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Old 30th July 2009, 11:46   #1
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Default Kolkata - Orissa - Vizag. Doable in August?

Travel Gurus,

Around the 3rd week of August, I'm planning to do a road trip. The total distance covered will be around 2.5k-3k kms, and total time taken around 12 days. The following is the itinerary:

Day 1 - Kolkata to Puri
Day 2&3 - Stay at Puri
Day 4 - Puri to Gopalpur on Sea (GOS)
Day 5&6 - Stay at GOS
Day 7 - GOS to Vizag
Day 8&9 - Stay at Vizag
Day 10 - Vizag to Araku Valley/Bora caves
Day 11 - Back to Vizag
Day 12 - Vizag to Kolkata

Note the following points:

1) This is just a provisional plan. Dates/venues are flexible as of now.

2) A close friend stays at Vizag, and we'll put up at his place. Except this, accommodation in all other places has to be in hotels.

3) Except Kolkata - Puri, I've never travelled to any of the other places by road. In fact, never gone at all!

I've been told that while NH5 road conditions are quite good, travelling through Orissa in the monsoons can be a risk due to flooding.

Please give me advice on the routes, as well as the venues that I've decided.
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Old 30th July 2009, 11:59   #2
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I have done this with my wife and child in 2006 and your plan is highly doable. You could perhaps break it up like this -

Kolkata-Puri > Puri-Vizag > Vizag-Araku > Araku-Gopalpur > Gopalpur-Kolkata

Rambha on the banks of Chilka is also very scenic and you could consider it instead of Gopalpur.

Last year there was indeed flooding near the Bengal-Orissa border and one Toyota Innova with three passengers got washed out. But this year the situation isn't that bad.

The Andhra section of this journey is through very impoverished parts and there is hardly any streetside food/dhaba etc or even establishments. Carry your own food here. Otherwise the road is excellent. Expect some truck congestion at the AP/Orissa border, but nothing serious.

What car do you drive? I hope you have some experience with hill climbs. The climb up from Vizag is not to be ignored. It may not be Himalaya but that doesn't make a difference. Some of the turns can be quite steep. But the road is excellent with proper side walls. It will be your ideal first hill drive, if you haven't already.
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Old 30th July 2009, 12:12   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post

Kolkata-Puri > Puri-Vizag > Vizag-Araku > Araku-Gopalpur > Gopalpur-Kolkata

Rambha on the banks of Chilka is also very scenic and you could consider it instead of Gopalpur.
Thank you for the suggestion, Sudiptoda. In fact, I've been told by people that GOS is no great snakes and there's no point spending 2 days here. So I'll research Rambha a bit.

Any clues on good hotels at GOS/Rambha?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
What car do you drive? I hope you have some experience with hill climbs. The climb up from Vizag is not to be ignored. It may not be Himalaya but that doesn't make a difference. Some of the turns can be quite steep. But the road is excellent with proper side walls. It will be your ideal first hill drive, if you haven't already.
I drive a Hyundai Verna CRDI. Remember the pics in my Garpanchkot travelogue?

The only hill-climb experience I have is Ahmedabad to Abu in a Chevy Spark (climbed at night, descended 2 days later in the day). While the road to Abu is steep, it is well paved and barriered. Is the Vizag - Araku route well paved?
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Old 30th July 2009, 13:06   #4
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Sorry I forgot your screen name here. Now I remember. Rambha has only OTDC hotel (AFAIK). The other destinations around Chilka on this route are Barkul and Balugaon. Both have just OTDC, which are fairly basic but okay.
I have no clue about GOS accomodation but Oberois have a property there. There used to be many hotels there but a super cyclone a few years ago had done extensive damage there and lot of hotels didn't have the resources to rebuild. So please enquire well before going.
The road to Araku from Vizag is extremely well paved but fairly steep around a few turns. I don't think you will have any problems though.
Happy journey.

PS: Avoid staying in Araku. It's very boring (contrary to popular perception). Try staying in Tyda. It's in the forest. Very nice.

Last edited by Sudipto-S-Team : 30th July 2009 at 13:16.
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Old 30th July 2009, 13:48   #5
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If you want to look up the route plan for the NH5 route Calcuta-Kharagpur-Jaleswar-Baleswar-Bhubaneswar-Behrampur-Srikakulam-Vizag, please click this link, which has the log book of our drive last Dec on the GQ road:
H V Kumar - Driving Log Books - KUMAR'S DRIVING LOG BOOKS,*Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) Drive, Dec 2008

Please bear in mind that rains have been severe in South Orissa this year too and roads are likely to be damaged. AP roads are great. I heard the improvement is that the OR-AP border road is finally done.

In case you are interested in taking some detours, why don't you check out this coastal drive I did:
http://hvkumar.googlepages.com/kumar...ast2cape2coast,

In the above, I have detoured off GQ/NH5 to the following places:
- Digha beach in WB
- Gopalpur on Sea
- BHimunipatnam

Most interesting suggestion is to go from Puri onto Chilka Lake, taking the ferry across from Satapada (which has a lovely OTDC hotel) to Krishnaprasad Island and then driving along the lovely lake to a point on NH5 beyond Rambha.
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Old 2nd August 2009, 19:21   #6
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Default Staying options at GOS and Araku?

A second query to all - What would be recommended places to stay at GOS and Araku? I would appreciate recommendations of places you've actually stayed in, or heard strong references of.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
If you want to look up the route plan for the NH5 route Calcuta-Kharagpur-Jaleswar-Baleswar-Bhubaneswar-Behrampur-Srikakulam-Vizag, please click this link, which has the log book of our drive last Dec on the GQ road:
H V Kumar - Driving Log Books - KUMAR'S DRIVING LOG BOOKS,*Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) Drive, Dec 2008
Thank you sir, the Log indeed is very detailed. It shall come to good use as a ready reference during my journey. The other link that you provided (Google Pages) is not opening though.

Quote:
Sorry I forgot your screen name here. Now I remember. Rambha has only OTDC hotel (AFAIK). The other destinations around Chilka on this route are Barkul and Balugaon. Both have just OTDC, which are fairly basic but okay.
I have no clue about GOS accomodation but Oberois have a property there. There used to be many hotels there but a super cyclone a few years ago had done extensive damage there and lot of hotels didn't have the resources to rebuild. So please enquire well before going.
The road to Araku from Vizag is extremely well paved but fairly steep around a few turns. I don't think you will have any problems though.
Happy journey.

PS: Avoid staying in Araku. It's very boring (contrary to popular perception). Try staying in Tyda. It's in the forest. Very nice.
Thank you for the tips, Sudiptoda. Small but very useful. As for the Oberoi property in GOS, I think thats now bought over by the Swosti group.

I'm researching Tyda, may just include it in my itinerary.
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Old 2nd August 2009, 20:18   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by predatorwheelz View Post
A second query to all - What would be recommended places to stay at GOS and Araku? I would appreciate recommendations of places you've actually stayed in, or heard strong references of.



Thank you sir, the Log indeed is very detailed. It shall come to good use as a ready reference during my journey. The other link that you provided (Google Pages) is not opening though.



Thank you for the tips, Sudiptoda. Small but very useful. As for the Oberoi property in GOS, I think thats now bought over by the Swosti group.

I'm researching Tyda, may just include it in my itinerary.
Tyda is worth seeing . APTDC has jungle lodges there.

APTDC - ANDHRA PRADESH TOURISM DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Destinations, Hyderabad, Tirupati, Visakhapatnam, Puttaparthi, Rajahmundry, Vijayawada, Warangal, Themes, Heritage, Nature, Wildlife, Religion, Beaches, Adventure, Fairs & Festi
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Old 3rd August 2009, 11:47   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by predatorwheelz View Post
The other link that you provided (Google Pages) is not opening though.

H V Kumar - Driving Log Books - KUMAR'S DRIVING LOG BOOKS, Coast2Cape2Coast, Dec 2005

Try the above link.
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