Wednesday, April 12, 2023

The foodie trails to Meghalaya


We travelled to Shillong on 20 Feb 2023 to 26 Feb 2023 , but in reality we had been planning this trip from December 2021 .

After 2 years of Covid, we had finally decided that the entire extended family, including all cousins, aunts , uncles would travel to Shillong, Meghalaya and Kaziranga on Feb 2022. But as life would have it, another wave of Omicron came crashing into us on January 2022, with everyone getting ill, we feared another lockdown and cancelled our tickets. That year, Shreysht had a lesson called ‘trip to Shillong ‘ in his second standard text book, and all of 2022, I kept thinking of the missed trip to Shillong, even though we travelled to Dehradun, Mussourie, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Benaras, Pune, Imagicaa, Spain in 2022.

So exactly a year later, same travel dates,in 2023, we three of us, planned a small family trip to Shillong. It felt like meeting a friend. A friend who we had planned to meet, many times, but plans never go through, and then we meet many other people, but the friend is always at the back of our mind, and then finally one day – we meet the friend.

Here is the travel itinerary of Meghalaya 

20 Feb -Reach Guwahati at noon, have lunch and drive to Cherapunjee ( 5 hour journey) . Stop at Umiam lake on the route for a boat ride.

21 Feb- Do a 7 hour trek to the double decker root bridge, blue lagoon, and rainbow waterfalls in Cherapunjee. Stay over night in Cherapunjee.

22 Feb- checkout from Cherapunjee, do a day trip to Mawsmai caves, Arwah Caves, Wei Sawdong waterfalls, and then drive to Shillong.

23 Feb- travel to visit Dawki river, visit cleanest village Mawlynnong , single root bridge in Riwai. Drive back to Shillong.

24 Feb- Shillong city tour, we visited Lady hydari zoo and park, Ward lake, Don Bosco Museum, Cathedral of Mary help of Christians.

25 Feb- Shillong peak, elephant waterfalls, sacred forest, Laitlum view point . back to Shillong.

26 Feb – drive from Shillong to Guwahati, some shopping at market, caught afternoon flight back.

Things that I would change:

We should have stayed overnight in Cherapunjee on 22 , and gone to Dawki from cherapunjee itself, it is closer, rather than travel from Shillong. We should have not over extended ourselves to visit Laitlum on the last day, it was a very long journey since we got a lot of traffic on the way back. The re3ason why we did cherapunjee before Shillong was because we did not want an overnight stay in Guwahati, but if you want to stay in Guwahati you can do the other way around, Shillong first, then cherapunjee, then stay in Guwahati. We could have easily avoided the 25 Feb itinerary, and maybe tried to get Kaziranga in.

Things we loved the most :

The day trip in Cherapunjee when we saw the caves. They are the most magnificent caves in India. Truly proper caves, with so many inroads and walking , it was amazing, plus the wei sawdong waterfall that day was fabulous.. The day trip to Shillong day when we went to ward lake and zoo, it was a much needed respite from continuously on the road, a very restful fun day, even the don bosco museum was intresting. The 7 hour trek to Rainbow falls, it was a trek of a lifetime. I really enjoyed the sacred forest aswell, reminded me of the movie Kantara.

A few notes on doing the 7 hour trek :

Definitely attempt it if you are physically able.It takes 1 hour to climb down to the double decker bridge, you can see that, and return too, return will take you 2 hours of steep climb. It takes 45minutes from the root bridge to the blue lagoon, and another 45 minutes to the rainbow falls. Both are stunning. Pace yourself. Leave early at 8 am for the trek. You don’t necessarily need a guide, it’s a straight route. You can stay in local homes at the rainbow falls, or at root bridge overnight, if you feel unable to climb back. If you can’t then the best option is the single root bridge in riwai, near mawlynnong, beautiful and accessible.

A few notes on cafes of Shillong :

We went to them all, as a foodie it was on my bucket list.

-        Café Shillong : try the thukpa, the chilly pork , the burgers.The best Thukpa I have had anywhere, everything from the noodles to the broth. They have live music on some nights. It is a really small place for such a popular destination.

-        Café Dylan : such a cool place, amazing décor, and the burgers and fried chicken and the chilli hot chocolate are great. There is a all in one chocolate dessert with 4 desserts if you have compny for that, try it. Everything from the ceiling made of painted canvases, to the walls made of a dancefloor tiles, everything is art and history here.

-        Café ML 05: This is also owned by the same company that owns café Dylan, and this one is a bike and car themed café. The food is a little more finger food, like maggi and momos, highway bike crowd. But a very cool seating cum lounge area, especially for people traveling on the highway to Shillong and cherapunjee. The chilli hot chocolate, the pizza, and the barbeque pork were our favourites.

-        Dejavu: This Chinese Asian food restaurant is the most popular restaurant in all of Shillong, we had to make it here on day 1 in Shillong, and we were not disappointed, there was live music, there was good fried rice, and fried chicken. But all the pork dishes unfortunately were disappointing. We had seen rave reviews of the pork dishes, but all of them were too fatty.

Our stays

We stayed in San Naela in Cherapunjee, basic enough, the food was not so great, we preferred having Maggi honestly, the breakfasts were nice. The only great point is that they have a play area and park so its great for kids. Other wise nothing great. Our Shillong hotel was terrible, another sad recommendation by MMT, this was the second time Make my trip let us down in hotel bookings after Spain. I need to learn from my mistakes ! Shillong has so many really nice, centrally located places, choose something near ward lake, or near


Travel :

We had a driver and car that picked us up at Guwahati airport, and after 7 days dropped us at the airport, that was extremely convenient. Travel was not an issue, considering we had so much time on the road. Booking a car for the entire trip was a good suggestion by MMT. There are ways to book this at the Guwahati airport itself, but here is our drivers number aswell, Jitumoni Das +918486719017 , +918402909254 .

Travel to Meghalaya in February:

The best time to travel is undoubtedly November, since it has just finished raining, the waterfalls are full, it’s not raining, and thee cherry blossoms are in bloom. The advantages of February is lesser crowds, clearer waters, we had rainfall on 2 days which was great because then there was a little water in the waterfalls, and the trees looked verdant green, but because of the rainfall the river Dawki was not as clear. Don’t travel from Mid March to October, apparently , because it rains a lot, and many places are either covered in clouds so you can’t see the view points or are too wet and slippery to trek in.

Hope this post helps you plan your own trip to Shillong , Meghalaya . do follow my instagraam hashtag #thefoodietrailstomeghalaya for more reels and posts.