YES – it is relatively quiet there compared to places like Calangute and Baga
– but I go for the Indian atmosphere, the food, and to take photographs.
The coast gets very busy, North Goa around March/April is becoming very popular with local Indian tourists, Arpora is still, in my opinion, quiet enough to enjoy.
It is easy to walk from either of the hotels I mention to the coast and Baga beach and
– (if you really like that stuff) – the famous Titos night club
(check Google Maps to compare your hotel for distance).
But it is a longish walk and the month you are going it will be VERY hot.
Taxis and tuktuks are still fairly cheap though prices have risen in past years.
I used to walk to the coast, and come back by tuktuk.
If it is your first time to Goa, and you like photography, it’s still inexpensive to hire your own taxi for a day out and visit Old Goa (beautiful churches), and Panjii (street food!) and also maybe see some of the river. Probably cheaper than taking a tour op. excursion, and you get to choose your route and timings.
Arpora, both on Saturday nights.
I prefer the one known as “Ingos” – named after theGerman guy who started it many years ago.
(It’s been taken over by the locals, and poor old Ingogot deported)
It has a hugevariety of colourful stalls selling everything imaginable, a wide variety of food
(and drink) stalls, and usually some quite good live music acts.
In my opinion a good way to holiday is to take the best bits of the resorts (nice hotels, plenty of restaurants and bars, entertainment etc) and then spend a lot of your time getting out and exploring. In southern Spain you have cheap transport and some wonderful places very close by, way off the tourist trails
– and you can have a similar experience in Goa.
Many Goa visitors haven’t even been to the local capital Panjiim – and this is a great place to explore, only 30 minutes away by very cheap taxi – or, if you are adventurous, local bus. You have the local rivers to explore – where you will often see very large crocodiles, and fishermen standing in the water (who occasionally get eaten).
Close to the resorts of Goa are the Dudhsagar Falls, reached through the jungle on a 4wd excursion, you can bathe in the icy cold water, or just have fun feeding the wild monkeys. And you can watch the train far above you, zigzag it’s way up to the top of the
mountain crossing the falls with the aid of three extra engines they hook on at the start to push it up.
You can ride that train –all the way to Hospet – it takes about 8 hours – deep into the state of Karnataka and stay overnight to visit the forgotten city of Hampi. A place with thousands of temples, some tiny some huge, which I reckon is as stunning to see
as the Pyramids of Giza. Catch it in the amazing pink light dawn of India – it
Going elsewhere is easy – you can get a train down the coast to Udupi and then go on a mini safari into Karnataka to see tigers, lions and elephants in reserves.
Indian trains, typically run (almost) on time, are incredibly cheap, and are, very much an experience you will remember forever. This ride takes about 5 hours, and as you ride down the coast, you watch the sun sinking into the ocean.
Elsewhere in India I’ve stayed way down at the bottom tip in the state of Kerala. This is somewhat different from Goa, first timers are often shocked by the difference in laws governing the sale of alcohol – it is very restricted here compared to Goa.
But local Indians – with their usual ingenuity – find ways around it. One of my favourite memories is being served a private dinner on a beach there, with lots of local beer, served from a teapot.
I’ve not been north (yet) to Mumbai nor have I gone to see the Taj Mahal etc.
As a single traveller it appears to workout expensive –but I will do it one day.
Now every year I go to South Goa and then explore locally. I’m getting quite ancient now and the blissful peace and quiet there, and beautiful fairly deserted coast line suits me well.
And wherever you go, another of my personal travel habits, is to try to get a little of the local language. That’s quite difficult in India since there are actually 14 major quite different languages spoken in different states, in addition to Hindi and English. In Goa you could try to learn a little Konkani – the official language of that state. It’s not easy, but if
you can manage “Please”, “Thankyou”, “Good morning”, and “I’m Lost!” – you will
find it worthwhile and fun.
Also – “One Beer Please”....
Of course, English works in most places too.
Wherever you go –have fun. Stuff WILL go wrong. Make it part of the experience and memories. My motto - If you don't enjoy a holiday, you probably didn't try hard enough.
That was a great post by the way ukbill. Panjim- have you stayed there or just visited during the day? We are thinking of breaking up our stay in Calangute. Initially thought of Anjuna but now keen for something different.
I've visited Panjim three times, daytime and early evenings but I've never stayed the night there. I reckon one can see most of what there is to see there just visiting, though I do remember reading someones blog a while back about staying there, I'll try to find it.
If you are aiming to break up your stay in Calangute, and if you have never been to Hampi, I really would suggest you try that - the sight of all those temples in the strange lunar-like landscape is stunning. Get the train and stay a couple of nights in Hospet (be VERY careful with hotel choice there - don't even think of the Priadashini unless you study cockroaches for a living - there are far better places)
But Hospet itself is a real Indian town, a bit scruffy, quite busy, and an experience.
Hampi, just across the river from Hospet, has only limited accommodation choices - but that's where the amazing sights are.
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