Getting there, to begin with, is an adventure. Shnongpdeng lies 100km south-west of Shillong, in the West Jaintia Hills, on the very edge of the Meghalaya-Bangladesh border. There are roads. In parts. The rest mostly comprises of pot-holed river bed tracks. But you will pass the cleanest, quaintest villages and orchards of swaying betel nut palm trees before you get to Dawki, Shnong Pdeng’s louder, more touristy sibling.
The hills here drop into the vast plains of Bangladesh, cut through by the crystalline Umngot River (in winter, especially, piercingly clear). A turn off the main road takes you to Shnong Pdeng (“village in the middle”), a riverside hamlet where life clusters around piscine activities – elegant fishing boats dotting the waters, carrying local fisherfolk. Sip sha saw (red tea) at a stall overlooking groups of playing children, hire a boat for a trip down the river, walk across the hanging bridge suspended scarily high above.
And for the more adventurous, get in touch with Pioneer Adventure Tours (pioneeradventuretour.com) for an array of sporting activities. Its one-day trip includes a two-hour trek from Wahkadait to Dawki with scuba diving, zip lining, kayaking, snorkeling and cliff jumping; the overnight option (two days, one night) offers, in addition, rock climbing and rappelling, with camping along a lovely sandy stretch of riverbank. As the evening settles around you, sit around the bonfire, grill the catch of the day, stargaze.