If you haven’t figured it out yet, I love being in nature. I enjoy the silence and the wonder that it has to offer. Nature is super lit and there is proof of that in both Kaziranga and Cherrapunji.
Kaziranga National Park and Cherrapunji Forest are both a 4 hour drive from Guwahati, Assam. Both are in different directions so you may have to pair Cherrapunji with Shillong to cover two spots in one go.
I’m going to skip the how to get around part for this entry as I’ve already spoken about it in a previous post. Click here to read about what to do in Guwahati and Shillong.
Best time to visit
The Kaziranga National Park stays closed for visitors from May 1st till October 31st every year. Monsoons are rough in the part of the country and so the best time to visit is the winter months.
Where to Stay and Eat
Orange Roots, Cherrapunjee
Another vegetarian only place on my list! I liked Orange Roots because they have a “thali system” which means that you get a small portion of different dishes on a platter. This way you get a little of everything and its delicious and filling!
You will find this spot on your way back from Cherrapunjee. The Living Root Bridge hike prepares you for a heavy meal that the Orange Root delivers on!
IORA, Kaziranga National Park
We stayed in IORA Resort in Kaziranga National Park. The hotel had a huge property with all the necessary amenities including a spa, a gym, table tennis tables and dance performances by the locals. On request the staff also build you a fire. The resort has very less light pollution which means that the night skies are gorgeous.
Along with everything else, Iora also has a wonderful restaurant with local delicacies. The food at the IORA restaurant was really good and again, thali style.
Shelter Inn, Shillong
The Shelter Inn was a nice hotel to crash at for a night or two while in the city of Shillong. It didn’t have many services but they made up with the wonderful view. We booked the hotel using OYO Rooms.
This Indian hospitality company provides affordable hotels all over the country (and world). Think of it as the Indian airbnb. Visit their website for more information. <a href”https://www.oyorooms.com/”>OYO</a>
Kaziranga National Park
Kaziranga National Park is located in the east of Assam. If you want to immerse yourself into a jurassic era, this park transports you there. Along with being home to the iconic one-horned Rhinoceros, you can also find elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deers. If you are lucky, you could even spot a tiger.
I loved the park. I have been to other wildlife parks and no two have been comparable. Each of the parks offers a unique experience ranging from weather, animals, and over all vibes that parks give out.
Kaziranga National Park has 4 main entry points:
Mihimukh in Central Range at Kohora
Bagori in Western Range at Bagori
Agaratoli in Eastern Range at Agaratoli
Ghorakati in Burapahar Range at Ghorakhati
Depending on which hotel you are staying at, you will need to make reservations for the Jeep and Elephant Safari. I’d recommend booking the tickets in advance to avoid missing out if the safari’s are overbooked.
You can book your tickets by visiting Kaziranga National Park Booking
Kaziranga Jeep Safari
The Jeep Safari last for 2 hours and there are 2 time slots available. You can either go early in the morning or mid afternoon. The sun sets really early during winter so it feels like its more early evening.
Morning Jeep Safari: 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM Afternoon Jeep Safari: 02:00 PM to 04:00 PM
The price for Indian vs foreign national is different and you will find this across all parks over the country. Here is a short breakdown for renting a jeep for upto 6 people.
INR 3600 / Jeep if you are an Indian National INR 7000 / Jeep if you are a foreign National
Kaziranga Elephant Safari
I actually don’t really think this type of safari should even exist. Elephant safari borders on animal cruelty and I condone it. Having said that, it is still a very popular way to tour the park. The Elephant safari’s are only carried out very early in the mornings.
Morning- 05:30 / 06:30 Morning- 06:30 / 07:30
The pricing for taking this type of safari is again different for Indians and foreigners.
INR 1500 / Person if you are an Indian National INR 3200 / Person if you are a foreign National
Kaziranga National Orchid and Biodiversity Park
As most of the safaris are either slotted for early mornings or mid afternoons, you may find yourself left with some time. I suggest in that free time, visiting the Orchid park. This is a great place to learn more about Assam’s history and learn new things about different plants.
They offer not only orchids but a variety of different plants to view and they also sell some of them. There are school students who put on local dance performances as well. This is a wonderful place for people of all ages but especially good for families with kids.
If you wander around, you will find locals selling hand crafter artisan products. Overall you could spend a couple of hours here. The park is open between 7:30 am and 5 pm.
Hatikhuli Tea Plantation
We stumbled onto the tree plantation and I think we were trespassing but the Hatikhuli is a massive a very popular tea plantation.
If you wander along a little further in the city, they have a store where you can purchase tea leaves and bags as gifts.
Cherrapunji-Mawsynram Reserve Forest
Living Root Bridge
The Living Root Bridges are a form of tree shaping where the roots of 2 trees get intertwined and form bridges across rivers. They are very popular in Cherrapunji.
There are 2 varieties of the Living Root Bridges - single story or double deckers!
The only obstacle to reach the bridges is to climb down 3500 steps. Well the actual hurdle is climbing back up. It takes about 3-4 hours to go down and climb back up but it is quite a unique experience. Unfortunately the roots are not wheel-chair accessible yet.
I managed to go down to see the single root bridge as the double was further down the road and we were restricted by time.
I would higly recommend carrying plenty of water, sunscreen and all the sun protection you can find. The stairs are not covered and the afternoon sun beating down on you can sometimes be unkind to your skin.
I love walking through caves. The unknowing mystery of it makes it exciting for me. If you are a cave enthusiast, the Mawsmai Caves should be on your list as well. If you are claustrophobic or unable to crawl through semi small areas, you may way to skip the caves but instead walk around them.
The caves are very short distance - 150 meters of it is accessible for tourist. There is a minimal entry fee of Rs.10 per person. The location surrounding the caves is really pretty. There is a lot of greenery, some monkeys and a very nice place to spend a few hours exploring the neighborhood.
With tourist places come gift shops and restaurants and this place is no exception. You will find a host of restaurants and street vendors doing their thing and I do urge you to support their businesses.
My experience in Eastern Indian was something I had fun re-experiencing as I was writing this post. If you are considering this as your next adventure, I strongly urge you to stop thinking and start booking. You will be very surprised by the welcoming beauty and the natural wonder that is Assam and Meghalaya.