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Has anyone been to Philippines? Need help and information. I am doing quite a detailed research on this beautiful country and looks like the trip can be extremely surprising with 7000 islands and the vastness of the country.!
The distance and the accessibility between or across many islands can be little time consuming. Need guidance on the worth visiting spots and logistics for the planned itinerary.
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.
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!
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.
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!.
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!
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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!
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!”
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!!!
I guess 2017 has been one of the most significant years for me! I vowed to travel every month and look for places I have never been before and ended up driving, flying more than once to a place unexplored earlier. It was very fascinating for me to see Bali for past few months and finally in August after been refused by all my friends to fly this year, I booked a seat for myself and fly all the way to Indonesia in Diwali. When there is no one, plan one for yourself!
The trip was small and sweet but glamorous enough for creating awesome memories and experiences to share with everyone. I am ready to fly again…. Not because I am crazy but because I found the province worth visiting again!
My flight was from Hyderabad to Kuala Lumpur – 4 Hours with a layover of 2 hours at LCC Airport and three hours flight from Kuala Lumpur to Bali, Indonesia. The much controversy of whether we need transit visa at Malaysia…was finally resolved. If your connecting airline is leaving from the same airport, you just need to go through security twice and no visa is required. Incase your airports are different in Malaysia… you better have transit visa applied. Otherwise you need to pay a good amount of money for airport transfer and Transit Visa in Malaysia. My flight from LCC KLAI2 was decent enough. The airport has plenty of stores to scan and do window shopping, taste Malaysian cuisines and use free net, Wi-Fi and make calls, chat up with people etc. If you flight is in the morning between Malaysia and Bali… I bet you will love the blue and green ocean with island floating like lotus leaves and petals from the sky high above on the ocean below.
Immigration is the easiest part of travelling to Bali. All you need return ticket to the resident country, place you will stay in Bali and that’s it! No visa… required. You get stamped and you are in Bali. The airport is cute and nice! The immigration queue is big but it moves like wind…. Quick and fast. The Green channel has snipper dog going through your bag till you get it scanned and exit the airport. We had cab booked for the day. The transfer to airport was very easy. The airport is at Denpasar. From Denpasar we headed to Kuta. It took just 25 minutes for us!
Pictures on our way to Grand Inna
Bali believes in rich Hindu Culture.
Kuta is the place to be!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hyderabad to Hamsaladeevi Beach - A hidden Paradise
After a long wait for the December trip, we kick started our vacation to the most beautiful Hamsaladeevi beach located in the Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh.
Usually many of them skip this place due to lack of accommodation, but you will find a decent stay in Vijayawada which is around 80 kms approximately from Hamsaladeevi. It is definitely worth travelling so far to see the beauty of this Sagara Sangamam, where river Krishna meets the Bay of Bengal.
We started at an early hour from Hyderabad and reached Vijayawada by 10 AM and checked into the OYO hotel. There are no food joints available at Hamsaladeevi beach so we packed the lunch from the hotel and headed out. Vijayawada to Hamsaladeevi drive took us 3 hours with some breaks.
Hamsaladeevi village is 24 kms away from Avanigadda and we reached Hamsaladeevi by 3 PM. After a long drive from Hyderabad, there was an adrenaline rush gushing out to see this most beautiful place and couldn't wait to snap the sandy beach and the 'river-beach' meeting point. This point is 2 km away from the beach (From Hamsaladeevi village, beach is 4 kms) and we drove our car on the beach side shore to the port to see the confluence.
Distance : 376 km
Ride: Honda City
Fuel : Petrol
Mileage : 15 kmpl
Hotel : OYO rooms (2000/- per night)
Best Route 2016
Hyderabad --> Suryapet --> Vijayawada -->Pedapulipaka --> Madduru --> Thotlavalluru --> Nimmagadda --> Avanigadda --> Nagayalanka --> Chodavaram --> Hamsaladeevi Beach
Note: Don't take any diversions from the mentioned route else you might end up between bad conditioned roads and longer distances as you pass
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