Goa is one of our favorite holiday destinations India. I have been a frequent visitor to this wonderful place right from my teens and there is something special about the place that makes me go back again and again !!
Off late we have been visiting Goa at least once a year and it heartening to see that my wife and kiddo have also the same level of passion and enthusiasm when I plan a trip to Goa. My daughter’s birthday falls in the month of May and we ended up deciding to celebrate it in Goa, yet again 😊
Went through the familiar list of hotels and finalized the Park Hyatt Goa for couple of reasons – we wanted a destination in South Goa and a resort which is big enough to explore during our 6 days. Park just check all our requirements and we did not regret our decision a bit.
After finalizing the stay, the discussion was around the travel and that’s when I pushed my card as to why not drive down. The max that we had driven at a stretch with the little one is for around 8 hours and Goa was a good couple of hours over the tried and tested model. Considering that we have recently upgraded to a SUV, I did not get too much of resistance and the trip was on.
The plan was to start early, take the Hubli-Karwar route all the way to Goa. We overlooked the Chorla Ghat and Anmod Ghat route as I wanted to stay on relatively busier roads, especially with you a kid you would want to roads where help is available.
Did all the customary checks the day before – tank up at the Shell gas station, tyre checks and even got my Pollution under control (PUC) certificate for a 4 month old vehicle. Had been reading on forums that there were multiple check points now a days at this stretch and did not want to end up arguing and wasting time over how long the manufacturer PUC is valid.
Somehow we were up and running at 5 in the morning and zipped passed the empty inner ring road to reach the Mumbai highway. Had opted for Fast Tag and to be very honest it did not come in very handy. The exclusive lane for Fast Tag was non-functional on most of the Tolls and one had to take the normal lanes. Thankfully they all had handy fast tag readers and I did not have to pay cash at any of the tolls.
The advantage of an early start meant that we did not encounter much traffic on the highway and were able to make very good progress. The initial plan was to stop at the CCD that comes near Davengere for breakfast, but considering that we were not that hungry we decided to head towards Hubli and break for lunch. On hindsight, this turned out to be a big mistake.
After crossing Haveri at around 10:00 AM, we had the option to either go all the way till Hubli, break for breakfast and proceed towards Karwar, or take the Bankapur – Mundgod road. Considering that this route was a good 50 odd kilometers less, I decided to try out the Bankapur-Mundgod – Yellapur route.
This route is a very narrow stretch of around 70 kilometers through dense forests. There are practically no run off area and one needs to be very cautious when you have an oncoming vehicle.
The route practically has no eating joints and joins the national highway to Karwar at the outskirts of the Yellapur town. With no proper eating joint in the vicinity, we had to be content with our supply of biscuits, cakes and flavored milk. It took us a good 90 minutes to cover the 70 kilometers.
It was already 12 PM when we joined the national highway and continued our drive all the way till Karwar. Felt so nice to be back on a familiar stretch of road (considering that I have driven around 6-7 times on this route) and there by was able to make good progress all the way upto Karwar. Finally it was time to take a break at around 1:30 PM at the Drive inn hotel at Tagore beach Karwar.
This place is not a very fancy place, but when your tummy is rumbling, one starts appreciating any type of food at offer. Had a very basic veg thali and started our drive back to South Goa at around 2PM. We had to drive another 90 odd kilometers to reach our resort at Cansaulim.
Few important points:
- Do not overspeed on Bangalore – Goa route. There are many interseptors that you will find all along the route, hence I would recommend you to follow the speed limits. The opens roads are tempting, but I somehow refrained from flooring the accelerator.
- Cops in Goa these days are very strict and everyone follows the speed limits. As soon as you cross the border and enter Goa, strictly follow the prescribed speed. I strictly kept my speed at 60 KM/hr, which is the speed limit followed in the 2 lane Goa roads.
- There is heavy road widening activities going-on all the way from Ankola to the Karnataka border. Please keep an eye on the oncoming traffic and the dumpsters who are pretty reckless.
- Feedback on Bankapur – Mundgod – Yellapur stretch: would never recommend this stretch if you are driving in the night. For all novice drivers, please avoid this stretch or drive at low speeds.
It was around 3:30 PM when we finally entered our resort in South Goa. A drive time of around 10 hours to cover a distance of around 630 kilometers on the trip meter. Considering that I adhered to the speed limits (for the most part 🙂 ), I was surprised that I was able to do this drive in 10 hours. Driving at relaxed speed also meant that I was pretty fresh when we pulled over. A good learning indeed – no point pushing your limits !!
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