We decided to visit Goa at the time of year when airfares soar. A week before new year, the tickets were somewhere close to INR 30,000 for a round trip. We decided to make the most of the situation, so we flew into Mumbai and turned it into a road trip. Between the four of us, we booked a XoomCar and left for Goa right after we landed in Mumbai. The best part? We had no hotel renovations for a night stay to break our journey. Only a friend in Goa waiting to welcome us the next day.
The We rented a Honda City in decent condition for INR 24,000 for a duration of 7 days. Divided among 4 people it didn’t cost much, was significantly cheaper and a far better experience! On the road, we stopped nowhere but a Vada Pao stall and finally a hotel for the night.
There are plenty reasons to embark on an amazing Bombay-Goa road trip, and plenty reasons that make it a must-do on any 20-something’s list, but here are my top few:
The drive is a pleasure:
The roads are perfect, smooth, and wide. There’s hardly a patch or two I can remember where we didn’t thoroughly enjoy the drive. You can cruise at a decent speed while you enjoy the drive and the music! An approximate distance of 600 kms was a breeze on the Bombay-Goa highway, with its minimal traffic and pleasant driving experience.
We had no idea where we would stay, so we kept going as long as we could drive. When we were exhausted enough to crash, we checked into the first decent place we found. The place was cut off from the highway and somewhere deep into the fields. It seemed a little eerie at night, but we woke up to a beautiful orange building covered with creepers and flowers. The hotel was more like a tiny resort with a wheel on a rope for a swing, and bicycles to rent if you’re interested in riding through the fields. An entirely impromptu plan turned out to be an adventure we’ll probably end up taking to our graves!
Most of us around Delhi are a little bored of the Delhi-Chandigarh and Delhi-Jaipur drives, but the Bombay-Goa is a refreshing change for most of us. In fact, the second leg of the drive is all the most interesting, as we pass through the narrow roads of the hilly area. On our return journey, we lost our way and ended up somewhere between two mountains, in a completely deserted area with no street lights, not a soul in sight and no signal on our phones. In the middle of nowhere, we suddenly came across a police barricade with a bunch of cops far from pleasant. While we had some goosebumps at the time, looking back it’s just another memory we talk excitedly about!
The best Vada Pao I’ve had in my life has been at a roadside stall on the highway, a little off Pune. I learnt he was from Agra and chose to sell his vada pao in Maharashtra because of his love for their culture. While I’m quite certain that Vada Pao was fried three times over, it was heaven to my taste buds! Another time we stopped to have some Misal Pav in the middle of nowhere- famished and starving, and it turned out far better than we expected from a dim-lit, vacant tea stall.
As we crossed the river Vaishishti, we stopped to admire the view, the wind and the sight. We stopped in the hills to enjoy the drizzle, got off to stretch our legs at the top of a curb in the mountain, and to enjoy the beautiful weather in Khandala. On our way back, we stayed a night in Khandala and drove to Imagica the next day. What better way to end a road trip with friends, other than a theme park!
- Fuel prices are super low in Goa, remember to fill up your tank before you head out on the highway!
- Choose your route wisely: We were on track while driving from Mumbai to Goa but had some trouble getting back. Not only was the route we chose rather deserted, it was in serious want of a decent place to eat. No dhabas, fast food joints or tiny shops selling chips. There were no washrooms for a long stretch either.
- Screenshot your route: The GPS will eventually stop working, specially if you aren’t driving on the outskirts. If you go through the villages and the hills, you will lose the internet connection on your phone pretty soon. While the road is pretty straightforward and well labeled, it helps to screenshot the journey in advance.