Viva Goa!

Posted on February 28, 2010 in Travel

Sahiba Singh: (with self clicked photo-slider at the end)

Planning a trip that gives you fun and beauty at the same time? If you are tired of your city life then Goa, a tiny emerald land on the west coast of India may be your answer. It has the reputation of being a state of beaches, parties and unrestricted fun, but if you are willing to explore then you may be in for a pleasant surprise.

Best time to visit: October to March

How to reach: By air if you are coming from a far place like Delhi, you don’t want to waste your time in travel.

Transport to use sight seeing: Rented two wheelers. They are affordable and perfect for the narrow and smooth roads of Goa.

Clothes: You can wear anything. That’s the best thing about Goan people; they don’t stare at your clothes. Shorts and tees are the tourists’ favourite.

Beaches

Calangute: It is the Goa’s busiest and most commercialized resort, and the flagship of the state government’s bid for a bigger slice of India’s package-tourist pie. Today, Calangute beach symbolize Goa’s reputation as a haven for beach and coastal splendour.

It also makes a perfect beach site if you want to indulge in some water sports activities. Para-sailing, water skiing and wind surfing at the Calangute beach starts in the afternoon when the wind is blowing just in the right direction and it goes on till sunset. Though the water sports are exciting, the safety should be the number one priority. Even if you get hurt don’t panic, the life guards are stationed near the shore. The food at the shacks is just okay, nothing special.

Baga: The most scenic beach of Goa. The clear water and the beautiful creek provide an amazing view for the city sicken tourist. Baga has arguably the best range of restaurants in Goa, from standard beach shacks to swish pizzerias and terrace cafes serving real espresso coffee. Tourists can opt for a candlelit dinner at the beach-side, or a traditional Goan meal at the shacks and restaurants offering continental as well as tempting seafood.

Anjuna: The most popular beach of Goa and its worth of every hype it gets. Bathing is generally safer at Anjuna than at most of the nearby resorts, especially at the more peaceful southern end of the beach, where a rocky headland keeps the sea calm and the undertow to a minimum. Taking long walks under the moon on the silver sands of this beach is something that any visitor would love to do at Anjuna, beside the favourite pastime of watching the sun going down.

There are some lovely eating options. Both the beachfront and village at Anjuna are flooded with good places to eat and drink. Most are simple semi open-air, thatched palm leaf affairs, specializing in fish and western food. All serve cold beer, invariably with thumping techno music in the background. On the beach, tourists can buy fresh fruits, including watermelons, pineapples and locally grown coconuts from the local vendors.

On your way back you can check out the Aropra flea market- the largest Saturday night market. The products are as diverse as you can think. The vendors come from different states of India, showcasing their handicrafts. But one thing is for sure, do not buy from there until you have surplus money to waste. The prices are insanely high targeted at the western tourists. No shopping doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy. There are amazing food stalls and live music.

Beautiful buildings

If you are not a party or a beach person, then the sheer beauty of the local buildings in enough to make your trip memorable.

Panaji: The capital of Goa isn’t far behind being a tourist attraction. The architecture of the buildings is European inspired. The most interesting feature is most of the buildings are white with few houses in eye popping colors, resulting in a beautiful sight.

Old Goa: Located 9 km to east of Panaji, Old Goa was the erstwhile capital of the Portuguese dominions in Goa. It is more traditional, historic and has a unique cultural heritage. It’s a less visited place, but with immense tourism potential in it. It has number of churches, the most famous being Basilica of Bom Jesus and Se Cathedral.

Aguada Fort: Built into the bulwark of 16th century Portuguese fortress, the Fort Aguada Beach Resort makes for a stunning sight from the elegant terraces to the emerald gardens below. The Fort Aguada Beach Resort is famous on account of this Fort that has partially survived the ravages of time and now been converted into a beach resort. It’s surrounded by the aguada beach parts of which are privately owned. Within the fort stands this 4-storey Portuguese lighthouse, erected in 1864, which is the oldest of its kind in Asia.

Interesting observations

You will find at least 5 dentists per km. Funny right?? As western tourist come in large numbers to Goa, they find the oral treatments very cheap in Goa.

Don’t buy beach stuff like slippers, sun block or swimwear from your cities, buy it from Goa. They are much cheaper and have loads of variety.

People from Rajasthan bring their cows all decked-up and they earn quite a sum just by showcasing them on the roads.
Even the general stores keep alcohol!!

Planning in advance helps to reduce your budget.

Rest others privacy and they will respect yours.

Goa is one place you’ll keep coming back, and at least I’m not complaining!!!

The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz

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