Mumbai to Goa Road Trip Dec 22, 2016 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)
Taking a road trip from Mumbai to Goa or vice versa is a great way to see a good deal of India, while avoiding crowded public transport, in one of the most beautiful and diverse countries in the world. This is among the most popular road trips in the area, and the distance spans about 600 kilometers. As such, you should expect to spend approximately twelve hours driving, leaving plenty of time to make stops along the way. Keep in mind that driving in India requires some planning and experience. If you are taking a vacation in India and want to travel by car, we recommend hiring a local driver or guide.
Driving in India
Even if you are hiring a driver or guide, it is important to know the rules of the road in a foreign country when you are driving as you will still be responsible for planning and paying for your trip. Bear in mind that India drives on the left side of the road like the United Kingdom and Japan, with the steering wheel on the right-hand side of the vehicle. Be prepared to adjust your driving habits and take your time if you do get behind the wheel. You should also purchase travel insurance and familiarize yourself with local conditions. While highway driving is more similar to developed countries, city driving can be quite different. There are a wide variety of vehicles driving at different speeds, including motorbikes, rickshaws, buses, and vans. Local drivers will not pay attention or respect most rules of the road, so using the horn is often necessary. Your car will drive slowly and stop for children, pedestrians, and animals.
Two Main Routes
There are two major routes for you to choose between if you want to drive from Mumbai to Goa and make the most of it. Most people opt to follow NH4, the Pune-Kolhapur Route, as it follows good roads. Those in search of more thrills and riskier roads will want to follow NH 17 or NH 66. However, keep in mind that this route will also be a bit more crowded. Following NH4 will cover 377 miles (607 kilometers) and take ten hours on the road, taking you from Mumbai to Pune to Satara, then Kolhapur, Belgaum, and finally Goa. Going along the NH 17 or NH 66 will span 365 miles (587 kilometers) but will take longer. This route also starts in Mumbai but then goes to Panvel, Kolad, Chiplun, Pali, and Sawantwadi before reaching Goa.
NH 4 Road Trip
If you have motion sickness, you will want to drive on the NH 4 instead of taking to the hills. You will always be on four-lane roads that are smooth and straight, allowing you to drive a little faster. However, there are multiple tolls along this route. If you opt for this route, consider stopping in Satara or Kolhapur for a meal, as you will find no shortage of roadside restaurants and stands. While you are in the city, you can also stop to enjoy the stunning Jyotiba Temple, Rankala Lake lined with gardens and palaces, and Panhala Fort. While going through Belgaum, be sure to check out the Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary and Belgaum Fort. If you can, stay in the city for a day before heading to Goa.
NH 66 Road Trip
Driving along the NH 66 will take you through nut plantations, coconut plantations, and paddy fields, with lots of scenic beauty. During the drive, you can stop and visit the beach at Ganpatipule, which resembles the Maldives. This road winds a great deal, however, making it a poor decision for anyone prone to motion sickness or if you are not confident in your driving skills. You will also need to start early to avoid traffic. Bird lovers should make a stop at the Karnala Bird Sanctuary in Panvel’s Taluka. Many will also stop at Chiplun to visit waterfalls, eat some mangos, and visit the Parshuram Temple. Keep in mind that driving along NH 66 or NH 17 will take you through narrower roads that are more crowded, limiting your speed. But taking your time to stop and enjoy the stunning sights, scents, and scenes of India is more than worth a longer trip.
Driving in India is not for the faint of heart, but a road trip is still an awe-inspiring way to see more secluded sights and local scenery. Hire a local driver and experience everything that the country has to offer.