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Things to Do in Meghalaya: A Guide for the First Time Traveller

Introduction:

Nestled in the Northeastern part of India, Meghalaya—the “Abode of Clouds”—is a realm of endless possibilities. This guide aims to be your compass, pointing you toward experiences that will make your journey unforgettable. Home to the Khasi, Garo, and Jaintia tribes, Meghalaya offers a rich tapestry of culture and natural beauty.
The landscape view of the green valleys of Meghalaya, shot on a recent group trip with ChaloHoppo
Meghalaya- The abode of clouds

1. Dive into Nature's Wonders

A. Living Root Bridges:

Imagine walking on bridges made of living roots, woven together over generations. Meghalaya boasts over 100 such living root bridges, each a testament to the harmony between man and nature. The most famous is the Double Decker in Nongriat, but there are others towards Mawlynnong, Dawki, and Pynursla that are equally enchanting.

Um-munoi- Living Root Bridge Meghalaya is an upcoming double decker root bridge which is currently under construction
Um-munoi- Living Root Bridge in Meghalaya

B. Caves:

With over 1,700 caves, Meghalaya is a spelunker’s paradise. Each cave, be it Mawmluh, Mawpun, or Krem Puri, offers its own set of challenges and unique formations. The caves are like nature’s own museums, preserving geological history in their walls.
Krem Mawpun - Caving in Meghalaya - With over 1700 caves Meghalaya is one of the top caving destinations in the world.
Krem Mawpun - Caving in Meghalaya

C. Waterfalls:

Come monsoon, the state transforms into a canvas of cascading waterfalls. The landscape comes alive with hundreds of waterfalls, each more enchanting than the last. For an intimate and memorable experience, it’s best to ask your local guides to take you on a hike to one of the hidden waterfalls away from the hustle and bustle. If you know the right guides, your experience is much better.

Wei Shabong Waterfall in Pynursla Meghalaya discovered during a ChaloHoppo Recce
Waterfall in Pynursla Meghalaya

D. Natural Pools:

Hidden amidst the lush landscapes of Sohra are natural pools that offer a serene experience. With the right local connect, you can even discover secluded spots for a more private experience. ChaloHoppo can help you find these hidden gems.
Natural Pool in Sohra Meghalaya where the waters are turquoise in colour.
Natural Pool in Sohra

E. Sacred Groves:

These are not just forests; they are the soul of Meghalaya’s spiritual landscape. Mawphlang is one such sacred grove, where every tree and stone is enveloped in myth and legend. The groves are considered the abode of deities and are preserved with great reverence.
Mawphlang Sacred Grove - A sacred forest of the Khasi community
Mawphlang Sacred Grove

2. Embark on Adventure Activities

A. Trekking:

From the scenic trails of Nongriat to the challenging terrains of David Scott and Mawrynghkhang, trekking in Meghalaya is an adventurer’s dream come true. Each trail offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural insights, making every hike a journey of discovery.

Trekking in Pomshutia village in Pynursla
Trekking in Pomshutia village in Pynursla

B. Fishing:

The rivers and lakes here are teeming with fish, offering both relaxation and excitement for anglers of all levels. The fishing culture in Meghalaya is not just about the catch; it’s about connecting with nature and enjoying the tranquility that comes with it.
Fishing on the Um tyngar river in Meghalaya
Fishing on the Um tyngar river in Meghalaya

C. Country Boat Rides:

Imagine sailing on waters so clear that you can see the riverbed below. Dawki and Shnongpdeng offer such surreal experiences, best enjoyed during the right months. ChaloHoppo can guide you on when to visit for the best experience.
Country boat ride -Umngot RIver, Dawki
Country boat ride -Umngot River, Dawki

D. Kayaking:

Whether it’s the challenging currents of Whitewater Village or the tranquil waters of Dawki and Mawlyngbna, kayaking here is an experience like no other. From recreational kayaking to learning the ropes, there’s something for everyone.
Kayaking in Meghalaya
Kayaking in Meghalaya

E. River Canyoning:

Navigate through rocky terrains and waterfalls, and feel your adrenaline surge with every step. It’s an adventure that combines hiking, swimming, and problem-solving, offering a full-body workout and a dose of excitement.
River Canyoning in Meghalaya
River Canyoning in Meghalaya

3. Immerse in Cultural Experiences

A. Teer Betting:

Beyond being a game, Teer is a window into the beliefs and customs of Meghalaya, offering a unique blend of sport and tradition. It’s a daily event where archers shoot arrows at a target, and people bet on the outcome. It’s a fascinating blend of skill, luck, and tradition.
A local betting game called Teer, where you gamble based on your dreams.
Teer- A Local gambling game

B. Rock Culture:

Meghalaya has a vibrant rock music scene deeply embedded in its social fabric. While local pubs are a great place to catch live performances, the truly magical moments often happen under the stars, around a bonfire. This is an experience that becomes accessible when you know the right people, turning an ordinary night into an unforgettable musical journey.
Meghalaya- The Rock Capital of India
Tenny a local musician playing songs by a waterfall for the ChaloHoppo guests

C. Traditional Instruments:

The duitara, a stringed instrument, holds a special place in Meghalaya’s musical landscape. Often crafted from local wood, the duitara is not just an instrument but a symbol of the region’s rich cultural heritage. Its melodies can be heard during festivals, ceremonies, and even casual gatherings. For a live experience of traditional music, including the duitara and other local instruments, one can visit Pynter, where the local musicians often gather to play.
Traditional Khasi Musicians from Pynter
Traditional Khasi Musicians from Pynter

D. Kwai and Khasi Duma:

For a truly local experience, try Kwai, a traditional chew made from areca nut, betel leaf, and lime. Unlike any other “paan,” Kwai is less about the burst of flavors and more about the cultural ritual that accompanies it. If you’re up for it, you can also try smoking Khasi Duma in a pipe, an experience distinct to Meghalaya.
Kwai - paan/betel leaf with lime paste and areca nut
Kwai - paan/betel leaf with lime paste and areca nut
A Pynter muscian lighting up a pipe of Khasi Duma
A Pynter musician lighting up a pipe of Khasi Duma before their performance

4. Explore Historic Sites

A. Old Churches:

Meghalaya is home to numerous churches, some dating back over a century, like the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians in Shillong and the All Saints Church in Cherrapunji. These churches are not just places of worship but also historical landmarks that have stood the test of time.
Mary Help of Christians Cathedral in Shillong
Mary Help of Christians Cathedral in Shillong

B. Museums:

Don’t miss the Rhino Heritage Museum, Don Bosco Museum, and the Ever Living Museum. Each offers a unique glimpse into the region’s history and culture.
Don Bosco Museum in Shillong
Don Bosco Museum in Shillong

5. Savor Gastronomic Delights

A. Local Brews:

Elevate your culinary journey by trying local fruit wines and rice beers. These brews offer a taste of Meghalaya’s rich agricultural heritage and are a must-try for any foodie.

B. Local Cuisine:

From the spicy Jadoh to the tangy Dohkhlieh and the comforting Nakham Bitchi, Meghalaya offers a culinary adventure like no other. For an authentic experience, head to Mylliem or try restaurants like Trattoria in Shillong and Bamboo Hut in Sohra.
Local Khasi Food
Local Khasi Food in Sohra

C. Local Honey:

Meghalaya is renowned for its high-quality local honey, a sweet testament to the region’s rich biodiversity. Whether you’re using it to sweeten your tea or simply enjoying it by the spoonful, don’t miss the chance to try this local delicacy.

6. Traveller's Tips

A. Best Time to Visit:

Meghalaya is a year-round destination, but certain months offer a more enriching experience for specific activities. ChaloHoppo can help you curate the best experiences based on your interests and the season at hand.

Drone shot of the Umngot river
Drone shot of the crystal clear Umngot river in the winters

B. Always Carry Rain Gear:

Given Meghalaya’s reputation as the “Abode of Clouds,” it’s wise to always have rain gear handy.

C. Sunscreen is a Must:

Despite the cloud cover, the sun can be quite harsh. Make sure to carry and use sunscreen to protect your skin.
Sunset in Sohra
Sunset in Sohra

D. Keep Mosquito Repellent:

Better safe than sorry—always keep mosquito repellent in your travel kit.

E. Travel with Locals:

To get the most authentic experience, consider traveling with locals who can guide you to hidden gems.

ChaloHoppo Local Travel Expert -Paradise
ChaloHoppo Local Travel Expert -Paradise

F. Travel Responsibly:

Respect the environment and local customs. Your actions have an impact, so make sure it’s a positive one.

G. Learn a Few Khasi Phrases:

While most locals speak English over Hindi, learning a few Khasi phrases can go a long way in making connections. It’s especially fun when you’re interacting with locals, perhaps while buying a cup of tea.

Interacting with locals in Pynursla Meghalaya
Team ChaloHoppo interacting with locals in Pynursla Meghalaya

Conclusion:

Meghalaya promises a diverse range of experiences that cater to all kinds of travellers. With the right planning, your trip can be truly unforgettable.

Explore Meghalaya with ChaloHoppo
Explore Meghalaya with ChaloHoppo

Ready to explore Meghalaya? Start planning your trip now and share your experiences with fellow travellers!

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