After a year full of busy official and personal schedules, who does not want to end the year with a bang with a memorable vacation trip of a week or two. Me, my wife and another friend with his family planned on a road trip to Goa towards the end of the year 2013 from Bangalore. It was a awesome 8 days of partying and holidaying in the wonderful belt of Karwar, Western Ghats and the azure water of the Macau of India - the LEGENDARY state of GOA. The route that we followed was Bangalore --> ChitraDurga(1 night) --> Dandeli(1 night) --> Goa(3 nights) --> GoKarna(1 night) --> Shimoga(1 night) --> Bangalore.
We started the tour on 21st of December from Bangalore as we set off at around 9 am for Chitradurga, a historical town of the famous Chitradurga Fort. After checking in at Ravi Mayur International hotel which we had booked for one night at Chitradurga in the afternoon of 21st December, we visited the famous Chitradurga Fort. Ideally keep some 3 to 4 hours in hand to visit the Fort after which you can plan to see the Vani Vilas Sagar Dam before the sun sets. Frankly speaking, these are the only two places to see around Chitradurga after which You can start from Chitradurga.For us, the next plan was to start for Dandeli early morning of 22nd December. We had booked a 1 day package at the KingFisher Jungle Stay resort which included boating and Jakuzzi bath at Kali River near Dandeli admist of the forests of Western Ghats. The stay at Kingfisher Resort was pleasant which included wonderful home made food for lunch, dinner and breakfast the next day with pretty good staying and partying arrangements.
We had also booked slots for White Water Rafting at River Kali for the next day(i.e on 23rd december early morning). The booking was done by the guys at Kingfisher Jungle Stay resort. After we were done with the white water rafting, we started from Dandeli for Goa on the afternoon of 23rd December. Ideally I would suggest to have your lunch from the resort itself as you would hardly find any good eating options in the jungles on the way to Goa from Dandeli. We had plans of visiting the Dudhsagar falls, but due to lack of time we had to drop it off. If you are planning on visiting the Dudhsagar Falls, then you have to keep a day aside for the same. We checked in Jessica Saffron Resort in North Goa in the evening of 23rd December. You can get better hotels around the region if you are planning the trip well in advance esp. given the time of the year we visited Goa. We had booked the stay for 3 nights at Jessica Saffron.
During our stay at Goa for these three days, apart from spending a bulk of the time partying on the beaches and clubs of North Goa, we also visited Fort Agoda, spent a night out at Casino Carnival Cruise Casino, an evening at Mandovi River Cruise at Panaji, did Para Gliding and Banana Riding as some of the many water sports options you get in the beaches of Goa. Calangute, Baga in North Goa and Benaulim Beach in South Goa are some of the fantastic beaches, You would spend most of the time. We booked two wheelers from the hotel we stayed to move around Goa. Just hanging around the night clubs, bars and resorts in the evenings around North Goa is by itself an amazing experience.
Given that we stayed in North Goa, we had to keep a full day aside for visiting the serene beaches of South Goa and we had to start for South Goa quite early given that we traveled in our mopeds to cover quite a distance.
If you don't know it already, note that North Goa is a partying and happening place, South Goa is serene and Classy and so is Old Goa. Now if you are interested in history, churches and temples, then You can visit some of the splendid historical churches like Church of St. Francis Of Assisi, Old Goa, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa, St. Cajetan Church, Old Goa, Ruins of Church of St. Augustine just to name a few. Or the Mahalaxmi Temple and Mangeshi Temple, Chapoli Dam and Arvalam Waterfall.
In the afternoon of 26th of December we left Goa for GoKarna. We had booked a resort (Sea Bird Resort) near Om beach of Gokarna for the night of 26th December. Again I would advise to plan your food(lunch and dinner mainly) to be had in the resort as the options you get in very less when you are on the Karwar road admist the jungles and ghats. The drive as expected is awesome. Early morning on 27th we visited the Mahabaleswar Temple in Gokarna and then set off for Om Beach. We took a boat ride from Om Beach which showed us all the four beaches around GoKarna.
You can give it a skip and directly head for Shimoga where we had booked a night at Hotel Surya Comforts. After spending the evening at the new Lounge that they had opened at Surya Comforts we had a good nights sleep at the hotel. We had plans of visiting the Lion Safari and Gajanaur Dam near Shimoga, but due to tiredness, coupled with other plans on 29th December back in Bangalore, we could not visit any places around Shimoga and started early morning of 28th of December from Shimoga for Bangalore. We finally reached bangalore in the afternoon of 28th after a tiring yet splendid tour of 8 days.