Trip to Pondicherry
Last long weekend we decided to go to Pondicherry to take a break from fast and non-stop life of Bangalore .
1st Night i.e Thrusday Night
We wanted to take a Bus ride experience and so we booked bus from http://www.yatra.com . The Bus Company Name was Sam Tourist . I called bus agent at around 9:15 PM from my home asking about the bus timings and if it is on time but the guy yelled at me like anything , Seriously i have never seen any business men ever before talk to their customers like this , Sam Tourists , do you know how to do business ?? His yelling made me think to cancel the bus and take flight , but anyways i wanted to take bus experience so we sticked to the plan .
Bus was scheduled to start from Madivala on Thrusday night at 11:15 PM and reach Pondicherry at 6 AM in the Morning , but poor us that we booked this bus from http://samtourist.in/ . Bus didn’t even arrive at 12:15 and there was no information provided . I could see around 200 people standing in front of the offices of various bus stations and everyone was looking for their buses . Bus arrived at 12:30 AM and by then we already decided not to take bus from Sam Tourist ever again . Anyways bus started , took break at 2 stops at 2 AM and 4 AM . Another issue with bus was water coming out of AC and tipping on us as if its raining ,Conductor had no solution to fix it and he just used a cloth to clean the water but after 15 minutes it started again . Pathetic 🙁
1st Day i.e Friday
Reached Pondicherry and Early Check-in to Hotel
We Reached Pondicherry at around 7am . Took auto who charged 150 Rs flat to take us to 4 KM away Hotel Tamizh park http://www.hoteltamizhpark.comWe reached Hotel at 8 am but as check-in time was 12 :00 Noon they charged Rs 500 extra for early check-in . Hotel was OK , except their distance from city center is around 4 KM , if i will go puducherry again i will prefer some other hotel . Once i reached pondicherry i noticed that the name of the city is puducherry and not pondicherry 🙂 so from now on i will call it as puducherry in this blog .
Rented Bike and went to Auro-Beach Pondicherry
We had breakfast at hotel and rented bike from hotel at Rs 400 per day , By bike I mean Honda Activa that too very old model , it was may be 2008 model 😉 .Only this old Activa was available at that time so we took it . I am sure that one can get it at cheaper rate from city center at around 250 or 300 per day . Auro beach was around 10 Km from the Hotel . We reached there at around 10 PM , we were tired by our tiring bus ride at night but beautiful beach and soothing voice of water made our tiredness go away . We spent around 1 hour there and went to Hotel where rested a bit and had some snacks .
Lunch @ A2B at Nehru Street , Pondicherry
We took bike again and started without any plan in search of food , I wanted to keep GPS off this time and search by asking local people . We kept moving straight and straight and after around 7-8 KM saw A2B Restaurant , we already liked A2B as there are a lot of its branches in Bangalore , We were already hungry so we had our lunch there . This restaurant is at Nehru street and is very near to Aurbindo Ashram and the promenade.
Visit at Aurobindo Ashram
Aurobindo Ashram was very small , If we see trip advisor and any other trip websites they claim it as number 1 attraction in puducherry , however for us it was a small Ashram where there are some people sitting near the Samadhi for meditation , we stayed there for 5-7 minutes and came out .
Drive at The Promenade Pondicherry
After Ashram we went to see the Promenade , its like 2 minutes away from ashram . Road is really nice and rock beach is awesome , there is a nice Mahatma Gandhi statue there . At that time it was really hot there so we decided to go home and come here later .
We rested at Hotel and by around 9 PM we were fresh enough to go out again . We asked hotel reception and he recommended to go to rock beach i.e. Promenade beach . Good thing about this beach at night is that No traffic is allowed to enter this road from 6:30 Pm till 7:30 AM and you can see lots and lots of people walking on the road , on sand and sitting on rocks watching sea . We decided to go back to Hotel at 11:30 PM from the Rock Beach
Day 2 – Saturday
Freshen up and breakfast
We woke up at around 9 Am and had our breakfast in the hotel , breakfast was OK but more or less similar to what they offered yesterday . Today s menu was :
- bread , butter , jam- same as yesterday
- Tea/Coffee – Same as yesterday – Only 1 cup allowed for a person 🙁
- Wada – Same as yesterday
- Veg Noodles
- Fruits – Mix pineapple,water melon and papaya
- Water – Melon Juice
The waiter there was a little lazy and we will rate him 3 out of 10 . These kind of guys usually spoil the mood .
We heard a lot about this beach from Internet , friends and Hotel Reception so our plan was to explore it . This beach is Open from 9:30 Am till 5:30 PM . Only way to go there is to take boat and reach this paradise beach cum island .
We took our bike , located Paradise Beach on GPS and started . We reached to a place where we could see some coconut vendors , some cut-fruit vendors and some cafes , they told us that you need to walk a bit for the beach . It was really really hot so we had 2 coconuts each 🙂 As we walked towards to beach we saw some fishermen’s boats and very few people at the beach . Beach water was really clean but as we saw towards right we could see a lot of people having fun in beach and some huts which looked like Cafe s . We also noticed that a lot of people were walking from this beach towards that beach . As we asked from people nearby we could understand that , that was the real Paradise beach and actually we couldn’t go to that beach from this beach by walk because there was a bit of water between the two lands . We were clear that we need to go to Paradise beach so we started again towards it , we decided to ask local people about the direction and closed the GPS 🙂
within 15 minutes we reached to the place from where we can get a boat towards paradise beach . Entry to this gate was Rs 10 per adult and Rs 10 for bike parking . There was a small cafe there but nothing was available except beer . We decided to eat something at the beach itself . We took 2 boat tickets in a shared 20/40 seater boat . Boat ride was nice and it took around 15 to 20 minutes to reach there . While in the water we could see few people doing jet ski and boat home stay .
At Paradise beach we went to cafe and ordered one veg burger , 1 Sandwich and a Beer . Burger and sandwich came with french fries . After that we went to water and enjoyed for around 2 hours . If i compare it with beaches of Manila/Philipines or Bali/Indonesia or Phuket/Thailand , I would say it was less crowdy and not much commercialized but this beach is the best in Puducherry and a must go if you visit puducherry. There were 3 open showers there where you can take bath to remove beach sand . At around 5:00 PM we thought of going back . We had to wait for 30 minutes for the boat because there were a lot of people in queue .
We came back to Hotel and decided to go towards Rock beach again at night for a walk .
Day 3 – Sunday
First half of Last Day
This was our final day in Puducherry . We had to board bus at 2 PM , so we had breakfast and went to MG Road to see Sunday Market . Some one told us that cashew nuts of puducherry are very famous but we could see only one Cashew nut shop there. The ladies in the shops were sitting with no light but they turned it on as we entered their shop . Probably they were saving some money on electricity . Ladies had very little less business sense as they asked us to buy 1kg Cashews for Rs 720 and there was no provision to taste them . We didn’t go for it and couldn’t find anything interesting in the Sunday Market . We reached back to hotel , returned bike , checked out and started for the Bus .
Bus Ride Sam Tourist Review
Sam Tourist again disappointed us . Bus started on schedule i.e.at 2 PM but the driver didn’t stop the bus until 7 PM . Almost 5-10 people in the bus requested him to stop the bus for freshening up a bit but this guy always use to say that he will stop in 10 minutes . I myself asked him to stop 3 times and as he stopped at 7 Pm he said we will start again in 10 minutes . Anyways , 10 minutes break was still OK as we thought we will reach Bangalore earlier but then somehow there was an issue in the Bus ( or may be he wanted to show his Bus to a mechanic ) driver called a mechanic to fix something in the bus which wasted our 45 minutes . Finally we reached Bangalore 1 hour late then the schedule time .
Puducherry is a nice weekend beach destination and i wont mind going there again .
Few things that I would recommend in a short summary and things which I will keep in mind if I go there ever again :
- Don’t take Sam Tourist Bus , Better to go by Flight or Car , If you really want to go by bus choose some other Bus Company .
- Don’t book Hotel Tamizh Park . This hotel was 3-4 KM away from City Center , Better to find something near Promenade Beach as its near to market and there are a lot of food options nearby .
- Rent a bike . Auto Rickshaw driver never use meter and charge minimum Rs 150 to go to any place . Renting a bike will cost Rs 300 , if rented from shop in city center , Hotel might ask a bit more .
- Do Visit Paradise Beach
- Do visit Promenade Beach
- Do visit Auro-Beach
- Liquor is very cheap in Puducherry , so may think of buying some .
- People in Puducherry are very nice , everyone understand English . I asked around 15-20 people about the directions while i was riding and almost all of them directed us toward correct way .