The Best Of Meghalaya: 10 Best Things To Do In Meghalaya
Get Lost in the Magic of Meghalaya and embark on a journey filled with captivating experiences and breathtaking landscapes. Meghalaya, known as the “Abode of Clouds,” is a mesmerizing destination in northeastern India that offers a plethora of exciting things to do.
From exploring pristine waterfalls to trekking through lush green valleys, Meghalaya has something for everyone. Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage by visiting colonial heritage sites and museums. Indulge in thrilling adventure sports like caving, trekking, and river rafting
Experience the warm hospitality of the local communities and savor the delectable local cuisine. Whether you seek tranquility in nature’s embrace or seek adrenaline-pumping adventures, Meghalaya will leave you enchanted at every step. So get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey and discover the best things to do in Meghalaya, a land that truly captures the essence of magic with our Meghalaya Tour Packages.
Best Things To Do In Meghalaya In 2024
1. Visit the colonial heritage sites
Meghalaya, a state in northeastern India, is indeed a place with a rich history that offers a fascinating glimpse into its colonial past. Visiting these beautiful heritage sites is one of the top things to do in Meghalaya for history buffs. Here are some of the captivating colonial heritage sites in Meghalaya:
- Shillong Peak – Located in the capital city of Shillong, Shillong Peak offers panoramic views of the entire city. It also has a historical significance as it served as a strategic defense point during the British era.
- Ward’s Lake -: Built by the British in the mid-19th century, Ward’s Lake is a serene artificial lake in Shillong. Its well-manicured garden, wooden bridges, and boating facilities make it a popular spot for both locals and tourists.
- Lady Hydari Park – This beautiful park in Shillong was named after Lady Hydari, the wife of the first Governor of Assam. It features well-maintained gardens, a mini-zoo, and a small museum displaying tribal artifacts, giving visitors a glimpse into the region’s colonial past.
- Churches of Shillong – The capital city of Shillong houses several churches constructed during the British Raj. Each church is unique in itself with different architectural style and magnificent stained glass windows. The All Saints’ Cathedral and Cathedral Of Mary Help Of Christians are popular amongst tourists for their scenic location.
2. Trekking and Hiking through the lush forests
The vast expanse of evergreen forests, the Garo, Khasi, and Jantia hills in the state of Meghalaya offer beautiful trails to explore for adventure seekers and nature lovers. Walking on these trails will make you feel a part of nature, making hiking and trekking one of the top activities in Meghalaya.
These trekking and hiking trails in Meghalaya provide a unique opportunity to explore the region’s natural wonders, cultural heritage, and breathtaking landscapes. It is advisable to plan your treks with the help of local guides, ensure safety precautions are followed, and respect the environment and local communities during your journey. Here is the list of the best trails to explore in Meghalaya:
- Bamboo Trek – The Bamboo Trek takes you through dense bamboo forests, picturesque landscapes, and traditional Khasi villages. It is a relatively easy to moderate trek suitable for beginners and offers a chance to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Meghalaya.
Duration: 1 day
Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate
- David Scott Trek – The David Scott Trek is a historical trail that stretches from Mawphlang to Lad Mawphlang. It passes through dense forests, river streams, and Khasi villages, providing a moderate level of challenge for trekkers. Along the way, you can explore the region’s colonial history and witness stunning natural vistas, thus making it one of the top things to do in Meghalaya.
Duration: 2-3 days
Difficulty Level: Moderate
- Hike to Double Decker Living Root Bridge – The hike to the Double Decker Living Root Bridge in Nongriat village near Cherrapunji is an exhilarating trek. It involves descending steep steps, crossing suspension bridges, and trekking through lush forests. The trail presents a moderate to challenging level of difficulty and rewards trekkers with the awe-inspiring beauty of the living root bridge and surrounding landscapes. The immense natural beauty of this double-decker living root bridge makes it one of the popular tourist activities in Meghalaya.
Duration: 1 day
Difficulty Level: Moderate to Challenging
- Umden Village Trek – The Umden Village Trek takes you through scenic landscapes, dense forests, and the picturesque Umden Village. It offers a combination of easy and moderate sections, making it suitable for trekkers with varying fitness levels. This trek provides an opportunity to experience the traditional Khasi way of life and enjoy the tranquility of the countryside.
Duration: 1-2 days
Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate
- Smit Trek – The Smit Trek offers a delightful hiking experience through beautiful landscapes, quaint villages, and lush greenery. It is a relatively easy to moderate trail, suitable for beginners and those looking for a shorter trek. The trek rewards you with scenic vistas and a chance to witness the local culture and traditions.
Duration: 1 day
Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate
- Weiloi to Umngi Trek – The Weiloi to Umngi Trek is a challenging trail that takes you through dense forests, river crossings, and steep ascents. It requires a moderate to challenging level of fitness and is recommended for experienced trekkers who are up for an adventure in the rugged terrains of Meghalaya.
Duration: 3-4 days
Difficulty Level: Moderate to Challenging
- Mawlongbna Village Trekking – The Mawlongbna Village Trekking offers a unique experience as you explore the scenic beauty of the Mawlongbna Village. The trek includes nature walks, cave explorations, and hiking to nearby viewpoints. It is suitable for all fitness levels and provides a glimpse into the natural wonders of Meghalaya.
Duration: 1-2 days
Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate
- Mawlyngot Trek – The Mawlyngot Trek takes you through beautiful landscapes, orange orchards, and serene villages. It is a relatively easy trek, perfect for beginners and those seeking a peaceful hiking experience. The trail offers a chance to soak in the tranquility of nature and enjoy breathtaking views of the surroundings.
Duration: 1-2 days
Difficulty Level: Easy
- Nongkhnum Island Trek – The Nongkhnum Island Trek leads you to Nongkhnum Island, the largest river island in Meghalaya. The trail takes you through villages, forests, and riverbanks. It offers a moderate level of challenge and rewards trekkers with stunning views of the island’s natural beauty and the Kynshi River.
Duration: 2-3 days
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Camping in Meghalaya offers a unique and immersive experience, allowing you to connect with nature and enjoy the serene beauty of the region. The state boasts a wealth of camping opportunities, with picturesque landscapes, lush greenery, cascading waterfalls, and breathtaking viewpoints, making it one of the top things to do in Meghalaya. These camping places in Meghalaya provide a chance to reconnect with nature, indulge in outdoor activities, and experience the rich culture and traditions of the region. It is important to plan your camping trip with local guides or tour operators who can ensure your safety and help you navigate the region’s camping regulations. Remember to practice responsible camping, leave no trace, and respect the environment and local communities during your camping experience in Meghalaya.
Following is the list has some of the top camping places in Meghalaya:
- Dawki – Located near the Indo-Bangladesh border, camping near the crystal-clear waters of the Umngot River in Dawki offers a serene experience. Set up your campsite by the riverside, indulge in boating and kayaking, and witness the breathtaking beauty of the surroundings. The tranquility and beauty of Dawki make it a popular camping spot.
- Shnongpdeng – Located on the banks of the Umngot River, Shnongpdeng offers a serene camping experience with a backdrop of picturesque landscapes. You can set up your campsite near the river, indulge in water activities like snorkeling and river tubing, and relish the breathtaking views of the river and the surrounding hills.
- Nongriat – If you’re seeking a unique camping experience combined with adventure, camping in Nongriat village near Cherrapunji is a perfect choice. This village is famous for its double-decker living root bridge and offers camping opportunities amidst the dense forests and cascading waterfalls. You can embark on treks to explore the living root bridges, take refreshing dips in natural pools, and spend peaceful nights under the starlit sky.
- Balpakram National Park – For wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers, camping in Balpakram National Park is a remarkable experience. Located in the Garo Hills region, this national park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. Camping in Balpakram allows you to witness the pristine beauty of the park, spot rare wildlife species, and explore the lush forests and rolling hills.
- Mawphlang – Camping in Mawphlang offers a tranquil experience in the midst of serene surroundings. You can camp near the sacred grove, witness the unique rituals and traditions of the Khasi tribe, and take nature walks in the enchanting forests. Mawphlang also serves as a gateway to the David Scott Trail, a historic trekking route.
- Umiam Lake – Situated near Shillong, Umiam Lake provides a picturesque camping spot. The serene lake surrounded by lush green hills offers a tranquil ambiance for camping. You can indulge in boating and watersports, witness stunning sunsets, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the lake.
- Mawlynnong – Known as “Asia’s Cleanest Village,” Mawlynnong offers a unique camping experience amidst the natural wonders of Meghalaya. Camping in Mawlynnong allows you to witness the village’s well-preserved cleanliness and tranquility. You can explore the living root bridges, stroll through the village trails, and wake up to the refreshing ambiance of the surrounding forests.
4. Water Sports
The state of Meghalaya is studded with several meandering rivers, pristine lakes and cascading waterfalls, making a perfect adventure playground for adventure enthusiasts. Visitors can explore these natural wonders by indulging in a plethora of thrilling water activities. Wari Chora a natural river gorge in the heart of Meghalaya is an emerging off-beat destination for canoeing, making it one of the top things to do in Meghalaya in 2024. It is important to engage in these activities with certified guides or tour operators who prioritize safety and provide the necessary equipment. Getting closer to nature by indulging in adrenaline-pumping activities is one of the best things to do in Meghalaya. Here are some of the adventure water activities you can indulge in Meghalaya:
- River Rafting – Experience the adrenaline rush of river rafting in the turbulent rapids of Meghalaya’s rivers. The most popular location for river rafting is on the Umngot River in Dawki, where you can navigate through the crystal-clear waters, surrounded by scenic landscapes.
- Kayaking – Explore the tranquil lakes and rivers of Meghalaya through kayaking. Umiam Lake near Shillong is an ideal location for kayaking, offering a peaceful and picturesque setting for paddling and enjoying the natural beauty around. Other than that kayaking in the Kynshi River and Wari Chora is also a thrilling experience.
- Canoeing – Embark on an exciting canyoning adventure in Meghalaya’s gorges and canyons. The Wah Kaba Falls near Cherrapunji is a popular spot for canyoning, where you can rappel down cascading waterfalls, slide through natural rock slides, and navigate through narrow canyons. Canoeing in Wari Chora offers a more relaxed and leisurely experience, allowing you to take in the scenic beauty at your own pace.
- Cliff Jumping – For thrill-seekers, cliff jumping is an exhilarating activity to try. Krang Suri Waterfall in Jaintia Hills provides the perfect location for cliff jumping, where you can leap into the deep natural pools below and enjoy the rush of adrenaline.
- Snorkeling – Discover the underwater world of Meghalaya through snorkeling. The clear waters of the Umngot River in Dawki offer excellent snorkeling opportunities, allowing you to witness mesmerizing aquatic life and vibrant corals.
- Scuba Diving – Though not widely known, Meghalaya offers unique opportunities for scuba diving in its caves. The clear waters of some cave systems like Krem Mawmluh and Krem Dam provide a fascinating underwater experience for certified divers.
Meghalaya is a paradise for caving enthusiasts as it offers some of the best caves for an unforgettable adventure and thus is one of the best things to do in Meghalaya. One of the must-visit caves is Siju Cave, located in the Garo Hills region. It is renowned for its grandeur and intricate limestone formations. Exploring the vast chambers and passages within Siju Cave provides a mesmerizing experience. Another popular cave is Mawsmai Cave near Cherrapunji, known for its stunning stalactite and stalagmite formations. This cave offers a thrilling and visually captivating journey as you navigate through its narrow passages.
For offbeat adventures, Krem Mawmluh is a fantastic choice. Situated in the East Khasi Hills, it is one of the longest caves in Meghalaya and showcases a variety of rock formations, waterfalls, and underground rivers. Krem Liat Prah, also known as the Golden Cave, is another remarkable cave worth exploring. It features a river passage and fascinating formations, making it a challenging yet rewarding caving experience.
In addition to these prominent caves, Meghalaya is home to numerous hidden gems. Caves like Krem Dam and Krem Chympe offer unique opportunities to witness breathtaking natural beauty and delve deeper into the mysteries of the underground world. These lesser-known caves provide a sense of exploration and discovery, making caving in Meghalaya a truly immersive adventure.
When engaging in caving activities, it is important to prioritize safety and join guided tours provided by experienced professionals. They will equip you with the necessary caving gear and ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience. Caving in Meghalaya is not only an adrenaline-pumping adventure but also an opportunity to witness the wonders of nature, explore hidden realms, and appreciate the geological marvels that make this region so remarkable.
6. Waterfalls Exploration
Waterfall exploration is one of the top things to do in Meghalaya, a land blessed with abundant natural beauty. The state is home to numerous magnificent waterfalls, each offering a captivating experience for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. Here are some of the best waterfalls to visit in Meghalaya, including a few offbeat gems:
Nohkalikai Falls – Located near Cherrapunji, Nohkalikai Falls is one of the tallest plunge waterfalls in India, cascading down from a height of approximately 340 meters. The mesmerizing sight of the waterfall against the lush green backdrop is truly breathtaking. Though this waterfall is a true natural gem, the story behind the name of this waterfall is quite heartbreaking
- Seven Sisters Falls – Also known as Mawsmai Falls, Seven Sisters Falls is a seven-segmented waterfall that showcases the beauty and power of nature. It is located near Cherrapunji and is a popular attraction due to its unique formation.
- Elephant Falls – Situated near Shillong, Elephant Falls is a three-tiered waterfall that derived its name from a rock formation resembling an elephant. It offers a picturesque setting, with lush green surroundings and crystal-clear water.
- Krang Suri Falls – Krang Suri Falls, located in Jaintia Hills, is a hidden gem that showcases the unspoiled beauty of Meghalaya. It is known for its turquoise blue water and scenic surroundings, making it an ideal spot for relaxation and rejuvenation.
- Langshiang Falls – Located in West Khasi Hills, Langshiang Falls is a majestic waterfall formed by the Leshka River. It is surrounded by dense forests and offers a serene and tranquil ambiance, perfect for nature enthusiasts.
- Dainthlen Falls – Situated near Cherrapunji, Dainthlen Falls is known for its dramatic cascade and the legend associated with it. The waterfall is named after a legendary serpent that was defeated by a local hero.
- Kynrem Falls – Kynrem Falls is a three-tiered waterfall located near Cherrapunji. With its impressive height and picturesque setting, it is a popular attraction among tourists.
Apart from the popular ones, Meghalaya also boasts some offbeat waterfalls that offer a secluded and serene experience. Some offbeat waterfalls to explore include Wei Sawdong Falls, Khoh Ramhah Falls, Nohsngithiang Falls, and Riat Khwan Falls. These hidden gems provide an opportunity to connect with nature in a tranquil setting away from the crowds.
7. Indulge in a Shopping Spree
When it comes to shopping in Meghalaya, the state offers a unique and vibrant experience. Known for its rich cultural heritage and skilled artisans, Meghalaya is a treasure trove of traditional handicrafts, indigenous garments, and locally produced goods which makes shopping one of the top activities in Meghalaya for tourists.
From intricately woven textiles and handwoven shawls to bamboo and cane products, wooden carvings, and traditional jewelry, these handicrafts showcase the artistic skills of the local artisans. They beautifully reflect the cultural richness and heritage of the state. Meghalaya is also renowned for its indigenous garments, with the traditional Khasi dress called “Jainsem” being a popular choice. These garments are meticulously woven and adorned with unique designs, making them a great addition to your wardrobe. The state is also known for its organic products. Visitors can purchase a variety of organic spices, honey, tea, and coffee, which are sourced locally and offer a taste of Meghalaya’s natural bounty.
When it comes to shopping centers, Police Bazaar in Shillong is a bustling hub that offers a wide range of products. From traditional handicrafts to trendy clothing, footwear, and accessories, you can find it all here. Bara Bazaar and Lewduh Market in Shillong are also worth exploring, where you can discover a diverse array of local products, tribal artifacts, spices, and fresh produce. If you’re visiting Tura, Police Bazaar is a popular shopping destination that showcases local products, handcrafted items, and traditional garments. In Jowai, Khlieh New Market is a traditional market where you can find a variety of local products, fresh produce, and traditional garments.
Exploring these shopping centers allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture, interact with friendly locals, and bring home unique souvenirs and memorabilia that represent the essence of Meghalaya. Whether it’s handicrafts, garments, organic products, or other local specialties, shopping in Meghalaya is an experience that combines culture, craftsmanship, and the joy of discovery.
8. Museum Visits
Visiting museums may not sound fun to many, but visiting the museums in Meghalaya is something you wouldn’t want to miss if you are a culturally curious person. Visiting museums in Meghalaya is a captivating experience that offers insights into the rich cultural heritage, history, and natural wonders of the state. Museums are the perfect places to delve deeper into the diverse traditions, art forms, and archaeological treasures of Meghalaya. Here is the list of best museums in Meghalaya which makes it one of the top things to do in Meghalaya:
- Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures (DBCIC), Shillong – Located in Shillong, the Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures is a must-visit museum that showcases the vibrant cultural diversity of Northeast India. It houses an extensive collection of artifacts, traditional costumes, handicrafts, and photographs representing the indigenous tribes of the region. The museum’s uniqueness lies in its interactive displays, audio-visual presentations, and the opportunity to learn about the customs, traditions, and lifestyles of the various tribes.
- Meghalaya State Museum, Shillong – Situated in the heart of Shillong, the Meghalaya State Museum is dedicated to preserving the state’s history and heritage. The museum showcases a fascinating collection of archaeological artifacts, ancient manuscripts, tribal artifacts, weapons, musical instruments, and artwork. It offers visitors a glimpse into the rich historical legacy of Meghalaya and the cultural practices of its indigenous communities.
- Butterfly Museum, Riatsamthiah, Shillong – The Butterfly Museum in Shillong is a unique and enchanting attraction that displays an extensive collection of butterflies and moths found in Meghalaya. The museum provides an opportunity to observe these exquisite insects up close and learn about their life cycles, habitats, and conservation efforts. It is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and offers a fascinating insight into the diverse butterfly species of the region.
9. Go Wildlife Spotting
Meghalaya offers a fantastic opportunity for wildlife enthusiasts with its diverse flora and fauna. Wildlife spotting is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Meghalaya while visiting this beautiful state. Here are some of the best places to go for wildlife spotting in Meghalaya:
- Balpakram National Park – Located in the South Garo Hills district, Balpakram National Park is known for its rich biodiversity. It is home to various endangered species such as red pandas, golden langurs, Asian elephants, clouded leopards, and several species of birds.
- Nokrek National Park – Situated in the West Garo Hills district, Nokrek National Park is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It is famous for its unique inhabitant, the rare and elusive red panda. Other wildlife species found here include Hoolock gibbons, wild elephants, tigers, and various bird species.
- Baghmara Reserve Forest – Located near Baghmara in the South Garo Hills district, this reserve forest is known for its diverse wildlife. It is home to species like Indian bison, sambar deer, wild boars, langurs, and numerous bird species.
- Siju Bird Sanctuary – Situated near Siju in the South Garo Hills district, this sanctuary is a haven for birdwatchers. It is home to a wide variety of avian species, including the endangered rufous-necked hornbill, great pied hornbill, and oriental pied hornbill.
10. Savour Local Cuisine
Exploring the local cuisine of Meghalaya is one of the top things to do in Meghalaya for food lovers. The region’s culinary delights offer a unique blend of flavors, using indigenous ingredients and traditional cooking techniques. Meghalayan cuisine showcases the authentic flavors of the region, providing a glimpse into the cultural heritage and traditional practices of the local communities. It is known for its use of unique ingredients like bamboo shoots, fermented soybeans, black sesame seeds, and special aromatic herbs, which give the dishes a distinct taste. What makes the cuisine even more appealing is its emphasis on fresh and organic ingredients, making it not only delicious but also wholesome and healthy. The use of minimal spices allows the natural flavors of the ingredients to shine through, creating a culinary experience that is both satisfying and nourishing. Now, let’s explore some of the top dishes in the cuisine of Meghalaya:
- Jadoh – Jadoh is a traditional Khasi dish made with aromatic rice, pork, and a combination of spices. The flavors are enhanced with the addition of local ingredients like turmeric and black sesame seeds.
- Doh Khlieh – This refreshing salad-like dish features minced meat (usually pork) mixed with onions, ginger, and special herbs. It is served with a tangy dressing made from lime juice and mustard oil.
- Pumaloi – Pumaloi is a popular Garo dish made with rice, vegetables, and fermented soybeans. It is usually cooked in bamboo hollows, which impart a unique smoky flavor.
- Tungrymbai – Tungrymbai is a traditional dish prepared with fermented soybeans, local herbs, and spices. It has a distinct umami flavor and is often enjoyed as a side dish with rice.
- Nakham Bitchi – This spicy and tangy chutney is made from dried fish, tomatoes, and chilies. It adds a burst of flavor to any meal and is a staple in Meghalayan cuisine.
- Kyat – Kyat is a popular dessert in Meghalaya, made from sticky rice cooked with jaggery and coconut milk. It is served warm and provides a sweet ending to a meal.
These are just a few examples of the delectable dishes you can savor in Meghalaya. Exploring the local cuisine allows you to immerse yourself in the rich culinary heritage of the region and indulge in a gastronomic adventure you won’t forget.
Frequently Asked Questions About Things To Do In Meghalaya
1. What are some popular things to do in Meghalaya?
Some popular things to do in Meghalaya include exploring the living root bridges, which are unique natural wonders formed by tree roots in Cherrapunjee and Mawlynnong. The region is also famous for cascading waterfalls like Nohkalikai and Elephant Falls. Delving into the mesmerizing caves of Mawsmai and Mawsynram is a must for adventure enthusiasts. Additionally, visitors can soak in the serene beauty of Umiam Lake, go boating in the crystal-clear Umgnot River, experience the vibrant local culture through festivals, and savor the delectable local cuisine. Meghalaya offers an enchanting blend of natural wonders, adventure, and cultural experiences.
2. Are there any adventurous activities available in Meghalaya?
Yes, Meghalaya offers a plethora of adventurous activities for thrill-seekers. One can indulge in thrilling trekking expeditions to explore the living root bridges, traverse the David Scott Trail, or embark on the challenging Nongriat trek to witness the Double Decker Living Root Bridge. Meghalaya is also known for its exceptional caving opportunities, with cave exploration in places like Mawsmai and Krem Mawmluh offering a unique and thrilling experience. Additionally, visitors can engage in river rafting in the exhilarating rapids of the Umngot River in Dawki, ziplining across picturesque landscapes, and canyoning in the breathtaking waterfalls. Meghalaya truly caters to adventure enthusiasts with its wide range of thrilling activities.
3. What are some unique cultural experiences in Meghalaya?
Meghalaya offers several unique cultural experiences that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the rich traditions and customs of the region. One such experience is witnessing the indigenous music and dance performances of the local tribes, such as the mesmerizing Wangala dance of the Garo community. Another unique cultural aspect is the traditional Nongkrem Dance Festival, held annually in November, where locals showcase their vibrant costumes, rituals, and music. Exploring the local markets and trying the authentic cuisine, including specialties like Jadoh (rice and meat dish) and Dohneiiong (pork curry), also provide a glimpse into the culinary traditions of Meghalaya. Moreover, interacting with the warm and hospitable locals and visiting traditional villages further enhance the cultural immersion in this enchanting state.
4. Can I explore the caves in Meghalaya?
Yes, Meghalaya is renowned for its magnificent caves, offering ample opportunities for cave exploration and adventure. The state is home to numerous caves, including the famous Mawsmai Cave, which is easily accessible and allows visitors to marvel at its stunning limestone formations. Another popular cave is the Krem Mawmluh Cave, known for its impressive length and diverse geological features. For the more adventurous, the Siju Cave presents an exhilarating experience with its vast chambers and underground rivers. With proper guidance and safety measures, visitors can explore these caves and witness the mesmerizing underground landscapes, stalactites, and stalagmites, making it a must-do activity for nature and adventure enthusiasts visiting Meghalaya.