I feel the most fascinating relaxing entertaining place in India for holiday might be GOA. Why?
It’s a place for everyone.. From partygoer to one who opts for a relaxing vacation. From one looking for a budget trip to extravagant ones..U can take a car in rent roam around the place or even a simple Scooty to fulfil your dream of visiting Goa. The swaying palm trees, the glittering sands and unmatched delicacies make Goa the most exciting place to enjoy a vacation.
Best Time To Travel-Mid November- to Mid February. Try to avoid summer months because the weather will be too warm to enjoy. One can try the monsoon months but be ready for the sudden downpour.
We visited the place on the onset of October to avoid crowd but the scorching heat of the sun was making us exhausted during the day even though the nights were quite pleasant.
Means of Transport-Goa is well-connected place in India.
- By Rail-Two most important railway stations are Margao and Vasco da Gama.
- By Air- Nearest airport in Goa is Dabolim Airport near Vasco Da Gama. Panji (capital of Goa is just 29 km from this place. Various cab services are available for pickup and Airport Drop.
- By Road- One can reach by car even as the national highways connects this place.
- By Sea, Route-There is some shipping companies that provide boat services from Mumbai to Panaji.
We opted for a quick short journey in flight from Bengaluru to Goa Dabolim Airport.
Exploring Goa-Even though famous cab services in India like Ola and Uber are not available here but various private cab services are available like TaxiGo, Goa Taxi services etc. One has to choose a specific cab service based on reviews and their judgment. There are various local taxi services too. One can commute in these cabs( which include driver) or can take some rented self-driven car or scooty quite cheaper than taxi services.
We have opted for a rented car (driven by my husband) as he enjoys driving.
Our trip duration- 5 nights and 4 days.
A little history about Goa–Incase you are not aware of the fact that Goa was under the Portuguese rule for more than four centuries until annexed by India in 1961. In 15th-century Portuguese adventurer Vasco Da Gama came to India and started spice trade and slowly with the Portuguese coming to power, Christianity also started spreading in GOA.
So the place still exhibits the cultural influence of Portuguese. The architecture of various buildings can still be found influenced by Portuguese style.
Geographical Division of Goa from a tourist’s eye–Goa is just like a coin having two faces North Goa or South Goa. Surrounded by the Arabian Sea at one end and bounded by states of Karnataka and Maharashtra on the other end.
Which one to prefer North or South Goa to Stay?-If you are a hardcore party lover and wants to try your hands in casino..love crowd glittery hustle bustle North Goa is perfect to select even though u can still find some serenity in some places.
If u are planning for a lavish luxurious stay South Goa is best.
Where we Stayed?–We opted for North Goa as my better half felt nostalgic about his last bachelor trip here. I was a bit apprehensive initially cause wanted to live in a peaceful place away from the crowd. Luckily found the same in a resort near Anjuna Beach “The Spazio Leisure Resort”- a beautiful, quiet place where we got everything we needed.
Things you should not miss to carry in Goa–For women-A pair of flip-flop, shorts(any fancy dress as people do not stare at you and make u feel weird), capris, hats,sunglasses,umbrella(optional),sunscreen, a pair of sneaker(needed if you are planning to visit Fort or any waterfalls where land can be bit rough)
For men- shorts, t-shirts, flip-flops, sneaker, sunscreen, sunglasses.
Our Journey-This time our main agenda was to have a relaxing trip and we wanted to soak into the skin kissed beaches, lazily stroll beside them, witness the best sunset of our life and take a dip in the sea.
Day1–Our day started with a yummy breakfast in the hotel. After that we headed straight to Anjuna beach..the serenity of the beach really attracted us..so even though we just went for a stroll we decided to take a dip as well. As it was an impromptu plan we ended up buying some swimming shorts and t-shirt from nearby stores which are available in plenty here.
Remember-bargaining is must here.
Anjuna beach has several shacks where one can get rented beach bench to sit upon the entire day. They provide amenities like washroom, changing room and their restaurant provide quite some good food and beverage option. I found them quite clean but yes not kept my expectation too high. I think Goa is a paradise for any alcohol drinker as liquors are pretty cheap here. There were various good options for Tatoo lovers even as there quite a lot number shops throughout the street beside the beach.
We had some yummy Goan grilled fishes here in lunch and this was followed by a few more dips in the sea till it was almost evening. The view in evening i.e the sunset is indeed an unforgettable experience in Anjuna beach… After having tea in the shack in the evening, we went back to our hotel where we had our dinner and slept to regain energy for the next day.
Note- It is advisable not to carry any expensive items like a camera or lots of cash or passport when you are planning for a dip as security can be a real issue here and shacks do not provide any locker. Some water-resistant pouches are available to keep your cash.
Day 2–Our second day tour started with a dip in the sea in Baga Beach. Baga is quite different from Anjuna. Water is quite calmer and we were really enjoying our time in the water. How a couple of hours passed we hardly know..Baga Beach is also famous for water sports such as parasailing and banana rides, and dolphin cruises.
If one interested can easily avail these rides but we both were little sceptical as we didn’t know swimming and I was doubtful about the safety measures. After that, we had lunch in one of the shack in Baga and went back to our hotel.
After a couple of hours, we headed to Chapora Fort(famous for Dil Chahta Hain location)to witness those ships as witnessed by the cast of Dil Chahta Hain(Just Kidding) to witness another heart touching sunset…That Sunset really reminded us how lucky we were to witness such a beautiful thing in this world.
Tips-The road to Chapora Fort is quite steep Its a small hike till you the fort.So don’t forget to wear sneaker. I had bruised my hand by slipping a little as I was in my flip-flop… 🙁
After experiencing one more spectacular sunset..we headed back towards our hotel and thought to try some more Goan Delicacy.
This time it was a small restaurant Country’s Kitchen which did not disappoint us. We relished our dinner with yummy Chicken Xacuti (cooked with roasted grated coconut) and jeera rice.
Day 3-Our day started with a yummy English Breakfast followed by our trip to Fort Aguada. Aguada in Portuguese means water and this place acted as a Watering Place. This magnificent 17th century well preserved Portuguese fort is standing tall with a lighthouse at the shore of Mandovi River. The fort used to act as a stopping point and supplied freshwater to the ships travelling from Europe during the 17th century. Portuguese built this strategically well-designed fort to guard against Marathas and Dutch during their reign.
Tips- Travelling in this place during the afternoon can be a bit tiresome due to scorching heat. Carry a bottle of water and a hat or umbrella.
Our next destination was Sinquerim Beach which was quite close to a fort and quite famous for its watersports. But it was afternoon we didn’t spend much time there and headed towards Calangute beach but on way, we took a relaxing boat safari to witness Dolphins from Sinquerim Boat Jetty. I was initially doubtful about our decision till we saw few dolphins in the sea.
Calangute Beach– I heard a lot about this beach So gave it a go. The place was jam-packed and we decided not to spend much time there except some few clicks…and there were many shacks in the beach plenty options were available for eating and relaxing. Parking fees of a car- Rs 100(quite expensive).
We returned back from Calangute and went straight to Anjuna Flea Market(thank God it was Wednesday). This flea market only set up in Wednesday near the shore of Anjuna Beach. This market has everything to offer to tourists right from handcrafted items, Goan showpieces, Rajasthani bedsheets, junk jewellery and all kind of eclectic items. Seems it was a blessing for a shopaholic like me. I just couldn’t stop myself from exploring and finally got so many stuff for my home but even though I was still having the energy to spend more time there but the sun was setting and it was almost evening. Shops were getting closed.
The timing for Flea market-10 AM to 5.30pm(After 5.30 pm most of the shops started closing).
After grabbing a few beautiful items we thought of strolling near the beach. I was amazed to see how the shacks were glittering in lights in the evening. Music was being played and soon they arranged a quaint place near the shack for a romantic candlelight dinner.
This time we thought to try some other variety of fish. A big red Snapper was on our plate. We were enjoying the breezes and sound of the sea under the moonlight with soft music playing from the shack. Wow what an experience it was!!
Day 4-We planned to explore South Goa and different churches this time. We headed straight to-
Dona Paula ViewPoint.
Entry Fee – Nil, Guide – Not required.
Time to spend: 1-2 hrs depending on your interest.
Dona Paula is a very famous area frequented by tourists. The view from here is mesmerising. One can witness the vast stretch of sea from the top. There were a lot of stalls selling all sorts of local goodies including clothes, handcrafted items. Immediately after parking on the right side, one can avail water sports.
An action sequence from Rohit Shetty’s movie Singham was shot here.
After this, we went straight to Our lady of immaculate conception Church in Panjim not very far from this place. The facade of the church rich in Portuguese Baroque style architectural elements and is painted in the bright white colour to signify the Immaculate Virgin, Mother Mary.T he church has symmetric flights of 100 steps and a gigantic bell. The church was built in 1619.
Basilica of Bom Jesus is another church which we visited then. It was quite a drive and we passed Panjim city witnessing the wide stretch of Mandovi river and different cruises halted there.
Bom Jesus means Good Jesus in Portuguese. The church is now a UNESCO world heritage site established back in the 16th century. The basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier who was known to have the miraculous power of healing. But alas we couldn’t witness that as saint body opens for public viewing every 10 years(like in 2014).
There were some restaurants nearby we had lunch in Udupi Gardens. Just in the opposite lane, we saw the Archaeological museum of Goa. History lover should not miss the place.
Photography was strictly prohibited here.
Entry fees- Rs 10.
Timings-10AM to 5 PM (Friday closed)
There are portraits of viceroys and governors who left an imprint on Goa, as well as postal stamps, wooden sculptures, which date to the Portuguese period in Goa. It also has large bronze statues of Portuguese poet Luís Vaz de Camões.
Right beside the museum there this the Church of St Francis of Assisi. Not many people were entering
but we decided to visit the place. I think that was indeed a great decision. The intricate details on the frescoes were ineffable. There was a kind of peace inside. All the walls and ceilings were painted depicting the life of St.Francis. We both completely lost track of time until we realised it’s almost closing time. We decided to head back to our hotel.
The next day we woke up quite early and decided to take a short trip to our last beach in Goa- Vagator. The calmness in the air, breezy morning, the beautiful sea wasn’t letting us say goodbye to Goa.
.Hopefully we will visit Goa again. We started packing up and way back to the hotel this time I collected few Goa handcrafted items, lamps and crystal trees. Aren’t they amazing!!
Anyway, that’s all for this trip. See u guys in another amazing journey to another unknown place.
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