Work on hold and life on track! Sounds like a perfect getaway, no? Movies like ZNMD and Dil Chahta Hai makes us strive for a road trip too. In this post today, we will look at the most picturesque tracks offering the best road trips in India, like those in Bollywood movies.
Few top places in India for road trips
Best road trips in north India
Road tripping in North India means an array of mountains and a variety of options. We have accumulated a travellers’ favourite list below, but we are sure many more gaze-worthy and unexplored places would please the wanderers. So, buckle up for your virtual journey because we are getting started now.
Also Read: History of Backpacking
1) Delhi to Leh via Manali: The ultimate dream and desire of many
This one is ideal for all adventure enthusiasts and requires a lot of planning. The treacherous roads, snow-covered tracks and mesmerising view are enough to cast a spell on you. The distance is about 1091kms making it a perfect fit for a full-fledged road trip. The journey can be exhausting, but it’s worth it.
Tip: Check your stamina and good driving skills before leaving your home.
2) Chandigarh to Kasol: Travellers’ home away from home
It is one of the most beautiful holiday destinations and a home away from home for many foreigners. The weather is a bit unpredictable, but it’s usually cold. The road trip would be only a short drive/ride of about 273kms but filled with awestruck landscapes. The perfect time to leave would be early morning. You can take mini breaks midway to enjoy certain spots and click pictures for the gram.
3) Delhi to Spiti via Manali: A small town surrounded by various small towns
Spiti Valley is surrounded by small towns and villages, like Kaza, Kibber village etc. The roads are as adventurous and beautiful as the destination. A 730kms drive would seem justified when you reach there. The people have managed to restore the true essence of the place till now. It is tourist-friendly, and stays don’t burn a hole in your pocket either. One can stay here for as long as they like, and they still won’t have enough of it. Dhankar & Chandratal Lake, Monasteries, Pin valley are a few attractions. I would suggest the winter lovers definitely try this one out at any time of the year (but preferably summers).
There are 2 routes from Delhi, one from Shimla and the other from Manali. People usually prefer the Manali route, but you can opt for Shimla as it’s promising too.
Tip- Keep your warm clothes handy at all times because this place is famed for getting uncomfortably cold at night.
4) Jammu to Srinagar: The crown town
In your journey of about 300kms, you would be accompanied by snow-capped mountains and tempting quaint sites asking you to take out a few moments from your time to admire its beauty. It takes you to the height of 4127 feet above sea level, a thrilling driving experience indeed!
Tip: A friendly suggestion is to take Kahwa breaks quite often to keep yourself charged up.
5) Chandigarh to Dalhousie: Vacation to a perfect hill station
It takes approximately 10 hours to reach, though the distance is just 236kms. The route is surrounded by green nature providing you with the right amount of freshness and motivation to keep going without feeling too tired. When the destination is as beautiful as the route, the fun and its worth increase. British traces can easily be noticed here, as the name itself is after British personnel.
6) Delhi to Lansdowne: Quick-fix Getaway
In contrast with Delhi, it is a tranquil hill station that is sure to de-stress you. To enjoy a quick and calm weekend break you can leave early in the morning. That way you can ditch the traffic and reach there quickly, as it’s only 258kms away. During your stay, you can soak the beautiful oak and pine forest views in your heart and treat it like a de-stress memory pill when you go back to the hustle-bustle of the country capital.
Best road trips in South India
Road tripping in South India is all about embracing the greens and blues. A few most preferred road trip friendly options are mentioned below to help you plan your next road trip.
Also Read: A Beginner’s Guide To Bikepacking
1) Bangalore to Ooty: The green therapy
The nearest dearest destination, away from the busy, crowded life in Bangalore. A deal to catch!
The distance is about 276kms only, and one can plan a trip anytime via Mysuru. However, I suggest going there around monsoon or winter when the greenery is in its full swing, and the temperature is at its best for travelling. The route is loaded with lush green trees as it is nestled in the lap of Nilgiri Hills. A stop at Mysuru is a must, to acknowledge its history and beauty. Leave early in the morning to get the most out of this road trip. It generally takes 6 hours to reach Ooty by road. Nearest and dearest indeed?
2) Chennai to Munnar: A sweet escape
Had enough of Chennai’s weather? Well, then Munnar is the place to be to tackle the weather hangover. It’s 583kms from Chennai and on the way, you will come across spell-bounding sea views and tea plantations. I definitely recommend taking a few pit stops to admire the surprising nature. The route has delightful Dhabas so buckle up to gain a few kgs. while enjoying the culture, tradition and beautiful beaches on your way to Munnar.
3) Bandipur to Periyar: Best of all the worlds
A perfect place to be for all wildlife lovers. Both these places are packed with flora and fauna. Famed for being tiger hubs they are also populated by elephants. The 531kms long route is surrounded by dense green forests and a variety of species. On the way, you would cross many beautiful holiday destinations like Ooty, Coimbatore and Kodaikanal so make sure to enjoy every bit of these 10hours. The best time to visit would be around monsoon as it would add feels to this wonder-packed trip.
4) Mangalore to Goa: The Arabian way to a beach day
The tranquillity that surrounds this route is surreal. 8 hours would seem less when you will cover the distance of 364kms in a jiffy. So, make sure not to blink your eyes (not literally) if you don’t want to miss out on little details. You can take a break at Gokarna for a while to enjoy the little paradise. The best part is that the entire time while driving or riding you, you would be accompanied by the Arabian sea. Isn’t it exciting?
5) Chennai to Kodaikanal: Tamil Nadu expedition
Crack the Tamil Code in 562kms. It is the best way to explore Tamil Nadu and admire its hidden gems. This route takes you through the underdogs of the state of Tamil Nadu. It is also considered to be one of the city dwellers’ favourite weekend routes in Chennai. The temples, architecture, traditions, culture, food and scenic beauty, everything helps you connect with South India on a ground level.
6) Bangalore to Coorg via Chikmagalur: The tantalising triangle (round trip)
Love triangles are not fun, but this compelling triangle will be. It takes around 5-6 hours to reach Chikmagalur from Bangalore. There are various routes, but NH75 is the shortest one that takes you through Hassan town’s historic Belur region. The destination is worth every minute, and so is the route. Since Coorg is just 170kms away you can reach there in 4 hours (depending on your driving skills). Just like other South Indian routes, it is unquestionably beautiful too. While in Coorg you must try Kodava cuisine. Coorg to Bangalore is again a 5-6 hours’ drive in the lap of nature. The distance between the two is about 250kms. Backpackers and bikers suggest that in between you must stop to hike on the Talacauvery Hills.
The weather in this triangle is pleasant throughout the year but I would suggest you visit between September-May for the best road trip experience. This whole trip is the best fit for those who enjoy sightseeing to another extent.
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How to plan a road trip in India?
1) Make sure your vehicle is prepared for a road trip. Fuel up!
2) Check all the necessary papers like PUC, RC, insurance and driving license.
3) If you plan to leave early in the morning, make sure you get enough rest, so you can enjoy it fully.
4) Research about the route because Indian roads are famous for being treacherous. Take the Manali route, for example.
5) Make sure you plan a trip in the right weather. Also, plan your rest stops.
6) Don’t forget to keep healthy snacks and water.
7) Keep a road map in case the GPS signal drops.
8) Don’t forget the first-aid box.
9) Keep a rope.
10) Sit up straight. Make sure to carry the correct posture throughout the journey.
11) Keep a car freshener. I suggest keeping a peppermint spray as it’s proven to reduce fatigue and keeps you alert.
12) Dress according to your comfort.
13) Make a playlist in advance that would fit in the route so you can vibe with it.
14) STAY HYDRATED!
Tips for planning road trips in India by car:
1) Instead of normal tyre air, opt for nitrogen. It helps to maintain a good fuel mileage.
2) Take care of extra engine oil and coolant.
3) Check for Stepneys and extra tyre tubes.
4) Keep a toolkit handy.
5) Pack all the essential stuff.
Tips for planning road trips in India by bike
1) Charge your phone and other electronics beforehand.
2) Pack light and keep necessary stuff only.
3) Don’t eat a lot before leaving. It is advisable to start on a light stomach.
4) If you have long hair, make sure to tie them up so they don’t block your sight.
5) Wear a helmet.
6) Check the weather forecast before leaving and be prepared for it.
7) Keep essential spares and tools handy.
8) Make sure to keep rain protected gear with you during the monsoon.
Road trips in North India mean clear streams, shiny rivers, mountains, and lots of snow, while road trips in South India mean Beaches, Sea-view, dense forests, and lots of adventure. India has a lot to offer in terms of road trips, where each one gives you a distinct range of experiences. Remember Kailesh Kher singing “Yun hi chala chal rahi, kitni haseen hai ye duniya”? Well, since the world seems to be getting covid-free, it’s time to pack your bags, tune in to your favourite playlist, and let wheels do the talking.
P.S. I am sure I must have missed a few that deserve to be on the list too. So, comment below and mention your personal favourites.