Category: Goa

3 Fab Day Trips to Take from Goa on a Rainy Day

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If you think Goa is all about the sun and the sand, it may be because you haven’t experienced the place during the monsoons. Rid of the cacophony of tourists, the rain-washed verdant landscapes turn velvety. And the best way to savour it all is to hop into a car and head out on a day trip from Goa

If you think Goa is all about the sun and the sand, it may be because you haven’t experienced the place during the monsoons. Rid of the cacophony of tourists, the rain-washed verdant landscapes turn velvety. And the best way to savour it all is to hop into a car and head out on a day trip from Goa.

1. Witness the Dudhsagar Falls in all Their Milky Glory

Goa is home to about forty waterfalls, the most pristine of which is the Dudhsagar Falls—where the river Mandovi plummets with full force. And the drive towards it on a rainy day is a mere appetiser to the feast that lies ahead. About 60 km from Panaji, on the NH4A, the Dudhsagar—named so for its milky white, frothy cascades—roars down to the grounds from a height of 1107 ft., and is quite the sight to behold. Drive to the foot of the fall, at Kulhem, and take a bike ride to the falls. You could also consider a trek to get to it. The drive through the slippery, steep inclines and slushy muddy roads will stay with you forever.

2. Drive into Wilderness at Goa’s Many Wildlife Sanctuaries

 

Monsoons are the best time to visit the wildlife sanctuaries around Goa. Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary, Mollem National Park, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, and Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary are all an hours’ drive (or a little over) from Panaji. About 60–80 km from Panaji, the sanctuaries show up after the most calming drives through the rain-drenched scenery. The unending roads through the forests are usually deserted, and this is the best time to sight the wildlife in the area—bisons, monkeys, herds of deer—all against the constant buzz of crickets and other insects. In some of the sanctuaries, you might even be able to get a glimpse of lions in their habitat.

3. Soak up the Beauty of Spice Plantations

Follow the spice trails of Goa as the rains soak everything around with their magic. Head to either Pascoal Spice Farm, a 15-minute drive from town, or Savoi Spice Plantations, closer from the centre of town. The stretch between Candolim Beach and the part of town in North Goa that leads to the Savoi Spice Plantations is scenic beyond belief. Add to it the dark tar roads stretching out amidst crisp greens and browns, and you have the perfect drive for a rainy afternoon. The rain-drenched spice gardens are a treat to walk around, with a guide introducing you to say, vanilla, green pepper pods, or even fresh ginger. Take in the aroma of them all, mixed with the fresh fragrances of the earth. End your day with a freshly-made meal that most of these plantations serve.

Goa – A Budget Friendly Tour

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It doesn’t matter if you choose to wait till the party season ends in Goa (because you are on a budget trip). It doesn’t matter if your salary/savings/pocket money doesn’t allow you to splurge while on a bacchanalian ‘trip’ (pun intended) to the party capital of India. You can still splash it up in some cool tourist places in Goa, here’s how:

What I have for you here are some eclectic extra-curricular discoveries I made during my not-so-long-ago college days in Goa. The sea, the sun and the sand are all free, now what remains is to hit the right spots to wine and dine, and just that is what I have jotted for you – nothing more, nothing less.

Listen up!

It doesn’t matter if you choose to wait till the party season ends in Goa (because you are on a budget trip). It doesn’t matter if your salary/savings/pocket money doesn’t allow you to splurge while on a bacchanalian ‘trip’ (pun intended) to the party capital of India. You can still splash it up in some cool tourist places in Goa, here’s how:

What I have for you here are some eclectic extra-curricular discoveries I made during my not-so-long-ago college days in Goa. The sea, the sun and the sand are all free, now what remains is to hit the right spots to wine and dine, and just that is what I have jotted for you – nothing more, nothing less.

Aces Pub

Location: Near Fidalgo Hotel, Panjim

While in the capital city, this is a cool hangout to chill with a couple of friends. The tiny double-storey pub glows in blue lighting, with commercial music playing from the discman located at the bar counter. Though slightly overcrowded, you would want to visit this place for its refreshing draught beer and super-spicy snacks.

Top Gear Pub

Location: Altinho, Panjim

More than a decade old, this old-school pub in Altinho is the perfect place to down a few drinks while touring through the capital city. With its range of delicious seafood snacks (be sure to try their Chilli Chicken) and a laid-back ambience, Top Gear Pub is also a hit with the locals.

Picnic Bar and Restaurant

Location: Sapana Gardens, Chogum Road, Porvorim

An easily approachable mid-way halt while on your way from Panjim to Calangute, Picnic Bar and Restaurant is located about 500 metres ahead of Coqueiro Circle. It offers a tasty Chinese fare with some good beers and cocktails to go along with it. The Fried King Fish is a must-try at this joint.

Bertsy Bar and Restaurant

Location: Opposite Main Market, Mapusa

Set amidst the turmoil of the Mapusa Market, Bertsy offers a surprisingly relaxing respite behind its easily noticeable red-bricked entrance. Chill out over a few drinks at this cheap bar in Goa as you wait to catch your next bus from Mapusa bus stand. Be sure to try some lip-smacking Prawn Papad with your drinks.

Golden Rooster

Location: Techno Cidade, Chogm Road, Alto Porvorim, Goa

A wine-and-dine joint, Golden Rooster is located right off Coqueiro Circle, and is thronged by students of nearby colleges and a few locals now and then. It also has a small dance floor, making it a decent party place for those on a limited budget.

NH-17

Location: 200 metres ahead of Coqueiro Circle, NH-17, Porvorim, Bardez, Goa

NH-17 offers typical “highway dhaba” style ambience, and serves varied multi-cuisine preparations along with a fine selection of wines, cocktails and beers. It is also popular for its North Indian fare, which is difficult to find (at reasonable prices) while in Goa.

Club 9 Bar

Location: Ozran Beach, Little Vagator, Anjuna, North Goa

Set atop the Vagator cliff, Club 9 Bar offers an experience unlike any other party place in North Goa. This typical hippie joint is famous for its trippy psychedelic music and casual, laid-back ambience. Beer is moderately priced, but hard liquor is a little expensive. Gulp down a couple of pints and just let the music take control.

There are also a bunch of bars/pubs/discotheques that offer couple and/or stag entry at a charge of around INR 1000 (+/- INR 500 depending on season/crowd), which covers unlimited drinks and snacks. Some of these include popular ones like Tito’s and Mambo’s at Baga Beach, Club Cabana at Arpora Hill, Calangute and some lesser known ones like Club Westend at Saligao and Kamaki at Baga.

Cheers, carousers! Forget the worries of having to splurge. Just pack your bags, head to the hedonistic land and have the time of your life!

Already planning your next visit? Travel Rahi offers flights and holiday packages to Goa.

Hotels in North Goa

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But to experience Goa in its true sense, it’s a good idea to stay in a hotel that’s right in the middle of bustling North Goa. Better still, close to the beach. If it seems like a Herculean task to you, I’m going to make it extremely easy for you. Here’s a list of Top 5 Hotels in North Goa. Take your pick!

Think Goa! Now think North Goa! Any difference?

Perhaps, for many of us, Goa and North Goa are synonymous. All you need is a bunch of friends or family and a smart phone with an 8 mega pixel camera and you are ready to let yourself loose in the party capital of India.

But to experience Goa in its true sense, it’s a good idea to stay in a hotel that’s right in the middle of bustling North Goa. Better still, close to the beach. If it seems like a Herculean task to you, I’m going to make it extremely easy for you. Here’s a list of Top 5 Hotels in North Goa. Take your pick!

1. Country Inn & Suites by Carlson

Belonging to a chain of hotels, Country Inn & Suites by Carlson is conveniently located near the Candolim beach. Built in traditional Portuguese architecture, wooden settings and a modern décor sets this beautiful property apart from others. If you want a room overlooking the pool, you can choose to book the Superior room. The hotel offers an ideal stay for honeymooners and business travellers equally.

Try out the barbeque at the hotel’s Poolside Bar-B-Que Grill & Island Bar while sipping on your favourite cocktail. Also, tantalize your taste buds with grilled crab in peri peri sauce. Soothe your senses and feel pampered at the Revive Spa and enjoy a comfortable stay at this 4-star property.

2. Lagoa Azul Resort

Located a few minutes from the vibrant Baga, Calangute and Anjuna beaches, this tranquil 3 star property is just the right place for you to park yourself in North Goa. Nestled near the blue lagoon waters, the resort is ideal for a couple or family. Although you have the inviting beaches nearby, you might want to venture into the resort’s own swimming pool while your kids splash about in the waters of the toddlers’ pool.

And now for the tummy! Appease your taste buds with steak that will melt in your mouth at the Tabla Restaurant overlooking the Baga River. If you are a music lover, you might be lucky to check-in on a day when traditional theme nights are organised with live bands performing.

3. Ocean Palms Goa

Modern interiors and an elegant style, the 4 star Ocean Palms Goa hotel offers a fresh vibe as you check-in. The hotel’s location is fantastic with popular North Goa beaches like Baga, Calangute and Anjuna being a 5-minute walk. Feel at home in spacious rooms with large windows while enjoying a drink with your partner. Why not? You have a minibar in your room.

Foodie, are you? Pick on the buffet spread of European and Indian delicacies at the in-house restaurant, Nautilus or chill out with your friends and family at the Beachcombers Lounge. Chicken sausages and Tandori pomfret prepared by the chef are a must-try. With stellar room service and surprises in the form of beautiful towel designs in your room every day, Ocean Palms Goa will give you the sense of being a valued customer.

4. La Gulls Court

Think sunset, blue azure waters of the swimming pool, aromatic coffee and a lovely companion. Located close to the Mapusa Market and the Vagator beach, start your holiday by checking in to the La Gulls Court.

Enjoy local Goan cuisine at the hotel’s terrace restaurant called Bird’s Flight or go pubbing at either of the hotel’s bars: Vultures and Seagull. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, you can indulge in adventure sports like trekking, diving, go karting or parasailing that the hotel’s tour desk will happily arrange for you. Overall, look forward to a comfortable stay, awesome dining options and close proximity to the popular beaches at La Gulls Court.

5. Ginger Tree Village

Low on budget, travelling with your gang of college friends and want to stay in North Goa? Well, Ginger Tree Village of the Ginger Tree Group is an ideal choice suiting your purpose and pocket. Lush green surroundings and a few minutes away from the bustling beaches, this hotel is a good value for money option.

Moreover, there are a variety of rooms to choose from. You may book a villa or a penthouse if you are travelling in a group or go for the standard rooms if travelling alone or with a partner. Look forward to a friendly environment and great service.

Although I’ve tried to make your task easier, you might want to plan your trip in advance for better deals. Or if you are an “I-make-spontaneous-plans” person, then last minute deals on TravelRahi.com will get you the best discounts.

Go Goa!

Goa: A Quick and Handy Travel Guide

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Think of Goa, and think of a coastal retreat with sights of gleaming sands and azure waters with a shimmering sun in the backdrop. A lush green landscape edges the golden coastline, which overlooks the scintillating seas in the beach capital of India. Although the smallest state in the country, Goa is one of the nation’s biggest tourist destinations.

Think of Goa, and think of a coastal retreat with sights of gleaming sands and azure waters with a shimmering sun in the backdrop. A lush green landscape edges the golden coastline, which overlooks the scintillating seas in the beach capital of India. Although the smallest state in the country, Goa is one of the nation’s biggest tourist destinations.

Tourists typically know Goa as North and South Goa; the former being the place to be if you’re looking forward to a “happening” holiday, and the latter, if you need a more relaxing respite from your hectic lifestyle. Whether you’re planning a family holiday, a quick weekend getaway with friends or looking to spend some cherished moments with that special someone, Goa has all the ingredients for a perfect holiday recipe.

Don’t leave Goa before you:

See:

  1. Beaches: Goa has well over 25 amazing beaches ranging from the full-of-life party destinations to the serene and peaceful ones. North Goa offers sprightly beaches like Baga, Calangute, Anjuna and Arambol, that necklace the northern coastline with tons of shacks buzzing with life, serving lip-smacking delicacies from the Konkan cuisine with cocktails and mocktails to go along; Goa’s beaches make your holiday experience complete.
    South Goa is rather mellow, with serene beaches like Colva, Palolem and Galgibaga (famous as a nesting ground for Olive Ridley turtles) which are cut off from the world, but really worth paying a visit if you are looking for some peace and quiet.
  2. Chapora Fort: Chapora Fort first got noticed in the movie Dil Chahta Hai. This ancient fort in North Goa offers splendid views of the adjoining Vagator beach and overlooks the Arabian Sea from all angles. The fort is located on top of a hillock with slopes on all sides, and though it is almost in ruins now, it doesn’t stop visitors from standing where Bollywood stars once did!
  3. Basilica de Bom Jesus in Goa: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a church in Old Goa, extremely popular throughout the Roman Catholic world. One of the most important attractions here are the mortal remains of the missionary Saint Francis Xavier. The grand interiors will leave you awestruck the moment you enter.

Do:

  1. Indulge in water sports: Diving, catamaran sailing, jet skiing, parasailing and windsurfing keeps your heart racing as you test the waters and let out the adventurer in you. There are plenty of water sports operators in Goa, especially in North Goa, and you can identify them by the herd of water scooters and boats parked in one corner of the beach.
  2. Go on a dolphin spotting cruise: Dolphin watching tours are a popular activity in various parts of the Mandovi River and are especially popular at Sinquerim beach alongside Fort Aguada. Operators gather tourists in groups of 4 or 6, who hop on to a boat and venture out about a couple of kilometres into the sea to watch the dolphins circling in action.
  3. Try your luck at one of the casinos: A visit to one of Goa’s several casinos should be on your to-do list as Goa has some exceptional avenues to put your stakes on. The casinos feature several games like slots, roulette, poker, flush baccarat and more along with live entertainment and occasionally unlimited food and drinks. Even if you’re not a big gambler, cruising on the high seas is a great way to relax. Some casinos you can head to are Caravela (a one-of-its-kind floating casino, anchored on the Mandovi River in Panjim), Casino Carnival (Goa Marriott, Miramar) and Casino Royale (a floating casino on the Mandovi River in Panjim).

Eat:

  1. Vindaloo: Fiercely spicy gravy that literally is a hot favourite in Goan households, this preparation can be made using chicken, pork, mutton or prawns. The usage of vinegar and sugar adds a distinctive flavour to the gravy.
  2. Crab Xec Xec: Yet another fiery preparation from the Konkan kitchen, Crab Xec Xec is made by cooking crabs in thick gravy of tamarind, red chillies and coconut. It is best served with steamed or boiled rice, which is a staple in Goan households.
  3. Bebinca: A popular Goan, East Indian and Mangalorean dessert, Bebinca is a pudding with 7 layers (or more!) made of flour, eggs, sugar, coconut milk and cardamom-nutmeg powder. It’s a must buy for friends back home!
    Read more about what you can do in Goa here.

When to Go:


Photo Credit: Pdmsunburn/wikipedia

  • Mid-November to Mid-February: This is the perfect time to relax on the beaches and for other outdoor activities in Goa. December is the time when Goa witnesses one of its most popular festivals, Sunburn, besides extensive Christmas and New Year celebrations and is home to lakhs of visitors from across the world. You might want to book your flights/hotels in advance since this is the peak season and prices go way higher than you would imagine.
  • March to May: This is the season when the temperature rises, the sea becomes rougher and the weather turns hot and humid. The good thing is that Goa is not too crowded during this time. However, the prices of hotels and home stays become way too reasonable in case you want to visit Goa for a three-to-four day break with your beloved, looking for peace and calm.
  • Mid-June to October: There are parties across the length and breadth of Goa to welcome the rains that hit Goa during this time. If you love the monsoon and the lush green countryside that the Rain Gods turn Goa into, July to September is a great time to visit. The festival of Sao-Joao (fertility feast of Saint John the Baptist) is also held in June. It’s an interesting event where men jump into wells that are overflowing to fetch bottles of the local alcohol called feni.

Getting There:


Photo Credit: Ssr/wikipedia

  • By Air: Dabolim Airport is 29 kilometres away from the state’s capital, Panjim. It is well connected by daily flights from Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Cochin and Bangalore.
  • By Train: The two major railheads in Goa are Madgaon and Thivim, which are well connected by trains from all over the country.
  • By Bus: There are a number of public as well as private bus operators in Goa, which offer options for intra-city and inter-city conveyance. KSRTC, MSRTC and KTC are some of the Government undertakings that operate from Panaji, Madgaon and Vasco Da Gama. Private bus operators include the likes of Neeta Tour and Travels, Paulo Travels and Naik Tours and Travels. Goa enjoys daily bus service from important cities like Mumbai and Pune.

Getting Around:

  • Taxis: Much of Goa is well-connected with roads that are in a good state of repair, and it is not hard to get good rates for taxis and rented cars as well. One can either book a taxi in advance from tour operators/taxi rentals or hire cabs on a direct payment basis from the airport or railway station.
  • Self drive: Hiring cars and motorcycles on self-drive basis is a popular transport option in Goa. This is one of the best and most economical ways to tour the beach capital on your own. Just grab a two-wheeler or four-wheeler by submitting an ID proof and set off on the ultimate trip around Goa!

What to Pack:

  1. Light cotton clothes and a strong sunblock
  2. Caps and sunglasses which will come handy on the beaches and while sightseeing
  3. Swimming and beach gear
  4. Shoes if you plan to trek up one of the forts in Goa

While one facet of Goa is the tireless insomniac revelry, the other is a laid-back, old-world charm that Portuguese brought along in the 17th century. The churches, bungalows and cafes will excite you no less, if no more than sipping a refreshing drink by the beach. Old Goa has its own appeal, and it never fails to entice. Showered with numerous beaches facing the majestic Arabian Sea, Goa has more than enough to make you fall in love with it. Check out the exciting Goa packages here and Go Goa!