Trek to the Living Root Bridge, Umunoi.
Duration: 3-4 hours from the Resort. Distance 2 + 2 km down and up 1400 feet. Trek open throughout the year.
This trek starts from the Resort premises and goes down hill through village Sohsarat. The steps are relatively steeper in two short stretches. Half the distance is covered by steps going down hill. Then there is a jungle path going along the sides of the hill leading to the Living Root Bridge with a few steps after short stretches of sloping foot path. Moss thrives on these sandstone steps during the monsoon and makes them slippery. However, the steps can be negotiated easily with little care by locking the hind of your feet in the depressions between stones in the steps. Our walking staff comes handy to steady you.
The path thru’ the jungle and bay leaf garden is quite interesting. As you near the bridge you hear the sound of water flowing by the stream.After admiring the Living Root Bridge and taking snaps, get down into the stream and take a refreshing bath in the stream. En-route you get to see snails, millipedes, butterflies and spiders in their webs.
After seeing the bridge you move ahead to a naturally formed Dolomite archway. Notice how the villagers tap the water from the stream by bamboo pipes running long distances to drip irrigate the betel leaf creepers during the dry season in winter. During the rainy season bring raincoats to undertake the trek even when it is raining.
Trek to Double Decker Root Bridge and Natural Swimming Pools
Duration: 9 hours involving 7 hours walking, down hill 2500 feet and up. Total distance of approximately 10 + 10 km of which 5 + 5 km is by a beautiful mountain skirting road commanding a beautiful view of the valley and through three interesting Khasi villages and can be done by vehicle if anyone wants to save time and energy. Trek open throughout the year.
This is one of the most beautiful and very popular treks. The high points of this trek are the Double Decker Root Bridge and the natural swimming pools in the river bed. The people of the gorge village Nongriat where the Double Decker Root Bridge is located are very friendly and very special. The trek down stone steps is steep for almost half of the trek down. This trek is open through-out the year and are being used by the villagers of Nongriat, Nongthymmai and Mynteng daily, when it rains and when the sun shines. The steps become slippery during the monsoon months and have to be negotiated with little care to avoid slipping. The rivers in spate and streams and waterfalls in full flow during the monsoon months add magnificence to the root bridges spanning these rivers and streams. Contemplate the raw force of nature, when the river is in spate after very heavy rainfall, standing on the Steel Rope bridges strung taut across the river 45 feet above normal water level, . You need to be strong willed and brave.
Before reaching the Double Decker Root Bridge you come across more Living Root Bridges and Steel Rope bridges. The valley scenery is very impressive. Beyond the Double Decker Root Bridge you walk on level ground another 2 km (say 20 minutes) to reach Mawsaw Steel Rope Bridge. From here you access our famous natural swimming pools. The larger pool is deep and we recommend only good swimmers to attempt it. The smaller pool can be used by others. Please note that the pools are off limits during monsoon season and after good rains. When the river is in spate please don’t attempt swimming. When the flow is normal in winter, you see the bottom of the pools very clearly, so clear is the water. The colour of the water is so inviting for a swim. After a refreshing swim, it is time for lunch. During the monsoon months the water can become crystal clear if there had been no rains in the preceding days. But still, the under current is very strong and it is firmly advised not to get into the pools or attempt swimming. Please bring back any garbage for proper disposal.
Leave the pool side by 2:30 p.m. to reach the top before it is dark.
Mr.Osamu Monden made a documentary on Double Decker Root Bridge for Asahi TV, Japan in June 2004.
BBC, Wales filmed Double Decker Root Bridge in 2008 for its series “The Human Planet’.
Trek to Umkar Root Bridge, Siej
Duration – 1½ hours. Distance 3 + 3 km by vehicle and ½ + ½ km by easy mountain footpath. Open throughout the year. Recommended for light walkers.
This trek is for those who are not used to much walking or are not able to take up treks involving going down steps down the mountain slopes. It is an easy and short trek with all the charm of walking through the rain forests here. Here there is a Living Root Bridge that was partly washed away by flash floods. Now, because of the growing tourist interest in Living Root Bridges, the village people are retraining the roots to form the bridge again. Half the bridge could be walked on. The portion under construction will take a few more years to become ready for use. During the monsoon season, the waterfall just alongside the bridge is great for taking bath. It is one of the best locations for bathing in a waterfall. The first 3 km is done by car by a paved road. Once you reach the village Siej the remaining half km is done on foot by a path that has few steps and winds along the side of the hill. Enroute there is a stream where the surface runoff can be furious after heavy rains. Don’t miss a bath in the waterfall here during the monsoon season. After heavy rains the flow becomes huge but reduces fast to regular levels. In the dry winter months, waterflow turns to a trickle. BBC, Wales filmed this bridge for its series “The Human Planet’.
Trek to ‘Splashing Park’ / Mawsiekhriah
Duration – 2 hours. Distance 3 + 3 km approximately. Open throughout the year.
This is a light trek on the top of the hill almost on level ground passing through the forests of Laitkynsew, passing by the vegetable gardens in winter, a vast natural rock garden and a steep rock cliff face dropping off a few hundreds of feet overlooking Umwai Falls, Mawshamok, Umwai, Mawlong villages and the limestone mines of Ichhamati. Along the way you pass by a few mountain streams and can hear some flowing by underground channels. The Sylhet plains of Bangladesh spreads across to your south from the foot of the hills. You get a captivating view of the plains and can see Chhatack town in Bangladesh from here. Now Border Area Development Authority has developed a road to this place for developing a new park in this area. This trek / drive is accessible throughout the year. One can return by the road to the Resort or can take a foot path leading up a flight of steps to Village Sohsarat and reach the Resort by a different route. The view of the farm houses and farm lands from the top of the steps is impressive.
This trek can be extended in the dry months. Near the rock cliff face you look for three power lines going down to Mawlong village. Adjacent to the electric posts you can locate a foot path leading down to Mawlong village. It would be about a kilometer and a half to the village. Reach the road and walk back by the road to the Resort via village Mawshamok. This will make it a trek of 14 km.
Trek to Mawshamok by Lovers Road
Duration – 1 to 2 hours. Distance 3 + 3 km. Steady gradient down and up on the return trip. Open throughout the year.
This is a light trek by road along a beautiful valley with fascinating formations of clouds sweeping through the pass between Mawshamok and Laitkynsew hills during the monsoon season. You see many waterfalls streaking the sides of the hills during the rainy season. Most of these waterfalls become much bigger when the rains are lashing the hills and thin out soon after. During the monsoon season one can walk in the rain admiring and soaking in the rains. Young couples would love to walk by this road and we call it the Lovers Road. Don’t miss to do a rain walk by this road in the monsoons.
After reaching Mawshamok village take the road to the right leading to Mawlong village. From one km from there onwards you will get small waterfalls where you can enjoy a bath in waterfalls. Trek back to the Resort. The gradient uphill is steady till you reach the resort. Don’t forgot to walk hand in hand. All you need is to be young at heart.
Short Village walk through Laitkynsew to Viewpoints in Nongwar village.
Duration – 2 hours. Distance 3.5 + 3.5 km. Open throughout the year.
Laitkynsew and Nongwar villages are located on the ridge tops of Laitkynsew hill. They are ancient villages and command a beautiful view of the valley between Laitkynsew hill and Mawsynram hill on one side and the Sylhet plains of Bangladesh on the other. You can see over two dozen waterfalls including Nohkalikai, Dainthlen and Laipateng Khohsiew from here after good rains. These two typical Khasi villages were some of the earliest to receive education. The people are friendly and you can expect to be greeted and enquired about. This walk is by the road built along the top of the ridge. At the end of the road at Nongwar you see Ramakhrishna Mission school established in 1928. Walk down a flight of steps for about 15 minutes to reach Mawrong viewpoint built by Meghalaya Tourism Department. You get a bird’s eye view of the river winding through the valley. This view is really impressive. There is another viewpoint constructed by the Border Area Development Authority at the same level but facing towards the plains of Bangladesh. This is called Mawsityllang Viewpoint. One can see the river exiting the hills and the Sylhet Plains spread out across till the horizon. These flood plains get flooded in the monsoon months fed water from Cherrapunjee / Mawsynram and Laitkynsew hills. Walk / drive back half a kilometre to a road under construction to your right that leads ‘Mot I Love’ viewpoint. The view from here of the vast Sylhet plains is grand too. The place is named after a person who loved to sit out there and built a memorial because he liked the place. His name was “Ailop”. I am told that Ailop is the misspelling of “I Love” in Khasi language. Mot means memorial. Walk / drive back to the Resort.
David Scot Pony Trail Trek – Laitkynsew Hill portion
Duration – 2 hours. Distance – 7 km. Open from November to March.
David Scot the then Political Agent of the British Empire constructed a pony trail from the Sylhet Plains in present day Bangladesh to the Brahmaputra Valley in Assam across the Khasi hills. This trail starts at the foot of Laitkynsew hill reaches the top, proceeds to Sohra, Ladmawphlang, Mawphlang, Mairang on to Boko in Assam. The trail consists of stone paved paths and steps. The trail from the Resort by the pony trail takes one uphill and proceeds to Mawshamok. The last portion is descended by steps. There are switch backs for the ponies to negotiate the steep climb down. The return is done by Lovers road that has a steady gradient uphill. You can do some bird watching in this trek.
This trek is best done in winter because the path is overtaken by thick jungle growth during the monsoon months.
Full day trek from old Nongwar To Old Nongkroh by ancient footpath
Duration: 5 to 7 hours of walking. Distance 12-13 km of walking down and up 1500 feet. Enroute can hear birds but hard to locate them in the jungle.
This trek is open during the dry winter months. After the earthquake of 1897 that caused enormous destruction in the Khasi Hills, many villages relocated themselves after suffering loss of life and property. Nongwar and Nongkroh were two such villages that were located in the slope of Laitkynsew hill. After the earthquake, residents of Nongwar shifted to the top west end of Laitkynsew hill and Nongkroh to a spur off Laitkynsew hill. There is an ancient foot path connecting these two ancient settlements skirting the side of Laitkynsew hill at about an altitude of 400m. One starts from the Resort to Nongwar village. Take the steps going down from Nongwar village to reach old Nongwar. Proceed by the path to Nongkroh. This path is almost entirely shaded by tall trees. You get one of the old rectangular stone bench resting places on the way for the people carrying headloads to unburden themselves and rest. You get to cross some waterfalls, though water flow will be less in the dry winter months. In one of them you can use bamboos and banana stem to channel the water to enable you to bathe before having your lunch. Once you reach Nongkroh village go downhill to see the ruins of houses overtaken by jungle growth. Some of these houses have well built fireplaces that are still intact despite being exposed to decades of extreme wet weather condition. Start the climb back to Laitkynsew road. Once on the road walk 2 km to reach the Resort.
David Scot Pony Trail Trek – Ladmawphlang to Mawphlang
Duration : 6 hours. Distance approximately 18 – 20 km. Best done from November to March.
This is an interesting trek taking off from the PWD road at Ladmawphlang. The trek starts off downhill along a new road being made along the pony trail, crosses a small stream the climb uphill starts. The stone paving is well preserved here. At the top of the hill you pass through a pass and the trail is almost on level ground for quite a distance till you reach Village Laitsohma and Village Mawbeh. En-route you cross a stream by a typical arched stone bridge built by the British that is held together without mortar. After that the trail starts downwards by a narrow path along a ledge leading to the bottom of the valley doing a semi circle of the valley below. From the start of this descent the trek becomes more interesting. At the start of this descent you can see the houses and a Mobile tower in a distant hill top which will be your destination – Mawphlang. As you reach the bottom of the valley you wade through tall withered grasses and duck under jungle growth keeping yourselves to the stone paved trail. In some parts of this trail there is no stone paving but usually you can make out that it is part of the trail. You cross a stream by walking through the water or doing a hopping act over the rocks. The trail is dead after this for some distance. Take to your left going downstream on the opposite bank. It skirts a hill and enters another valley through a pass which brings into view a large river. The path leads you to a old dilapidated steel frame and timber bridge held taut across the river flowing deep down about 50 feet. The timber looks heavily weathered and some of them that are missing and had been replaced by undressed logs. Walk along the frame holding on to the railing. I learn that the bridge is no more usuable. So one has to cross the river by getting down to the river bed and finding a suitable place to cross. After crossing the river the trail proceeds to run along the river upstream and then takes off in a winding climb up hill. From here onwards it is a climb all the way. As the trail nears the top there are short cuts to reach the upper parts of the winding path by stone steps. The climb is not that laboured as is in the trek to the Double Decker Root Bridge or the Trek to the Warm Swimming Pool.
Trek to the Warm Swimming Pool and Angling Spot
Duration: 8- 10 hours. Distance: 14 km approximate. Good from November to March.
This is a trek to the river bed at the western end of Laitkynsew hill. After walking to Nongwar village by road this trail takes off downhill by steep stone stairway. At the start the steps are steeply inclined. Later part proceeds along the top of a spur till it reaches the steep banks of the river. It takes about 2 hours to reach the river bed. There are nice angling spots around here. One can venture walk upstream. In winter the river flows along one side of the river. On the other side you get stagnated pools of water left behind as the water level receded. These pools get warmed faster by the winter sun and the water is warmer to swim here than in the flowing water. It is nice to cook your simple meal here using the jungle deadwood after few swims in the pool. If you are lucky with your angling, fish fresh out of water is great to taste. Start back on to the trail by 2:30 p.m. or so to reach the top before it is dark. You will be needing your torchlight for the return journey in case you take more time climbing back. Please take back up batteries and spare bulbs for the torchlight.
Trek to Shella -The ancient trading route to the Plains
Duration: 7 – 9 hours. Distance: 26 km approximate. Open throughout the year. Best from November to March.
This was the route that people of the hills of this area and from Cherrapunjee town used to reach their produce to the plains. Boats from the plains sail up the rivers to barter rice, fish, dry fish, vegetables, salt etc. for the produce of the hills such as oranges, fruits, bay leaf, betel leaves, betel nuts, pepper, citron fruits, timber, the iron implements and nails of highly malleable steel then produced at Cherrapunjee for the boat industry in Sylhet and of course limestone. We follow this ancient foot path leading downhill through Mustoh village, Shella village and Sholab situated along the Umiam river. It is an interesting trek of about 13 km through betelnut gardens, limestone karst areas and tropical rain forests. On reaching Sholab one can take a conveyance to return to the Resort by vehicle or have to retrace their steps. You can notice the change in the people’s attitudes and behaviour as one reaches the foothills. The people at the foothills are more exposed to the plains people and are more business-like than the village people of the hills. One can notice the change in the vegetation as one goes down in altitude. The return climb can take upwards of 3 hours.
Trek through Village Siej to Ladumrin
Duration: 6-7 hours. Distance: 20 km. Best from November to March.
This trek takes off from the Resort goes downhill through village Sohsarat, Village Siej, through betelnut and betel leaf gardens and tropical rainforests to reach Ladumrin. About a km before reaching Ladumrin, there is a stream flowing that has water even at the fag end of the dry season. It is a nice place to sit and have your food. The bamboo pipes that tap the water from the stream can help you to enjoy a bath before food. The path leads further to the road leading to Shella where limestone mining areas of Mawlong are located. One can follow the road back to the Resort on foot or vehicle a distance of about 15 km, most of which is through tropical rain forests. It is an interesting walk through War Khasi villages where you can also meet migrant labour families working in the limestone quarries. Else one can retrace the path back into the forests. Just little before reaching the place of the stream where you had taken a break for lunch, there is a narrow jungle path leading to Living Root Bridge, Umunoi. This path is very narrow and sometimes passes along straight drops. After a few minutes of walking by this sparsely used path, you will be greeted by a swarm of butterflies with black wings spotted with bright blue dots. This is a Tarzan path and often it is narrow and along steep dropping ledges. After reaching Living Root Bridge, Umunoi follow the path leading to the top of the hill to the Resort.