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Old 29th December 2019, 18:03   #1
VVN
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Default Bangalore - Varkala - Alleppey in a Honda City

I started the tradition of taking a 2-3 week break in December and traveling around 10 years ago. Since then, I have traveled to places like Goa, Auli, Mussoorie, Joshimath, Varkala, Sri Lanka and many more. Having being to Himalayas last year, I decided to go for the Beach and the Sea this year. The decision was easy since I prefer Beaches and Seas over Hill Stations and Mountains.

I started off by looking at Pondicherry as a possible destination. Unfortunately, the stay options were too expensive for what it offered and staying in Auroville was ruled out since I wanted to hear the waves crash on the shore before I went to bed, after I woke up and pretty much throughout the day. Out went Pondicherry and in came Kerala. I had visited Varkala 2 years ago with friends. I never felt satisfied with the trip since it was a big group and I always felt that we never explored the town to its fullest. After browsing for options around coastal areas, I finalised Varkala. This time, there were no friends, no group, just me and my partner. Planning was a breeze. We booked the stay - Bluewater Beach Resort in South Varkala 2 days before the trip, created a short itinerary and drove away on 23rd night.

The Drive: Bangalore - Krishnagiri - Karur - Rajapalayam

Google showed a drive time of 12 hours and hence we decided to start as early as possible on the 23rd. After resting the entire day, we started off at 1 AM instead of 4 AM as was initially planned. With absolutely no traffic to negotiate in Bangalore, we were out of the city in no time. The drive was largely uneventful up until Rajapalayam. NH44 is a dream to drive on. No surprising speed bumps or potholes, wide roads, well lit, really well maintained with proper barriers dividing the other side of the road. I was cruising between 90-110 on this stretch right upto Rajapalayam. Mileage figures were around 19KMPL tank to tank. FASTags proved to be helpful. However, I wish the detection and subsequent deduction was as smooth as the ETC Tag booth on the Bandra Worli Sea Link in Mumbai. The idea of FASTags is good and noble, however the implementation is something that needs to be worked on. My tag was not scanned at 3 booths and it had to be done manually. The poor guy was running from car to car to scan the tags. Do carry cash since not all toll booths use FASTags.


Start of the trip


Bangalore - Varkala - Alleppey in a Honda City-start.jpg


The drive is wonderful with open fields on both sides


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Last edited by VVN : 29th December 2019 at 18:27.
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Old 29th December 2019, 18:08   #2
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Default re: Bangalore - Varkala - Alleppey in a Honda City

The Drive: Rajapalayam - Varkala

I researched quite a bit when I decided to drive down to Varkala and almost all the reviews warned of this stretch. The 2 lane roads are very narrow and the truck/bus drivers can put Jason Statham from ‘The Transporter’ to shame. There are a few nasty surprises in the shape of sharp edged potholes and small yet ‘feel it in your back’ speed bumps. I encountered one such pothole and by the time I saw it, it was too late. My front left tyre blew out. Thankfully I was doing around 70kmph at the time and I had read extensively about not applying the brakes. The mind resisted the urge to brake and I instead continued to drive and halted to a stop gradually on the side of the road. A quick tyre change and I headed to the nearest tyre shop to assess the damage and also for a quick check on the newly installed spare. The inner side wall of the tyre had torn and there was no fixing it. The guy quoted 7k for a new tyre. I thanked him for his services and left. He did not charge anything. Kudos to Honda for providing a full sized spare alloy because of which I could continue with my journey as planned, however, with no spares left, I was extra wary on rough roads.

Bangalore - Varkala - Alleppey in a Honda City-drive2-1.jpg

Bangalore - Varkala - Alleppey in a Honda City-drive2-2.jpg


The Resort: Bluewater Beach Resort

By the time we were done with the whole tyre situation, I was frustrated and cranky. It all vanished as soon as we arrived at the resort. The parking was not that great, however, the stay itself was magnificent for what it cost. It was right next to the Sea. The cottages were quite lovely and I got what I wanted - “Listening to the waves crash on the shore before I went to bed, after I woke up and pretty much throughout the day”

The staff were quite friendly, rooms were clean and the entire experience was quite relaxing. On the negative side, the food could have been good, the manager/owner could have interacted more and electricity could have been a bit more consistent. However, none of the aforementioned points affected our stay and I only have extremely favourable reviews for the resort.

View from the cottage
Bangalore - Varkala - Alleppey in a Honda City-stay-1.jpg

View from the cottage
Bangalore - Varkala - Alleppey in a Honda City-stay-2.jpg

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Our pretty little room
Bangalore - Varkala - Alleppey in a Honda City-stay-4.jpg

Last edited by VVN : 29th December 2019 at 18:29.
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Old 29th December 2019, 18:12   #3
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Default re: Bangalore - Varkala - Alleppey in a Honda City

The experience: Varkala

Although the location was the same, this was a completely different experience compared to the one I had 2 years ago. This trip was more relaxed and it was a good getaway for me and my partner. The heat did not hamper our trip. The calmness of the Sea in the lazy afternoons followed by the sounds of the waves crashing against the shore reverberating around our room in the evening, Varkala was good to us. Mornings started with breakfast right next to the Sea followed by walks on the beach. Afternoons were lazy with quick naps here and there followed by exploring the town on foot. It’s a unique experience to just walk when you are on holidays and we ended up completing 20-25k everyday steps during our stay. There is nothing much to say about Varkala Cliff since I find it a bit commercialised. Nevertheless, it is still a good place to sit, chill with a beer and spend your evenings with your loved ones. For those looking for a quieter place to spend the evening, check out Soul & Surf in South Varkala. This is a good place for people who prefer books and the Sea.

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We visited Jatayu Earth Centre in the penultimate day of our holiday. I was amazed at the security checks at the place. It felt like an Airport. The sculpture itself was quite majestic and beautiful. Designed by Rajiv Anchal who is also a director and screenwriter, the sculpture is located on a hill and can be accessed either on foot or by cable car. The wait is usually long and you end up spending close to an hour just to get to the top of the hill. Once there, you are instantly greeted by the fallen demigod. The place is bustling with activity with lots of small restoshops for refreshments. There is also a small amphitheatre for artists to showcase their talent. If you happen to visit Varkala, do visit this place.

Bangalore - Varkala - Alleppey in a Honda City-jatayu-1.jpg

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Bangalore - Varkala - Alleppey in a Honda City-jatayu-4.jpg
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Old 29th December 2019, 18:15   #4
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Default re: Bangalore - Varkala - Alleppey in a Honda City

The return journey - Varkala - Kollam - Alappuzha - Bangalore

We were visiting a friend in Alappuzha and hence took the longer route back to Bangalore. After a quick car wash at ‘Autospa Car Wash’, we headed out of the resort at 10 AM. The drive was scenic till Karungappalli and then again from Karuvatta to Purakkad. It’s amazing how clean and beautiful the beaches are when there are no tourists to litter. Since we were not time bound, the drive was mostly sedate and had multiple stops at scenic locations. The roads are not that great but manageable if you are drive sedately. Once you hit the highway, you encounter traffic. After having driven in Mumbai and Bangalore during peak hours, the traffic in Kerala felt like Childs play. The 2 lane roads were still stressful though.

We reached our friends place in Alappuzha at 2PM, rested for a while and headed out to the backwaters. While the backwaters are stunning, it is sad to see people littering the waters with plastic bottles. I wish humans were more empathetic towards nature. The boat owner was quite friendly and even allowed us to drive the boat in an open area. It was fun and brought out the inner child in me. We enjoyed the sunset at Alappuzha beach and then headed back to my friends place. After a nice sumptuous dinner, we opted to stay over and not drive back at night. It proved to be a good decision since I was quite knackered and did not realise it until I hit the bed.

We started for Bangalore at 4:30 AM. The drive from there was anything but sedate. I never pushed my car to her limit and that’s exactly what I wanted to do this time around. I put the car in ’S’ mode and paddle shifted and revved her like never before, all the while staying within 90-120 kmph. The mileage took a hit but I didn’t really care.

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The drive was again uneventful, although me and partner had long and deep conversations. It’s interesting how todays work life has reduced that human touch. Most of us have become so robotic that we hardly spend quality time with our loved ones on a daily basis. Something to address and correct in 2020. We reached Bangalore at 3:30 PM. 1500Kms and 15.4 kmpl later, the journey came to an end. Hope you enjoyed the writeup.

Last edited by VVN : 29th December 2019 at 18:25.
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Old 29th December 2019, 18:37   #5
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Default re: Bangalore - Varkala - Alleppey in a Honda City

Good one. I visit Alleppey once every year and i find life goes in to slow motion when I am on holidays especially in kerala. The tyre burst incident is scary and it is better to take longer detour knowing the health of such roads. So then, you travelled the rest of the journey after the wheel change, with no good spare wheel I suppose since you did not buy a new tyre at the repair location.
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Old 29th December 2019, 19:05   #6
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Default re: Bangalore - Varkala - Alleppey in a Honda City

Quote:
Originally Posted by cs_rajesh View Post
Good one. I visit Alleppey once every year and i find life goes in to slow motion when I am on holidays especially in kerala. The tyre burst incident is scary and it is better to take longer detour knowing the health of such roads. So then, you travelled the rest of the journey after the wheel change, with no good spare wheel I suppose since you did not buy a new tyre at the repair location.
Thank cs_rajesh. Kerala is indeed a magnificent state. And you are absolutely correct about time slowing down during holidays, especially in locations like Kerala.

I did not purchase a spare from the tyre shop. If it's just a spare, I'll purchase one from Honda. However, I have contemplated upsizing for the longest of times and this might just be the right time.
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Old 30th December 2019, 13:05   #7
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Default Re: Bangalore - Varkala - Alleppey in a Honda City

Nice to hear that you enjoyed the trip.
Being from Kerala, its a shame for me to say that I never managed to go for a road trip within Kerala. Though I have visited Munnar couple of times due to its proximity, I never did a planned one to spend couple of days. I have been longing to do a south to north trip.
Also, you might have noticed that unlike the highways which you see in Tamil Nadu, the one in Kerala is narrow and you may not be able to go uninterrupted for a long duration and get the best out of the car.
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Old 30th December 2019, 13:51   #8
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Default Re: Bangalore - Varkala - Alleppey in a Honda City

Great write up!!!
The pictures have woken up the dormant voice inside me that this now pestering me to go drive.
One thing I learnt the hard way when driving in Kerala was, no matter how hard I drove my average speed as shown in MID never exceeded 50kph.
The traffic drove me so crazy that I had to stop to relinquish myself.
After cooling my nerves, I fixed a certain speed and tried to maintain it.
This was less stressful and I emerged out fresh.

Last edited by Abhinav V : 30th December 2019 at 13:52.
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Old 30th December 2019, 18:42   #9
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Default Re: Bangalore - Varkala - Alleppey in a Honda City

Brilliant write up and the photos make me visit this place sooner than later.

However, would you mind telling why it is not recommended to apply brakes when you are about to hit a pothole?
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Old 31st December 2019, 11:13   #10
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Default Re: Bangalore - Varkala - Alleppey in a Honda City

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Originally Posted by uditsharma01 View Post
Brilliant write up and the photos make me visit this place sooner than later.

However, would you mind telling why it is not recommended to apply brakes when you are about to hit a pothole?

Hi Udit. Thanks

You should definitely try and apply the brakes before hitting a pothole. What I meant was after the tyre blows out. I couldn't apply brakes, hit the pothole and my tyre blew. In that situation, you shouldn't panic brake. Here's a related post of what to do in the event of a tyre blow out -

https://www.team-bhp.com/safety/tyre...d-prevent-them
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Old 1st January 2020, 18:19   #11
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Default Re: Bangalore - Varkala - Alleppey in a Honda City

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Originally Posted by VVN View Post
Hi Udit. Thanks

You should definitely try and apply the brakes before hitting a pothole. What I meant was after the tyre blows out. I couldn't apply brakes, hit the pothole and my tyre blew. In that situation, you shouldn't panic brake. Here's a related post of what to do in the event of a tyre blow out -

https://www.team-bhp.com/safety/tyre...d-prevent-them
Times have changed and so has technology and we should update the above post. Unless you are driving north of 100-120+, ABS and ESP helps you to maintain stability and maneuver safely away from any such obstacles. (potholes, stones etc).

Getting used to drive with an ABS is another thing which needs getting used to, our instinct is to slam the brakes instead of maneuvering.
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