19 Best Places to Visit in Shillong (Explore Meghalaya)

19 Best Places to Visit in Shillong (Explore Meghalaya)

Welcome! In this article, you are gonna explore the top places to visit in Shillong.

Shillong is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the North East India; it’s definite that you’ll fall in love with the salubrious weather and incredible scenic beauty of the place.

Journey to Shillong might be a bit hectic for the distant guests because you’ll not get a direct flight from all the corners of the nation, but the splendid view of roadside waterfalls, blue-green lakes, dreamy canyon spaces, lush green vegetation must make your journey pleasant than ever. Every year, thousands of foreign travelers pick up the Meghalaya trip to grab the opportunity to enjoy extreme activities into the serine nature full of the aroma of pine trees.

So, let’s uncover the secret of attraction.

Top Places to Visit in Shillong

There are 100 things to do in Shillong that include lakes viewing, boat riding, river rafting, hiking, climbing, waterfalls, canyons, deep forests, churches, museums, and parks. However, it’s not really possible to cover everything in a single trip unless you spend there for 10-15 days.

If your trip is solely focused on Shillong, that’s a different matter, you may visit every corner of whole Shillong including goods, moderates, and not-worthies; but in a 5-10 days Meghalaya trip majority of tourists prefer to cover other places along with Shillong, such as Cherrapunji, Mawsynram, Dawki, Mawlylong, etc.

Assuming you are one among them, I suggest planning at least a 3 -4 nights stay at Shillong during your Meghalaya trip.

The availability of 100s of tourist places in Shillong doesn’t mean you are gonna like everything on that list.

In this article, I’m specifically introducing the best places in Shillong that you shouldn’t be missing out at any circumstances; the following are the ideal things to do in Shillong for the pure nature lovers and fun finders.

1. Umiam Lake

Places to visit in shillong - Umiam Lake.

Umiam Lake is situated just outside the Shillong city (approx. 28 km from Police Bazar, Shillong) beside Guwahati-Shillong highway into the lap of East Khasi hills. Not fully natural but it’s a mesmerizing man-made reservoir, which was formed after the construction of a dam to generate hydroelectric power.

However, the scenic beauty of Umiam Lake is irresistible, especially on a sunny morning or afternoon. The lake is encircled by the lush green pine forest of East Khasi hills while offers one of the top panoramic views from different angles.

The beauty of Umiam lake blooms from the early morning when the first sunrises, but not everyone can experience the magnificent sunrise view mainly because of two reasons,

  1. The place is away from the city center and not many stay options are available nearby.
  2. Frequent rain or cloudy morning often restricts the glorious view.

However, if you can cross the above barriers, definitely you’ll be a gainer. However, sunset in Umiam is more affordable and you can easily experience it after enjoying a full (or half) day at Umiam.

Other than experiencing the lake beauty, you can enjoy a lakeside picnic and boat ride. Overall, Umiam offers you a day full of joy, so keep this at the top of your list.

  • Location: Umiam, Shillong
  • Distance From The City Centre: 28 km (from Police Bazar)
  • How To Reach: Book a rented taxi from you stay at Shillong (if you are not staying beside Umiam Lake).
  • Where to Stay: Check here

2. Lumpongdeng Island

Places to visit in Shillong - Lumpongdeng IslandLumpongdeng Island is very much related to the Umium Lake trip; in fact, it’s a lonely spot in the middle of the Umiam Lake, offers you peaceful moments. You may reach out there from Umiam by a boat.

Lumpongdeng Island is ideal for boating and spending hours into the lap of serene nature away from the rest of the world. You may choose to stay in the houseboat, or even may grab the opportunity to enjoy camping and trekking.

Indeed, capturing splendid landscapes is a great addition which immensely attracts the photographers to this island.

  • Location: Umiam Lake, Shillong
  • Distance From The City Centre: 28 km + boat
  • Timings: NA
  • How To Reach: Hire a taxi from stay to take you to Umiam Lake, and rent a boat from Umiam.
  • Where to Stay: Check here

3. Laitlum Canyons

Places to visit in shillong - Laitlum

Laitlum Canyons is a relatively less explored place in Shillong, but I rank it #No.1 spot among any other destination in Shillong.

Laitlum is an outskirt destination that is situated approx. 23 km away from the city center into the lap of East Khasi Hills, and most of the tourists don’t even know about this place; However, local tour operators also skip this place because it’s a bit away. But you must visit this place in any circumstance if you love to spectate something amazing in Shillong. Not only the place itself is beautiful, but the road you’ll cover to reach out there is pictorial too.

At Laitlum Canyons, shadows of thousands curve play together when the sunshine and produces an ever enchanting view full of greenery. You can spend there for hours sitting on the green carpet at the edge of the highland.

I suggest you Check HERE to have a complete idea about Laitlum.

  • Location: Laitlum
  • Distance From The City Centre: 23 km (from Police Bazar)
  • How To Reach: Hire a taxi from stay
  • Where to Stay: Check here

4. Shillong Peak

Places to visit in shillong - Shillong peak.
View from Shillong peak

If you are planning to head towards Laitlum in the early morning (which is suggested) you may take a halt at Shillong peak on your return journey. Otherwise, you may visit there any other time as it is close to the city center (only 11 km from Police Bazar).

Shillong peak is the highest point of the entire region which is about 6449 ft (1965 m) above sea level that mainly offers a panoramic view of the entire city. There is a telescope for experiencing the bird’s eye view for which you have to spend a few bucks (INR 20 per head), but you may avoid it on a rainy day because there is no reason to watch a foggy view.

You can have a horse ride there at Shillong peak and decorate yourself as a Khasi king or queen in exchange for a few bucks and have some lifetime pics. Yes, myself and my family enjoyed the event as you can watch us below. Isn’t fun!

Just a caution for the foreign travelers: Even though Shillong peak is a tourist destination, the place is also occupied by the Indian airforce, and due to the same reason foreign travelers are not allowed there without prior permission. I hope, you can understand the security issue of a nation. So, foreign travelers are suggested to have permission or skip this place.

  • Location: Shillong Peak (Laitkor Peak)
  • Distance From The City Centre: 11.7 km (from Police Bazar)
  • How To Reach: Hire a taxi from your stay
  • Where to Stay: Check here

5. Bishop Falls

Bishop Falls is close to the city center; to reach there, you need to drive 4 km followed by a little hike.

Here, the water rolls down from a height of 443 ft, and certainly, Bishop Fall is ranked as the 22nd highest waterfall in India. The place is surrounded by a lush green hilly landscape while accompanied by a smaller one, known as Beadon Falls. Indeed, the place is one of the best in Shillong to spend time with your family in the lap of nature.

For the local people, it’s a top-listed picnic spot; so you may experience a bit crowd if you visit there at weekends.

  • Location: Mawprem, Shillong
  • Distance From The City Centre: 4.2 km
  • Timings: 10 AM – 5 PM
  • How To Reach: Take a private taxi or a cab to reach Bishop waterfalls.
  • Where to Stay: Check here
  • Tip: This is an ideal tourist attraction for a sunny day

6. Elephant Waterfalls

Elephant waterfall is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Meghalaya, easy to access, and thus also very crowded.

Falling water rolls down in a cascade fashion over the black rocks shaped like elephant feet, which is the main reason behind the nomenclature of this fall.

Place to visit in Shillong - Elephant falls.
Elephant Waterfalls at Shillong, Cherrapunji

It’s a fine place to spend some time watching the falls, having some memorable snaps. You can hike to the bottom, near the stream, if you have enough time in your hand.

  • Location: Upper Shillong
  • Distance From The City Centre: 11.8 km
  • Timings: 10 AM – 5 PM
  • How To Reach: Hire a cab to reach Elephant waterfalls.
  • Where to Stay: Check here

7. Sweet Falls

Best places to visit in Shillong - sweet falls.Sweet Falls is situated in the opposite direction of the Elephant waterfalls, and the distance is almost the same from the city center. Although Steet Falls is one of the steepest and most mesmerizing falls are the country, not many people know about this one. As a result, you’ll get an opportunity to breathe a peaceful air away from the tourists’ crowd while listening to the sound of gurgling water and singing birds.

  • Location: Mawashbuit, Shillong
  • Distance From The City Centre: 12 km
  • Timings: 10 AM – 5 PM
  • How To Reach: Hire a cab to reach Sweet falls and then walk to little to reach the point.
  • Where to Stay: Check here

8. Mawphlang Sacred Grooves

Mawphlang is a bit away from Shillong (27 km) but it’s a must-visit place in the Meghalaya trip. You can visit this place after covering Elephant Waterfalls because both are located by the same route; alternatively, you may halt at Mawphlang on your way towards Cherrapunji.

Mawphlang is one of the several monoliths in the Khasi Hills; the village itself offers a lot of pictorial landscapes that you’ll experience on your way.

The entrance of the Mawphlang Sacred Forest is surrounded by a huge valley where you may spend some quality time on a sunny morning or afternoon. On one side of the valley, there are years old architectures, a few food stalls, and a natural roadside garden.

On the other end of the valley, you’ll find the sacred forest. Local guides will not let you in there alone, they will charge you INR 300-600 for a trip inside. Inside the forest, you’ll see many unknown tropical trees and years’ old sacred stones of the Khasi tribe.

Explore all about Mawphlang Sacred Forest HERE.

Not every tourist visit this place, because many of them don’t know about, but I strongly suggest you not to miss Sacred Grove.

  • Location: Mawphlang village
  • Distance From The City Centre: 27 km
  • Timings: 10 AM – 5 PM
  • How To Reach: Hire a cab to reach Mawphlang sacred forest.
  • Where to Stay: Check here

9. David Scott Trail

If the double-decker root bridge is the top trekking route in Meghalaya, David Scott Trail lies just behind occupying the second position.

In the 1800s a British officer David Scott discovered this trek route that 4-5 hours to cover depending upon your pace. On the way, you’ll be greeted by cascading waterfalls, narrow streams, stony river, sprawling meadows, tropical trees, deep forest, rock bridge, several tribal villages, and breath-taking valley views.

Best places to visit in Shillong - David Scott trail.

The starting point is near Mawphlang and the trekking route ends at Cherrapunji. If you are an adventure lover, you must keep this trek on your list.

  • Location: Mawphlang
  • Distance From The City Centre: 26 km
  • Timings: 10 AM – 5 PM
  • How To Reach: Hire a cab to reach the starting point of David Scott trail.
  • Where to Stay: Check here

10. Shillong Golf Course

The golf course is located at a corner of the green city, Shillong. The green carpet golf area is surrounded by pine and other tropical trees.

Nothing much to do there on the golf course, but it’s a nice place to spend a lazy evening there with your friends and family. In addition, you may take some snakes from the restaurants nearby.

  • Location: Shillong
  • Distance From The City Centre: 4.7 km (from Police Bazar)
  • Timings: 10 AM – 5 PM
  • How To Reach: Hire a cab to reach there.
  • Where to Stay: Check here

11. Phan Nonglait Park

Places to visit in Shillong - Phan Nonglait ParkBeautifully decorated in Japanese style Phan Nonglait Park is the tourist hotspot of Shillong, more because this place is located right in the heart of the city. Eventually, you may expect a big crowd of locals and tourists every day. It is also known as Lady Hydari Park.

In Phan Nonglait zoo you can spot Himalayan Black Bear, Porcupine, Jackal, Leopard, etc, which is great news for junior travelers; however, the overall park is rich with flora-fauna, enthralling scenery, and numerous ponds which offers a worthy session during your Shillong trip.

  • Location: Lachumiere, Shillong
  • Timings: 8 Am – 5 Pm, Monday closed
  • Distance From The City Centre: 3 km (from Police Bazar)
  • How to Reach: It is located in the city and can be reached by cab.
  • Charges: Entry fees INR 10/- per head, Camera: INR 20/-
  • Where to Stay: Check here

12. Wards Lake

If you have complete most of the activities in Shillong and get free time in a bright afternoon just go for a leisure walk around majestic Wards Lake.

Wards Lake is not fully natural, but manmade renovation into nature’s creation made it a must-visit place in Shillong. Indeed, the place is pretty romantic as wonderfully decorated by encircled lake water, wooden bridge flowerbeds, and innovative grass-made illuminations. You enjoy some boating on to the lake water and spending sometimes in the Lakeview café, I swear you’ll love the place.

However, weekends and other holidays are a bit packed there, so as a tourist you should avoid visiting Wards lake in those days.

  • Location: Shillong
  • Timings: 8 Am – 5 Pm, Monday closed
  • Distance From The City Centre: 4 km (from Police Bazar)
  • How to Reach: It is located in the city; you may hire a cab, or walk through based on your stay location.
  • Charges: Entry fees INR 10/- per head, Camera: INR 20/-
  • Where to Stay: Check here

13. Peaceful Vibes at Botanical Garden

Best places to visit in Shillong - Botanical garden ShillongIf you are fond of gardening or planting, or if you love to uncover new plant species, Shillong botanical garden is a definite pick for you. Here you’ll find a very impressive collection of rare orchids and other plants. It is a nice place to take a stroll in the afternoon session just after you cover the Wards Lake.

However, you should consider places like Wards lake, botanical garden, and Golf course for respite from the daily activities when you can spend some leisure as well as quality times with your loved ones. Despite adventurous activities, you also need some peaceful moments during your vacation.

  • Location: Close to Ward Lake, Shillong
  • Distance From The City Centre: 3 km
  • Timings: 9:30 AM – 6 PM
  • How To Reach: You may hire a cab or walkthrough based on your stay location.
  • Tip: This is a great place to visit when you have spare time
  • Where to Stay: Check here

14. Sohpetbneng Peak

This is the second-highest peak in Shillong located on the outskirts of the main city, which offers a breathtaking view of the region including the city itself. Unlike the Shillong peak, this place is much less crowded and offers you a serene, tranquil, and peaceful experience. And for the very same reason, local tribal people regard this place as the ‘Naval of Heaven’.

So, it’s worthwhile to visit this place if you can manage some time in your trip.

  • Location: Lum Sohpetbneng, Shillong
  • Timings: Open 24 hours
  • Distance From The City Centre: 24 Kilometers from Shillong City
  • How to Reach: Take a taxi to reach the point and then you need to walk a bit to reach the viewing point.
  • Where to Stay: Check here

Other Places to Visit in Shillong

The above-listed places are kind of must-visit spots in Shillong. If you have enough time in your hand, you can visit the following places.

15. Spread Eagle Falls

This place is 6 km away from the city center, known as the widest waterfall in Shillong that roll down step-by-step into the massive pool.

16. Butterfly Museum, Shillong

Not for everyone, but people from biology/ life sciences steam, or those who are interested in Entomology, or those who are interested in butterfly cultivation, can visit there to explore the extensive collection of vibrant butterflies, moths, beetles and other insects.

17. Air Force Museum

You can understand it’s related to the defense system of the nation, and for the very same reason, foreign tourists are not allowed there unless they got very special permission.

If you are an Indian, enjoy the brilliant display of the nation’s pride including aircraft models, miniature models of rockets and missiles, other machinery, uniforms of pilots, technology, and demonstrations, and past war pictures. As an Indian, you’ll definitely feel proud to by the exhibition. The place is not far away but situated at the upper Shillong.

18. Nokrek National Park

If you are planning for a hangout (or a picnic) into the serine green in  Shillong, Nokrek National Park is a good pick, which is situated at upper Shillong close to Elephant Falls.

19. Police Baazar (for shopping only)

To be honest, I am personally not a great fan of shopping unless having some unique local handicrafts or clothes. But, not everyone is like me because without shopping many tourists find a tour incomplete.

In Police Bazar, you’ll get a variety of items starting from commercial dresses, exclusive handicrafts, pure honey, souvenirs as well as the unique plants of the north-eastern region. But be careful, they often ask high prices to the tourist, so bargain well before you buy.

More Places to visit in Shillong

At the top I already mentioned, it’s a long list!

Shillong hosts an endless number of tourist places. If you are a frequent visitor or a long term visitor in Shillong, you can cover the following places also.

  • Anglican Cemetery
  • State Museum
  • Cathedral
  • Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Culture

Away Places to visit in Shillong-Meghalaya trip

I guess your Meghalaya trip is not only based on Shillong, but you are willing to cover several other places. Indeed, outskirts destinations are even more beautiful. I’m showing you a list of places in Meghalaya that you shouldn’t miss during your trip.

Where to Stay in Shillong

Due to the high intensity of tourists’ activities, the city is full of a wide range of hotels, resorts, and homestays from all ranges. Now a day with the appearance of Air BNB, you also have the option to book you rented flats in Shillong.

However, not all of those are good to stay. When you are visiting a place a tourist you must expect some sort of views right from your hotel balcony, or at least from the lawn. Some people want to stay away from the city crowd, some prefer to stay nearby specific spots, some people love to stay close to nature by mixing up with the local culture.

This article is already long enough, so I made another article exploring the Top Hotels, Resorts, and Homestays in Shillong.

I hope this will help you out.

>> Best Hotels to Stay in Shillong <<

Caution: I strictly suggest not to book from Oyo. They offer hotels at a low cost, but they bluff a lot. In my Shillong trip, I personally faced one such situation. I booked my last night stay near a specific point; but one day before my stay, Oyo canceled my booking in that resort and shifted me to another poor one at a very interior as well as dumb location.

Let’s Wrap Up

I’m feeling great by sharing all my experiences about the place. Hope the information will help you to arrange a great trip to Shillong.

Still, if you have any further queries, don’t hesitate. Just post your question in the comment box below, I’ll get back to you and help you out.

Happy trip!

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