Situated in the mountains with omnipotent clouds, Meghalaya is one of the beautiful sister states of Northeast India. Its capital Shillong has held a position of importance since the colonial period. Today, Shillong has adopted the ways of a modern city, and metamorphosed into one of the biggest cities in the region. Since it is a beautiful destination with the comforts of a growing urban setting, many travellers are motivated to book Shillong tour packages. Its scenic beauty, quaint charm, pine forests, waterfalls and undulating hills have been much discussed as tourism has boomed, also endowing it with the nickname Scotland of the East. Other than its picturesque landscape, travellers are allured by the city’s distinctive culture involving cafes, rock music, football and cars. Besides the experiences and activities included in a Shillong tour package, you must consider planning a visit to the various breathtaking destinations around the city.
Settled in the lap of the Garo and Khasi Hills, Shillong is a heavenly city in Meghalaya. Whether you include its splendid waterfalls and mighty hills in your Shillong tour package or decide to while away your days immersed in the local culture, you will spend your days here feeling utterly rejuvenated by the refreshing vibe of the city.
The top spot to include in your Shillong tour package is Umiam Lake. This lake is man-made, created by the dam put up on Umiam River. This beautiful lake is surrounded by dense forests, with a backdrop of the East Khasi Hills. Besides appreciating the scenic beauty, you can also interact with locals who come to the lake every day for their errands. The best time to come here is at dawn to watch the sunrise. You can also have a picnic in the adjoining park. Other than simply relaxing here, you can indulge in several activities such as boating, kayaking, fishing, angling and water skiing. The lake has a few small islands where you can go trekking and camping. Then, Shillong Peak is a necessary addition to your Shillong tour package. It provides the best view of the valleys, mountains, the city of Shillong and even some parts of Bangladesh.
The panoramic view offered here makes this place a must-visit for everyone, especially photographers. Another wonderful place frequented by travellers is Elephant Falls. This is a three-step waterfall, glimmering and flourishing from its origin to end. Laitlum Canyons is the perfect place for nature lovers looking for a peaceful, lesser-explored destination for trekking. Other places ornate with greenery in and around the city that you can include in your Shillong tour package are the David Scott Trail, Mawphlang Forest and Ward’s Lake, Lady Hydari Park and Phan Nonglait Park. The churches of the city are also visited by travellers booking Shillong tour packages. Some of the popular ones are Shillong Catholic Cathedral, All Saints Church, Pohkseh Presbyterian Church and Laitumkhrah Presbyterian Church.
There are many great Shillong tour packages up on offer as the city’s tourism value has gained prominence over the years. However, it is not the easiest task to find authentic, useful information about this destination to flesh out your Shillong tour itinerary. Luckily, you can find genuine accounts of booking Shillong tour packages and travelling Northeast India by real travellers on Tripoto. Before you book your own Shillong tour package, it is advisable to take a look at others’ experiences. You will then be able to carve out a Shillong tour plan that works best for you. The following are a few excerpts from real accounts written on Tripoto:
“Tucked away in East Khasi Hills, this city offered a much-needed respite from continuous travelling, through gruelling road conditions in much of the rest of north-east. Shillong travel circuit can easily boast to have the best roads, connectivity and tourist amenities and hence probably more people are travelling to this state than any other out of our lovely seven-sisters.” — Richa Gupta
“Shillong peak is actually one of the highest points of the state and is therefore regarded as a highly famous attraction. In the evening, the city appears even more beautiful and it looks like a necklace of light. The city view during the night is a memorable scene to all. It is also the host to a radar station for Indian Air force and tourists are advised to disclose their valuables including camera, while reaching view-point and strictly restricted to take any snap of radar facilities.” — Sattanurupa Saha
“Whether it is the awe and wonder that captivates you as you enjoy the panoramic views of the city from Shillong hill, or the charm of isolation that draws you in the surrounding groves of tall, evergreen trees of Upper Shillong, every nook, every street, every lane here has a story that is waiting to be unraveled. But if there is one thing in Shillong that is even more attractive than its natural beauty, it is an eclectic mix of cafes and their unwavering bond with music.” — Aakanksha Magan
“Apart from being the host location for the International Cherry Blossoms festival of India, Shillong also offers you with some stunning sightseeing spots. You will find a perfect mix of all the cultures of northeast being embraced in the most amazing way.” — Shruti Jain
You can book a Shillong tour package anytime in the year and would not find a reason to complain. Summer, that lasts from March until June, is a lovely time to visit. The temperature ranges from 15 to 25 degrees Celsius, which is ideal to explore the outdoors for longer periods without breaking a sweat. The weather is also agreeable for adventure sports. Besides that, the festival of Shad Suk Mynsiem is celebrated with much pomp and dance in the month of April. It is an occasion to give thanks to nature by the Khasi population. If you are planning to book a Shillong tour package in summer, it is recommended to attend this festival.
If you are going after June, you will witness the monsoon season here. The state is home to Cherrapunji and Mawsynram – two places on Earth that receive extremely high rainfall. Being close to these locations, Shillong also experiences heavy and frequent spells of rainfall from July to September. This is still a great time to organise your Shillong tour plan if you are an adventure enthusiast. Washed clean by the rainfall, you get to experience the Shillong landscape stripped down to display its pure elegance. In July, you can also attend the Behdienkhlam festival celebrated for good health, harvest and wealth by the Jaintia tribe. Winters can get pretty cold in the region.
The temperature is between 2 and 20 degrees Celcius from October to March, hence the daytime is best for sightseeing. There are quite a few festivals celebrated during this period, hence you should book your Shillong tour package accordingly to be able to visit them. For example, in October or November, you can go for the Autumn Festival which includes many cultural events and activities that are renowned worldwide! During the same months, you can also visit the Nongkrem Dance Festival meant to give thanks for peace and prosperity. In February, the Wangala Festival venerates the God of Fertility. These festivities showcase the traditional side of the locals. Travellers who are interested in learning about the unique tribal cultures of Meghalaya must book Shillong tour packages that accommodate such experiences. All in all, it is recommended to plan a visit between September and May to travel in Shillong comfortably. Besides the various sightseeing spots, this city has emerged as one of the prime locations in the country with a thriving music scene. Several music concerts and festivals are regularly hosted here where many indie and international artists perform.
Booking a Shillong tour package can be an experience of a lifetime for different kinds of travellers. Families appreciate the quality time in the hills amidst nature offered by this destination. The different spots in your Shillong tour package offer some of the most refreshing natural views as well as a variety of activities which ensure that each member of your family has an incredible time. Besides the ease of travelling in the city and the warm hospitality of locals makes this a top choice for a family vacation. Groups of friends also love booking Shillong tour packages. This is owing to the number of lesser-explored destinations waiting to be traversed. Even opportunities of participating in activities such as trekking, camping, water skiing, yachting, speed boating, archery, golfing and river canyoning are way more fun with your friends.
If you are booking a Shillong tour package for an adventure, you are definitely going to get that – a gastronomical adventure at the beloved cafes of the city. A variety of cuisines can be found here, cooked in a style characteristic to Shillong. Hence, even common food items such as chow mein and momos are particularly popular due to their distinct taste. Other than that, you must try the local delicacies hailing from the kitchens of Jaintia and Khasi tribes. The food is mild and uses minimum spices, yet it is very flavourful. Key ingredients are onions, chillies, ginger, garlic, mustard oil, soybean and sesame. The dishes are mainly meat and rice based, using a lot of boiled and steamed items. Some of the most popular additions to a menu in Shillong are ja doh and ja doh snam, dishes made of either chicken or pork. A widely consumed pork dish is doh khleh. These dishes can be consumed with turumbai, a soybean sauce. Dishes such as doh shiar ngiong and doh ngiong are similar to the popular curries in the rest of the country, with sesame adding a smoky taste to it. Desserts such as pukhlein are a must-try too. The bamboo shoot pickle is a significant addition to your plate in Meghalaya. The food in the city seems familiar yet wildly different, therefore your Shillong tour package must make room for this delightful experience.
I have booked a Shillong tour package, but I am not sure how to travel within the city.
Travel within the city will be included in most packages. If it isn’t then you can choose from two means of transportation within the city. The first option is to take the bus, which is extremely affordable. The downside, however, is that it will go on a very slow pace and will keep stopping to pick up more passengers. Alternately, you can take taxis to get around. The main stand for taxis is in Police Bazaar, but there are many all over the city. You can also stop one on the road. Almost all taxis in Shillong are shared. It is possible to rent a taxi for the whole day as well, although that will be more expensive. The taxis are unmetered and seldom follow a fixed rate, so it is recommended to consult your hotel staff about the fair price.
After booking a Shillong tour package, I would also like to go to other Northeast states. How difficult is that?
While booking a Shillong tour package, you should plan the rest of your trip in advance to have a smooth journey. The hilly roads make the journey slightly bumpy, but you can easily go to other states from Shillong via road as it is well connected. You can take trains as well. Other than that, travelling by air is a quick option.
How much does Shillong sightseeing cost?
A Shillong tour package is relatively cheap. Sightseeing in the city can cost between ₹4,000 - ₹8,000 per person, based on the activities and tourist destinations you add to your Shillong tour package. If you plan to go to the nearby locations outside the boundaries of the city, your Shillong trip cost will be on the higher side.
I am a vegetarian. Should that deter me from booking a Shillong tour package?
It is true that many local dishes are non-vegetarian. However, as there has been an increase in bookings of Shillong tour packages, a variety of food items are served in the city to cater to travellers with different preferences. Hence, finding vegetarian food is not difficult at all and you should book your Shillong tour package without a worry.
Will my Shillong tour package include destinations around the city?
It depends on your own preferences. There is a lot to see within the city, but if you have time, you should choose a Shillong tour package that will take you sightseeing to the wonderful places near it, such as Cherrapunjee and Mawphlang.
What adventurous activities can I experience when I book a Shillong tour package?
You can include a number of adventurous activities in your Shillong tour packages. For instance, you could go trekking, water skiing, camping, speed boating and archery.
Should I book a Shillong tour package if I am going to Northeast India for the first time?
Northeast India is a vast region and there is a lot to see and experience. Shillong tour packages prove to be a good starting point. The city has gone through a lot of development in the last couple years, hence it is a comfortable introduction to the region for city dwellers. At the same time, since it is nestled within nature, it is a good destination to explore. Therefore, you should book Shillong tour packages while travelling to Northeast India, moving on to other destinations depending on the time you have.
How can I travel to Shillong from other Indian cities?
Shillong can be reached without much difficulty from other major Indian cities. Going by flight is the quickest and easiest option available. However these journeys would require a stop in Kolkata. Alternately, you can go to Guwahati first and then travel by road for about three hours to reach Shillong. Figuring out your transportation may take some time, hence book your Shillong tour package in advance.
Should I expect trouble in communicating with the locals of Shillong?
You will not face communication problems when you book a Shillong tour package. There are people from different tribes living in Shillong, primarily Khasi, Garo and Jaintya. Hence, locals hailing from these tribes communicate in their own languages. There is a big Assamese population residing here too. However, the official language of the state is English. The population has picked up other languages such as Hindi, Bengali and Nepali too from neighbouring states. Therefore, interacting with locals is generally not a problem while in Shillong.
Should I book a Shillong package or plan my own Shillong tour itinerary?
Although tourism in Northeast India has increased over the years and information is available online, navigating a whole trip by yourself can still be pretty tricky. To have a trip where you can enjoy and relax, it is recommended to book Shillong holiday packages.
Written by Shruti Mishra, an in-house Tripoto writer.
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