We took a road trip from Jaisalmer to Ahmednagar and back at the end of March 2015 and split it into 3 days with stopovers at Ahmedabad and Mumbai. On our way back, we wondered about our stopovers as Mumbai / Thane was too close to Ahmednagar for a stopover. We considered Surat as our first stopover but decided that it was too long a drive and didn’t sound very exciting. We then came across the town of Vapi in Gujarat and a few minutes of research later, I realised that the Union Territory of Daman Diu was just a 4 km detour from the National Highway and the beaches were just about 10-15 kms away.
Now, this was something exciting ! An overnight stopover at Daman Diu is the perfect introduction to the place. You will not be able to make it a holiday and do justice to the place but it will leave you with the relaxed holiday spirit and refresh you enough to carry on with the next day’s journey. If you can extend your stay for a day or two, you will have gifted yourself a good weekend away from the hustle and bustle of your daily life into a sleepy little beach town (UT actually) that reminds you of its Portuguese past.
We could manage just an overnight halt and reached our hotel in Daman at 7PM just as the sun was setting. I would recommend reaching a little earlier so that you can check in and head out to the beach to watch the sunset sky and the fiery red waters.
We had our dinner at the Banyan Roots Bar & Grill right opposite ‘The Deltin’. It is an open air, table and chair seating, machan like place frequented by travellers and locals alike. They happened to air the India Vs Australia T20I match which turned out to be so exciting. It was great watching it at the Banyan Roots with the super excited mad local boys of Vapi and Daman Diu. A huge number of crowd comes here for the beer and drinks from the nearby town of Vapi which is in Gujarat, a dry state. The food is good and service was not bad considering the number of people they were serving that day. I had a local fish (basa) curry with rice and it was very well made and the quantity was good too.
We checked out at 10 AM and drove around exploring Daman and Diu. It was low tide in the morning and we observed the fishermen laying their nets into the sand to catch fresh fish that would come along with the waters at high tide. These are some of the things that you would miss if you are go to a place just to enjoy the tourist sights or the highest rated on ‘tripadvisor’.
We then, bought some chilled Breezer and enjoyed it on Jamboree beach at Diu before we re-entered the dry state of Gujarat ! And finally we topped up the fuel in our drove and drove away fully aware that this was not a mere one night stand, Daman Diu was worth much more and we shall come back again to explore it from shore to shore.
Recommended places to visit
- JAMPORE & DEVKA BEACHES – Daman Diu has two beaches but the Jampore beach (white sand) is better that Devka Beach (Black Sand), if you have time to visit just one beach.
- DEVKA BEACH AMUSEMENT PARK – Musical fountain and other activities for children.
- BANYAN ROOTS BAR & GRILL – Right across the road from The Deltin Hotel & Casino, this just might be the most happening local open air joint in Daman & Diu.
- SAO JERONIMO FORT – The fort overlooks the Damanganga river and is named after the 20th viceroy – Don Jeronimo. It also features a church of the lady of the Sea. The military architecture of this fort is something to look out for and is guaranteed to leave you in awe of its majestic structure.
- CHURCH OF BOM JESUS – It was constructed in 1603 and is one of the most renowned place of worship for locals and tourists alike. It’s mesmerizing Portuguese architecture style is best seen by looking at its intricately carved doorway, beautifully adorned interiors and a finely decorated ceiling. Statues depicting Roman art will leave you with an impression that you will relish forever.
- DOMINION MONASTERY – Erstwhile headquarters of the theological studies, the Dominion Monastery was known for attracting philosophers and scholars from around the world. The religious monastery in itself is a Portuguese architectural wonder – intricately crafted with stone carvings that clearly reflect its past glory.
- We indulged in some street shopping and bought some Kutch embroidered tops. We also bought graphic tees and shorts which is something that you can buy at most beaches.
- I would recommend picking up beer cans and other alcohol as the prices in Daman & Diu are quite cheap as compared to other states, it being a UT.
Daman & Diu also proves to be a good stopover point because the fuel is cheaper here as compared to Gujarat and Maharashtra by approx Rs4 and you can top up your vehicle. Go to a reliance petrol pump as the fuel price at these is Re 1 lesser than the other brands.
I would recommend staying right next to the beach if looking for budget options.
- We stayed at Hotel Casa Tesoro, a sterling resort which was not such a good experience. Also we were disappointed as this wasn’t a beach property and wasn’t worth what we paid for it. Will write a review soon.
- The Deltin Hotel and Casino is an extremely good option if you have the budget for it. It is not on the beach, though.
- Other budget hotel options on Devka beach are Cidade de Daman, Sandy Resort, Hotel Princess Park, The Gold Beach Resort, Hotel Jazira, Hotel Sea Rock Inn, Hotel Miramar,