5 Places To Visit In Shillong That Will Leave You Spellbound

Written By: Mehrosh Shamim

Welcome to the magical realm nestled in the heart of Meghalaya, where nature weaves its spellbinding tapestry, inviting you to embark on an unforgettable journey through the enchanting places to visit in Shillong. From mist-laden mountains to glistening waterfalls and serene lakes, this picturesque destination offers a captivating blend of natural beauty and cultural charm, making it a haven for explorers and wanderers alike. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking vistas, discover hidden gems, and delve into the rich tapestry of Shillong's heritage as you traverse this awe-inspiring region, where every step leads to new wonders and unforgettable memories.

1. Elephant Falls 

2. Umiam Lake

3. Shillong Peak

4. Laitlum Canyons 

5. Mawphlang Sacred Forest 

1. Elephant Falls 

The Elephant Falls, located near Shillong and named for an elephant-like stone at its foot, are among the most popular falls in the North-East. It is a popular tourist attraction in Shillong, with three tiers of the waterfall visible from various vantage points. While the topography, which is interlaced with streams and falls, may entice you to take one of the many trekking paths, the sights will keep you busy snapping photos. There are chairs around the first and second tiers of the waterfall where visitors can sit and relax. There are also food vendors and numerous handcraft sale areas. 

  • Timings: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

  • Entry Fee: INR 30/- per person

  • Ideal Duration: 1 hour

  • Nearby Attractions: Air Force Museum (0.6 km), Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures (5 km)

  • Nearby Restaurants: ML 05 Cafe (1.8 km), and Highway Shacks Restaurant (2.3 km)

  • Distance From Shillong: 12 km 

2. Umiam Lake

Umiam Lake, a mesmerizing man-made reservoir, is one of the top places to visit in Shillong. The picturesque  lake is surrounded by lush green East Khasi hills, creating one of the best panoramic views in the country for nature enthusiasts. It is adjacent to a park that is popular for picnics and is frequented by residents. Visitors can spend time in the park with their children, take a long boat trip on the lake, and participate in other water sports. The daily lives of the residents who come to the lake in search of twigs and grass, as well as the fisherman canoeing in the still waters, can also be observed.

  • Timings: The lake is always open. Water sports activities are available from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • Activities Fee: For pedal boat/canoe/kayak (30 mins)- INR 20, for water skiing- INR 200, for scooter- INR 50, for river bus- INR 50, and for yachting- INR 100

  • Ideal Duration: 1 hour

  • Nearby Attractions: Sohliya Strawberry Farm (4.2 km), and Lumpongdeng Island (1.1 km)

  • Nearby Restaurants: Soilyna Huts Restaurant (2 km), and Ri-Bhoi: Dhaba and Restaurant (3.3 km)

  • Distance From Shillong: 17 km 

3. Shillong Peak

Shillong Peak is Shillong's highest point, rising 6449 ft or 1965 m above sea level. It provides a panoramic view of the entire city, the Himalayas, its waterfalls, and the Bangladesh lowlands. Tourists can use a telescope to gain a bird's eye view. Trekking up to Shillong Peak is highly recommended for the greatest views, however it is frequently surrounded by dense fog. Shillong is claimed to have gotten its name from the Shillong Peak. The top of Shillong Peak contains a sacred area devoted to U Shulong, and unique rites are held here each spring, making it one of the best places to visit in Shillong.

Note: Shillong Peak is located near an air force installation and houses an Indian Air Force radar station. Heavy security checks are performed at the entrance, and visitors are asked to deposit their cameras.

  • Timings: 9:00 AM to 2:30 PM

  • Entry Fee: INR 30/- per person and INR 10 for the telescope (1 minute per person).

  • Ideal Duration: 1 hour

  • Nearby Attractions: Ward’s Lake (3.3 km), and Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians (2.9 km)

  • Nearby Restaurants: Relish Restaurant (1.1 km), and Bonnie’s Restaurant (1.8 km)

  • Distance From Shillong: 13 km 

4. Laitlum Canyons

Laitlum Canyons, perched on the East Khasi Hills, is a lesser-known but stunning tourism and trekking attraction near Shillong. This exotic observation spot, literally translated as 'End of Hills,' offers the best panoramic views of the entire Meghalaya enveloped by the gorgeous hills and valleys. A short 2-kilometer hike is required to reach the observation area. One can also take the longer route to the top. Rasong, a little village buried deep in the ridges of the Laitlum gorge, can also be seen from the top of the Canyon. 

  • Timings: 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM

  • Ideal Duration: 1-2 hours

  • Nearby Attractions: Shillong Viewpoint (17.1 km), Elephant Falls (26.2 km)

  • Nearby Restaurants: Four Plus Two Breakfast & Lunch Center (7.6 km), Heritage Club - Tripura Castle (12.2 km)

  • Distance From Shillong: 23.2 km

5. Mawphlang Sacred Grove

The Mawphlang Sacred Grove, which covers an area of 80 hectares, is a treasure trove of rare medicinal trees and plants such as English yew, Chinese sumac, chinquapin, and others. It is also home to various tree species that serve as climate indicators, such as Japanese blue oak and graffiti. This forest contains over 450 varieties of trees and plants, as well as unique animal and bird species. This vast forest comes to life during the three-day monolith celebration, which celebrates tribal heritage and culture. The David-Scott Trail, one of Meghalaya's most popular trekking routes, is hidden behind the forest, making it one of Shillong's top attractions. 

Fun Fact: The single regulation of the forest is that no one can remove anything from it, not even a leaf! There are stories of people who defied this taboo becoming ill and even dying as a result.

  • Timings: 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM

  • Entry Fee: Rs.20 for Person, Rs. 300 for Guide & Rs. 20 for Camera

  • Ideal Duration: 1-2 hours

  • Nearby Attractions: David Scott Trail (0.3 km), Mawkdok Dympep Valley (4.7 km)

  • Nearby Restaurants: Cafe Cherrapunjee & Inn (4.3 km)

  • Distance From Shillong: 27 km

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