Im back to forum after a break .. it was tough as I wasn't well :(
Anyway so as few of you requested, I'm bringing my blog on Bangalore to Goa to this forum directly in parts as it doesn't let me post all of it in one go. So enjoy and any comments are welcome !!
Please excuse the placement of the images as I couldn't figure out how to embed images between the text.
Alright we are back from our heavenly trip to Goa from Bangalore and I thought to share my experience for all the road warriors who wish to do so in future.
We planned this trip well in advance so all the routes, stays etc were planned through Google Maps Big thanks to Google..
Here is what our itinerary was
Day 1 - Leave Bangalore (early Morning), covered Jog falls (Shimoga) and then halt at Murudeshwar
Day 2 - Leave Murudeshwar for Goa
Day 3 - Enjoy North Goa
Day 4 - Enjoy North Goa
Day 5 - Enjoy South Goa
Day 6 - Enjoy South Goa
Day 7 - Enjoy South Goa
Day 8 - Head back to Benguluru
Car: Santro Xing XG
Average Spped: 120km/hr
Total Distance covered : 1800+ kms (total trip)
Benguluru to Jog Falls - 390kms - Time taken 5.5 hrs
Jog Falls - Murudeshwar - around 90 - Time taken 3hrs
Murudeshwar to North Goa - 160+ kms - Time taken 4hrs
North Goa to South Goa - 67+ kms - Time taken 1.5 hrs
South Goa to Benguluru - 690+ kms - time taken 9.5hrs
Detailed Trip information / experiences
Day 1 - Benguluru to Jog Falls - 390kms - Time taken 5.5 hrs
Road information - Benguluru -> Nice Road -> Tumkur (NH 206) -> Tiptur -> Sagar -> Shimoga -> Jog Falls
We started early morning at 5am from our place in Benguluru headed towards NICE road to Tumkur. The road was excellent and we could drive at the speed of 120km/h. In about 40mins we are at the Tumkur toll plaza. Crossed the toll and took the NH206 towards Tiptur. After driving for about 3hrs non-stop we took a coffee break at one of the road side coffee shops and started again without wasting any time. In about 1hr we were at Jog Falls. The road throughout was excellent except few bad stretches of about 1~2km 3-4 times. The drive was very scenic with paddy fields all through the route.
Jog Falls: Once we reached the Jog Falls parked our car and straightaway headed for the falls. The parking is available right on the falls viewpoint at a cost of 20Rs. The day was very hot (about 32C degrees) and we were all sweating. We saw the Jog Falls in about 20mins and did'nt find it too exciting .. mainly coz of it was too hot weather and then the falls are average falls and not something worth driving only to see it. Ofcourse we took some pictures and then headed straight to Murudeshwar - our next stop. Before starting from Jog, we had some snacks from one of the restaurants (so called) at Jog. There are not much options available there, so please make sure you either carry the food you want to have or survive on whats available. We carried some puffs, biscuits, cakes etc for us to feed us in case nothing is available.
After leaving Jog, we were back on NH206 again on the way to Murudeshwar and believe me the drive was excellent and very very scenic. I took loads of pictures on the way and reached Kasarkod. Here are few pictures on the way to Kasarkod...
At Kasarkod we had our first lunch break at Kamat. The food was good with limited options. We quickly finished the lunch, and headed towards Murudeswar. The road from Kumta/Kasarkod to Murudeshwar (NH17) was all broken up (pot holes all the way) i guess 'coz of heavy rains. The drive was painful and we could reach Murudeshwar in about 60 mins. We parked our car in the parking lot provided by the temple authorities. But then we noticed a good hotel (RNS Residency) besides the temple and decided to stay there for a night. The Hotel was ok but the staff was not very friendly. But, since we didn't had many options, we decided to make ourselves comfortable. The hotel rooms were clean and the view was breathtaking overlooking the sea on one side and the temple/lord Shiva statue on the other side. We quickly freshened up, had some coffee/snacks and headed to the Statue/Museum. Museum is very well maintained and was a good experience. We visited the temple and the priest offered a very good pooja to the Lord Shiva (archana). We finished this up and headed to the beach after taking some pictures. The beach is right next to the temple.
Murudeshwar Beach: The beach was very good, calm and clean. It was mostly occupied by fishermen and was a good sight and with good photo taking opportunities. The beach had little/baby crabs floating on the water. Children were a little scared in the starting but then they got used to it and jumped into the water immediately. They played there in sand with their sand toys, had fun in the water and then we came out of it after an hour or so. By this time it was already the sunset time so we took some pictures or sunset and went to the hotel. At hotel we relaxed for a while and then had dinner at the sea side restaurant with a great sea view. After a good dinner we went back to hotel and relaxed. Kids were asleep and I was busy taking some night shots of the sea from my room balcony overlooking the sea. The pictures came out very good :) and i was happy. After taking few pictures we slept and had a good sleep.
The picture above shows the temple, Lord Shiva statue and the beach with fishermen pulling out their boats from the sea after a day long fishing trip.
Next day: I woke up early morning to take some sunrise pictures or the sea and took some fabulous shots. Then we all got ready, had breakfast, checked out form the hotel at about 8am and headed straight to Goa.
Road taken - Murudeshwar -> Kasarkod -> Honavar -> Karwar -> Panji -> South Goa
Journey time - about 3~4hrs
From Murudeshwar we started from NH17 and then continued on the same till we reached Goa. The road from Murudeshwar to Kasarkod was pathetic but then after that it was pretty good and after Karwar it was excellent. After about 2+hrs drive we reached Gokarna and headed to Om Beach. The drive to Om Beach from the highway was very good with some potholes in between but overall was very comfortable. The road was very narrow though but was expected. We reached the beach entry point where we had to park our car and go down to the beach. It was a 5 mins walk down the beach from the entry point. The first view of the beach and the sea was mind blowing.
We loved the beach sight, the beach sand and the cleanliness. We and kids played at the beach for a while and then had breakfast at one of the beach shacks which was open. This was our first experience of beach shack and was very good.. in fact excellent. We had some continental bfast and coffee and relaxed for a while. The beach was quiet so kids played at the beach for a while. Om beach is a little stony so have a good picture taking opportunities for people who like photography like me :)
After relaxing and taking some pictures, we headed back to the highway for Goa. It took us about 20 mins from the beach to the highway and we were back on track again.
We drove for about an hours time and we were at Karwar. We took some pictures of Karwar port and then headed to our hotel in North Goa. We reached our hotel in about 2hrs time.
The drive was fantastic and very very very scenic. We loved each km of the road except some bad stretches with loads of traffic. We also lost our way once and went into interiors of Goa (Panaji).. but then after asking the way out we were back on track in 20 mins. We reached our hotel Resorte Marinha Dourada near Baga beach and checked in. This was the first time we stayed at this resort. We checked the reviews of this resorte on TripAdvisor and were extremely satisfied with what we read and what we experienced.
Resorte Marinha Dourada: The resort is excellent place to stay with Family or alone as well. Thr rooms are spacious with kitchen (or without), fully A/C'ned, nice beds and a great view. The resorte has gym, restaurant, spa, jacuzzi, walking tracks, lakes, bar etc. They have most of the amenities what you would want on your holiday. The staff is very approachable and soft spoken. The resort has fishing lakes in front of it and which is a good sight to have. You can do fishing there if you have your fishing gear.. we didn't had so we could not :( This resort is about 2 kms from Baga beach so after having our Lunch at resort (which was again very good) we relaxed for a while and headed to Baga beach which was only 5 mins drive from the resort.We reached the beach and realised that instead of Baga beach we reached the Calangute which was also one of the beach on our list to see.. so without wasting any time we went to the beach.
Calangute Beach: First sight, crowded commercial beach with loads of shopping options on the way to the beach. The beach was good and clean but was crowded.
Calangute beach, Goa
While walking down the beach, we were approached by 10 people atleast for water sports and we refused to all as we wanted to relax first and then go for water sports etc. These folks bug you till you tell them, you're not interested.. so we told them we are done with it and they vanished :)) So, the kids got into their costumes and jumped into the water with me. We enjoyed playing in the water with Kids and took loads of pictures. After about 30mins the weather quickly changed and it started raining/pouring like anything.. we we all got drenched but we enjoyed the experience. After enjoying rains on beach for a while we were asked to leave the beach area by lifeguards as it was not safe to be there. So we packed our stuff and headed back to hotel.
At hotel we changed, relaxed and then headed back to Baga beach now for Dinner. So we decided to take a table at a nearby shack (St. Anthony shack) and had our dinner there. The person who served us was excellent guy. We tried Goa specialties and believe me the food was yummy-licious. Though we were not very hungry but still 'coz of the taste we had loads of food till we were full till our necks :) Dining at the shack was a great experience that I can’t forget that even till now. The staff was very good and responsive. The environment was so cool... the DJ played excellent music 80's english numbers and they had karaoke as well. Overall excellent experience. After spending 3hrs at the shack we went back to the resort and slept :(
St. Anthony Beach shack @ Baga Beach
For more on this trip read my blog post: Bangalore to Goa and back by road: Part 2
Day 3 - woke up and got ready for Bfast. After a good decent bfast in the resort we headed to our next beach on the list - Anjuna. It was about 30mins drive and after asking the route from the locals we reached Anjuna beach. This beach was accessible from a hill and we had to go down the hill into the water but since it was too hot and we were not planning to go into the water we just saw the beach from top, took pictures, did some shopping and then headed to our next destination Chopora beach.
Chopora beach again was accessible from a hill and we decided to see it and not go into the the water. So we again did some shopping, took pictures and had some soft drinks.
My daughter got her hair beads done and then we moved on to the next beach - Arambol which we heard was very good and calm. After about 40 mins drive, we reached Arambol beach. This beach was very much accessible by car and we parked our car right on the beach entrance against a shack.
Arambol - The first sight of the beach was "Clean" and breathtaking views. On one side it was the beach view and the other side was mountains/cliffs with loads of Shacks. Though not all of them were operational at this moment but we decided to camp at one of the open shacks. We had some snacks followed by a yummy lunch. After this we went into the beach with kids who played there for 4~5 hours until sunset. My wife relaxed at the Sunbed provided by the shack people and i was off and on from the beach. The experience was truly unforgettable. The snacks/food served by the shack was very affordable and very tasty with excellent service. We spent about 5+hrs at the shack and beach .. enjoyed every moment. The beach has lifeguards available round the clock so safety wasn't a issue with kids. The water was not very deep and we could go into the water for about 300-400 meters. The sand was white sand and without any garbage/rocks in it.
I took about 400+pictures in 5hours of the beach and our family and called it off by sunset.
It was a great beach fun overall. I highly recommend it to all. We then headed back to our hotel so we can freshen up and head for dinner. After getting ready again at the resort, we went to Kolangute beach for dinner and shopping. Kids bought some toys to play on beach and enjoyed the evening.. while me and my wife enjoyed over drinks and snacks at the shack. After a good relaxed dinner.. we headed back to the resort and had a good sleeeeeeeeeeeeeep.
Day 4 - This morning we were fresh and relaxed and geared up for the day.
Resorte Marinha Dourada, Arpora Goa
We checked out of the resort where we had a good time and straight away headed to our next holiday resort in South Goa where we had to join a big family group. So we headed to South Goa (67kms from our resort) to Dona Sylvia Beach Resort (A Radisson property) and reached there in about 2hrs time. On the way, we landed up at Dona Paula beach and view point. As the weather was too hot, we could not spend much time there and after taking few pictures go into the car again with full A/C on always and headed to the Dona Sylvia resort. After about 1 hr of drive we finally reached the resort where we checked in smoothly and were shown our room. Our extended family group were already there to welcome us :)
Dona Sylvia, Goa
Dona Sylvia Resort: Thr resort is good and clean. Clean rooms, but a little small as compared to other resorts we have stayed. The rooms are Cottage styled and we got our room on the 1st floor with a balcony. The view from the balcony was facing other cottages (nothing exceptional) but was ok. The balcony was big to sit and relax there. The common areas are well maintained in the resort and the pool is also pretty good and big to accommodate about 100 people. Club house and games are plenty and the maintenance is good. Overall property is good and maintained properly. The only thing we did not like was the attitude of the Housekeeping staff who were very rude. The staff is always in hurry and cut your calls in-between while you are talking.
After settling in the room and having some refreshments, we headed to the beach straight away with all my camera gear. At the beach I took some pictures or all of us and beach view and then kept my camera gear back into the bag and jumped into the water to have fun.
Cavelossim beach, Goa
This was at Cavelossim beach which is very very clean and smooth. The water is blue and have an excellent view. We played at the beach in waves for about 1+hrs and then decided to catch up for some lunch. But when we came into the resort again from the beach, instead of going to the room everyone decided to jump onto the pool instead of going to the rooms. So all of us (24people) jumped into the pool and relaxed there for another couple of hours. As the sun was shining and the temperature was soaring, we found the pool as a welcome break. After the pool expedition, we went into our rooms and freshened up. After a while we then got together and planned to go out for lunch (late lunch at 4:30pm .. ha ha ha) to a nearby shack. As most of the shacks were almost closed, we decided to get some food for the gang and have fun at the resort itself. So we went to a shack and got the food for the gang and savoured the food when back. After having the evening brunch, we just spent time at the resort by playing various games like carom, table tennis, pool, chess etc. and talking. The gents had a drinks party with great talks :)
By this time all were about to crash for the day and after having a good dinner at the resort we a night walk to the beach we crashed into our beds to charge ourselves for next day.
Day 5 - I and my wife got up early morning 4:45 AM to take sunrise shots at the beach. We could manage to get great shots of early morning sunrise, took a long walk on the beach and then went back to the room.
Cavelossim beach, Goa
Rest of the day we planned at the resort only so we had a quick breakfast and headed to the beach. We arranged for Watersports at the beach on this day and did all the water sports like Paragliding, Water scooter, high speed boating etc. All of us enjoyed a lot with water sports and beach fun. We paid about 2000Rs for a family for each water sports. I really liked this moment as it gave me tremendous photo taking opportunities.
Watersports @ Cavelossim beach
After all this we headed back to the resort and then jumped into the swimming pool again. We spent couple of hours in the pool with beer, snacks etc and then went back to rooms to freshen up and get ready for the Lunch. As we go ready for the Lunch again at 4pm, the rain Gods got angry and showered great rains for another 2 hours. By this time we were too hungry so we again got some food and had it in our rooms :)
After a good evening brunch, we then got together for a Tambola(Bingo) game and cards. We spent hours in that and then had dinner with the group. After the group we again got back to the beach, took some night shots and returned back to our den and crashed.
Day 6 - Again we woke up early morning around 5am and went to the beach for shooting pictures. The early morning shots were amazing and we enjoyed the breeze and sunrise. After this we went back to the room and freshened up. Kids woke up by then and straight away went for Bfast. After a good breakfast, we decided to go out for a drive and photo expedition (ME and my wife) leaving the kids with the group and other kids. So we went out for a drive, took great pictures of Cavelossim beach, Colva beach, Sol river, and couple of Churches. It was very hot weather again but had to live with it with our car A/C always on.
Raining at the beach
Since it was our Daughter's B'day we did some shopping for her and then returned to the resort. After coming back we handed over the gift to our lovely daughter and then went for a lunch to a nearby shack. Had a good yummy lunch and then returned back to the resort. In the evening we all decided to go for a sight seeing tour of Goa towards Panaji and hired bikes and scooters and I had my car to drive small kids. So we headed to Panji (about 60kms from our Resort) at about 4:30 pm with all the bikes, scooters and my car. After driving for about 20kms, people started realizing that driving another 40kms will not be possible on National Highway with kids and triple seat driving.. so they decided to call it off and returned back to resort.
After returning to resort, we gathered around the restaurant and celebrated our daughter's b'day with the group. Kids and all enjoyed the party with a great cake (which we ordered from resort). The restaurant manager (Sandeep) was very helpful and reserved a long table for the entire group for the birthday celebrations. So we cut the cake and sang the b’day song J for our angel daughter. The cake was very yummy and looked very good. Everyone enjoyed the party and then we again went to the club house to have fun and played games. After enjoying there for couple of hours we then went to our rooms and crashed.
Day 7 - Woke up early morning, go ready for checkout from the resort, settled our bills and then we said good bye to the group as they were returning home and we were to stay at in Goa for another night at south Goa's Holiday Inn Beach Resort. So we checked out from Dona Sylvia and checked in to Holiday Inn which was just about 2kms from Dona Sylvia.
Holiday Inn Resort, Goa
The check-in was very smooth and we were shown our room. The room was very clean and very good with a nice view of the pool from the balcony and the beach (though beach was very far view). We relaxed at the room for a while and then decided to go to the beach and spend some time over there. So we went to the beach with kids where the kids again :) did some water sports like paragliding, water scooter etc and then played in water for a while.
Watersports @ Goa
After about 2 hours of fun at beach we then went back to the resort and jumped into the pool. After playing there for a while we went back to the room, got ready and then headed to one of the shacks for Lunch at Panaji. We decided to go to Panaji and see the Aguada fort and have the lunch on the way. So we stopped at one of the shacks on the way and lunch over there.. again the food was excellent excellent and yummilicious.
After a good lunch, we went to the fort Aguada but as we were running late we reached there at 5:45 and the fort was closed. So we took some pictures from outside and came back to the city for a boat cruise at 7:30pm from the cruise point. We took the cruise by Royal cruises which were were told by our resort that it is the best one. So we bought the tickets @ 150Rs per head and boarded after a long wait. Luckily we go the corner seats and made ourselves comfortable there. The cruise was a good fun with lots of music and dance on-board. They play loads of music and make you dance on the floor.. with kids, family etc.
Mandovi river cruise, Goa
The cruise have food and drinks on board at a price to you can enjoy the drinks and food/snacks and have fun while dancing on the deck. The view from the cruise is excellent and the lighting is amazing.
Overall its a great fun activity and should not be missed while you are in Goa. We were done with the cruise by about 9:30pm and then drove back to the resort. On the way the kids slept so I was the only one who was a little hungry as my wife also tanked up earlier. So i thought of trying one of the local Goa roadside hawker food that was Egg Omlete in fish curry and belive me it was so yummy that I found it to be the best dish I had in my trip. So I packed up 2plates of the Omlete curry and had in when I returned to my room with a chilled beer.
After having the dinner we slept to charge ourselves for next day.
Day 8 - woke up early morning to take some early morning sunrise shots at the beach. The view in the morning was amazing and I managed to take some good sunrise shots. After shooting, we went back to the room, got ready and checked out from the hotel at about 9AM. Our plan was to catch up with some good breakfast and then head back to Benguluru. So we went to a shack (Mike's place) at Cavelossim beach road and enjoyed the food there.
Shack @ Calellosim beach rd, Goa
Believe me the food was so yummy that we ended up doing bfast and lunch over there. The staff was very helpful and entertaining. They served very good fresh food though a little expensive as compared to other shacks we visited earlier. While having b'fast/lunch we decided to stay another night at Goa so we can do some fishing, crab catching and see Palolem beach as well which is what we didn't do till now. So we searched for another hotel and got one at Palolem beach. The hotel was an average one but suited our criteria of safety, budget and location. So checked into the hotel dumped our bags and then went to the Palolem beach. This was packed with Russian crowd and sunbathing people all over in the beach. It was a little crowded beach but the ambience was good fun. So we parked our car at the beach parking and went into the beach. After a while it started raining and we took shelter in one of the shacks... and then started on our food journey again :) We settled in this shack and spent about 4hrs there till sunset overlooking the beach. the view was amazing and the food as usual in Goa was yummy. In all we tanked up there till late evening then went back to hotel and crashed.
Palolem beach Shack
Day 9 - woke up at 4:30AM, freshened up and checked out the hotel by about 5AM. This was the day when we said good Bye to Goa :(( and headed back to Benguluru. So we started from Palolem beach to Karwar -> Sirsi -> NH4 -> Tumkur -> Benguluru. Reached home by about 4:30 with 2~3 breaks in-between.
Summary of the trip: Overall a good … sorry excellent trip. Roads were very good from Benguluru to Goa via Shimoga route. From Goa to Karwar -> SH63 is good. SH63 -> NH4 is NOT good (lots of potholes and no roads in between) via Sirsi/Hanavur, from NH4 - Rannebenur to Benguluru – about 40kms is bad but after that it’s pretty good but still the construction is going on making it a little troublesome. On the way on NH4 lots of hinderances like farmers drying up their corn produce slowing the traffic. Driving from Benguluru - Goa in a day is very much possible (10hrs) drive with decent roads 90%. Food options are not very much available via Shimoga route and almost NIL on NH4 except Kamat after 150kms stretch.
Best time : to go to Goa would be November as its season and most of the shacks will be operational which are real fun and most important ingredient of the trip.
Travel light as in Goa the weather is coastal and you don’t need much clothes apart from shorts and t-shirts... With Kids.. carry clothes for change over as after beach fun.. they would change over.
Must do and see:
Beaches: Palolem, Baga, Kalangute, Arambol, Cavalossim, Mobor
To eat at: Shacks, Tito’s. Try Goa delicacies, they are really good
To stay: as per your budget and preferences. I liked staying in Beach side resorts and log/beach huts.
To do: Eating at shacks, Water sports, Shopping.
Rest it’s a great fun place for entire family. We like north Goa better than South for Family fun. For romantic getaways, South Goa is better.
Do not forget: SunScreen lotions or you can buy there. Hotel bookings in advance as in season, you might not get rooms and will be pricey if you just drop in.
For Roadies -> Amazing roads, but drive carefully and with responsibility (without drinking alcohol). Take care of other roadies on the road J and happy fun goa-driving.