We have a short trip of 16 days for our trip to India. We've been twice before - once to Rajasthan and once to Kerala. We will fly to Goa for a few days, have a short trip to Hampi, then fly back to Mumbai. My question really is - how long should we stay in each place? We're in our '50s, backpack quite happily, but don't want to be travelling great distances every day. Any suggestions about an alternative itineray/what to see, etc would be appreciated.
Couple of tips:
- If you are in Goa, the capital Panaji is very nice. however, the only nice coastal area is in the south of Goa state. A few years ago, Agonda was the only village that remained authentic, friendly locals, nice flowers, untouched beach and pigs running around. I am not sure if it is still that nice, but hopefully tourism didn't ruin it. Palolem is also nice, not so much the town but the surrounding areas.
- Gokarna in Karnataka state (few hours on bus from Goa) is an important religious town. Most amazing early in the morning, around 4-5am. Nearby Om and Paradise beaches are very-very beautiful. More pristine than anywhere in Goa.
- Hampi: you can to take a night/sleeper bus from Palolem or Panaji in Goa or Gokarna in Karnataka. It's not only the historical sights but also the surrounding nature that are magnificent. You can easily spend 3-5 days there. Best is to explore the area on a rented scooter/bicycle, and sleep on the "other side" of river. Small boat that takes you across the river is just a few hundred meters from the bus drop-off point (ie don't accept offer from rickshaw drivers).
So, don't concentrate all your time on Goa, Gokarna and Hampi can even be nicer...
Enjoy your trip!
Thanks very much for your reply. I wonder if you can assist me in choosing the best route to take? As I said, we fly in and out of Mumbai and have just 16 days in India. We are happy to fly part of the trip - don't mind really. We would like to visit Hampi and somewhere in Goa - and maybe Gokarna would be good. We don't want to rush around too much though and would prefer to have at least two nights wherever we are. It's very difficult to get a good map of the area to plan from so any helpo would be much appreciated. Thanks very much
Lonely planet has good info on how to get around, where to find accommodation and useful city maps, etc. You can also find a lot of good articles on wikitravel.
My recommended route:
- 1-2 day Mumbai. Best to stay in the southern tip of peninsula (Police Colony to Colaba) area, book hotel in advance as they get full quickly.
- 3-4 day Panaji: fly to Goa: list of low cost airlines: Air-India Express, Goair, IndiGo, JetLite, Jet Konnect, Kingfisher Red, Spicejet. I used IndiGo and it was very good but GoAir has good reputation too.
- 5-7 day in Agonda: take bus from Panaji to Palolem, and rent scooter or take bus to Agonda (the whole trip will take just 1.5 hours, Agonda from Palolem is just 10-15kms). If you rent out a scooter you can drive up on the coast a few ten kms, very beautiful.
- 8-10 day Om Beach/Gokarna: Palolem to Gokarna by bus (2 hours), from Gokarna to Om Beach by rickshaw (15 minutes).
- 11-14 day Hampi take night/sleeper bus to Hampi from Gokarna (book ticket at local agent), from Hampi back to Panaji.
- 15-16 day: fly back to Mumbai from Panaji and home.
Panaji-Palolem&Agonda-Gokarna distance is short with regular bus services, so you will have great flexibility and it will be easy to travel around.
The Hampi night bus goes in a loop: Hampi-Gokarna-Palolem-Panaji and same backwards. But do check with local agent to make sure it's still the same.
Hope this helped. Enjoy your holidays!
Hi Oscar: We are just back from a great trip through Tamil Nadu. If I was you I would get a cheap domestic flight to Trichi (or Chennai) and would travel through Tamil Nadu: great temples, lovely food, wonderful people. Just have a look at - snip- Our Madurai Trip and check our diary. - Happy travels, Konni & Matt. PS: We both are also in our '50s...
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]