What is the place? Is this for real? Am I in heaven? Those questions were rushing through my mind the moment I landed in Goa. I had heard about this place so many times before, but my adventure there gave true meaning to the phrase “Seeing is believing.”
You have to experience it yourself to actually see just how jaw-droppingly beautiful Goa truly is. I am not sure what prompted me to take this extremely ill-planned and impulsive trip to Goa. Did I only need to be away from my cubicle and my comfort zone, or did I really need a getaway? I was actually asking myself and after put so many back and forth I decided to plan a short trip to Goa along with my husband (travel partner).
Tip1: For those traveling from Delhi to Goa, book the flight around 2 months before your arrival. You’ll get huge discounts on the air tickets. Goa has one airport – Dabolim which is well connected with all the major cities of Goa.
Day 1.Arrived Goa spent the whole day with salty eyelashes in the Arabian Sea
Having reached the Dobolim airport, my next biggest worry was to get to Baga beach. Hence, we settled to booked the cab from the airport (1200 bucks A.C car). It took around one hour to reach Baga Beach where we booked the resort online (Little India Beach) which is not so far away from Baga beach.
Tip2: Little India Beach Resort is just as the name suggests, a beachside property with a vast garden. We’ve booked the tropical wooden cottage which was an incredibly beautiful humble abode for our next 4 days stay in Goa. The rooms were thoughtfully designed with wall paintings, Indian arts, and crafts. The fully air-conditioned beautiful cottage was covered around the tropical garden with private pathways that lead to beach…
Having checked into the air-conditioned tropical wooden cottage, I had one my infamous long shower and got out to see the beach. The moment we reached to the private beachside, I just lied down on the beach for a while and listened to the sound of the splashing waves. Life seemed perfect there!
During the four days we spent in the sun in Goa, we rented scotty and roamed around aimlessly – discovering new places, taking dips in the ocean at will, making connections with locals and in the process falling head-over-heels in love with Goa in these hot months.
Tip3: Café Mambo Must be on top of your list when planning to Goa. Spend a night on the Baga beach, devouring the chilli paneer with rose wine. You could never have enough of them!
Day 2. Best Goa Hidden Beaches – Morjim & Arambol (outskirts of Goa)
We started our ride from Titos’s Lane which is located right at the center of the Mapusa road (Goa). After a sumptuous meal in Mc Donalad (Mapusa road), we rode further to Morjim beach. It’s clear sand and the turquoise blue sea had our heart singing. With no other, no soul in sight, we swam deep into the water and just floated when we could swim no more. We let the waves carries our back to the edge of the beach. This, by far, was the best couple of hours we spend in Goa.
Mrojim Beach: This quiet beach lies just north of the chapora river and can be reached by taking a short detour off the coast road from chapora. It is 40 kms from Panjim city.This is one of the FAMOUS TURTLE BEACHES OF GOA WHERE YOU CAN SPOT THE OLIVE RIDLEY TURTLE.
I confess, we got a bit greedy and decided to ride further down to Arambol. Attracted to it far its laid-back attitude, I was quite amazed at how the place has managed to retain the virgin feel to it, despite the evil head of commercialization lurking down to the corners.
Arambol Beach: This unique beach is the rocky as well as sandy beach. There is also a fresh water lagoon, extending right up to the sulphurous mud and hot springs. Russians and hipsters trope can be seen here smearing the mud, which has certain curative properties. Arambol is a perfect picture of a Goan traditional village, with lots of palm trees and fishing boats.
When we arrived in Arambol in North Goa, we weren’t expecting much, but we are very glad that we visited his beach because if we hadn’t then we wouldn’t be fallen in love with this place and discovered these amazing gems.
Sweet-Lake: Just around the corner from the main stretch of beach lay “sweet-lake” as the name suggest it’s a lake and its pretty sweeeet. You can swim here and chill out on the deck chairs.
Tip4: To rent a deck chair 50 rs and you can spend as long as you like there.
Banyan tree and mud bath: On the way, you can pop into the river that runs through the jungle and have an authentic mud bath, something that hippies have been doing here for years. A 15minute walk away from sweet-lake, through the jungle, you come to a giant banyan tree. It’s stunning, huge vines fall from its branches and natural platform are made by the tree, perfect for sitting on a chilling out.
Casino Night: As it started to get back, we reluctantly, headed back to the resort. After a shower, we were ready for the night. The rush of going to a casino for the first time was quite whimsical. We bought ourselves couple package at Deltin Royale (9500 rs which include unlimited drinks, good and yes chips for playing the luck at a casino), Panjim city and was taken to the premium floating casino on a ferry.
Tip5: If you have never been to a casino, Goa offers you the best chance to do. Apart from Deltin Royale, the few others that attract the crowd are Casino Caravela & Casino Carnival.
After familiarizing ourselves with most of the games, we were ready to give gambling shot. Casino war, Roulette, the slots were just few of the games we tried a hand at. We won some, we lost some. But it was an entertaining night with a luxurious buffet spread with lively music. It was almost late night around 2am we decided rode back to retire for the night.
Day3. Goa beyond the beaches.
The next morning, as one would think, we woke up late into the afternoon. Determined to spend a lazy Friday we had a late lunch at Bongo Shack in Baga beach. we spent a couple of hours here, actually. The food is to die for! And the service is good, too, considering the sheer size of the place and the number to which they cater to.
Tip6: The Bongo Shack is the best place to dine if you love wine and good vegetarian food. Service is pretty awesome and people out there are really humble and welcoming. Café mostly crowded with foreigner couples.
Old Goa Church: After the lazy lunch, we decided to explore the Goa beyond beaches. We headed to spend time in Old Goa, visiting all the churches and old Portuguese houses. Basilicas of Bom Jesus, Sé Cathedral (Old Goa Church) and Panaji church are few famous churches of Old Goa.
Tip7: Old Goa is a world within itself. The magnificent architecture of the Basilicas of Bom Jesus is awe-inspiring. You’d find few other churches just a block away from each other.
Old Portuguese House: After which, we strolled around the museum for a couple of hours, finally we heading to explore the ancient forts of Goa. While going there we have found one old Portuguese house. Once you walk around a little in old Goa, it’s easy to get addicted to its houses, especially the ones from Portuguese era. These houses have the most beautiful colors and textures and are very inviting as photography subjects.
Tip8: You can easily spend a whole day in Old Goa, exploring its real way of life, it’s churches in tiny villages, it’s iconic Portuguese houses, street photography and of course, some unusual food.
Aguada Fort & Light House: One of the ancient fort built by the Portuguese to defend against the Dutch invasion. The water from the natural spring on the headland was used to meet the needs of ships cruising in and out of the mandovi river. Spent almost one hour here, after that we headed to back to the resort.
We rode back to Baga beach to relish dinner at Café Mambos, yet another Goan special and walked along the beach late into the night, reminiscing over all the earlier times we had been here and there as mate-travelers.
Tip9: Café Mambo & Bhongo shack are two of my favorite places to dine at Baga. Don’t skip if you haven’t been here before.
Day4. Experienced the feel of Arbian sea closely
We got up early we wanted to see the sunrise from coco beach and yes Dolphin’s, Start the day by spending sunrise view from coco beach. This beach is bit hidden, so stay sharp. This is especially important for us as we simply love getting into the sea. We boarded the private boat from there(1500rs) for 45 minutes. The beach has a stunning view of Fort Aguadda Jail, Jimmy Millionaire bungalow and yes the bit of dolphin spotting. We’ve spotted around many dolphins staring here and there around our boat.
Tip10: Since the coastline is on western, sunrise is better appreciated on the beaches of Goa. For sunrise, if you are looking for sunrise, I would highly recommend you my favorite place, Chapora Fort. It is really worth it.
It was our last day in Goa and we really wanted to live every bit of it. We started our evening by visiting the nearest beach, of course, Anjuna and spent quality time thereby playing with the waves, binging on some street food, had some water sports activities, clicking loads of pictures. And rode back to our beautiful resort and slept!
Day5. Never say goodbye
Woke early today, yes it was our last day in Goa. Spent plenty of good time in the resort. Had amazing breakfast and check out few hours later than we supposed to, thanked the owner and the staff for the great hospitality, my husband played with the dogs for one last time, returned the good old scotty and hired a cab to airport. As the plane take off from Goa, I bid adieu to Goa with some terrific memories and a promise to visit again soon.
Some Useful tips:
Goa Essentials: A couple of swimwear, sunscreen at least 70 SPF, your favorite novel (for light reading on the beach, if you are a reader), Camera, Selfie stick & the pair of sunglasses.
Best time to go: November – April. Depending on what is the purpose of the trip (chilling or relaxing)
Transport: The cheapest way to travel and explore Goa is rent a bike or scotty (300-650) per day. We spent around 1700 with fuel for 3 days.
Best café around the beaches: Café Mambo – Baga Beach, Café liiliput- Anjuna Beach Bora Beach: Morjim Beach.
So, that was all about my short trip to Goa, I really had a great experience staying in Little India Beach resort and goofing around the city. I’m back in Delhi but my heart is still in Goa. Why I’m not sure. But all this rubbish aside, when I remember Goa, I remember the natural wonders, the happy roads, the well-constructed yet delightful homes.
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Love – Neha (wander woman)