GOA- A FUN LOVER’S PARADISE
Being an Indian, Goa means “THE BIG BREAK” for me. Its everything a perfect getaway should offers the chance to unwind and laze as a beach bum, to indulge in mouthwatering delicacies, to celebrate life, to treat the andrelaine rush, to explore new places, and most importantly to party till the wee hours. Now, it is said, that the best time to visit Goa is from October to June, but I would say Goa is for all seasons. The fresh green and the beauty of the beaches are a sight to behold in the monsoon season. So, if you want to catch Goa at its calmest, then this is the season. I have been to Goa thrice and I am in the midst of planning my next trip to Goa this year. Once the Goa bug bites you, its difficult not to pay it a yearly visit. Normally, I go to Goa by road to see all the beautiful and breathtaking views and hear some awesome music at my own comfort. But you can also get there by-
- By Train: One can easily book their train from almost any city in India for Goa.
- By Air: Goa International Airport at Dabolim near Vasco da Gama is the state’s only airport and is 30 km from the main city; but one can easily find a mode of transportation there to reach your destination.
‘When in Goa, do as the Goan’s do!’ In short, that means life’s a party and live it king size!. When you reach Goa, there is an infectious positive and energetic vibe that instantly rubs off you. Goa has so much to offer to any kind of traveler- right from its pristine beaches to its rich greenery, old Portuguese architecture, adventure sports, crazy night life and places of worship. So, well to start with, I believe the best way to explore Goa, would be on a rented two wheeler. It is super easy to find places that offer you two- wheeler/four wheeler on rent for a day. All you need is a driver’s license plus the rent depending on the vehicle you take (it could range from INR 150-500 for a two wheeler and around INR 1000 for a four-wheeler). Personally, a Royal Enfield goes with my bohemian biker soul.
Places to Visit-
This answers to my pray for for ‘Beach Please, I need Vitamin Sea!’. Goa has over 25 amazing beaches, which varies from the party life destinations to the serene and peaceful ones. Normally the beaches of North Goa are considered to be more happening and lively than those of South Goa which are quieter and more secluded.
- North Goa- Famous beaches in North Goa are Baga, Calangute and Anjuna; which have shacks buzzing with life, serving lip-smacking delicacies from not only the Konkan cuisine but from different cuisines around the world along with cocktails and mocktails to go along. My favorite beaches to just bum around and soak in the the beauty of the surroundings are the trio of Arambol, Mandrem and Morjim. They are the underdogs when it comes to the best beaches in North Goa. Nothing beats the calm and serene nature of this trio.
- South Goa- It is rather mellow, with serene beaches like Palolem, Colva, Varca and Galgibaga (famous as a nesting ground for Olive Ridley turtles) which are cut off from the world, but really worth visiting, if you are looking for some peace and quiet.
2) Adventure Sports:
Goa is also an adventure junkie’s paradise. Variety of water sports like Parasailing, Jet skiing, Bumper/ Banana rides and others are offered at famous beaches like Baga, Calangute and Colva. Morjim beach is famous for Kite Surfing. If this was not enough, there is kayaking and crocodile sight seeing available at Mandovi river. Plus, Goa has recently come up with hot air balloon at Chandor(South Goa)and Go Karting is also available at Arpora near the Baga-Anjuna road.
North Goa’s Baga and Anjuna beach are known as the party capitals for enjoying an amazing night-life in Goa’ as majority of night clubs are located there. But, if you would love to loosen your hair and dance away the night there are many options like Club Cabana(Anjuna), Mambos(Baga), LPK(Candolim), Silent noise parties one every Saturday at Palolem, Curlies/ Shiva Valley(Anjuna) also host parties that go on till 6 in the morning, Titos (Baga) and many others. Plus, many famous music festivals like Supersonic, Sunburn(which is held in Dec every year) brings the best DJ’s from all over the world. Needless to say Goa can be officially declared as the party destination of India.
4) Flea Markets:
- Anjuna Flea Market- Every Wednesday, it is held at the Anjuna Beach. It’s a shopper’s paradise with great items ranging from clothing, jewellery ,electronic and electric item.
- Baga Night Market: It is a tourist destination in itself. Filled with vibrant energy thanks to the great music bands that perform here, plus the good food available at the stalls and the variety in shopping available.
When one travels around in Goa, one can come across many beautiful beaches. My personal favourite are:
- Basilica of Bom Jesus(Old Goa)- It was constructed in 1605.T his is where the body of St. Francis Xavier is kept. It is one of the oldest church of India and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. A trip to Goa, cannot be over without visiting this impressive architecture
- Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church (Panjim) – This pearly white structure is one of the most beautiful churches in Goa and it is no doubt why it is featured in many Bollywood movies too.
- Fort Aguada- This Portuguese Fort offers a majestic view of the Arabian Sea and it also has a Jail and Lighthouse that once can visit.
- Chapora Fort- After featuring in a famous Bollywood Dil Chahta Hai, this fort is famously called as the ‘Dil Chahta Fort!’ named . It was about time someone paid tribute to this ancient fort in North Goa which offers a splendid view of the Vagator beach and overlooks the Arabian Sea The fort is located on top of a hill and though it is almost in ruins now; it is worth the climb; because the view is breathtaking from the top.
It is considered as one of the most splendid waterfalls of India. If you want to catch the nature at its best in Goa, then this is the place.They say that more than the destination the journey matters, well it’s the same for this place; but that doesn’t mean the waterfalls are gorgeous it just means the journey is a notch higher. The dense and wild forest offers a rough terrain with the views that make the 45 mins jeep drive to the waterfalls worthwhile . These jeeps are available at the entrance of the forest by the forest authority and they are the only mode of transport to reach inside.
Well, it will take me more than one article to do justice to Goa. (Hmmm, but I think that wont be still enough to describe what all this amazing place has to offer). So, my Part II on Goa will feature the best places to eat in Goa plus many offbeat places to visit in Goa.
Adios, only till we meet again on yet again exploration of what I call my ‘Soul Planet i.e. Goa!’.