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  1. Hyderabad to Coorg / Kodagu Exploration Drive - Pre-Monsoon drive meet up - July 07/10, 2018 Start point - Gachibowli (ORR) End point - Coorg Start time - 5:00 am Total Distance - ~800 kilometers (one way) Objective - Drive to thank the monsoon showers and explore self while being in raw nature away from Luxuries Participants: 1) Tata Tiago (Expresso Brown) 2) Volkswagen Polo (Red) 3) Maruthi Suzuki Baleno 4) Hyundai Creta (Star Dust) 5) Hyundai Creta (White) 6) Renault Duster (White) Route Taken: Hyderabad (Gachibowli ORR Entry Point) ---Bangalore --- Mysore --- Coorg Places covered: 1) Tribal Style Stay in Coorg 2) Irrupu waterfalls 3) Mandalpatti Peak Plan: Day 1 (July 07th, 2018): We start off from the meet up point (Gachibowli ORR Entry Point) towards Mysore Stop by for breakfast at Food Pyramid, Kothakota We stop by for lunch just before entering Bangalore at Amaravathi Gardenia, Devanahalli We reach Mysore to break down for the day Day 2 (July 08th, 2018): We start off from our Mysore accommodation towards our Resort in Coorg Have breakfast en-route and reach Evergreen County Resort, Virajpet, Coorg We will check in into our resort, explore the resort and places around, Camp Fire & Dinner and break down for the day Day 3 (July 09th, 2018): Coorg exploration drive, check out Irupu Waterfalls Drive back to Mysore by End of the Day and break down for the day Day 4 (July 10th, 2018): We start early to escape the Mysore - Bangalore traffic and proceed towards Hyderabad Things to carry: 1) Carry umbrella and rain coat (Must)2) Toiletries, Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Mosquito repellent cream and Glucose / Electrol (personal medical kit)3) Camera kits and Telescopes if any star gazing enthusiasts or night photography enthusiasts4) Most importantly loads of energy and positive attitude I will let pictures speak more than words from here on, watch and enjoy! Evergreen County Team welcoming India - Drive Team: Exploring the Resort, It is a treat to eyes and nestled in to Nature! We have planned to explore Irupu falls after exploring the resort, we understood from the locals that there is a huge Tea Estate on our route to Irupu Falls, Couple of cars went ahead to check it out (Polo & Tiago) and we were the only one's to look at this beautiful View! We had to go back to the convoy with a bad news "Visitors are not allowed" We continued our drive towards Irupu Falls, One should not miss this falls in Monsoon! Reach the falls, close your eyes and surrender yourself to the Mother Nature!! ❤️ We have reached back to the resort by the time light faded and gone for the Nature walk around the Resort and had a wonderful time with India Drive Members introducing themselves at the Camp Fire session followed by delicious Dinner at the Resort Restaurant (Secret Spices, Rest O cafe)! After a Sumptuous Breakfast and an unforgettable Morning Coffee (Pictures Below) we checked out of the resort and headed towards our exploration drive towards Mandalpatti Peak (Heaven, I call this after exploring the place). We came across a Landslide en route Mandalpatti and we could not take our cars any further, for a moment it was a disappointment but that's when we got to know from the locals that we have to hire 4x4 vehicles to be able to reach Mandalpatti Peak. Without wasting any time, we parked our cars, hired those beasts and started enjoying some pure off roading fun and reached the Heaven!! We have spent considerable amount of time exploring the place with literally zero visibility and clicking pictures. We have reached the car parking location back by about 5 pm with a super Maggi break (Special Thanks to our Instant Chef Bhargav) and started our drive back too Mysore! Like all the other Drives, we had to end this Drive too wishing if we could have continued it for another Infinite number of days!! Aideu from Sridhar Tandra until next Drive Meet!!❤️❤️
  2. Those who say God is a great creator, I guess they forget to say He is a great painter too .... with his five fingers on each hands the way he painted Andaman in blue , green and white , one must travel himself to experience this slice of paradise in India. A destination with beautiful pristine beaches , multiple islands to explore, rich marine life and a great spot to begin your water sports in India. Andaman has two options to reach - Flight through Chennai or Kolkata or take a ship/vessel from Kolkata /Chennai. The island has the beauty of Indian ocean and blessed with nature all around. I tried looking for a direct flight but had to fly via Chennai from Hyderabad. You dont need to change your flight at Chennai. Its not connecting but via Flight! . Security quickly comes and check your boarding pass and then you fly again in less than 50 minutes from Chennai to Port Blair. The total journey is four hours ( Hyderabad to Chennai - One hour and Chennai to Port Blair - 2 hours ). Port Blair has a lot of options to explore and of course a great place to visit around many other connecting islands or parts of Andaman. However I had a mission to step first in Havelock - a well known water sports and honeymoon destination for Indians. From Port Blair you can take a ferry - ( Government Ferry/ Green Ocean /Mukruzz) to reach Havelock. The travel time with Mukruzz is one and an half hour. You need to keep your bookings either online from the website or through travel agents since the seats on each ferry are limited . Once you reach the ferry , you need to get your tickets checked in and stamped to board the ferry. Ensure you double check your timings and make your flight and ferry bookings accordingly. The ferry from the airport is just 3 kms and cab drivers can charge you anywhere between INR 200 to INR 300 for a drop. The union is very strong so only option is to ensure you negotiate with calm and witty answers instead of any arguments. Mukruzz runs three times a day from Port Blair to Havelock and Neil Island. As the vessel starts its journey over the ocean, you can see the beauty of the blue water with islands around and their silver sands stretched across the shore. Once you reach Havelock, collect your luggage from the disembarked part of the vessel and exit the ferry. At the exit of the ferry itself you can see small boats which take you to Elephant beach for INR 900 and offer you free snorkelling. Other way of reaching Elephant beach is by trekking for 2 kms through muds and jungle. Choice is yours to select ! Pick whatever suits your temper or mood. You do have Taxi stand and water sports centers at the exit of the Ferry! Feel free to negotiate for both of them for a day trip. We booked our resort at Vijaynagar Beach - one of the most beautiful beaches that connects you through the beach side of all good resorts in the same stretch till Kalapathar Beach. Our booking was at Dolphin Resort. A lot of other resorts are in the same road and can be a great option for family and couples. We hired a cab and reached the resort just 3 kms away from the jetty. The reception was quite welcoming after a long traveling . The sea facing cottages will not only take your breath away, you can see haven of heaven and beauty of sea all around in the stretch of the beach with white soft sands, Mohua Tree and gentle cool breeze! The skeleton of some old big trunks, beds of wooden sofas, green lawns with beautiful flower and trees all around just bring out a fresh you after a long journey! The island has no network as such and have to be away from the technology . In a way its a great thing to reconnect with people around you and not with those who are away from you! You are forced to look back at the beauty of nature and interact with the people around you. It is a great moment to speak and discover that you have been pet of technology so much, this liberty if gives you nothing but atleast a light mind and a great mood to focus on your travel and trip with your companions. The options of dinning is actually very less. The timeline for all courses - Breakfast, lunch and Dinner are strictly within mentioned time frame and it is followed almost across all the islands in Andaman. If you have an idea to drink and fish out any bottle from any bar anytime . I am sorry, you have to rework on that attempt. All licensed bars have rights to sell drinks only thrice in a month and no liquor is sold outside the permission day . The sunrise in Vijaynagar is the best! The beach is so clean and clear, you would not mind sitting and bathing in the water, soaked in the sun over the white sand for hours. Time is such a luxury in Havelock - no matter how much you spend, you still see time left in your pocket for the day. Havelock is a place to book two wheelers for INR 500 a day and go around exploring the island. Ensure you fill petrol from the pertol Bunk at fairly cheaper rate of INR 68 instead of paying INR 80 at the bike on rent outlet. From Vijaynagar beach, Kalapathar beach is very close . It is on the same stretch and connects you through a nice shadeful road. Kalapathar on a cloudy afternoon will remind you of your ride towards Chapora Fort drive in North Goa from Sinquerim Beach after Taj Resort! From Kalapathar beach you can head directly to Radhanagar Beach. This beach is known for its sunset. I did see some videos on Youtube before but my first sight at the beach blowed million cucumbers in my eyes for its cooling soothing effect. The crescent shape beach with trees all around and sea so blue and shimmering is just too good to be true! The white soft sand , less people and clear water is strong reason enough to sit quietly and enjoy the breeze and the sunset. If you want to have lunch before Radhanagar beach entry, you can pick up one of the small outlets offering typical meals and a non veg menu of your choice. I would recommend for a stay at vijaynagar beach over Radhanagar beach because Radhanagar beach will cut you off from every thing else in the world. The 3rd day was to take a cruise again and reach Neil Island in the morning. The travel time is one hour. Neil island is a 7 km island with three places to visit Sitapur, Lakshampur Beach I , Lakshmanpur Beach II and Bharatpur Beach. Bharatpur Beach is for water sports and Lakshmanpur Beach I is for Sunset and Lakshmanpur Beach II is for visiting a natural bridge formed of rocks . You can also visit Mangrove close to Sitapur beach. In my opinion best option is to book a jetty in the morning for Neil Island and then return by afternoon to Havelock or Port Blair. Other than the blue water, I didnt find much to get excited or spend money on! Bharatpur beach is a place for water sports -you can go for snorkelling, Scuba Diving, Paragliding, Glass Bottom Boat ride , jetsky all at a package or select and make your own package. As the day pass, the demand for water sports decreases and your negotiation power increases. However you do miss the beauty of water sports that can really thrill you in the early morning over late afternoon. 4th day, we had a ferry booked to Port Blair. We decided to stay at Mega Pode . Thanks to Sruthi for recommending this resort. Megapode is just a little over 1 Km from the jetty. The resort is big and faces the ocean and jetty. The maintenance and room services are also great! It has multi cuisine restaurant, Bar and also garden area to sit and relax your evening or late afternoon looking at the ocean. The same afternoon we booked a cab and traveled almost 29 kms from the resort to a spot known as Chidiyatapu! There is no entry fee for this sunset hilly region. You get to explore a lot of places on your way to this destinations. You get to run next to the airport runaway and can click take off or landing of flights! There are few really nice off beat photography location on your way to Chidiyatapu! There are spots where you need to little conscious to ensure its not a landing for crocodile and if not can have great photography of the sea and you together . Try to reach the spot by 3 PM so that you can hike/treck for 2 kms up hill and look at beautiful andaman, the ocean and the sunset ! I am confident like many you will enjoy the beauty of the place. If you want you can go to Cellular Jail for lights and sound show , Mahatma Gandhi Water Complex for sport Activities, Handloom Industry at port Blair. In the interest of time, we decided to go and relax in Karbon Beach and spend time watching others enjoying the waves and water sports. The time we visited , Andaman was hosting a festival known as Milan ( meeting ) having all neighbouring countries brought their vessel in Port Blair. 5th Day. We wanted to visit Jolly bouy island . This island comes under Mahatma Gandhi National Park controlled by Forest department . There are multiple islands that comes under this region and also controlled by the forest department. To travel to the permitted island , we would need to have permission from the forest department and you cannot carry any plastics. Your bags are checked and permits are stamped. You can get your permits by travel agents . Jolly Bouy speciality is - the island remains closed for 6 months and remains open for 6 months -October to March every year. The break of six months is to increase the richness of marine life in the sea. The season when Jolly bouy remains closed, Red Skin island remains open. You are not suppose to carry any plastic bottles. You can rent two water bottles for a security deposit of INR 200 for each bottle you rent and fill it up with sealed water bottles . After security check you board the boat and journey through the clear water for close to 40 minutes. The jetty is close to 40 minutes drive from the resort . It is close to wandaroor beach almost 29 kms away from Port Blair. The journey can be fascinating since you get to hear and see a lot about Andaman during Tsunami and its impact and effect and other islands around. Jollu Bouy island is really beautiful like any other untouched island. You dont get to eat or drink anything at this island. The three hours trip includes swimming, snorkelling and glass bottom boating! The charges are usually INR 200, INR 500 & INR 1000. The crystial clear water and marine life is so so rich in this island, one really needs to see it to believe it! The school of fish of different color and sizes, the huge size of oysters , variety shades of star fish and corals are breathe taking and of course quite an experience. Incase you want to do any other trip , you can definately go to Ross Island, Twin Island, Ross and Smith Island, Batarang Island Trip and have Mud Volcano experience. Though we do have multiple choices to go and explore in Andaman, it is still an island with certain restrictions like lots of island across the globe. Keep these in mind - Night life is zero after six PM. No Drink options unless your hotel keeps bottles . Meals are kind of tiring to eat and have very limited options across the island. So dont be particular or choosy. Keep an open mind. Water Sports -discuss and judge your sense before paying and jumping in the water. you should go for snorkeling and scuba diving early morning. Union is strong for cabs and bikes. Prefer to take two Wheeler for your trip in every island. Book your ferry before you reach Andaman . Opt for online or Agency support to book them. Population is good enough to speak in Hindi and English. Pick a hotel next to the beach or else your trip will lost the purpose and have no value of return Try visiting during Full moon day or just after full moon day. You will experience high tides and water just next to the beach resort. Or else you get to see only dead corals. Try Chidiyatapu for a drive, learn about culture, business, life style of the locals. This was the last view of Andaman from the flight!
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