Best Time to Visit Meghalaya

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What is the best time to visit Meghalaya?

The best time to visit Meghalaya is from October to April. During this period, the weather is pleasant, with clear skies and mild temperatures that rarely go beyond 30°C, making it ideal for exploring the region's natural attractions and cultural sites. 

The months of October to November offer lush greenery and vibrant landscapes after the monsoon season, while the winter months of December to February provide cool and comfortable weather for outdoor activities and sightseeing. Festivals like Wangala, celebrated by the Garo tribe in November, and Shad Suk Mynsiem, celebrated by the Khasi tribe in April, offer visitors a unique insight into the local traditions and customs.

However, travelers should be prepared for occasional rainfall even during the dry season, as Meghalaya's weather can be unpredictable. Considered the wettest region in the country, Meghalaya is not often recommended to tourists during peak monsoons. The state receives an average rainfall of 250 cm. The monsoon season begins in May and goes on till the end of September or sometimes till mid-October. 

Peak Season (November to March)
Weather: Dry and pleasant weather with temperatures ranging from around 15°C to 25°C.
Destinations & Activities: Tourists are drawn to the region during this time to experience the lush greenery, vibrant landscapes, and mild temperatures that facilitate enjoyable outdoor exploration. Popular destinations like Shillong, Cherrapunji, and Mawlynnong see increased footfalls, leading to higher accommodation costs and activity demand. Travelers can expect bustling markets, cultural events, and a lively atmosphere and can indulge in boating, snorkeling, river camping, trekking, caving, and exploring waterfalls throughout the state during the peak season. 
Note: Pre-booking recommended during peak tourist season to ensure availability. Be prepared for occasional rain showers even during the dry season.

Off Season (May to September)
Weather: Heavy rainfall dominates the region, transforming it into a lush paradise with temperatures ranging from approximately 15°C to 30°C. Mawsynram and Cherrapunji receives torrential rainfall especially in peak monsoon month of july. 
Impact on Tourism: While the landscape flourishes with cascading waterfalls and vibrant vegetation, tourism activities are limited due to the challenging weather conditions. Indoor activities and cultural exploration are great alternatives during heavy rains.
Note: Many outdoor attractions may be closed or inaccessible, and trekking trails can be slippery and unsafe. However, budget travelers can take advantage of discounted accommodation rates and fewer crowds at popular tourist spots during this period.

Shoulder Season (April to May and September to October)
Weather: Temperatures range from around 20°C to 30°C. This transitional period marks the shift from dry weather to the onset of the monsoon, bringing occasional showers and rising humidity.
Popular Destinations & Activities: Sightseeing at Ward’s Lake, Shillong Peak, and Elephant Falls; exploring local markets like Police Bazaar. Visiting Nohkalikai Falls, exploring Mawsmai Cave, and trekking to the Living Root Bridges. Boating on the Umngot River, known for its crystal-clear waters, and exploring the Indo-Bangladesh border.
Note: Despite the uncertainty in weather conditions, this time offers an opportunity for travelers to explore Meghalaya with fewer crowds and discounted accommodation rates compared to the peak season. Prebooking is recommended for popular destinations like Shillong and Cherrapunji. 

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More about Best Time to Travel to Meghalaya

Meghalaya in Summer (April - June)

Summers can be considered a good time to explore the unexplored corners of the town. Although it majorly rains during the monsoons, most of Meghalaya remains cloudy or pleasantly overcast. It is, therefore, an excellent time to explore the attractions in the state. It might get sweltering around afternoons, and tourists can skip or opt for an indoor activity to spend some quality time.

Weather and Temperature

Hill Regions:
Shillong: The capital city enjoys pleasant weather with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C.
Cherrapunji and Mawsynram: Known for being some of the wettest places on Earth, temperatures here range from 12°C to 20°C.
Low Lying Areas:
Tura: Located in the Garo Hills, temperatures here are slightly higher, ranging from 20°C to 30°C.

Rainfall Starts: The monsoon season typically begins in late May, bringing significant rainfall to the region.
Areas Receiving Rainfall:
Cherrapunji and Mawsynram: Receive the heaviest rainfall, often beginning in May and intensifying through June.
Shillong: Experiences moderate to heavy rainfall starting from late May.
Tura: Receives moderate rainfall, less intense than Cherrapunji.

Popular Destinations and Activities
Shillong: Sightseeing at Ward’s Lake, Shillong Peak, and Elephant Falls; shopping at Police Bazaar. Enjoying the pleasant weather and the vibrant local culture.
Cherrapunji: Exploring the living root bridges, visiting Nohkalikai Falls, and trekking to the Double Decker Root Bridge. Witnessing the lush green landscapes and the dramatic waterfalls.
Mawsynram: Visiting Mawjymbuin Cave, experiencing the rainiest place on earth. Enjoying the unique flora and fauna of the region.
Tura: Trekking in Nokrek National Park, visiting Siju Cave, and exploring Balpakram National Park. Experiencing the rich biodiversity and scenic beauty of the Garo Hills.
Festivals: The three-day festival of Shad Suk Mynsiem and the festival of Chad Sukra celebrated every year in April must not be missed. The region comes alive with colourful traditional rituals, music, dance and merriment that tourists would cherish all their life.

Pre-Booking: Recommended, especially for popular destinations like Shillong and Cherrapunji.
Availability: Most activities are accessible, but some trekking routes may be slippery due to early monsoon rains.
Safety: Always check weather forecasts and road conditions before traveling to avoid landslides and slippery paths. It is also advisable to have a local guide for treks and remote area visits.

Meghalaya in Winter (October - February)

Weather: Meghalaya experiences autumn between October and November and winter season from December to February. The average day-time temperature is extremely pleasant at 15°C - 20°C, but the night-time temperature drops to around 3°C during the winters. Foggy days are typical here.

Rainfall: Rainfall significantly reduces during these months compared to the monsoon season. Sporadic rainfall might occur, but it is generally less intense.

Popular Destinations & Activities
One can unleash the explorer in them and go sightseeing or participate in a trekking expedition to traverse through the thrilling mountainous terrain. Experience the local music scene and cafes in Shillong. Shillong, Cherapunji, Tura, Nongstoin, Nongpoh, East Garo, Jowai etc. are visited often during this season to explore attractions like Balpakram National Park, Nohkalikai Falls, Boating at Umngot River, Umiam Lake, Laitlum Canyon, Double Decker Living Route Bridge, Ialong Park etc.

  • The famous Autumn Festival of Meghalaya is celebrated between October and November in Shillong every year. Several travellers are drawn to the venue to witness the variety of programs from Wine and Food Festivals, Beauty Pageants, Kite Flying Competition, Fishing Competitions, Golf Tournaments, Flower Shows, Music Festivals, Rock Shows etc.
  • The Strawberry Festival celebrated in February on Valentine's Day is a treat to honeymooners or those on a romantic getaway.
  • The Ranikor Festival is also held in the same month and has an array of activities and programs arranged for the visitors including Dance Shows, Music Shows, Beach Soccer, Beach Volleyball, Swimming, Trekking, Archery, Kite Flying etc. 
Be cautious of slippery paths near waterfalls and living root bridges.
Rain gear is advisable due to occasional rainfall.
Check weather conditions and road status, as fog can reduce visibility.

Meghalaya in Monsoon (June - October)

The monsoon season starts in June, peaks in July, and continues until October. During these months, the state receives heavy rainfall. In fact, Meghalaya has world's two rainiest cities; Mawsynram and Cherrapunjee. You might not get to visit all the spots as rain might hinder your way, hence we recommend that you avoid Monsoons.  However, If the objective is only to spend some rejuvenating time in the hills, monsoon could be an ideal time.

Weather and Temperature
During the monsoon, temperatures in the hill regions like Shillong range from 15°C to 23°C, providing a cool and refreshing climate. The temperatures in the lower regions, such as Garo Hills, range from 20°C to 25°C, remaining relatively cooler than other parts of India during this season.

Wettest Month: July is typically the wettest month of the year, with heavy, continuous downpours.
Rainfall Distribution: The entire state experiences substantial rainfall, but Cherrapunji and Mawsynram are the most notable for their record-breaking precipitation. The lower regions receive significant rainfall as well, but it is less compared to the aforementioned areas.

Popular Destinations and Activities
Waterfalls: Waterfalls and lakes are the most prominent spots to visit during Monsoons, namely Nohkalikai Falls in Cherrapunji, Elephant falls in Shillong and Krang Suri Falls in Jowai.
Boating & Exploration: Dawki is also popular for its boating activities in Umngot River, however check the schedule during peak monsoons as boating activities can get disrupted due to heavy water current. The living root bridges are also popular monsoon activity.
Festivals: Apart from this, Meghalaya offers unique cultural experiences such as village tours and unique festivals held in July. The popular Behdienkhlam Festival is celebrated by the Jaintia tribe in Jowai. Khasi Hills celebrates the Nongkrem Dance Festival and 100 Drums Festival is celebrated by Garo Tribe in September. 

Weather Preparedness: Carry waterproof clothing and sturdy, non-slip footwear due to heavy rains and slippery terrain.
Health Precautions: Mosquito repellent is essential to protect against insect bites.
Safety Measures: Check weather forecasts regularly to avoid landslide-prone areas and ensure road safety.
Travel Arrangements: Ensure flexible travel plans as heavy rainfall can lead to delays and road blockages.
Emergency Supplies: Carry necessary medications, a first aid kit, and essential supplies as some areas might face connectivity issues during heavy rains.

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