6 Things to Make Your Trip to Goa Special
Goa has long been a popular destination for international visitors with both budget backpackers and also holidaymakers due to the laid back culture and spectacular beaches. If you would like to experience the highlights and make the most of your time in Goa check out our top 6 things to do here.
1. Arrive by train
If you plan your trip just out of season (you'll still get ideal weather without the crowds) you might find yourself in a situation where there are no flights direct to Goa from the UK. Once you arrive in Mumbai it’s either an option of getting a domestic flight or a 13 hour train journey. Get the train, you have half a day to see the wonders of the Indian countryside. Due to the antiquated rail system the train moves at a pace in which you can really watch the world go by. You might be lucky enough to see a whole host of animals, including the majestic Water Buffalo. Just don’t do what your humble writer did and expect to turn up on the day and get a seat – book a few weeks in advance!
2. Have curry for breakfast
Obviously the people of India are partial to a curry so why not do as the Goans do and have the Puri, it’s surprisingly light for a curry and the mild heat in it gives a refreshing burst of energy which won’t leave you crashing later on like the usual coffee and cereal might.
3. Take time to explore the whole of Goa
When visiting somewhere as large as India it is tempting to try and cram it all in. If you feel you’ve got the time – of course go for it but Goa is big enough for you to stay for a few weeks and travel from town to town. Each town has its own culture and feel. From Calengute beach, which one local charmingly described as ‘the Indian Blackpool’ – while the beach can get a little littered the restaurants surrounding it have some of the best food in Goa (always have the prawns) - to Palolem beach in the south which is known as one of the most beautiful beaches in the whole country. Very ‘travelley’, it is populated with huts which are put up at the beginning of each season and dismantled when the stormy months set in.
4. Rent a scooter
Most establishments either have a couple of scooters to rent or will point you in the direction of someone who does. They are mega cheap to fill up and really open up the state of Goa in a way which taxi’s/public transport cannot match. There are also a number of parties held at houses/hotels in the jungle which attending is a bit easier with your own transport (don’t drink and drive obviously).
5. Take in the wildlife
Obviously India is famed for the diversity of its wildlife and Goa is no different. On most of the beaches there are dolphin trips which often mean an early start but prove worth it if you’re lucky, the birds are stunning, parrots fly around like pigeons – but do keep an eye out for snakes! On Palolem beach there is a little lagoon which you can get a gondola tour, this might be your best bet to see the local monkeys in the area along with the wide array of water birds. Another highlight was watching the Sea Eagle hunt in Anjuna. You might like to search all India tours or find rewarding volunteering projects in India.
6. Experience different levels of accommodation
For the purists one of the joys of travel is staying in rough and ready accommodation which is abundant in Goa, that’s not to say they’re not charming and more than comfortable but you can only expect so much for £6 a night. However if your budget allows it would defiantly be worth paying a little extra for the experience of a hotel in Callengute or especially Cairan’s eco huts on Palolem beach.
By Jon Butterworth