A Travel Guide to Shillong

Shillong Airport Directory (SHL)
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The hill town of Shillong is a beautiful city in the Northeastern part of India and is the capital of Meghalaya. It is a popular tourist spot in India and is famously known as the Scotland of the East due to its striking similarity to the Scotland Highlands. Shillong was formerly the capital of Assam during the British regime till the separate state of Meghalaya was formed in 1972, and was the summer capital of Eastern Bengal and Assam for several years.

Shillong's majestic mountain peaks offer a mesmerising view of the city. Its crystal clear lakes and waterfalls define magnificence, and its sheer serenity will honestly calm your soul. Moreover, being the home of the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo hill tribes, you will also witness the city’s colourful lifestyle and cultural traditions.

If you are looking for a mental detox away from the monotonous city life, this heavenly holiday destination is a perfect escape for you.

Best time to visit Shillong:

Shillong has pleasant weather throughout the year and can be visited any time.

Let us take a look at the various seasons all year round to help you plan your trip better.

  • Summer (March to June): During summers, the temperature ranges between 15°C and 24°C. This is the perfect time for sightseeing and planning adventure activities on your next summer vacation.
  • Monsoon (June to September): During these months, one would witness average to heavy rainfall across Shillong, with July being the wettest month. This is an excellent time to visit the waterfalls and enjoy the picturesque rain-washed landscape.
  • Winter (October to February): In Shillong, rainfall begins to cease from October and winter sets in by early November with the temperature going as low as 2°C. It is the perfect pick for your winter vacation as the hill town looks heavenly during these months.

Most spoken languages in Shillong:

  • Khasi
  • Pnar
  • Garo
  • English

How to reach Shillong:

  • By air: You can book direct flights to Shillong at Shillong Airport or Umroi Airport. It is located 30 km away from the city centre. IndiGo now operates a daily non-stop flight connecting Shillong to Kolkata on the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) route. The nearby airport of Guwahati, the state capital of Assam, is also close to Shillong. The journey from Guwahati to Shillong can be completed with a 4-hr drive via NH 40.
  • By train: Guwahati Railway station in Paltan Bazaar is the nearest railway station to Shillong Airport, located at a distance of 90 km.
  • By bus: Buses ply at an interval of almost every half hour, between Shillong with Guwahati. Hiring a taxi is another good option.
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Places to visit in Shillong

  • Umiam Lake: This serene man-made reservoir is located at a distance of 15 km north of Shillong and is surrounded by lush green hills, forming one of the best panoramic sights for nature lovers. There is a park adjacent to the lake and is frequented by locals for picnics. At the lake, you can go for boating along with other water sports, and the sunrise at the lake is not to be missed.

Along with the calmness around, you can witness fishermen canoeing and natives visiting the lake for twigs and grass. During summers, beautiful Gulmohar trees adorn the periphery of the lake, and in winters, the water turns azure.

  • Lady Hydari Park: This Japanese styled garden lies in the heart of Shillong City. The willow trees with leaves almost sweeping the ground, circular design elements and numerous small ponds bear a close resemblance to Japanese design. This park is also arguably the best kid’s zone in Shillong and the perfect pick to spend a lazy afternoon during winters.
  • Mawphlang Sacred Forest: Forests are the most remarkable feature of the Khasi Hills. Among all the forests, the most sacred is Mawphlang Sacred Forest. Spread over 192 acres, this forest has been preserved for thousands of years by the Local Khasi tribes. The forest is believed to be the abode of the local deity, called Labasa, who protects the forest and the tribal community. There is one rule to be followed in this sacred forest - “You cannot take anything out of this forest, else the deity gets upset”. This sacred grove’s physical majesty is a crowd puller and is a must-visit for nature lovers.
  • Don Bosco Museum of Indigenous Cultures: This place is more than a museum and is an initiative for the conservation and preservation of a number of small, local cultures of the area. The 7-storey cultural centre is spread over 56000 sq ft and has 17 distinct museum galleries making the visit all the more interesting and informative.
  • Elephant Falls: The Elephant Falls consist of three mesmerising falls in succession. Out of the three falls, the third tends to strike visitors as the most impressive. The fall gets its name after an elephant-like stone at its foot, which was, however washed away after a massive earthquake. The falls are a must-visit on your trip to Shillong.
  • Ward’s Lake: Ward’s lake is one of the most popular destinations in Shillong. It is an artificial water body surrounded by a majestic lush garden with colourful floral beds. Take a walk on the cobblestone path around the lake and lose yourself in its stunning beauty!
  • Laitlum Canyons: The awe-inspiring grandeur of this nature’s wonder will make you fall in love with Shillong all over again. The Laitlum Canyons, which translates to ‘The End of Hills’, offers you the best panoramic view of Meghalaya.
  • Shillong Peak: The Shillong Peak is the highest point of Shillong, offering you a breath-taking view of the city. You can try your hands at trekking up the peak if the weather is favourable. As Shillong Peak is situated at the air force base, you may notice heavy checking at the gates.

Places to eat in Shillong

Trattoria - Police Bazaar Road, Shillong
Trattoria - Police Bazaar Road, Shillong

Trattoria is a major hit among the locals who swear by its flavours. It offers the most authentic Khasi cuisine in town. Its specialty lies in the creative presentation of local Khasi food. A tiny establishment, Trattoria is not the place to enjoy a laid back evening. The place is mostly crowded but worth the wait. So next time you are in Shillong, hit to Trattoria to enjoy traditional Khasi meal and go home with a new experience!

Café Shillong
Café Shillong

Check out this cool café over the weekends for its live musical performances and tantalising preparation of khauswey, steaks and thukpa.


Treat your taste buds with smoky meat curries, combo meals serving rice, salad, meat curry, chutney and vegetable at Jadoh.

City Hut Family Dhaba
City Hut Family Dhaba

Just like the name suggests, this place is a must visit restaurant. You will be welcomed by the aroma of great food coupled with friendly service. There is a wide array of dishes served at the restaurant along with a choice of seating. The restaurant has a dhaba-style ambience infused with contemporary dining experience.


Deja Vu
Deja Vu

Deja Vu is frequented by youngsters for good music, food and celebrations. It has a calmly lit ambience creating a relaxing and soothing experience for visitors. Also get to try your hands on singing at the karaoke station at the lounge.


Shopping in Shillong

High-end shopping/luxury shopping/shopping malls in Shillong

  • OB Shopping Mall
  • Glory’s Plaza
  • Rebecca’s Thrift Store

Street shopping in Shillong

  • Lewduh or Bara Bazaar:This market is the oldest and largest trade centre in Northeast India and gets its name from Lewduh, which means 'of common people’. Try out a variety of things from here, including handicrafts, seasonal vegetables, fruits and exotic spices. Every year in April, local rituals are performed, including assembling huge monoliths called 'mawbynnas', after which the market is set up. These rituals are considered to be promising for the trade and economy of the region. Shop for eco-friendly décor items made from bamboo and cane, accessorise your wardrobe with trendy fabrics and ready-mades. Bag some orange honey, black mushrooms, pineapples, oranges and other fruit products.
  • Police Bazaar:This market is a relatively modern one as compared to the Bara Bazaar and houses numerous restaurants, shops and other joints. You will also find traditional shops selling exquisite handicrafts. Shop here for winter wear, gadgets and try out the array of delicacies across the market. Remember to brush up on your haggling skills before hitting this market.
  • Some more places to explore: Purbashree Emporium, Khasi Emporium, Hanumanbux Mahesh Kumar store, Daniel Syiem store, and the National Book Agency.

Collecting unique souvenirs makes for great travel memories. Shillong has plenty of places for a great shopping experience, and you will come across a wide variety of souvenirs to choose from. If you are enthused about decorating your home, the tribal art products made from bamboo and cane will catch your attention. Along with the aesthetic appeal, these items will add an eco-friendly dimension to your home. For those who prefer accessorising their wardrobes, you will find a whole new world of designs and fabrics to explore, from hand-woven shawls, ethnic jackets, traditional Khasi wear, and trendy headgears. Check out local food stores and bag some exclusive ingredients to experiment with in your kitchen!

Souvenirs popular among tourists include shyrmit (turmeric) powder, tiny red and green chillies, sohmirit (pepper), ryndiah (muga silk) shawls, Scottish cloth, organic products, bamboo handicrafts.

The Lewduh or Bara Bazaar and Police Bazar are also great for trying out popular tantalising street foods, including Tungrymbai, Jadoh, Dohn, and many more.

Nightlife in Shillong

Every street in Shillong is brimming with the talent and passion of the locals for music. Every Saturday evening, locals and tourists gather to dance the night away to music by a local band or famous DJ.

The best places for good entertainment in Shillong are:

  • Platinum: Hotel Polo Towers, Polo Grounds
  • Cloud 9: Hotel Centre Point, Police Bazaar
  • Tango: OB Shopping Mall, Police Bazaar

Where to stay in Shillong


Ri Kynjai Serenity by The Lake Ri Kynjai literally translates into ‘Land of Serenity’. This Spa-Resort with cottages presides over the picturesque Umiam lake and has an architecture derived from the original Khasi thatch huts. Each cottage is equipped with a fireplace in the living/bedroom area and is a great value for the price paid


Café Shillong Bed and Breakfast Enjoy a cosy and comfortable stay at this boutique well-furnished more than 70 years old bungalow in Shillong.


Royal Heritage Tripura Castle Experience regal elegance coupled with an old world charm in the ambience of the Hotel. The Hotel is located on a hilltop surrounded with pine forests and boasts of the best view.


Aerodene Cottage A charming 60-year-old colonial heritage home in traditional Assam style made of wood and bamboo. It combines modern and heritage amenities.

More reasons to visit Shillong

Shillong’s rich cultural heritage, pleasant weather and scintillating landscape make it a perfect vacation spot for all age groups. It is the only hill station in India accessible from all sides, making it easy to reach. However, your trip will not be complete until you meet the rarest and friendliest tribes of Shillong. An interesting fact about the Khasi community is that they are a matrilineal society. Therefore, the mother's surname is passed on to the children, and the youngest daughter inherits the ancestral property. Make sure to add Shillong to your bucket list for a relaxing experience!

Places to visit near Shillong

  • Cherrapunjee: Nearly 2 hours’ drive from Shillong, Cherrapunjee is known for its living root bridges and holds the world record for the most rainfall in a year.
  • Nohkalikai Falls: One of India’s highest waterfalls is a treat for the senses. The waterfall plunges into an ultramarine pool hundreds of feet below.
  • Jowai: A picturesque hill station in Meghalaya, Jowai houses the most beautiful waterfalls.
  • Mawlynnong Village: This village in Meghalaya has been consecutively voted as Asia's cleanest village. It is hard to spot litter or even dusty roads here. 
  • Dawki (Umnot River): An unforgettable boat ride on this river with crystal clear water surrounded by wilderness will leave you mesmerised.
  • Mawsynram: If you love rains, Mawsynram is the place to be. Known as the world’s rainiest place, it is perfect for a walk in the clouds and to lose yourself in nature’s bounty.

Festivals in Shillong

Along with the sprawling green hills surrounding the city, the local festivals at Shillong will leave you mesmerised! The Khasi community has various festivals that focus on dance, like Ka Shad Suk Mynsiem, Ka Pom-Blang Nongkrem, and Ka-Shad Shyngwiang-Thangiap. The Garos tribe celebrates jhum cultivation and nature, and their main festivals are the Den Bilsia, Wangala, and the Rongchu Gala. Behdienkhlam, which includes the Laho Dance form, is an essential festival of the Jaintias tribe, for whom the preservation of cultural heritage and solidarity among people is a top priority.

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