Shillong, Meghalaya : Places to Visit and Things to Do

Out of all the places I have visited in my life, I love Gangtok the most. As I didn't feel that kind of awe ever again, I decided to try North East once more. We have planned our vacation three months prior so that we can get flight tickets at reasonable rates. Our package is from Siang Explorer, Travel Triangle. It costed us 28K for package and 12K for flight tickets for two people for 5 days.

What to pack to Meghalaya?

It was foggy, but not rainy in September except for few drizzles. It was sunny and hot in the mornings in Shillong.
  • Light and comfortable clothes for mornings to keep walking in scorching sun.
  • A jacket/rain coat would be helpful for evenings and if it rains.
  • If you are going for trekking, carry shoes with you.
  • Floaters are very comfortable for the rest of the days as there's water in caves and other places.
  • Carry swimwear - lot of places to get into water.
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses.
  • Raincoat for your bag if you are going to carry DSLR etc.
  • Money. There are enough ATMs, but not so many. Better to have cash handy for quick shopping.
For more travel packing tips, see Travel checklist.

Day 1: Umiam Lake, Golf Course, Ward's Lake, Police Bazar

We started to airport around 4 AM and reached airport around 5 AM for a flight to Kolkata at 5.55 AM. So we had to rush for check in and security.

Travel Time:
Hyderabad to Kolkata - 2.5 hours
Kolkata to Gauhati - 1.25 hours
Gauhati to Shillong - around 3 hours on road by car.

We had our breakfast in Kolkata, as we had lot of time for the next flight(2+ hours) - there are lot of restaurants and food courts within and outside the airport.
We reached Gauhati around 12 PM. We were picked up at airport in a car by which we traveled  for the next 5 days.

En route, we were told that the road we are on is Assam and the road on other side of the divider is Meghalaya! So if you have a bucket list item to be in two places at the same time, this is your chance :)

Meghalaya and Assam
Meghalaya and Assam, Courtesy: Google Maps


You can see many stalls with fruits and local pickle jars on the way.

We stopped for lunch around 2 PM.

By 3.30 PM, we reached Umiam lake. For the view point, entry ticket is 50 per person.
You can dip your feet on the steps to the lake. It's a very serene lake with tall trees around.
Boating is available, but we skipped it because of time constraints.


Umiam Lake
Umiam Lake


Around 5 PM, we visited Golf course. We were wondering what's so special about a Golf course - but it was vast green plains with occasional pine cone trees. We bought hot corn and lied down to see the green and the blue(sky). We could see many kids and teens playing football and of course, golf.

Golf Course
Golf Course


Around 5.30, we reached Ward's lake. Entry fee is 10 per person and 20 for a camera.
It was getting dark and there were no lights, so we kind of rushed here.
The lake was beautiful, not as vast as Umiam. It was maintained well enough with wall creepers and colorful plants.

Ward's Lake, Shillong
Ward's Lake, Shillong


We couldn't cover Cathedral and Khamakhya temple because of time constraints. By 6.30, we were dropped at our hotel EEE CEE. It's not just the name that seems quirky, paintings and silent lobbies gave me the heebiedabajeebies. My room number was 308 and I was convinced that the John Cusack horror movie is 308(it's 1408). The road on which this hotel exists is called Jail Road. Lifts had mirror on the roofs where I would stare and scare myself. By morning, I realized it's all normal.

Police Bazar, the major market of Shillong was just five minutes away from the hotel. It's very crowded and noisy. Many items were being sold like shawls, scarves, clothes, footwear, handbags, belts, accessories, toys, spices, nuts, fruits, paan etc. We bought few items. Few items were available for very less cost. If you like shopping, don't miss this. We had dinner at a restaurant within the Bazar and went back to the hotel.

Day 2: Shillong Peak, Elephant Falls, View Points

We had breakfast at hotel - regular breakfast buffet along with local cuisine - which seemed like different kinds of batter steamed with no salt/pepper or sugar. Then we checked out from hotel and started to Cherrapunji. We covered few places in Shillong en route.


Meghalaya Cuisine
Meghalaya Cuisine


Our first destination was Shillong Peak, where you can view the entire city. Binoculars are available. The view was foggy and cloudy. You need Army permission to visit - it's just depositing your ID card outside at the counter and collecting it back after the visit.

Shillong Peak
Shillong Peak


Next stop was Elephant Falls which is a three tiered water falls with crystal clear water.

Elephant Waterfalls Shillong
Elephant Waterfalls Shillong


We visited two more view points after this where it was full of fog. Unfortunately, I don't remember the names of these view points.

Shillong View Points
Shillong View Points


From this point on wards - Day 2.5 till Day 4.75(6 PM), we were exploring other places in Meghalaya. I will be posting about it next week.

Day 4.75:

Back to EEE CEE 208 by 6 PM. We went to Police Bazar again, but we were too damn tired.

EEE CEE restaurant closed at 7.30 PM, so we had to roam around to find a restaurant and finally made it to Madras Cafe. The owner of the restaurant spoke to everyone of the customer personally and even ordered bajji for us(on the house).

Day 5: Don Bosco Museum

Same breakfast at hotel and checked out.

We wanted to visit Laitlum Canyon first, but we were told that we can't make it there and catch our flight by 4.30 in Gauhati as it is 25 kms away from where we were staying.
Even Khamakhya temple was out of scope as it's near Gauhati and we can't make it there before 12 PM.
So we were taken to Don Bosco Museum which we were least interested in and still got disappointed after visiting even with such low expectations. May be, history buffs may like it - but I doubt that as there is not much content. Too much money put into trivial displays. That said, we didn't visit the top floor, where you can get a view of Shillong. Reason? I fell sick - food poisoning and we had to rush to hospital!

Don Bosco Museum, Shillong
Don Bosco Museum, Shillong


When we asked for directions to any nearby hospital, no one would understand what we are saying or even the driver. Internet won't work. Somehow we reached a hospital which turned out to be Govt hospital. I was taken to Emergency because I had only 1.5 hours time left to start my on road journey to Gauhati. After few meds, painful saline infusion by an angry male nurse(totally unnecessary-but no one would believe me,even my husband) and embarrassing round up(investigation) by a gang of medicos who even asked my religion - when I was just lying on the bed looking like an angry dried up potato... we rushed back to Gauhati.

So, basically, Day 5 was wasted.

Tips:

  • Your travel agency may add all the places in Shillong to itinerary, but that doesn't mean you will be able to visit all of them. Know the timings and distance between each of the places. Ask them specifically and see how many you can actually cover. Our driver told us that it's poor planning on Day 1 and 5 because of the flights which basically make up for one day. This left only odd timings for us at odd places. Overall, we missed Laitlum Canyon, Khamekhya temple, Cathedral in Shillong.
  • Book your flights in advance - that's a lot of money saved.
  • Do not drink regular water even if you are dying and be vary when trying local cuisine. Go for bottled water and good enough restaurants.
~

Comments

  1. I had a tour to North-East but not Meghalaya.
    I have a plan to do a family trip to shilong and other North-East cities then your guide will help us to plan a visit to places accordingly.
    Thank you for sharing experience.

    ReplyDelete

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