Life is a Beach – enjoy the Waves!!
The first thing that comes to anyone’s mind when u say Goa, – are its BEACHES!! For anyone who loves to party, wants to have a relaxing time , want to try exotic sea food – must visit GOA!
Goa is a state in western India with coastlines stretching along the Arabian Sea and attracts a large number of domestic and international tourists every year for its beaches, its heritage architecture, flora and fauna!
For Mumbaikars, Goa is a one stop destination (590kms away) to have a perfect holiday break that suits all budget travellers. However, the battle whether to stay in North or South Goa still continues.
Having a firsthand experience in staying both sides of the town – I can safely state, that North Goa is a Tourist’s paradise – a delight for party lovers, vibrant nightlife, mouthwatering seafood, Hippy markets and Casinos. Whilst, South Goa is more relaxed with pristine –soulful breeze, Goan trance and sun-kissed beaches!
Allthough, July is not the recommended month to travel – but we still went ahead and broke the myth and it turned out that Monsoons made our trip the Best ever!
We stayed at a 4 star deluxe property ‘Golden Tulip’ in Candolim which was just 5-7 minutes’ drive away from Candolim Beach.
The 3 best things that made us choose this hotel were: spacious rooms, close proxmity to most of the beaches such as Candolim, Vagator , Baga and Anjuna and a 5 minute scooty drive to the Candolim market and restaurants.Hiring a bike or a scooty comes dirt cheap and cost around ( Rs 250-500, based on how well you manage to bargain) alternatively taxis are a common feature for bigger group or families!
The 1st day was more of beachy fun and we headed to the Charlston Beach Resort, in Calangute – overlooking the Arabian Sea. This resort was surrounded by an immaculate, lush green garden all the way to the beach! The beach front multi cuisine restaurant and pool bar was a place you could sit and laze around for hours! With Glasses of Chilled beer and and the famous Chicken Xacuti ( a rich coconut curry with complex spicing, served with classic Goan rice and chappatis) made us love the spicy hangover!
Enroute to our hotel in the evening, we stopped by the hill top of Vagator beach. This is the northernmost beach in the Bardez sub district of North Goa. This beach is known for its dynamic cliffs that look down on a sea shore. The most enchanting experience was to see the sun setting and the splashing of golden waves spreading so much of happiness! Sometimes, just simple things in life gives immense pleasure…
The next day we were all charged to hit the Candolim beach early morning (one of the longest beach that stretches from Aquada fort to Chapore Beach) – but to our disappointment, the high tides made it impossible for us to take a dip in the water and the coast guard kept reminding us to stay at a distance by blowing his whistle!
After a sumptuous breakfast at the hotel, we decided to be a little more adventurous and headed to Panjim City on our scooty. It took us approximately an hr to reach our first halt to Dona Paula – a former village, now a popular tourist destination in the suburbs of Panaji, Goa. Amidst the Dona Paula beach lies a white marble couple statue which tells, tales of a tragic love story of the Portuguese Viceroy’s daughter-Dona Paula de Mendes. Allthough, a small beach with lots of roadside shops, a sunset point , this tourist spot is also famous for shooting the old bollywood flick – ‘Ek duje ke liye’ and a more recent Ajay Devgan blockbuster- Singham!!
While driving and enjoying the breeze, we halted next to the most visited beach of the Goan capital, Panjim known as Miramar. Situated at the confluence of Mandovi River and the Arabian Sea, this was a pure delight for us – we could see the golden beach fringed with palm trees and the soft sand making it the best site for evening walks! Like complete tourists, we both enjoyed splashing in the water, clicking some amazing shots and creating some wonderful memories.
Another highlight that would dazzle a tourist’s Goa evening are the sunset Boat Cruises which goes along the Mandovi river from the jetty in Santa Monica. The ride is approximately for 2 hours and sails past the beautiful colonial buildings, past the Miramar beach with loads of dancing on Goa’s famous folk dances ‘Dekhni’ and ‘Fugdi’.
Later in the evening, we drove to Soi- an authentic Goan restaurant with great interiors and exceptional customer service. The manager recommended us to try Stuffed Crabs- (Crab meat cooked with goan masala served in a Crab shell) and Goan style Chilly Chicken. The thought of eating a Crab gave me jitters, but my better half persuaded me to be open to trying out different cuisines. After the 1st few bites of that Crab meat and a glass of chilled beer- I did develop a taste for exotic sea food J
We had decided to explore the rest of the beaches and the nearby villages on the 3rd day. The clear sky, cool breeze and lush green surroundings with small roads made our road journey even more exciting. We stopped by at Anjuna beach – which was more like a rocky beach but most popular for its night parties and Wednesday Flea markets. These roadside shops are a perfect place to bargain and buy colourful short dresses and beach wear. One could also buy a variety of goods like wines, cashew nuts, handicrafts and Goan spices from the popular Panjim or Calangute markets.
As recommended by a friend, we kept looking for a popular beach shack, called Curlies at Anjuna, which is one of the first ever beach shack to set up in Goa. Literally, the place was cool and happening, buzzing with tourists and locals- chatting, smoking, drinking and getting massages on the shore of Anjuna beach. We also spent a few good hours satisfying our tummies and having pure rustic beach shack fun!
The evening came to a close at a multi-cuisine restaurant in Candolim, where apart from the aroma of Goan spices, with a backdrop of some old English and Bollywood numbers being played, in Karaoke style and a candlelit table with the two of us, rejoicing in the magic of our Goa memories.
3 days in Goa were just not enough but one thing that the land of expansive sandy beaches, swaying palm trees , sea food curries and hippy backpack culture echos…
Life is a Beach – enjoy the Waves!!