Getting to Shillong & Local Transportation
Shillong is the beautiful capital of Meghalaya, a state that unfortunately has no direct rail connectivity because of its hilly terrain. The nearest railway station is at Guwahati that is 96km away from Shillong City and is quite well connected with major Indian cities. There are also airports and well maintained roads with ancillary conveyance options that make travelling to Shillong convenient and pleasurable.
Getting to Shillong
Many trains from almost all over India pass through or terminate at Guwahati Railway Station - the major rail station nearest to Shillong.
Major trains from Kolkata
There are more than 30 trains that ply between Kolkata and Guwahati. One of the Major trains that run from Kolkata to Guwahati is Kanchenjunga Express (runs all days of the week). It departs from Sealdah railway station at 6.35 p.m. and arrives at 4.00 in Guwahati.
Another good option is the Puri Kamkhya weekend express that departs from Howrah station on Sundays at 7.30 a.m. and reaches at 6.10 p.m. in Guwahati. The Saraighat Express, Kamrup Express and Sealdah Guwahati Superfast (runs only on Tuesdays) are other options for trains that ply between Kolkata to Guwahati.
Major trains from NJP
From New Jalpaiguri or NJP there are numerous trains that ply to Guwahati so you will basically be spoilt for choice.
The Saraighat Express runs from New Jalpaiguri at 2.00 a.m. and reaches Guwahati at 9.30 a.m. on the same day (this train runs all days of the week).
The Porvotr S Kranti runs from New Jalpaiguri at 12.20 a.m. and reaches Guwahati at 8.15 a.m. the same day (this train runs on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday).
The Brahmaputra Mail runs from NJP at 4.45 a.m. and reaches Guwahati at 2.25 p.m. the same day (this train runs on all days of the week).
The Kamrup Express runs from NJP at 6.30 a.m. and reaches Guwahati at 3.45 p.m. the same day (runs for all days of the week).
The DBRT Rajdhani runs from NJP at 11.05 a.m. and reaches Guwahati at 5.20 p.m. the same day (runs on all days of the week).
There are two airports that can be used for accessing Shillong; Guwahati Airport (114 km from Shillong City) and Umroi Airport (35 km away from the Shillong City and near Barapani). However, the Guwahati Airport is preferred as an access point as the Umroi Airport has limited connectivity.
35 km from Shillong City, Meghalaya
Only domestic flights land in Umroi airport and there are flights from Bangalore, New Delhi, Jaipur, Chennai etc. From Kolkata Netaji Subhash Chandra Airport, a flight runs daily to Umroi airport with the flight landing at 2.30 p.m. at Umroi (starts from Kolkata at 12.45 p.m.).
Umroi airport is also connected to Agartala Airport via a daily flight which goes via Kolkata and takes more than 5 hour to land in Shillong. Daily flights are available from Guwahati airport to Umroi airport but these too are routed through Kolkata and take more than 4 hour to reach Umroi.
After landing at Umroi, you can book a taxi to reach Shillong city or can take a bus. A 28 seater bus is available from Umroi airport on arrival of flight from Kolkata (11am) which terminates at MTC Bus Station of Shillong located at Police Bazaar (this bus can also be taken from MTC Bus Station at Shillong to reach the Umroi airport). No shared taxi is available and you have to take a full cab to the city. The taxi fare although should be around 750 INR, can vary a lot. It's better to pre book the cab.
Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport
Borjhar (22 km from the Guwahati City)
The Guwahati airport is 114 km away from Shillong City and enjoys excellent connectivity with all major cities of India. This is the main airport that most air passengers use to reach Shilong. The Government is spending INR 120 crores (INR 1200 million) to develop the Guwahati airport as an air hub and to promote tourist flow to the North East states.
Whichever part of India you may choose to travel from, you can get a flight to Guwahati Airport. Many carriers like Air India, Jet Airways, JetKonnect, Allaince Air, JetLite, Druk Air, Indigo, Go Air operate to and from this airport. From Kolkata there are many flight carriers to Guwahati who run daily flights like Indigo, Jet Airways, Spice Jet, Go Air, Air India etc.
The facilities of Guwahati Airport are good and include assistance to physically challenged. Other facilities at the airport includes child care, business center, medical service, wheel chair, baggage strolley, handicrafts emporium, tourist information centre and a pre-paid taxi counter providing taxi services to all major tourist places including Shillong.
Once you reach Guwahati Airport, you have options of pre-paid taxis, shared taxi and bus service to get to Shillong. More information below.
Note that Guwahati airport is about 22kms from Guwahati city center and Shillong is further 92kms away from Guwahati city (although from airport the usual cab route bypasses the city center).
Bus Services to Shillong
NH 40 which is in excellent condition and is referred to as “an all-weather road”, connects Guwahati to Shillong. The Transport Corporation of the State and the network of private transport operators run services to many places in Meghalaya and neighboring states.
For the busy Shillong - Guwahati route, MTC (Meghalaya Transport Corporation) and ASTC (Assam State Transport Corporation) operate regular bus services.
MTC has well-heeled bus services that are coordinated with the schedule of train arrivals in Guwahati. There are buses which leave Guwahati at 6 a.m. in the morning and the last bus leaves at 5 p.m. (frequency being one bus per hour approximately). Similarly, there are coordinated services from Shillong, where buses leave for Guwahati. From Shillong, state buses leave for Guwahati every hour starting from 6.30 a.m. and the fare is just 85 INR per person.
In Guwahati the state transport Corporation bus service leaves from the Inter State Bus terminus in Beltola which is about 10kms away from the railway station and you can reach there by local auto rickshaw or by cab. The private run buses and tourist coaches leave from Paltan Bazar in Guwahati which is very close to the railway station.
In Shillong, Govt MTC buses run from Police Bazaar MTC Bus Station while Private buses run from Polo Grounds (about 2kms below Police Bazar). Buses will take about 3.5 hours to complete the journey with a stop at Nongpoh for refreshments and snacks.
At Guwahati airport, you will get limited MTC bus services to Shillong (Police Bazar). ASTC has frequent bus services from Guwahati airport to Guwahati city (every 30 minutes in peak time, every 1 hour in non-peak hours). Once you reach Guwahati city, you have options of buses, shared taxis etc to Shillong.
Taxis are amply available at the Guwahati Railway Station. You will also get taxi service outside Guwahati Airport to reach Shillong City. Shared cab service is also available at both Guwahati airport and railway station.
If you arrive in Guwahati before 5pm you can get a shared cab. In case you arrive later than that, taking a full cab is your only option. You will get shared taxis and Sumos from Guwahati’s Paltan Bazaar and Khanapara from 5am onwards until around 5pm.
Indicative Taxi Fares to Shillong
Small car usually means car like Alto, Maruti Van, and WagonR etc. which can accommodate up to 4 persons. Big Car usually means Sumo, Jeep etc. which can take up to 8 persons.
Guwahati Airport to Shillong (small car 4pax): INR. 2500/-
Guwahati Airport to Shillong (bigger car 8pax): INR. 3000/-
Guwahati Railway Station to Shillong (small car 4pax): INR. 2200/-
Guwahati Railway Station to Shillong (bigger car 8pax): INR. 2700/-
Aizwal to Shillong (small car 4pax): INR. 8000/-
Aizwal to Shillong (big car 8pax): INR. 11,564/-
Cherapunjee/ Sohra to Shillong (small car 4pax): INR. 1800/-
Cherapunjee/ Sohra to Shillong (bigger car 8pax): INR. 2200/-
Shared cars are available from Guwahati to Shillong and they charge around INR 600 per person.
Shared cab fare from Guwahati airport to Guwahati City (Paltan Bazar) is INR 150/- per person.
Helicopter service is available from Guwahati to Shillong and from Shillong to Guwahati daily apart from Sunday.
The helicopter ride lasts for 20 minutes and will give you a marvellous bird’s eye view of the entire terrain. This is indeed an enjoyable way to travel but you have to book the ride in advance.
The arrival and departure schedule of helicopter service is as follows:
From Guwahati to Shillong two helicopter flights are available at 9.00 a.m. and 12.30 p.m. respectively. These helicopter reach Shillong at 9.30 p.m. and 1.00 p.m. respectively.
From Shillong to Guwahati two helicopter flights are available at 9.40 a.m. and 1.05 p.m. respectively. These helicopters reach Shillong at 10.10 p.m. and 1.35 p.m. respectively.
Helicopter fare for one adult is 1,500 INR and for child (age between 2 to 12) the fare is 1000 INR for a one way ride.
It’s advisable that you book your helicopter ride quite well in advance and opt to experience this novel way of journey at least one way of your Guwahati Shillong trip. It costs considerably less than a flight and much less than a cab ride and you can see the time savings for yourself.
Meghalaya Helicopter Service MTC Bus Stand, Police Bazar Tel (0364) 2223129
Tower Tour & Travels Tel (0364) 2220075
Sheba Travels Tel (0364) 2227222
Major Cities near Shillong
Guwahati 98.8 km
Agartala 453 km
Aizwal 393 km
Imphal (Via NH 37 and NH 6) 470 km
Dhaka 384 km
Rangpur 481 km
Dinajpur 608 km
Siliguri 567 km
Kolkata (Via NH 27) 1078 km
Getting Around Shillong: Local Transports
You will get cab service to Shillong town from Guwahati Airport, Guwahati Bus Stand, Guwahati Railway station and Umroi airport (only full cabs are available from Umroi).
In Shillong the taxis are all yellow top small cars. The main taxi stand is the Police Bazaar Taxi Stand at SoSo Tham Road, Secretariat Hills. There are several other taxi stands all across Shilllong. You can also stop a passing taxi and take a ride. Note that all taxis in Shillong are shared.
The Meghalaya Transport Corporation Office (MTC Bus Station) is also in Police Bazaar. There are City Buses available in Shillong which are economical good options to travel within Shillong city limits. However the buses not only move very slow, they would almost invariably keep waiting at bus stops to pick up passengers. The locals are used to such long waits and slow pace. There are Bazaar buses also which are used mostly by villagers to bring in their farming produce to the city.
Here are the distances to several well known places that are near Shillong.
Cherrapunjee/ Sohra 56 Km
Jowai 64.7 Km.
Nongpoh 51.3 Km.
Mylliem (5th Mile) 14.6 Km
Umroi 30.3 Km
Mawsynram 60.9 Km
Pynunrsla 50.4 Km
Nongstoin 95.7 Km
Shella 86.2 Km
Tura 316 Km
Williamnagar (Via NH 31) 312 Km
Local Sightseeing Tours & Operators
While MTDC (Meghalaya Tourism Development Corporation) themselves conduct guided local tours in and around Shillong, there are numerous private operators as well. You can even negotiate a local sightseeing package with a taxi driver.