Budget – Rs. 8500/person (including stay, food, and sightseeing), depends on hotel bookings.
Places to Visit:
- Located 3.4 km away from the Eee Cee hotel was The Shillong Peak at 1932 mt from the sea level. Cabs/taxis charge Rs.300-500 (negotiable) for round trip and take around 25-30 min to reach there. Air force base camp is situated on the peak hence permission for entry is required for which Identity cards are checked. So don’t forget to have them with you. The entire city is visible from the peak. Telescope services are also available for Rs.20/10 mins. Professional photographers are there to click pictures for you. We relished the scenic beauty with sips of tea from ‘Khajuram tea stall’ for just Rs. 5/cup. Local vendors selling handmade shawls, stoles for Rs. 100-150 made our day.
- Just 4 km away in the same route is The Elephant Falls in the Khasi hills.
A three-staged fall is marvelous which gets filled with fog every 5minutes. Private taxi stand at the Shillong peak is the best transport to reach here as they charge a reasonable rate of Rs.40-50/person. Steps are made through which we can get down to the mainstream and spend some quality time with nature. If you wish, you can ask the same cab to drop you to your hotel but for this, they charge Rs.120/person (including the waiting time).we took Trekker (public transport) for Rs.10/person and enjoyed the hills on our way back to the hotel.
- The next day we started early in the morning for Cherrapunjee- one of the wettest lands on earth. It is 53 km (1 hour 40 min) away in the East Khasi hills. The most convenient way to reach there is to book a car for Rs.1500 a day (5 seater car costs Rs.300/person) for a round trip and sightseeing. The best part was the Natural Root Bridge and the Badrul Caves that were on the way to Cherrapunjee. Train route covers 83 km in 1 hour to reach Karimganj station (nearest railway station) and then by road another 45mins to reach the place but it would be an expensive option as it costs around Rs.400-450/person. Vendors selling tea and snacks at regular intervals are a relief as no restaurant is available on the way so please keep enough food with you.
- Later, we headed 5 km south (20 min journey) towards Nohkalikai Falls – the tallest waterfall in India at 1117 ft above sea level.
A perfect view of hills all around amidst the clouds and the steam-like water falling straight feels like heaven is right here. On our way back, we were lucky enough to witness the afternoon rains at Cherrapunjee and stopped at The Halari Restaurant for a meal (costs Rs.600 for two).
- Umiam Lake was at 8.3 km west of our hotel, the lake we see in the Airtel 4g advertisement, it was one of the best views of our trip. No public transport is available to the place, only private cars charging Rs.800-1000/trip took us there, a travel time of 45 mins. Boating can be done at Rs. 50/ride. In Winters the lake freezes completely and skating can be done on it. The fish fry is a must try in the Dhaba located beside the lake with warm soup for just Rs.25/piece. Isn’t it cool, literally?
- At about 2 km from our place, was The Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Culture Museum, rich in antiques and cultural chronicles related to the north-eastern tribes. Entry fee is Rs. 10/person. This place has a good connectivity with auto rickshaws charging Rs.7/person and other cabs/taxis which cost Rs.50/trip. However, we took a walk down the lane to enjoy the pleasant weather.
Delicacies of Shillong, Meghalaya:
- Jadoh’s Smoky meat curry at Don Bosco Square for Rs.625 is a true delight. If you are vegetarian then right beside the restaurant is a small café Trattoria which serves an excellent dish of green vegetables steamed with Meghalayan spices and onion, called Jhur Kleh for just Rs. 245.
- The Veg-fried and Chicken- nuggets steamed momos of Café Shillong Delight are a must try. Further, if you are a pork lover then Cloud 9 Restaurant at 1.1 km from is a perfect match for you. It is for just Rs.800/two.
How to Reach Shillong:
- Train- The cheapest way is to take Koaa Dibrugarh Express from Kolkata to Jagiroad, which is, 1084 km with a travel time of 19 hr 15 min and costs Rs.2044 (3AC). Then, take a taxi to Shillong for Rs.300(fixed) which takes 1 hr to reach. However, the best possible route that we chose was, boarded Saraighat Express from Howrah Station that cost Rs.1315/person and reached Guwahati in 17.5 hrs. And then boarded an Indica (cab) to Shillong in Rs.800 and for 4-5 hrs of journey.
- Flights- Kolkata to Shillong Air India flight cost around Rs.7845/person (depending upon availability) with a travel time of 1 hr 45 min.
- The Eee Cee Hotel- Situated at 3km distance from Shillong airport (7 min) and 99 km (2 hr) from Guwahati Railway station, it is a perfect stay option in Police Bazaar area and we strongly recommend the same to all. Private cabs from the airport are available which charge Rs. 80-100 (highly negotiable). The hotel charges Rs.1545/room day (depending on availability) along with Wi-Fi internet, restaurant, and other amenities.
- The APR Guest House- It is at 66 km from Shillong airport, it provides a luxurious stay with pick and drop facilities from the airport (no extra charge but only on advance booking) charges Rs.2042/room per day and gives a serene view of the lake and its calm atmosphere. Restaurant (excluded from room fare) and car rental services are also available.
Extra Gyaan :
- The place is beautiful inside and outside, so try exploring it as much as you can. Its climate is soothing, you can feel the clouds passing by you, the greenery all around is very serene and a treat to the eyes.
- Being at such an altitude, the only means to travel is by road. So transportation has issues like landslides and accidents due to sharp curves and heavy rains. Also, the fare demanded by the cab drivers is highly unreasonable at times so make sure you negotiate well.
- Police bazaar market, known as the heart of the city, is the best place to shop. Handmade Woolen blouses, gloves, shawls, fur coats at amazing prices starting from Rs.99 onwards made us grab two woolen jackets just for Rs.399 each. Lehdug bazaar is a crowded marketplace specializing in Meghalaya special spices and fruits like Strawberry. I took a basket full of raspberries and strawberries at just for Rs.45.
Well, everything was in my budget! I hope the same for you…Happy Tripping!
PS: The trip was taken in April 2016