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Old 7th September 2011, 16:40   #1
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Default Goa; been there, done that

Ho hum. Another vacation, another travelogue. Come to think of it, save for the TBHP Hyderabad Drive Meets, my wife and I had not been on a road trip since our return from Ooty (Hyderabad - Ooty - Hyderabad: The Highlight, The Sidelight, The Lowlight). Ooty was in the very first weekend of April. Four months is simply too long a time to be holed up in the city. It is an eternity.

It all started last month. I knew Srishti (my wife) was getting antsy. The planned return to Ladakh had to be cancelled for various reasons. The substitute trip had to be a big one, at least a big enough one for nothing can really compensate for Ladakh. Budget, however, was a major constraint. Did not wish to spend anything more than 22-24k for the two of us for a one week odyssey. Did some research, and realised that Goa fit the bill to a nicety. Immediately called up the wife. She agreed the moment I uttered 'Goa'.

As it so happened, August was a fairly slow month in office. Had done two major sales closures and there was no closure anticipated in the near future. Plus, Eid and Ganesh Chaturthi gloriously combined to make the period between 27 August and 4 September any holiday lovers wet dream.

Immediately the search began for cheap accommodation. We are cheap travellers. Love to do stuff in as little money as it takes. Imagine my delight when I found this place offering us a one-bedroom, living room, kitchen apartment for Rs. 350/- (yes, not Rs. 3500/-) per night! Including taxes, the total for 8 nights came to Rs. 2940/-. The place is Sand Pebble. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for the bare essentials. There is no air-conditioning and they do not serve food. But they offer you a well furnished place that is clean. It is situated in Candolim, right in the main market.

On 27 August 2011, exactly at 4:45 am we left home. There are multiple routes to Goa from Hyderabad. Goa regulars have their favourites. No two Goa regulars would ever recommend the same route. Some prefer via Sholapur-Kolhapur. Some via Raichur. Some others via Gulbarga. The list of route recommendations floating around can confuse the hell out of anyone. After much deliberations, this is the route we took:

Hyderabad - Zaheerabad - Humnabad - Gulbarga - Bijapur - Athani - Nippalni - Gadhinglaj - Amboli - Goa
Total distance: 740 km
Total time taken: 15 hours

The road upto Bijapur is very good. Special mention must be made of the road between Humnabad and Gulbarga. This stretch of 65 km is reason enough to take this road, despite the 90 km between Athani and Nippani giving your suspension a thorough workout. Except for that 90 km which took me 3 hours in the Bolero, the route is good.

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Gulbarga to Bijapur: This is what driving bliss is.

Shortcut to bypass Sawantwadi: This is tricky. The moment the ghats of Amboli come to an end, look for a road to the left. There will be a distance marker which says Sawantwadi is 17 km away, and a left arrow directing you to Panaji. This 8km stretch of village road will deposit you just at the edge of the Goa border, bypassing Sawantwadi.

Advantages: You save time and distance. And you save even more time because you do not have to go through the Maharashtra police checkpost. This is more relevant on your way back from Goa. Yet, anything that lets me avoid Maharashtra police gets a plus in my book.

Warning: The shortcut has a low bridge that gets flooded during monsoons. Do not attempt to drive over it if it is under water. The river is in spate and will wash your car away. Better to reverse and go via Sawantwadi. If you get lucky and have a local vehicle in front of you then he will guide you through a series of turns to bypass the bridge. Do not attempt to find an alternate route. There is no population in this stretch if you get off the main village road.

Back to the travelogue.

This time, I drove rather sedately. We stopped around 4:30 pm for lunch somewhere between Gadhinglaj and Amboli. We had packed lunch from home - chicken and parathas. Lovely, it was.

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Gadhinglaj to Amboli: The mist followed us everywhere.

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A well-timed lunch stop.

It was 6 pm by the time we reached Amboli. A quick photo stop and we were on our way.

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The Amboli waterfall. It was a very chilly evening. How were people bathing in that water?

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Another misty picture.

We reached our place in Candolim by 8:30 pm. Took us a good 15 hours. Had dinner and went to bed. Tomorrow was going to be a busy day.

To be continued...


Last edited by lucifer1881 : 7th September 2011 at 16:54.
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Old 7th September 2011, 16:54   #2
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Default Re: Goa; been there, done that

Nice travelogue in the offing, pictures are great looking forward for more pictures and rest of your diary. Kudos
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Old 7th September 2011, 16:57   #3
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Default Re: Goa; been there, done that

Hey Nice one Rohit.
8 days is a long time. Hope to see a very detailed log on Goa with very pretty pictures.
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Old 7th September 2011, 16:59   #4
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Default Re: Goa; been there, done that

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucifer1881 View Post
Shortcut to bypass Sawantwadi: This is tricky. The moment the ghats of Amboli come to an end, look for a road to the left. There will be a distance marker which says Sawantwadi is 17 km away, and a left arrow directing you to Panaji. This 8km stretch of village road will deposit you just at the edge of the Goa border, bypassing Sawantwadi.
Advantages: You save time and distance. And you save even more time because you do not have to go through the Maharashtra police checkpost.
Lot of thanks for much awaited update of this stretch.
I was looking for update of this stretch but couldn't find it.
The byepass you mentioned is at the foothill of amboli ghat just before village named Danoli.
This road goes to Banda[ border of goa and maharashtra].
I was wondering whether the end of this road at Banda is before or after police checkpost.
Again thanks for this update, many bhpians will use it in future while going to Goa avoiding sawantwadi and notorious police checkpost at Banda.
I hope, the stretch is good enough to travel in a car.
I will travel on this stretch you mentioned in the first week of Nov surely.

Waiting for details of your Goa visit.

Last edited by ASHISHPALLOD : 7th September 2011 at 17:06.
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Old 7th September 2011, 17:03   #5
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Default Re: Goa; been there, done that

Nice begining. Look forward to see what you did for a whole 10 days in goa. I have myself never spent more than 7 days at a stretch and that trip made me lethargic for rest of the year

Some pictures of the 3 hour/90kms road would help me mentally prepare for a suspension beat-up if I ever take that route

So are you going to present it day-wise? That would be cool...

Last edited by mobike008 : 7th September 2011 at 17:05.
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Old 7th September 2011, 17:06   #6
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Default Re: Goa; been there, done that

Rohit, the last pic reminds me of Amboli Ghat and those Pipping Hot Wada Pavs sold there. The weather was more or less the same as you experienced there. Pipping Hot Vada Pavs in that weather was something I can never forget. Eagerly awaiting for the rest of your Travelouge. Keep it coming.
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Old 7th September 2011, 17:07   #7
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Default Re: Goa; been there, done that

Excellent start and lovely pictures especially the misty ones and the one with falls. The bad road patch does not look really bad especially considering you were on a Bolero.

Thanks for sharing the details about place of stay, do post a review on how was the place.
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Old 7th September 2011, 17:20   #8
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Default Re: Goa; been there, done that

This is a nice start, Rohit! I'll look forward to the rest of the log.

When we visited this past April, the MH border police at Banda let us through with just one cursory question. It was the KA border policemen near Karwar (while coming back) who caused a major headache.

INR 350 per night is enough to make me weep! I will consider this option the next time we visit Goa. We ended up spending ~31k (petrol, F&B, lodging, shopping(!!!), multiple rounds of water sports etc.) on a 7D/6N trip, with lodging taking up 9k and a lousy dinner at Tito's one evening setting us back by 1k. Goa can be cheap with a little bit of effort, really!

Regards,
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Old 7th September 2011, 17:26   #9
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Default Re: Goa; been there, done that

Excellent weather and lovely photographs.

Me likes the roads also. Pucca Getaway territory! I guess I'll take this route to check whether my suspension is ok or whether it needs warranty replacement

And please present Goa properly!

Cheers
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Old 7th September 2011, 19:52   #10
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Default Re: Goa; been there, done that

Lucifer, nice pics and well written. I am travelling to Goa in the first week of October and as of now looking for accommodation. Can you please post some pics of the apartment.
Thanks in advance
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Old 7th September 2011, 22:13   #11
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Default Re: Goa; been there, done that

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucifer1881 View Post

Shortcut to bypass Sawantwadi: This is tricky. The moment the ghats of Amboli come to an end, look for a road to the left. There will be a distance marker which says Sawantwadi is 17 km away, and a left arrow directing you to Panaji. This 8km stretch of village road will deposit you just at the edge of the Goa border, bypassing Sawantwadi.

Advantages: You save time and distance. And you save even more time because you do not have to go through the Maharashtra police checkpost. This is more relevant on your way back from Goa. Yet, anything that lets me avoid Maharashtra police gets a plus in my book.

Warning: The shortcut has a low bridge that gets flooded during monsoons. Do not attempt to drive over it if it is under water. The river is in spate and will wash your car away. Better to reverse and go via Sawantwadi. If you get lucky and have a local vehicle in front of you then he will guide you through a series of turns to bypass the bridge. Do not attempt to find an alternate route. There is no population in this stretch if you get off the main village road.
Nice travelogue lucifer1881 and nice pictures too, I like the Sawantwadi ghat root a lot and if you are travelling on bike that will be awesome. However I will not recommend this short cut root because we went on that in our trip and at some point of time we thought that we were lost because the roads was totally bad at that time without milestones.


please have a look at my travelogue. here (The perfect dream Pune To Goa on RE 350)


Thanks,
Vishal
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Old 8th September 2011, 11:09   #12
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Default Re: Goa; been there, done that

Thank you everyone for the kind words .

A common request appears to be for a review of the accommodation. Like I said, the place is very acceptable for the price. They even change your sheets and towels every three days. I have taken no pictures because the pictures on their website are quite representative of reality. Please visit their website. What you see is what you get. Call up John. His number is on the website. He owns/runs the place.

Continuing with the log.

We woke up around 9ish. Took us a while to finish with our morning duties. After a 15 hour drive, the body is sometimes slow to respond. By 11 we decided to take a walk to find a place for breakfast. This was a bad decision.

Sunday (28 August 2011, our Day 2 in Goa) was the only clear day during our entire stay. It was a shame then that we got suckered into attending a promo which a resort was running in the Baga area. On the plus side, we did get free breakfast. And we also got coupons for a free 7D/6N stay at any of their properties in India. On the downside, we lost 3 hours of glorious sunshine. Those 3 hours were never recovered. Note to self: Use those coupons before the year is out!

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A river in Baga, on its way to meet the sea.


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Srishti, post breakfast.

We drove around for a while and then made a stop for lunch. This shack was a pleasant surprise. There were not too many people. And the food options were few. Yet the food was very good. And cheap. A special mention must be made of food in Goa in general. Unless you are an idiot and get ripped off (trust me, we went to Tito's one night and that place is a rip-off, but that is a story for later), food for two can be rounded off for less than 500 with a couple of beverages thrown in.

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Our breakfast place. Notice the redness of those shorts. I would never buy something like this. Only goes to tell you that when your wife gifts you something you have no choice but to wear it.

By and large, this was a slow day. We had time on our hands. There was no need to rush through our stuff. There were many things to do, may things to see. We decided to kick-start Goa with a visit to Calangute, possibly the most densely populated beach in the world. Come rain, come shine. There are people all the time.

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At Calangute. Why can't they shift this beach to Mumbai?

The day came to a close. Tomorrow we raid Aguada, Sinquerim, Anjuna, Vagator, Arambol.

To be continued.

Last edited by lucifer1881 : 8th September 2011 at 11:12.
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Old 8th September 2011, 11:47   #13
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Default Re: Goa; been there, done that

I was about to comment on your red shorts, but then I read your description with the photos.
But it goes well with the funky Goa theme. After all you went there to have fun and party and those red shorts portray that mood perfectly!!!
Now keep posting, don't just sit and sulk over your red shorts. It looks good

Edit: Thanks for the info on Sand Pebble. That's a wonderful stay option.

Last edited by Fordmanchau : 8th September 2011 at 12:07.
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Old 8th September 2011, 12:10   #14
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Default Re: Goa; been there, done that

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Originally Posted by lucifer1881 View Post
We drove around for a while and then made a stop for lunch. This shack was a pleasant surprise. There were not too many people. And the food options were few. Yet the food was very good. And cheap. A special mention must be made of food in Goa in general. Unless you are an idiot and get ripped off (trust me, we went to Tito's one night and that place is a rip-off, but that is a story for later), food for two can be rounded off for less than 500 with a couple of beverages thrown in.
Where was this?
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Our breakfast place. Notice the redness of those shorts. I would never buy something like this. Only goes to tell you that when your wife gifts you something you have no choice but to wear it.
Who in the heaven's name wears a Red Shorts. I haven't seen James Bond ever in anything similar
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Old 8th September 2011, 12:13   #15
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Where was this?
On the road from Calangute leading to Vagator. It is right opposite a paddy field. There is a billboard of Tito's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MileCruncher View Post
Who in the heaven's name wears a Red Shorts. I haven't seen James Bond ever in anything similar
So says the King of Shorts? James Bond wears yellow swim trunks in Casino Royale. Not sure which is worse.
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