My First Time in Goa

In India, Travel Guides
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Introduction:

It took my companion and me around 14 hours of bus travel to reach Panjim from Hyderabad. After a rest stop at Jadcherla for dinner, passing over the mighty Krishna River that went under a bridge (national highway 167) and snaking our way up a Ghat road, we step foot in the Panjim bus station. Panjim, the other name for Panaji, the capital city of Goa is situated on the bank of Mandovi River, in North Goa. Mandovi bridge connects Panjim to the Pilerne side of Northern Goa; the bridge is also a highway – Kochi – Panvel Highway.

Mandovi River

Mandovi Bridge: Looking over the bridge, the Mandovi River on the right side of which are fishermen’s boats grouped together.
(Courtesy of the author)

On the left side is Deltin Royale. On the right is me, with my rented moped.

On the left side is Deltin Royale. On the right is me, with my rented moped. Photo Credits: Marc Joseph

Little about Deltin Royale:

One of the largest Cruise Casinos in Goa, it is a luxurious holiday spot. Go with your friends, party all night, eat the delicious, quality food, and bet like there is no tomorrow. Not for budget travelers.

An insight on bike rentals in Goa:

Being a tourists’ hub, Goa has many bike and car rentals scattered all over the major tourist-spots. Very few of these charge you on an hourly basis, while all other rentals charge you on a daily basis. Prices can range from 150 – 500 INR per day for a moped. Majority, of these rentals have a condition that the vehicle must be rented for two simultaneous days. Keep in mind to bargain like a crazy person. Always bargain. Ask for 1/4th the proposed price if you are feeling particularly adventurous.

That said, one can find Honda Activa and Vespa in the moped category whereas Bajaj Avenger is pretty famous in the geared side. Even Royal Enfield’s Bullet and Thunderbird can be found in few stores. One could rent a car or a jeep too!

These vehicles come with helmet (except for four-wheeler), and all the documentation required by the law. All one needs is to carry a valid driver’s license of the person driving and roughly 1000 INR which will be taken from you as a refundable cash deposit. This is, however, excluding the rent for the vehicle. Petrol is not included; although it is very cheap in Goa; for about 59 INR per liter.

Back to the beginning:

We boarded a bus in Hi-tech city, Hyderabad; a Volvo A/C semi-sleeper. After dining at Jadcherla in a road-side Dhaba, the journey was resumed and we went into a deep slumber only to wake up to a beautiful sunrise on the Ghat roads somewhere near Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary. It was a great start for the day.

Bargaining in Goa:

As soon as we got off the bus in the destination bust station, we were flocked by a bunch of desperate Taxi drivers. They proposed a price they would charge us to take us to Calangute. The price seemed too high for a 14 km ride and hence we walked away with them tailing us for around five whole minutes. While the chase, we had an intense bargaining argument that resulted in one of the drivers agreeing to halve the initial price. We got into his Maruti Omni (a common mode of private transport there) and set off to our hotel in the town of Calangute. The hotel was on the other side of Mandovi River and so we crossed the Mandovi Bridge.

St. Alex’s Church, Calangute: Looking out the window of our taxi, onto the roads of Goa. (Courtesy of the author)

St. Alex’s Church, Calangute: Looking out the window of our taxi, onto the roads of Goa.
(Courtesy of the author)

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About Beach Shacks in Goa:

Calangute beach was hardly 2km from St. Alex’s Church. The climate being highly humid, and the noon sun blazing hot, the beach was our only solace. The sea water and the breeze did a great job of sweeping away the heat. Add an umbrella, a few cold beverages, recliners with mattresses on them – the word chilling shall be re-defined. That’s what we did. We hung out in one of the many Beach Shacks and later got into the waters. Here are few pictures that try to bring alive that experience of ours.

Calangute beach: An array of wooden recliners with mattresses, umbrellas and tables (Courtesy of the author)

Calangute beach: An array of wooden recliners with mattresses, umbrellas and tables
(Courtesy of the author)

The recliners are property of beach shacks. We were asked to either pay a rent for the recliners or order something in the respective shack.

Calangute beach: Inside a beach shack (Courtesy of the author)

Calangute beach: Inside a beach shack
(Courtesy of the author)

How we chilled:

So we settled in a shack, ordered lunch before proceeding to rest on the recliners. An while later, I got into the waters and spent the next two hours colliding head on with the waves. Around a meter or so high, the waves came one after the other, endlessly and tirelessly. The amount of kinetic energy seemed inexhaustible. And rightly so, the waves came onto the beach one after the other; some scarily huge.

Beaches, My favorite Holiday spots:

I must say that, personally, beaches are my favorite holiday spots. I could spend endless hours in the waters, tackling the waves. And beaches in Goa are some of the few very well-maintained beaches in India. There is practically no litter. Even if there is, the frequent patrolling of the cleaning staff cleans the beach thoroughly and very often. The sand on the beach couldn’t have gotten any softer. To sit on the beach, on the recliners, with protective shade, is nothing less than bliss.

One of the numerous lanes to Calangute Beach. (Courtesy of the author)

One of the numerous lanes to Calangute Beach.
(Courtesy of the author)

Going to Calangute Beach at night:

At this point, we could already hear, faintly, the sound of waves. It was a heart-warming. We walked forward after taking a picture, my companion and I, only to be awed by the view of the beach under a starry sky. Unlike other famous beaches in Goa, Calangute is a rather calm beach. Far enough from the roads and all the noise of traffic, Calangute provided us with a peaceful environment. We were sure that we were going to have one peaceful vacation. And we were right. The calming sound and the gargantuan energy display of the sea waves, fine sand that melted under your feet, coupled with a starry sky, the experience can be paralleled only by heaven/ the experience cannot be paralleled.

 

 

PS

Thanks for reading. I would love to hear about your experience reading it. Hope it was informative as much as entertaining. This article describes the first day of my first visit to Goa. There is more. Stay tuned so that you don’t miss out on the entire trip. Also, I shall be traveling more and documenting all my travels in interesting articles. Please check out my blog: http://thoughtspenned.com. Any sort of feedback is welcome and appreciated.

 

 

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