One week itinerary for Meghalaya-Assam - need to finalise after LOT of research

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#1 Jun 13th, 2017, 19:48
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  • rajarams is offline
#1
Hi all, I am working on a self-drive trip to Assam-Meghalaya in last week of Dec. Takking rental car from Guwahati. Read almost all the threads in Meg-Assam With lot of information comes lot of queries. Looking forward to suggestions from seasoned travellers.
- Landing in Guw Dec 23 lunch time. Return flight from Guw Jan 2. Self drive from Guw.
- Travelling with friends/families (with kids) - maybe 3-4 cars.
- We have done many road trips together (himachal, guj, etc) and hence are ok with relatively long drives e.g. around 6 hrs.
- We like offbeat places - scenery, history, remoteness..

Tentative itinerary (with questions)
  • d23 - Land in Guw. Drive to Kaziranga o/n Kaziranga
  • d24 - Elephant/Jeep Safari. Drive back to Guw o/n Guw
  • d25 - Drive to Mawphlang. on the way -> Elephant Falls, Sacred Grove o/n Mawphlang (Maple Pine Farm)
  • d26 - Drive to Mawlyngbna. Animal footprints, pitcher plants o/n Traveller's nest, Mawlyngbna
  • d27 -Drive to Sohra. On the way Arwah Cave, Laitmawsiang Garden of caves. o/n CHR
  • d28 - Mawsmai Caves, Eco Park, NohKaLikai o/n CHR
  • d29 - Trek to Double root bridge - full day o/n CHR
  • d30 - CHR to Mawlynnong (visit), Dawki, Shnongpdeng o/n Shnongpdeng
  • d31 - Shnongpdeng to Shillong thru Jowai (thru laitlum grand canyon)o/n shillong
  • j1 - Shillong to Guw o/n Guw
  • j2 - Fly out of Guw

Questions
q1: Kaziranga: Which is the best zone for rhinos, elephants and possible tigers? Planning for early morning elephant safari and then jeep safari? Do both have to be on different zones ? Any recommendations for stay in Kaziranga?
q2: Any other place to see between guwahati and kaziranga?
q3: Mawphlang. See mixed reviews abt the sacred grove. Is it good enough (in dec) to have a stop there ? Also, Maple pine farms is a good stay option considering kids, food choices (veg)?
q4: Mawlyngbna. Saw many recommending a visit/stop here. is the Traveller's nest good stay option? Other than the cliff with animal foot prints, what can be done here/can be seen here?
q5: Would CHR be the best option (we like homestays) for Sohra or are Kutmadan or Saimika worthy alternatives? Preference for scenic location, helpful caretakers (with kids, so many have extra requests). This will be my halt for 3 nights, so imp to choose the right one.
q6: From Mawlyngbna to CHR, what can be see enroute? Would Laitmawsiang garden be good to see in Dec?
q7: Is rainbow falls a separate trek? I read that it is an extn to double root trek. Double root trek itself being so long, it would be difficult to extend further. Any other way of getting to rainbow falls?
q8: Any other scenic (e.g. next to river, cliif) short trail around this area - 1 to 2 hrs walk?
q9: Read everywhere that Dawki is over commericalised. Should i still visit or give it a miss? Is Shnongpdeng the same experience as Dawki i.e. the transparent water? Any homestays in Shnongpdeng ? The pioneer adventure guys seem to be a bit expensive.
q10: From Shnongpdeng to Shillong, i was planning for the jowai route (just a diff route). What are the worthy stopovers on this route?
q11: Any sector you think would be too tiring i.e. not enough time to visit enroute places e.g. i am doubtful about CHR to Shnongpdeng via Mawlynnong. I do plan to see the riwai root bridge, nohwet view pt.
q12: Anny other offbeat places you think i SHOULD include? How abt Mawkyrnot, Siej? Any other dramatic root bridge?
q13: Any alternative itinerary suggestions to make best use of the time?
q14: Suggestions for stay in Guwahati and Shillong?

THANKS A LOT IN ADVANCE for your answers.
Btw, i registered on indiamike long ago, but happened to chance upon the pages last week while researching for this trip. Should have come here more often for my trips to guj, him etc. Will be watching those pages to help with info as much as i can. I am from Pune and travel a LOT during the monsoon. So drop me a line for anything in Maharashtra :-)
#2 Jun 18th, 2017, 11:46
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#2
The last flight reaching (from the friends coming in from Pune/Bangalore & Chennai) is around 1 pm at Guwahati.
I know that i asked too many questions. if you can help with whatever u can, i will be grateful :-)

Moderator Note:

Refrain from using SMS speak. Use 'you' instead of 'u'. Thank you.
#3 Jun 18th, 2017, 22:30
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Hi rajarams,

Please go through some of the trip reports to give you some idea.I am sure it will help to come up with more queries.
#4 Jun 19th, 2017, 00:09
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#4
Moderator, point taken. I will ensure that i write properly.

Karikor, Firstly thanks for replying.
Regarding "I am sure it will help to come up with more queries", i can understand the sarcasm, but please let me explain.
Rather than a typical post "I am travelling to North East, please guide me", which in my opinion, is more like "I don't have time. Since you guys reply on the forums, i expect you to plan everything for me". I am not that kind of a person.
We started working on the North East trip about a couple of months back. I do a LOT of research on all my trips. I read tons of blog posts and came upon this thread around 10 days back. I spent almost 3-4 days reading practically every post on the Meghalaya thread. I have few guys from North East on my team and i can have a decent discussion with them on places in Meghalaya (albeit a struggle with the pronunciations!) The trip reports gave me a good summary of all the data i had collected from other blogs. My whole plan changed a lot after reading many report including yours on Mawlyngbna. I did read about the other place with the water pools also, but skipped it considering that it was much to the west of the area i was concentrating on.
Yes, reading more (which i am still doing ) will give rise to more queries, but as of now if i get clarity on the above points, i would consider my itinerary close to completion.
thanks.
#5 Jun 19th, 2017, 00:39
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#5
q1: Kaziranga: Which is the best zone for rhinos, elephants and possible tigers? Planning for early morning elephant safari and then jeep safari? Do both have to be on different zones ? Any recommendations for stay in Kaziranga?
q2: Any other place to see between guwahati and kaziranga?
Pobitora. Highest density of rhinos.

q3: Mawphlang. See mixed reviews abt the sacred grove. Is it good enough (in dec) to have a stop there ? Also, Maple pine farms is a good stay option considering kids, food choices (veg)?
The sacred groves are good throughout the year. Good to stop for an hour to have some knowledge about local traditions and practices. Not many food options in MaplePine, but they should be able to serve you veg items as well.

q4: Mawlyngbna. Saw many recommending a visit/stop here. is the Traveller's nest good stay option? Other than the cliff with animal foot prints, what can be done here/can be seen here?
Its a really nice place but till date they have only 2 cottages plus tents.
Things to see in Mawlyngbna:
Marine sea urchin fossils
Krempomskei cave
Umdingkain Falls
Animal footprints
Pitcher plant park
Rafting at Umkhakoi lake
Split rock
Mih um Artesian well
2/3 other spots in adjoining Lawbah village


q5: Would CHR be the best option (we like homestays) for Sohra or are Kutmadan or Saimika worthy alternatives? Preference for scenic location, helpful caretakers (with kids, so many have extra requests). This will be my halt for 3 nights, so imp to choose the right one.
CHR is good to stay at the night before doing the double decker. Other days it will be pointless as it is too far from other sightseeing spots.


q6: From Mawlyngbna to CHR, what can be see enroute? Would Laitmawsiang garden be good to see in Dec?
CHR is not in Sohra, it is in Laitkynsew which is 15km after Sohra closer to the border village of Shella. So 50% of Sohra sightseeing can be covered enroute to CHR.

Garden of Caves is a nice place to visit, inspite of the fact that there will be less water in the falls in Dec.


q7: Is rainbow falls a separate trek? I read that it is an extn to double root trek. Double root trek itself being so long, it would be difficult to extend further. Any other way of getting to rainbow falls?
If you are not staying in Nongriat, then it is almost difficult to cover rainbow falls on the same day.


q8: Any other scenic (e.g. next to river, cliif) short trail around this area - 1 to 2 hrs walk?
You can proceed 30mins ahead of the double decker to the next iron suspension bridge. Upstream of it, you have natural private swimming pools hidden behind huge boulders in the river.


q9: Read everywhere that Dawki is over commericalised. Should i still visit or give it a miss? Is Shnongpdeng the same experience as Dawki i.e. the transparent water? Any homestays in Shnongpdeng ? The pioneer adventure guys seem to be a bit expensive.
You can google shnongpdeng escapade.

q10: From Shnongpdeng to Shillong, i was planning for the jowai route (just a diff route). What are the worthy stopovers on this route?
Darrang village, Krangsuri falls, Syndai Cave, Rupasor Bathing ghat, Thlumuwi bridge and falls, Syntu Ksiar, Ialong park, Tyrshi falls, Thadlaskein lake, Nartiang, Laitlum, Lum Rapleng, Lwai falls, Sweet falls, Ever living museum.


q11: Any sector you think would be too tiring i.e. not enough time to visit enroute places e.g. i am doubtful about CHR to Shnongpdeng via Mawlynnong. I do plan to see the riwai root bridge, nohwet view pt.
Don't forget the Niriang falls, Byrdaw falls and Borhill falls,

q12: Anny other offbeat places you think i SHOULD include? How abt Mawkyrnot, Siej? Any other dramatic root bridge?
I seriously doubt you will have enough time to add anything else. Also instead of Mawsmai cave, I recommend, Mawmluh cave.


q13: Any alternative itinerary suggestions to make best use of the time?



q14: Suggestions for stay in Guwahati and Shillong?
What is your budget for stay?


Also I would suggest d27 you stay at Kutmadan & d29 stay at Cafe Cherrapunjee. CHR is good only for d28.
#6 Jun 19th, 2017, 11:53
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#6
thanks a lot Karikor. Now my research on the new places you have mentioned will start
- The point about stay makes sense, will check the other two places for d27 and d29.
- Budget for stay is ok until 3 K incl breakfast. Since, we will be travelling with kids, cleanliness of the place is the priority.
- Mawlyngbna. As of now, we are 3 families with possibility of growing to 5. So, i will start checking other options in Mawlyngbna too for the stay.
- Will skip Rainbow falls as i don't think it will be practical to stay at Nongriat with all the kids and stuff.


thanks again.
#7 Jun 19th, 2017, 15:16
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#7
You can Google The Habitat in Laitumkhrah
#8 Jun 19th, 2017, 19:08
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#8
thanks Karikor. i checked and the cheapest room comes to 4900 incl taxes and extra charges for extra bed. On the higher side :-(
But i did notice that it was the number one ranked, thanks for that.
I am currently checking the ones from number 2 onwards.
#9 Jun 20th, 2017, 00:43
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#9
I suggest you look for places located in Lachumiere, Dhankheti and Laitumkhrah areas.
#10 Jul 27th, 2017, 19:24
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#10
Have couple of issues in the planning:
- Maplepines is closed on 24/25. Also, they have only 2 rooms with attached bath/toilet. We are 3 families and strict instruction from the better halves for attached bath/toilet considering all of us are with kids. So, is there an alternative place of stay to cover the sacred grove and the heritage village?
- The TN at Mawlyngbna is also closed on 25. So technically, that section has to be covered on a later date (working on a revised planning). Also, TN has only 2 cottages, it seems. I spoke to the person but i couldn't manage much of a conversation. he told me that there were 2 rooms in each cottage, but i couldnt understand whether there was just one bath in each cottage for all the people staying there. Does anyone know this?

Basically, for this sector, even if i change my dates to do after christmas, are there any other places of stay which can accommodate 3 families?
thanks in advance.
#11 Jul 27th, 2017, 19:49
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#11
Most of these new places have begun with small investments as there are still not enough visitors staying. The TN in Mawlyngbna has only 1 bathroom and dressing room per cottage.

We may have to replan .
#12 Jul 27th, 2017, 22:29
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#12
thanks karikor.
Any advice on what else can be the base for these two areas if not the ones above. I don't want to miss out on the se offbeat locations for want of acco there.
Would Cafe Cherapunjee (judging by the extra 1.5 hrs travel) be a good base?
If i don't stay at these places, would it be possible to get guides for the locations there e.g. for the sacred forest or for the fossil walk?
thanks again.
#13 Jul 27th, 2017, 23:45
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#13
Cafe Cherrapunjee would be a good base if you plan to cover Sohra and then return back to proceed to Mawlynnong the next day.

The next best place for covering Mawphlang, Mawlyngbna and other parts of West Khasi Hills would be Upper Shillong area which is in the subburbs.

Since entering Shillong city will only lead to endless traffic jams.


Guides will be available irrespective of adding accommodation or not.
#14 Jul 28th, 2017, 19:13
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#14
Quote:
Originally Posted by karikor View Post would be Upper Shillong area which is in the subburbs.
Since entering Shillong city will only lead to endless traffic jams.
Before i move south, i have to reach Shillong from kaziranga - a long drive. Considering your point, it may make sense to reach Upper Shillong rather than entering the main city late evening. If i have to search for hotels (if you have a recommendation, great ), what is the area i have to look in?

I will consider Cafe Cherapunjee itself as the base for the west side sight seeing.

thanks again.
#15 Jul 28th, 2017, 19:44
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  • abhinandab is offline
#15

One week itinerary for Meghalaya-Assam - need to finalise after LOT of research

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajarams View Post thanks karikor.
Any advice on what else can be the base for these two areas if not the ones above. I don't want to miss out on the se offbeat locations for want of acco there.
Would Cafe Cherapunjee (judging by the extra 1.5 hrs travel) be a good base?
If i don't stay at these places, would it be possible to get guides for the locations there e.g. for the sacred forest or for the fossil walk?
thanks again.
Cafe cherrapunjee is a beautiful property.ideally located.great rooms.stayed there twice.would recommend anyday over shillong
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