Every now and then, we all crave an escape from the humdrum of our daily lives. The call to pack our bags, hit the open road, and drive until the city skyline becomes a distant memory can be irresistible. This time, my heart was set on Udupi. I had never been there before, but tales of relaxing vacations from folks who’ve been there definitely piqued my interest. I longed for a holiday away from the pressure of ticking off Instagram-worthy locations—a vacation that was genuinely restful.
🔗Drive to Udupi
Bengaluru to Udupi is approximately a 400 km journey. Upholding the tradition of early morning departures for long road trips, I started my drive at 6:30 am. My first stop was Vaishali, renowned for its chicken dishes. As it was early and a long drive lay ahead, I opted for a lighter breakfast—a delicious Masala dosa and a filter coffee.
While Udupi is only 400 km away, the trip can take up to 8 hours due to the challenging Ghats section. My route led me through Agumbe Ghats, filled with sharp hairpin bends and narrow roads, offering a fun and adventurous driving experience.
I arrived in Udupi around 3 pm and refreshed myself at my picturesque Airbnb accommodation, located right next to the beautiful Suvarna river.
This Airbnb was located in Mavin Kundru, a village comprising several islands locally referred to as ‘Kudru.’ The backyards of most houses were filled with coconut plantations—presumably because the salty river water precluded growing anything else. My Airbnb host introduced me to some nuances of village life. For instance, the absence of garbage collection systems led the locals to burn waste in mud pits. The salty river water, though abundant, was unusable, forcing the villagers to rely on well water.
Despite the rural setting, my Airbnb was quite comfortable, offering all the amenities one could need, albeit with somewhat isolating and darker nights.
Here’s a video snippet of me driving through this charming village:
Udupi is famous for its beaches, with Malpe being the most crowded one. I took a leisurely drive on a 7 km scenic beach road stretch from Mattu to Padukere Beach, flanked by palm trees and views of the river on one side and the Arabian Sea on the other.
Exploring was fun, but it was time to delve into some Mangalorean cuisine. Believe me, Udupi’s food is a culinary revelation, offering excellent options for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.
I sampled the iconic dosas at MTR and Pai Tiffin, though the latter is more renowned for its Puris. Another delightful find was the Mangalore Buns, a local specialty I thoroughly enjoyed.
Thanks to the wonderful recommendations by Sathya and Jo, I tried several popular restaurants.
My seafood cravings led me to Hotel Thimmappa. Despite being a weekday afternoon, this place was bustling with a mostly local crowd. The ambiance was modest, but the fish curry and rice were beyond amazing.
Hotel Woodlands was another frequent visit, given its versatile menu catering to various cuisines.
My last day in Udupi was dedicated to indulging in more seafood. I headed to Machali (original branch in Mangalore). The crowd here was even larger than Thimmappa, but after a 20-minute wait, I was ready to enjoy a feast of Calamari, Anjal, and Neer Dosa!
On my final day in Udupi, the typically hot weather gave way to an unexpected change. The sky was adorned with clouds, offering a pleasant respite.
🔗Detour to Goa
Initially, I hadn’t planned on visiting Goa, but I was eager to continue my drive along the beautiful coastline of Karnataka. My extended journey covered approximately 300 km, taking me through Murdeshwar, Gokarna, and Karwar, before finally reaching Goa.
My stay in Goa was near Colva Beach in South Goa, a place I had visited multiple times. I enjoyed familiar favorites like dining at Martin’s, sipping beers at a beach shack, and soaking in the laid-back Susegad life.
Returning home from Goa, I embarked on a 600-kilometer drive. The Panjim-Belgaum stretch, particularly, was a feast for the eyes. The previous night’s rainfall had washed the roads clean. Perfect time to roll down windows!
It had been a joyous journey where I allowed myself to relax, soak in the experience, and enjoy the drive through varied landscapes—ghats, rivers, beaches, and lush forests. I fell in love with Mangalorean food and the warmth of Udupi’s people. This trip wasn’t just a road trip—it was a serene experience I’d cherish and one that I hope to repeat soon.