Sunday, June 20, 2010

Plan a trip to Shillong

So, right before I tell you how to enjoy Shillong. Let me tell you that its in Meghalaya. This 'just in case' fact is for people like me who untill I was planning to go there thought it was in Sikkim or one of the other 6 NE states. So ya, Shillong is the capital of Meghalaya and was once the capital of Assam!!

So to get there you have 4 options Taxi, Bus, Plane or just be born there. There is no railways in the state so you need to reach Guwahati for (some of) the above mentioned options. You could fly there directly if you and your wallet wish to. Taxi is the most preferred, they charge Rs 140 one way and they squeeze in 10 people in one one sumo (excluding the driver). So in case you want a little for comfort or privacy while you go through the beauty of Meghalaya hire your own taxi (lots of Maruti Altos for that) . There is a stark difference in the weather once you cross Assam and what an awesome gesture that is! It makes you feel like you are going on a holiday!

There are hotels, resorts and lodges all over Shillong. If you are the kind that wants everything around you while you are on a holiday, for example the pubs, restaurants, shopping malls etc.. then Police Bazar (PB) is the place for you. But I chose Laitmukhra a place 2 km from PB to stay cause its less crowded. The advantage of Laitmukhra is that you are at peace when you want and when you want to have 'fun' you take a shared taxi to PB at 7 bucks. But I preferred to walk all the way. What better than taking a hot water bath and then taking a walk through the serpentine roads of a hill station!! The added advantage being you get to see a lot of lakes and ponds on the way. One of them being Wards lake. Beautiful and a must visit!

Visit the Don Bosco NE cultural museum in Mawli, its extremely informative and its very modern! Go figure why I call it modern. You would have to take a taxi on 'reserved' for this, he will charge you 100 bucks from police bazar. It serves both the nerdy kinds and the fun kinds. I wonder where they get the kind of money. You can take a walk up the steep roads of Shillong to reach IIM Shillong, nice walk-nice place. Buy yourself a ticket to the Meghalaya Govt. transport corp for a day trip to Cherrapunjee. Take the 15 seater deluxe at Rs 280. Take your Camera! You will be surprised by the kind of music these people play in the govt. buses!! In Manali they played Himesh, here they played coldplay, BEP, local rock..

Other than the obvious places, go around Shillong walking (alternatively take a shared taxi), ask people for direction, they will befriend you and if you are lucky you can go drinking with some localites! Thats what happened to me. Some wonderful people these Shillong guys are!! Cloud 9 is a quiet pub on the top floor of centre point in Police Bazar. For the noisy kinds there is Tango below UCB. Another option is buy the booze sneak up to the terrace of your place and enjoy the drink with the dash of cold night wind, while you are at it you might also see some distant quiet lightning.. an indication that its still raining up there in Cherrapunjee!

The best way to enjoy Shillong is to see it wake up and see it go to sleep. Wake up at 5 and sleep at 11! Eat the apricot and buy the converse shoes. Watch the kids go to school and colleges with their hair style and party dresses. Every one is well dressed in Shillong! Enjoy the local dish Jadoh, chew on some Shillong Tamol (Betel nut, strict warning) Enjoy the moving rain in Cherrapunjee and trek through the caves in the trip! and ya dont forget to chat up with the locals!!

I enjoyed Shillong but I know I enjoyed it more because I had amazing company!