For a city boy, accustomed to the square, matchbox like architecture of apartments and flats in the cities, Shillong was a treat. With slanting roofs and large windows, the structures here were more akin to the likeness of houses we drew as children, rather than the ones we now lived in, so no wonder that I was taking in Shillong with an almost childlike glee, as we walked around Shillong looking for accommodation– umbrella in hand and a smile on my face. Shillong has lots of places to visit, and surprise, surprise a lot of them have to do with water! Barapani is one such destination, but we had already covered that. Before we headed out to more water, on our first full day in Shillong, we headed to the Shillong Peak after a leisurely morning. We stuck around on the peak well past sunset, to see the town lit up. We couldn’t take any pictures, as having heard that the peak was also an Air Force Radar Centre, there were certain restrictions on photography, so we left the camera altogether, fearing a confiscation. But that didn’t really matter, none of us are really such snap-happy creatures, and the place was lovely!
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276 Kms from Umiam
Best time to visit - January,February,March,November,December
The largest and the busiest city in Bangladesh, Dhaka may seem like a regular, commercial city to you in the first glance but it's much more. It's a place that grows on you with time, and when it does, it's difficult to forget its many experiences. If this is your first visit here, you can choose among the many Dhaka day tours. The tours will help you see the city in its entirety and one can also choose customised tours according to individual preferences. Lal Bagh Fort, Liberation War Museum and Ahsan Manzil are some of the must-visit spots in Dhaka. Do include Baitul Mukarram Mosque in your itinerary. It is the 10th largest mosque in the world and is a sight to behold. Sonargaon is another wonderful place to include in your itinerary. An erstwhile administrative centre of Bengal, the site makes for an interesting visit outside Dhaka. Sitara Mosque is named so because it is decorated with a million stars and is a delight to explore. There are a number of options to stay in Dhaka and you can choose one according to your budget or preference.
218 Kms from Umiam
Best time to visit - January,February,October,November,December
The capital of Tripura doesn't serve much more than an en-route destination for those travelling to Bangladesh. But even in those few hours, one can explore small wonders that go with every traveller's 'Indiana instinct'. On that note, Unakoti's rock-cut relief sculptures remain a popular site to visit along with the Heritage Park and the majestic marble-made Ujjayanta Palace, now the the Government Museum. Both provide interesting insights into the royal and historical heritage and cultural background of the state of Tripura. Nature lovers can wander into the rich biodiversity of the Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary, kingdom of the Clouded Leopard and home to a variety of birds, primates and other animals. It also houses various jungle resorts for those who want to rest, stay or eat. Some more interesting sights such as Dumboor Lake and the floating Neer Mahal (palace) atop lake Rudrasagar are pleasant to visit too. The sleepy city usually comes alive during Durga Puja (October) and the Saraswati Puja, both celebrated with grandeur and religious ecstasy, reflecting the significant and vibrant influence of Bengalis on Tripura. Restaurants such as Shankar Restaurant, Restaurant Kurry Klub and The Manikya Court are well known for vegetarian, non-vegetarian and local Tripuri dishes.
246 Kms from Umiam
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
The capital of Manipur, Imphal, is a politically and economically important city in the North East. If you are visiting Imphal, the Loktak lake should definitely be on your bucket list. Located about 38 km from Imphal, this lake with a cluster of small islands makes for a breathtaking sight. If you are lucky, you may be able to capture the sunset, which looks magical from there! The Red Hill Lokpaching is a hillock located around 16 km from Imphal. It is a sight of historic significance, where the British and the Japanese fought a fierce battle during WWII. It also houses the India Peace Memorial, a monument dedicated to the Japanese soldiers who lost their lives in battle. If you are not short on time, you could also visit the Sadu Chiru Falls or Leimaram Waterfall, located about 25 km from Imphal. It is located in the midst of the valley and is a beautiful testimony to the country's natural beauty.
212 Kms from Umiam
Best time to visit - March,April,May,June,July,August,September,October
Tawang has always been in the midst of conflict and controversy. But if you look beyond the controversy, you'll discover beauty incomparable to any other. Tawang is well connected from Tezpur by air and rail and summer is the best time to visit and plan a holiday. The major tourist attraction here is the Twang Monastery, which is celebrated as the birth place of the 6th Dala Lama. Besides the monastery, the Sela Pass and Jang Waterfalls are also touristy places and should definitely be a part of your itinerary. The Penga Teng Tso Lake is frozen for 5 months in a year, but makes for a wonderful sight all through. Do book a cab to visit the lake since the roads are a little tricky and are best managed by a local. Tawang is especially colourful in February when the Monpas, the native tribe, celebrate the Losar Festival (Tibetan New Year) and it really is a great time to be here. For foreign nationals, special permission is required to visit Tawang so do have all your papers in order. Before planning a holiday to Tawang, it's wise to research and also build contacts with the locals there to discover all the wonderful secrets of this splendid district!
244 Kms from Umiam
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,October,November,December
The recently 'smoke-free' declared city has a lot to offer in terms of its rich history and culture. Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas and bordering Burma, Kohima boasts of lush green hills and forests amidst which treks and morning walks are a pleasure. Locations such as Dzükou Valley and Japfu Peak should be at the top of the to-do list for nature lovers. Ever seen a flying squirrel? The Itanki Wildlife Sanctuary houses a plethora of rare species of plants, animals and birds that can easily capture the hearts of wildlife and nature photographers around the world. Nagaland has been conspicuous in history with the Battle of Imphal and Kohima deemed as "Britain's Greatest Battle" by the British National Army Museum. Its 1,420 heroes can be seen commemorated at the War Cemetery, earning the respect of travellers across the world. Being a land of the Angami Tribe, the village Khonoma offers a rare chance of witnessing a civilisation untouched by commercialisation and modernisation, wherein one can learn about their philosophy, diverse art, history, food, dialect and music. The Nagaland Tourism department also organises various tribal tours such as that of the Konyaks, the fearless tattoo faced legendary headhunters, who have been known to sleep over a bed of human skulls. For travellers always yearning to take a part of the destination back home with them, The Hornbill Festival, hosted in the first week of December, remains at the kernel of Nagaland's cultural heritage, organising various activities, sports, competitions, music and dance performances and shops housing brilliant and unique souvenirs.
87 Kms from Umiam
Best time to visit - June,July,August,September
Sylhet, lying on the banks Surma River, is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in Bangladesh. With lush, refreshing greenery, it is known as the Land of Fairies! Keane Bridge is the gateway to Sylhet and also a prominent landmark. Ratargul is another lovely spot to visit when you are in Sylhet. This swamp forest is one-of-its-kind and the views here are absolutely stunning! One of the few freshwater swamp forests in Bangladesh, it's a must visit. Visit the forest during winter to enjoy the beauty at its peak. Tambil-Jaflong is where you'll witness inspiring views of the surrounding greenery and also get a chance to visit the waterfalls. Do also visit Sree Mangal, considered to be the largest tea gardens in the world. Pangthumai Waterfall and Satchari National Park are some of the other places you can visit when you are around Sylhet. If Sylhet is the only place on your itinerary, be aware that only a few hours are sufficient to explore and learn about the place.
312 Kms from Umiam
Best time to visit - March,April,May
Lying on the India-Bhutan border, Jaigaon is not a tourist place, but is frequented by tourists on their way to Bhutan. The border area is the location of the majestic Bhutan gate, which brings you face to face with Bhutanese architecture. The gateway is covered in beautiful illustrations of dragons and has authentic Bhutanese artwork all over it. The town has many small and big hotels, where you can halt the night before moving on to get the visa at Phuentsholing, on the other side of the gate. The border area has some street side food stalls, which sell momos and chowmein. The Jaigaon region is quite small and can be easily covered on foot. This destination also houses the very unique Dalsinghpara Buddist church, which is an amazing amalgamation of Buddhist engineering and Christian spirit.
312 Kms from Umiam
Best time to visit - March,April,May,September,October
A thriving commercial centre and a gentle mix of various ethnicities, Phuentsholing is a beautiful small town located in southern Bhutan. This is the town where the gorgeous big Bhutan gate is located and also where you can get your visa to visit Bhutan. While you wait for the visa, you can visit the Zangtho Pelri Lhakhang, a small temple representing the heaven of Guru Rinpoche, located at the city centre. This temple houses statues of manifestations of Guru Rinpoche and paintings on Buddha's life and times. The Kharbandi Goemba situated in the city is a charming monastery illustrating the life of the Buddha. From the monastery garden, you can get a fascinating view of Phuentsholing town and its surrounding plains. The local landscape and markets are fun to explore and offer the first peak in Bhutanese life! Phuentsholing has a great food scene as well. Don't forget to try the delicious meat dumplings and the chicken corn soup at the Zen restaurant. Once you are done exploring the quaint towns and completing all government formalities, take a bus or cab forward to visit Paro or Thimphu.