Food, fun and feni! When vacation plans are tossed around, only few Mumbaikars can withstand the tempt of Goa. For those who’ve only wistfully watched Bollywood versions, the Mumbai-to-Goa road trip needs to rank among the best of its kind in India.
When to Go
From mid of December to end January, the world hits a route to Goa’s beaches; if this is your chosen time, do make advance plans for living quarters. Holidaymakers traffic touches smaller peaks in October-December and February-middle to June. For the rest of the year, you can drive down on desire. Goa in the monsoons is cheap, vacant of tourists and pleasant green; driving down however, throws challenges.
NH 17, the west coast interstate highway is among India’s best, so all your reliable vehicle needs beforehand basic servicing. Double check your brakes, since you’ll be traveling through the Ghats and crossing plenty of bendy bits. Are the lights and indicators in order? Don’t forget your toolkit that you need to change a wheel. A little TLC for your car in the form of rubber matting will save it from the unwanted effects of salt water and sand in Goa.
Off and Away
The trip takes between 11 to 15 hours, depending on how many hollow stops you make. The 500-odd kilometers almost fly – mostly a fab scenic drive, coconut palms with paddy fields
Ideally, start around 6.00 am or earlier so as to skip heavy morning time traffic. Mumbai to Panvel is a signal free flyovers. After Panvel, NH17 to Goa is your typical two-lane highway; it’s in fairly good shape, but watch out for unreliable corners. Early morning, this is a beautiful stretch, lined on both sides with forest. If you’re a birdwatcher, you may not be able to refuse stopping off at Karnala Bird Sanctuary, home to over 150 species of birds – Paradise flycatchers, Drongos, Red-vented bulbuls and more. You’ll probably zip Pen uncaringly, little knowing about this was, historically a major port city and is now a prime centre for making the huge and attractive Ganesh idols worshiped during Ganeshotsav.
Chiplun in Ratnagiri District is a favorite halfway stop for most Bombay to Goa travelers. The Western Ghats are soon upon you, affording glorious views below of the muddy tracts around the Vashishti River. Thrilling as the ghats are, stay attentive and use your car horn kindly.
Ratnagiri is mango country; you’ll want to look out for mango-sellers on path offering Ratnagiri Alphonsos the best mango’s at cheap prices, if you are planning a summer trip,. Over Talera, NH17 enters the district of Sindhudurg. On to Sawantwadi, a final spread of the ghats and, you’re soon at the Goa border. From here, the road shrinks; at night, massive trucks flash blinding beam of light into your eyes. An hour out of Sawantwadi, it’s travel trip ends at Panaji and a welcome night’s rest.
Slow down your cars near villages where there’s plenty of non-motorized traffic. Pay note to accident signs. Look for speed breakers while upcoming and leaving bridges across rivers. If you are not comfortable on driver seat and wants your hands free throughout the journey then many car rental companies are available there in Mumbai which offer Mumbai to Goa cabs with professional drivers.