5 Budget Getaways

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For those seeking refuge from the clock-work schedules of the city, Sukriti Jha explores five secluded retreats which break the monotony of college routine, and go easy on the pockets of the ‘usually broke’ crowd

1. KURUMGAD ISLAND, KARNATAKA [Rs. 7000]
reverie on a deserted island

STARTING POINT: Bangalore

GETTING THERE: Bus: Bangalore to Karwar (Rs. 480-Rs. 550); 20 minute ferry from Karwar to the island.

ACCOMODATION: Tents and cottages would cost between Rs. 2500 and Rs. 3000 per person per night, including all meals.

ACTIVITIES:

  • Embark on dolphin spotting trips in the sea
  • Aqua sports – kayaking (Rs. 200); water surfing (Rs. 400); power boat riding (Rs. 300); snorkeling (Rs. 600)
  • Explore Mystery Creek infested with otters
  • Boat rides to the Narsimha Temple, nearby islands and forts.
  • “Catch and cook!”– fish caught by you and cooked in redolent spices by the chef

TRAVEL TIP: There are no ATMs on Kurumgad Island so be sure to carry all your money with you. Also, bus timings from Bangalore are not strictly maintained so one should be prepared for a delayed departure.

2. RANIKHET, UTTARAKHAND  (Rs. 7000)
trekker’s paradise

STARTING POINT: New Delhi

GETTING THERE: Bus: Delhi –Ranikhet (Rs. 300). All buses drop off at the UP Roadways Bus Stand.

ACCOMODATION: Ranikhet Club, still reeking of the Raj nostalgia, offers rooms for Rs. 1800 per night. Machan, Milan and Mayur offer cheap meals for Rs. 50-Rs. 100.

SIGHTS AND ACTIVITIES:

  • 1 km walk to Jhula Devi Temple, festooned with bells
  • Picnics at the viewpoint café at Chaubhatia Orchards, surrounded by snowcovered peaks
  • Picturesque treks from Majkhali and back; enthusiasts can go up to Kausani
  • A 9-hole golf course for golf lovers, the second largest in India

GETTING AROUND: Sharing jeeps (between Rs. 12 and Rs. 15). Taxis: Rs. 50 – Rs.100.

TRAVEL TIP: The two peak seasons are mid-April to mid-July and October to mid-November. Always try for a discount if you’re travelling outside the two seasons. Carry sturdy shoes and footwear; Ranikhet demands exhausting walks.

3. GOKARNA, KARNATAKA [Rs. 6000]
for the beach aficionados

STARTING POINT: Mumbai

GETTING THERE: Train: Mumbai-Gokarna (Rs. 360 – Rs. 800)

ACCOMODATION: Spanish Place on Kudle Beach and Namaste Café on Om Beach have rooms for Rs. 250-Rs. 300. Guesthouses like Shastri’s, Vaibhav Nivas and Nimmu House offer rooms below Rs. 200.

ACTIVITIES:

  • Kudle Beach, backed by foothills of the Western Ghats, tops the list
  • Twenty minutes further is Om Beach, with a handful of shacks. Namaste Café bountiful with foreigners is a must visit.
  • Half Moon Beach and Paradise Beach offer adventure sports
  • Mahabaleshwara temple is home to a revered lingam

TRAVEL TIP: Gokarna is mainly a sacred site for Hindus, even if it attracts beach lovers. Modesty is probably the best policy here – keep your knees and shoulders covered and take your parties to the beach.

4. MANASNATIONAL PARK, GUWAHATI [Rs. 10000]
call of the wild

STARTING POINT: Kolkata

GETTING THERE: Train: Kolkata-Barpeta Road (Rs. 11442A).

ACCOMODATION: Government run resort, at Mathanguri, 22 km inside Manas. Tent accommodation is available at Bansbari Lodge outside the park (Rs. 2000 per night)

SIGHTS AND ACTIVITIES:

  • Jeep Safaris watching the golden langurs, elephants, rhinos, guars and some elusive tigers
  • Bumpy elephants rides to denser parts of the forest are a great way to explore Manas
  • 1 night-2 day safaris are organized beginning Rs. 3500
  • A quiet boat ride through the Manas river in the late afternoons

TRAVEL TIP: Bodo-separatists operate here, so confirm if it is safe to visit before you travel.

5. SAPUTARA, GUJARAT [Rs. 7000]
A hushed hill-station

STARTING POINT: Ahmedabad

GETTING THERE: Train: Ahmedabad-Bilimora (Rs. 250 or more) Bus: Bilimora-Saputara (Rs. 100)

ACCOMODATION: Manas Cottage and Surti Cottage offer rooms (Rs. 1000-Rs. 1500) including all meals.

SIGHTS AND ACTIVITIES:

  • Bordered by thick forests is Saputara Lake, a major tourist attraction
  • Vansda National Park is home to tigers, leopards, antelopes, spotted cats
  • Pushpak ropeway offers beautiful aerial views of the town
  • Paragliding, parasailing, ziplining,

zorbing, water rolling, high roping can be undertaken

GETTING AROUND: Jeeps: Rs. 15 or more Taxis: Rs. 50 or more.

TRAVEL TIP: Carry raincoats or other water-proof gear since Saputara is prone to sporadic showers.

 

Volume 3 Issue 1

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