Shillong, known as the "Scotland of the East," has many things to offer visitors choosing to steer away from the regular routes. Shillong makes a good base for excursions to nearby places of interest with some really offbeat locations.
If you haven't visited Shillong before, we suggest you take the usual sightseeing tour first, visiting the usual places in Shillong such as the Don Bosco Museum or Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures and Butterfly Museum or Wankhar Entomology Museum- a one-room museum in a private home of Shillong resident, which displays vibrant collections of mounted butterflies & other insects. Shillong’s Lady Lady Hydari Park and Wards Lake are a must for every visitor in the evening with their manicured garden, a mini-zoo, and children's playground attached to it. Other places of interest in and around Shillong city are Elephant Falls, Shillong Peak, Spread Eagle Falls, and the golf course to name a few.
No trip is complete without shopping for souvenirs; Shillong's Police bazaar has brand stores and upmarket shops selling everything from garments to accessories to food while Bara Bazaar or Lewduh of Shillong is for the locals with its exotic fruits and vegetables and the local bamboo & cane crafts.
FUN EXCURSIONS AROUND SHILLONG
With Shillong as the base, there are a number of places where you can go for a day or overnight excursions. Village tours are quite in demand as you experience first-hand the traditional way of living and gain insight into existing and locally known sites.
EXCURSION TO DAWKI
Another excursion from Shillong is Dawki, it is 95 kilometers from Shillong passing through deep gorges and ravines, which is certainly a thrilling experience. The Umngot River is the natural boundary between Jaintia Hills with Hima Khyrim of Khasi hills over which is a single-span suspension bridge was constructed. This is the gateway to Bangladesh where major export and import transactions take place.
Elephant Falls, Shillong
EXCURSION TO NARTIANG
Nartiang is a small town approximately 60 kilometers from Shillong which is famous for its Monoliths and Durga Temple which is considered a shaktipeeth.
EXCURSION TO MAWLYNNONG
Mawlynnong village has earned the distinction of being the cleanest village in India. It is situated 90 km. from Shillong the village also offers many interesting sights such as the living root bridge and a boulder balancing on another rock beside the pristine environment.
EXCURSION TO KONGTHONG
Kongthong Village, which is 56 km from Shillong, is also known as the whistling village. In this village, no one is called by their given name but by whistling a tune, which is unique to each inhabitant.
EXCURSION TO SMIT VILLAGE
Around 17 km from Shillong is the village of Smit, considered to be the traditional seat of Khasi culture. The Nongkrem dance festival is held in Smit village during the month of November. Another thing to do while in Shillong is to visit Kyllang Rock. It is a massive dome-shaped single rock of granite, rising to an elevation of about 5400 ft above sea level, and measures 1,000 ft across in diameter. Kyllang Rock lies 78 km from Shillong.
OFFBEAT ACTIVITIES IN SHILLONG
Shillong has a number of offbeat activities to offer such as a hike on the Davis Scott trail. The original trail passed through the city of Shillong. The trek trail now bypasses the city of Shillong and passes through low granite and sandstone cliffs found amidst rolling hills. Angling is yet another activity you can take up during your Shillong visit; Umiam Lake near Shillong is home to an enormous number of species of fish. Dawki is another promising option for angling around Shillong. It is around 80 km away from Shillong and located amidst a placid surrounding. Catfishes, Golden Carps, and Silver Carp are the most significant species to be found there.
From Shillong, camping in the nearby Khasi Hills is yet another option for outdoor activity. With green meadows, chilling weather, and the fragrance of pine trees, the hilly region of Shillong is ideal for camping with your friends or family members. Though for camping in Meghalaya, Mawlynnong rainforest and Dawki also rank high. At the outskirt of Shillong, in some parts of the East Khasi Hills, hard rock formations are found where rock climbing can be enjoyed in the truest sense.
Living root bridge
Another remarkable natural feature found in Shillong Hills is the sacred forests. These are community forest lands that are preserved because of traditional religious sanctions. One of the most famous sacred forests is the Mawphlang Sacred Forest, which is about 25 km from Shillong.
Places to stay in Shillong