20 Most Delightful Places To Visit In Shillong In 2021
Posted On August 27, 2021
Tucked away in the idyllic Khasi Hills of Northeast India, Meghalaya’s capital ticks all the boxes for an exciting traveler like me. Join me on a virtual tour as we discover the best places to visit in Shillong in 2021!
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Shillong Fast Facts
– The city goes by many monikers. Some of my personal favorites are Scotland of the East and its name itself, Abode of the Clouds!
– The best way to enter Shillong is by air. The city’s airport at Umroi serves only domestic flights, however. If you’re flying in from abroad, Guwahati is your best bet.
– The city isn’t a huge metropolis, so you can get around just fine. I was surprised that most of the places to visit in Shillong were just a bus ride away!
– Shillong speaks Khasi for the most part. You’ll also hear smatterings of Bengali and Hindi. English will work at upscale establishments, but a few words of the local language go a long way.
– The best time to visit Shillong would be right after the monsoon season ends in October. I found the weather around that time to be pleasant and breezy, with the air from the hills being a treat for the senses!
Exploring Shillong – Best places to visit in ShillongBy my estimate, catching all of Shillong’s sights shouldn’t take you more than 3 days at most. In 2021, however, the story is different. On my most recent trip, the travel guidelines were lenient, with no additional procedure required for Indian nationals. In these days (and times), I am sure you will need an e-pass for Meghalaya travel to catch all the places to visit in Shillong and beyond. Always check with the concerned authorities before setting out on any tour in these times and stock up on all the necessary items beforehand.
With that out of the way, let’s set forth on the journey to discover the best that the Scotland of the East has to offer!
20 Most Delightful Places To Visit In Shillong In 2021
1. Shillong Peak – The Best View Of The City
It’s the highest point in the Shillong plateau by a long shot, standing tall at almost 2000 meters above sea level. You can catch pristine views of the city and even the plains of Bangladesh off in the distance! I loved the view from it along with the amazing hill station atmosphere!
2. Umiam Lake – A Perfect Picnic Spot With Calm Waters
I was surprised to discover that Umiam Lake is a man-made body of water! Though it’s among the most popular places to visit in Shillong, it’s quite silent and peaceful. The locals call it “Barapani” because it’s just that: a large body of water surrounded by lush forests and greenery.
3. Lady Hydari Park – A Relaxing Hangout Dating Back To Colonial Times
Compared to the other places to visit in Shillong, I was curious about this place’s unique name. After some exploring, I came to understand that the name is derived from the wife of the once-Governor of Assam, Lady Hydari. Don’t miss the mini-zoo and the sprawling greenery!
4. Elephant Falls – Northeastern Nature’s Beauty
Located in the upper regions of Shillong, Elephant Falls are nestled amidst forests that make Meghalaya as beautiful as it is. The falls get their name from the elephant-shaped rocky outcrop at the tip of the falls. When I got there, however, I found out that the elephant rock has been destroyed by a powerful earthquake that shook the city. It’s an amazing sight nonetheless!
5. Ward’s Lake – Perfect Scenery In The City Center
This waterbody is a hotspot among locals and tourists alike due to its proximity to the city. I enjoyed walking along the cobblestone paths. The locals call it Nan Polok! Ward’s Lake is a sublime sight during the evenings when the weather is pleasant and the sun is setting.
6. Butterfly Museum – A Must-See For All Entomologists
I thought I had seen all of Shillong’s animal-based sights, but the Butterfly Museum was a welcome surprise! There were plenty of colorful critters to see, though I’m not sure about its current state in 2021. Either way, it’s a must-visit if you’re a biology buff!
7. All Saints’ Cathedral – Shillong’s Antique Church
Located just a stone’s throw away from the Lady Hydari Park, this old church attracts people from all walks of life. I was mesmerized by the Roman architecture and unique interiors. It’s a great photo spot among the places to visit in Shillong, so be sure to stop by and grab a few clicks here at the very least.
8. The Golf Course – For The Love Of The Sport
Shillong’s golf course is a thing of beauty. I’m no expert on the sport, but the sheer architectural marvel of the course left me spellbound. Apparently, it’s one of the most complex golf courses in the country. I can imagine, it’s been around since 1898, after all!
9. The Laitlum Canyons – Pride Of The Khasi
On the other side of the Shillong Plateau lie the Khasi Hills, which are home to ample trekking spots. The Exciting Traveler in me was thoroughly satisfied with the Laitlum Canyon Trails. The peaceful atmosphere at the top of the trial is like no other in India.
10. Don Bosco Museum – Treasure Trove of Native Culture
If you want an in-depth tour of Northeast Indian culture, then Don Bosco Museum is one of the best places to visit in Shillong! I learned so much about not only Meghalayan culture, but the ways of the neighboring states as well. The museum is well-maintained and the museum premises themselves are quite large.
11. Bishop/Beadon Falls – A True Trekking Challenge
If you found the Elephant Falls trek a piece of cake, wait till you try making your way to these falls! You’ll find them in deep in the Suna Valley. The view was definitely worth the long haul, with the pristine falls towering above the valley at 96 meters. It often rains in Shillong, so this trek could be far more slippery than you may expect! Be advised that the viewpoint near the falls may be closed in 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions.
12. Capt. Williamson Sangma (State Museum) – A Portal To Northeast India’s Culture
If you’re a history buff, this is one of the best places to visit in Shillong for you. Since it’s government-run, the upkeep is decent and the exhibits are labeled with interesting facts about the region. When I visited, I spent around half an hour here.
13. Spread Eagle Falls – A Quiet Retreat Just Outside Shillong City
Though this is a glorified brook compared to the other waterfalls we’ve discussed here, it still has its own serene beauty. I found out that the place gets its name from the shape of the falls; that of an eagle taking flight. There’s a small garden nearby, so pack a picnic if you like!
14. Botanical Garden – A Green Paradise in Shillong
Make sure you stop by this attraction during your visit to Ward’s Lake. When I stepped in, I noticed that it also houses an orchidarium filled with resplendent and ethereal blooms. They even have boating facilities to take you through the lily-laced lakes, so it’s a wonderful experience! A must-visit if you have a green thumb.
15. Police Bazaar – The Central Hub For The Best Places To Visit In Shillong
While not a tourist attraction by itself, this square sure attracts a lot of travelers! The reason for its popularity is that this neighborhood has evolved into the central district of Shillong. Chances are your hotel will be here, your go-to restaurant will be here, and even your souvenir shop will be here! Take the time to explore this portion of Shillong’s downtown.
Best Places To Visit in Shillong: Beyond The City
Why should an Exciting Traveler stop with the usual tourist hotspots? Hungry for adventure as always, I ventured beyond Shillong’s city limits to see what sightseeing spots were near the city. To my surprise, Shillong is in proximity to many other wonderful sights that Northeast India has to offer. Let’s take a trek towards those places!
1. Mawsynram – Lord Shiva’s Natural Presence
I’m a nature lover, but some sights in the world go beyond mere beauty. The caves and stalactites of Mawsynram are a marvel by themselves, but what takes the cake is the natural Shivalinga within those caves. It’s a day’s trip away from Shillong, so if you have the time, don’t miss it!
Distance: 56 km from Shillong by road
17. Cherrapunji – A Record-Breaking Hamlet
Cherrapunji holds the distinction of being the wettest place on planet Earth. It received the most rainfall in a calendar year ever, and all that water has to go somewhere, right? Cherrapunji is a fun retreat if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
Distance: 60 km from Shillong by road
3. Mawlynnong – Cleanliness Is Godliness
This place was reported as the cleanest village in Asia. From experience, I can tell you that this is indeed the case. A far cry from even the best places to visit in Shillong, this quaint village maintains stringent practices to keep its surroundings clean. Waste is collected in bamboo tubs and used as manure later on. Plastic bags are banned, as is smoking! You have to see it to believe it.
Distance: 90 km from Shillong by road
4. Mawphlang – Sacred Site in Khasi Culture
The Khasi tribe native to Meghalaya holds the grove in this village in great esteem. It is open to the public and was slated to receive a facelift to make it more accessible when I visited. I hope things are looking better in 2021!
Distance: 25 km from Shillong by road
5. Guwahati – Gateway To Northeast India
This list would be incomplete without mentioning the iconic city across the border from Meghalaya! It’s your gateway to the rest of Northeast India, but don’t miss the rest of its sights such as the river cruise and sprawling gardens!
Distance: 104 km from Shillong by road
Now that you have an idea of the best places to visit in Shillong, I’m sure you must be raring to go! Here’s hoping the current global situation improves, and we get to walk the path of an Exciting Traveler again. Have you been to Meghalaya and the other Six Sisters? Tell me about your journey in the comments!
Gulshan Bafna is one of the luxury travelers in India. He, along with his wife, has traveled to many exotic places that one could dream. With their travel journey, they bring us the best face of those places. He compiles all of his travel journeys to give the taste of traveling to his readers. In his writing, he jots down the best things to do in all those places that he has visited. Reading these would help one know better about the place. He is also a seeker who loves exploring and discovering new places and share his experiences with everyone.