What’s the hype about this puny state anyways?
Goa in India is synonymous with holidays, fun, beaches, gorgeous girls, cheap booze and rejuvenation. But most of us are clueless about how to make the best out of 3 (or 4) day stay?
What are must-visit places, must-try cuisines, the best beaches, cheap yet convenient accommodation and the most efficient mode of transport? Worry not; the Goan Batman is here to help you form your Goa itinerary.
Goa is a state roughly 43km x 86km (3700 sq km). Out of its total perimeter of about ~260 km, more than 120 km is coastline. Divided into two districts – South Goa and North Goa with district headquarters Madgaon and Panjim respectively, it is most famous for its 20+ beaches and its distinct Portuguese architectural style. It handles a disproportionate amount of foreign tourist traffic – being just 1/800th of India in terms of population and geographical size, it handles around 1/8th of the total foreign tourist arrivals in the country. It is the richest state in India in terms of GDP/capita – 2.5 times the national average.
How do I get there?
Goa has one airport – Vasco-da-Gama, three railway stations (Vasco, Madgaon, Thivim) and two major bus depots (Panjim and Madgaon). It is well connected with all the major cities in India.[TIP: To search for trains to Goa, enter “Madgaon (code: MAO)” in the destination station. There is no station called Goa.]
Ok. I have decided to go to Goa. Now, help me with the packing please? Pretty please?
There are a few things you need to remember to pack if you are visiting Goa:
1. The official footwear of Goa – a pair of sandals and a pair of beach slippers
2. At least 3 pairs of shorts
3. A couple of swimwear
4. Shampoo and conditioner (the beach sand feels nice when you are in the sea, not so much when it’s in your hair afterwards)
5. Sunscreen (Duh!)
6. iPod/mp3 player + earphones (because music makes everything better)
7. A book or two (for light reading on the beach, if you are a reader)
8. A camera (You definitely want to capture all those moments, because you might not remember some of them)
9. Portable (battery powered) speakers (if you stay up late at night because most of the places close down by 2am)
10. Your driving license (transport is costly in Goa. The best, and cheapest, alternative is to rent bikes)
I am just a student/just started working. I want to have a good time without spending much. How do I get the best deal without compromising on the quality?
Let’s see. The major expenditures in Goa would be accommodation, transport and food (and drinks, if you do). Let’s assume you are a party of even number of people.
1. Accommodation : If you visit Goa in the non-peak season i.e. March to October, you will find really good accommodation at a highly affordable price. Good hotels within a 1km radius of popular beaches like Colva and Calangute will charge you around 2000-2500 per room (double bed). With a little negotiation, you can get an extra mattress in the room to make it triple sharing.Cost: 800/person/day = 2400 (for the 3 day stay)
2. Transport : The cheapest way to travel and explore Goa is to rent bikes – taxis are exorbitantly priced (Rs 25/km) and bus network is almost non-existent. Bikes will cost you anywhere from 350-600 per day depending on the bike that you want (350 for the Activa, 500 for Pulsar, 600 for Avenger etc). Fuel cost is over and above that.Cost: Around 500/day for 2 people = 750 per person (for the 3 day trip)
3. Food : Do not go for the expensive shacks and restaurants all the time. You can find plenty of good restaurants just outside the beaches. Should not cost more than 300 per meal i.e. 600 per day. Booze is as cheap as it gets – 50 bucks for a can of beer (Kingfisher, Tuborg, Carlsberg etc) from liquor stores (which are plenty), 200 bucks for a bottle of Old Monk, 300-400 for vodka (Magic Moments etc) and 500-600 per bottle for good whiskey.
What are all the beaches there?