Northeast India is known for its inexplicable beauty and the state of Meghalaya is no less. Snuggled by the mighty Himalayas, Meghalaya is one of the most popular destinations to visit in India. Meghalaya tourism is an amalgamation of lush greenery, picturesque surroundings, misty air, pristine waterfalls, and more of nature’s glory serves as the gateway for those seeking tranquillity. And a tour to Meghalaya will surely let you experience the same along with the utter beauty of Mother Nature.
On a sightseeing tour in Meghalaya, you can explore the panoramic landscapes, foggy hills, terraces, slopes, and cascading waterfalls. Some renowned attractions that add to Meghalaya tourism include Living Root Bridges and Nohkalikai Falls.
Meghalaya gives an opportunity to wildlife lovers to witness the rich biodiversity at Balpakram National Park and soak in its mind-boggling scenic beauty. Apart from this, Meghalaya tourism also offers exciting adventures letting tourists indulge in thrilling activities and make their Meghayala travel memorable.
Apart from this, there are many fun things to do, and places to eat and shop that will keep you entertained throughout the tour. So, if you want to know more about Meghalaya, how to reach it, the best time to visit, where to eat and stay, and some useful travel tips
Here is our comprehensive guide to exploring the nooks and corners of Meghalaya tourism.
Languages Spoken in Meghalaya
The most spoken languages in Meghalaya are Khasi, Pnar, and Garo with English the official language.
Where is Meghalaya located?
The state of Meghalaya is located in the northeastern region of India. It shares its borders with the state of Assam to the north, and international borders with Bangladesh to the south and southwest.
History of Meghalaya
On January 21, 1972, Meghalaya came into existence after the United Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills were carved out of Assam. The tribes - Khasi, Garo, and Jaintia had their own kingdoms until they came under British control in the 19th century who again incorporated Meghalaya into Assam. Soon, when West Bengal was separated in 1905 by Lord Curzon, Meghalaya became a part of the new province of Eastern Bengal and Assam. And again, it was reserved in 1912 and Meghayals once again merged into the province of Assam.
At the time of Indian Independence, present-day Meghalaya had two districts of Assam. The Assam Reorganization (Meghalaya) Act of 1969 gave an autonomous status to the state. It has a 37 member legislature in accordance with the sixth schedule of the constitution. Lastly, in 1971, the Parliament of India passed the North Eastern Area Act that gave Meghalaya the status of the Autonomous State on 21 January 1921, with its own Legislative Assembly.
Why should you visit Meghalaya?
Meghalaya is a beautiful state called the ‘Abode of Clouds’ and is perfect for tourists who are looking for a peaceful vacation with their loved ones. The pristine lakes, the towering peaks, the breathtaking beauty, and ample attractions make Meghalaya tourism appealing and your holiday memorable. Therefore, all nature lovers must visit this state.
For travelers who love to explore the flora and fauna of a state, Meghalaya will not disappoint you. Apart from this, you can explore Meghyalas’ delectable cuisine, quaint cities, hill stations, and get a peek into their rich culture and traditions. This comprehensive Meghalaya tourism guide is designed to help you plan your trip to Meghalaya and explore it like a local. Know things to do, places to visit, local cuisine, wildlife sanctuaries, adventure sports, hill stations, and more.
- Wildlife: Balpakram national park, Siju wildlife sanctuary, Baghmara reserve forest, Nongkhyllem wildlife sanctuary
- Caves: Krem Mawmluh, Krem Dam, Krem Lymput, Mawsmai Cave, Krem Liat Prah
- Waterfalls: Nohkalikai Falls, Khoh Ramhah, Kynrem Falls, Nohsngithiang Falls, Elephant Falls
- Adventure: Hiking, Golfing, River Canyoning, Trekking, Yachting, Speed boat, Cruising boat
- Shopping: Dawki Market, Hat Thymmai, Gokolgre daily market, Lew Sohra Bazaar, Bara Bazar, Laitumkhrah Market, Polo Bazaar, OB Shopping Mall
- Local Food: Jadoh, Doh-Khlieh, Pudoh, Tungrymbai, Minil Songa, pork and chicken momos, Pumaloi, Nakham Bitchi, Dohkhlieh
How to Reach Meghalaya
Meghalaya is well connected with the major states of India. You can easily reach Meghalaya via air, rail, or road.
The main airport to reach Meghalaya is located in Guwahati, Assam at a distance of 159 km. It is well- connected to Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Calcutta. From here, you can hire a cab to reach your destination.
For travelling to Meghalaya by train, the nearest railway station is also located in Guwahati, Assam. It is about 180 km away and is connected to New Delhi, Amritsar, Jammu and Kashmir and Bangalore. You can take a bus or hire a cab.
Meghalaya has a great network of roads and is well-connected to major cities through roads. Buses can be hired to reach Meghalaya from Assam and other nearby places. Else, plan a fun road trip from neighbouring states and cities, and witness scenic views on the way to Meghalaya.
How to get around Meghalaya
The most convenient way to move around the state is to take buses to visit the important cities. You can also hire taxis or book car rentals to travel on your own. Meghalaya has a good network of roads and the attractions can be easily covered by road transportation. Trekking is also a great option to explore the places in proximity while enjoying the scenic beauty around.
Best time to visit Meghalaya
A beautiful hill state, Meghalaya is frequently visited by nature lovers and honeymooners especially to enjoy the weather. It is blessed with a moderate climate throughout the year and every season has its charm, which gives you a reason to plan a trip to Meghalaya. Let us see the weather of every season that will help you plan your Meghalaya travel better.
Summer (April to June)
Meghalaya in summer experiences pleasant weather with the temperature hovering between 12°C and 30°C. Though it may rain at any time, you can stroll the surroundings in the evenings and enjoy quality time with loved ones. The three-day festival of Shad Suk Mynsiem and the Chad Sukra festival is also celebrated every year in April.
Monsoon (July to September)
The state receives heavy showers of rain during the monsoon with temperatures ranging from 24°C to 33°C. Cherrapunji and Mawsynram located in Meghalaya are the two rainiest cities in the world. It is the perfect time to stay put in the hills and enjoy a cup of hot tea and some local snacks. Going out to explore is not recommended.
Autumn (October to November)
After the relentless rain in Monsoon comes Autumn and this is the time when the trees in Meghalaya are in full bloom. The temperature also starts to dip with the winter just around the corner.
Winter (December to February)
With temperatures fluctuating between 4°C and 16°C, the weather of Meghalaya in winter is comfortably cold. The days are quite warm because of the sun and the nights get cold with winds blowing across. Carry proper woollens to protect yourself from the cold weather.
Places to Visit in Meghalaya
Meghalaya is dotted with many attractions known worldwide, including mesmerizing waterfalls like Nohkalikai Falls, Elephant Falls, and Mawlynnong Falls. The state also has some of the longest caves like Mawsmai Caves and Krem Liat Prah and the wettest places in the world, Cherrapunji and Mawsynram.
Apart from these, while exploring the tourism of Meghalaya, you can also visit attractions like Umiam Lake, Living Root Bridges, Dawki River, Seven Sisters Falls, Mawlynnong Village, and more.
Things to do in Meghalaya
Meghalaya tourism offers ample things to enjoy on your tour. The state has enchanting waterfalls, lakes, and rivers, and receives the maximum number of rainfall every year. Therefore, if you love rain, Meghalaya is the best place to enjoy hot snacks and tea with beautiful rain weather.
Meghalaya offers thrilling adventure opportunities for adrenaline junkies like trekking and camping you can indulge in to get close to nature. Also, laying on the ground and gazing at the star-studded sky is a famous thing to do in Meghalaya.
Dawki is a place here that offers spectacular adventure activities to tourists including ziplining, flying fox, and scuba diving. Hence, Meghalaya should be on top of every persons’ vacation list.
Where to Stay in Meghalaya
From luxury to mid-range and budget-friendly hotels, there are a lot of accommodation options in Meghalaya. Most of the places of stay are surrounded by natural counties and offer warm hospitality. To boost Meghalaya Tourism, the hotels in Meghalaya are set in perfect locations with nature’s backdrop. The most variety of hotels you will find in the state are in Shillong and Ri Bhoi District. So, enjoy your stay in Meghalaya with prompt services and great amenities.
What to Eat in Meghalaya
Being a state of northeast India, the cuisine is a major part of Meghalaya tourism and comprises rice, vegetable curries, and fish and meat. People have a typical cooking style, which depends on the availability of food items in the state.
Meghalaya’s cuisine can be categorized into Garo, Khasi, and Jaintia. Shillong, the capital of the state has some amazing restaurants serving hot-piping dishes. And other top restaurants in Meghalaya are Jiva Grill (Sohra), City Hut Family Dhaba (Shillong), Jiva Veg (Nongpoh), Ka Bri War Resort Fresh Veg Restaurant (Pynursla), and Dylan's Cafe (Shillong).
Nightlife in Meghalaya
Out of all the cities and towns in Meghalaya, Shillong is the most happening party place. There are many iconic nightclubs in Shillong that are known for their ambiance and of course, pan-Asian food. Cloud9 is one of the best nightclubs in Meghalaya you must visit if you are a hardcore party animal. DJs and musicians from all over the world come here to perform regularly. Platinum and Mikado Lounge are other places for buzzing nightlife and the best drinks and music.
How to save money on a Meghalaya trip?
- Travel to Meghalaya during monsoon as it is not the peak season.
- Book your flights in advance and take an early or a late flight.
- Use shared or public transport like a bus.
- Book affordable stays like guesthouses or hostels.
- Eat at locally owned small restaurants.
- Go on off-the-beaten-track to save some money.
- Go on a backpacking tour.
- Avoid unnecessary shopping.
- Visit places that are free of cost like temples, museums, etc.
Meghalaya Travel Tips
- Prepare yourself for frequent rains and excessive ones any time of the day.
- Given that Meghalaya is a northeastern state, check for any permits you might want to take.
- If you get stuck somewhere, ask the locals for help, they are very friendly.
- Remember to book hotels and flights in advance, especially during the winter season.
- If any significant document gets stolen or lost, immediately inform local police. Your documents can be misused.
- Do not overpack if you are on a backpacking trip.
- Respect the local culture.
- English is spoken widely but in smaller regions, you will find people speaking the local language. So, try to learn a few local phrases for better communication.
- Go with a registered tour guide, if needed. Local tour guides can charge you extra with inauthentic information.