Matheran! Around 45 Kms away from the hustle bustle of Mumbai, you get to visit a beautiful hill station which is a must go to place if you want to relax.
The highlights of this trip are: One, that the place can be explored in a day or two and therefore you don't have to beg to get an off from your boss. So, it could be your nice weekend trip with your partner or family. Two, that it is not that far from Mumbai, and that is why you are not wasting your time in travelling. Three, If you choose the right time to visit this hill station, you will end up covering, nice lush fields, waterfalls, lakes, great sunset with lovely cold breeze etc. Last but not the least which is the best part that it is not crowded. You do get your own space at every spot and point.
I have a big family and we planned for a one day road trip covering isolated waterfalls and river in Neral. We started early so that we get to enjoy fog on the hills and the sunrise. If you are planning for the sunrise, then reach the Matheran gate by 7 AM. I know, you really have to start early. But trust me it's all worth it.
1. Toy train (Good news is the toy train was not functioning for a few months, now it started again)
2. Panorama point
3. Echo point
4. Charlotte lake
5. Monkey point
6. Mall road (popular for street shopping)
1. By train: Get a local train ticket to Neral station (Not Nerul). It takes around 1.40 hours from Mumbai. Hire a tuk tuk auto just outside from the Neral station. They charge around Rs. 70 per head to take you to the hill.
2. By road: As I said it is 45 Kms from Mumbai but the roads are smooth and the view is awesome. I like this option the best though. It is upto you, really. One can take Thane-Badlapur-Neral road to reach the hill.
3. Trek: Trekking enthusiasts can reach the base of the hill which the main gate of Matheran and can start trekking up to the hill. It takes 1.15 hours for the trek.
You will be able to get all types of accommodation facilities with different price range. We chose a very beautiful hotel which was kind of a home stay too. The name of the place is Hope Hall. it is nice and silent plus the view from the house is amazing. You can just stare at the sky filled with stars and at trees filled with monkeys. They charge around Rs. 600 per head.
Best time to visit: Everybody thinks that rainy season would be the perfect time but that's not right. Half of things would be close and you would not have access. If you want to explore and have fun and do shopping then the right time would be between October to February.