Lyngksiar Falls Meghalaya

4 Days Trekking in Meghalaya by YHAI (2024)

My intrigue for North East India has been a constant companion, and among the captivating destinations, Meghalaya held a special allure. The prospect of a 4-day trekking expedition in this enchanting region instantly caught my attention, prompting me to seize the opportunity. The chance to intertwine two of my cherished passions—trekking and travel—made the decision to embark on this adventure an exhilarating leap into the unknown.

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4 Days Trekking in Meghalaya

Several years back, I embarked on a journey to explore the wonders of Meghalaya. This entailed a 4-day trek that led me through various caves and waterfalls scattered across the state. While the overall trek in Meghalaya posed no significant challenge for me, the third day proved a bit strenuous due to the many steps we had to descend and ascend. The trek was smooth from that particular day, and I encountered no significant difficulties. Nevertheless, I highly recommend possessing some prior trekking experience, especially for beginners considering this expedition.

Trekking Agency

The Youth Hostels Association of India (YHAI) organised the trekking expedition, commencing from YHAI Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya. The total cost of the trek was INR 7100 per person, covering entrance fees, guide fees, transportation, and meals.

It’s worth noting that a YHAI membership was compulsory for participation, and I acquired it for approximately INR 300, valid for two years, upon reporting in Shillong.

On the eve of our reporting day in Shillong, we were assigned a spacious female dormitory at YHAI Shillong. However, the stay was less than ideal due to subpar restroom facilities. I recommend staying in one of Shillong’s better hotels the previous night and joining the trek the following morning. Ensure you report the day before so the staff knows about your arrival.

This marked my second trek with YHAI, and I find joy in choosing them for several reasons:

  • Their trekking charges are incredibly reasonable.
  • The meals provided during the treks are both fresh and delectable.
  • The guides exhibit profound knowledge and professionalism.
  • The trek offers an opportunity to connect with remarkable individuals, some of whom may become lifelong friends.
YHAI Shillong

Throughout the trek, the trekking agency had arranged a bus with a driver, a guide, and an assisting hand for the guide. Regrettably, the bus proved to be quite uncomfortable, featuring movable seats and several broken windows. Additionally, the number of participants exceeded the available seats, creating a less-than-ideal situation. However, our guide, Lucky, shone through the challenges. Undoubtedly, he stands out as one of the best guides I’ve encountered in my trekking experiences across India.

A notable trait among Indians is our tendency to adapt to whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. Consequently, despite the bus-related inconveniences, none of us voiced complaints, and we all accepted the situation without reservations, making the most of what the trekking agency provided.

Important Information – Things to Know Before Going on Trekking in Meghalaya

  • Heed the advice of your guides within the caves, as navigating some of them can be particularly challenging.
  • If you suffer from claustrophobia, seek guidance before venturing into the caves.
  • Always carry torches when exploring the caves to ensure proper visibility.
  • Equip yourself with sturdy and comfortable trekking shoes for the journey.
  • Throughout the trek, be prepared to sleep on the floor in sleeping bags each night.
  • Anticipate a lack of shower facilities during the entirety of the trek.
  • Maintain environmental responsibility by not littering. Carry your garbage with you or dispose of it in designated bins.
  • Be aware that all accommodations are shared, including shared toilet facilities.

4 Days Trekking in Meghalaya Itinerary

Day 1 – Cave Exploration

Were you aware that Meghalaya boasts over 1500 caves, with only 950 of them having been explored to date? During the initial day of our trek, we had the privilege of visiting two of these caves, affording us the opportunity to witness the mesmerizing formations of stalagmites and stalactites within.

Krem Puri at Mawsynram

Situated approximately 90 kilometers from Shillong in Mawsynram, Krem Puri holds the distinction of being the world’s longest sandstone cave, spanning an impressive 24 kilometers. Exploring this captivating cave was a delightful adventure, involving crawling and jumping as we ventured a considerable distance before retracing our steps.

  • For those interested in visiting, the cave welcomes exploration between 9 AM and 4:30 PM, offering ample time for an immersive experience.
  • Notably, there is no entrance fee to explore the cave, making it an accessible and enriching excursion.

It’s worth mentioning that Mawsynram, where Krem Puri is located, holds the title of being the wettest place in the world.

Krem puri at Meghalaya

Krem Mawjymbuin Cave

Located in the Khasi Hills district, the Krem Mawjymbuin Cave, also recognized as Mawjymbuin cave, holds religious importance due to its one-meter-tall stalagmite resembling Shiva Linga. This cave, standing at a towering height of 209 meters, is situated in the wettest place on Earth.

  • For optimal exploration, the recommended visiting hours are during the day, from 9 AM to 5 PM, ensuring ample daylight to appreciate the cave’s unique features.
  • While my memory doesn’t recall any entrance fee, it’s noteworthy that there is reportedly a nominal fee of INR 10 per person for those wishing to visit this remarkable cave.
Kremmawjymbuin caves in Meghalaya

Stay at Laitryngew

During our time in Laitryngew, our accommodation was arranged in a local school. Despite the chilly night, the stay proved comfortable, although the school room windows lacked insulation. The shared toilets, however, were well-maintained and in good condition.

Day 2 – Laitryngew to Sohra

On the second day, we embarked on a 15.4-kilometer trek from Laitryngew to Sohra, exploring three waterfalls, including the magnificent three-layered falls. While the waterfalls were undoubtedly picturesque, what truly captivated me was the terrain of the trek. The expansive grasslands and the path brought back memories of Mount Kosciuszko in Australia. I would classify this trek as relatively easy, except for the final stretch near the waterfalls, where we navigated a slippery and steep path. Nevertheless, the entire trek proved to be incredibly rewarding.

4 Days Trekking in Meghalaya by YHAI (2024)

Lyngksiar Falls

Among the three waterfalls we encountered on our trek on day 2, Lyngksiar Falls in Cherrapunjee stood out as my absolute favorite. Nestled in the beauty of Cherrapunjee, Lyngksiar Falls is truly breathtaking, possibly named after the rare orchid, Tiew Lyngksiar.

Despite the reduced water flow due to the winter season, the place retained its mesmerizing charm.

  • The round-trip trek to the falls covers approximately 2 kilometres.
  • For an optimal experience, visiting the waterfalls during daylight when sunlight enhances the scenic beauty is advisable.
  • Notably, there is no entrance fee to enjoy the splendour of Lyngksiar Falls.
4 days trekking in Meghalaya

Dainthlen Waterfalls

Dainthlen Waterfalls, an impressive 80-meter cascade, graces the landscape of Cheerapunji. Local lore narrates the defeat of a giant serpent by the residents, and the ambiance created by the waterfalls’ sounds and the surrounding open space is said to commemorate this epic battle.

  • This captivating waterfall is accessible throughout the day, offering visitors ample time to appreciate its beauty.
  • Notably, there is no entrance fee, and small shops nearby provide options to purchase juices and noodles for added convenience.
  • Exercise caution and refrain from approaching the edges of the waterfall for your safety.
Dainthlen waterfalls Meghalaya

Weisawdong Waterfalls

Referred to as the Three-Layered Waterfalls, Wei Sawdong Waterfalls stands as a picturesque gem among Meghalaya’s finest. The trek to reach these falls is steep, demanding a good level of fitness, and involves navigating wooden ladders and stairs to descend to the waterfalls.

  • The waterfalls are accessible from 8 AM to 5 PM, allowing visitors to bask in their beauty during daylight hours.
  • Please note that there is an entrance fee of INR 30 per person for admittance.
  • While enjoying this natural wonder, it’s important to be cautious of eve teasers and locals, especially for solo female travelers, as there may be instances of harassment. Stay vigilant and prioritize your safety during the visit.
Three layered waterfalls Meghalaya

Stay at Sohra

Sohra is synonymous with Cherrapunji. During our time in Sohra, our lodging was arranged at a spacious local school near a church.

The substantial accommodation provided ample open space, contributing to an extremely cold night. In fact, I believe this was our coldest night throughout the trek.

Stay at Sohra Meghalaya

Day 3 – Sohra to Tyrna

Day 3 presented the most challenging leg of our journey. We commenced our trek from Nohkalikai Waterfalls in Sohra, heading towards Tyrna, with highlights including Rainbow Waterfalls (a focal point of the day) and the Double Decker Living Bridge. Covering a total distance of 16.4 kilometers, the trail involved descending 6500 steps, a demanding return walk to Rainbow Falls, a visit to the Double Decker Living Root Bridge, and ascending 3500 steps to reach Tyrna.

The noteworthy aspect of the 6500 steps was their unconventional nature – not the typical concrete steps but a combination of tree roots, boulders, and slippery pathways. Navigating such terrain is relatively easier during ascent, but the descent proves challenging, placing considerable strain on the knees and instigating a fear of potential falls.

The preceding day in Sohra, we received a detailed briefing about the Day 3 trek. Attempting to prepare us, some experienced trekkers humorously tried to convey the trail’s complexity, sketching out maps with their creative skills. The result was a lighthearted and amusing collection of artistic interpretations of the trek’s path.

Nohkalikai Waterfalls

As an integral part of our trek, we opted not to descend to the waterfalls directly. Instead, we commenced our day by admiring the falls from the viewpoint. Standing tall at 340 meters, this waterfall holds the distinction of being the tallest in India. For those inclined to trek down to the waterfalls, the round trip takes approximately 2 to 3 hours.

  • Visitors can explore the waterfalls between 9 AM and 5 PM, ensuring ample time to appreciate its grandeur.
  • Please note that there is an entrance fee of INR 20 per person for access to the waterfall and its surroundings.
Nohkalikai waterfalls Meghalaya

Rainbow Waterfalls

Among the most beautiful waterfalls I encountered in Meghalaya, the Rainbow Waterfalls left an indelible impression. The water, with its vivid blue and crystal-clear clarity, cascades down the rocks, creating a mesmerizing rainbow effect. The spectacle is truly stunning and well worth a visit. The trek to reach Rainbow Waterfalls is challenging, spanning approximately 2 to 3 hours.

  • Visitors can explore the waterfall between 7 AM and 7 PM, allowing ample time to soak in its beauty.
  • A nominal entrance fee of INR 20 per person is applicable for access to this enchanting natural wonder.
Rainbow waterfalls Meghalaya

Double Decker Living Bridge

The Double Decker Bridge, a universally recognized icon, stands as the most sought-after tourist spot in Cherrapunjee. It exemplifies the remarkable adaptation of locals to nature, showcasing their ability to work harmoniously with the environment. While living root bridges are a common sight in Meghalaya, my personal favorite remains the Double Decker Bridge.

Constructed entirely from tree roots, these handcrafted bridges are skillfully built by the Khasi people of South Meghalaya, primarily utilizing Ficus elastica trees. Impressively, these bridges boast a lifespan of up to 150 years.

  • While the bridge remains accessible 24 hours a day, it is advisable to visit during daylight hours to appreciate its intricacies fully.
  • For entry, a nominal fee of INR 20 per person is required to experience this marvel of natural engineering.
4 Days Trekking in Meghalaya by YHAI (2024)
Alternate Way to Get to Double Decker Living Bridge

The most convenient route to reach the Double Decker Living Bridge is by traveling to the Tyrna village via car or bus. From Tyrna, a descent of 3500 steps leads to the bridge, and subsequently, climbing back up the same 3500 steps completes the journey, totaling approximately 7000 steps. It’s essential to note that this trek is physically demanding.

Opting for the more challenging path, I descended the 6500 steps from Nohkalikai Waterfalls and ascended the 3500 steps to reach Tyrna village. Remarkably, even after a strenuous day of trekking, I willingly took on the challenge of returning to the Double Decker Living Bridge (an additional 3500 steps down and up) motivated by the prospect of acquiring a new iPhone.

Also, Read Shnongpdeng, a Paradise in Meghalaya

On a more serious note, I found immense joy in realizing my newfound physical strength and the readiness of my body to undertake such demanding activities. Reflecting on the person I used to be—reluctant to walk, averse to fitness, and inclined towards laziness—this transformation into someone who can thoroughly enjoy trekking represents a significant personal achievement for me.

Stay at Tyrna

Upon reaching Tyrna village, separate accommodations were provided for ladies and gentlemen. The ladies’ lodging at B R Syiemlieh Homestay proved to be excellent. Housed in a two-story building, it featured multiple rooms with commendable toilet facilities. On the other hand, the guys stayed at Sacred Heart School, where the accommodation was reported to be less satisfactory, and the night turned out to be chilly.

A notable aspect of Tyrna is its abundance of homestays, providing the option to rent one for an additional cost. This allows visitors to experience the warmth of local hospitality and further enhances the stay in this picturesque village.

4 Days Trekking in Meghalaya by YHAI (2024)

Day 4 – Cave Exploration

The final day was dedicated once again to exploring the enchanting limestone caves. These captivating underground formations proved to be absolutely beautiful and added an adventurous touch to our overall experience.

Mawsmai Caves

Exploring the Mawsmai Caves was an exhilarating experience, filled with moments of crawling through narrow passages to reach the other side. Carved out of limestone, these caves boast considerable length, yet only a 150-meter section is accessible to visitors.

  • For those eager to embark on this underground adventure, the Mawsmai Caves welcome visitors between 9 AM and 5 PM.
  • An entrance fee of INR 20 per person is applicable for entry into this natural wonder.
Mawsmai caves Meghalaya

Arwah Cave

Exploring the Arwah Cave provided a glimpse into one of the oldest cave systems. The intricate labyrinth within houses numerous fossils of fishes and crustaceans, dating back an astonishing 56 million years.

  • For those intrigued by this ancient geological marvel, the Arwah Caves welcome visitors between 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM.
  • To access this fascinating journey through time, an entrance fee of INR 20 per person is required.
Arwah caves Meghalaya

How to Get to Shillong?

By Air

Shillong Airport, situated approximately 35 kilometers from the city, offers limited flights primarily operated by Air India, connecting to Kolkata and Jorhat.

For more convenient travel, the recommended approach is to fly to Guwahati in Assam and then hire a taxi to reach Shillong. Taxi fares for this one-way journey typically range between INR 1500 to INR 2500. Guwahati serves as a well-connected hub with frequent flights from major cities, facilitating easier access to Shillong.

By Bus

Shillong is accessible by bus from Guwahati, with Assam State Transport Corporation operating regular and economical bus services. Opting for this mode of transportation proves to be the most budget-friendly way to reach Shillong, and the journey typically takes only 2 hours and 45 minutes.

By Road

Covering a distance of approximately 100 kilometers, the road journey between Guwahati and Shillong is relatively short, with an estimated travel time of just 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Is Meghalaya Safe for Solo Female Travellers and Trekkers?

Meghalaya appeared to be quite safe in my experience. Nevertheless, I strongly recommend undertaking treks in the region with a reputable trekking agency. The remote locations often necessitate the expertise of local guides for navigation and safety. Additionally, despite being with a group, I encountered a bit of harassment at one waterfall. Therefore, having a trekking agency can provide an added layer of security and assistance in such situations.

4 Days Trekking in Meghalaya by YHAI (2024)

Closing Notes

Meghalaya surpassed all expectations, offering a truly stupendous experience. The allure of this destination beckons me to return and extend my stay for a more immersive experience. Undoubtedly, Meghalaya deserves a prominent spot on every traveler’s bucket list when exploring the diverse landscapes of India.

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4 Days Trekking in Meghalaya by YHAI (2024)
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    PIN for later reference – Trekking in Meghalaya

    PIN for later reference - 4 days trekking in Meghalaya
    PIN for later reference – 4 days trekking in Meghalaya