Travelling to Shillong on a Budget.
By now, almost everyone is aware of the heavenly hill station Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya. Many refer to Shillong as ‘the Scotland of the East’ but I think Shillong has its own beauty. For everyone else who hasn’t heard of Shillong, also known as “The Abode of Clouds”, is located in the north eastern part of India.
How to get to Shillong ?
Shillong is best connected by roads through Guwahati, Tripura and Mizoram. I, of course took the Guwahati route which takes about 3 hours to cover a distance of 90 kilometres. The route has various picturesque spots for nature lovers to stop and enjoy the view but for people with motion sickness it can turn out to be a tiresome journey. There are also many restaurants on the route with one special vegetarian restaurant apt for tourists and travellers with super clean restrooms.
Best Places to Stay
There are many options but the ones that I personally prefer and that too on a tight schedule are El Dorado and Highwinds. For this trip, I stayed at my family’s rented apartment and as such will not be able to put up pictures of the mentioned hotels. There are many AirBnB options as well as other home stays too .
Places to Visit
While there is a long list of places to visit, I will talk only about all the places I visited during April trip.
1 . Lady Hydari Park –
Located in Laban, the park is spread over an area of more than a kilometres. Named after the first lady of this place, the park consists of a small zoo (though, personally I am against zoos), a deer park and a play area for kids. The park is excellent to spend time with friends and family and also to relax while reading a book or listening to some music. Another reason why I love Shillong is the residents work sincerely to stop using Plastic bags. So, if you carry food inside, they check you for plastic bags.
2. Ward’s Lake –
The lake is also known as Pollock’s Lake and is an artificial water body surrounded by a delightful garden and boating facilities. Right next to the Lake is a botanical garden that includes several orchids along with a number of other floral species. If you desire to feed fishes whilst enjoying the stunning view, a wooden bridge is laid right at the centre for you. Although, the lake is named after the then Chief Commissioner of Assam, Sir William Ward, it was Colonel Hopkins who finished the project in the year 1894. There are several options for refreshments both outside as well as inside the property.
There are many more magical spots to explore in Shillong like – The Shillong Peak, Elephant Falls, Shillong Golf Course to name a few. My next trip will cover all the places out of Shillong and will not be within a tight budget. So, I will shoot pictures of the rest of the other gorgeous locations. Stay tuned for all of that.
Climate and Weather
Winter in Shillong is harsh with temperatures ranging from 4 degrees to 14 degrees with the coldest months being November to February. April and May are very pleasant while June, July and August are warmer and have the highest amount of rainfall. September and October are again very comfortable with the gorgeous Autumn Hues all around the city.
Shopping and Food
For Shopping , the best place would be Police Bazaar where you will find everything from vendors selling on the streets to stores selling branded goods. You can experience local Khasi food all over the city but if you happen to be boring like me and want certainty when it comes to food, you can try Eden Restaurant and Bengali Mishti Bhandaar at Police Bazaar. However, two of the most recommended cafes with breath taking views are listed below. You absolutely cannot miss them while on a trip to Shillong.
1 . Dylan’s Cafe
Dylan’s Café is North East India’s first tribute café established in January 2016 which celebrates the legendary Bob Dylan’s music & poetry. The menu includes all day breakfast platters, succulent burgers, pancakes, waffles and a range of desserts. There is a wide range of activity for visitors such as leaving behind your own tribute to Dylan by painting a ceiling tile or bring in a book and picking up one in exchange from their bookshelf. The balcony overlooks beautiful agricultural fields which is ideal for sitting down and relaxing with a book .
2. Cafe ML 05
ML05 is a concept café in Upper Shillong that celebrating Shillong’s love for cars, bikes and food. You absolutely cannot miss this place if you enjoy spending time in Nature. The tall pine tress give way to an incredible location with hills in the back and a small pond by the side. The cafe is built at a vantage point from where you experience the majestic scene, splendid enough to instantly change your moods and give you an experience of living in the wild and off grid.
Transportation within the City
There are usual means of public transport in Shillong but single taxis for hire are comparatively expensive. Sharing is cheap but I personally won’t recommend it for first time travellers as the driving tends to be a little rough and that too on hilly terrain :P. Too much adventure for one trip :D. Another great option is also working on a deal on the vehicle you hired to get to Shillong. The drivers are usually aware of all tourists spots and will drive you around also giving you useful suggestions and recommendations.
I will soon return to Shillong with another trip but next time, I am planning on covering places out of the main city and also I won’t be on a tight budget like I already mentioned. Please, let me know if there are any spots you want me to cover specifically.
Have a great trip. 🙂