ChaloHoppo to the Living Root Bridges of Cherrapunjee
If you grew up in these villages of Meghalaya, you would never need an amusement park in your life. From serene spots in the jungle to exciting river activities and miraculous living root bridges, they have it all. Go find a pair of swimming trunks!
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- Vacation Style Holiday Type
- Activity Level Challenging
- Group Size Medium Group
Blessed with beautiful streams, lush vegetation, pretty butterflies and great people, Nongriat is home to the world-famous double-decker root bridges made out of living rubber trees. There are no motor-able roads to this village and it is accessible by foot only. The word ‘Nong’ in Khasi means village and ‘Riat’ means cliff. Nongriat is actually a village surrounded by cliffs and once you are down there, you will realise it.
Though the beauty of Nongriat is something that everyone would like to witness, it is only a few fortunate people who can actually make the effort of walking down 3600 steps and experience bliss.
Here’s a glimpse of how the experience will look like. http://bit.ly/TrekToNongriat
- Stay in comfortable, clean and hygienic accommodation
- Transport to and from Shillong in shared vehicles
- Breakfast on day 2 and day 3
- Lunch on day 2
- Dinner on day 1 and day 2
- One ChaloHoppo guy as a tour leader
- Life jackets for swimming
- Local guide
- 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”.
A trek to remember
This is the big day. We need to wake up early. After breakfast drive to Tyrna village, the start of the famous Double Decker living root bridges trek. The descent takes a maximum of 2 hours (3600 steps) as you trek an approximate distance of 3.5 km. 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, take a dip and freshen up. Because there is another trek to go! This one will lead us to the Rainbow Falls. Trust us, if you need to hit the gym right away because you think you can’t handle this. Do that. You don’t want to miss this.
This trek is more akin to a trek on a rugged stony trail. This takes an hour from the homestay, where we dump our bags. Be equipped with torches, since it will be likely that you may have to trek in the dark, on the return journey.
The evening will be spent around the bonfire (depending on the temperature) and star gazing while sipping on hot red/ black tea.
Meeting point: Shillong Police bazaar at 6 am
Total drive time from Shillong to Tyrna parking lot will be 2.5 hours.
Total time taken for the trek to reach homestay from the parking lot will be 1.5 to 2 hours.
Total time for the trek from homestay to Rainbow falls is approximately 1 hour one way.
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.
Overnight in a very basic homestay in Nongriat village.
The last trek and a musical evening in Cherrapunjee
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 back to Cherrapunjee.
The ascend can take up to 2.5 hours. Upon reaching your resort give yourself the well-deserved rest and sleep. Time to put on your rock concert clothes in the evening as our dear friends and talented musicians play some belt out some classic rock!
We will be joined by two amazing guys Tenny Gregory and Rishkembhor or Tenny and Rex as they are called.
They came into our lives on 31st December 2016, when we were welcoming the new year in Cherrapunji.
A night of relentless jamming with these boys made us realise the dedication these folks have towards music. All they know is music.
Tenny and Boi aren’t well to do, in fact, Tenny is a mason laying bricks and works in a construction site of sorts, but if you speak to him, you will find him no less intriguing than a learned philosopher. Boi is quiet and the only language he speaks is music.
All 157 campers at Ziro met them, interacted with them and lauded their skills. They were the shining light in our campsite at Ziro festival this year and they did the same at NH7 weekender’s ChaloHoppo camps as well. We are giving them one more opportunity and we need your support.
They don’t know how to earn money with music, but they sustain their music on the tips they get when people like their music. They use it to invest in small things like mics, guitars etc.
When you hear them play, show some love in the tip box kept in front of them.
Overnight in a handpicked resort in Cherrapunjee
- Day 3 Bidding Northeast India adieu
Charlie’s guest house
Nothing to describe 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.
A hand-picked resort in Cherrapunjee
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.
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.
Nongkhnum island in Meghalaya discovered by school children in 1996 shows that one really needs to leave the kids alone. Is it the second largest river island after Majuli, or not is still under speculation, but one thing that is sure is the island is magical, for the lack of a better word. Waterfalls, sandy beaches, abundant meadows, huge trees, playful cattle; you bring a checklist and you will run out of ink ticking boxes!
About the river island of Nongkhnum:
- Nongkhnum is one hour drive away from Nongstoin, approximately 13 kilometers from Nongstoin.
- The island claims to be the second largest in Asia.
- The island is formed as the river Kynshi, Meghalaya’s longest river bifurcates into two rivers – Phanliang and Naliang.
- Three waterfalls – Kshiad Thum, Kshiad Weina and Kshiad Langshiang surround the island.
- The village has no electricity.