Calma de Ilha – Diu

Diu, the tiny island with an amazing tourism advertisement and equally awesome tourism website, is tucked beneath Gujarat’s Kathiawar coast and fairly hidden from tourism map of India. Calma de Ilha as they call it in Portuguese is absolutely opposite to its twin brother Daman in terms of serenity. Mostly pronounced together but they are geographically so distant that you have to cross the whole breadth of Gujarat to reach the better half of Diu from no-frill half of Daman. The only similarity between both which I saw was the ever thirsty Gujju crowd.

Reaching Diu

Air: Diu is connected to mainland via Air. There used to a daily Jet flight from Mumbai but it got discontinued. Air India flies to and fro on alternate days. Diu airport is just an airstrip with one small terminal building.

Rail: Diu is not connected through rail. The nearest train station is Somnath (63 KM) and Veraval (67 KM) {2 to 3 hours by taxi @ Rs. 900 to Rs. 1,500}
Train Options:

  1. Somnath express (#9221). Departure from Ahmadabad=2135 hrs. Arrival Veraval= 0635 hrs.
  2. Ahmadabad-Veraval intercity express (#9119) departure from Ahmadabad=1030hrs. Arrival Veraval=1930 hrs. Dep. Veraval for Ahmadabad as #9120 at 0710hrs.
  3. Jabalpur-Veraval express (# 1464 & 1466) departure from Ahmadabad=0755 hrs. and arrival Veraval=1725 hrs

Road: Best way to travel – a whole day’s drive from Ahmadabad. One can also combine Diu with Gir to make the road trip a perfect one. We however were in just beach mode and moreover the slots of Gir was full for the month. We pre-booked an Innova from Autorider and I must say the experience was amazing both in terms of taking and handing over of the car. The security deposit was mere INR 5000.

There are three routes which connects Diu to Ahmadabad:

  • Route 1 (Route suggested by Google Maps via Amreli): Ahmadabad – Bagodara – Dhanduka – Vallabhipur – Amreli –Chalala-Khamba-Bediya – Dhokadva -Una – Diu
    370 KM
  • Route 2 (Better route via Bhavnagar ): Ahmadabad – Bagodara – Dhanduka – Vallabhipur – Bhavnagar bypass – Talaja – Mahuva – Una -Diu
    371 KM | Traffic free route | Good roadsroute-1
  • Route 3 (via Rajkot): (This option is for those wishing to first visit Sasan Gir or Somnath temple): Ahmadabad – Bagodara – Limdi- Rajkot – Gondal – Junagadh – Verawal/Somnath – Kodinar – Kesaria – Diu
    450 KM

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Staying in Diu

When I started looking for accommodation, I was quickly taken aback by the inflated rates for those normal looking rooms. Diu, I must say, has the one of the costliest hotel accommodations in India relative to the facilities provided. Reason being the huge pressure of demand (mostly from thirsty Gujju crowd) and scarcity of Supply.

I stopped chasing deals on Make my trip and goibibo, and instead started searching for bag-packer’s hostels/hotels. Most of it were booked but one Hotel Sao Tome Retiro was not. Reason: it does not accept pre-booking; instead one has to call them up a day before and get it blocked based on availability. Tuned out we were lucky.

Hotel Sao Tome Retiro is actually part of an old church: St. Thomas Church which has been converted into a museum and hotel. Its rooftop provides a full 360 panorama of Diu, the best in Diu. The rooms however are below the normal standards of budget hotel. The usual charges are somewhat around INR 300-400 per day but since we were there in a peak season (post Diwali weekend), George (the owner) charged us 900 per room. Having no other option, we settled for it but the view made up for everything.

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I however will not recommend the hotel for family as the owner is an alcoholic arrogant brat who drinks daily with bunch of his ‘like minded’ friends at the rooftop sit-out area. He has zero hospitality acumen. So you have been warned !!!

Some of the other notable stays in Diu are:

  • The Hoka Resort: One of the better resort in Diu. Closer to airport but not beach facing. Price range: INR 3200 – 5000. Link
  • OYO Rooms: Standard facilities. Price Range INR 3000 – 6000. Most of the time it is unavailable on weekends. Try your luck
  • Sugati Beach Resort: Earlier it was Suzlon Resort, build for the employees of Suzlon but later opened for public and converted in to Sugati Beach Resort. It is beach facing resort. Very Less crowded. Price Range INR 5000 – 8000
  • Heranca Goesa homestay:  Have heard a lot about it. It was already booked when we were there. Try your luck: Ph No: 02875-253851 / Email: heranca_goesa@yahoo.com

Roaming around in Diu

Diu is very small island which can be easily covered through rented scooter or cycle. Public mode of conveyance is non existent. Don’t go to Diu keeping Goa in mind, its not a party island. In fact its exact opposite of Goa. It is an island of Calm: Calma de Ilha as they call it. You don’t come here to hop beaches or for late night parties. You come here to talk, read and roam aimlessly.

For us, it was a reunion of college friends after 2 years and Diu turned out to be a perfect host for it. We were not in a hurry to touch bases, instead we chatted till late nights at rooftop sit-out area reliving those college days.

Listed below are the various attraction of Diu which we covered:

Nagoa Beach

Pronounced nagwa, it is the most popular and most crowded beach of Diu. Only beach with water-sports facilities. We left as soon as we came as it was shit crowded but not before clicking picture perfect group photograph

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Gomtimata Beach

The farthest and the most serene beach of the island. Don’t skip it if you seek solitude. We were literally alone on the beach which makes it a bit unsafe as well.

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Jallandhar Beach

Its one of its kind beach in India – green colored beach. The color is due to the mosses which cover the rocks on the shore.

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Sea Shell Museum

Quite off the tourists’ itinerary, it is a must visit for everyone in love with the sea. The jolly fellow who takes care of the property will show you around, giving you more details on the various types of shells

Diu Fort

Very crowded and not very impressive. The fort houses a lighthouse which was the reason we went there but it was closed for public. This fort is best seen at night when it is beautifully lightened up.

St Paul’s Church

I can easily place it amongst the most beautiful churches which I have visited in India. Trip to Diu is not complete if you don’t visit this place.

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Roads without any destination

We loved roaming around on the single lane roads of Diu. Highly recommended.

 

Other place which we didn’t visit –

Nadia Caves – Should have visited. It is 1 km from the city center via Hadmatiya Road

I N S Khukhri – It was closed by the time we reached there. The drive to the place is amazing

Diu Museum – Although we lived in the same building but didn’t actually go there. Not worth the time.

Traveling Tips for Diu

  • It is well known that liquor is very cheap in Diu but MRP is not written on the bottles. Stores will try to make a fool outta you by quoting higher price for uncommon drink. In our case we bought Samara wine for INR 500 (Its a fresh wine from Sula. Mumbai price for the same is INR 270)
  • Renting a scooter is pretty easy. Just go to the Diu bus depot, where you’ll find a number of offices belonging to travel agents who usually have bikes and scooters for rent. The average rental is for INR 350/day. You can rent a bicycle too.
  • Rent a bicycle once you have boomarked all your favourite spots. Get a bicycle from Safar Bicycle Rental Point (+91-94292-16902)  @ INR 50 per day and INR 1000 as refundable security deposit
  • Carry a mosquito repellent
  • There are many budget hotels. You don’t necessarily have to book one in advance unless you are planning your trip during rush period. Try and stay around the Diu Museum area. It’s calmer and more ‘Diu’ like

Eating in Diu

To be very honest, Diu disappointed me in terms of food. Although there are not many non-vegetarian restaurant

O’Coqueiro Music Garden Restaurant

Had to go there as it is the most recommended place in almost all forums and it was in our neighborhood. Ambiance wise it is not that amazing but the food makes up for everything. I fell in love with their Prawns in a coconut gravy. They also serve beer. Vegetarian food is not that great.

Cat’s Eye View

It is an open-air restaurant at Hoka Island resort. Go there for breakfast

Street food stalls Near Fisheries Department

A common eating having various stalls selling indian, chinese, and mughlai food. Of many things we tried, we loved only chai, paani puri and chaat. Chinese food was horrible.

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Our Group:

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