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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What are the popular outdoor activities in Shillong?

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Whether you are a water sports enthusiast or an eco-tourist or a lazy 'adventurer', you will find your Shillong itinerary filled with activities that you can engage in to your liking and mood. Some of the more fun-filled activities you can do are:


  • Watersport activities

Water sports complex at Umiam lake, developed upon the vast Umiam hydro-electric dam,is the perfect spot where kayaking to water cycling/scooting to doing backflips off the rocks into the water are some of the popular options to engage in. Between the kayaking and jumping off rocks if you find yourself light-headed you can always refuel on the lavish spreads from the floating restaurants that are an experience in themselves. Bored of paddling and scooting along the lake? You can try your hand at water skiing, yachting, angling, row boats, cruise boats and sailing boats.


  • Boating

For the more laidback of us boating is an ideal option where you can set sail to your mental and physical disquiet and reclaim your sense of balance. However, what with all the adrenaline pumping around you at Umiam lake it might be bit of a challenge to not jump up with a start every moment with people around you diving, rowing and generally just flying around.

Alternatively, another ideal place for boating would be Ward lake. A manmade lake in the shape of a horse-shoe, it is set beneath the Raj Bhawan. Flanked by stone walkways, spread with radiant, blooming flowerbeds and overpassed by a white bridge, the lake is abound with fish. Kickback and enjoy a one of its kind boat ride as you chase fleecy clouds in the bright blue skies above, while being serenaded by the tall conifers towering around.


  • Trekking

Shillong's rugged and dramatic landscape makes for a perfect trekking, camping and caving terrain, as it takes you through primeval hills and land, and deep gorges. The Meghalaya Tourist Development Corporation has identified 2 trekking trails; 5 days part-trek, part-bus to Cherrapunjee and 7 days trek to Umlyng (extendable to 10 days if you wish to press on to Mawlyndep). When you register for either of the trips at the MTDC office at Polo road you will be provided with photographs, maps, and trekking equipments and tents.

Additionally, you could try out either one of the more popular trekking routes; Living Root Bridge, Kyllang Rock, David Scott Trail and Sophet-bneng, guides for which are easily available. All the trekking terrains are an experience in themselves taking you through the adventure of your life as you cross tropical forests, wade through mountain streams, and if you are fortunate you may come across some of the more endangered and elusive species indigenous to this region like the hornbills, hog deer, langur, etc. Be sure to bring your stamina, grit and spirit of adventure in plenty as the terrains are sure to test your endurance level.


  • Mountain Biking/cycling

Some of the routes listed above are also ideal for Mountain biking, specifically the David Scott trail, Cherapunjee trail and path to Mawphlang (located 30 km from Shillong), as not only are these trails navigable on a mountain bike but also because they are remote enough for you to not meet/bump into too many people.


  • Waterfall Rappelling

If you still haven't had enough of water based activities, there is waterfall rappelling/cascading for you to try your hands at at Elephant Falls.This is not an activity for the faint-hearted, as you descend either through or alongside the waterfall.


Fee: Around INR 250 for adults, INR 200 for children (age limit 10+ years)

These activities are sure to satiate the adventure spirit of even Indiana Jones. And if all this sounds a little too overwhelming to the more weary souls, then a stroll along the Rengthiam falls, Spread Eagle falls, Thadlaskein lake, Nehru Park and Sohpetbneng peak is a must, specially for those seeking solace and peace of mind. They are bound to overwhelm you but in a very different way.


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