Having been in Mumbai for 7 months now, I feel a little embarrassed about how little I’ve explored the areas around Mumbai. The main reason for this is the fact that every long break I pack my bags and head home to Delhi! I’m someone who loves who going home but this dampens my travel plans. Finally, I decided to stay back this Republic Day long weekend and go wandering. While exploring options online I came across these camping out places around Mumbai. One in particular caught my eye – Kashid Beach Camping by Letscampout (http://www.letscampout.com/kashid_campsite.html).
I am a sucker for beaches (other than Mumbai beaches -cannot deal with the crowd and filth!!!)! Usually all my travel plans are to beachy places. My last trip abroad was to Bali (another trip that I’ve postponed blogging about). Post Bali, I’ve been skeptical about Indian beaches coming up to my exaggerated standards! But camping on a beach was temptation enough and I booked a tent for my sister and me in the Kashid camp.
On 27th morning, my sister and I reached Gateway of India to take a ferry to Mandwa Port. The ferry ticket counters said that we’d get a ticket directly in the ferry and we rushed to take the next ferry which was a PNP ferry.
We boarded the PNP ferry after a wait of 15-20 minutes. There are 4 major company ferries that sail between Gateway of India and Mandwa Port. Ajanta is the slowest and cheapest (Rs.120) but has the most frequency. I recommend traveling by Ajanta if the day isn’t too hot. PNP is the AC ferry which takes the shortest travel time but charges the most (Rs.185). PNP would be the other ferry service that I’d recommend.
We reached Mandwa around noon. Having failed to get a reservation at Flamboyant (the restaurant at Mandwa Port for which you need to call/email a few days in advance to get a reservation) we decided to have some snacks at KiKi, another restaurant at the port before proceeding to Kashid.
After snacks, we proceeded to figure our way to Kashid. Our plan was to take a bus to Alibaug and a bus from there to Kashid, unless we bargained out a good auto deal. The autowaalas demanded Rs.1300 for the trip to Kashid which we turned down. We met some extremely rude and greedy cab drivers who demanded Rs.3000. We decided to take the bus and headed to the bus stop. Luckily we met another couple traveling to Kashid. They bargained a cab driver down to Rs.2500 and asked if we’d like to share the cab with them and to pay whatever we wanted to in the share of 2500. By then we were pretty exhausted and readily accepted their offer.
2.5 hours later we arrived near our camp. Here began part two of our adventure. We got off at the closest landmark to the camp and proceeded to look for it but couldn’t due to loss of any markers. At this point neither of us had network connectivity and despite multiple nearby guest houses workers giving us directions, we couldn’t find the camp for 40-45 minutes. When we were about to give up and find someone with a phone with connectivity, we spotted a Letscampout banner at a guesthouse and rushed in! A helper from the guesthouse walked us 1.5kms to the camp on the beach. Exhausted, we reached the campsite only to have excitement replace all the other feelings.
The beach was WOW! The exact location of the campsite was in Nandgaon (nearest landmark is Neel Garden Guesthouse). The beach was secluded which was a relief for us as we had spotted the Kashid beach on our way and it was thronging with crowds! The beach was beautiful and serene. Unlike the white sands of the Kashid beach, this beach was rocky. Small lagoons had formed in these rocks during the early evening. Ideal places to sit and dip our feet into the cold water.
We explored the beach till sunset. We headed up then hillock to our tents.
We had chai and waited for other people to come. Most people came to the camp post sunset. It started to get chilly as the night set in. We wore the jackets we got and sat outside our tent hearing the sea crash against the rocks below and feeling the cold wind on our face. We ate barbequed food and dinner. A bonfire was lit up at night, a little away from our tents.
Early morning was another treat for us! Watching the tide retreat! During the night the beach around us had been submerged by the sea.
We walked around, drowning in the beauty of this amazing place that we had chanced upon.
We spent a few hours exploring the beach and headed back to our tent for breakfast and check out. With a heavy heart we bid adieu to the camp and headed to the nearest bus stop to catch a bus till Alibaug.
After 1.5hrs of waiting and being refused by two state buses (we have no idea why!), we decided to walk till Kashid beach (3kms away) to try our luck there. Lucky we were because 10minutes into walking we flagged down an auto and got a ride till Alibaug Beach (Rs.600). The auto driver was very sweet and adviced us to get a ferry out quickly as the weekend crowd heading back to Mumbai would be crazy.
We decided to explore the Alibaug beach before heading to Mandwa Port. Having heard about Kolaba Fort, we headed to explore it. The walk to the fort during low tide is extremely muddy. One can hail a horse cart too!
The fort is in ruins and there isn’t much to see. We walked around for a while and decided to head back to the port. Here began our next adventure! Due to the crowd most ferries were already sold out. We managed a ticket on Apollo and headed to the port to board it. On reaching the port we saw an extremely long queue for Apollo. There were about 80-85 people ahead of us! After waiting for an hour we were told that the boat would take even longer to come. The Ajanta on the other hand had ferries leaving every 15minutes. We decided to buy a spot ticket and got into the Ajanta queue. On reaching ahead a fight broke out between Apollo passengers and the workers on the port. It was chaos and crazy! We somehow managed to get a ferry out of the port and sighed in relief!
The camp experience was amazing and I cannot wait to go again with a little better planning. Do let me know if there are any other suggestions for places to visit around Mumbai. I want to make a bucket list and do a few this year! 🙂
Camp – Letscampout Kashid Beach
Price – Rs. 2625/ person including dinner and breakfast
Location – Nandgaon village (ahead of Kashid beach), before Neel Garden Guesthouse a right tiny road leads to the beach and campsite.
Tips – Preferably take a cab/your car from Mumbai to the campsite.
Carry a power bank.
Be prepared to use a tent washroom.
Reach early in the evening to explore the beach.
Nights are chilly, carry a jacket