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Old 7th June 2013, 18:36   #1
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Default A leisurely trip to Valsad, Gujarat

“The Americans have found the healing of God in a variety of things, the most pleasant of which is probably automobile drives.”
-William Saroyan


I was injured. Injured by the burden of studies. By the burden of exams. By the tension. It was now time for some healing and what could be better than munching miles on the GQ. It was time for a road trip to materialize. It was time for the WagonR to stretch its legs once again. It was time to head out of the city and enjoy. It was time...

Time to drive...
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Time to enjoy...
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Time to Worship...
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Time to play...
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Time to Stand and stare...
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Time to get the child in us out..
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Time to eat our hearts out...
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A family get-together was planned for a couple of days and the plan was being chalked out. A place was being decided and I was giving the options as far as possible from Mumbai. Longer the drive, better the drive for us BHPians. The place came out to be the Tithal beach. Not too far, but enough to satisfy my thirst for a long drive.

The drive to Tithal is around a 180Kms and takes a little more than a couple of hours to get there. Thanks to the great surface of the NH8, driving down to GJ is as smooth as butter. Good average speeds are tasks as easy as it can get. So, the plan chalked out, dates decided, hotels booked, it was just the exams that wouldn't get over!

Last edited by carzone : 7th June 2013 at 18:56.
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Old 7th June 2013, 18:56   #2
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Default re: A leisurely trip to Valsad, Gujarat

It was the 06:30AM in the morning, the 25th of May when we were supposed to start, but as it always is, the thing finally happened at 8:00 AM. Luggage loaded for the 5 of us, Me, mom, sis and grand-parents(dad already was there the previous night), music loaded in the pen-drives, we were all ready to head to the NH8. Got the pressure checked up in the morning, while the fuel already showed 'F' as I had tanked up just a week ago(driven 32 kms then).

With the blessings of the Almighty, we started rolling

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We started our journey with the GPS co-ordinates locked for the Mahalaxmi temple, Dahanu. We make a point to take a halt there when-ever we pass through the point. Starting at 08:00 AM, we made it to our mid-way destination by 09:20. Weather was good all throughout and the clouds brought respite from the morning heat.

The route plan
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The scenes en-route that kept the eyes happy
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View from temple parking. Open spaces vs the crowded concrete jungle, take your pick.
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Standing tall while we seeked blessings.
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Time to bid adieu to the Almighty
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Road Conditions:
The NH8 is a dream to drive on. Utter smooth surface with good markings as well. The truckers are the ones whom you have to keep an eye on. They are famous for changing lanes without notice and drive on all lanes with one excessing the speed of the other by a mere 2 KMPH. There are many openings in the medians from where you can expect a bike or a car poking their nose out to enter the fastest lane. Had a close shave when a tempo-travller decided waiting for the vehicles in the fast lane to pass is not his cup of tea. Was doing sane speeds (80-90 kmph), hence could brake on time. Thought the roads invite you, but keeping the needle southwards of 100 is advisable when you drive in India.

Phase 2:
Some hot and tasty bhajiyas and vadas from the shops near the temple brought the much needed relief to our tummies. All done, we were again ready to hit the roads by 10:30. Adjustments made to the GPS and off we set.Do note, this is the only the 3rd time I am driving into GJ. Once to Surat, the next was to Vapi and this being the 3rd. None of us knew the roads exactly and hence, we were to rely completely on the GPS. We were to take a left to enter Valsad after we went past the Atul factory.

All rolling fine till we crossed Vapi, then Udwada and came nearer to Pardi. Mom had been to Valsad a couple of years ago and she knew some shortcut road vaguely. Stopped on the side and did a bit of search on google maps as well as the GPS routes, couldn't find the route and hence continued on the same decided route. Saw a board of the Atul factory and asked the locals for some directions(blindly relying on the GPS isn't a good idea as well). Route confirmed, we kept on driving and took the left to enter into Valsad.

The road in there is nice but a single laned one. You have mango trees all over pleasing the eyes Our destination being the Tithal beach, confirming the directions we head directly to our destination. 1.5 hours since the start, we finally hit the mark. Long drive under the hot sun! phewww!

The second phase route
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Taking a well deserved rest
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This kept me entertained
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Helped in keeping us as well as the bottles(only water: for some of those thoughts) cool
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Destination for the day
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Road and Traffic:
You come to know as soon as you enter GJ. The roads improve and the traffic sense deteriorates. Flyovers reduce the time you take at intersections and average speeds go up. You will find more number of bikers putting their RVM's to a good use as the helmet stands even on the highways. Cars safely closing off their ORVMs to save those scratches. The number of trucks start to increase and every other vehicle tries to go first when in a jam. At one of those intersections, over which the flyovers haven't been built, we had to wait for around 20 mins just because the two truckers wouldn't let the other go first.

Also, if you happen to drive around an auto rickshaw, there is full probability that it would stop bang on middle of the road to pick up a fare with no indicators working at all. Be ready to slam your brakes any time.

A biker riding parallel to you, back off and give him some space. Even he doesn't know when and where he is going to turn. You wouldn't want to get in an argument in a place relatively new to you.

Get those anti-glare glasses out. People driving with high beams here are more than the autos driving without head lights. No amount of flashing gets them to dip the lights. Some of them acknowledge and dip them, a rarity though.

Last edited by carzone : 8th June 2013 at 11:42.
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Old 8th June 2013, 12:13   #3
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Default re: A leisurely trip to Valsad, Gujarat

Where did we stay:

Salty Beach Resort on the Tithal beach front.

Quoting their web-site:
Quote:
SALTY ( Stay Always Lovingly Throughout Year )

"Salty Beach Resort" is located on Tithal beach to Swaminarayan temple road along with sea shore. Here All rooms (A.C and Non A.C) are Sea Facing,Garden Restaurant serving Punjabi,Chiness and Fast Food Dishes,Conference hall,play area for kids,A huge Party Plot with green carpet lawn will give you a feeling of Home away from home. So now make a point to visit Salty Beach Resort at Tithal during next weekends or vacation.
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The rooms were good. Can't exactly say clean, but yes, manageable. Not much of a problem though if you intend to spend most of the time out of the room.

As luck would have it, AC rooms were already booked, and we had to be satisfied with the non-AC ones. In the hot summer heat, this is one thing I was worried about, but then had no choice.
Not many hotels there in that area and whatever available were already booked. We were told that some 11k people were scheduled to visit the Tithal Swaminarayan temple as for function to be held there and hence the bookings were blocked.

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The above 3 pics are sourced from the resort's website.


The main advantage of the resort is, it is bang in front of the beach. If you intend to spend most of the time on the beach, this could be a good place.

The resort was spacious and had a good garden restaurant. They did not have a good functional kitchen, so they did allow us to get our own food from outside and use their dining area. We did give a try to their food once, but were left disappointed. We, in general did not miss the AC because the room being on the seafront, we constantly had a good cool breeze flowing around.
The resort has enough parking for about 7-8 cars in the premises.

A word of caution: The worst thing about the resort is the water supply there. It seemed as if the water in the taps came directly from the sea. It was that salty, justifying the name of the resort. We couldn't brush or use that water for anything. In-fact, we headed to a relatives house nearby for morning chores. The drinking water was OK relatively, but after the first try, we preferred packaged water itself.

Final Word: Look for something else. Keep this as the last option if nothing else available.

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Something about the beach now. Not much of a clean beach and not at all inspiring to take a dive in there. Maybe it was only me, but did not feel like going in there at all. Rather, I stayed out and clicked some shots and enjoyed the breeze blowing over my face.

Last edited by carzone : 10th June 2013 at 12:31.
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Old 10th June 2013, 18:43   #4
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Default re: A leisurely trip to Valsad, Gujarat

Touched the target for the day at around 1:00 in the afternoon while all other family members had already reached there and checked in. Unloaded the car and shifted all the bags into the respective rooms. It was already the time for lunch and straight away we headed to a nearby restaurant.

Forgot the name of restaurant as well and as ti would have, nothing to be remembered as well. Just a formality of filling our tummies. Headed back to the hotel and had a good afternoon nap. After all that driving needed some sleep and got just that.

At around 4:00, all decided to go to the beach. Armed with football's and cricket gear, we walked like a team heading for the final of a WorldCup towards the beach.

Football, cricket, baseball style cricket, pakda-pakdi, running all over... you name it and we played it. Really brought back the childhood out of me. Running all over can be really tiring, but the refreshment that it brings to the mind cannot be compared to anything. All-in-all, a good evening spent at the beach.

Not many pics of the afternoon, as all were busy bringing the childhood back.

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Went back to the resort and freshened up. Sitting near the window I saw the sun going down gradually. Picked up the camera and head straight onto the beach to click some shots of the sun stetting in the deep blue sea. Many many shots of that, but uploading just a couple of them up here.

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As the sun bid good-bye, we headed to Sai baba temple somewhere around there. Here is the exact location of it on the map:

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No more pics of the temple as the cam's battery died down due to insane clicking of the sunset pics by me. I must add, the temple is indeed very quiet and a nice place. Just next to the shore, it has a great garden for the kiddos to enjoy their time. We sat by the sea enjoying the cool breeze and chatting for about an hour.

Just managed to get this shot of the moon glowing with all its wits. Bad attempt.

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Time passed by and the watches showed 8:00PM. Our tummies also started showing the signs that it is the time to make a move. The place was decided as Udipi restaurant, near the Valsad station road. It is a nice restaurant with good food and a good small room that can accomodate around 25 people. We filled that room up! Ordered for some Punjabi dishes while the kiddos decided to feast of pizzas and sandwiches.

Picked up some kulfis on the way to the resort. All of us made ourselves comfortable in the garden and chit-chatted for more than an hour or so and then retired in our rooms for the night.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Next day was not much of a activity day. It was all about just lazing around and enjoying the place. Got up late, had some delicious breakfast of fafdas and jalebis with some Valsad special kachoris.

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After the heavy breakfast, time for some exercise. The ground there was quite big for us and then came out the cricket bats and balls. A couple of twigs from the garden erected to resemble the stumps, and then all started. From 4s and 6s to some match fixing, we did that all. Time went by and we played till we digested the breakfast and were on the lookout for food again.
In the meanwhile, the ladies had been shopping around the city and they arrived on the nick of time for food. Mom had taken the cam with her, leaving me with no pics of the cricket tournament.

The lunch was had in the resort itself. The food was nothing to write about. Try it somewhere outside. Afternoon was there to laze around and do nothing. While aunts decided to watch some movies sitting in the garden, I decided to give myself some more sleep(I'm Lazy).

A shot taken in the garden
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Just as I got up, I saw these two dogs that belonged to the resort. The owner said that they leaves these dogs free at the night after all the guests have come in, and they do the guarding jobs very well. Anyone knows the breed. I am too weak in the field.

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Not much to do in the evening, I again went down to the beach for some more captures of the sunset. There are many many of them lying around on the hard disk!

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We had the IPL final lined up that evening, so there couldn't be another plan other than relaxing in front of the TV. Had dinner in the innings break. Missed the 2nd innings since the kids wanted to head out for the deserts. Went to some place near the station road in Valsad to enjoy some ice golas, ice-creams, and choc shakes.

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Missed most of the 2nd innings of the IPL final, but came back in the nick of time to see MI lifting the trophy. Retired for the day.

Last edited by carzone : 17th June 2013 at 11:03.
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Old 20th June 2013, 11:23   #5
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Default re: A leisurely trip to Valsad, Gujarat

Up in the morning next day, off we were bidding good bye to the 'SALTY' resort. Headed to the relatives place nearby where we had a bath with the much awaited 'Fresh Water'. While all other relatives returned home to begin the daily routine on Monday, I was nowhere interested to return home so soon!

Plan was, to go to Dahanu, spend a couple of days relaxing (I like to relax a lot) and then head back home. Had a light lunch at relatives place and we set off for Dahanu at around 12:30 in the afternoon.

Route Map:
A leisurely trip to Valsad, Gujarat-3.jpg

Took the road marked in blue, against our regular Jawhar road(marked in Red). GPS did help us to save some miles. The road was smooth sailing with some potholes here and there. Less traffic made it easy to maintain speeds of approx 60Kmph. Was lazily driving around with medium speed on a Sunday afternoon. Reached Dahanu at around 2:00PM and made my way straight onto the bed.

Got up to see some dark clouds hovering above. A friend had texted me saying, there was rain in Mumbai the previous night. Was expecting rain here too, but I was left disappointed.

Dark clouds playing hide-n-seek with the sun
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Went on to the beach, 2 minutes away to have a walk in the evening sun. Had some relishing coconut water as well with the bhel-puris.
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Dad knew about a place in Bordi where we get some awesome chat dishes. He was famous for his pani-puris and bhel. Yes, you guessed it right, I am a fan of these delicacies. Without a second thought, we headed in the direction to Bordi. Some 17kms from Dahanu, this is also one of the holiday destinations near Mumbai. The beach seemed clean from outside, never went onto the beach though.

The weather seemed in a different mood that evening.
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aaahh... There it is, the Shiv Pani Puri wala. Had half a dozen cars waiting there and all the tables occupied. You need to hover around a table that you think is going to get empty and take your chance before anyone else does. You need to find your own. Got our table and ordered pani-puris, bhel's, sev-puri's and all that was there. A mention, I did not find anything so extraordinary in it, but won't term it as bad. In a place like bordi, this was better than any other place to have chat.

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Headed back to Dahanu and it was around 10:30PM already. Unlike Mumbai, all the shops closed, streets deserted and it seemed if I were roaming around at 1 in the night. Managed to find an ice-cream parlor and went in without a thought.

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Came home and had a good night's sleep.

Nothing much planned for the next day, as usual in the trip, got up late and was greeted by rain which lasted for the full 2 minutes just to mess up the already dirty car. Went down and cleaned all the glasses thoroughly.

Had biscuits and tea for breakfast.
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In the afternoon, visited the Dahanu fort, which has now been converted into the Police headquarters.

The Dahanu Fort
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There was a temple near the fort. Liked this structure used for lighting lamps on it.
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Standing tall

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A brand new(I think) Duster had come in for a Puja. Looked smacking hot in that shade.
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Near the fort, there was a bridge that formed the road the go towards boisar without having to go all the way to the highway again. It was built some years ago over the Dahanu creek. This creek is also a major source of fishing in the area.
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Nothing much to do there, we headed towards the beach.
A nice sunset awaited us and as always, the cam had the hardwork to do.
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Roamed around a bit and the headed to hotel Pearline for dinner. Food was as always nice as was the ambiance.
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We had Diwali lighting always with us
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At the end of the day, Ice-creams are a no-brainer. Headed to the same parlor and again a feast on hand.

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Last edited by carzone : 20th June 2013 at 12:14.
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Old 20th June 2013, 12:19   #6
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Default re: A leisurely trip to Valsad, Gujarat

Had planned to return home the next day. Dad had some work near Boisar at around 16:00 hours, and so decided to leave around 15:00 hours and take the inner road till boisar and then join the NH8 from there.

That morning, read on TeamBHP that a deadly accident (Accidents in India - PICS) had taken place somewhere near Manor, but I couldn't find anything on my route that evening. Came home and googled the place, and that is when I came to know that I missed the place by about 7Kms. It would have been a horrible sight. The route marked in red is the one we would normally take.

Route Map:
A leisurely trip to Valsad, Gujarat-4.jpg

Left after lunch in the afternoon with the GPS pointing to Boisar. Filled up at a pump there and she gulped down 27 litres of fuel. An average of around 16kmpl. Maybe a little less for 90% highway drive, with the AC on throughout. Most important, we enjoyed the drive.

Hit the NH8 and the drive was smooth till Virar, where my mom told to visit the Bhajanlal dairy. We had heard of the fresh milk products available there, time to check it out ourselves. Stopped to change the GPS co-ordinates and confirmed with the locals the route and off we set. Take a left onto Bhiwandi road and you would see it on the left.

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Many many buffaloes out there
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Couple of shots of flowers there
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A London Railway Clock in India

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What all you can have there
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What all we had there
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A couple of posters put up there that I liked
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You get fresh lassi's there
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Ready to leave
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Finally reached home at around 7:00PM with the thoughts of how great the past week had been for us. 517 kms trip had come to and end.

My companion throughout the 517kms
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Blessings of the almighty who kept us safe throughout the journey
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It was now the time for the car to have some well deserved rest.




Last edited by carzone : 20th June 2013 at 13:10.
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Old 20th June 2013, 14:26   #7
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Default re: A leisurely trip to Valsad, Gujarat

There is one doubt that I had throughout the trip.

Which is the best time to fill up air in the tyres? I did that in the morning while leaving for the trip, but at that time, it showed a couple of Psi's more than the recommended pressure. That was with the car loaded with luggage and people. When I had it checked a couple of days ago, it was all normal.

Any pointers what would be the best time?

Due to this fear, I had an eye constantly on my speedo.

Last edited by carzone : 20th June 2013 at 15:34.
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Old 21st June 2013, 14:40   #8
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Default Re: A leisurely trip to Valsad, Gujarat

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 24th June 2013, 11:59   #9
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Default Re: A leisurely trip to Valsad, Gujarat

Thanks for sharing. I quite like Valsad and nearby places. I was born in Vapi so have this attachment to the place and visit it from Ahmedabad where I am currently staying. All places in south gujarat (south of Surat) like Dandi, Udwada, Tithal beach, Valsad, Daman, Umbergaon-Sanjan are small but beautiful places to visit. You do not find much information on internet about these places so its good to read first hand information.
Keep sharing your travelogues !
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Old 24th June 2013, 12:08   #10
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Default Re: A leisurely trip to Valsad, Gujarat

Quote:
Originally Posted by automachine View Post
Thanks for sharing. I quite like Valsad and nearby places. I was born in Vapi so have this attachment to the place and visit it from Ahmedabad where I am currently staying. All places in south gujarat (south of Surat) like Dandi, Udwada, Tithal beach, Valsad, Daman, Umbergaon-Sanjan are small but beautiful places to visit. You do not find much information on internet about these places so its good to read first hand information.
Keep sharing your travelogues !
Agree with your views.

These places are good to visit with calm atmosphere. A perfect recipe for a vacation. I myself like beaches a bit more and hence on a lookout for sea-side places. Tithal beach is great, but only if the public had some knowledge in keeping places clean. Plastic everywhere now-a-days is becoming a eyesore.

I take vacations rarely, but when I do, I would share it here!
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Old 24th June 2013, 12:37   #11
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Default Re: A leisurely trip to Valsad, Gujarat

Nice travelogue and especially mouth watering pics of yummy food !

Thanks for sharing as this will help to plan short weekend trip from Thane / Mumbai as its just 180 - 200 KMs.

Cheers !
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Old 24th June 2013, 16:13   #12
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Default Re: A leisurely trip to Valsad, Gujarat

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Originally Posted by sameervg View Post
Nice travelogue and especially mouth watering pics of yummy food !

Thanks for sharing as this will help to plan short weekend trip from Thane / Mumbai as its just 180 - 200 KMs.

Cheers !
I swear! This vacation, I was eating my hearts out. Time for dieting now!

Yes, a 3 hour drive gets you there. Good for a small weekend trip. Just plan your stay options carefully.
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Old 24th June 2013, 21:48   #13
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Default Re: A leisurely trip to Valsad, Gujarat

Nice t'log carzone. Valsad, seems to be a perfect getaway for a weekend drive and to put on some weight . Enjoyed reading & thanks for sharing the pics in detail.
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Old 24th June 2013, 21:55   #14
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Default Re: A leisurely trip to Valsad, Gujarat

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Valsad, seems to be a perfect getaway for a weekend drive and to put on some weight .
You betcha!
Just know the spots and your tummy will have some great time.
The gym trainers face when looking at the swinging needle of the weight machine is another story!
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Old 25th June 2013, 12:37   #15
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Default Re: A leisurely trip to Valsad, Gujarat

Carzone,

You are undoubtedly a foodie :P
Nice trip - filled with fun & relaxation. It wouldn't have been too nice to have salty tap water at SALTY resorts - seems a bit strange. Thanks for the detailed coverage on the resort.

I can understand how the Pioneer unit made a good companion throughout the drive. I absolutely can not do a highway ride without good music

All in all, a good compilation. Appreciate the effort.

Cheers,
Sam
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