Top Tourist Places in Dawki, Meghalaya
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Nestled along the Indo-Bangladesh border, Meghalaya is a breathtaking destination for a holiday. The state has lush forests, and the hilly, rocky terrain of the Jaintia Hills makes for a magical atmosphere.
Tourism in Meghalaya is perfect for those who enjoy nature and adventure sports. However, the best place for those looking for tourist places is Dawki. Located on the banks of the Umngot River (also called Dawki River), this town is a fantastic spot for those looking for an adventure in nature.
This blog will explore in detail all about the tourist places in Dawki and the surrounding villages. It will cover activities, landmarks, and other points of interest.
Table of Contents
Location & Significance of Dawki
Dawki is a town on the Indo-Bangladesh border. It is just north of Bangladesh, and there are many points around the town from where one can see the plains of Bangladesh. Dawki is in the West Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya.
Dawki is on the banks of the Umngot River. The popularity of the town has led to many people calling the Umngot River as the Dawki River. The Umngot River is popularly called “the cleanest river in India” because the crystal clear waters makes the river bed visible. This is, however, not officially claimed by the Meghalaya Tourism.
Dawki’s location by the Indo-Bangladesh border makes it an important town for trade. Many goods from Bangladesh, particularly clothing and food items, are sold at the town as well as at Jowai and Shillong.
Dawki is best known for being a hub for adventure sports. It is particularly famous for water sports, particularly rafting and boating. This has made it a popular spot for visitors from all over India.
Places to Visit in Dawki
Dawki is surrounded by beautiful spots all around. This riverside town is situated at the southern border of the West Jaintia Hills district. Nature lovers will be enchanted by the stunning beauty of Meghalaya’s landscapes. Dawki is a sightseeing hotspot with many exciting things to see nearby. Here are a few sites you should explore during your Dawki adventure.
A village a few kilometres away from Dawki, Shnongpdeng is a fantastic place for a few days of boating and camping.
There are many campsites where travellers looking for a different experience can rent a tent for the night. Shnongpdeng is also a popular spot for fishing, and many local eateries offer fresh fish caught from the Umngot river. Aside from this, one can follow many trekking trails to incredible viewing points.
2. Living Root Bridges
Meghalaya’s famed living root bridges are a significant attraction to the state, and many of these unique creations can be found throughout the state. One of the most famous of these bridges is the Living Root Bridge at Riwai.
These bridges are the most iconic symbols of Meghalaya, as no other culture in the world has made anything similar. Living root bridges are created over decades. These bridges are made by locals using the roots of the rubber fig tree. These create breathtaking sights, connecting remote villages in the picturesque hills of Meghalaya.
3. Jaflong Zero Point
Jaflong Zero Point is where the Umngot river (also called Dawki river) enters Bangladesh. The views are well renowned, and it is a popular activity to wave to people on the other side of the border fence.
Jaflong Zero Point is one of the best places in Dawki for photography, as it is where one can see the end of the West Jaintia Hills meeting the plains of Bangladesh. This unique scenery can only be seen in a few places in the world.
4. Dawki Campsites
Dawki is a hub for water sports, and there are many campsites on the banks of the Umngot River for those who love the outdoors. These campsites provide a safe place to spend the night under the stars. These campsites are a great alternative to staying at a hotel for those who live for adventure.
Aside from regular boating and trekking, many special activities are organised at these camps, including paragliding, bungee jumping and fishing. The main advantage of staying at these campsites is the access to these activities, which are decided upon based on prevailing weather conditions. It should be known that if there are any major festivals in Dawki, these camps are usually closed for those days.
5. Mawlynnong Village
Known as “Asia’s Cleanest Village”, the Mawlynnong is an incredible sight for visitors. The village is known for its beautiful streets and stunning views.
The village has its unique style of architecture, blending familiar northeastern construction techniques with European-influenced facades and colours. This gives it an instantly recognisable appearance. The Church of The Epiphany is the village’s focal point. Built over 120 years ago, the peaceful atmosphere of the church and surrounding village brings people closer to nature.
6. Chyndon Waterfall
The stunning Chyndon waterfall is something everyone visiting this part of Meghalaya should see. The bare rock of the falls provides a stark contrast to the lush greenery all around it.
These falls are an essential part of daily life in this area, with many local legends surrounding the falls. Activities like bungee jumping are also available here besides stunning photos and views.
7. Dawki Suspension Bridge
The Dawki Suspension Bridge is one of the most iconic structures of this part of Meghalaya. The bridge is one of the most important routes for goods entering from Bangladesh.
For visitors, however, the bridge is one of the best spots in Dawki for photography, as one can get a bird’s eye view of Dawki’s crystal clear waters below. Visitors can enjoy the views while sipping on tea at stalls owned by locals at either end of the bridge. It is a must-see Dawki sightseeing spot.
8. India-Bangladesh Friendship Gate
A vital trade route, the India-Bangladesh Friendship Gate is a border crossing between the two countries.
Standing on India’s side of the border, one is treated to a sweeping view of the plains of Bangladesh. Unlike at the Wagah border, there is no elaborate show put on. It is famous for people to visit just for the experience of seeing Bangladesh through the border gates.
ACCOMMODATIONS IN DAWKI
As the popularity of adventure tourism is growing, Dawki is emerging as one of the most visited parts of Meghalaya. This influx of tourists has led to a variety of accommodations available in Dawki. Visitors to Dawki will be able to find the perfect accommodation, as there
are choices from hotels, homestays and campsites. Here are a few options to consider for your visit to Dawki.
1. Reba Food And Lodging
A three-star hotel known for excellent food and service, Reba Food And Lodging is a great choice for those looking to relax in Dawki. The hotel is near the highway, with free parking for guests.
The hotel is a 5-minute walk from the banks of the Umngot River, providing easy access to all the thrilling activities that Dawki is famous for. It has an attached restaurant, geysers, and a backup power generator.
2. Bri Kwei
A boutique mansion right on the banks of the Umngot River, Bri Kwei offers incredible luxury in this remote part of India. The mansion has a garden overlooking the flowing Dawki River.
The garden also functions as a stunning outdoor dining area. Food is prepared using locally grown organic vegetables and free-range meat, ensuring that each meal is spectacular. Other amenities this boutique property offers include geysers and a backup power generator.
3. Ka Bri War Resort
Located close to the picturesque town of Pynursla, Ka Bri War Resort is a charming hillside resort with fantastic service. The resort is located just off the highway, making it easy to find and access. No other buildings are nearby, giving guests a feeling of seclusion and exclusivity.
The resort is one of few in the state with separate kitchens for vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. The resort has all the amenities required for being a great candidate for a staycation or workcation, with wifi, geysers, and a backup power generator. It is an hour’s drive to the Umngot River
4. Deli-Baiar Guesthouse and Restaurant
Surrounded by the lush greenery of the East Jaintia Hills, the Deli-Baiar Guesthouse and Restaurant is a charming hotel near the lovely town of Pongtung. The guesthouse is in a very convenient location.
It is right beside the highway, making it a great candidate for a location where one can access many incredible sights. It is a 45-minute drive to Dawki, where one can enjoy the beauty of the Dawki River. Within twenty minutes,
one can drive to Mawlynnong village. The guesthouse offers parking and geysers. However, they do not have a backup power generator.
5. Na I Mei Homestay
Located just outside Mawlynnong, Na I Mei Homestay is in the heart of Nohwet, a scenic village in the southernmost part of Meghalaya. Nohwet is a small but well-connected village. It is a popular option for travellers exploring the photogenic southern Meghalayan landscapes.
Nohwet is near the stunning Wah Rymben Falls, a series of waterfalls nearly as iconic as Cherrapunji’s Seven Sisters Falls. It is an hour from Shnongpdeng, on the banks of the Dawki River. The homestay is famous for its food and picturesque architecture.
Camping at Dawki is popular for active people who love the outdoors. There are many campsites along the Dawki River, all of which offer boating and snorkelling. Not all campsites provide food; many small restaurants offer popular north and south Indian dishes. We have compiled a list of campsites where our guests have had positive experiences and have noted their amenities.
1. Gilbert’s Camping Site
Gilbert’s Camping Site is known for maintaining clean tents and sleeping bags. There is no food offered at the campsite.
2. Riverfront Dawki Riverside Camping
This campsite offers a one-night and two-day package that includes food, a bonfire night, and guides for all the adventures you want to experience.
3. Encamp Adventures
This campsite on Dawki Island is known for providing excellent guides and food. They also organise treks and other activities apart from boating and snorkelling.
BEST TIME TO VISIT DAWKI
The best time to visit Dawki is in the winter. During this part of the year, the temperature is lower and the skies are clearer. The forests are lush and green as this comes immediately after the monsoons. This makes it perfect for doing photography in Dawki.
Those visiting Dawki primarily to photograph its crystal clear waters should note that it is clear only in November and December. Otherwise, the river is filled with silt, much like any other river in India.
- What are the top tourist attractions in Dawki, Meghalaya?
The main tourist attraction in Dawki, Meghalaya is the Umngot river, also known as the Dawki river. Boating through the crystal clear waters of the Dawki river is a magical experience. One can also enjoy snorkelling to see the boats appear to float in the air.
- How far is Dawki from Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya?
Dawki is approximately 82 kilometres away from Shillong, Meghalaya’s capital city. It takes more than 3 hours to reach Dawki from Shillong by road.
- What is the best way to reach Dawki from Guwahati?
The best way to reach Dawki from Guwahati is by road. It is around 208 kilometres by road and will take more than 5 hours. We recommend breaking the journey by stopping over at Shillong.
- Are there any accommodations near the Umngot River in Dawki?
There are a few accommodations near the Umngot river. Bri Kwei is a boutique mansion on the banks of the Dawki river. There are many campsites on the riverbanks, a few of which have been highlighted above.
- Can you share tips for boating in the Umngot River?
The best tip for boating in Meghalaya is to ensure personal safety before entering the boat. Do not agree to pay for boating unless the provider allows you to see the boat, lifejacket, helmet and oar that you will be using. To maximise your enjoyment, ensure you are present at the boating point at sunrise to enjoy boating without others present.
- Is there a specific time of the year when the Umngot River is at its clearest?
The only time of the year when the Umngot river is clear is during the months of November and December.
- Are there any local festivals or events in Dawki that tourists can experience?
There are a variety of local festivals one can experience when visiting Dawki.
Behdienkhlam festival is one of Meghalaya’s most famous festivals. It is celebrated with great energy. Young men beat the roofs of houses with bamboo sticks to drive out the demon of cholera. This festival is celebrated after the harvest in July.
Seng Kut Snem is held to honour the memory of those involved with the Khasi Young Men’s Association during British rule. The association was formed as a resistance to British attempts to end tribal practices in Meghalaya. The festival celebrates Khasi culture and traditions – elders tell traditional stories, folk songs are sung and tribal dances are held. The festival is held on the 23rd of November every year.
One of Meghalaya’s most famous festivals is Wangala, also known as the ‘Festival of 100 Drums’. The main celebrations are held at the village of Asanang in the West Garo Hills. The festival is held to celebrate the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter. It is celebrated by the Garo community throughout Meghalaya.
- What are the nearby places to visit from Dawki?
The most famous place to visit near Dawki is Mawlynnong, known as “Asia’s Cleanest Village”. The village is known for its unique architecture and culture. There are also many caves near Dawki, the nearest being the Mawshun Cave.
- What is the local cuisine like in Dawki, Meghalaya?
The local cuisine of Dawki is Khasi cuisine. Khasi cuisine is based on the food that can be cultivated in Meghalaya. One should keep in mind that the State receives a very high level of rainfall, making vegetable cultivation in most areas very difficult. Vegetables are brought in from other states of India and Bangladesh. This means that vegetarian options are few, and usually more expensive than what one would expect in other states.Vegetarians should ensure that any hotels or homestays that they will be staying in can accommodate their diet.
- Are there any restrictions for photography in Dawki?
While there are no restrictions on photography in Dawki, one should be respectful of what one is taking photos of. Many trees are considered sacred by locals, and there are entire forests that are regarded as sacred. Avoid using tripods as much as possible in forests. Additionally, the inner sanctums of temples and monasteries are off-limits for photography. Another point to keep in mind is to always follow the direction of security officers at the Indo-Bangladesh border.
- Are there any restrictions for drone usage in Dawki?
At Dawki, drone usage is not highly regulated. However, at the Indo-Bangladesh border, drone usage is highly regulated. If you are using a professional drone, ensure that you have got the required permits for your flight from the DGCA.
- How safe is Dawki for solo travellers or families?
Meghalaya is safe for both solo travellers and families. However one must keep in mind basic health and safety guidelines to avoid altitude sickness. Solo trekkers should always trek with a guide to avoid losing their way.
- Can you recommend some local markets or shops in Dawki for souvenirs?
Dawki is a village where adventure activities are offered. There are very few shops in total, and none for souvenirs. One should visit Jowai to get an incredible range of souvenirs from Meghalaya, such as Ilahui Jowai or Lamar Enterprise at Jowai Market.
- Are there any trekking or hiking opportunities around Dawki?
Dawki is a hotspot for trekkers, and one can simply visit the campsites along the river banks to get information regarding treks. Additionally, groups and solo travellers alike can visit the Guide’s Syndicate to hire a private guide for themselves. Guides have a standard rate that varies depending on where you hired them from.
Dawki is the perfect destination for those who love the outdoors. Here, innumerable options exist for those seeking to get closer to nature. Many trekking routes end here, providing trekkers with a relaxing day of boating after a long journey.
Dawki is a stunning place for photography, offering everything from viewpoints on top of trees to underwater photography possibilities. Bird watchers will be thrilled to see the incredible variety of birds that take refuge in Meghalaya’s lush forests during the winter months. Those seeking to see a different aspect of India should visit the tourist places around Dawki in Meghalaya.