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Booking.com reveals the 2019 Long Weekend Guide for travellers from Mumbai

With the intense work culture and fast-paced lifestyles in Mumbai, a long weekend is a saving grace for Mumbaikars to destress and relax. According to a recent survey by Booking.com, almost three quarters of Indian travellers plan to take more weekend trips in 2019 (73 per cent). It’s a year that’s predicted to be all about made-to-measure, bite sized travel with more curated travel itineraries squeezed into shorter time frames. Less is most definitely more as travellers are offered a more bespoke experience.

The research was commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of adults who have taken a trip in the last 12 months/plan to take a trip in the next 12 months. The research shows that 84 per cent of the Indian travellers wish to take time off to mentally unwind. Likewise 88 per cent of the Indian travellers travel to give themselves time to relax. Holding true to tradition, 84 per cent of Indian travellers travel to be together as a family while 83 per cent seek to get a change from their busy jobs. Booking.com has curated a list of unexplored gateways especially for Mumbai travellers for the long weekends in 2019:

KOLAD

If you are up for some pulsating adventure-activities over the weekend, Kolad is the place to visit. With the gushing Kundalika river flowing by, Kolad offers a range of water sports like rafting, kayaking, rappelling that is sure to set your pulse racing. Its scenic landscape along with several waterfalls emerging from the surrounding mountains is idyllic for trekking and camping making it one of the most amazing places to visit near Mumbai.
Distance from Mumbai: 120 kms
Activities to do: White water rafting, rappelling, kayaking, hiking (from simple to extremely difficult)
Where to stay: Kundalika Rafting Camp by nature Trails, as the name would suggest, is one of the best accommodations. From canoeing to fishing to cycling, Kundalika Rafting Camp is also open to children with a separate park for them to play at and a swimming pool.

VELAS (DIVEAGAR)

Velas is a small eco-village in the Ratnagiri district famous for the ‘Velas Turtle Festival’ which is for the conservation of the Olive Ridley turtles. The female Olive Ridley turtles visit the Velas beach every year and lay eggs. The villagers and NGO committee conserves those eggs till their hatching period. Witnessing the tiny baby turtles coming out of the egg and then moving to their home – the sea, is such a fragile and unforgettable moment of life. Apart from that, Velas beach is ideal for stargazing activity.
Distance from Mumbai: 226 kms
Activities to do: Nature walks, experience the Velas Turtle Festival
Where to stay: Exotica Beach Retreats Diveagar is located 500 m from Diveagar beach. This BnB is equipped with courts for football, badminton and table tennis. Indulge in water sports at the beach with banana boat, speed boats and bumper rides. In case you don’t want to go into the water, you can enjoy the view, seated atop a camel, horse or on a bike.

KAAS PLATEAU – VALLEY OF FLOWERS (SATARA)

Aptly referred to as the ‘Maharashtra’s own Valley of Flowers’, Kaas Plateau is listed in the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites owing to its rich and unique biodiversity that caters to almost 70 per cent of all flora found in the state. Due to its ecosystem, it shelters colourful birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles etc.

Post monsoon the plateau turns into pink carpet due to the blooming of Terda (Impatiens Balsamina) which is a sight to see. Another must see is the beautiful Kamudini pond covered with thousands of floating Kamudini Flower (hybrid of lotus and waterlily) approx one km away from the plateau. Make sure you visit the Ajinkyatara Fort If you enjoy exploring forts. This would be one of the best places to celebrate Earth Day.
Distance from Mumbai: 278 kms
Activities to do: Sight-seeing, nature walks
Where to stay: Nature Plateau Paradise Kaas has organised tours of the Valley of Flowers, located at a distance of 1.3 km. This accommodation has been listed as one of the best in Kaas, owing to the up-close nature walks and tours

AMBOLI

A beautiful hill station yet relatively unknown, Amboli lies in the Sahyadri hills of Western India and is one of the world’s best ‘Bio-Diversity’ Hotspots. Overlooking thick rainforests, Amboli is abound in a variety of unique flora and fauna and is a true paradise for amphibian and reptile lovers. Amboli also offers exciting night trails where you get a chance to see the forest turn alive at night. A trip to Amboli is incomplete without visiting the sacred ‘Sri Hiranyakeshi Temple’, which is by far the prime attraction of the place. Dedicated to Goddess Parvathi, the ancient temple is renowned for being the birthplace of the mighty ‘Hiranyakeshi River’. If fort exploration is something that inspires you make sure you visit the Madhavgad Fort which offers breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea and Konkan region.
Distance from Mumbai: 489 kms
Activities to do: Nature walks, night trails, temple visits
Where to stay: Dark Forest Retreat has an array of activities including cycling. The Parikshit Point is 200 m away while the Amboli Waterfall is 3 km away. This resort is 80 km from Goa International Airport. The Amboli Bus Station is 3 km and the Sawantwadi Railway Station is 35 km.

KARJAT

Nestled in the basin of river Ulhas, Karjat is famous for its natural beauty, mountains, forts and ancient rock-cut cave temples. Trekking and other adventurous sports like white water rafting and rock climbing are quite popular in Karjat. The trails vary from moderately difficult to extremely treacherous, making this one of the best places near Mumbai for the weekend.
Distance from Mumbai: 62 kms
Activities to do: Rock Climbing, trekking, white water rafting, waterfall climbing, rappelling
Where to stay: Radisson Blu Located in Karjat, Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Karjat is just 13 km from Bhivpuri Waterfalls which is a treat to watch in the rainy season. Surrounding lush green forest, one will also find lot of adventure sport options nearby

LONAR-AURANGABAD

Aurnagabad is a city with great historical significance in Maharashtra. Filled with historical monuments, such as Bibi Ka Maqbara inspired by the Taj Mahal, Daulatabad Fort and the medieval battlegrounds and the Shivaji Maharaj Museum where you will find ancient war tools and coins, The Aurangabad caves, adorned by the ancient rock-cut Buddhist Shrines – all make this city a perfect weekend getaway during Independence Day week. And while you are in Aurangabad do visit the Lonar Crater. Located in the Buldhana district, the Lonar crater in the world’s third largest crater formed by the impact of a meteorite 52,000 years ago. Lonar is also known for the the graceful ruins of temples and history around this place. Do visit the Daityasudan temple at Buldhana (Lonar) dating back to 6th-12th century which showcases mythological carvings. Lonar is also fascinating for bird watching and is the hometown for peafowls and other birds.
Distance from Mumbai to Aurangabad: 349 kms
Activities to do: bird watching, ajanta-ellora cave exploring, sight-seeing
Where to stay: WelcomHotel Rama International Set on nearly 6 hectares of landscaped gardens, this elegant hotel is 7 km from the Taj Mahal-inspired Bibi Ka Maqbara mausoleum and 9 km from the rock-cut Buddhist shrines at the Aurangabad Caves.

SRIVARDHAN-HARIHARESHWAR

Coastal Konkan at its best, Srivardhan and Harihareshwar are some of the less frequented places around Mumbai known for its pristine beaches. Srivardhan is steeped in Peshwa history whereas Harihareshwar is also known for its ancient Shiva temple.
Distance from Mumbai: 190 kms
Activities to do: Beach, Water sports, temple visit
Where to stay: Tranquil Beach Resort provides you with bikes to explore Harihareshwar for free, along with a buffet breakfast of local cuisine, and a sun terrace – which set it apart from other accommodations.

DAPOLI-MURUD-HARNAI-ANJARLE

Want to enjoy a leisure weekend with dolphins and crocodiles? A drive to Dapoli will give you a chance to watch dolphins and crocodiles at the Maldoli backwaters. The dolphin safari in Dapoli is one of the activities carried out at this beach along with the other water sports. Crocodile safari is done on the Maldoli backwaters of Vashishth river where one can see crocodiles basking on the banks from a close distance. Also, nearby are the serene beaches of Murud-Harnai. A sea-fort, an ancient Ganesh temple (Anjarle) and plenty of mouth-watering seafood- makes the most of your holiday!
Distance from Mumbai: 238 kms
Activities to do: Dolphin & Crocodile safari, exploring sea-fort, water sports
Where to stay: Exotica Suvarna Samudra includes facilities like a fitness center, playground for children, multi-cuisine restaurant and free parking. Indoor sports such as table tennis, billiards, and darts are also an option for recreation. Bid adieu to the rains with an in-house barbeque while staring off into the distance with the view of the sea or a garden.

TADOBA

Tadoba National Park is Maharashtra’s oldest and largest national park. Renowned for their initiative to protect tigers from going extinct, the reserve has provided a safe haven with a total area of 1,727 sq.km, which includes the Tadoba National Park, created in the year 1955. The Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary was formed in the year 1986 and was amalgamated with the park in 1995 to establish the present Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve.
Distance from Mumbai: 980 kms
Activities to do: Nature Trail
Where to stay: Serai Tiger, Tadoba Tiger Reserve consists of well-equipped tents surrounded by greenery. An accommodation in high demand, it is advisable to make your bookings months prior. Aside from getting up-close and personal with our national animal, this listing also serves continental breakfast every morning.

BHANDARDARA

A quaint village sitting on the shores of the Pravara River in the Western Ghats, Bhandardara is truly one of the best kept secrets of Maharashtra. Bestowed with cascading Randha and Umbrella waterfalls, the pristine Bhandardara and Arthur lake and splendid hills this place is a perfect getaway for people looking out a peaceful holiday amidst nature. And for those who enjoy trekking venture on an enticing trek to Mt Kalsubai, the highest peak of the Sahyadri Range standing tall at 5400 sq. ft above sea level and enjoy the most beautiful view of nature. Bhandardara also has in store, many interesting religious attractions – the ‘Amruteshwar Temple’ dedicated to Lord Shiva is by far the most famous amongst them.
Distance from Mumbai: 165 kms
Activities to do: Sightseeing, trekking, cycling
Where to stay: Soothe your senses at Anandvan Resort equipped with a wellness spa, along with the captivating views of the mountains and lakes.

PURUSHWADI

Purushwadi is a small tribal village inhabited by the Koli tribe. Renowned for their animal husbandry as well as cultivation of rice, the people of these tribes are very welcoming and friendly. Catch a glimpse of a day in their life, while also getting closer to nature by absorbing your surroundings. Another reason why Purushwadi is an attraction is due to the twinkling forests. Find yourself surrounded by fireflies who light up your surroundings and give you an even brighter aesthetic.
Distance from Mumbai: 193 kms
Activities to do: Nature trail, cycling
Where to stay: Backpack camping is the closest accommodation to Purushwadi village, and has outdoor tents/camps and provides travellers with potable water and free bikes for cycling and exploring the place.

MULSHI

Mulshi is a small village in the district of Pune, which is known to be an eco-tourism hotspot, which offers several guest houses and cottages. A quiet and cosy place is the perfect way to celebrate Christmas with family and bring in the New Year, as one would at an offbeat destination. Mulshi Dam has scenic getaways for hiking and photos, Tamhini Ghat captures lush mountains and forests.
Distance from Mumbai: 170 kms
Activities to do: Hiking, camping
Where to stay: Residency Lake Resort & Spa is located at close distance between Pune (38 km) and Lonavla (32 kms). This resort has been listed as one of the best in Mulshi, with facilities such as 24-hour front desk, an outdoor pool and spa centre.

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