There is no direct access to Matheran by air. Mumbai and Pune are its two closest airports, Mumbai being the nearer one. Once you reach Mumbai Airport, you have a wide range of transit options to reach Matheran. If you alight at the Terminal 1, which is the domestic terminal, you can catch a private bus right outside the airport. If you land at the swanky new Terminal 2 or T2, you will first have to make your way to the bus stop outside the domestic terminal.
Alternately, you can rent a radio cab or a private taxi at the airport itself. If you’d like to drive yourself till Matheran, you can also hire a self-driving car from the airport. While it would be costlier than a bus, it is a faster and more comfortable way to reach Matheran. But the quickest way from Mumbai Airport to Matheran is to take the train. Mumbai’s local train network has a good connectivity to Neral, which sits at the base of Matheran.
The buses and the local trains will take you until Neral, from where you have two options to proceed further, a steep winding road or Matheran’s famous toy train. The toy train will take you into Matheran while the road will take your up to Dasturi Naka, which is the hill station’s point of entry.
If you decide to take the train to Matheran, you will have to get down at Neral, as the regular Indian Railways will not take you right up to the hill station. Neral serves as the base point for any forays into Matheran. Apart from Mumbai’s local trains, only two outstation trains halt at Neral station, the Deccan Express from Mumbai and the Sahyadri Express from Pune.
If you’re travelling from Mumbai, hop on to any local train bound for Karjat. You can catch one from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) or Thane station on the Central line. Once you get down at Neral, you can complete the final leg by the toy train or a taxi. From Mumbai, you can also take the Deccan Express to Neral which has fewer stops.
From Pune, the Sahyadri Express will drop you at Neral in around 3 hours. While the train is faster, it is interrupted by stops and changeovers in between. So be sure to factor that into your itinerary.
A road trip is the fastest uninterrupted way to reach Matheran. Sitting at a distance of around 120 km from Pune, it is but a quick drive away from the city. At 90 km Mumbai is even closer. You can either hire a taxi or rent a car from either of these cities. But taking your own car is the best way to drive to Matheran for a pocket-friendlier trip.
Whichever option you take, you will have to get down at Dasturi Naka. If you’ve brought along your own vehicle, Matheran’s entry point has parking facility.
Take the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and get off the Khopoli exit to get on to the old Mumbai-Pune highway, NH 4. After going around 18 km take a right towards Chouk Town and keep on going until you reach the base of Matheran. From the NH 4 you can also take the exit at Hall Phata, near Khopoli and take the SH 35 to the Matheran Ghat Road. The entire journey should take you around 2.5 to 3 hours.
The journey from Mumbai is shorter and it will take you around 1.5 to 2 hours to reach Matheran. Once you get on to the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, take the Khopoli exit towards SH 35. Th rest of the journey is the same as described above.
In addition to a car or taxi, you also have the option of MSRTC and private buses from Mumbai, Pune, Nasik and Kolhapur.
Also check out the best time to visit Marheran wishly
No mechanized vehicles are allowed inside Matheran. But walking is the best way to get around. The dirt roads are soft on your knees and feet, and let you walk longer without tiring. In fact, you can explore the entire hill station on foot owing to its small size.
This is one of the more fun ways to travel around Matheran. You will find horses around every corner and they’re a part of the hill station’s daily life. Settle on the rates before you start.
By far the most comfortable mode of transport inside Matheran, these rickshaws are usually pulled by a couple of rickshaw drivers. However, do note that not all areas are accessible by rickshaws.
Also have a look at the best places to visit in Matheran. A Matheran holiday package from Thomas Cook will show you the best side of this eco-friendly hill station. You can book your Matheran Tour Package online or drop into the nearest Thomas Cook branch. Either way, it is going to be a memorable holiday.