Skip Lonavala & Matheran : 5 Budget-Friendly Destinations That Are Not In Maharashtra

    Most of us have been bitten by the travel bug – the aim to wander is strong within us, without putting a dent in our wallets. With the right kind of planning, you can see a lot of iconic places within the country, with cherished experiences and lifelong memories being built along the way.

    Check out these five budget-friendly spots for a fun time.

    Hampi: For Rocks, Ruins and Intellectual Conversations

    If you’re a fan of ruins and love to visit temples, palaces of an era gone by and other imposing structures, you’ve made the right choice. This majestic city in Karnataka has a lot to offer, from different terrains (barren landscape) to banana plantations, coracles, a famous World Heritage site and delicious food. There are numerous affordable hotels, cottages, eateries and even cycling tours on offer.  

    Best Time To Visit: The best time to visit would be from December to February. Know more about it here.

    Things To See: Vittala Temple, Sule Bazaar, Zenana Enclosure, Nandi Statue, Virupaksha Temple, Elephant Stables

    How To Get There: The fastest way to get there from Mumbai is to take a flight. There are also plenty of direct trains to Hospet (the railway station for Hampi). From the Hospet bus stop/train station, one can take an auto-rickshaw or a public bus to Hampi gate. 

    Gokarna: For Mesmerising Sunsets and Pristine Beaches

    A beach town in Karnataka, Gokarna is surrounded by temples, beaches, stunning sunsets and azure waters. You can stay in multiple guest houses or even homestays. Apart from visiting the beaches, you can even trek across the region or indulge in some snorkelling (around INR 2,000 per person).  Here’s a list of five things you should not miss while you’re there and also check out these places to stay.

    Best Time To Visit: During the winters, so anytime between October to March. 

    Things To See: Om Beach, Gokarna beach, Kudle Beach, Mahabaleshwara Temple, Mahaganapati Temple, Paradise Beach, Half Moon Bay

    How To Get There: There are buses that start from Mumbai. Many express trains stop at Gokarna Road station, 9km from town. There are other options from Ankola, 26km away.

    Daman: For The Perfect Beach Life

    On the northern edge of Maharashtra is this little town on the Arabian Sea, full of Portuguese history and natural beauty. There are churches to be seen, lakes to be sat at, forts to be conquered and of course, with the sea by your side, it’s the perfect spot to unwind. The best part, it’s pretty close to Mumbai, so you can travel easily, and there are a number of budget hotels for you to explore.

    Daman is still unexplored and that makes it an unspoiled, peaceful place to visit. Alcohol and food are really cheap, so you can totally pamper your taste buds.

    Best Time To Visit: Daman is pretty much pleasant all year round. 

    Things To See: Nani Daman Fort, Jain Temple, Moti Daman Temple, Jampore Beach, Church of Bom Jesus, Devka Beach

    How To Get There: Daman is well connected to other major cities of the country via regular buses. If you’re planning to take the flight, the nearest airport is Surat.

    Bandhavgarh National Park: For Your Very Own Wildlife Adventure

    Spread over 1530 sq. km, the Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh is home to the Royal Bengal Tiger. It is divided into three zones – Tala, Magadhi and Khatauli, and the chances of spotting the big cat are highest in this park. Tala, with its abundant water bodies and bountiful flora and fauna is the most picturesque zone out of the three. Magadhi is better known for the birds that it houses. There are also more than 40 rarely seen leopards and more commonly sighted animals such as deer, wild boar and langurs. Check this out for more deets.

    Best Time To Visit: It's best if you visit the wildlife park between October to January. 

    Things To See: Safari through the National Park (morning safaris begin at 7AM and afternoon ones begin at 3PM).

    How To Get There: If you take a flight, the nearest airports are Khajuraho and Jabalpur. You can also take a train from Mumbai (Mahanagri Express / Lokmanya Tilak Patna Express).

    Karwar Beach: For A Blinding Blue Sea And Solitude

    Karwar beach in Karnataka is lesser known than its more popular cousin, Gokarna. So, you’ll find clear sands and water, since it’s unspoiled. If you travel to the interiors, you’ll also be able to tour wildlife sanctuaries nearby. Bedding is pretty reasonable – you’ll find a good mix of cottages and hotels that offer rooms from INR 1,500 per night and for food you can stick to South Indian vegetarian staples or try their eclectic seafood.

    Best Time To Visit: The weather in this locality is amazing between October and February. 

    Things To See: Binaga Beach, Devbagh Beach, Kali Bridge, Karwar Beach, Kurumgad Island, Oyster Rock Lighthouse, Tilmatti Beach

    How To Get There: If you’re driving down, it’ll be a 9-hour journey. Take a train from Mumbai’s CST station directly or take a Mumbai-Goa bus and then take a Goa-Karwar bus (17 hours in total).