Betul: Goa's Best-Kept-Secret

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Thanks to cheap booze, rave parties and hippies, Goa has become synonymous with notoriety. So when my parents displayed their enthusiasm for a trip which was originally supposed to be embarked by my sister and I, an uncomfortable feeling overtook me. In a perfunctory manner, I booked our tickets and off we flew to India's very own sunshine state.

After reaching Dabolim International Airport, we easily spotted the placard-holding amiable driver who was to transfer us to our hotel. As we left from the airport, the bustling streets morphed into country roads and an hour-and-a-half long journey showed me a side of Goa which I had failed to see in my previous visit.

I had only started enjoying when an abrupt, sharp turn lead the car to a halt. That's when I realized we had reached our hotel.

Photo of MAYFAIR Hideaway Spa Resort, Goa, India by Ishvani Hans

We were greeted by water lilies and terracotta elephants that embellish the walkway at the entrance of Mayfair Hideaway Spa Resort, a boutique hotel located in Betul, South Goa.

Nestled along the Konkan Coast, the resort overlooks the Sal River which merges into the Arabian Sea. This magnificent view is accessible from all the elegantly decorated rooms that come with private balconies. The resort also features a plethora of recreational activities such as snooker, table tennis, air hockey, library, DVD rental and spa.

Photo of Betul: Goa's Best-Kept-Secret by Ishvani Hans

The in-house restaurant, Nautica, which serves various cuisines is worth mentioning. I was pleasantly surprised when the head chef personally came to our table to make sure everything tasted alright. In fact, the whole staff was excellent in their hospitality and service.

Click on this link to book the hotel.

While I could've spent all my days in the resort indulging in recreational activities, my family and I chose to explore the small coastal village of Betul.

A quintessential Goan village, Betul is made up of colourful houses where jovial locals reside. Cats are often found loitering around these vibrant houses and every time I spotted a feline creature, I was overcome with joy.

Photo of Betul: Goa's Best-Kept-Secret by Ishvani Hans
Photo of Betul: Goa's Best-Kept-Secret by Ishvani Hans

Things to do in Betul

1. Relish panoramic views from the lighthouse

(c) Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Betul Lighthouse, Betul Bridge, Quitol, Goa, India by Ishvani Hans

Nestled atop a hillock, Betul Lighthouse offers a panoramic view of Betul, Quepem and other surrounding villages. One needs to hike from the Holy Cross Chapel in order to reach here. The lighthouse closes around 6:30 pm, so make sure you reach before that.

2. Laze around the uncrowded beaches of Goa

Photo of Cavelossim Beach, Cavelossim, Goa by Ishvani Hans

Unmarred by tourism, the beaches around Betul are quiet, serene and clean. Betul, Cavelossim and Mobor beaches are amongst the best beaches near Betul and are devoid of tourists.

3. Explore the nearby churches

Churches in Goa are a testament to its Portuguese past. There are quite a few churches in Betul that you should visit if architecture or history interests you. I personally loved visiting Holy Cross Chapel which is set atop a hill. Other churches to visit are St. Francis Xavier, Our Lady of Immaculate Conception and St. Sebastian Church.

4. Head to the dilapidated vantage point

Betul Fort, which is now in ruins was built by Shivaji, the Maratha ruler. The sequestered fort is strategically located, on a hillock, offering stunning views of the nearby beaches. The shore below is rocky and makes for a peaceful retreat.

Getting there

The nearest airport is Dabolim International Airport (41km) and the nearest railway station is Madgaon Junction (16km). Taxis are easily available from both the places.

My stay in Betul was marvellous and I never would've imagined Goa to be so much fun with parents.

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