Friday, October 26, 2018

North Goa Travel Guide

Goa is India's little slice of hippie paradise and if you're planning to visit India, your trip is incomplete without going to Goa. I have been going there for over a decade so there's a lot I can advise you if you're planning to go there! Goa is India's smallest state and happens to be surrounded by numerous lovely beaches. If you love laid-back beaches, love dancing, practice yoga, shop and eat well, Goa is the place for you!

Goa can be divided into North and South and since I always hang around in North Goa, this post is all about it! North Goa is the popular side of Goa which is evident by its crowded beaches, delicious seafood, crazy nightlife, hippie markets and yoga retreats. 


WHEN TO VISIT - 

Visit
Mid October to Mid-March is the best time to go to Goa as the weather is nice and it's the main 'season' time so all beach shacks, restaurants and shops are open and there are lot of good parties to go to! 

Avoid
The month of December is extremely crowded with people from all over the world (and India) there and prices of hotels are hiked up too, so I avoid December. From mid-March to end of May it's extremely hot and humid while it's the rainy season from June to September so most shacks and shops are closed. It rains heavily and for a long duration so it's kind of a bummer if you're there at that time. Another downside is you definitely cannot chill by the beach or go for a swim at that time either. However, everything is green and really beautiful at the same time too. I had once gone during the rains and it was quite pretty to say the least. There was so much of greenery that I couldn't recognize half the roads I was otherwise familiar with.


HOW TO GET THERE

If you're coming to India, you will probably either land in Mumbai or Delhi. As Mumbai is quite close to Goa, there are numerous Mumbai to Goa flights by various airlines and they take just above an hour to reach! In case you land in Delhi and plan to travel across north India before hitting Goa, there are numerous flights to Goa from all major cities of India. 


 WHERE TO STAY - 

I recommend staying right on the beach or as close as you can to it. Almost every beach has accommodation and there are properties to suit every sort of budget so you can get both hostels and fancy beach huts. As you move inland away from the beach, there are lots of hotels and resorts too.

If you want to relax and primarily spend time on the beaches with quiet dinners, I recommend you to stay way up in Morjim/Ashwem or Arambol. 

If you're the party person and enjoy the mayhem like I do, stay in Anjuna/Vagator. 
I personally prefer staying here because of the restaurants and parties and I travel to Morjim/Ashwem/Mandrem/Arambol to spend the day on these beaches.


WHAT TO DO -

Visit 
Laze, swim, chill, drink, party, shop, water sports, and yoga - the options are endless on the beaches! There are lots of beautiful beaches in North Goa. In the far north, Arambol is a popular paragliding spot and has lots of cheap accommodation. It also has a lovely beach and numerous shacks on the beach that serve amazing food along with an adorable sweet water lake which has fun parties by the lakeside. Just a bit ahead of it are the laid-back beaches of Morjim, Aswem and Mandrem are low-key. These beaches are really beautiful too and amazing to swim in. Then there is Anjuna, one of the most famous beaches of North Goa. It's the party center of Goa with lots of beach parties but the beach itself is kind of rocky and the waves are really strong so it's not so great for swimming. Almost adjacent to Anjuna is Vagator which comprises of three beaches. It has lots of amazing restaurants and party places too along with lots of fancy places to stay. 

Avoid
There are many more famous beaches like Baga, Calangute, and Candolim which are super commercialized and insanely crowded with tourists so I suggest you to steer clear from these.

Eat
There are restaurants everywhere serving cuisines from all around the world and food is Goa is amazing!  I usually eat at beach shacks because the food is really delicious and the menus are extensive with lots of options of different kinds of cuisines. I primarily just eat seafood 24/7 when I'm in Goa.

Shop
Anjuna hosts the world famous flea market every Wednesday (during season time only) where you get everything from clothes, jewellery, music, spices, home stuff to smoking paraphernalia from all around India and the world. Then there's the Saturday Night Market in Arpora which is a bigger version and has a lot more to offer along with lots of restaurant stalls, bars and parties too. I suggest you to check out both as they have their own charm. Besides these two, there are lots of boutiques and stores selling resort wear, boho clothing and exotic jewelry all over Goa but many of them have stalls in the two markets I mentioned before so you don't need to go hunting for them.

Explore
You can rent a bike or a car for a relatively cheap price in Goa. If it's a long distance, you can take a taxi. I prefer traveling by bike but if you have to go long distances, then it's better to have a car. I drove down in my car last year from Pune to Goa so it was pretty convenient for me to travel all over.

If you want to get touristy, you could visit old Goa and check out the beautiful churches and cathedrals all over. 
If you love nature and wildlife you can check out the butterfly conservatory, and also go crocodile/ dolphin/turtle watching/
There are river cruises, houseboat tours and yacht cruises too. 

Party
If you love dancing, Goa is the place to be! Goa is probably the only place in India with a proper psychedelic music scene. Popular places that host psy parties are Curlies, Shiva Valley, Nyex, Hilltop, UV Bar and more. Note that there are lots of impromptu parties that happen in open air locations and there are posters/flyers all over Goa notifying you their location and details a few days before each party.

If you prefer more of techno there's Teso, Chronicle, Waters, Katzensuppe, and Bubble Brunch to name a few. 

I hate commercial music which usually plays in the clubs (and I never go to clubs in Goa) so I can't help you with those. However, I'm 100% sure that if commercial music is your thing, you'll definitely love Baga and find that kind of music there. 

So this was my guide to things to do in North Goa. If you're ever planning to come to India, make sure you come to Goa! It's just so much fun!! Feel free to hit me up if you're a reader and have Goa plans and I'd be happy to help!

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xx June

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