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Pinaki

You dont need a suitcase! Carry your Car and Passion to the Konkan Coast Drive

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What if I give you a package comprise of – Hills, sea, lakes, pristine beaches, seafood, nice resort , good roads and panoramic view -  all  for a very economical pricing and you cover all of these without any rush in just three days?  Don’t turn your face away! As you keep reading this travelogue below, you can experience the beauty of the trip –so vast and versatile, no dispute –Konkan coast is one of the best road trips to do!

 

The long weekend of 15th August was the reason enough to go and explore Konkan coast.  This is one trip I shall always cherish for its simplicity and havoc journey through hills and lakes and coastal lines. The month was the busiest for me and I was drained out by the time I was set to fly to Pune for this journey. Continuous travelling for three weeks just made me run out of energy to pack my bag and fly to Pune for Konkan coast drive. However just after half an hour drive from Pune, the magic wheels flushed out all the toxins in my thoughts – “I am Tired!” Infact – I was on the road that changed my mood and became passport to one of the most memorable trips of 2017.  

 

Saturday Morning – I had a flight from Hyderabad Airport to Pune. My friend for Donkey years got his Nissan Terrano ready at the airport. We started the journey at 7 AM. He is very particular with his car! He would not let anyone touch the car . That was more like a pre independence celebration of my hands and legs before 15th August. Only things I kept myself engaged were -  mouth to speak, eyes to see the scenic beauty and mobile phone for quick GPS guidance. However this trip would not have been successful without Nikhil Patel from India Drive. His guidance was simply Fantastic.

 

Target destination was Devbagh, Tarkarli and Malvan Beach. We had no bookings for accommodations. We decided to go to Kholapur and take our first break. However once we stepped out of Pune, we had our first halt for a short tea break just below Khandala. The saga of hills, ghat roads can be seen from this spot.

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Your mind gets unloaded with the fresh air and highway speed as you keep climbing the ghat road! The road to Kholapur from Pune is pretty decent. It’s a four lane road. You definitely enjoy the beauty on both sides, can spot small mountains, breeze and light shower of the monsoon and seasonal flowers all over. 

 

Once we touched Kholapur, we decided to have lunch. We decided to have lunch at Dehati. This is one of the must try restaurants! The restaurant is very decent, have awesome dishes and try out the Kholapuri Thali! They serve in copper crockeries and utensils. The chaas is awesome and come in Kokkam mix and the mutton keema will activate your taste buds like a bomb! The food is so delicious, I could not imagine anything better can be offered for the lunch.  They served each item one by one. This keep your food warm and just from the oven!.  

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After Happy  eating, was the time for real driving! We headed towards Radhanagri Road! One has to be really insensitive to ignore the beauty of this journey! The road takes you up to the mountain with Ghats on right side, seasonal water falls at every curve, forest and wild flowers, plants and greenery, fog and mist  and farming land far away in some village as if painted by Dali of Maharashtra! . Incase you want to visit the dam /reservoir, you can take a look at the dam and do photography!

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Radhanagri has another beautiful feature. The quick changing weather can bring a lot of mist and fog on your way followed by canopy of trees, lush plantations, sneak peek of dears and monkeys. The beauty of the place is ornamented with seasonal waterfalls and then suddenly you realized you have reached the plateau which opens up to a super beautiful pristine lake.

 

The lake is so huge and beautiful, you don’t mind stopping for sometimes and ideally enjoy the tranquility of the surroundings. No matter where you halt your car, you can either hear cricket, birds chirping or waterfalls! It is not recommended to go away without enjoying these scenic beauty and sound of nature. It is advised - lower down the window panes and step out of the recycled air in your car! 

 

We halted almost at every corner and clicked pictures of the seasonal waterfalls, plants, flowers and the greenery. The kingdom of clouds float all around the ghat road and bring plenty of peace. While standing at the edge of the lake, you do spot a temple on the other side of the lake. You cannot see any mankind but you know for sure, you are not alone in this mystic world of silence and nature.

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Without further delay, we headed towards Malvan. Another must worth mentioning part of the trip was– every tea stall you stop the car, you get fresh tea brewed in front of you! They use herbs, tea leaves and masala to brew your drink! What a taste…. Sometimes it does surpass elderflower essence  So, to my surprise.

 

This experience was very uniform throughout my journey for next three days. Kudos to all Aai who prepared tea on our way.

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It was towards the dusk, we reached Tarkarli beach. The beach road has plenty of houses for homestay. We decided to go and look for Maharashtra government lodge. I heard they are usually located at good spots and maintained well. It was quite big resort just on the shore. However the receptionist was more like he owns Hyatt and was rude enough on your face.

 

He was upfront - take any room you want but tomorrow we might ask you to leave if we have people coming in. Without a second thought, I ticked off the spot off my list! However I did pay a quick visit to the cottages. I was happy I decided to quit. The charges were INR 3000 plus for a bed which has two blanket and a roof made of thatch! The light settings was like we are just taking off inside the flight .

 

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It was little frustrating to find a decent resort after we left the government resort. Since August is monsoon and off season, almost all the resorts were off and were closed. However you will find people are pretty helpful sending you to other resorts for accommodation. All come his way – he who waits – we finally reached a resort which was very decent and run by a local family.

 

The cost of the room was INR 2000 which is very clean, well maintained, slim furniture – making enough space for two people, clean washroom with geyser, air conditioner and television. It had a big window facing the sea and a big balcony with two easy chairs for you to sit and enjoy the breeze. The property is in expanding mode. It has garden, plenty of space for further development. It opens up on Tarkarli beach. Once we dumped our luggage, we went straight to the beach. The neatness was quite high and unspoiled by mankind- the footfall is less in off season. 

 

It was quite interesting to see when fishermen return from fishing, you get van come to get the fishes directly from the boat to the van and go for trading at markets. This is indeed a  great strategy to keep the beach clean. We did spend quite a long hour on the beach, letting the sound of the waves evaporate our tiredness for good.

 

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We did order sea foods. Almost all listed in the menu card were available for order. We didn’t hesitate to order promphet, prawns and chicken for the night! The cold breeze and beautiful night was enough for us to call it a day!

 

Day 2

 

This day was for  exploring Devbhag beach, Malvan Beach . We started our journey with Devbagh beach. Devbagh beach is known for water sports. Once you reach the beach, it has back water on the left and sea on the right. The point where the sea and the lake meets is really beautiful. You have plenty of people conducting water sports and sea trips. We negotiated for INR 500 and got to visit Dolphin point, Tsunami Island, Meeting point of Devgarh beach and lake. I was lucky to spot few dolphins in the morning otherwise it’s not so easy to spot one.  The meeting point was very rough though for the boatman he said –“ no danger!” 

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Tsunami Island is said to have formed in 2004 after Tsunami. This island get vanished during high tide, usually in the evening and again get visible next day morning! The best part is the sea walk. Once you reach close to the island, you need to get off the boat and walk to the island over the sea. One might think, you would drown soon, you realize the fun only when you land on the water. The guide told us, they can do snorkeling during peak season starting from October and the island get visitors like crazy during the day. It turns into  a commercial spot during business season.

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After the water sports, you can take a leisure walk on the beach! Its quiet and peaceful surrounding! You can just walk and take a place of your own to enjoy the view of the waves. For Lunch we headed to atithi . It is a well-known place for Lunch and dinner. You get variety of fish and Konkani dishes. It’s been told the place is so popular that in peak season, you need to wait at least for 45 minutes to get a seat.

 

After lunch, we had few more beaches to cover! We did cover the Rock Garden beach! The garden is very small but once you step towards the shore, you can see water blows which is a classic! The designed rocks on the edge and the natural beds of rocks are both -simply awesome and beautiful. If you want to get drenched, you can simply sit on a rock bed and enjoy the splash all over! Otherwise just enjoy the breeze and see the locals fishing using small baits for pleasure and fun!

 

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Take a drive further down to Malvan beach , visit the Sindhudurg fort , enjoy the sunet! We decided to take a lovely walk in our own resort beach! It was so quiet and peaceful, we went on walking for almost two hours one side and chit chat with few fisher men on the shore! Their journey for the day was over and they just were getting ready to march towards home! The sunset was beautiful, leaving a flavor for such pristine beach and tranquility in mind.

 

Day Three

 

Next day we wanted to start early and cover few beaches on our way! The locals informed us that Vengurla can be a nice spot for a trip and also thelight house. As we started around 8 am in the morning, to our surprise it was another beautiful road journey through forest, villages, ghats and waterfalls! The fresh air and the clouds over the sky was perfect to feel the cool breeze and smell of the earth! It takes you back from where we all come from! The surprise waterfalls and sudden ghats only leaves you packed with energy for the rest of the journey!

 

Vengurla Light house was just a surprise for us. It has two ways . Road 1 – By walking and Road 2  - taking the vehicle directly to the light house on the top of the mountain. It was a wise thing to take the car all the way up to the lighthouse! The moment you start going up in the mountain, you start seeing a different topography! The road is lush with green plants and flowers, sneak peak of beach on the left, direction to more than five beaches on the right!  As we approached towards the light house gate, we stared spotting peacocks, grazing goats and butterflies!

 

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It was just a mystery that such a hidden treasure was hiding on the top of the mountain. At times you are not fortunate to get everything! Light house gates were chained and closed. We tried ringing the number found on the gate  for checking if someone responds. It went unanswered as well. However when He takes a thing away, He gives you back something better! After getting disappointed, we just decided to walk and follow the butterflies for some photography!

 

Little did we know we were marching towards a zone from where you can have the entire view of the Vengurla beach , crazy waves on the rocky side of the shore, azure blue sky lined below with sky blue water of the ocean! . We didn’t bother to repent on driving up to a closed light house! We did silently sit on the edge and enjoy the heaven for at least 30 minutes. On our way to Sawantwadi, we did spend sometimes in three more beaches! Its interesting one stretch can have so many beaches hidden on the way! All of them are lovely and can be accessed easily!

 

Though most of the beaches are secluded and have very less footfalls, use your discretion before going and the time of the day you are going to these beaches. We have spotted few people though, still a recommendation for your own safety. The beauty of the beaches are awesome. You have clean sand all over!

 

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As we keep driving towards Sawantwadi, we continued exploring the nature and its beauty! Some places are just stretched with palm trees, some stretch are full with coconut trees, some have lakes and some have mountains around both sides of the road. For lunch we halted at Sawantwadi. The restaurant is one of the most traditional dhaba with Konkani, Marathi dishes!

 

I promise you won’t be disappointed in trying either fish or chicken or mutton! Just have patience… because almost every other car stops and crowd have lunch and move out. As we bid bye bye to the city, we were entering the zone of waterfalls! The monsoon and the weather just made Sawantwadi ghat so so beautiful. With every turn and curve, you see you are just one turn closer to the waterfalls and away from the sea level.

 

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Sawantwadi is no more the charming place it used to be before! Wherever there is mankind, there is destruction of nature! All I could hear, noise, scream and honking. Instead of fresh air, it was smell of cooked food, snacks and crackers. Instead of flowers and greenery, we can see plastic bottles and leftovers around!

 

There was no point of seeing this damage and we drove further almost three kilometers ahead for our next stop. In a minute we were free from the nuisance and just parked our car next to a place where it was just covered with floating clouds!

 

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Right after Sawantwadi ghat, we left towards Pune. It was an extraordinary feeling when you see beauty of nature in so many different flavours! Just at the turn towards kholapur highway and not even 2 kms, we found  a spot that will jaw drop you! This was again a lake with beauty unparalleled...

 

The place is known as Ajra. 

 

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You can simply park your car down and climb up a small mountain like structure and enjoy the nature and breeze for free! How beautiful life is when its simple and free. 

 

Only thing left in this journey was to go back to Pune! The holidays were over, the dates went to the books of history, phone was untouched almost two days except for photographs!  As we started driving towards Satara, sipped fresh brew tea at stalls, enjoyed the sunset and evening breeze, only thing was on mind ..... In September .. I have my next destination on card... so lets get ready again!!!

 

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Beautifully narrated @Pinaki. Loved reading it through :) Could you throw some light on the Malvan accommodations if you have spotted any decent ones. :)

I have heard of the Maachli farm stay in Malvan amidst the forest and close by the back waters which looks tremendously beautiful. Any idea about that?

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Excellent narration, pictures are eye pleasing.

Areas around Pune are amazing during monsoon.
Greenery is breath taking.

How are the roads through out the drive?

 

 

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The entire trip was very smooth! I dont think anyone will have any complains if you go on this road drive. Even during heavy monsoon, they are working to maintain the holes . Otherwise it is pretty nice smooth road. Only traffic you face is the stretch between Pune and Satara. Otherwise, the road trip was very very smooth! It was close to 900 kms trip with plenty of breaks and relaxed driving ! We didnt feel tired or exhausted! 

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@sagar  Tarkarli to Malvan has plenty of nice home stay and resorts!. Unfortunately because it was monsoon and before Ganesh Chaturthi, almost 80% of the stay were closed. The place where I stayed was at Tarkarli which is just 2 to 3 kms away from Malvan!. 

 

see the details below! Pic attached for the stay where we put ourselves for two days. 

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On 1/19/2018 at 2:13 PM, Pinaki said:

@sagar  Tarkarli to Malvan has plenty of nice home stay and resorts!. Unfortunately because it was monsoon and before Ganesh Chaturthi, almost 80% of the stay were closed. The place where I stayed was at Tarkarli which is just 2 to 3 kms away from Malvan!. 

 

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That's nice.. what was the price range at which they were ranging around?

 

Btw, @Pinaki Waiting for your Andaman travel story :D

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@sagarI am travelling to Andamaan only in March . Will do my best! I am waiting for double scoop -Iceland and Spiti from you

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@sagar Macchi farm is actually beautiful. You have a video on youtube as well. I wanted to explore this place but since it was 15th August weekend, we didnt get any reservation there. You need to park you car almost 2 kms away from the residence and can walk over the muddy road and nature to the residence of the farm house. Not a bad experience in monsoon for sure...! You can give a try. 

 

The resort we stayed costed INR 2000 for a very decent room with AC, Television, big sitting terrace type balcony , attached washroom with geyser and sleak furniture.  I have seen tourist bus at night for the stay! I liked the simplicity yet clean and well maintained property. The owners are two brothers who run the show and personally interact with very guest! 

 

But there will be many more resorts during the right season .

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1 hour ago, Pinaki said:

@sagarI am travelling to Andamaan only in March . Will do my best! I am waiting for double scoop -Iceland and Spiti from you

 

Haha yes! For that I'm just waiting for @Omik:D

I'm all ready to put up a post except for the pics which is nothing without that :)

 

What's your next story ? :photo:

 

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@sagar I will post Wayanad pictures on the thread you started or posted last year. Since you have already written on the forum, I dont have to share any details. I can post the pictures I have clicked. 

 

next trip Andamaan. 

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1 hour ago, Pinaki said:

@sagar Macchi farm is actually beautiful. You have a video on youtube as well. I wanted to explore this place but since it was 15th August weekend, we didnt get any reservation there. You need to park you car almost 2 kms away from the residence and can walk over the muddy road and nature to the residence of the farm house. Not a bad experience in monsoon for sure...! You can give a try. 

 

The resort we stayed costed INR 2000 for a very decent room with AC, Television, big sitting terrace type balcony , attached washroom with geyser and sleak furniture.  I have seen tourist bus at night for the stay! I liked the simplicity yet clean and well maintained property. The owners are two brothers who run the show and personally interact with very guest! 

 

But there will be many more resorts during the right season .

 

Yes! Maachli farm stay has been one place I wanted to experience when I visit Malvan. Have planned quite a few times but it turned out to be full all the time. Also, the prices are pepped up right now. So, was checking for other alternatives in and around the same place.

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1 minute ago, Pinaki said:

@sagar I will post Wayanad pictures on the thread you started or posted last year. Since you have already written on the forum, I dont have to share any details. I can post the pictures I have clicked. 

 

next trip Andamaan. 

 

Definitely! Please do share your experiences in the link below as this stays exclusively on Wayanad.

 

 

 

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A lovely travelogue! Rated 5*. Nicely written, good photos and great Konkan!!

Beautiful!! 

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7 hours ago, Pinaki said:

@sagarI am travelling to Andamaan only in March . Will do my best! I am waiting for double scoop -Iceland and Spiti from you

Are you traveling by a Ship or Flight?

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@sahil will take flight buddy! I guess if I ever had the luxury of time, I would love to do that like most of the westerners do - backpack, slowly enjoy the vacation like vacation... travel travel travel and nothing else. 

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@Pinaki Awesome bro! I enjoyed reading through your travel story. Very informative and nice pictures. Could you also please add the google map snap of the circuit you have driven during this drive ? :)

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      The place is known for parties, shopping, sea beach, night life, food and cafes. My residence was at Grand Inna Kuta. I recommend everyone, try this hotel out. On the left you have the biggest shopping mall facing the sea and on the right and back, lanes with café, pubs and restaurants. The local stores increase the charm of the place. Happy hours and free Wi Fi everywhere make the place easy to walk and learn more about the location. The hotel has its own happening private beach! Grab a seat next to the beach restaurant and enjoy the breeze, jump in one of the pools to kill the heat or swim and drink or just walk to the beach, sit and sip a drink under palm trees. Plenty of footfalls from Australia, France and Germany! It goes without saying, everyone walk and sit in the beach around sun rise and sunset with families and special ones to enjoy the breeze and the scenic beauty.
       
      The color of the sea is deep blue and super clean! The waves are huge and froth are so white on the white sand… you will love to dip your legs in the sand at night and wash the feet in the water.  The food at the Hotel was also quite good. We have tried quite a few cafes and restaurants locally. It’s worth eating and drinking at happy hours. The hotel also serve free complimentary breakfast which is a good spread next to the pool. 

       

       

       

       

       
      The room at the hotel was sea facing as well. There are two wings with four levels. One wing connects you to the garden and a big pool with Indonesian feelings. The other wing connects you to the garden beach and pool with modern look and feel. Both have its own charm. All you need is to select a room of your choice and preference. The attitude of every attendant at the hotel makes you feel humbled. The smile and the way they communicate, address and delight you every other way is quite impressive.
       
      For phone connection, you can take a sim card which has a lot of options. I used 3G connectivity for outside Wi-Fi zone and WhatsApp. The network was pretty strong across all over Bali expect for few remote places. Just after the lunch, we headed towards a city trip by a cab.  You can go for Blue bird taxi radio cab or you can book a cab on few hour basis. My target was to drive over Mandara Toll Bridge. It is five years old now. It connects you to all the island and area of Bali. For four wheelers, the cost of one side is 12,000 IDR and connects you to three important destinations – Jimbaran, Nusa Dua and Sanur.

       

       

       

       

       
      Day 1
      The first night was at Jimbaran. 
      It is a place filled with beach restaurants. The night with start filled sky, beautiful sea and songs around, you feel good enough to sit and leisurely have your dinner looking at the sea. The beach is clean and also have waves high enough! The sunset is beautiful. Sea food is super cheap and very tasty! Local people come and sing awesome songs for you at your table. You can turn back and see the local dance performance as well. After dinner, we returned back to the hotel. In the mist of light and darkness, it was very beautiful and relaxing to sit in the beach and hear the waves till you feel you are ready to sleep.

       

       

       

       

       
      Day 2
       
      The next day sunrise was so beautiful from the room, it automatically recharge your legs to step out of your cozy bed and walk to the beach! After the heavy breakfast, we headed for a walk around the shore! It’s pristine and beautiful! The place has so much to explore and so much to view the sea from different spots and restaurants and clean rock beds. Around 11 AM, we had our cab picked up to Banur for water sports! Nusa Dua and Jimbaran are two places known for water sports. The island do have many other places too but we selected Nusa Dua side. Mind you, you will have many agents conducting different water sports. We did snorkeling for one hour- it was an awesome experience, sea walk, Turtle Island to see the ways government is protecting the sea life and other creatures.  Turtle Island has a small sanctuary. You can see turtles ages between few months to 400 years. They also have owl, parrots, macaw, and snakes. The sail was in glass bottom boat! The exploration was beautiful.
      After water sports, we returned back to our Kuta beach and spend watching the sunset.

       

       

       

       
      The night was to explore more of Kuta and visit number one pub –Sky garden. It ranks 88th in the world ranking and worth going if you are planning for great music, fireworks, laser show and world DJs... The crowd is quite good and decent! Try your lucky early for unlimited drink and buffet which can save your money in eating and drinking. 3000 people at one place with great screen and music, has its own charm. The street remains crowded till early morning! So there is no fear of walking back to the hotel or looking for a cab to another location.

       

       

       

       
      Day 3
      Today was the day for us to check out of Kuta and move to Nusa Dua.  Unlike Kuta, Nusa Dua has serene beach with all boutique hotels and resorts and spa. This place is primarily for people looking for water sports, tranquility, and peace. The beach has rich corals and water life. Every resort has its own shore and water sports arranged.  One our way to Nusa Dua... we did visit one of the high end boutique resort for coffee and spa.

      The walking area is high above the edge of the sea. The scenic beauty is breathe taking. The spa, infinity pool and Jacuzzi are all under the open sky facing the breath taking sea and hills. The glass boundary makes you feel to just close your eyes and enjoy relaxing for hours. The tranquility of the place is so so high, I bet you won’t feel like stepping out immediately.
       

       

       

       

       

       
      Our Hotel was great enough to provide us free complimentary snacks and high tea every day during our stay. We also had few other complimentary services like spa and breakfast. At late afternoon, we decided to visit Uluwatu! Its 21 kms from Nusa Dua. Uluwatu has coffee plantation on both sides, amazing view from the Uluwatu temple on the sea. The place is big and have many visitors from across the globe to enjoy the sunset and local dance inside the temple next to the sea after the sunset.  The ocean beauty is unparalleled coupled with the sunset. I have never seen, so many people at one place and still there is silence, peace, serenity across the place.

       

       

       

       

      The local dance is very enriching. They play the story of Ramayana in two episodes. The first episodes bring the essence of Indonesian culture. The second episode is just hilarious! The performers, the artists go all across the open studio and pull up audience in different funny activities and performance. The beauty is when they address different countries and audience cheers up together for each country.

       

       

       

       

      The day was over and it was our turn to visit coffee plantation. I have never been to a coffee plantation before. Though it was dark, it was an experience to walk down the alley in the plantation and taste over 15 varieties of coffee free of cost! The taste of every coffee is so unique and nice, if I had all the store and money, I would have buy all of them. It was not a bad expense. I bought few varieties of coffee worth tasting and drinking everyday.

       

       
      One of the observations worth mentioning – Balinese follow traffic rules and queue. Just before the monsoon, Government has been very proactive in building up the roads and repair the pending work. Traffic is so smooth even in small lanes on hill region, everyone is patient, follow lanes and queue. I didn’t hear honking or experience potholes! We headed towards Jimbaran for some shopping and it was fantastic to experience the local handmade or manufactured items.
       
      Day 4
      Today was the day to visit –Nusa Lembongan .One of the most popular islands of Bali. Incase you want to visit coral reef and jump from the edge on natural bathtubs in the sea, you can go to Nusa Penida as well. Nusa Lembongan swift boats leave by 9.30 AM. Every day. You need to buy tickets or book before through an agent for your trip. You will be allocated with a time line to return and check out from the island. The arrangements are awesome for passengers. You hold two tickets with you. Upon your check in, you will be given a band to wear all day.
       
      The band colors are different for different people or group. People going for water sports like scuba diving will have band color different from people going on exploring the land of Nusa Lembongan. They collect your footwear before you board the boat. Over the blue sea and high waves as go towards the coral island, your eyes do have the cucumber effect by the beauty! Nusa Lembongan has a lot of places to explore.  Yellow bridge, devil’s tears, dream beach, under house, panoramic view, mango groove boating, kayaking. The day is so engaging and super-fast, you won’t realize its 4 PM and you would love to hold back yourself on the island. The beauty of the coral, sea, waves, oceanic color is so so like a dream …. It brings back a lot of peace and happiness in you.

       

       

       
      The panoramic view is from the top of the mountain which looks like Spain! The blue green Coral Sea – stretched across the white sand with red tiled casa and trees around

       

      The Devil tears spot have massive water blows and waves that can sweep people out in seconds. However nothing stop mankind to sit on the rock beds and shoot the water blow and giant waves and roar of waves every second. It’s like a tub on a swing moving right to left over a pendulum. 

       

      You can befriend quite a few travelers or fellow passengers on this trip either during complimentary breakfast or over lunch or transfer to island. It’s like everyone is in consensus with - how beautiful Bali is –whether you are an Australian, French, German, Malaysian or another Indian.
       

      Indonesian people are very friendly and open. They would often greet you on roads and in hotels and shopping outlets. They would often try to impress you with singing a Hindi song or speaking some festivals of India. It’s very common for men to come and flirt with a girl in a very healthy way. Please don’t take offence. They have no bad intention. It’s just a way to appreciate you are beautiful, my lady. Always smile back to someone talking to you or asking you a simple question. Balinese are very close to their roots and religion. They offer food to souls and spirits every day. They often can ask you –Are you Hindu? Don’t get offended. You can simply smile and say yes or just in a friendly way say no. They don’t take the conversation any further even if you say “Yes”.

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      I did enjoy the Balinese cuisines. Nusa Goreng rice or noodles is now one of my favorites. They also serve you chicken with peanut butter sauce. Try them out. 
      The best season for visiting Bali is June to October. The season after October is very humid and have heavy rainfalls. After April, the location takes time to bring back the beauty till end of May. August and September are two pick seasons with beautiful weather and season around.

       

       

       
       
      Incase you love mountains, you can visit Ubud! It is not only beautiful, its breath taking. The slow life, followed with scenibeauty of rice
      terrace farming and facing of the hotels and villas to waterfalls and sea can take your breath away.  If you want to experience volcanic activity, you can go to Batur. They come and pick you up at 1 in the morning and you can walk on the slope till 4.30 in the morning for the beautiful sunrise by 6 AM. You can see the fumes and feel the heat over the hill which brings a kind of a different experience of seeing the volcanic readiness in the hill.

       

    • By Mady
      The most memorable journey into the magical mountain range of North East

       
      Planning
      Booking for Sikkim Gangtok Darjeeling - 8 Days & 7 Nights | Cities : Lachen
       
      Day 1 (07 May 2017)
      =================

      Arrival at IXB (Airport) NJP (Railway Station) and Transfer to Darjeeling
      (Duration: 3 ½ hours Approx) (Distance: 69 kms)
      Arrive & Meet Our Official Representative at New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) / Bagdogra Airport (IXB)–He will be assisting for the transfer - Darjeeling - Check into hotel – Evening free to roam around Mall or local Shopping centre - Over Night stay at Darjeeling.
       
      Day 2 (08 May 2017)
      =================
      Darjeeling Local Sight-Seeing (Including Tiger Hill)
      Go for the early morning 3-point tour at 3:45 am which covers famous sunrise from Tiger Hill, Old Ghoom Monastery and Batasia Loop where the toy train takes a dramatic loop and negotiates an Altitude of 140ft. You will be back to your hotel by 7:30am. Relax for a while and After Breakfast later take the 7-point local tour which includes Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Zoological Park, Ropeway, Tibetan Self Help Refugee Center, Lebong Race Course, Happy Valley Tea Estate etc. This tour will take about 4 hours.
       
      Day 3 (09 May 2017)
      =================
      Darjeeling to Gangtok& Gangtok Local Sightseeing:-
      (Duration: 3 ½ hours Approx) (Distance: 135 kms )
      Morning breakfast – Transfer to Gangtok –– Check into Hotel – After taking rest - Drive flora half day sightseeing and visit to Directorate of Handicrafts & Handloom, Research Institute of Tibetology, Do Drul Chorten (Stupa), Enchey Monastery, White Hall, Flower Show, one , etc. – Back to hotel – Evening free - Over Night stay at Gangtok.
       
      Day 4 (10 May 2017)
      =================
      Gangtok to Lachen:-
      (Duration: 5–6 hours Approx) (Distance: 135 kms )
      Early morning breakfast –Lunch at Chungthang – Lachen is 35 kilometers from Chungthang Reach Lachen late afternoon / early evening - Gurudongmar Lake, Chopta Valley, Tshangu are the major attraction– Like a Shangri - La – Check into a hotel - Welcome Tea – Evening free to stroll and visit the Lepcha Village – Overnight stay at Hotel in Lachen.
       
      Day 5 (11 May 2017)
      =================
      Excursion To Gurudongmar Lake And Transfer To Lachung:-
      (Duration:2 ½ - 3 ½ hours Approx) (Distance: 85kms )
      Early morning breakfast – Visit to Gurudongmar Lake through which Lachen Chu flows, generally covered with snow from December to April or even more is known as the Holy / Sacred Lake - Next drive through the cold desert till Tibet / China back to Resort for Lunch – After lunch drive to Lachung - Back to hotel for lunch - After lunch proceed to Lachung -Check into hotel at Lachung - Evening free to visit Lachung Monastery - Overnight stay at Hotel at Lachung.
       
      Day 6 (12 May 2017)
      =================
      Sightseeing AtYumthang Valley + ZeroPoint (Optional) & Transfer To Gangtok:-
      After breakfast drive towards Yumthang situated at an elevation of nearly 11800 feet - On the way you may visit the famous hot spring which is known for its curative properties of skin diseases - Yumthang is a valley near the river Lachung Chu surrounded by mountains where the tree line ends - In spring the valley erupts in riots of colors as Primulae, Rhododendrons and many other Alpine flowers in full bloom along with snow covered valley except in autumn - During winter Yumthang is somber with snow all around and the snow clad mountains adding to the ethereal beauty.
      Optional Zero point(Additional Cost) is the last outpost of civilization. The road ends here. Peaceful valley and is quite windy - there was not much to hear but just stay here for some time to enjoy the beauty. With the majestic mountains and ice around - it was like being the only people in the world. Calm, quiet and a sense of insignificance - time seems to stand still here.... like nothing ever changes.Return to resort at Lachung for Lunch – Transfer to Gangtok – Reach Gangtok in the evening – Check into hotel – Night stay at Gangtok.
       
      Day 7 (13 May 2017)
      =================
      Excursion To Tsomgo Lake& Baba Mandir:-
      Morning breakfast at hotel – Excursion to Tsomgo Lake & Baba Mandir nearly 40 kilometers - The Lake is oval shaped lake nearly 50 feet deep - Generally covered in snow for most of the year – This lake is home to the Brahmini ducks & many migratory birds – Nearby is the sacred Baba Mandir known to be a very holy site for all - Nathula Pass to Republic of China is nearly 20 kilometers and is optional tour - Back to Gangtok - Evening free to roam around M G Road (Mall) or local Shopping center - Over Night stay at Gangtok (In case of Landslide or due to any other reasons if Tshangu Lake is closed then an alternate sightseeing will be provided).
      Optional Nathula(Additional Cost)(14140 Ft / 4310 Mts / 20 Kms in 1Hrs one way from Tshangu Lake) Baba Mandir (13100Ft / 3994 Mts / 16Kms in 1Hrs one way from Tshangu Lake) is an Indo China border, controlled by the Indian Army & is situated approx 20 Kms ahead of Tshangu Lake at an height of 14140 Ft / 4310 At this point the right arm of the “V” which is 4 Kms takes one to Baba Mandir & left arm of the “V” which is 4 Kms takes one to Nathula.
       
      One can opt for Nathula Excursion by paying a supplement cost which varies from month to month. Nathula permit gets confirmed 24 hrs prior to the journey date & it is subjected to permit availability as it is allotted as per lottery. Nathula is closed on Monday & Tuesday for tourist. Organising the permit at the last moment is not possible & a clear window of 72 Hrs with proper documents is required to process the permit. To process the permit we would require 04 Passport Size Photograph & photo proof identity card such as Voter Id / Passport / Driving License. Pan card is not accepted as identity proof by authorities. There is no refund, in case the permit is confirmed by Sikkim tourism & due to whatsoever reason (Land slide, Heavy rain fall, VIP Movement, Health issue etc) one is not able to visit.
       
      Day 8 (14 May 2017)
      ==================
      DepartureAt Airport (IXB) / Railway Station (NJP) :-
      (Duration:4-5hours Approx) (Distance: 135kms )
      After breakfast transfer to Siliguri / New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) / Bagdogra Airport (IXB) Guest are advised to start early and not to rush - Forwarding Journey.
       
      Execution:
       
      Day 1 - 
      Hyderabad - Bhagdogara - Darjeeling
       
      Day 2 - 
      Darjeeling:
      State - West Bengal
      Elevation - 6,700ft / 2,042.2m
      Tourist Attractions - Tea estates, Tiger Hill, Toy train, Japanese temple, Rock garden, Spectacular views of Kangchenjunga - the world's third-highest mountain
       
      Day 3 -
      Darjeeling - Gangtok
      On the way - Teesta river - River rafting
      Gangtok
      State - Sikkim
      Elevation - 5,410ft / 1,600m
      Tourist Attractions - A centre of Tibetan Buddhist culture and learning - Several monasteries, religious educational institutions, and centres for Tibetology, Spectacular views of Kangchenjunga - the world's third-highest mountain
       
      Day 4 - 
      Gangtok - Lachen
      Lachen:
      State - Sikkim
      Elevation - 9,000ft / 2,750m
      Tourist Attaractions - It's the base for Chopta valley and Gurudongmar lake 
      Chopta valley - Located at an altitude of 13,000ft / 4,000m
       
      Day 5 - 
      Lachen - Gurudongmar lake - Located at an altitude of 17,800ft / 5,430m
      Lachen - Lachung
      Lachung:
      State - Sikkim
      Elevation - 9,600ft / 2,900m
      Tourist Attractions - It's the base for Yumthang valley and Zero point
       
      Day 6 - 
      Lachung - Yumthang valley - 11,693ft /3,564m
      Yumthang valley - Zero point - 15,300ft / 4,664m
      Zero point - Lachung  - Gangtok
       
      Day 7 - 
      Nathu La pass:
      Elevation - 14,140ft / 4,301m
      About -  It's one of the three open trading border posts between China and India, It is also one of the four officially agreed BPM (Border Personnel Meeting) points between the Indian Army and People's Liberation Army of China for regular consultations and interactions between the two armies
      Tsomgo Lake:
      Elevation - 12,300ft / 3,753m
      About - It's located 35kms from Gangtok town and on the steep route known as Jawaharlal Nehru Road which leads all the way to Nathula Pass
       
      Day 8 - 
      Gangtok - Bhagdogara - Hyderabad
       
      ***Please carry AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) medicine along
























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