Embarking on a journey to Shillong, the “Scotland of the East,” is akin to stepping into a dream painted with rolling hills, cascading waterfalls, and a culture steeped in rich heritage. My recent sojourn to this mesmerizing destination unveiled an array of experiences, from cozy hotels to vibrant local markets and breathtaking landscapes, making Shillong an unmissable gem in the heart of Meghalaya.
Hotels: A Tapestry of Comfort and Charm
Nestled amidst the undulating hills, Shillong boasts a diverse range of accommodations catering to every traveler’s preference. Opting for the tranquility of heritage, I chose to stay at the Ri Kynjai Serenity by the Lake. Perched on the banks of Umiam Lake, the resort seamlessly blends Khasi architecture with modern comforts. The view from my cottage window was nothing short of enchanting – a panorama of the serene lake reflecting the changing hues of the sky.
For those seeking a more central location, the Polo Orchid Resort offers a luxurious retreat with easy access to Shillong’s bustling markets and cultural hotspots. The warm hospitality, coupled with panoramic views of the surrounding pine-clad hills, made it a delightful haven.
Budget-conscious travelers can find comfort in charming guesthouses like Café Shillong Bed & Breakfast, where the cozy ambiance and personalized service create a home away from home.
Cost of Tour: A Worthwhile Investment in Memories
Shillong, while maintaining its allure, is relatively pocket-friendly for travelers. The cost of a tour can vary depending on factors such as accommodation choices, dining preferences, and the extent of exploration. On average, a moderate budget of ?10,000 to ?15,000 per day is sufficient to cover accommodation, meals, local transport, and entrance fees to various attractions.
This budget allows for a mix of experiences, from savoring local delicacies at quaint eateries to indulging in guided tours of natural wonders and cultural sites. Remember, the memories created amid Shillong’s misty landscapes are priceless, making every rupee well spent.
Local Transport: Navigating the Hills with Ease
Navigating the winding roads of Shillong is an adventure in itself. The city is well-connected, and local transport options abound. Taxis are readily available for point-to-point travel, while shared cabs, often referred to as “sumos,” provide an economical means of exploring the city.
For a more immersive experience, I opted for a rented scooter. Cruising through the pine-scented air, I meandered along the scenic roads, relishing the freedom to explore at my own pace. However, for those less inclined towards two-wheel adventures, hiring a local guide with a car can offer a comfortable and informative way to explore the surrounding areas.
Sightseeing and Attractions: Nature’s Canvas Unveiled
Shillong is a treasure trove of natural wonders and cultural marvels. My itinerary began with a visit to Elephant Falls, where the cascading water seemed to playfully dance down the rocks, creating a serene spectacle. The Shillong Peak offered a panoramic view of the city and the surrounding hills, providing a breathtaking vantage point that is a photographer’s delight.
Exploring the living root bridges in Cherrapunji was an enthralling experience. These natural wonders, crafted by intertwining the aerial roots of rubber trees, showcase the harmonious relationship between nature and the indigenous Khasi tribes.
A visit to Mawlynnong, renowned as the cleanest village in Asia, was a cultural immersion. The village exuded an aura of simplicity and eco-friendliness, leaving an indelible mark on my memory.
Shillong’s vibrant markets, such as Police Bazaar and Bara Bazaar, beckon with an array of local handicrafts, traditional attire, and souvenirs. Exploring these markets provided not only an opportunity to shop for authentic Khasi artifacts but also a chance to interact with the warm and friendly locals.
Local Cuisine: A Gastronomic Journey
No travelogue of Shillong is complete without a culinary exploration of the local flavors. Khasi cuisine, known for its simplicity and reliance on fresh, local produce, is a treat for the taste buds.
Café Shillong and Dylan’s Café offered a blend of local and international cuisine, creating an ambiance perfect for unwinding after a day of exploration. Trying the local delicacies like Jadoh (rice and meat preparation) and Doh Khleh (pork salad) provided an authentic taste of the Khasi culinary heritage.
For those craving a taste of home, the vibrant food stalls near Police Bazaar served up delectable momos and thukpa, transporting me to the narrow lanes of northeastern markets.
A Symphony of Memories
Shillong, with its mist-laden hills, cultural riches, and culinary delights, transcends the conventional travel experience. The quaint charm of this hill station, coupled with the warmth of its people, leaves an indelible imprint on the soul. As I bid farewell to the “Abode of Clouds,” I carry with me a symphony of memories, each note echoing the allure of Shillong – a destination that truly captivates the heart.