luri Lura will start the day. According to local folklore, Lew Luri Lura was a marketplace for animals thousands of years back, during a time when animals could speak. The depressions are believed to be footprints of the large animals.
As you trek to this spot, our local guide will also show you fossils of species such as the starfish from a time when Meghalaya was under water.
Finally, a night in Shillong
Shillong is best explored on foot as long as you are walking in the right areas and aren’t worried about rushing to tick off the checklist that tourists have. Spend time in handpicked cafes, try local delicacies and observe how the people of Meghalaya are fashionable. Take a ride in Shillong’s famous Maruti 800 black and yellow taxis and you may be surprised by the playlist your driver may be listening to and the number of people he shoves into the ride!
Bidding Northeast India adieu
Drive to Guwahati post breakfast and bid goodbye to the Northeast, but only until your next visit.
Sha- Ri- Loum guest house (Mid range)
Would you like it if the place where you are staying in had pine trees all around? Oops we are sorry if you are allergic to the smell of pine cones!
Demthring house (budget stay)
If you want to know how a typical Shillong home looks and feels like, then this is the place to be.
Cafe Shillong B&B (mid luxury stay)
Perched on a hillock, this provides for a very cozy and comfortable stay. If having a restaurant in the property isn’t a priority then you would enjoy all the other comforts that this 7 roomed property provides.
Fabiano’s camp (budget stay)
You have a toilet with running water on the river bank and have to walk over a hanging bridge to reach here. The campsite’s location ensures that your tents are secured from the winds that usually blow across the river.
Pioneer campsite (mid range)
Your idea of riverside camping will either be fulfilled or you will be overwhelmed by the serenity that reside on the river side
Charlie’s guest house (budget)
Nothing to describe about the homestays in Nongriat apart from asking you to leave the conventional idea of stays and what they offer. Choose between rooms or camping on roofs.
Serene homestay (mid range)
Byron, the owner of the homestay is a hard working man. His kitchen is always stocked up and he offers the best food amongst all the homestays in Nongriat
Sai Mika park (mid range)
Each cottage in this resort is differently designed. From the exteriors to the interiors, not a single cottage is identical. If room service isn’t your priority, this is the place to be.
Jiva resort (luxury stay)
Undoubtedly the best stay option in Cherrapunji for anyone who is willing to spend anywhere to between 10 to 18 k a room. it is worth every penny.
Entry to the states of Meghalaya does not require a permit.
A most definite yes, as long as you are okay travelling in a mixed group of other solo travellers or small group of friends.
Not all travellers who sign up for a tour with ChaloHoppo are swimmers so the experience doesn’t get hampered due to lack of that skill. It is certainly an advantage for those can swim but life jackets can be rented along with a guide to ensure safety of the travellers.
- Raincoats, umbrellas
- Sports socks and Swimwear for the Nongriat trek(if the waters are clean we may go for a swim), you can also get swimming goggles or snorkelling masks, and swimming cap
- Trekking shoes (basic ones will do)
- quick dry towels (plastic bag/ ziplock to carry your wet clothes)
- Allergy medications and other medicines, since these are very remote places with very little access to most basic things.
- A non disposable water bottle to fill water and AVOID BUYING MINERAL WATER
- ID Proof – Voters card/ Pan Card/ Passport/ Drivers license/ Aadhar cardYou can always buy these things from the Decathlon (1 km away from the airport) in Guwahati, if you wish.
Other things that you may bring along :
head lamps/ Torches with batteries
Playing cards and small board games,in case you don’t feel sleepy at night
Go pro for under water shots
Ideally a 80 litre backpack with a rain cover should be convenient.
Do carry a separate smaller bag(10 to 15 litres) for your trek down to Nongriat village that can fit essential toiletries and change of clothes for 1 night only to reduce the weight on your shoulders and make the trek easier.
Homestay: Alcohol shall not be provided at the homestays, so those who enjoy their drinks are advised to carry it from before.
Swimming: You have to be careful as it’s deep and sometimes the current could pull you in. If you aren’t a swimmer, please mention that specifically and put a request for renting a life jacket on email.
Disposing Waste Properly: Avoid plastic. Please avoid buying mineral water, specifically while in Nongriat(Double decker living root bridges village) since it is a major cause of pollution in the delicate eco system of Nongriat. Remember to take up whatever you bring down.
The cultural diversity of northeast India is so vast that we can’t blame outsiders for not being aware of communities in the region who are purely vegetarians, so much so that they avoid eating onions( they are indigenous to the region, in case you are thinking about communities from mainland India who have settled here). Having said that, we must admit that the region’s food habits especially in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya are predominantly non vegetarian with a whole lot of red meat based preparations. But the states have warmed up to tourists recently and almost every place you visit will provide the Indian staple diet of rice, dal and sabji, even chapatis if you are lucky. As far as Tripura, Assam, Manipur and Sikkim are concerned vegetarians have decent number of options. Your craving for butter paneer may not be satisfied, but you will do just fine as far as maintaining your health and strength is concerned.