Castles in the clouds

Castles in the clouds Tourism

Review of Meghalaya

Meghalaya Traveller Reviews

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Jit Roy Chowdhury
  • Jit Roy Chowdhury
  • Highlander
  • Lives in Kolkata
  • 4 Reviews

"Castles in the clouds"

  • Posted Jun 24, 2010
My family and I went on a truly memorable trip to Meghalaya this May 2010. The cliffs and gorges bent over backwards, the falls tumbled down, the streams stayed with us, and the hills towered like eerie, unreal castles built on cloudy nothingness - if you love your camera, this is the place to give it a treat!

Food, sight-seeing and shopping: Traveling with a 2-year-old kind, our 10 nights' trip was at a leisurely pace - it could be done in a couple of days less. We stayed at the well-known Khasi hills' destinations - Shillong & Cherrapunjee, and also at the lesser known Jaintia hills headquaters, Jowai.
The Meghalaya Tourism website (http://megtourism.gov.in/welcome.html) is better than most of such 'govt' websites that exist in this country. The places listed there actually exist, most are accessible, and wonderful for sightseeing.

Unfortunately, 'sightseeing' hogs all the limelight in the tourism mind scape of Meghalaya - both for tourists and for tour operators. In the districts, the food is nothing to write home about - but the taste, and the variety does get markedly better in the capital, Shillong. Ask your local taxi-driver about a good, traditional Khasi meal - he would probably just point you to some typical Indian/Chinese restaurant, with the warning that Khasi meals would not suit your taste. That said, we found a delightful little Khasi restaurant just a little distance from the main Police Bazaar chowk in Shillong. This is just a few paces from the famous Delhi Mistan Bhandar shop on Khyndailad, and calls itself 'Trattoria'. For the life of us, we could not see the Italian connection, but the place is run by a nice lady, who made us some kind of an assortment 'Thali' out of the various kinds of Khasi meat on offer - it was simply out of the world!! But be warned - this place is not for a lazy, late lunch. There's always a heavy rush, and the speciality dishes run out too fast almost every day!
Shillong also has some delectable bakers and confectioners - all near the Police Bazaar 7-point crossing. Ee Cee on the Jail Road side, and Bread Cafe on G.S. Road are a couple that come easily to mind.

Again, Shillong is the only place that could qualify as a 'shopping destination' - and again, everything along Police Bazaar. You could try picking up some local North East stuff in one of the small shops dotting the place - like the Nagaland Handlooms shop almost bang on the crossing itself. Or you could try some of the larger 'Hanumanbux' cloth stores a little farther away along G.S. Road.

Activities & things to do: The sightseeing activities around Shillong and Cherrapunjee are well-documented. What should be stressed are that there are hugely interesting places and things that normal, run-of-the-mill tourist operators would not take you to. For example, while on the Cherrapunjee circuit, do not miss the Dainthlen falls, which are a little out of the way. And if you are staying overnight in Cherrapunjee, and are fit enough to trek, do try to see the living root bridge at Laikensew. But remember, the route is long, and slippery and treacherous - so, take the words 'fit enough to trek' really seriously - I would say a no-no for the elderly, and the very young.
While in Shillong, dont miss the lovely Umiam Lake (a.k.a. 'Barapani') some 18 kms from the town. More importantly, Shillong can be used as a base for visiting some off-beat locations - take a taxi to Mawsynram, the real 'wettest place on earth', or a dip in the hot-water springs of Jakrem. En route, stop at the sacred forest groves of Mawphlang - not a place all taxi drivers know, but not a view you would be likely to forget. And, finally, do take a break from the cliched Khasi hills and try something different - stay near Jowai and visit the Jaintia hills, and get positively startled when you find even one other tourist around. The Narthiang monoliths, the Thadlaskien lake, ... above all, do make the short trek from the main road to the Tyrshi falls. The way to the falls are so desolate, and so free of human interest, that you begin to wonder if the end of the world will reach you, before you reach the falls. But once you reach the falls, you will realize that this is the crowning glory of your Meghalaya trip - do descend the 260 steps to the fall landing, and catch the falls splash on your face before it goes crashing down to the valley below. You will start wondering what's the fuss on Shillong's Elephant Falls about. While in the Jaintia also take a taxi to Dawki on the Indo-Bangladesh border - and remember the journey is the destination!

Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc: The most reliable way to reach Meghalaya is to land in Guwahati (airport or railway station), and get a transport to Shillong. The transport would most likely be in the form of a taxi, either shared or reserved. For sight-seeing around Meghalaya, hiring a taxi would be the best option - but this would, of course, be quite expensive. If this cannot be afforded, plan all trips from Shillong only - the MTDC offers package tours on tourist buses. But this would, however, leave out many of the far-flung, off-beat places mentioned in this post. Also remember - outside of Shillong & Cherrapunjee, the tourism industry is not really well-developed. So, do your research and print your maps - you may even have to guide your taxi drivers with these implements!!
Finally, it may be easy to forget while taking in this fantastic beauty, the unfortunate truth that the North East hills are as fragile as they are bewitching. Read the newspapers, and be well-advised of any trouble brewing in the area. The first day we landed at Guwahati airport, there was a general bandh call, and it was complete shutdown. We heard thrice 'aage na jana hi behtar hai' - once each at the airport, in Shillong, and in Jowai (even the day after). Each time, we took a calculated risk and went ahead - and did not live to regret it!
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Amit Mukherjee
  • Amit Mukherjee
  • Lives in Kolkata
  • 2 photos
  • 1 Review

"Shillong trip_March 2010"

  • Posted Mar 28, 2010
We just came back from our Shillong trip. We been there on 20-3-2010 and stayed for 5days including Guwhati 1 day. We had been there with lots of expectation regarding cloud, falls, famous rains of Cherrapunji etc but unfortunately it was not the best season to visit proper Meghalaya. I would suggest if anybody wish to see the real Meghalaya please be there in monsoon.

Food, sight-seeing and shopping: We make 3 sightseeing tour, 1st day to Cherrapunji, we started at 8 AM and returned back to city at 4 pm, The falls are dried up, some have thin hairline water marks. Which was really pathetic to see.. Cherrapunji are getting lesser and lesser rain with the year.in the day time it is pretty hot out there....u can t stand long in bare sun.....
2nd day we visit Maylongnong we again stated at 8 and returned at 5 PM. One thing to remember arrange the lunch and breakfast for this trip in the yesterday other wise you may remain hungry for the day as we had.... Local Shillong people get up late in the morning so you may not get something that u like...... next day we had a Shillong city tour.

Activities & things to do: Do not miss the Mawsami cave in the Cherrapunji visit, Root Bridge, Bangladesh sky view, Shillong peak and Sweet Falls very near to the city.

Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc: We had a very good Bengali driver called Avijit and Ashok 2 brother runs the business...They are very reliable and their rates are also at par with the market rate. We boarded at Hotel Brewel, that probably the only hotel you can find Rs 500 per night double bed with room standard of Rs 900 at least.....(Shillong rate),but it is very difficult to get the booking .we were extremely lucky to get that on spot booking....
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Poppy Sarkar
  • Poppy Sarkar
  • Highlander
  • Lives in Kolkata
  • 13 photos
  • 5 Reviews

"Shillong"

  • Posted Oct 10, 2009
Myself and my friend just came back from a 3 day trip of Shillong - 27th to 30th Sept 09. We reached Shillong via Cherapunjee which was more beautiful than Shillong. Being a trek freak, we loved the rugged terrain of Cherapunjee. Shillong basically is a place where one can laze around exploring various waterfalls, scenic peak and vast water body ( Bara Pani ). During Sept-end, the weather during day time was very hot and the nights cool. But we were not fortunate enough to see all that is there in Meghalaya.

Food, sight-seeing and shopping: We stayed in Royal Heritage Tripura castle and had our food there i self which was excellent. We did not venture out for food so can't talk much about this. Shopping- nothing much to buy other than traditional Kashi banboo works, shawls etc. Oh yes, one can indulge oneself to buy traditional khasi dress worn by women.

Activities & things to do: Nothing much other than taking long walks in and around Shillong, the golf link is beautifully maintained.

Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc: Shillong can be reached by road and also by air. Indian Airlines connects Shillong with Kolkata. It can also be reached via Guwahati which is almost 150 kms away. Guwahati is well connected with the rest of the major cities by air. Meghalaya runs helicoptor services from Guwahati to Shillong daily and it takes half an hour to reach. Booking can be done from Guwahati airport itself.
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Girish Aggarwal
  • Girish Aggarwal
  • Lives in Delhi
  • 1 photo
  • 1 Review

"the wettest place on planet earth Mowsynrome"

  • Posted Sep 27, 2007
This is the natural place not touched or affected by human settlement.

Food, sight-seeing and shopping: Excellent Natural sight seeing but nothing to shop.

Activities & things to do: You can enjoy the greenery and natural beauty.

Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc: Be careful in outskirts of shillong other than mowsynrome and cherrapunjee highway as you will not find a single person on the way in certain stretch.
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Mohana Mukherjee
  • Mohana Mukherjee
  • Critic
  • 3 Reviews

"Himalayan Marvel"

  • Posted Feb 16, 2007
Visited Shillong in the month of October..winter had set in...the Sun and the rain had started to play hide and seek....from the open corridors of Pinewood Hotel..the sime high ranges of the mountains were clearly visible....standing there, I asked myself - IS THIS WHAT IT FEELS TO BE IN HEAVEN?

Food, sight-seeing and shopping: In Shillong, it is best to avoid road side food and road side drinking water. There are some good resturants there. Hotal Pinewood itself as its own eating square and a cafeteria. Polica Bazaar in the centre of the city has a couple of good resturants and sweet shops as well.
Shillong has a couple of unique sight-seeing places. Shillong Peak, Elephanta Falls, The Cathedral are the 3 places one should never miss...
A day's tour to Cherapunji will only add to the charm.

Activities & things to do: A drive to Cheerapunji will be thrilling. Boating in Ward Lake is a good time pass.

Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc: Shillong is easily accesible by both train and air. The nearest airport is Shillong itself. Indian Airlines have frequent flights there. The other best option is to reach Guwahati. Guwahati is widely connected by train service and many budget fare flyers from different parts of India. Shillong will take around 2 to 2.30 hours of motor journey from Guwahati.
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