Backpacking in Shillong
Local travel

Backpacking in Shillong-Part I

I was an avid traveller before a major shift happens to my soul and backpacking in Shillong is always fun and easygoing. All of the tourist places within Shillong are near; mostly these places are situated at the heart of the city itself.

Shillong is a small hilly area and has been a tourist attraction for years due to its beautiful landscape which have a similarity to Scotland; that is why it is called the Scotland of the east.

But, when people think about coming to Meghalaya the first thing that comes to their mind is Shillong. Most don’t even know that other places exist other than Shillong. They don’t even know that Meghalaya is a state.  This is how ignorance most Indians are; (no offence, speaking from my personal experience) but slowly people are open-minded now; or else they’ll think we are foreigners’, which amuses me very much, thinking how dumb this could be!

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But those who know Shillong and its people; know very well that it is the rock capital of India and can’t help but falls in love with it.

Shillong is a small populous city but the main beauty lies in the remote areas of Shillong, where scenic beauty and waterfalls are found in almost every District.

However, in general, an outsider will always refer to Shillong. When I say backpacking in Shillong, the truth is (if you are from Shillong) you don’t really need to backpack in Shillong. The backpacking thing starts when you move just 20 minutes away from Shillong.

But you can pack your lunch and refresh your mind by visiting some of the most common yet beautiful places in Shillong.

For those who come from outside of Shillong; your journey will begin in Guwahati station by Sumo-the local transport, or you can hire a private cab. Shillong is 3 hours from Guwahati.

Backpacking in Shillong is so cool and it will make you feel like you are on the OTHER SIDE of the WORLD. I once met a man from Hyderbad who told me that everything seems just the opposite to the rest of the world which makes the experiences UNIQUE.

I couldn’t agree less with him. He was RIGHT. I felt the same way when I travel outside. That everything is upside down! I am proud of who we are and what we are and I wouldn’t trade a thing about my places and my people.

The Freedom, the culture, the SPLENDID NATURE and the landscape will leave you mesmerised once you got to know what makes Shillong’s people and its culture so SPECIAL.

Here is the tourist spot where you can hang around while you’re in Shillong.

  • Wards’ lake:

Backpacking in Shillong
Ward’s Lake

Wards’ lake or Nan Palok as we prefer to call it; is very serene even though it can be crowded at times. It is one of the most scenic lakes in Shillong where you can hang out with your buddies and do some boating as well as feed the fish.

It is situated right at the heart of Shillong; 5 mins walk from Police Bazar, with an entry ticket whose value might change from time to time.

There is a wooden bridge right at the centre of the lake surrounded by green lush and cherry blossoms’ which make the lake mesmerised during the peak season.

  • Lady Hydari park:
Phan Nonglait Park
Phan Nonglait Park

Now known as Phan Nonglait Park; is a park suitable for everyone. It has a small zoo within itself. Kids will love this park as it has lots of space for running around. Take your kiddos here and they will not want to go back home.

The park is situated at a junction right before or after the civil hospital (depending on the location where you arrive) at Barick point. There are a few endangered species out here; a sight to behold.

  • Don Bosco Museum:

Backpacking in Shillong
Skywalk at Don Bosco Museum

Don Bosco Museum is situated at Mawlai Phudmuri, Mawdatbaki.  It is a major tourist attraction rich in indigenous products.

The museum is away from the huzzle and buzzle of the main city and it covers almost all of the traditional values and culture of the State and represents North East as a whole.

There are varieties of informative galleries which make you understand and learn more about the tribe; which is different from the rest of the States.

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#Shillong golf course:

Shillong Golf course
The Great Golf course

The pride of East Khasi Hills in Meghalaya. It is one of the oldest, largest and finest natural golf dating back to the 1880s.

 It’s a nice place to visit with friends and family and have a small outdoor picnic with the lovely green thick grasses throughout.

It is best suited for leisure around when you have nothing important to do. Perfect for morning walks, jogging and exercise.

Situated between Mawlai and Polo. It is easily accessible and refreshes your mind on a stressful day. If you would like to play golf you can do a booking via the Shillong Golf Club.

  • Elephant falls:

The Shillong vagabond
Elephant falls

The name was given due to the Elephant-like stone at its foot which was destroyed by natural calamities and is no longer seen.

Situated at Upper Shillong, just about 20 minutes only by car, is another great place for sightseeing and especially for waterfalls lovers. 

The falls have various steps combining all the way from the entrance to the end of the falls; some are covered by densely thick trees. During summer when the rain rises up, the volume of the waterfall also rises. 

  • Maitilang park:
Maitilang park
Maitilang Park View From Elephant Falls

Situated side by side at the Elephant falls, Maitilang park is a very calm and serene park. It is fun to just chill around and be in the moment with yourself.

It is an open space park where you can just hang around for fun and gossip if you may like. You will get a glimpse of the Elephant falls from the park. A perfect view on a crowded day.

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Elephant falls Shillong
The road to Elephant Falls

# Botanical garden (near Ward’s lake):

It is a dense thick garden with lovely trees best suited for nature lovers and people who are fun at doing research and love Botany.

If you are a curious cat with Scientific knowledge, this is the best place for you. I love this Botanical garden so much since I am a tree and forest lover but it is open only on Monday and Wednesday at a specific time only.

Make sure you knew the specific day and time as the schedule might change from time to time.

  • You and I Café (cool place to hang out):

You and I cafe Shillong
You and I Cafe

This is a cafe for artists but anybody can hang out here. I love this cafe more than anything else and it is situated on Mawlai-Mawroh road.

The setting of the cafe is very cute and you got to taste the typical Khasi food of phan (boiled potato) with tungtap chutney along with some welcoming drinks which make you want for more.

The food is delicious, the cafe is calm and peaceful with lots of traditional things around. 

Phan and tungtap you and I
Phan with tungtap chutney, jyllang and soh mynken dung
  • Butterfly Museum (informative, not big like you might think):

This is a private own butterfly museum and is perfect for kids and for lepidopterists. The museum is colourful and attractive.

Conservation and preservation of moths and butterflies are initiated here as well as cultivated for commercial purposes.

  • Police Bazar:

Centre Point PB Shillong
Centre Point, PB

This is actually a market shopping place but everybody hangs out here. You will always meet someone you knew at PB. 

I usually hang out here with either my friends or family for food at KFCs’ or just roam around for window shopping.

Lots of hotels are available here at PB for your stay for the night or a few nights.

  • Iewduh (for all kinds of shopping): 

Personally, I like Iewduh. It’s the main local market with all the local stuff. Things are much cheaper here but the market might be confusing for the first time visiting. 

However, once you got used to it; you’ll love it. Iewduh is a big open market where you get everything you are looking for. 

  • Shillong peak & Viewpoint:
Shillong peak
Shillong Peak

Another major tourist attraction and a very commonplace as well. Located just a few mins from Shillong, Shillong peak is a viewpoint where you can see a bird’s eye view of Shillong city.

Morning hours are the best hours to visit, as the sky is clear and you will see almost every house at once glance. The altitude of this place is a little higher; that’s why you’ll get a glimpse of the city from here.

  • The Grand Masjid at Laban:

It’s a religious place but you can still visit and admire the beauty of the architecture. Located at Laban, the mosque is huge with a green tint light all over the Masjid.

It is the only glass mosque in India and the largest in North East. Even if you are not religious you can still visit this GLASS mosque.

  • The Cathedral:
Backpacking in Shillong
The Cathedral, Shillong

Another religious place but anyone can pay a visit and set a prayer. The Cathedral is located at Laitumkhrah. Some people do experience miracles here.

The Cathedral is big and beautiful; calm and peaceful inside with many people from across irrespective of their religion paying a tribute to this Chruch.

These are the main places to visit in Shillong if you are planning to backpack any time soon. There are many guest houses and hotels where you can stay easily with no fear.

Backpacking in Shillong will take you to another level of experience which is different from the rest. Hope you enjoy your stay and understand it’s PEOPLE; which will make you want to EXPLORE for more.

See ya! Hope you’ll love it.

Backpacking in Shillong

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