Varsoli, a serene haven near Mumbai

November 2019

I am absolutely smitten by the glam of Mumbai. I love the crowds, noise, chaos, pandemonium. However sometimes you do want a bit of calm and peace and that’s when I discovered Varsoli. Close enough and yet distant.

I was actually looking for daytrips and thought Alibaug will be a good idea. However enroute I settled for the quieter Varsoli. I should say that you should start early, unless like me you get occupied with the cheap street shopping at Colaba. I managed to take the 1 PM ferry to Mandawa Jetty from the Gateway of India. It is about 45min – 1 hour to the Mandawa jetty. It is not fancy and can get very crowded with the locals. In November the temperatures are bearable and you can enjoy the cool sea breeze. In between we had some drama from the seagulls flying along the ferry. Once you reach Mandwa, you can take a bus to Alibaug beach. Auto – single or shuttle – is the other faster alternative.

Places to Eat/Chill

  • Boardwalk by Flamboyante : Right in front of the Jetty exit, it is a chic restaurant with a sailor themed décor. They have great cocktails and continental kind of food. They have an quite a nice outdoor seating set up overlooking the bay.
  • Kiki’s deli and café : Another cool place to hang out
  • Bohemyan Blue : It is actually a boutique shop with a café but serve main courses as well. Local cuisine, own organic vegetable garden, made from scratch after the order – the works. The food is delicious. Fish dishes are recommended. They also have staying options (quite cool tents) I discovered later

The serene beach of Varsoli stretches as far as the eyes can see. The sea is calm and the white sand beach is clean. At the entrance there are some water sport options and people were mainly gathered there. As I strolled further there were only a handful of people. The soft sound of the waves, the cool breeze, the late afternoon sun – an ideal place to relax and reflect. The shoreline is dotted with beautiful resorts. I read later that it serves as the naval base for the Indian Military. But there is no way to know at the beach itself.

I wish I could wait till the sunset but had to rush back to Mandawa for the last ferry back to Mumbai. Luckily at the jetty I met a group of college students who were on a excursion with their professors. I spoke to the professor-in-charge and he kindly allowed me to hitchhike with them on their private catamaran. Much faster than the ferry and the comfort of air conditioning – tired as I was, the return back to Mumbai was like a dream ending.

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