10 Best Things To Do In Shillong on Your Meghalaya Vacation
Embark on this journey to the ‘Scotland of the East’ – Shillong, a hidden gem tucked away in the enchanting landscapes of Meghalaya, in the Northeastern part of India. This mesmerizing hill station captivates travelers with its breathtaking landscapes, lush greenery, and serene ambiance. Offering a perfect blend of modernity and traditional charm, the Top Things To Do In Shillong promises an unforgettable experience to all who venture into its embrace. So, get ready to be enchanted as you embark on an unforgettable journey through the wonders of Shillong with our Meghalaya Tour Packages.
Steeped in rich culture and natural beauty, Shillong has become a sought-after destination for those seeking respite from the chaos of city life. From cascading waterfalls to ancient caves, from serene lakes to living root bridges, Meghalaya showcase the myriad of attractions and activities that await eager explorers. Whether you’re an adventure enthusiast, a nature lover, or a culinary connoisseur, Shillong – the capital of Meghalaya caters to diverse interests and preferences.
As you wander through this idyllic destination, you’ll be captivated by the warmth of the local culture and the friendly Khasi people, known for their hospitality. The air is scented with the fragrance of pine, and every corner holds surprises that promise to create cherished memories. Let the magic of this breathtaking hill station cast its spell on you, leaving you with an insatiable desire to return time and again. Embrace the beauty, the culture, and the adventures that await, as Shillong paints a vivid canvas of experiences that will stay etched in your heart forever.
10 Best Things To Do In Shillong
1. Visit Churches
Nestled amidst the breathtaking landscapes of Shillong, the churches in this picturesque hill station stand as exquisite architectural marvels and bear profound historical significance. For those seeking a blend of spirituality, history, and cultural exploration, visiting these churches is one of the top things to do in Meghalaya. These sacred edifices not only offer a glimpse into the region’s colonial past but also provide a serene and tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
The churches in Shillong boast captivating architecture, blending European and indigenous design elements and thus, visiting these churches is one of best things to do in Shillong. Grand arches, stunning stained-glass windows, intricate wooden carvings, and soaring spires create an atmosphere of awe and reverence. Each church carries its own intriguing history, reflecting the era of British colonial rule and the arrival of Christian missionaries. Beyond their historical significance, the churches offer a sanctuary for visitors seeking solace and introspection. Surrounded by lush greenery, these places of worship provide a perfect setting for quiet contemplation, away from the din of the world.
Among the best churches to visit in Shillong, All Saints’ Cathedral stands as a prominent landmark with a distinctive Gothic architectural style and beautiful stained-glass windows. The Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians is another significant Roman Catholic church known for its impressive architecture and serene ambiance. For a unique experience, the Grotto Church of Mary Help of Christians is an underground church set in a serene grotto-like environment. Lastly, the Laitumkhrah Presbyterian Church is renowned for its historical importance and distinctive Presbyterian charm.
2. Hiking and trekking in and around Shillong
Shillong and its surrounding areas in Meghalaya offer a plethora of breathtaking hiking and trekking trails, enticing adventure enthusiasts from far and wide. The region’s lush greenery, cascading waterfalls, mist-covered valleys, and untouched natural beauty create an ethereal ambiance for adventure sports in Meghalaya.
One of the best trekking experiences near Shillong is the Shillong Peak trek, which is one of the top things to do in Shillong that covers a distance of approximately 10 kilometers. This trail takes trekkers to an elevation of about 1,965 meters, offering panoramic views of the entire city of Shillong. The breathtaking vistas of the surrounding hills and distant plains of Bangladesh make it a favorite among nature lovers and photographers. For those seeking an awe-inspiring adventure, the Laitlum Canyon trek is a fantastic choice. Spanning around 25 kilometers from Shillong, this trail leads trekkers to the edge of a stunning canyon that offers mesmerizing views of the lush green valleys below.
For history enthusiasts, the David Scott Trail, situated approximately 16 kilometers from Shillong, offers a journey through the past. This ancient trail, used during the British era, takes trekkers through picturesque villages, dense forests, and alongside the gushing waters of the River Umiam, providing a unique blend of nature and cultural exploration. Another fascinating trek is the Mawphlang Sacred Grove, located around 25 kilometers from Shillong. This trail offers a spiritual and ecological experience, as the sacred grove is believed to be protected by local deities.The Mawrynkhang Bamboo Trek, also approximately 25 kilometers from Shillong, offers an immersive experience through dense bamboo forests, enchanting waterfalls, and picturesque landscapes. Trekking in and around Shillong through this preserved forest provides a unique opportunity to connect with nature and cultural beliefs, which adds it to the list of things to do in Shillong.
3. Water activities in Wards Lake and Umiam Lake
Shillong, a picturesque hill station in Meghalaya, offers a delightful array of water activities for visitors seeking aquatic adventures amidst nature’s beauty, which also ranks in the list of things to do in Shillong. Exploring these water activities in Shillong adds a unique dimension to the overall experience of visiting this scenic hill station. Whether you prefer the tranquility of Wards Lake or the thrill of water sports at Umiam Lake, both locations offer unforgettable moments to cherish amidst the serene beauty of Meghalaya’s landscapes.
Wards Lake, also known as Nan Polok, is a serene artificial lake in Shillong’s heart. Visitors can indulge in leisurely walks around the lake, enjoying the scenic beauty and the vibrant flora surrounding it. Boating is a popular water activity here, where one can paddle across the tranquil waters and take in the breathtaking views of the lake’s surroundings. Whether it’s a romantic boat ride or a fun outing with family and friends, Wards Lake promises a relaxing and rejuvenating experience.
Umiam Lake, located just a short drive from Shillong, is a vast reservoir surrounded by lush green hills. This picturesque lake offers a myriad of water activities to delight adventure enthusiasts. From kayaking to water cycling, the options are plenty for those seeking an adrenaline rush. The calm and serene waters of Umiam Lake provide the perfect setting for water sports, making it an ideal destination for boating and other aquatic adventures.
4. Exploring waterfalls
Shillong, the enchanting hill station in Meghalaya, is blessed with a plethora of mesmerizing waterfalls that add to the natural charm of the region. Exploring these waterfalls is one of the top things to do in Shillong for anyone visiting this charming hill station, as each cascade offers a unique and breathtaking experience. Exploring these waterfalls of Meghalaya, in and around Shillong is a delightful experience, as they offer a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse visitors in the tranquility of nature.
Crinoline Falls, located in the heart of Shillong create a tranquil ambiance, making it an ideal spot for relaxation and rejuvenation. Bishop Falls, also known as Kshaid Weitden, is a magnificent waterfall that tumbles down from a considerable height, offering a spectacular view. The sight of the water gracefully plunging into the lush green valley below is a sight to behold. Spread Eagle Falls, or Sati Falls, is another jewel nestled amidst the verdant landscape of Shillong. The cascading water forms a mesmerizing curtain, leaving visitors spellbound by its beauty and grandeur. Sweet Falls is a majestic waterfall surrounded by dense vegetation, providing a refreshing experience to those who venture close to its base. The Elephant Falls, situated just a short distance from Shillong, is one of the most famous waterfalls in the region. Its name is derived from a nearby rock that resembles an elephant. The falls cascade in three distinct steps, each adding to its allure.
5. Visit the Historical Museums
Shillong, the captivating hill station in Meghalaya, offers a rich cultural experience through its fascinating museums. Exploring these museums is the best things to do in Shillong for history enthusiasts and those seeking to delve into the heritage and traditions of the region.
One of the prominent museums in Shillong is the Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures. This unique museum showcases the rich cultural diversity of Northeast India’s indigenous tribes. With seven floors of exhibits, it offers a comprehensive insight into the customs, art, traditions, and lifestyle of various tribes. The Air Force Museum is another noteworthy attraction, providing a glimpse into the history of the Indian Air Force. It houses an impressive collection of aircraft, including helicopters and fighter planes, along with historical photographs and memorabilia. This museum is an excellent tribute to India’s aviation heritage.
The State Museum of Meghalaya is a treasure trove of historical artifacts and exhibits that offer a glimpse into the state’s rich heritage. From archaeological findings to traditional handicrafts, the museum narrates the story of Meghalaya’s past and its cultural evolution. The Rhino Heritage Museum, located within the Rhino Heritage Park, is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the cultural heritage of the Khasi community. The Butterfly Museum in Shillong is a delightful and lesser-known attraction that showcases a vast collection of exquisite butterflies and moths. The museum’s displays and information about these beautiful insects make it an educational and visually pleasing experience for visitors of all ages.
Shopping in Shillong offers a delightful experience, with its vibrant markets and a plethora of unique handicrafts and souvenirs to choose from. The local markets in this charming hill station are a treasure trove for shopaholics and those seeking to take home a piece of Meghalaya’s rich culture and craftsmanship.
One of the Fun top things to do in Shillong is shopping in Police Bazar, a bustling commercial hub where locals and tourists alike gather to explore a wide array of goods. From traditional Khasi attire and handicrafts to fashionable clothing and accessories, Police Bazar caters to diverse tastes and preferences. The market is also famous for its street food stalls, allowing shoppers to indulge in local delicacies while browsing through the stalls. Lewduh Market, also known as Bara Bazar, is another must-visit shopping destination. It is one of the oldest and largest traditional markets in Shillong. Here, visitors can find an assortment of goods, including handwoven textiles, bamboo products, intricate cane works, and tribal jewelry. The market exudes a vibrant atmosphere, showcasing the unique cultural heritage of the region.
For those interested in handicrafts, the State Central Cottage Industries Emporium is a must-visit. It offers a wide range of locally produced handicrafts and handloom products, including intricate weaves, bamboo crafts, and traditional artifacts. This emporium provides an opportunity to support local artisans while taking home authentic and beautifully crafted souvenirs. Shopping in Shillong is an enriching experience that allows visitors to immerse themselves in the local culture and take home cherished mementos.
7. Relishing the Local Food
Shillong’s food scene is a gastronomic adventure for food lovers, offering a mix of traditional specialties and mouthwatering street food. Shillong, apart from its scenic beauty, also delights food enthusiasts with its unique and flavorful cuisine. The blend local Khasi flavors with influences from other Northeastern regions makes eating the local food one of the top things to do in Shillong.
A must-try food of Meghalaya is Jadoh, a delectable rice and meat dish. Prepared with red rice, tender pieces of meat, and aromatic spices, Jadoh is a flavor-packed delight that captures the essence of Meghalaya’s culinary heritage. When it comes to street food, Shillong offers an array of lip-smacking treats. One popular choice is the local Momos, steamed dumplings filled with minced meat or vegetables, served with spicy sauces. Another favorite is the mouthwatering Chowmein, a noodle dish stir-fried with vegetables and a choice of meat. To indulge in these culinary delights, one can head to Police Bazar, a bustling commercial area that boasts numerous food stalls offering these delectable street foods. The famous Police Bazar food lane is the go-to spot for an authentic street food experience.
Apart from street food, Shillong has a range of charming restaurants that cater to different palates. The Bamboo Hut is a must-visit for traditional Khasi cuisine, serving dishes like Doh Khlieh (pork salad) and Dohjem (black sesame pork). For those craving a fusion of flavors, ML05 Café is a popular choice, offering a mix of continental and local dishes.
8. Cafe Hopping
Cafe hopping is one of the best things to do in Shillong for a delightful experience that allows visitors to immerse themselves in the city’s vibrant culture while savoring delectable food and beverages. The city’s cafe scene offers a perfect blend of cozy ambiance, lip-smacking dishes, and charming aesthetics.
From quaint hidden gems to Instagram-worthy hotspots, Shillong boasts a plethora of cafes that cater to diverse tastes. Whether you’re a coffee aficionado or a food enthusiast, these cafes have something special to offer. Places like Dylan’s Café, Munchies, and ML05 Café are popular choices for savoring delicious local delicacies, including Khasi cuisine and fusion dishes. Cafes like The Last Stop, Café Shillong, and Café Cherrapunjee are known for their serene ambiance and breathtaking views, making them perfect spots to unwind and enjoy a cup of coffee or a scrumptious meal. For music lovers, cafes like The Heritage Club and Tango offer a unique blend of great food and live music performances, providing an unforgettable experience for both locals and tourists.
Cafe hopping in Shillong is not just about satisfying culinary cravings; it’s also about soaking in the city’s artistic and bohemian vibe. Each café has its own character, making cafe hopping a must-do activity for anyone visiting this picturesque hill station. So, indulge in the cozy ambiance, relish the delicious treats, and experience the vibrant cafe culture that adds to the charm of Shillong.
Golfing is one of the top things to do in Shillong, offering an exciting and unique experience for both golf enthusiasts and novices alike. The city boasts the prestigious Shillong Golf Course, known as the “Gleneagles of the East,” which is one of the oldest and largest natural golf courses in Asia.
Set amidst breathtaking landscapes and lush greenery, the Shillong Golf Course provides a picturesque setting for a memorable golfing session. The 18-hole course spread over an extensive area, offers a challenging yet enjoyable game for players of all skill levels. As players tee off, they are treated to panoramic views of the surrounding hills and valleys, creating an idyllic atmosphere that adds to the charm of the game.
Golfing in Shillong is not only about enjoying the sport but also about immersing oneself in the tranquil beauty of Meghalaya’s natural scenery. Whether you’re a golf enthusiast seeking to perfect your swing or a beginner looking to try your hand at this sport, the Shillong Golf Course promises an unforgettable and rewarding experience amidst the serene landscapes of this enchanting hill station.
10. Go on Day Excursions Around Shillong
Going on day excursions is the Top Things to Do in Shillong, as it allows the visitors to explore the offbeat places around Shillong. As you all know that Meghalaya is blessed with immense natural beauty the state offers a plethora of experiences and activities to get the best of the natural wonders of Meghalaya. Here are a few best places to go for day excursions around Shillong that are also included in the list of Fun Top Things to Do in Shillong:
- Dawki – Dawki is a border town of Meghalaya that is also home to the cleanest river in Asia – the Umngnot River. You can indulge in a number of water and adventure activities here like boating in the crystal clear waters of the Umngnot River, Zipline, Kayaking, etc. Shnongpdeng, a nearby town also has some beautiful campsites by the river to spend the night.
- Cherrapunji – Popularly known as Sohra, this region is studded with the best natural vistas. From the cascading waterfalls like Nohkalilkai, Daintlen, Seven Sister falls, etc to some of the mystic cave systems like the Mawsamai and Arwah caves, Cherrapunji never fails to captivate the visitors. Other than that, one of the best things to do in Shillong during your excursion to Cherrapunji is hiking to the famous living root bridges of the region and understanding these sustainable engineering marvels.
- Mawlynnong – Regarded as the cleanest village in Asia, taking an excursion to Mawlynnong is definitely the top things to do in Shillong. You can explore this village and understand the local lifestyle by interacting with the locals. Visit the balancing rock and the single-decker root bridge in this village to get the best of Mawlynnong.
Frequently Asked Questions About Things To Do In Shillong
1. What are some must-visit tourist attractions in Shillong?
Some must-visit tourist attractions in Shillong include the Elephant Falls, Ward’s Lake, Shillong Peak, and the Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures. These places offer a mix of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and panoramic views which are one of the top things to do in Shillong.
2. What are some popular outdoor activities and adventure sports available in Shillong?
Shillong offers a plethora of outdoor activities and adventure sports for enthusiasts. Travelers can indulge in trekking to places like Laitlum Canyon and David Scott Trail, enjoy boating in Ward’s Lake, and explore the pristine Mawphlang Sacred Grove. Additionally, adventure seekers can try their hand at water sports on Umiam Lake or engage in golfing at the prestigious Shillong Golf Course, which are one of the top things to do in Shillong.
3. Are there any day trips or excursions that can be taken from Shillong?
Yes, several day trips and excursions can be taken from Shillong to explore the surrounding beauty. Visiting Cherrapunjee, known for its spectacular waterfalls and living root bridges, is a popular day trip from Shillong. Additionally, travelers can embark on excursions to Mawlynnong, the cleanest village in Asia, and Dawki, known for its crystal-clear Umngot River, which offer unique experiences within a short distance from Shillong. Taking these excursions can be a exhilarating experience and one of the fun top things to do in Shillong.