A quaint hill station brimming with serene valleys, lush green landscapes, cascading waterfalls, and beautiful walking trails - that’s Shillong. This unparalleled beauty is the capital of Meghalaya and has pleasant weather with greenery all around, just enough to leave you in bliss. There are many caves, waterfalls, vintage churches, and several other significant historical spots here. So, it wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that Shillong is an amalgamation of history, culture, and natural beauty. Since the place has so much to offer, it can get difficult to plan your trip here. If you’re planning a short trip and are looking for the best places to visit in Shillong, check out our 48 hours in Shillong itinerary to make the most of it.
The first destination on our 48 hours in Shillong itinerary is the beautiful Umiam Lake. This lake is one of the many reasons why your road trip on the Guwahati-Shilong route will be a memorable one. After all, you get to witness some of the most amazing panoramic sights on your journey to Umiam Lake. Thick coniferous forests and majestic hills surround this lake, making it one of the most tranquil spots of Shillong. Back in the ‘60s, the construction of a dam over the Umiam River for a hydroelectric project led to the formation of this lake. Just head 15 km north of Shillong and you’ll reach this mesmerizing lake, which is definitely a treat to the eyes.
Umiam Lake is surrounded by rich flora and fauna; so nature-lovers can have the time of their life just admiring the breathing beauty of this place. You’ll find several fishermen canoeing in the waters here that’ll give you a peek into the lives of the locals who live nearby. For those who need some kick on their vacation to Shillong, there are many activities here to get you in your vacation mood. There are facilities for using paddle boats and water scooters at this lake. After enjoying the scenery and activities here, you can head to the Orchard Lake Resort located nearby. You can feast on some amazing food at the resort’s in-house restaurant or choose to book a stay here.
Also read: Homestays In Shillong
Timings: You can visit the lake anytime. But if you want to indulge in the water sports activities here, the ideal time to visit would be between 9 am and 5 pm.
Entry Fee: INR 20 for entry to Umiam Lake and here’s what you’ll be paying for the different water sports at this lake:
When we say Shillong, a picture of abundant greenery and breathtaking landscapes might pop up in your head, right? But along with epic natural beauty, this place is also home to a rich historical and cultural heritage museum - the Don Bosco Museum. This museum is recognized as Asia’s largest museum for indigenous cultures. So, when making your 48 hours in Shillong itinerary, don’t forget to include the Don Bosco Museum. You’ll get to see several snippets of the tribal life of Northeast people, art sculptures and portraits, etc at this museum. It’s easily accessible from the very famous Police Bazar in Mawlai and the Shillong Bus Stand.
This place has its own research wing, newsletters, publications, etc, which makes it seem more like a holistic educational institution than a museum. No wonder the museum is also referred to as ‘Shillong’s Architectural Pride’. One of the most popular attractions of this museum is its skywalk on the top floor, from where you get the most magnificent views of the city. Apart from that, this museum has a total of 17 art galleries that’ll give you a glimpse into the lives of different tribal communities. Something that you won’t be able to take your eyes off is the collection of Khasi shields and swords at the door of this museum as a tribute to the tribal warriors.
This architectural pride has many other things that’ll take you back in history, especially the collage of pictures that portray the lives of the old Northeastern villages. For those interested to know about the craftsmanship of tribal communities, the museum has a display of several activities like wood carving, pottery, and more. If you’re keen on learning about Shillong’s history and culture, visiting this museum has to be on your 48 hours in Shillong itinerary.
Also read: Shillong Travel Guide
If you’re traveling to Shillong, one of the most relaxing and rejuvenating things to do is to wander around the Golf Course here. Why are we calling it relaxing? Well, when you witness the many pine trees, quaint bridges, and monoliths here, you’ll get the answer yourself! This golf course is considered to be one of the oldest golf courses in the world and is located in the East Khasi Hills district of the state. The breathtaking greenery and scenic beauty of this place have earned it the title of ‘Gleneagle of the East’ by the United States Golf Association and Museum.
This 18-hole golf course has thick and high grass, which makes it one of the most difficult and challenging golf courses in India. If you’re thinking that you need to be able to swing the golf stick to visit here, you’re probably mistaken. That’s because it’s open even for commoners who want to spend a relaxing day on the spectacular green stretches of this course.
You shouldn’t be surprised if the young school and college kids tempt you to join them for a match of volleyball, football, or cricket here. After you get tired of playing or your sightseeing adventures, you can pamper yourself with some amazing food. There are many local vendors here that serve finger-licking food. Some of the must-try local favorites are aloo muri, pani puri, and aloo chana.
Timings: 8 am to 6 pm.
Entry Fee: Free.
Elephant Falls is one of the best places to visit in Shillong. It’s just 12 km away from Shillong Bus Stand. Imagine - glorious streams of water cascading down from the forest slopes into a tranquil spot. That’s what you’ll get to witness at Elephant Falls. The place got its name when the Britishers visited here and found an elephant-shaped rock near the waterfalls. ‘Kshaid-Lai-Pateng’ is the local name of these waterfalls given by the Khasi tribe. It translates to ‘Three Step Waterfalls’ which refers to the three different falls located in succession.
The first fall is quite broad and can be seen hidden among the forest trees. As for the second waterfall, you’ll notice the thin strands with the receding levels of water. What you would probably enjoy the most is the third waterfall that has crystal clear water cascading down over myriad shaped rocks. If you want to witness the Elephant Falls in their glory, the best time to pay a visit is during the monsoon season. Don’t forget to keep your cameras ready as the scenic beauty that surrounds the waterfall will definitely give you a lot of Gram-worthy pictures!
Timings: Monday to Saturday - 10 am to 6 pm.
Entry Fee: Free.
One thing is certain; the moment you step into Lady Hydari Park in Shillong, you’ll get the feeling that you’ve entered a Japanese-style garden. Small ponds, a lake with colorful fishes, willow trees, round-shaped hedges - all of these things at the park have a close Japanese influence. The park has been named after the wife of the Governor of Assam, Lady Hydari.
You can take a stroll through the garden where you’ll get to see various orchids and rhododendrons. Lady Hydari Park is the perfect place to relax and become one with nature. There’s also the Hydari Park Zoo where you’ll find different species of birds, reptiles, and mammals. They also have a museum that has rare pictures of different wildlife species and stuffed elephant skulls, leopards, etc. Whether you want to have a nice family picnic or just take a walk in nature, this park could easily be one of the must-visits on your 48 hours in Shillong itinerary.
A must-visit site among the most popular tourist attractions of Shillong is Ward’s Lake. It’s located in the center of the city, just a kilometer from the Shillong Bus Stand. The sight of the lush-green garden, cobbled path, and wooden bridge here is enough to make you feel like you’ve entered a wonderland. This lake is a treasure house of Shillong and is said to be 100 years old. It’s named after Sir Willam Ward, the then Chief Commissioner of Assam and is also locally known as Polock’s Lake or Nan Polok.
As you take a walk through the stone cobbled path here, you’ll reach a fountain that is nothing but mesmerizing. You can even enjoy watching different kinds of fishes at this artificial lake from the wooden bridge here. One of the most popular activities enjoyed by both locals and tourists at Ward’s Lake is paddle boating. Another popular attraction is the India Orchidarium and Botanical Garden, which is a stone’s throw away from Ward’s Lake. This garden has an amazing collection of exotic plants, orchids, and many other trees. You’ll even get to see different kinds of bird species in this garden. Whether you’re traveling to Shillong with your friends, family, or better half, this is the perfect picnic spot to explore.
Entry Fee: INR 10.
A great place to know more about the defence forces of India is the Air Force Museum of Shillong. It’s located in the Upper Shillong area and is just 12 km away from the Shillong Bus Stand. Right from aircraft models, to uniforms of air force pilots, to missiles and rockets, you’ll get to see a lot of displays here as a tribute to the country.
There are many things that'll surely catch your attention, like the Caribou DHC 4, which was the fighter plane used during the 1971 war with Pakistan. Apart from this, the museum has many other highlights that’ll give you a peek into the journey of our flying brave Indian warriors. There’s also a collection of musical instruments at this museum that is open for visitors to see.
Timings: Monday to Saturday - 9 am to 5 pm.
Entry Fee: INR 20.
Want a kaleidoscopic view of the city? Well, if you’re traveling to Shillong, you must visit Shillong Peak where a view like no other awaits you. This peak is at a height of 1,652 m above sea level, from where you can enjoy the panoramic views of Shillong. The sight of foggy hills, lush green surroundings, and waterfalls here is like a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many. What’s more, is that you’ll even get to see the Bangladesh plains from here. Such a breathtaking sight is surely going to be in your memories forever!
Shillong Peak is in a semi-circular form and, apart from being a tourist attraction, is also considered to be a sacred spot. If you pay a visit here, the locals will tell you a story of their deity ‘Lei Shyllong’ who is believed to protect the city. The locals often organize various rituals at the peak. After you’ve feasted upon the glorious sights from Shillong peak and interacted with the locals, you can relish some food at the stalls here. The local favorite snack to enjoy at the peak is bhutta with a cup of hot chai at the stalls. Since Shillong Peak is near the air force base, all tourists who visit here go through a strict security check and are not allowed to carry cameras.
Timings: 9 am to 5 pm.
Entry Fee: Free, INR 10 for a telescopic view.
Scenic landscapes and a unique cultural experience await you at Shillong, something that’ll truly satisfy your travel desires. You can make the most of your trip to Shillong, even if it’s for a short duration, just if you plan well enough. Now that you’ve read our 48 hours in Shillong itinerary, it’s time you pack your bags for a fun and memorable trip. You’ll be nothing but mesmerized while traveling to Shillong, take our word for it!
How Many Days Are Enough For Shillong?
If you want to cover only the major attractions of Shillong, 2 days are enough to plan a trip here. To go sightseeing and visit the popular landmarks of both Shillong and Cherrapunji, you can extend your trip for 4-5 days.
How Can I Spend My Day In Shillong?
You can visit the following places to spend your day in Shillong:
What Should I Buy From Shillong?
You can buy handwoven stoles and shawls, Tibetan jewelry, etc from Shillong as they’re very famous here. The Police Bazar in Shillong is very famous for buying different artifacts, hanging decor, and other souvenirs for your friends and family.
Which Is The Best Time To Visit Shillong?
If you want to visit the many waterfalls and are fond of greenery, the best time to visit Shillong would be between the months of June and September. Otherwise, the place is also beautiful with misty clouds in the winter months from December to February.
How Far Is Cherrapunji From Shillong?
Cherrapunji is around 54 km from Shillong. So, it’ll roughly take you around 2 hours to reach Cherrapunji by road from Shillong.
What Is The Famous Thing Of Shillong?
Shillong is famous for its green landscapes, waterfalls, and historical landmarks that are sure to take your breath away. Here’s a list of some of the popular locations that Shillong is famous for:
What Is The Famous Food Of Shillong?
One of the most famous foods of Shillong is jadoh, which is made from rice, pork meat, herbs, and mint leaves that you’ll find almost everywhere in the city. Apart from that, the other famous foods of Shillong are momos, jalebis, etc.
What Is Special In Shillong?
Something that makes Shillong very special is the city’s culture which resembles the traditional Khasi tribe. This culture is reflected in the people who live here and in their lifestyle. The city is also famous for its breathtaking scenery and many other tourist attractions.