Eateries and stores to remain open at the port for the first time, courtesy the Ro-Pax ferry
The central space in Sunny Side Market hosts live performances for visitors
Not all Sundays can be about lounging on the sofa or going out for brunch. On some weekends, you crave a little more. One such Sunday, we thought of travelling on the much-talked-about M2M (Mumbai to Mandwa) Ferries. It allows you to take your pets as well as vehicles (R1,020 per vehicle) along. There are three seating areas—Kushaq (Rs 400), a covered space with a restaurant on Level 1 and Octavia, a partially open deck that offers a clearer view of the ocean and Super (R1,500), a premium seating area with private butler and a bar on Level 2. Since it wasn’t raining, we parked ourselves at Octavia, ordered a coffee and a beer, and left for Mandwa Port.
Mandwa, a village in Raigad district, is close to Alibaug and a popular weekend destination, courtesy the direct ferry services. Earlier, the ferries would halt services during the monsoon, owing to choppy waters. M2M being a Ro-Pax ferry service, built for freight vehicle transport and passenger accommodation, is allowed to shuttle between the two ports round the year. It’s interesting to note that since the ferry is shaped identically on both ends, it doesn’t require to take a 180-degree turn to dock, making boarding and de-boarding hassle-free.
Inside a Provenance store. PICs COURTESY/M2M Ferries
We reached Mandwa an hour later, and looked at the interesting food options. For the first time, all of these, and the adjoining shops, will also be open through the monsoon for tourists. There’s good ol’ Boardwalk by Flamboyante where you can enjoy a meal overlooking the sea, or Chef Saransh Goila’s Goila chicken, Belgian Waffle, or a local vada pav. We settled for Koobideh chicken kebabs at the newly-opened Fountain Sizzlers, and later tried khao suey at Boardwalk. Post meal, we took a stroll around the Sunny Side Market, which has a Provenance store that sells chocolates and other temptations, a book shop (which was shut the day we visited), a store with handicrafts made from shells, and a candy store with a live station.
The central square has benches under a banyan tree for you to relax, and we were treated to a large rainbow. This space is usually used for live performances, but for this writer, it made a perfect photo spot. The rest of the evening was spent strolling by the promenade. We took the evening ferry back, and every passenger wanted to get a seat at the Octavia to watch the magnificent dusk sky—flaming yellow in a grey sky. The music, a mix of pop and Bollywood, added to the charm. Tip from the wise: Unlike us, spend the night at Alibaug, considering a round-trip costs around Rs 3,500 for two adults with a car.
WHAT: Mumbai to Mandwa via M2M Ferries
WHERE: Mumbai Port
TO BOOK: m2mferries.com