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Magical Meghalaya: 10 Best Places to Visit in Meghalaya

1. Shillong

2. Laitlum Canyon

3. Mawphlang Sacred Grove

4. David Scott Trail

5. Cherrapunji

6. Mawlynnong – the cleanest village in Asia

7. Dawki

8. Tura

9. Jowai

10. Umiam Lake

FAQ for Places to Visit in Meghalaya

Discovering the 10 Best Places to Visit in Meghalaya 2023

Nestled in the verdant hills of northeastern India, Meghalaya entices travelers with its breathtaking landscapes, cascading waterfalls, beautiful forests, dark caves, and fascinating cultural tapestry. As you embark on a journey through Meghalaya, you will find yourself immersed in a realm of enchantment and wonder while discovering the Best Places to Visit in Meghalaya. 

From the awe-inspiring root bridges suspended in time to the mystical caves that whisper tales of ancient civilizations, the Tourist Places in Meghalaya are a treasure trove of unique experiences waiting to be discovered.

If you seek solace in nature and are a wanderer who is ready to unfold secrets hidden in its depth, the Meghalaya Tourist Places will definitely cast its spell on you that will leave you with memories to cherish for a lifetime.Here is a list of the 10 Best Places to Visit in Meghalaya, as you take this trip with our  Meghalaya Tour Packages:

Magical Meghalaya: 10 Best Places to Visit in Meghalaya

1. Shillong

Often referred to as the “Scotland of the East”, the capital city of Shillong is nestled in the undulating hills of Meghalaya. With its scenic vistas, cultural vibrancy, and warm hospitality, Shillong stands on Top amongst the other Meghalaya Tourist places that leave a heart-whelming mark on every traveler’s heart. Whether wandering through the lush landscapes, immersing in the local music scene, or savoring the diverse cuisine, Shillong invites visitors to experience its unique blend of natural splendor and cultural richness.

Shillong’s vibrant cultural scene is another major draw for tourists as the city has gained recognition as the “Rock Capital of India” due to its thriving music. Live performances by local bands and talented musicians can be experienced at various venues, creating an atmosphere pulsating with energy and creativity. The Shillong Autumn Festival, celebrated in November, showcases the city’s rich cultural heritage, featuring traditional music, dance, and art exhibitions.

Food enthusiasts will find themselves delighted by Shillong’s culinary offerings. The city boasts a wide array of delectable street food, including local delicacies such as Jadoh (a rice and meat dish), Momos (steamed dumplings), and Tungrymbai (fermented soybean curry). Exploring the bustling Police Bazaar, the city’s main commercial hub offers an opportunity to savor these flavors and immerse in the vibrant local market scene.

Along with the music and food, here are a few best places to see in Meghalaya in/ around Shillong – 

  • Shillong Peak – It is the highest point in Shillong and offers a panoramic view of the entire city and its surroundings, providing a glimpse of the city’s grandeur from a lofty vantage point.
  • Ward’s Lake – The city’s crown jewel, where visitors can stroll leisurely amidst the colorful, well-manicured garden and paddleboat across the artificial lake.
  • Don Bosco Museum – The seven-storey museum in the heart of Shillong is Asia’s largest Museum of Indigenous Cultures. It is divided into 16 galleries that showcase artifacts, paintings, and figures significant to the diverse culture and traditions of North East.
  • Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians – With its towering arches and beautifully painted glasswork, this is one of the most beautiful churches in Shillong. It is located on a hilltop and thus offers beautiful views of the city, the snow-clad mountains, and the Brahmaputra River.
  • Air Force Museum – This place provides great insight into the country’s defense history, especially the Air Force. This museum has several aircraft models, pilot uniforms, miniature missile and rocket models, and pictures of the Indo-China war and the Indo-Pak war.
  • Elephant Falls – Named after a rock resembling an elephant, the elephant falls cascade through multiple tiers and creates a spectacle of nature’s magnificence.
  • Spread Eagle Falls – Probably the widest waterfall in Shillong, this waterfall got its name due to its resemblance to an eagle with its widespread wings. 
  • Butterfly Museum  – Also known as the Etymological Museum, this museum houses an extensive collection of vibrant butterflies, spiders, moths, and beetle species from all across the country.

2. Laitlum Canyon

The word “Laitlum” translates to “end of hills” in the local Khasi language, and true to its name, the canyon offers sweeping vistas of lush green valleys, rolling hills, and misty clouds that seem to stretch endlessly into the horizon. The beauty of Laitlum Canyon has caught the attention of filmmakers, and it has been featured in movies like “Rock On 2” and “Mary Kom.” 

Laitlum Canyon is a hidden gem nestled in the pristine landscapes of Meghalaya, 25 km away from Shillong. The awe-inspiring panoramic views of the canyon make it one of the best places to see in Meghalaya. The sheer grandeur of the canyon is a treat to the eyes and thus adds to the checklist of all nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. 

Visitors to Laitlum Canyon can embark on treks and hikes to explore the surrounding trails, allowing them to immerse themselves in the mesmerizing landscapes. As you navigate the winding paths, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views at every turn, with the canyon revealing itself in full splendor. 

The canyon also offers opportunities for photography enthusiasts to capture the dramatic landscapes and play of light and shadows. Whether it’s the sunrise casting a golden glow over the hills or the mist swirling through the valleys, each moment presents a picture-perfect scene waiting to be captured.

Sitting on the edge of the canyon, with the cool breeze caressing your face and the magnificent vistas unfolding before your eyes, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and tranquility. This sense of being one with nature makes it one of the best places to visit in Meghalaya.

3. Mawphlang Sacred Grove

Tucked away amidst the picturesque landscapes of Meghalaya, the Mawphlang Sacred Grove stands as a captivating testament to the region’s rich cultural and natural heritage. This mystical forest, located 27 km from Shillong, is revered by the indigenous Khasi tribe and is hailed as one of the best places to visit in Meghalaya.

For travelers seeking a transformative and immersive experience, the Mawphlang Sacred Grove tops the list of offbeat Meghalaya tourist places. It is a place where ancient legends intertwine with the beauty of nature, leaving visitors with a deep sense of awe and reverence for the interconnectedness of all living beings.

Spanning an area of approximately 78 hectares, this ancient forest holds a profound spiritual significance for the Khasi people. Exploring the Mawphlang Sacred Grove unveils a realm of breathtaking beauty and tranquility. Towering trees form a dense canopy overhead, filtering sunlight and casting a gentle, dappled glow on the forest floor. 

Moss-covered rocks, ancient tree trunks, and winding pathways create an ethereal atmosphere that transports visitors to another realm. Legend has it that the grove is protected by the local deity, Labasa. According to the Khasi folklore, Labasa, in the form of a leopard, guards the forest and ensures that it remains untouched and pristine. The Khasi people believe that disturbing or taking anything from the grove would invite the wrath of Labasa, leading to misfortune.

Guided walks through the grove provide a deeper understanding of its cultural and ecological significance. Local guides, often belonging to the Khasi tribe, share captivating stories and folktales associated with different areas of the forest. They provide insights into the traditional beliefs, rituals, and medicinal properties of various plants found within the grove.

The forest’s recognition as a National Natural Heritage Site further underscores its importance in preserving Meghalaya’s unique cultural and ecological treasures.

4. David Scott Trail

Trekking the David Scott Trail is not just about exploring nature and history; it’s a journey of self-discovery and adventure. It offers a unique perspective on Meghalaya’s landscapes and the opportunity to appreciate the historical significance of the region. Whether you’re an avid trekker or a history enthusiast, the David Scott Trail promises an unforgettable experience filled with natural wonders and a glimpse into the colonial era.

The David Scott Trail is located in the mesmerizing landscapes of Meghalaya, 27 km away from Shillong. Named after British administrator David Scott, who established this trail in the early 1800s, it holds both historical and cultural significance. The trail stretches for approximately 16 kilometers, meandering through lush forests, quaint villages, and rolling hills. It follows the ancient route that connected the Assam plains with the hill stations of Meghalaya. 

Today, it serves as a popular trekking route, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the stunning landscapes, making it one of the best places to visit in Meghalaya. The trail was originally established as a trade route and later served as a crucial link between British-occupied territories. 

Along the way, you’ll encounter old stone bridges, remnants of colonial-era architecture, and fascinating relics that serve as reminders of the trail’s historical significance.

The trail offers a diverse range of experiences. You’ll pass through vibrant forests teeming with wildlife, traverse riverbanks, and cross suspension bridges that add an element of adventure to the journey. The breathtaking vistas of rolling hills, gushing waterfalls, and the ever-present sounds of nature create a truly immersive experience.

Beyond its natural beauty, the David Scott Trail allows visitors to delve into the region’s fascinating history and culture. The trail passes through charming villages, providing an opportunity to interact with the local Khasi and Jaintia tribes, known for their warm hospitality and rich cultural traditions.

5. Cherrapunji

Locally known as Sohra, Cherrapuji is known as the wetter place on Earth. This mystical place is the epitome of natural beauty, thus making it one of the Best Places to Visit in Meghalaya. Cherrapunji’s crowning glory lies in its magnificent waterfalls, cascading down steep cliffs in a breathtaking display of nature’s grandeur. 

Adding to the beauty of Cherrapunji are the living root bridges, which are truly architectural marvels. These bridges are formed by guiding the aerial roots of ancient rubber trees across rivers and streams, resulting in sturdy and natural walkways. Beyond waterfalls and bridges, Cherrapunji is also home to several mystical caves that beckon adventurers to explore their depths.

Following is the list of the top places to visit in Meghalaya for a natural retreat in Cherrapunji – 
  • Nohkalikai Falls – This dramatically plunging waterfall from the verdant cliff in Khasi Hills, leaves the onlookers in awe as they witness one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country. The heartbreaking story behind the name of this magnificent natural sight makes it one of the most magical places to see in Meghalaya.
  • Seven Sisters Falls – A natural symphony of seven cascading waterfalls, flowing in unison creates a spectacular natural beauty, with mist swirling around the lush surroundings.
  • Wei Sawdong Waterfall – You can witness the beauty of this 3-tired roaring waterfall by hiking for up to 1.5 km through the lush green forests of East Khasi Hills. Later, you can also relax by taking a dip in the natural pool below the waterfall.
  • Double-Decker Living Root Bridge – This root bridge of Nongriat is nature’s architectural wonder and is one of the top tourist places in Meghalaya. It can be accessed by descending a fleet of 3500 steps, deep into the lush forest starting from the Tyrna village. The credit for these root bridges goes to the local tribes who have played a major role in creating this natural wonder with the help of the roots of rubber plants.
  • Mawsmai Cave – Amongst a number of cave systems in Cherrapunji, the Mawsmai Caves are the most popular ones. Adorned with stunning limestone formations this cave system presents a surreal underground world of stalactites and stalagmites. As you venture deeper into the darkness, the cave reveals hidden chambers and intricate rock formations. Other popular caves in this region include Arwah Caves, Garden of Caves, Krem Liat Prah Caves, etc.
  • Eco Park – This Eco Park is designed and maintained by the government of Meghalaya. It is an amazing vantage point to the “Green Canyons” of Cherrapunji, cascading falls, and the Sylhet Plains of Bangladesh.

6. Mawlynnong – the cleanest village in Asia

Mawlynnong is one of the best places to visit in Meghalaya as it is often hailed as “Asia’s cleanest village,”, tucked away in the lush landscapes of Meghalaya. This quaint village, renowned for its pristine cleanliness and eco-friendly practices, offers a glimpse into sustainable living for travelers. 

Entering Mawlynnong is like entering a different world as the road will get narrow and will be lined by a thick bamboo forest, which will further open up into this pretty village. As you step into Mawlynnong, you are greeted by impeccably clean streets lined with vibrant flowers and well-maintained gardens. The village’s commitment to cleanliness is evident in every corner, making it a refreshing sight for visitors. 

The locals take immense pride in keeping their surroundings spotless, setting an inspiring example for responsible tourism and making it one of the best places to see in Meghalaya. Along with this, the villagers are also warm, welcoming, and amazing hosts. They will also serve you delicious local dishes if you decide to spend a night in a homestay here.

Here are a few top attractions in Mawlynnong that are a must-visit on your Meghalaya Trip –

  • Living Root Bridge, Riwai village – These unique bridges are crafted by training the aerial roots of rubber trees across streams, creating sturdy natural walkways. The Living Root Bridge in Riwai Village is a marvel of engineering and serves as a testament to the harmonious relationship between humans and nature.
  • Bamboo Sky Walk – This bamboo platform perched at a height offers panoramic views of the village, lush green landscapes, and neighboring Bangladesh. Walking along the Sky Walk provides a surreal experience, with the breathtaking vistas stretching as far as the eye can see.
  • The Balancing Rock – It is a fascinating geological wonder in Mawlynnong. A massive boulder precariously balanced on a smaller rock has become an intriguing natural landmark. Witnessing this extraordinary formation and contemplating its stability is a captivating experience.

7. Dawki

Located near the Bangladesh border, Dawki captivates travelers with its crystal clear river, panoramic vistas, and a range of exciting activities to indulge in. The main highlight of Dawki is Asia’s cleanest Umngot River, renowned for its astonishing clarity. 

The water of the river is so transparent that boats floating atop seem to be hovering in mid-air, creating surreal visuals. Due to this boat ride experience on the Umngot River, Dawki is listed as one of the Best Places to Visit in Meghalaya. Adventure enthusiasts flock to Dawki for its thrilling water sports activities. 

Kayaking and boating are popular choices, allowing visitors to navigate the pristine river and immerse themselves in the tranquility of the surroundings. The experience of gliding through crystal-clear waters amidst picturesque landscapes is truly unforgettable.

Nature lovers can also explore the nearby Shnongpdeng village, nestled on the banks of the Umngot River. The village offers stunning camping sites, allowing visitors to spend peaceful nights under the starry sky while being serenaded by the gentle flow of the river. Camping in Shnongpdeng is a remarkable experience, offering an escape from bustling city life and an opportunity to reconnect with nature.

Dawki is also a paradise for anglers, as the river is teeming with various species of fish. Fishing enthusiasts can indulge in angling activities, trying their luck to catch the elusive Mahseer fish, a prized catch in these waters.

Overall, Dawki presents a serene and picturesque destination, where the transparent waters of the Umngot River and the surrounding lush landscapes create a captivating setting. Whether it’s experiencing magical boat rides, indulging in adventurous water sports, camping under the starlit sky, or exploring nearby attractions, Dawki promises a memorable and rejuvenating experience for every traveler seeking tranquility and natural beauty.

8. Tura

Tura, a captivating town nestled amidst the Garo Hills in Meghalaya, offers a unique and offbeat tourist experience. With a blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and adventure opportunities, Tura is a unique and offbeat tourist place in Meghalaya

Here are a few awesome attractions in Tura which are also listed as the Best Places to see in Meghalaya – 

  • Nokrek National Park – As a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve this wildlife sanctuary is home to rare and endangered species, including the elusive Red Panda and the Hoolock Gibbon. Nature lovers can embark on thrilling jungle treks, and birdwatching expeditions, and explore the diverse flora and fauna within the park 
  • Siju Caves –  These sprawling limestone caves, adorned with stunning stalactite and stalagmite formations, offer a fascinating underground adventure. Exploring the intricate chambers and hearing stories of the caves’ historical and geological significance is a memorable experience.
  • Tura Peak –  The Tura Peak is located in the heart of the town and is famous for hosting the annual Wangala Festival, celebrated by the Garo community with vibrant dance performances, traditional music, and cultural displays. This festival offers a glimpse into the rich heritage and customs of the Garo people.
  • Pelga Falls – Cascading down rocky cliffs amidst lush greenery, the Pelga Falls is a serene spot for nature enthusiasts and a perfect place for picnics and relaxation.

9. Jowai

Jowai, a picturesque town located in the Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya, is a charming destination for tourists seeking a peaceful getaway. Known for its natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and vibrant festivals, Jowai presents a unique blend of experiences for travelers to immerse themselves in and thus is one of the best places to visit in Meghalaya

In Jowai, one can also savor the local cuisine, known for its unique flavors and use of organic ingredients. Trying traditional dishes such as Jadoh (rice and meat dish), Dohneiiong (pork cooked with black sesame), and Pukhlein (a sweet rice cake) is a delightful culinary experience.

Here is a list of the main attractions in Jowai that adds to the list of top Meghalaya tourist places

  • Krang Suri Falls – Nestled amidst lush green forests, this cascading waterfall creates a mesmerizing sight with its crystal-clear turquoise waters. Visitors can take a refreshing dip in the natural pool beneath the falls or simply relax while enjoying the breathtaking surroundings.
  • Thadlaskein Lake – Surrounded by rolling hills, this man-made lake is a perfect setting for boating and picnicking. The calm waters and scenic beauty make it a perfect place to unwind and enjoy nature’s tranquility.
  • Nartiang Monoliths – This Monoliths Park houses several monoliths, ancient stone structures that hold great cultural and historical significance for the local tribes. These monoliths serve as a testament to the region’s rich cultural heritage and are an intriguing sight for history enthusiasts.

10. Umiam Lake

Umiam Lake is a true gem of Meghalaya, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in its natural beauty, indulge in thrilling water sports, and experience a sense of serenity. Nestled in the pristine landscapes of Meghalaya, Umiam Lake is one of the top Meghalaya Tourist places with a serene ambiance and natural beauty. Also known as Barapani Lake, it is located just a short drive away from Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya.

Stretching across an area of approximately 220 square kilometers, Umiam Lake is not only a feast for the eyes but also a hub of recreational activities. Adventure enthusiasts can indulge in a variety of water sports, including kayaking, boating, and water skiing. The lake’s calm and peaceful waters make it an ideal spot for a leisurely boat ride, allowing visitors to soak in the natural beauty that surrounds them. Nature lovers can explore the lakeside trails and enjoy picnics in the lush green meadows that dot the area. The abundant flora and fauna in the surrounding hills provide a scenic backdrop for a peaceful day out in nature. For those seeking a respite from bustling city life, Umiam Lake offers an idyllic escape.

It is a place where nature flourishes, thus making it one of the best places to visit in Meghalaya.

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FAQ for Places to Visit in Meghalaya

1. What are the top tourist attractions in Meghalaya?

Meghalaya is like a mystical land, right of a painting where time stands still hidden under surrounding natural landscapes. The cascading waterfalls, enchanting forests, and mystical cave systems are some of the top places to visit in Meghalaya

The top tourist attractions include the colonial structures of Shillong, the natural wonders of Cherrapunji, boating on Asia’a cleanest river at Dawki, camping and hiking in the Garo, Khasi, and Jantia hills, safari in Nokrek National Park, and a lot more. 

With an abundance of serene experiences, Meghalaya truly is a place where ancient customs and stunning landscapes coexist in perfect harmony.

2. How many days should I plan for a trip to Meghalaya?

The duration of your trip to Meghalaya depends on the specific places you wish to visit and the activities you plan to engage in. However, to truly explore the beauty of Meghalaya and experience its diverse attractions, it is recommended to plan a trip of at least 5 to 7 days. 

During this time, you can cover the major tourist destinations like Shillong, Cherrapunji, Mawlynnong, and Dawki, along with other attractions such as Umiam Lake and Laitlum Canyon. This duration allows you to have a more relaxed itinerary, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the region and indulge in various activities. 

However, if you want to explore the natural wonders, interact with local tribes and indulge in adventure activities like trekking, hiking, caving, etc, you can extend as per your choice.

3. What is the best time to visit Meghalaya?

The best time to visit Meghalaya is during the dry season, which extends from October to May. This period offers pleasant weather, allowing travelers to explore the natural wonders of the region comfortably. Meghalaya receives heavy rainfall during the monsoon season, from June to September, which can result in road closures, landslides, and limited access to certain areas. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid visiting during this time.

October to November is considered the post-monsoon season when the landscapes are lush green, waterfalls are at their peak, and the weather is cool and pleasant. This period is ideal for enjoying scenic beauty, trekking, and exploring Meghalaya’s abundant natural attractions.

December to February is the winter season, characterized by chilly temperatures, especially in higher altitudes. However, the mist-covered hills and the serene ambiance create a unique charm, making it an excellent time for photography and experiencing the winter landscapes.

From March to May, Meghalaya experiences spring and summer. The weather is pleasant, and the landscapes are vibrant with blooming flowers. It is a great time for outdoor activities, including trekking, sightseeing, and visiting waterfalls.

4. Are permits required to visit Meghalaya?

Indian tourists do not require permits to visit Meghalaya. Indian citizens can freely travel to Meghalaya and explore the various tourist destinations within the state without the need for any specific permits.

For non-Indian tourists, a permit known as the Inner Line Permit (ILP) is required to visit certain restricted areas of Meghalaya. This permit is applicable to foreign nationals and citizens of other countries. The ILP allows tourists to visit areas such as Cherrapunji, Mawsynram, and areas along the international borders with Bangladesh.

The Inner Line Permit can be obtained from the Meghalaya House or the Meghalaya Tourism Office in major cities like Guwahati, and Shillong, or online through the Meghalaya Tourism website. It is recommended to check with the official tourism authorities or the Indian Embassy/Consulate in your country for the most up-to-date information on permit requirements and the application process.

Please note that permit requirements can change over time, and it is essential to stay updated with the latest regulations and guidelines before planning your visit to Meghalaya. It is always advisable to consult with the relevant authorities or seek assistance from authorized travel agencies to ensure a smooth and hassle-free travel experience.

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