Single woman's guide to Anjuna, Goa

27th Jan 2015
Photo of Single woman's guide to Anjuna, Goa 1/6 by Nandana Nallapu
Photo of Single woman's guide to Anjuna, Goa 2/6 by Nandana Nallapu
Fort Aguada
Photo of Single woman's guide to Anjuna, Goa 3/6 by Nandana Nallapu
Arpora Night Market
Photo of Single woman's guide to Anjuna, Goa 4/6 by Nandana Nallapu
Arpora Night Market
Photo of Single woman's guide to Anjuna, Goa 5/6 by Nandana Nallapu
Pancakes@ Martha's
Photo of Single woman's guide to Anjuna, Goa 6/6 by Nandana Nallapu

Goa - India's only spot where the bathing-season is on, 365 days a year. It is supposed to be visited with friends for booze and beaches, but as it turned out I booked tickets on a whim, because I wanted to go solo. And, it turned out pretty good! I booked budget hostels, not because I was on budget but because I was travelling alone and would need companions to go visit places or just hang out with. I didn’t want to do a whirlwind tour stretching from North Goa to South Goa, so I only picked two places to fully immerse myself in – Anjuna and Candolim. I avoided Baga on rule as it is very crowded.

I took a train from Hyderabad, got down at Vasco and took a pilot taxi to Panjim (you can trust these guys, pilot taxis are best way to get yourself to other destination from Vasco station), from where I took a bus to Mapusa, got down at Baskin Robbins icecream shop and walked to the hostel. (1.5 KM)

I stayed at this really nice hostel called Prison Hostel, where you get really yummy complimentary breakfast (throughout your stay) and an unending supply of beer and cigs(paid). You can also book bikes and taxis from the Front Desk (Richard), ask for Ravi a barely-20 kid who is very punctual and also a good guide. I booked the rooms from, which allows me to pay just 12% of the total cost. The people are very nice and there’s a lot of communal feeling in this place, which is rare at other hostels (I’m told).

Getting around is easy, if you can drive a bike. Rentings bikes is much cheaper than paying for taxis every trip. Beware, the taxi guys sometimes take you for a ride.

Anjuna is a pricey place, but it is a good thing it's over-endowed with lively bars and restaurant-shacks. The go-to place for great food and Mojitos is Curlies.

Wednesday Flea Market at Anjuna Beach is a stretch of road with colourful clothes shops, spices, lamps, and other small souvenirs like bongs, stone elephants,etc. It is an experience, but you can give it a miss if you are going to visit the Saturday night Market at Arpora. At night, I simply strolled to the beach which is a ten-minute walk from the hostel, and there are always parties happening in one or the other shacks. Avoid long weekends,as they cause the beach to get horribly crowded. Sundowns are magical, as they are universally. You can relax in one of the shacks, and watch the sun go down the horizon, staining the sands, flecking the sea with gold, and couples in silhouette.

On Thursday, it was Agora Fort or Aguada Fort. This old Portuguese fort stands on the beach south of Candolim, at the shore of the Mandovi River. There isn’t much to see here, but the view from the Fort is really good. There were a couple of old churches beside the Fort which were full with school kids, but you needn’t worry about not visiting, because in Goa you can’t go three blocks without a church staring at you.

On Friday, we went to Tropical Spice Plantation at Ponda. The cabbie charged us 3K, and we went about 20 minutes across Panjim. The plantation entrance itself is very grand with a wooden bridge amongst foliage that reminds you of soothing Eastern gardens. The 300 year old spice plantation has been changing hands and generations for 3 centuries now and is definitely a must visit. The ticket cost of 400 also includes a welcome drink, lunch, a tour and a sample of Feni. At the end of the tour, they poured a cup of water with aroma oils, down each visitor’s spine, which was very relaxing.

On Saturday, we went to the beach and did para gliding. The locals charged us 600 per person and there were 5 of us. Each flight lasted about 8-10 minutes and it was a really nice experience. After that, we strolled about and went back to Prison in the evening.

Later in the night, we went to Arpora Night Market. This was an amazing experience with tons of food, booze, happy people and loads of stuff. The shops are managed by Russian and Spanish, Portugese expats and they never let you bargain. Prices are steep, but it’s okay to splurge. You get everything from furniture to food and while the authenticity of the goods cannot be vouched for, they make good souvenirs. Don’t forget to check Goa’s artist Mario’s shop.

On Sunday, we went to a nearby place called 6-Pack, they have open-mic on Fridays I think. It’s a nice little place with lovely food. I tried Beef Naan and it soon became a hot favourite. One really interesting thing about Goan restaurants is you can always find a book shelf with eclectic collection of books. Another obviously good thing is there are always parties happening, and you get invited to a whole bunch of stuff. It is good to attend private parties with trusted friends, unless you know many people.

There are several shops on Anjuna-Mapusa road where you can get cheap bikinis, Harlem pants, other beach wear and all the stuff from the Anjuna Flea Market.

Candolim, north of Mandovi river, is quite nearby and very famous for its party scene and quirky fashion shops. As is Panjim. Coco Beach near Candolim offers Dolphin rides with a charge of 500 Rs per person.

What to eat : Pork Vindaloo, Veg/Non-veg Sorpotel, Rissoles, Chicken Xacuti, Feni (Goan traditional wine)

19th century Portugese watch tower with terrific sea-views

Flea market - a hotspot for travellers looking to soak up Goan flavours in terms of cheap merchandise.

Classic hippie paradise. Quirky shops with eye-catching fare, alongside food, music and booze

Good informative tour, scenic locales, and delicious food, spices and oils - right from the plantation. Much better than Sahakari Spice Farms.

Anjuna, is a relatively less crowded place in South Goa. It offers great food, cheap stays, tourist stuff like forts, churches, flea markets, adventure stuff like paragliding. If you yearn to watch Dolphins, you can find many places, on the banks of the Mandovi River nearby at Sinquerim beach, that offer tours for a fee. When the sun goes down, beach shacks come alive with live music, and great food and drinks. You can dance until the stars fade against a lilac sky, if you haven't passed out already that is.

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