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Old 28th September 2022, 13:05   #1
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Default Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route

Sometime in the evening, I land at Bangalore International airport on a delayed flight from Dehradun. Thanks to the delayed incoming flight to Dehradun for this. Anyway, I am here to join Hondaís Drive to Discover 11. By the way, this is my third participation in Hondaís Drive to Discover series.

The only saving grace now is that I donít have to swim through Bangaloreís notorious traffic to reach town. We are staying in the airport area and our drive starts from here the next morning. It is a three-day drive covering approximately 700 km starting from Bangalore and ending at Kochi.

Below is the route map for the drive and Hondaís theme for this event is Sedan & Stunning. This time they have only sedans (15 of them) including the Honda City, Honda Amaze and Honda City Hybrid.

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-thememap.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 28th September 2022 at 13:07.
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Old 28th September 2022, 13:05   #2
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After checking in, I go down to meet the other participants and Dhiraj from Perfect Relations, whom I know well from my previous driving trips. While walking down to basement parking to see the fleet of cars, he tells me that we are leaving the next day by 10 am sharp, right after breakfast and a briefing.

He also says that some members are reaching only the next day from various locations. I think, "Weíll be fortunate enough if we can leave even by 11 am."

The cars, in the basement parking, are being readied for the journey that is starting the next day.

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-basement.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 28th September 2022 at 13:08.
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Old 28th September 2022, 13:05   #3
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Our trip will start from opposite this busy airport.

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-airport.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 28th September 2022 at 13:08.
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Old 28th September 2022, 13:05   #4
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16th September

After breakfast we have gathered in one of the conference rooms for the trip briefing. There we meet Mr.Takuya Tsumura, President & CEO, Honda Cars India Ltd. and Mr.Yuichi Murata Director - Marketing & Sales Honda Cars India Ltd. These two gentlemen are going to join us for the first leg of the trip (probably it is their first time on a trip like this). Mr. Kunal Behl, Vice President - Marketing & Sales Honda Cars India Ltd. is going to accompany us for the entire trip.

Vivek Singh from Corporate Communications gives us the agenda and itinerary, while Mr. Takuya Tsumura gives a short and sweet speech and wishes us a safe trip.

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-vivek.jpg

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-briefing.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 28th September 2022 at 13:09.
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Old 28th September 2022, 13:05   #5
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The 15 cars are neatly parked in the hotel's porch area for us to take over. As I had expected, it is already 11.30 am, but we have a short drive today and there is nothing much to worry about. The question is, "How long will it take us to get through Bangalore's traffic?"

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-line-up-2.jpg

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-line-up.jpg

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-flag-off1.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 28th September 2022 at 13:10.
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Old 28th September 2022, 13:06   #6
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I am driving from the airport towards the city in my car (Honda City automatic) for the day. The cars are moving despite moderately heavy traffic and we take a right below the Hebbal flyover. Traffic is heavy now and I tell my co-driver Nitish Rampal (from Top Gear), ďConsider yourself lucky if you hit the highway in one hour.Ē

The road towards Channarayapatna is nice with smoothly laid tarmac. The sun is not too strong and without getting up to higher speeds, one can maintain a very decent timing. And add to that traffic is pretty thin.

We park our car at a truck lay-by area for a tea break. The new Honda City looks pretty cool from this angle.

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-img_2087.jpg

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Old 28th September 2022, 13:06   #7
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The drive continues towards Channarayapatna, which is our pit stop for lunch. The good road surface continues and we encounter a typical Indian road driving hazard - a two-wheeler rider waiting for an opportunity to cross the road.

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-highway-ka.jpg

After lunch at Channarayapatna, we head for Kushal Nagar. The road becomes two-laned with plenty of twists and turns and lovely greenery on both sides.

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-img_2092.jpg

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-drone-1.jpg

My co-driver Nitish is having his first road trip in the southern part of India and is getting excited every now and then. So much so that he stops the car without any notice to shoot a multi-coloured house or a church and anything he finds interesting. He also stops to shoot the car against backdrops that he finds attractive. I donít want to shoot anything at this moment because I donít find anything interesting or attractive.

We reach Windflower Resort, Coorg at 7.30 in the evening. Itís a large property and currently, lacks proper upkeep. It's a place with a high tariff (maybe because itís season time and all other hotels must be occupied) and practically bare-bones facilities in the rooms. Add to that, one has to be careful enough not to get into the greenery and bushes to avoid leeches. The food, I must say, is very well prepared and has a good spread.

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-img_2101.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 28th September 2022 at 13:11.
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Old 28th September 2022, 13:06   #8
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17th September

In the morning, before our dayís journey, we go out for a small drive to see if we can find a good place to shoot the car. Some members of the team have already gone to Abbey Falls, hoping that they will get some decent shots of the car. Knowing that we cannot take the car there, we spend some time on the beautifully surfaced Coorg roads.

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-img_2097.jpg

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-img_2100.jpg

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-img_9762.jpg

After breakfast, in our allotted car (today itís the Honda City manual), we head towards Wayanad, our upcoming night stop.

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-img_2102.jpg

The roads continue to be two-laned and, generally, with good surfaces. Between Coorg and Ponnampet, we see a beautiful happy tusker. Amidst the lush green vegetation, he looks majestic.

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-img_2105.jpg

This road is again two-laned but, at times, gets really narrow and, often, with extremely broken patches (must be due to the heavy monsoon) and slows us down. This stretch is full of coffee plantations and will continue pretty much into the state of Kerala. Looking for a comparably wider space, we stop hoping for a cup of traditional filter kappi, but no luck. The local shop can offer us only tea.

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-city.jpg

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-img_2108enhanced.jpg

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-img_9769.jpg

As we get closer to our lunch stop, the road becomes extremely smooth and the landscape, beautiful!

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-img_2109.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 28th September 2022 at 13:12.
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Old 28th September 2022, 13:06   #9
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We stop at Sultan Bathery (Wayanad) for a typical lip-smacking Kerala preparation. Those whoíre planning to take a trip to Wayanad must visit this place (Jubilee Restaurant) without fail. Iím sure there must be many other joints like it, but this one seems to be a well-arranged place.

After lunch, the team moves toward Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary. With high hopes and anticipation, we drive for more than 2 km, but find nothing. We come out on the main road depressed, just to learn that we need to form a convoy for a video and drone shoot.

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-convoy1.jpg

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-convoy2.jpg

One area where I feel very lost because on this trip - I am unable to take any tracking shots because there is no vehicle for me to park myself in the luggage area to get a proper supportive position. One (I at least) cannot imagine doing this from a City or an Amaze boot.

After the convoyís shoot, while on our way to our night halt, we stop for a few photo opportunities. While I donít find many, Nitish is happily clicking away.

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-img_2113.jpg

Half a kilometre before the night halt, Nitish discovers another place to shoot more. For a change, I find the head-on shot against the dusk interesting.

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-img_2117enhanced.jpg

Soon we reach Saptha Resort. This is one beautiful place, beautifully designed and well-maintained. Though they call it a resort, it is more like a proper hotel, but who am I to complain?

We are greeted with uniquely designed rooms, lovely food and, for us especially, arrange a magician for our evening entertainment. If one is planning a trip to the Sultan Bathery (Wayanad) area, one can consider this resort with his / her eyes closed.

Last edited by Aditya : 28th September 2022 at 13:13.
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Old 28th September 2022, 13:06   #10
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18th September

In the morning, after a sumptuous breakfast of idli and dosa (all along I am having only these as I miss them in the north), we head out for Kochi. Todayís drive of 440 km will be the longest of this trip and our drive for the day is the City Hybrid. There are two routes to Kochi - one, via Thrissur and the other via Kozhikode. A large portion of the route via Thrissur is a four-lane highway, whereas the other route via Kozhikode is essentially two-laned with some long coastline drives.

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-img_2120.jpg

We fill up our City Hybridís tank to the brim. From this point on, weíll see what mileage we can squeeze out from this hybrid powertrain. Within a few minutes of driving, we get onto a road with tea gardens on both sides.

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-img_2124enhanceda.jpg

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-img_2125enhanced.jpg

Being a Sunday, people come to visit tea gardens. It looks like a morning outing destination for the locals. As a result, the roads are pretty full with no proper parking space. We find one tea garden where cars are going in. We too get in and park the car on an unpaved road. On both sides are tea gardens with many tourists taking pictures. So, the only acceptable angle for me, to avoid all other cars and people, is a dead-front view.

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-img_9773.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 28th September 2022 at 13:14.
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Old 28th September 2022, 13:06   #11
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The only plus of taking the route via Kozhikode is that you can get a fairly long stretch of the sea coast, provided you reach there during daylight. Going by my past experience on this kind of drive, I felt most of us will not be able to experience this because of the extended shooting sessions here and there.

This is always the case and Iím putting this down from my past experiences. When we start a drive like this, we all start together. But after a point in time, we go all over the place (for the right reasons Iím sure). As a result, we seldom get time to drive as a convoy because various media houses have their own way of covering drive reports. During my Bhutan trip with Honda, I drove all alone most of the time and I enjoyed it to the fullest.

We reach Ponnani to see three other cars parked by the roadside. Upon asking, I gather that we must wait for another round of tracking/drone shoot and the photography team is yet to reach. Why? Because apparently, they are not very happy with what they've already shot.

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-img_2133.jpg

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-img_2132enhanceda.jpg

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-hybrid1.jpg

So, by the time they arrive and finish their shoot we are almost an hour and a half late to reach Kochi. But this is always the case and I need to learn how to get the best out of situations like these.

By the time we drive through the congested traffic and hit some sort of open road, the sky is blackish grey. With newly designed LED headlamps, roads are not inviting and I struggle to find my way through narrow lanes and by-lanes to Kochi city. Around 9.30-ish we reach Marriot Kochi and thatís the end of the 3-day, fun-filled and exciting Honda Drive to Discover 11.

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-img_2135.jpg

Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route-kochi-hotel.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 28th September 2022 at 13:15.
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Old 28th September 2022, 13:06   #12
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The mileage that I have obtained from the City Hybrid is 23 km/l + driving on a mix of open and narrow roads. I’m sure it can be better than what we can get considering our driving on a trip like this.

I didn’t drive the Amaze this time because my first Drive to Discover was when Honda first launched the i-DTec diesel engine with the Amaze.
The second one was from West Bengal to Bhutan during Honda’s milestone of 3 lakh i-DTec engines. Amongst other cars, I drove the Amaze there too.

Here’s a list of the previous Drive to Discover events that Team-BHP particiated in:

benbsb29 drove the Brio across Kerala in the D2D-3.

I drove the Amaze up the east coast to Chennai.

bblost drove the Mobilio through the forests and hills around Bandipur and Coorg.

bblost drove to Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Longewala and Tanot last year.

I drove from West Bengal to Bhutan.

.anshuman drove across Madhya Pradesh and Khajuraho.

It’s a terrific experience spending four days with various media people. Thanks to the Honda team (Vivek Singh, Gaurav Dua, Shwetank and Saba Khan) and the PR team (Dhiraj and Ashwini). I wish to make more trips with them in the future.

Disclaimer: Honda invited Team-BHP for the Drive. They covered all the expenses for this driving event.

Last edited by benbsb29 : 6th October 2022 at 04:58. Reason: As per RP. Thanks. + Corrected username.
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Old 28th September 2022, 13:07   #13
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Default re: Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!

Last edited by Aditya : 28th September 2022 at 13:17.
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Old 30th September 2022, 09:54   #14
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Default Re: Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route

Nice thread. Thank you.

How does one get in on this Honda Drive initiative? I too would like to get the heck away and do some curated drives without worrying about stuff.

Cheers
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Old 30th September 2022, 10:30   #15
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Default Re: Honda Drive to Discover | Bangalore - Coorg - Wayanad - Kochi | Spice, coffee and tea route

Nice pictures

Those Drive to Discover stickers are spoiling the look of the car especially for the side profile.

I agree that Windflower resort is overrated and overpriced for the facility it provides

All the cars have UP registration, were these cars transported from UP to Bangalore just for the drive?

Regards
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