Today: 294km | Total: 980km
What a day! In almost 300km on the bike with sun, hills, on & iff road, complete fog and at night … I explored the south of Meghalaya with its waterfalls, the Bangladesh border, Asia’s cleanest village and living root bridges in Cherrapunjee forest. By doing the latter i scored myself an unexpectedly hard hike at the end of the day. Totally exhausted (and happy). Time for 🍕 and a 🍻!
Gallery of snaps between the main stops today
Elephant 🐘 falls
Made up of three separate segments, these falls are only 30min ride away from Shillong. There name, given by the english, stems from an elephant looking rock that used to exist yet has been destroyed by an earthquake years ago.
Dawki – Touching Bangladesh
Boasting some impressive nature and a suspension bridge, this place is located where the plains of Bangladesh begin.
Usually it is marketed for its clear waters and many tourists opt for a boat ride. Must have been the rain, because when i was there the water was completely muddy. Still, impressive scenery.
Amazing are also the long queues of trucks loaded with rocks that are waiting to cross the border to Bangladesh (given this country has no hills, stone must me a priced commodity).
Mawlynnong – Asia’s cleanest village
Yes, you are reading right. Mawlynnong was voted Asia’s cleanest village in 2003 and has retained its cleanliness til today. Wandering about this feels amazing, people are lovely and indeed all is clean and houses, gardens and streets tidy.
In the village you have a bamboo structure called sky view that offers views over the plains of Bangladesh (well, if it isn’t too hazy). I asked the owner why this village is so clean and he told me that all changed with the arrival of Christian missionaries in 1887.
Now it’s not up to me to judge if religion is the key, but so much is fact – the difference between mainly Christian Meghalaya and say Assam (mainly Hindu/Muslim) are stark.
Seven sister falls – come back in rain season?
Impressive rock wall, but hardly a waterfall to speak of. Sadly. Need to revisit when there is more water about.
Double-decker living root bridge – mind the steps…
The last stop on my list today was one of the living root bridges that exist in the Meghalaya (a creation of the Khasi tribe), most famously a double-decker one.
There are two ways to access the bridge i.e. You can descent either side of the valley. I went with google that leads you to option A. In the map below. From reading, option B is the easier one.
It wasn’t easy just to find the road indicated in google, as it leads you initially to a dead-end (two indians i met on the way turned around because of this). With a bit of trial and error you’ll eventually make it to the end of the road – point A in map below.
Now the real work starts… 3,500 steps straight down into the valley. That equals more than 700m of altitude differential. Half way you pass a bunch of houses (small shop included) and eventually you reach a small village where the bridge is located.
There are homestay options, which i would recommend as the place and its people looked lovely – no motorised vehicles, all nature.
As for the bridge, Rp20 get you in. There ponds to swim in and a generally cool atmosphere. Read more about the amazing living root bridges here.
Soon it was night and the full moon was my guide as i climbed the 3,500 stairs back up. Sweat was running in streams! Thankfully i got some water from the lovely family half way and after 1,5h i was back up by my moto and ready to ride back to Shillong – night shift. What a ride! 🌪️
Now i understand why people do this bridge as a full or multi day trip… 😉