Bangalore to Goa by Road on Royal Enfield - 1567 kms

24th Dec 2016
Photo of Bangalore to Goa by Road on Royal Enfield - 1567 kms by Bala Senthil Rajan

This is my first blog about my affair with my Royal Enfield and my long drives.I live in Bangalore. I had bought RE Electra 350 cc in 2014…. I started my rides taking baby steps during the weekends covering nearby spots from where I live..The spots I covered includes Bannerghatta National park, muthyala maduvu, Nandi Hills, NICE roads, Talacauvery river (near Shivasamudram), Channapatna etc.

Driving down to Chennai from Bangalore in 2014 was my first long road trip in Bullet.

Next in 2015, I had driven down to Calicut. This was one awesome trip covering waterfalls, beaches, and forest all in one go.

Photo of Bangalore to Goa by Road on Royal Enfield - 1567 kms 1/19 by Bala Senthil Rajan
Photo of Bangalore to Goa by Road on Royal Enfield - 1567 kms 2/19 by Bala Senthil Rajan
Photo of Bangalore to Goa by Road on Royal Enfield - 1567 kms 3/19 by Bala Senthil Rajan
Photo of Bangalore to Goa by Road on Royal Enfield - 1567 kms 4/19 by Bala Senthil Rajan
Photo of Bangalore to Goa by Road on Royal Enfield - 1567 kms 5/19 by Bala Senthil Rajan

Year 2016, was a lull for long, with too many official travels busy flying between Bangalore and Singapore..between I was contemplating to attempt a long drive over couple of months. Working out the dates, destination etc…was important. There was something going on back of my mind, this trip I would do must be longer than all the previous rides…, and it must be a new route…as there’s no fun in repeatedly hitting the same highways. Finally, I had decided on Goa…., did go through one of the blog, got advice from a friend who had been there a year ago….and with that I made up my mind.

I had planned for 4 day’s Journey to Goa. I was clear, the onward and return routes must be different. Generally, I use Google maps and plan the route. This is Christmas and new year time, so I booked a guesthouse in Goa for 2 nights, couple of weeks before my start. For the 3rd night, I had left it open as I was not sure which place I would be.

A week before my start, I gave my bullet for service, got myself enrolled to RE road assistance program, completed RE accessories purchase. New protective jacket, helmet, hand gloves, saddle bag – I purchased them in one go, yes it was a dent in my pocket…but all of them were one-time investment, and I didn’t want to take any risks during my long drive.

Well, How are you going to Goa? Are you going alone in a bullet? How about your wife and family? Did your wife allow you? Doesn’t your back pain? - These were some of the questions that was asked by my family members and some well-wishers before my trip. And, some of the above questions does motivate the rider, however getting yourself preparing is sometimes easier than convincing the family and giving them confidence. This leads to a sense of accomplishing something special. Packing for Goa in the new saddle bag, fueling the tank were all kept till the last day, and this happens every time before my travel. I plan to start quite early the next day but I end up sleeping late at night before the journey, maybe I am not the only person having this problem.., good rest is advised before a long travel.., I managed to get 4 hours of sleep.

Some of the key highlights, before I get on to describing my journey.

Solo Drive Model – Royal Enfield, Bullet Electra 350 cc

No. of days – 4 days

Total distance covered – 1567 kms

Accommodation for 3 nights – 5400 Rs (2 nights at Goa, 1 night at Sagara)

Fuel cost – 3900 Rs (some 200 rs of petrol must be still leftover in the tank after my trip)

Food – 2215 Rs

Toll charges – NICE Road toll – 50 rs (This was the only toll I paid during the entire trip)

Total Expense – 11,565 Rs

Accommodations were slightly expensive considering Christmas time, I still did manage to negotiate some amount. :)

Day one – Bangalore to Goa - 670 kms, 24th of Dec 2016,

On a chill Saturday morning, at 6.30 am, I had set off from Bangalore to Goa. Took blessings of Lord Ganesha, from temple nearby my house. Took the NICE Road, then hit the road to Tumkur. This was the first time I hit the NH from Bangalore to Hubli. What a road it is…, excellent long stretch. Reaching Tumkur was like having a sip of juice before you start your lunch buffet. I was there in no time. Best part of this trip, I feared there would be heavy traffic, as it’s Christmas time, but luckily except for couple of toll booths at the border of Bangalore, there were very low vehicle movements in the entire high way until Hubli.I stopped for morning tea at a small petty shop, enquired for good hotel for breakfast. The woman at the shop asked me to go to VRL restaurant few kms away. I stopped for breakfast immediately after Tumkur, the VRL restaurant is owned by the VRL logistics. The breakfast was good.

After some 40 minutes’ break, I hit the high way. I was able to cruise at 100 plus constantly in the highway…, and small towns passed by..,it was good sight to see the windmills as I crossed Chitradurga.

Photo of Bangalore to Goa by Road on Royal Enfield - 1567 kms 6/19 by Bala Senthil Rajan

After Hiriyur, Somewhere, between the highway, I found 200 kms to Hubli, I was excited, this gave me a feel that I was flying in the highway and not riding…Some 15 kms before I could hit Davanagere, RE gave me a jitter. Suddenly the engine stopped as I was driving at speed of 80 plus. I was little worried, realized the fuel came to reserve. Generally, when you are driving at 30 or 40 plus, you get to know the fuel is coming to reserve, but when you are cruising at 80 to 100, the vehicle doesn’t give the indication. This was something I observed for the first time. And, RE gulps petrol when you drive continuously at high speeds. I went inside Davanagere to refuel the tank. Then, for next 1 hour I was consciously driving slower between 70 to 80. I crossed Ranebennur.

My target was to reach Hubli before lunch…, and in long drives it’s all about covering the required distance in good time, keeping good pace is very critical. But, if you’ve started an hour late, there’s no way you can do some magic on the road. 1 hour lost is one hour lost. Discipline is very important. If you’ve little chaltha hai attitude it will haunt you at a wrong time at wrong place. It did haunt me too.., I will come to that later.

I was pretty hungry, I was driving at steady speed and reached Hubli town before 3 pm. I took my lunch at a small hotel at Hubballi. I would recommend to finish off lunch in some Dhaba’s or good restaurants just before hitting Hubli. Hubli was slightly congested, it was a crowded place with buses, trucks, and people crossing roads, seemed unusual for me as I just came from the Highway, I had to get to Dharwad from Hubli. This was one bad stretch and consumed extra time than expected…, there’s a construction work going on, there were red sands all over. ..And, if you are driving late in the afternoon, you never know how time literally flies by. Sun is about to set in sometime..…, and I was still left with half of my journey to Goa.

Hubli and Dharwad are twin cities separated by less than 25 kms. I had crossed the Revenue building.., touched Dharwad…, I was racing against time and I was keen to get out of Dharwad fast…, it’s easier said than done. Even google maps can be of very little help when you are in the middle of the new city and roads that could take you everywhere, and it’s not easy to refer google maps and drive when you are actually driving solo. I wasn't carrying Mobile holder.. Keeping my calm I took all local help to find which road to get to Goa. Autorickshaw drivers are the better bets when you have to enquire the route, and there’s were few police stations in the near vicinity at Dharwad. One guided police station se left, another rick guy at another point advised police station se right.., then got to know this is another police station..:)

There are 2 routes to get to Goa. You must ask How to go to Panaji? Panaji was some 160 kms away…I took the Dharwad Ramnagar route. It’s a beautiful forest stretch.., felt amazing, good for eyes, fresh for body after a day long drive in the high way. More of Oxygen and less CO2.

And, the sun is almost setting now…, took some pics on the way.., How suddenly the place could turn chill..? It’s evening, cool breeze..I was well protected with sweaters, jackets, gloves. There’s also another high way route through Kittur, It could lead you at a different entry point at Goa.After, I hit Dharwad Ramnagar checkpost, I hit a petrol bunk. I had this fear, what if fuel gets exhausted in between the ghats, like it happened before Davanagere. so I filled few litres that would last till Goa.

The guy at the bunk informed in another 100 kms is the Goa border. I was confident of reaching soon. Now, I was on the exteriors and outskirts of Karnataka border. I stopped for tea, carried some biscuit packs from Bangalore. Offered couple of biscuits to dogs that were around the tea shop. With little refreshment, I resumed my drive.

On a state highway, I was driving through complete pitch dark, ghat section, driving in the forest route all alone, with no vehicles ahead of me or behind me for close to 1 km, one must be BOLD enough. And, I mentioned earlier, you could be haunted at a wrong time at a wrong place. I had to negotiate the outskirts of Karnataka and outskirts of Goa at full night time. For a moment, I thought what could happen now, if something happens to my bike. 7.40 pm, it’s real dark in the forest area, and no one to even ask help for..? Yes, in a very long drives there will be such moments. But, dar ke aaage jeeth hai…, I wasn’t crossing any mountain, but the dialogue is applicable even in the forest, if you are driving SOLO. In between, I stopped my vehicle to wear my gloves which I had removed while having tea…, then I saw the sky, I could remember Swadesh movie, Sharukhan gazing at the sky explaining few village kids about the star formation, I was able to find all of them.

Then, I crossed the Ramnagar checkpost, I took the advice of the local people. I had booked my hotel at Arambol, North Goa. This is where the fun begins. Most of us think Goa is a small state, Reaching the state Goa doesn’t mean you’ve reached your actual destination. Don’t underestimate the stretch of a small state. As it was dark, the locals advised me to reach Panjim (Panjim and Panaji are one and the same) and then go wherever I had booked my stay..…, Else I would have taken a different route. I was told, it would take another 2.5 hrs to reach Panjim if I go by 60 speed.I touched Goa border around 8.15 pm…then, I went through Ponda, crossed outskirts of Goa. This is where I thought about why in the world there are no proper street lights in state highways…,Goa being a major tourist attraction, the roads leading to Goa must be well lit one…., I somehow reached Panjim, and believe me Goa is a vast state, how demographics of 2 adjacent states can be so different…? Be it Roads, Infrastructure, people…, I think you could get to find this only in India. I managed to reach Panjim.

On Christamas eve, I could find churches beautifully decorated and people getting geared up for midnight mass.I reached Mapusa. It was around 9.45 pm. Not sure of what time I would hit Arambol, I decided to have my dinner at Mapusa. I had at Navtara, a good veg restaurant chain. After dinner, I got the guidance from hotel people to reach Aarambol.If you are from Bangalore, experience of driving between 2 points within a city and in a city like Goa could be very different. If someone says, go straight and take left, you wouldn’t find anyother person for next 10 kms.., and you want to make sure, you are in the right there were hardly any people movement.

I had planned total trip for just 4 days, if you’ve 1 more day, I would suggest you could stay somewhere at Dharwad and take early morning drive through Ramnagar and hit Goa.After dinner, I had to cross Mapusa and go to Siolim, I could see lot of youngsters wearing new dresses going to Church…, Cops at Siolim stopped few riders. The last few hours were really tiring in the sense, the feeling of not having reached your final destination yet…, when you’ve thought of reaching by 8.30 or so.Then I went through Mandreen. There were beautiful beach resorts on the way…, Finally I had touched Arambol. I reached exactly at 12 midnight, Arambol is a very highly crowded place full of foreigners. The first impression, I wasn’t happy about the location of my guest house as it was in a very narrow lane and with great difficulty I had to park my bullet, so I wanted to vacate the next morning, but didn’t want to waste any time finding a new accommodation. Good part is there’s seashore at the back side of the guest house.I almost took 4 hours to reach my guest house at North Goa from the Goa checkpost. This is very important part of the planning, which I completely missed out before my start.

As I complete day – 1) I checked the KM reading. I had driven approximately 670 kms from my Bangalore house (near Bannerghatta road), to North Goa. This was certainly a very long drive without rest in between. And my RE supported me kilometer after kilometer. I was on road for 18 hours.In no time, I went to bed and there was a music party in the shores of Aarambol which was on till 5 in the morning…, I was able to hear the music beats even in my deep sleep.

Day 2 – Beaches of Goa – 67 kms

After good rest, I headed for breakfast down the guest house – it’s a great feeling to lie on the sunbed (a wooden chair covered with sofa, an umbrella to protect from the sunshine). Bread toast with omelette was good.It’s a Christmas day, I wished the guest house care taker a Merry Christmas. She guided me to visit nearby beaches – Querim, Mojrim. In my previous visit to Goa, I had visited the Baga, Calangute, Sinquerim beaches, they are some of the well-known beaches of Goa usually very crowded. The beaches I visited this time is much away from the main city.I got ready to hit the road. Drive to Querim beach was a smooth one…Querim is one of the beautiful beaches. This beach isn’t crowded even during the peak season. Took a good bath.Then headed to Ferry point, authorities had stopped the ferry due to some low water level, suggested I get back in the evening after 4.30 pm. On my way, I crossed a small temple nearby Querim beach,.. Then I headed to Mojrim.

Photo of Bangalore to Goa by Road on Royal Enfield - 1567 kms 7/19 by Bala Senthil Rajan
Photo of Bangalore to Goa by Road on Royal Enfield - 1567 kms 8/19 by Bala Senthil Rajan
Photo of Bangalore to Goa by Road on Royal Enfield - 1567 kms 9/19 by Bala Senthil Rajan
Photo of Bangalore to Goa by Road on Royal Enfield - 1567 kms 10/19 by Bala Senthil Rajan
Photo of Bangalore to Goa by Road on Royal Enfield - 1567 kms 11/19 by Bala Senthil Rajan

The sugarcane juice in Goa is good. Try it your during your visit. Petrol cost in Goa is cheap, it was at 59 rs per litre. I refueled my tank for few litres that would sustain my day’s drive. Time was almost 3 pm, when I hit Mojrim, I had my lunch. I wanted to have seafood, ordered for plate of King fish – 2 pieces. It was heavy, ate some roti’s and egg burji. Earlier, I was advised to have less of carbohydrates while you are driving…., it can cause drowsiness, I avoided eating rice.There are 2 to 3 entries to enter Mojrim beach, the restaurant owner guided me to the one that’s less crowded. Basically, these entries were different part of the same beach. The sun was hot, though I didn’t have plan to take bath again in the sea, but I changed my mind after I went inside the beach. The climate was little hot, but the sea water was cold and it’s such a nice feeling again – my third bath of the day after a heavy lunch. There were tourists mostly from Maharashtra, happily taking pics. The reflection of Sunlight on the sea water, it was a such a wonderful natural beauty.Then, I slowly got up, did a quick time check, every decision you take when you are on a short duration trip is very important, instead of going to some place which is far off, I decided to spend sometime in Ashvem beach on the way from Mojrim. Sun was about to set, when I was at Ashvem, and I clicked as many pics from my camera as well as mobile phone. I winded up, and headed back to Aarambol, it was about 6.30 pm.

There is always an urge in the mind to cover the uncovered spots, so I raced to ferry point in 25 minutes, it was getting dark, after I reached, the ferry wasn’t there, it would take another 15 minutes for the ferry to come, and a local there advised not to venture in the dark, so I dropped and returned to guest house.I quickly headed back to guesthouse, went to seaside, God this place what I saw in the morning with some sunbeds got a new look, entire shore was full of tables and chairs (with artificial candle lights), hotel guyz, arranged the tables almost until the point where waves touched them.I took a long walk in the shores after having my evening tea.There were music parties on the seaside, I could find foreigners carrying a Jesus Cross lit with serial bulbs. I found some unusual form of betting, young men were showing their muscle power by lifting themselves and holding on to a bar, there was a time keeper. Men took their turns and challenged…, after my walk I returned to my guest house.As my lunch was heavy, I skipped my dinner.

Photo of Bangalore to Goa by Road on Royal Enfield - 1567 kms 12/19 by Bala Senthil Rajan

Now, I had to plan for my day 3, I had to first plan my return route, then book a hotel for the 3rd night. Hotels in Murudeshwar and Gokarna were expensive and most of them were even sold out. I was in 2 minds on which route to take to Bangalore whether to hit Udupi Managalore route or go through Jogfalls – Sagara, Shimoga. Then I finally freezed on more scenic one Sagara route. I booked a hotel at Sagara, 30 kms from Jog falls.

Day 3: North Goa – Old Goa – Margao City – Canacona – Karwar – Ankola – Sirsi – Siddapura – Talaguppa – Sagara – 355 kms

This was another long day, I started around 8.30 am, from Arambol. I had planned to visit UNESCO Heritage site – Basllica of Bom Jesus before I head out of Goa. This church is at Old Goa. I had to cross Mapusa, Panjim, then hit Old Goa…, It was a fantastic drive from North Goa to Old Goa early in the morning.I reached the church, one of the oldest in Goa.

Photo of Bangalore to Goa by Road on Royal Enfield - 1567 kms 13/19 by Bala Senthil Rajan
Photo of Bangalore to Goa by Road on Royal Enfield - 1567 kms 14/19 by Bala Senthil Rajan
Photo of Bangalore to Goa by Road on Royal Enfield - 1567 kms 15/19 by Bala Senthil Rajan

After spending some time over there, I completed my breakfast at a restaurant opposite to the church, I witnessed some customers getting annoyed with hotel waiters over the delay in serving breakfast ordered. Here I have few tips - if you’re really hungry and got into a busiest hotel near any tourist attractions, tip is not to order any lavish food, you may prefer either a Idly or a vada to a dosa. Or plain dosa to a Masala Dosa. This saves lot of time. Your order gets delivered faster, thus you save time. I had a plain dosa and finished with a filter coffee. As I was heading out, still there were some unhappy customers.

I googled the previous night and planned the routes. I went through Karmalli station road, then crossed Neura, there are sign boards that will guide you to Margao city and Karwar. My target this time was to reach Gokarna by lunch. But, it only remained a target. I know it isn’t possible as I started only by 8.30 am from Arambol. One has to cross Margao city to get on the exteriors of Goa. And, out of all the places, I got stuck inside the city traffic. It was very heavy. I refueled to almost 3/4th of the tank at a bunk in Margoa. Then somehow, I got out of the bustling traffic and headed to Canacona route to reach Karwar.

I was away from the ghat sections of exterior Goa, before I could reach the Goa border, yet there were couple of more beaches which were on my return. Last I could remember was Polem beach.. I asked myself, Goa is of beaches or Beaches is of Goa. Just before the border at the last petrol bunk, I filled full tank and crossed the state border. It was almost 2 pm, when I crossed the Goa border checkpost, I just turned back to say BYE Goa..It was one good experience of a drive.

I soon reached Karwar – it’s a port city. The landscape changed totally from a scenic routes to dry long and broad roads, as this was more towards seaside..., and away from the forest area. I saw a Syndicate bank advertisement – that referred Karwar as Kashmir of Karnataka. Then, this has to be a very beautiful city. I could only see what was on my way, I didn't get time to explore this Kashmir city further. Smell of dry fishes as you cross the port, accompanied with dry salt breeze, this could make you sick…., Road Construction works were in progress.., It was 2.30 pm as I hit Karwar main beach road. I didn’t have any time to go to the beach. I saw a nice huge ship replica built by Indian Naval. There’s also a INS chapal warship museum, I crossed Naval base, Karwar port.

I was already running behind schedule, yet to have my lunch and not sure, if I would be able to visit Om beach at Gokarna. I drove fast out of Karwar and throttling at high speeds to reach Gokarna road, but it was almost 3.45 pm, and no sight of hotels to have food. I was crossing Ankola, finally I found Varadaraj restaurant, at Baleguli, Ankola on the high way. I was Hungry like, I haven’t had food for days.., and, the waiter at the restaurant said, there’s veg meals. I just pounced on the food the moment it was served…, in my mind I was thanking Almighty..., for I was served lunch at 4 PM..., well after the lunch hours, when I was desperately hungry…., Respect for simple and basic things in life comes out when you stretch beyond your limits, and only when you are humble and grounded. Money cannot buy everything. Any other city based restaurant could have turned me back saying they’re closed for lunch after 3 pm.

I refreshed and headed to Sirsi, around 87 kms away from Ankola. As I crossed Gokarna road – I saw the sign board, Om beach was around 15 kms …, I took a calculated decision not to visit this beach, as this would have consumed another 1.5 to 2 hours easily, I would be left with driving the rest of the ghat section in the dark…, like day 1.I hit Mirjan road, from there, I had to take left to Sirsi.., it’s V point to be precise, I almost missed it, as I couldn’t see the cut, and luckily I asked for guidance and the person riding on a 2 wheeler told me to get back to the V point. From the V point till Sirsi is one road, which full of ups and downs, mountains, ghats,…it’s a scenic drive, few KSRTC buses were to my company, on and off were overtaking each other. Finally, I hit another V point junction, just before dark and this junction is before Sirsi and leads to Siddapura. I took a tea break.

Sirsi – Siddpura stretch I had to drive in the complete dark, not far off though just some 40 kms, but one cannot drive fast…Buses with just Single head light come from opposite direction. You think it’s a 2 wheeler approaching you, and only realise it was bus after it passed by. The local villagers also have the knack of driving in old vehicles. One could easily make out. During such long drives, at couple of places in the dark, out of nowhere I find man walking…, they are not scared about vehicles coming from behind…later when I told about this to my wife…she asked me whether they were ghosts ?? Sirsi – Siddapura is a nice stretch, very cold, this is where I was happy about the RE accessories I purchased, all my one-time investment – jackets, hand gloves, helmets, were of full use. With some guidance, I then reached Siddapura – Talguppa road. Then finally I hit Sagara. 1.5 hours from Sirsi I reached Sagara. I checked into the hotel before 8.30 pm, winded up the day with dinner at hotel restaurant.

Day 4: Jog falls – Sagara – Shimoga – Chitradurga – Tumkur – Bangalore - 475 kms

I had time till 12 noon for check out from the hotel, but I was keen go to Jog falls. So I checked out by 10 am. With bullet and saddle bag along, I never felt the need for a full time hotel, as human beings we need accommodation to finish of some morning duties…else for over 4 days, I was actually living on the road. Wish I turned into one of those many animals present in the forests. I immediately stopped at a restaurant for breakfast. I enquired about Jog falls from the locals, this is the first time I am going there, I was told about some 1400 steps to be climbed down…, on the safer side, I had extra plate of idly vada and didn’t want to end up hungry in the half way…climbing up the steps. I took Sagara – Talaguppa – Jog route, that’s the only route. In less than an hour, I reached Jog falls. Towards the entrance was a big board “welcome to world famous jog falls”, I took selifies and headed towards the fall, there were few tourist buses and school buses with group of school children who had come to visit the falls. It was a beautiful sight. Well, after taking a round, I climbed down 1400 steps, there’s a barricade and visitors are not allowed to reach the water falls. I was back to top soon..., Left the spot after some refreshments, . Well, this was the last spot, and I was ready to return to Bangalore.

Photo of Bangalore to Goa by Road on Royal Enfield - 1567 kms 16/19 by Bala Senthil Rajan
Photo of Bangalore to Goa by Road on Royal Enfield - 1567 kms 17/19 by Bala Senthil Rajan
Photo of Bangalore to Goa by Road on Royal Enfield - 1567 kms 18/19 by Bala Senthil Rajan
Photo of Bangalore to Goa by Road on Royal Enfield - 1567 kms 19/19 by Bala Senthil Rajan

At 1 pm, on 27th Jan, from Jog falls, I started my return journey to Bangalore. I followed Jog – Talaguppa – Sagara – Shimoga route. From Jog to Shimoga it was a real beautiful stretch…, another best scenic drive…, I purposely was driving slow at around 70 plus, enjoying the scenic routes. then around 3 pm I reached Shimoga, I had my lunch. I got to watch some news channels that were about IT raids on few cooperative banks. Busy driving, I didn’t follow any news over last 3 days. After Shimoga, I was headed to Tumkur. There are 2 routes one through Badravathi, which is commonly taken by locals the other is through Chitraduraga. Google maps advised Chitradurga (locals commonly refer the place as Durga), from there you can catch National highway back to Bangalore. I filled some fuel before I headed to Durga. I also checked for air pressure in my tyres. After Shimoga, all scenic drives slowly faded and I was getting back to semi urban towns then to the IT city. As per the plan, I wanted to cross Durga before dark. I was successful. At Durga, I took a tea break and reached NH. Riding at night in the same NH was a different experience. I was still able to cruise at 80 constantly, and before Tumkur my bullet hit the reserve and had to refuel once again.Around 10 pm, I reached Bangalore. Crossing Yeshwantpur, I got caught with severe cold, sneezing badly…, With some available coupons I got some 25% off on Domino’s Pizza, after dinner I reached home before clock struck 12:00 Midnight.

It was one good long drive with my bullet, and I have no complaints about my RE, absolutely nil problem. I wind up this blog …It’s about a story of man and the machine - Royal Enfield…, Well, I aspire that my next trip should be longer than my Goa trip.... :)Thank you for going through my blog, I hope this blog will be of some help to you, if you plan your trip to Goa.