Taking a short road trip over the weekend is something a lot of us are familiar with. But, another mode of travel - the ferry - doesn't often come to mind, even though these rides are convenient, cost-effective, can take you to a lot of interesting spots and help you skip the traffic snarls. This No TV Day Weekend Fest (May 29 to 31), take time out and head to these ferry wharfs and destinations.
Starting from Marve Beach, Malad, this service will take you to Manori. The service is operational between 5 am and 12 at midnight. The cost for a one-way ride to the other end (which takes all of five minutes) is Rs 10. You can even take your two-wheeler aboard the ferry. Along the way, the dome of Global Vipassana Pagoda, a meditation hall in Gorai, is visible. Once you reach the other end, you can take a rickshaw to the numerous beach cottages and hotels that line Manori. A separate ferry from Marve takes people to EsselWorld and Water Kingdom between 9 am and 8.30 pm for Rs 50 per person and Rs 30 for a bike. The journey takes roughly 20 minutes.
*Naigaon boat service
The boats here ferry people to the Panju Island in Vasai, which is an estuary on the Vasai Creek. The service runs from 6.30 am to 9 pm. The five-minute journey will cost you Rs 3. Apart from salt pans and a few sand excavation sites, there isn't much to check out here.
Gateway Of India Ferry will take you to Mandwa, Alibaug and the Elephanta Caves. (HT photo)
*Gateway Of India ferry
This ferry will take you to Mandwa in 45 minutes for Rs 110 to Rs 150 (from here you can go to Alibaug in a bus at no additional cost) and the Elephanta Caves in one hour for Rs 160 (return fare). The service runs between 6 am and 8 pm. As the ferry leaves the coast, you get breathtaking views of the Gateway Of India, The Taj Mahal Palace and more. The Butcher Island, where oil from containers is off-loaded and then transported to Mumbai, is clearly visible on the route to Elephanta. Mandwa is known for its beaches, and was made famous by the Amitabh Bachchan-starrer film, Agneepath (1990).
Versova boat service takes you to Madh Island. (HT photo)
*Versova boat service
The ferry takes people to Madh Island, which is just five minutes away. It's used mostly by fisher folk to come from Madh to the city to sell their catch. The first ferry starts at 5 am and is available till 1.30 pm. The fare is Rs 13 per person and Rs 10 for bikes.
*Arnala boat service, Virar
This ferry takes people to the Arnala Fort, which is situated on a small island. A small village, a watch tower and a resort are also part of it. The ferries start at 6 am and the last one goes back at 7.30 pm. The charge for the five-minute journey is Rs 15. The place doesn't have a jetty, so commuters have to walk in knee-deep water to get into the boat. Once you reach your destination, you can visit the fort that was built by Sultan Mahmud Begda of Gujarat. It has been conquered by the Portuguese, the Marathas and even the British in the past.
Availing of the Bhaucha Dhakka ferry service, you can visit the town of Revas and Mora, a port in the town of Uran. (HT photo)
*Bhaucha Dhakka (Ferry Wharf), Mazgaon
The ferry services here take people to the town of Revas (Rs 55), which is about 10 km from Alibaug, and Mora (Rs 45), a port in the town of Uran. These trips take an hour-and-a-half and 45 minutes, respectively. You can also take your bike on these ferries by paying an additional Rs 150. The services are available from 6.30 am to 5.30 pm. The route to Revas is popular with those who visit Alibaug, for its beaches, the islands of Khanderi and Underi and the Korlai Fort.