Here’s why you should book your flights to Guwahati today!
So you have landed in Guwahati because you happen to be a spontaneous traveller and you really wanted to explore the Northeast of India. You definitely know about Shillong and Cherrapunjee as the places you would like to go to but after making such an effort (flying down from wherever you are to Guwahati), would you really want to do what hundreds of other people are doing? Here’s a list of places which aren’t too far from Guwahati and you can happily check them off one at a time, based on your interest and convenience. If you happen to be from Guwahati, then even better, just assign a weekend each to all these wonderful destinations and you have 8 amazing weekends!
What’s special: Straight out of an age-old painting, this place is like a dream! If you are someone who seeks solitude and are a worshipper of nature, you have to spend some time here. You would love to witness the sunset while chilling on the banks of a beautiful lake surrounded by greenery. Breathe in the freshest air while you kayak through the lake or just hike up the hill to witness picturesque scenery. Due to its close proximity to Guwahati and by virtue of not being on most tourist trails, this place is a perfect camp-away to realise your fairy tale dreams!
Distance from Guwahati: 150 Kms/4 hours 30 minutes
Best Season: September-April/ (If monsoons are your favourite season and are up for heavy showers, then anytime of the year.)
What’s the downside: The fluctuating weather at Mawphanlur during the time when it is at its prettiest means that you can reach there and be stranded in the rain.
What’s special: If you are an adventure junkie and the thought of trekking down 3600+ stairs twitches your adrenaline, well this place is ideal for you! A few kilometres from Cherrapunjee is the Tyrna village from where you can trek to the famous Double Decker Living Root Bridges in the Nongriat village. The entire trek is spellbinding with two single root bridges, rainbow falls and several other magical creations greeting you on your way. Can there be anything better than camping amidst nature away from the crowd and pollution? Also, you don’t have to go back the same day! Camp the night, sing next to the bonfire, relax, explore and discover!
Distance from Guwahati: Driving Distance is 159 KMS/4 hours 30 minutes
Best Season: October-April(to see the kerosene-like blue waters in the valley)/ For Monsoon Trekking: April-September.
What’s the downside: The blue water of Nongriat are as amazing as the living root bridges, however, they only stay blue in the winters or as long as it doesn’t rain for a week or so.
Destination: Chandubi Lake
What’s special: Located at the foot of Garo Hills and at a mere distance of around 100 minutes from the city, this is a perfect last-minute plan Camp-away from Guwahati. This lake was created in 1897 by an earthquake which in itself makes it special, apart from the rich flora and fauna found around it! The lake is surrounded by lush forests and tea gardens and overlooks the beautiful Garo hills! It is home to a number of migratory birds during winters. For a lazy leisure weekend, away from the hustle bustle of the city, to detoxify and indulge in the serenity of nature; a visit to the mesmerizing Chandubi could be an apt decision!
Distance from Guwahati: 65 KMs/1 hours 40 minutes
Best Season: October-April
What’s the downside: A few more activities could be added to make it more interesting for visitors.
What’s special: If your idea of camping is staying in pitched tents by a riverside surrounded by hills, then the stunning Shnongpedeng is a blessing for you! With the abundance of activities for the adventure lovers and a breathtaking view to sit and chill for the idle nature adorers, this is a favourite winter camp-away. One can also indulge in activities like Angling, Kayaking, Rock Climbing, Trekking, Scuba Diving etc. While taking a boat-ride on crystal clear emerald waters here is a tradition you can’t afford to break!
Distance from Guwahati: 183 KMs/5 hours
Best Season: November-February (to see the transparent waters of Umngot river)
What’s the downside: Every time it rains, which includes pre-monsoon showers, the transparency of the water goes away. And in Meghalaya, you can never predict the rain.
Destination: Nongkhnum River Island
What’s special: Nongkhnum is ostensibly said to be the second largest river island of Asia and is inhabited by a handful of people from the Khasi Tribe. A 14 KMs drive from the headquarters of the West Khasi hills- Nongstoin, and you reach a different world altogether! The island in itself has a lot to explore. Waterfalls, sandy beach, rocks, lakes, grasslands, forests and minimal human interference! The island is immensely rich in flora and fauna and when lucky, one can try boating on the placid water and cross over to see the Thum falls, catch fish for your meal or take a hike to witness the enthralling Weina waterfall! This is what “Unwinding in Nature” truly means, and a camp-away to this beauty is sure to be a memorable one!
Distance from Guwahati: 177 KMs/6 hours (Fastest route)
Best Season: September- March
What’s the downside: The island is absolutely green in the monsoons but intermittent showers interrupt your exploration.
Destination: Kyllang Rock
What’s special: With a number of magical stories and mysteries behind it, this magnificent “red granite rock” is one of the largest in the region and remains a major attraction due to its magnetic powers and entrancing views and approach! In the Mairang area of the West Khasi District is this Rock which is surrounded by beautiful Rhododendrons towards the northern side of the rock, which can be trekked to reach the top, making a uniquely hypnotic experience. This place is perfect for Rock climbers and trekkers. The view which this Mammoth rock offers is riveting and refreshing!
Distance from Guwahati: 122 KMs/ 3 hours 45 minutes
Best Season: September- April
What’s the downside: The sky isn’t always clear so after you make the effort of climbing on the rock, you may or may not get a clear sight of the view.
What’s special: This Village is Nature’s blessing to us in the true sense of the term! 18 KMs from Mawsynram, this is a magical place to spend a weekend. Comprising of the beautiful Umkhakoi reservoir lake and captivating Umdikian falls, Mawlyngbna village has a lot to offer. It is home to many large extinct animal footprints and the “ka lew luri lura” which according to the locals are fossils from the era when animals could talk and it was a marketplace for them to trade. Apart from these mysterious musings about this village, its location and the friendly people make it a favourite. The highlight, however, is the river canyoning activity that adventure and water enthusiasts would love. You can trek up to find amazing views, play football with local kids under the moonlight, enjoy in the natural geyser or find out more about the native culture at the museum.
Distance from Guwahati: 170 Km/ 5 hours
Best Season: November- June/June-October (best time for river canyoning)
What’s the downside: The activity can be risky and even though helmets and life jackets are provided, bruises and abrasions are quite common.
Destination: Wah Rashi Falls
What’s special: For anyone who likes to take a dip in the natural pools or is excited to witness paradise, this is where you need to be! Wah Rashi falls lies in Syntung village of East Khasi Hills and has been recently opened for tourists by the Meghalaya Government. This step fall is a sorcery of nature that will cast its spell on you, once you step your foot! The entire drive to reach the falls is enticing, let alone Wah Rashi and its surroundings. Don’t get intimidated by a variety of Pitcher plants and leeches, because once you behold the grandeur of the falls, you might want to bring your office desk here forever!
Distance from Guwahati: 159 KMs/ 5 hours
Best Season: Round the year/May-September (if you want to witness the falls at their best!)
What’s the downside: The roads leading to this stunning waterfall a (one of the best in Meghalaya) are deplorable.
Have you visited any of these places yet? Do you think there are more places that can be added to this list? Tell us in the comments below. In case you want to plan a trip to any or all of these destinations, then get in touch here.