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A Christmas in Goa


Tripoto.com
Duration: 5 Days
Expenditure 28500

Beginner's guide to Goa -

A small city-state along the west coast of India, Goa is where the Portuguese landed in the 1500s, made it their own and left a part of their soul in the culture and traditions of the people. A city that literally never sleeps, consists of more than fifty odd beaches, it is a beautiful haven of otherworldly Portuguese architecture, ever friendly locals and hippie backpackers. It’s a myriad mix of local and foreign cultures co-existing perfectly; nevertheless, continuing to transform into a multicultural hub for Indians and foreigners alike.

Goa satisfies all types of vacationers be it honeymooners, food and culture enthusiasts, party animals or serious backpackers. It has something for everyone. It is a very big city to explore and therefore can be roughly divided into two parts depending on the type of vacation you seek –

North – A hub for party goers and backpackers alike, this place is ideal for all those who want to be one with the crowd, experience exciting night life, imbibe the hippie vibe or just chill on the beach day and night. It is the most commercially exploited part of Goa and is almost always never dull or scanty.

South – If you like your peace and quiet, the south would be an ideal place for you. For honeymooners and families looking to spend their mornings frolicking on the beach or spend some quality time even, this part of Goa is ideal for the offbeat traveler, the luxury traveler, or for somebody just looking for a relaxing spa getaway as there are many luxurious hotels and properties here.

Things to do in Goa:

Photos of A Christmas in Goa 1/6 by Ridhíma Prasad
credits: ndtv.com

1. Experience Nightlife:

• Clubs- Some of the best clubs in Goa to visit are - Club Cubana, Club LPK, SinQ club, Tito's & Mambo's.

• Beach parties – Almost every shack in North Goa hosts exciting parties once the sun goes down but amongst the most happening ones would be the beach shacks along Anjuna beach.

• Silent Noise parties – A latest trend in parties in Goa are the silent noise parties held in Palolem, South Goa where you enter a completely silent dance floor. Each person is provided with a set of headphones with two or more different types of music channels one can tune into.

2. Delve into a little history:

Photos of A Christmas in Goa 2/6 by Ridhíma Prasad
(Our lady of Immaculate conception church) credits: goanphotos.com

• Visit ancient churches – Once a Portuguese colony, Goa is bound to have plenty exotic churches to choose from but the most popular ones would be the Basilica of Bom Jesus (a UNESCO World Heritage site), Se cathedral, church of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Catejan and Our lady of Immaculate Conception church. However, it’s even more exciting to visit them during Christmas when you get to see elaborate decorations and attend special midnight mass!

• Forts – Get a bird eye’s view of the goan beaches and some of the most stunning views of the sea from Fort Aguada and Chapora Fort. Aguada is the most visited one in Goa. The Hindi film ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ has some scenes that were shot at Chapora which makes it second most visited one.

3. Beach Hopping:

Photos of A Christmas in Goa 3/6 by Ridhíma Prasad
credits: goa.me

Goa is all about its beaches. Some of the best beaches worth visiting in the North are Candolim, Baga, Morjim and in the South are Cavelosim, Colva, Palolem. Anjuna and Morjim are the hippie hubs and Baga is good for all water sports. Querim in the north and Agonda in the south are worth visiting if you want to go off the beaten path and visit serene, peaceful, untouched and commercially unexploited beaches.

Where and what to eat:

Photos of A Christmas in Goa 4/6 by Ridhíma Prasad
credits: allstatescookbook.com

Goa has some of the best restaurants and food from all over the world whether its continental or Portuguese inspired traditional goan cuisine. Goan cuisine consists of coconut as a key ingredient in its dishes which consist of curries, rice, traditional goan breads and some very unique desserts. Must try curries are Xacuti, Vindaloo, Khatkatem, Shagoti which must be either eaten with rice or bread and traditional fish for all fish lovers. Bebinca and Alle Belle are must haves for dessert. Mum's Kitchen is one of the best restaurants serving traditional goan food.

Some other notable restaurants catering to different palates are Thalassa, A Reverie, La Plage, Curlies beach shack, Koi (in Calangute), Britto’s, Martin's Corner.

Some other activies –

Photos of A Christmas in Goa 5/6 by Ridhíma Prasad
credits: goanews.com

1. Visit temples like Mangeshi temple, Shanta Durga temple and Bramha temple

2. Visit Dudhsagar falls

3. Watch turtle hatching in Galgibaga

4. Visit a wild life sanctuary (there are more than one to choose from)

5. Shopping at Anjuna market (only on Wednesdays) and Saturday night market. Also one must shop for cashews and cakes/desserts in Goa to take back home.

6. Take a dolphin watching tour, learn to Scuba dive and take surf lessons

7. Book a casino cruise night

8. Visit or participate in the Sand Art festival in December

Photos of A Christmas in Goa 6/6 by Ridhíma Prasad
credits: indianetzone.com

My itinerary for North Goa during Christmas -

Visited Fort Aguada on way.

Explore Candolim beach

Dinner at Koi, Calangute - The best ever pan-asian restaurant in Goa. (Recommended dish - Khao Suey)

Club hopping (Part 2) -

Club Love Passion Karma a.k.a LPK - Located in Nerul, it is a long ride away from the busy, touristy parts of North Goa, but a ride worth enjoying especially on a two-wheeler with the evening wind caressing your face. A very offbeat concept on the location and environment of the Club, but a good place to hang and party overlooking the lake. Free entry for ladies.

SinQ club - Located in Candolim, north Goa, it is a part of SinQ Hotel and is a good place to drink, party and laze around the pool. Free entry for ladies.

Breakfast at Marbella Beach Resort - So after the refreshing early morning dip at Querim, we drove back to Morjim for some breakfast. It is also one of the best locations to party as it is right on Morjim beach in north Goa and has amazing tents on the beach.

Explore Morjim beach - We had three consecutive swim sessions at this place all morning post breakfast alternating it with nice snooze sessions on the beach beds (they are literally queen sized beds) at Marbella beach resort. This beach is best for swimming and to learn surfing as it is very shallow. Also the quality of sand here is almost white and powdery soft!

Lunch at La Place - There is something very beachy about this restaurant. It's located on Ashwem beach, just 10 minutes away from Marbella beach resort and has a very casual, laid back vibe to it. A good place to visit for all french food lovers. Frequented by celebs. (Special mention - We spotted Chunky Pandey on our way back!)

Grab a drink and watch the sunset on Vagator beach

Dinner and party at Water's bar & Grill - Overlooking the Vagator beach, this place has multiple deck levels and good music playing away all night long.

How to get to Goa –

Goa is well connected with all the cities in India and has an International Airport for people flying directly from outside India. One can also reach there by train or a bus. It has two railway stations, one in North (Thivim) and one in the South (Margao).

Christmas being the high peak season, all flights were fully booked from Mumbai to Goa, hence we had to take the konkan Kanya Express from Mumbai. But we were lucky to get a flight ticket on our way back from Goa!

Areas we lived in - Baga (3 days) and Vagator (2 days)

Our expenditure for the trip was high due to high peak season, but anyone looking for a budget trip to Goa must avoid visiting in December as it's not only super expensive but extremely crowded too.

DAY 1

Have lunch at Britto's beach shack (Recommended dish - Anything really!)

Explored Baga beach which is one of the most famous beaches to chill, explore various shacks and for water sports.

Dinner at A Reverie, Calangute - One of the best fine dine restaurants I've visited in Goa. They serve the most decadent dishes possible ranging from Indian to Continental! They also have an extremely romantic open ambience with a live band playing lovely music in the background. (Recommended dish - Thai Thali)

Saturday Night market - We arrived in Goa on a Saturday so were fortune to be able to visit this market. It is anything like a market, it's more like an exhibition - Countless lanes full of food stalls, stalls selling clothes, there was even a band playing live music for entertainment.

Club hopping (Part 1) - Club Cubana - Located atop Arpora Hills, it is unlike any stereotypical club, it is a three level property that has a beautiful pool area, a separate open bar area and an indoor area with a dance floor and Dj. It looks like an ethereal mansion that has been converted into a club. It is undoubtedly one of the most elite clubs in Goa. Free entry for ladies unless one visits during Christmasew year.

Tito's & Mambo's - this is pretty much the first place people flock to during their first time in Goa. Located in Baga, although it has garnered a big name for itself, it has become much overrated over the years. Nevertheless, worth a visit during Christmas/New Year when they have exotic performers perform for the crowd. Free entry for ladies.

At 12 am, we walked down to Baga beach and saw shacks full of people dancing and celebrating Christmas night! So much energy and cheer all around!

DAY 2

Visited all major churches on Christmas Day - Basilica of Nom Jesus, Se Cathedral, Church of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Catejan and Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church.

Lunch at Mum's Kitchen - Mum’s Kitchen in Panjim is one of the best places to sample some of these dishes. This place has a concept of incorporating best family recipes carefully gathered from around Goa into their dishes. It also caters to vegetarians, providing a vast array of vegetarian dishes.

DAY 3

Breakfast at German Bakery - One of the most rustic places I've been to with some of the best breads and food items on their menu. It was a little difficult for us to locate this place as it is somewhere very inside the area but nevertheless there's a very hippie vibe to this place that we absolutely loved! (Special mention - We spotted celebrity Shakti Kapoor and his wife having breakfast here as well! )

Explore Anjuna beach - One of the narrowest beaches I've visited in Goa. There's not much to do during the day except just soak up the sun but this beach comes alive once the sun goes down.

Dinner/Beach Party at Curlie's - one place that has a beautiful deck overlooking the sea if you want to grab a bite which later turns into a hardcore party place. Many special events are arranged at this place too. Usually free for ladies. (Recommended dish- Chinese)

DAY 4

Early morning trek to Chapora Fort

Breakfast at Artjuna Cafe

Lunch at One degree - Situated on the cliff, good place to grab a pizza and a beer overlooking Vagator beach

Dinner at Thalassa - try to reach as early as possible as this place fills up extremely fast and has a long waiting. It is a beautiful white Greek taverna serving delicious greek food. It's situated atop a cliff overlooking the Vagator beach and is an ideal spot to watch the sun go down and grab a few drinks.

DAY 5

Early morning drive to Querim beach a.k.a Keri beach - This place is the farthest north spot of Goa and we reached there through winding and twisting village roads just as the sun came up. The drive itself was one of the best I've experienced in Goa and the view of the beach was even better! Not a single soul for miles and miles, not even a beach shack! It is certainly one of the most commercially unexploited and serene beaches I visited in Goa!

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