Literally translating into an ‘abode of clouds’, Shillong is a breathtaking hill station which is nestled amidst the paradisaical Garo and Khasi hills. With sparkling waterfalls, manicured gardens, azure lakes, and distinct culture, this alluring hill town beckons you to witness the natural charm of Northeast at these 10 mesmerizing places to visit in Shillong. Referred as the ‘Scotland of the East’, the natural scenery of Shillong has a striking similarity with the mountains in the east.
Best Time To Visit Shillong In 2018
The best time for Shillong tour is from the months of September to May. During these months, the weather is extremely pleasant with moderate rainfall. Shillong looks beautiful and invigorating during the monsoon season (June-August), but torrential rain may disrupt travel plans.
Best Places To Visit In Shillong In 2018
Here are some of the best tourist attractions you must visit in Shillong to witness the ethereal beauty of the hill station.
1. Umiam Lake
Surrounded by thick coniferous forests and East Khasi hills, Umiam Lake is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Shillong. Popular as Badapani, this is a sprawling man-made water body, formed by damming Umiam River. The lake is dotted with few small islands and the adjoining Lum Nehru Park is an ideal place for strolling and picnic.
Along with natural beauty, Umiam Lake is famous for thrilling water sports and fun activities like kayaking, boating, water cycling, scooting, and is an important part of Shillong sightseeing itinerary.
Location: Umiam Lake, Shillong
Distance From The City Centre: 16.5 Kilometers
Timings: All days – 9 am to 5 pm
How To Reach: Hire a private cab from Police Bazaar to reach Umiam Lake
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2. Shillong Peak
For a stunning view of the surrounding hills and valleys, visit Shillong Peak which happens to be the highest view point and one of the best places to visit in Shillong. Located at an elevation of 6449 feet and mostly surrounded by fog, Shillong Peak offers 360-degree bird’s-eye view of the distant hills, waterfalls, Shillong city, and plains of Bangladesh. Perfect for nature lovers, photographers and trekkers, this place is undoubtedly one of the best tourist attractions in Shillong.
Location: Shillong View Point, Shillong,793004
Distance From The City Centre: 4 kms
Timings: All Days – 9 am to 3:30 pm
How To Reach: One can take a bus or a private cab from the city centre and reach within 20 minutes.
Tip: Carry a valid ID proof for entry beyond the check post
3. Elephant Falls
Counted as one of the most scenic places to visit in Shillong, Elephant Falls is a three-tier cascading beauty and the most spectacular waterfall of the city.The Britishers named it so because of a huge adjoining rock, that has an uncanny resemblance with that of an elephant. However, the rock is no longer seen ever since it was destroyed in an earthquake.
Here at Elephant Falls, Shillong, you can admire the beauty of foamy water dropping in layers, surrounding dense vegetation, and enjoy shopping for souvenirs from local shops located at the entrance.
Location: Upper Shillong, 793009
Timings: All days – 9 am to 5 pm
Distance From The City Centre: 11 Kilometers
How To Reach: Hire a cab or board a state-run bus from Police Bazaar.
4. Laitlum Canyons
Perched in the Khasi Hills, Laitlum Canyons is the most offbeat name in the list of Shillong tourist places. Literally translating into the “end of the hills”, Laitlum Canyon is an ideal place for trekking enthusiasts, nature admirers, and peace seekers. Visit this hilltop viewpoint, and enjoy stunning views of gorges, distant hills, valleys, and zigzagging hilly roads.
Owing to the surrounding beauty and tranquility, this is surely one of the perfect places to visit near Shillong for honeymoon couples.
Location: East Khasi Hills, Shillong
Distance From The City Centre: 4 Kilometers
How To Reach: From Police Bazaar, drive for about 10 to 15 minutes towards Mawpat
road to reach Laitlum Canyons.
Tip: Since the destination comprises of a steep trek for a few kilometers, people with vertigo and breathing issues should be more careful while exploring the canyons.
5. Mary Help for Christian Cathedral
Featuring high arches and stained glass windows, Mary Help of Christian Cathedral is one of the most famous churches in Shillong. The white marble building along with Mother Mary statue looks grand and elegant. This is certainly the most famous Shillong tourist spot.
Inside the Cathedral, there are some beautiful terracotta stations of the cross that showcases life events of Jesus. Perched high on a hill, one can also visit the Grotto Church which carved out the same hill and is located right below the Cathedral.
Location: Lachumiere, Shillong
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 7 am to 6:30 pm; Sunday – 8 am to 6:30 pm
Distance From The City Centre: 2 Kilometers
How To Reach: Take a cab and reach the Cathedral via the Don Bosco Road from Police Bazaar.
Tip: If you are visiting on a clear day, do not miss to enjoy the superb vista of Brahmaputra River and Himalayan Peaks from the Cathedral.
6. Ward’s Lake
During Shillong sightseeing, it is impossible to miss the Ward’s Lake. Located at the heart of the city, this is another famous lake in Shillong, also known as Polok Lake. The lake is encircled by cobblestone walkway, ideal for evening strolls. People visit this Shillong tourist spot, to enjoy the natural beauty, day picnics, watch dancing fountain shows or relax at the cafeteria, located by the lake.
The wooden bridge on the lake and sprawling lotus beds on both sides make the place look immensely scenic.
Location: Police Bazaar, Shillong
Entry Fee: INR 5 per person; boating and camera charges extra
Timings: All Days – November to February – 8:30 am to 5:30 pm; March to October – 8:30 am to 7 pm
Distance From The City Centre: NA
How To Reach: Ward’s Lake is conveniently located at the heart of city near the Raj Bhavan.
Tip: Buy puffed rice from the entrance gate in case you plan to enjoy feeding the fishes.
7. Don Bosco Museum
As one of the best places to visit in Shillong, Don Bosco Museum of Indigenous Cultures welcomes every tourist, art enthusiasts, and history buffs with open arms. Featuring art galleries, wide collections of handicrafts, artefacts, attires, ornaments, and weapons used by various tribes of North-east India, one can witness panoramic views of the entire Northeast India.
The museum is located in the premises of Sacred Heart Church and is a seven storey building with seventeen different galleries.
Location: Mawlai, Shillong
Entry Fee: INR 50 per person
Timings: Monday to Saturday: 9 am to 5:30 pm; Closed on Sundays
Distance From The City Centre: 5 kilometers
How To Reach: From the Police Bazar, embark on the Buddhist Temple Road or Camels Back Road to reach the museum easily.
Tip: Once you have seen all the galleries, walk up to the sky walk on the top to enjoy the jaw-dropping vista of Shillong city.
8. Lady Hydari Park
Named after the first lady of the province- Lady Hydari, this park is one of the most popular Shillong tourist places. The park comprises of a sprawling and manicured garden including beautiful rose beds and children’s play area. There is a mini zoo inside the park housing more than 73 species of birds and 100 species of reptiles.
Location: East Khasi Hills, Shillong
Timings: Tuesday to Sunday: 9 am to 5:30 pm; Closed on Mondays
Distance From The City Centre: 2 kilometers
How To Reach: Drive for 5 to 10 minutes via MG road to reach Lady Hydari Park
Tip: Visit the park during the mornings as the local flock to the park in the evening and it will be difficult to find parking space for those who are traveling by car.
9. Air Force Museum
Located within the complex of Eastern Air Command, Air Force Museum in Shillong is yet another sight of beauty and wonder that makes it one of the most popular places to see in Shillong. With galleries displaying various rockets, missiles, miniatures of fighter planes, badges, rank medals, and awards, this museum attracts all types of travelers throughout the year.
Location: 7th Mile, HQ, EAC, Shillong
Timings: 9 am to 2 pm; 2:30 pm to 5 pm; Closed on Wednesdays & Sundays
Distance From The City Centre: 12 Kilometers
How to Reach: Embark on the national highway numbered 106 to reach IAF museum from the Police Bazar.
Tip: Carry valid ID proof which is required to enter the museum.
10. All Saints Cathedral
Considered to be one of the oldest churches in the city, All Saints Cathedral is certainly one of the best places to visit in Shillong. The building reflects a colonial style architecture along with wooden roofs whereas the internal structures add to the beauty and elegance of the Cathedral. Daily masses are organised here, but most footfall is seen during Sundays.
Location: Kacheri Road, Lachumiere, Shillong
Timings: The church is open on all days of the week from 8:30 Am to 5:30 Pm.
Distance From The City Centre: 1.4 Kilometers
How to Reach: Drive for about 5 minutes via MG Road from Police Bazar and once you reach the State Central Library, you can spot the church right opposite to it.
Tip: Plan well in advance so that you can explore other tourist attractions like Lady Hydari Park, State Museum, and Butterfly Museum that are located in close proximity to the Cathedral.
Frequently Asked Questions About Shillong
Q: Which are the best things to do in Shillong?
A: Trekking, Angling, Rafting, Horse Riding, and Kayaking are some of the best things to do in Shillong.
Q: Which are the best restaurants in Shillong?
A: City Hut, Qzine Restaurant, Munchies, and Jiva Sizzlers are some of the best restaurants in Shillong.
Q: Which are the best shopping places in Shillong?
A: OB shopping mall, Glory’s Plaza, Raps Mansion, and Paltan Bazar are some of the best shopping places in Shillong.
Q: Which are the most popular local dishes of Shillong?
A: Jadoh, Tungrambai, Kyat, Ktung, and Ki Ktu are some of the best local dishes that one must try when in Shillong.
Q: Which are the best places to visit in Shillong in December?
Though December is the coldest month in Shillong with minimum temperature as low as 6 degrees Celsius. If you still wish to explore Shillong, you can visit Don Bosco Museum, Shillong View Point, and Laitlum.
Q: Which are the best places to visit in Shillong in June?
June is the best time to visit the waterfalls in Shillong. The rainfall washes away the city producing scenic vistas for you. Elephant Fall and Spread Eagle are two of the beautiful falls in Shillong.
Q: Which are things that you should not do in Shillong?
Not making reservations before you arrive in Shillong and not carrying enough cash are two of the things you should not do in Shillong. ATMs here are scanty. Also, do not forget to carry your ID proofs.
Planning a trip to Shillong anytime soon? Then make the most of your trip by including these mesmerizing places to visit in Shillong, that will spice up your whole holiday experience.
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