While Everyone Rages in Goa with Their Friends,I Decided to Visit The Party Capital With My Parents 

28th Mar 2021

"Let's go to Goa", my father said from the other side of the phone.

"Gaya?", I asked, pretending not to hear him say 'Goa'.

"G-O-A, not Gaya", he said, a bit louder this time in his trademark no-returning-from-this-decision-kind-of baritone.

I realized that there was no point pretending. Having visited almost all the states in India with my parents (yes, even as an adult) I was not very convinced whether Goa was a perfect destination for travelling with parents, thanks to many Bollywood movies that make Goa look like a bachelor's pad. But surprisingly, what seemed like an odd idea initially later made me believe, yes, you can visit Goa with your parents and have a lot of fun too.

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Photo of While Everyone Rages in Goa with Their Friends,I Decided to Visit The Party Capital With My Parents by Soumita Das

Planning the trip

While travelling with parents, my trip planning is a little different than the other times beginning with the mode of transport, accommodation, food and ending with the places of interest for sight seeing.

And let me assure you my friends, Goa is for everyone and for every budget.

But here's a secret before I dive into my trip details, my septuagenarian father is quite a traveler at heart and is actually the one who plans the itinerary with so much enthusiasm that it makes me envious of his knowledge as well as interest in travelling.

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Photo of While Everyone Rages in Goa with Their Friends,I Decided to Visit The Party Capital With My Parents by Soumita Das

How did we reach Goa?

As a family, if we are not on a tight schedule, we usually prefer travelling in trains because of the experience, the scenic views and at times for the comfort one enjoys on train journeys. We were travelling from Pune, so when we had to choose between an overnight bus ride, a car ride, flights or overnight train journey, the option of an overnight train journey won the family poll unanimously.

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Photo of While Everyone Rages in Goa with Their Friends,I Decided to Visit The Party Capital With My Parents by Soumita Das

There are two train routes to reach Goa from Pune.

The Goa Express (we took this train to reach Goa) and the weekly Poorna Express operate on the rail route via Satara, Sangli, Belgaum, Londa, Margao and ending at Vasco Da Gama, one of the main railway stations in Goa. The Weekly Pune-Ernakulam Superfast Express travels to Goa via the Konkan railway route.

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Photo of While Everyone Rages in Goa with Their Friends,I Decided to Visit The Party Capital With My Parents by Soumita Das

What made this train journey to Goa so special?

Firstly, we got to witness some breathtakingly beautiful landscapes of the Western Ghats.

Secondly, we witnessed the picturesque Dudhsagar Falls as the train slowly moves through the Western Ghats on the eastern fringes of Goa. The train usually slows down as it is a bit curvy here but offers a spectacular landscape to view. The beauty of this place enhances two folds in the post monsoon months.

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Photo of Dudhsagar Falls, Sonaulim, Goa, India by Soumita Das

But if you are travelling by the Goa Express, like we did, then be prepared to get heartbroken as this waterfall cannot be seen during the onward journey to Goa because it passes this point during midnight. But good news, we saw the falls while traveling back to Pune (take either Goa Express or Poorna Express) as this part (Kulem to Castle Rock) is covered during the evening time. We kept an eye on our right after the train had left Kulem station as the railway line passes right across the base of the waterfall, offering a very good viewpoint.

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Photo of While Everyone Rages in Goa with Their Friends,I Decided to Visit The Party Capital With My Parents by Soumita Das

How we reached our accommodation from the railway station?

On reaching Goa, we quickly went to the pre-paid taxi stand and got ourselves a cab to help us transport to our accommodation. It's a bit tricky while travelling with parents because I personally feel that a car waiting for us is better when parents are around. The hotels in Goa often agree for pick up or services but in such cases one might need to pay some extra amount for the up and down journey. Luckily, my parents didn't mind waiting in the queue (it was not a long queue) for getting a pre-paid taxi.

Where and how to choose accommodation in Goa when travelling with parents?

Now, choosing an accommodation when it comes to travelling with parents is drastically different from travelling solo or with friends.

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Photo of While Everyone Rages in Goa with Their Friends,I Decided to Visit The Party Capital With My Parents by Soumita Das

Hostels are big no or any noisy hotels, especially the ones that get a good rating from young travelers might not be your first choice. You do not want some over enthusiastic person banging at your parents' door (of course, mistakenly) at odd hours of the night. Depending on your budget you can choose from a wide range of hotels, Airbnb(s), homestays or resorts in Goa.

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Photo of While Everyone Rages in Goa with Their Friends,I Decided to Visit The Party Capital With My Parents by Soumita Das

The next thing you should keep in mind is about the area where you want to stay. Although North Goa is more crowded than the beaches of South Goa, you can still choose an accommodation that can offer your parents peace and tranquility in the middle of all the chaos if you look for it (nope, not a quote from Google but rather an experience from extensive research while choosing my stay at Goa).

My parents and I also look for another criteria while choosing an accommodation. We usually have a soft corner for hotels that offer good breakfast. Remember, you might be experimental but when it comes to parents they might or might not like the idea of café hopping first thing in the morning! In our case, if we don't end up getting hotels that offer good breakfast, we prefer homestays/Airbnb or hotels that have the option of a kitchen.

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Photo of While Everyone Rages in Goa with Their Friends,I Decided to Visit The Party Capital With My Parents by Soumita Das

We lucked out big time as my father's friend graciously offered us his house turned homestay on knowing we were travelling to Goa. His homestay was located near Panjim or Panaji. Yes, it wasn't exactly what one expects in Goa, like a homestay at beach side or having private access to the sea but we didn't mind because we got a taste of Goa beyond the beaches. It took us almost an hour to reach to Panjim from the Vasgo-Da-Gama railway station. The housekeeper greeted us with some masala chai and idlis with sambar-chutney for breakfast. We quickly freshened up and headed out since my parents do not favor the idea of staying indoors on a vacation.

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Photo of While Everyone Rages in Goa with Their Friends,I Decided to Visit The Party Capital With My Parents by Soumita Das
Day 1

Go local aka explore the city on your own with your parents by your side on Day 1.

The first day on our family trips is always about exploring the place on foot or the local transportation, a family tradition we have been following since I remember. Although my brother wanted to head straight to the beach but he finally gave in. We hopped in a local bus and headed towards Panaji city, the capital of Goa.

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Photo of Panjim, Goa, India by Soumita Das

I personally feel the best part of travelling with my parents is that I get to do all the touristy things which otherwise I would have let go while travelling solo or with friends.

There are many tourist places in Panaji but the first stop we made was at the famous Church of the Immaculate Conception of The Virgin Mary.

We then strolled around this area just to get a feel of the city. We also spoke to some local travel agents and booked ourselves a conducted tour of Goa for the next day.

It was almost lunch time and we were in Panjim, so not wasting more time in deciding where to eat, we headed straight to the famous Viva Panjim for some authentic Goan food. We ordered some prawn curry and rice among other dishes.

While having our lunch my parents came to know about the Old Goa Heritage Walk that helps exploring old Goa, now a World Heritage site and home to some really interesting and heritage buildings including old churches and the Fontainhas Heritage Walk, a walking tour of the Portuguese past of Goa.

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Photo of Viva Panjim, Fontainhas (quarter), Altinho, Panaji, Goa, India by Soumita Das

Can you be spontaneous while travelling with parents - Ofcourse, Yes!

We really liked the idea of these walks but decided to go with the Fontainhas Heritage Walk post lunch (yes, not the best idea but the walk definitely helped in digesting all the delicious food we ate in Viva Panjim) and I can assure it was really very impressive. Fontainhas is the oldest as well as the largest Latin quarter of Asia. The houses are red, yellow, green and blue colored with tiled roofs and balconies having wrought iron railings, teleporting you to an era of the past.

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Photo of Fontainhas (quarter), Altinho, Panaji, Goa, India by Soumita Das

Although a bit tired, we didn't feel like returning to our homestay as my brother was not willing to not 'see the sea' on the first day of our Goa trip. We headed towards Calangute-Baga side in North Goa keeping two things in mind, first watching a beautiful sunset and then eating at Britto's.

Well, my parents had no idea about Britto's but this is how we manage our family trips, best of both worlds. They wanted to see the sunset (especially, my father) while I wanted to check out a restaurant of my choice, recommended by a dear friend, hence best of both worlds.

Post dinner we retired to our homestay and headed straight to our beds to get a sound sleep so that we wake up energetic for our super busy next day.

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Photo of Britto's, Calangute - Baga Road, Saunta Vaddo, Baga, Goa, India by Soumita Das
Day 2

Is being touristy with parents that bad an idea?

Day 2 of the trip began waking up early only to find both my parents have already woken up and gone for a brisk walk before we could start our conducted tour.

We had opted for the pick and drop service for our conducted tour so by the time our Tempo Traveller arrived to pick us up, we were done with our breakfast and tea. We even packed some snacks in case we felt hungry in between our sight seeing.

Since it was a conducted tour we couldn't customize the options and ended up visiting the most popular tourist places like Immaculate Conception Church (yes, again!), Goa Museum, Dona Paula Beach, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Se Cathedral and Shree Mahalaxmi Temple.

The Church painted in distinctive white, zigzag patterned steps and located in the heart of the city is quite a popular among tourists. As much the history of this place made us happy, it also gave us a good background for our family pictures. Also, we came to know from our tour guide that the Augustinian Bell in this church, is the second largest of its kind in Goa, coming second to the Golden Bell in the Se Cathedral.

Goa State Museum or the State Archaeology Museum was the perfect place for the history enthusiast in me to get a detailed tour about the ancient history as well as the culture of Goa. This museum has as many as fourteen galleries showcasing the various aspects of Goa's rich history and culture.

Dona Paula Beach has quite a dramatic background as is nicknamed as the Lover's paradise. Our tour guide told us how the name of the beach was kept after the then Viceroy's daughter Dona Paula de Menezes , who was insanely in love with a fisherman and this love for him drove her to jump into the sea from the cliff when her father refused to let her marry the love of her life. But this beach is also scenically very beautiful as this is the confluence point of the two famous rivers of Goa ( Zuari and Mandovi) with the Arabian Sea, making it a very popular tourist spot. My parents were absolutely thrilled to see such a mesmerizing view.

Basilica of Bom Jesus, a Roman Catholic Church, located in the old Goa and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is probably one of the most popular tourist spots of Goa. The fine Baroque (exterior) and Mosaic Corinthian (interior) architecture of this church surely left a long lasting impression on every member of my family. Our tour guide told us that the church has the relics of St. Francis Xavier, a prominent healer and this attracts so many tourists from all over the world.

We next visited the Se Cathedral Church, also known as the St. Catherine's Cathedral. We came to know that the church is one of the largest churches in the world and the largest church in whole of Asia. It was built in the 16th Century and is now a UNESCO World Heritage. The impressive designs, delicate interiors as well as striking art work of the church made the visit to the church absolutely worth our time.

Yes, this conducted tour with a tour guide was outright touristy and I must admit that at times I felt irritated when there was not enough time for clicking pictures or even savoring the history these places had to offer. I even let go off one of these places just to take a quick nap, much to the dismay of my parents but overall the conducted tour didn't seem a bad idea. We actually ended up enjoying the tour, much to my surprise! The tour guide helped us in knowing a lot about all the places we visited which made this conducted even more interesting. I wouldn't mind recommending a conducted tour to my friends if they are travelling to Goa with their parents.

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Photo of Se Cathedral, Velha, Goa, India by Soumita Das

You can have last minute changes even while travelling with your parents!

My parents love planning the itinerary in advance, mostly like all other Indian parents but they also make sure that there is enough room for impromptu changes.

We had taken a half day conducted tour from a local Tours and Travels (located in Panaji) so we had the evening to ourselves. But instead of heading to one of the beaches for catching another drooling sunset, my parents suggested to go for the evening cruise at the Mandovi River. Again, I won't lie that my brother and I didn't like the idea at first (sibling rivalry took a back seat for few minutes) and in fact, we protested as we wanted to be back to the beaches. So, we decided to do a toss. Yes, things we do for loving (it's more like maintaining sanity) our family!

And as luck might have it, my brother, sister-in-law and I lost the toss and ended up going for the evening cruise with my parents.

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Photo of While Everyone Rages in Goa with Their Friends,I Decided to Visit The Party Capital With My Parents by Soumita Das

And it might be extremely touristy for most people heading to Goa but for some reason we quite enjoyed it, especially after a hectic day, the cool breeze from the river, the cultural programs performed on the cruise was a perfect end to the day.

By now we were extremely tired and hungry so we skipped the idea of having dinner at a fancy restaurant and instead headed back to our homestay for a simple dinner. To be honest my parents are really not very keen when it comes to eating at fancy restaurants & cafes and prefer to stick to their choice of simple food even when they are travelling, we younger ones do not argue much especially keeping in mind about their health conditions.

Post dinner we discussed about politics, architecture of the local houses (a topic or an observation my father never misses to bring up whenever he is travelling) and life in general before calling it a day. While travelling with my parents, I really look forward to these fun discussions or post dinner chatting sessions no matter how mundane it seems.

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Photo of Mandovi River, Goa by Soumita Das
Day 3

A beautiful sunrise in Goa keeps the doctor away!

The next day or Day 3 begin with my father's over enthusiasm to watch a spectacular sunrise at Calangute Beach. I have never seen a person so enthusiastic about sunrises and there was no way he would let go off watching at least one sunrise in Goa. So, in spite of my cribbing about this diurnal activity, I eventually gave in and with groggy eyes set out for Calangute.

I didn't really thank him back then but it is indeed one of the best memories of Goa till date (in spite of being to Goa a couple of times after this family trip).

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Photo of Calangute Beach, Goa by Soumita Das

Visited the Best Beaches of North Goa with my parents

We had kept beach hopping as part of our itinerary for Day 3 so after eating a hefty breakfast from a local shop we headed towards Candolim Beach. Perks of having food in local eateries is that you get to speak to local people and also catch up on interesting stories of the place.

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Photo of While Everyone Rages in Goa with Their Friends,I Decided to Visit The Party Capital With My Parents by Soumita Das

One might wonder why didn't we go to Anjuna or Vagator Beach which are comparatively closer to Calangute but you will come to know about it later.

For this day we had pre-booked an Innova keeping in mind the distance as we needed to travel from one part of Goa to another.

We made a quick stop at Candolim Beach and then went to the next beach, Sinquerim. It is located in the southern most part of North Goa and is one of the quietest beaches in North Goa. The serenity and peaceful vibe of this beach became an instant hit with my parents.

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Photo of Sinquerim Beach, Candolim, Goa, India by Soumita Das

Next we stopped at Aguada Fort. A Portuguese fort with a light house located on the Sinquerim Beach overlooking the Arabian Sea made our visit worthwhile.

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Photo of Aguada Fort, Fort Aguada Road, Aguada Fort Area, Candolim, Goa, India by Soumita Das

We drank some coconut water outside the fort and then headed towards Morjim, our next destination.

Morjim and Ashvem beaches are located in the northmost side of North Goa. The beaches here gave us a very relaxing vibe and was the much needed breather for us.

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Photo of Morjim Beach, Morjim, Goa, India by Soumita Das

We had heard a lot about Jardin d'Ulysse in Morjim so decided to eat our lunch here.

The food here might seem a little expensive to many but the ambience and food surely make up for it.

Post lunch we headed towards Vagator Beach. But before that we made a quick stop at Chapora Fort. Yes, it's a task post lunch to walk up to this fort but that's the thing about travelling with my parents, we make sure to eat light and try to cover as much as possible (especially, places of interest). I was quite envious looking at my parents reaching the fort faster than me, given the fact that they were aged!

Vagator Beach is another quiet beach and we sat there to take some rest, making up for all the energy we invested in the uphill and downhill journey to the Chapora Fort, until we headed to the next beach, Anjuna.

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Photo of Vagator Beach, Goa by Soumita Das

We arrived in Anjuna Beach just on time to catch a beautiful sunset, one that will be extremely close to my heart.

Apart from sunsets, Anjuna is quite famous for its flea market held every Wednesday. This flea market is quite popular amongst tourists and one can also enjoy some live music performances while shopping or casually strolling around. First, the sunset and then this flea market (we were lucky as it was a Wednesday) were the reasons we had kept Anjuna at the last.

By the end of this day we were dead tired and once we reached our homestay, we could hardly keep our eyes open at dinner table.

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Photo of Anjuna Beach, Goa by Soumita Das
Day 4

The final verdict - Goa can be a destination to visit even with parents

The next day was actually the last day of the trip as we had our train back home (Pune) in the afternoon. It was a short trip and hence we decided to explore South Goa some other time.

But my parents refused to just spend the day packing and instead woke up very early to catch another enchanting sunrise.

And yes, knowing that this was the last day of our vacation, we didn't protest much and accompanied them to witness another beautiful sunrise, again at Calangute Beach.

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Photo of While Everyone Rages in Goa with Their Friends,I Decided to Visit The Party Capital With My Parents by Soumita Das

Post sunrise we headed back to our homestay, had our breakfast and quickly packed our luggage to leave.

The vacation I had been dreading the most, surprisingly turned out to be one of the best family vacations of my life. This vacation, especially the choice of place certainly proved me wrong and made me realize that it's not the place but it's the people that make a place worth remembering. Goa might be the Numero Uno comfort place for a trip with friends but Goa is definitely more than that and a family trip with your parents to Goa can give you some absolutely best memories to hold on to for the days to come.

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Photo of While Everyone Rages in Goa with Their Friends,I Decided to Visit The Party Capital With My Parents by Soumita Das

Did you ever travel to Goa or any such place that you initially thought travelling with friends made more sense but later ended up realizing that it was equally if not more fun travelling with your parents? If yes, let me know in the comments.

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