North Goa, India | Turn on your beach mode

Tripoto
19th Oct 2018

I am crazy nuts for beaches

Photo of North Goa, India | Turn on your beach mode by Nikhita Biswas

When I first asked my friends – "What’s the plan for Goa?" , everybody replied in synchronization – “Who plans for Goa? Goa is always unplanned. There’s no itinerary for Goa, duh!”. I am pretty sure my friends would agree with me now.

We had a fun vacation but it would have been way more fun if it was a bit well organised and a few BTs didn’t say hello here and there. Also, trust me when I say that need to plan if each of travelers in your gang is a different kind of traveler. By different I mean, some are luxury – leisure kinda travelers while others belong to the nomad category. In short, you need a plan says a girl with OCD.

Goa might be a small dot on the map of India but even North Goa is pretty vast to explore when you only have 4-5 days to explore Goa and specially when you know shit about Goa. To be honest the current blogs on Goa weren’t too elaborate as I believe majority of the tourists are here to party and to get sloshed. And of course, I am a crackpot when it comes to exploring because I wish to see everything in a short span of time. Yes, because budget issues and I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth.

So, after traveling like a crack head and spending money like Ambani's kid, I have a sorted plan for you guys so that you spend your money wisely and don’t commit the same mistakes I did.

Our flight landed at 3 pm and it took us 1 hour 40 minutes to reach Riveira Sapphire, Siolim, North Goa (nearest beach Vagator Beach); our first Airbnb for the trip hosted by Sveta Chakrabarthy. We booked a cab through an app - Goa Miles which offer cabs cheaper than the prepaid taxis available at the airport. Riveira Sapphire is a well-located residential area and not a secluded villa in Goa like many other AirBnbs. Hence, if you are concerned about security at Airbnbs, then you need not worry if you are choosing an apartment in a residential area. It was quite a luxurious property with proper amenties like a pool, a gym and came with a spectacular view. It was a splendid stay at Sveta Chakraborty's residence. The property was amazing. For a water baby who loves to spend time in the pool, this is an apt location. It gives you Goa vibes and at the same time takes care of luxury and comfort. Cab, car on rent and scooty is readily available if you connect with the guard. The place did not have a power back up so it might be difficult to sleep in the bedroom upstairs even in the month of October. I do not advise opening the windows or the balcony door due to the mosquitos. The place had kept in mind the basic requirements for a guest and provided accordingly. Basic ingredients like spices, raw rice, tea leaves, sugar etc were available on site. Dish-washing soap and detergent both were available along with a functioning washing machine. A standing rack was available to dry your clothes. The amenities included a coffee maker, induction cook-top and crockery. They also provided an emergency flashlight which was very thoughtful. However, I felt the lower floor did have the space to install a proper mattress for the third person to sleep but we adjusted well in the provided sofa. Hot and cold running water could be accessed instantly while bathing. The shower was working perfectly so one didn't have the need to look for a bucket. In totality, it was an awesome experience. The space is no different than what is shown on the website.

Riveria Sapphire Apartments, Kudal, Siolim, North Goa hosted by Sveta Chakrabarty

The parking lot , Riveira Sapphire Apartments, Kudal, Siolim, North Goa

Photo of Arambol Beach, Arambol, Goa by Nikhita Biswas

The back entrance to Aibnb homestay, Gate 3 Riveira Sapphire Apartments,Kudal Siolim

Photo of Arambol Beach, Arambol, Goa by Nikhita Biswas

The way to our Airbnb home stay

Photo of Arambol Beach, Arambol, Goa by Nikhita Biswas

Dining table at Airbnb

Photo of Arambol Beach, Arambol, Goa by Nikhita Biswas

The single bedroom

Photo of Arambol Beach, Arambol, Goa by Nikhita Biswas

View from the balcony

Photo of Arambol Beach, Arambol, Goa by Nikhita Biswas
Day 1

On the first night, we went to Vagator Beach since it was the nearest beach and we hadn't rented a vehicle yet. The auto charged us 500 bucks which yes was too costly but we couldn't estimate the distance to Vagator beach from Siolim, hence we took whatever was offered. I guess we ended up at the wrong side of Vagator Beach since the place was quite. Only a few lights, shacks and people marked its entry. We went ahead to see if any of the shacks were serving food but to our disappointment none of the shacks had audience. Every shack was unoccupied and we could only see one part of the beach lit up by W Goa. We asked a few present there by the rocks if there were any shacks further but nobody had a clue and mentioned that you couldn't access the property from the sands and one had to take the route by the road. So, we ended up going back towards the restaurants we had spotted on our way to the beach earlier. We found Olive Goa. It looked beautiful from the outside but we chose to walk further and explore but we couldn't find anything worth, so we ended up going to 'The Mango Tree'. Trust me, a total disappointment. Hence, as an advice, choose Olive over 'The Mango Tree'. We had asked for Fish and Chips and Calamari. They were as fried as a dead body in hell. Bad food and bad service. No that's not where it ends, it took them 45 minutes to take the order itself.

Photo of The Mango Tree, Coutinho Vaddo, Vagator, Goa, India by Nikhita Biswas
Photo of The Mango Tree, Coutinho Vaddo, Vagator, Goa, India by Nikhita Biswas

When we talk about extreme North of North Goa, the stretch from Arambol – Morgim Beach, the beaches aren’t party beaches. It’s for those who are pretty laid back and wish to enjoy the warmth of the sun while resting on the soft sand. The waves are calm. So, you don’t have to worry about being hit by a harsh wave when you go for a swim or a dip in the sea. Just embrace the beautiful tan, treat yourself to a body massage while enjoying some port wine.

Map of North Goa, India

Photo of North Goa, India | Turn on your beach mode by Nikhita Biswas

We chose Arambol Beach as our first destination. The route to extreme North Goa from Siolim was breathtaking, so serene.

Day 2

The route to Arambol Beach from Siolim

Photo of Arambol, Goa, India by Nikhita Biswas

The route to Arambol Beach from Siolim

Photo of Arambol, Goa, India by Nikhita Biswas

Lotus Pond along the road to Arambol Beach from Siolim

Photo of Arambol, Goa, India by Nikhita Biswas

The place is not brimming with shacks, so don’t worry, your quiet and peaceful nap won’t be interrupted by ‘DJ wale bhaiya, mera gaana baja do’. Like on a serious note, Punjabans are gonna rule the country with their music. Just kidding. The shacks have plenty sunbathing beds, so you don’t have to worry about getting one for yourself. We shortlisted Laughing Buddha Shack as it looked pretty decent and had more footfalls than the rest. We ordered a greek pizza, chicken Parmigiana (Spaghetti in white sauce served with a deep fried chicken breast), prawn dim sums and one plate of king prawns but eventually regretted the decision. Yes, we were damn hungry and had skipped breakfast but we didn't like what was offered to us. The left section of the shack was raised and built like a tree house with cushions and mattresses thrown here and there overlooking the sea. By the way, any shade was pointless to keep the sun away even in October end. It was too hot.

King Prawns , Laughing Buddha Shack, Arambol Beach, North Goa

Photo of Arambol Beach, Arambol, Goa by Nikhita Biswas

Laughing Buddha Shack, Arambol Beach

Photo of Arambol Beach, Arambol, Goa by Nikhita Biswas

The book collection at Laughing Buddha Beach Shack, Arambol Beach

Photo of Arambol Beach, Arambol, Goa by Nikhita Biswas

View from the sitting area at Laughing Buddha Beach Shack, Arambol Beach

Photo of Arambol Beach, Arambol, Goa by Nikhita Biswas

Pawn Momos , Laughing Buddha Beach Shack, Arambol Beach

Photo of Arambol Beach, Arambol, Goa by Nikhita Biswas

Interiors, Laughing Buddha Beach Shack, Arambol Beach

Photo of Arambol Beach, Arambol, Goa by Nikhita Biswas

Laughing Buddha Beach Shack, Arambol Beach

Photo of Arambol Beach, Arambol, Goa by Nikhita Biswas

The drive from Siolim (pronounced as Shi-o-lim) was pretty decent and it took us about 40 minutes to reach Arambol. From Arambol, we went to Ashwem Beach, skipping Mandrem Beach. You can walk too but since the sun was too cruel, we decided to take the car. Unlike Ashwem’s free parking, you need to pay 40 bucks for car parking at Arambol. Ashwem was strikingly different from Arambol. It had huge deposits of corals on the sand with a carpet of algae and mosses over it. A beautiful sight indeed. The hues of green, blue and brown were simply a feast to the eyes. It was as serene as Arambol. Little girls came running and urged us to let them do our hair braiding. We walked the stretch and found a different kind of tree, which you can figure out in the picture below. The sand was too greyish white. Since, we weren’t aware of the locations and whereabouts about this beach belt, we took an Airbnb in Siolim but you guys can find hotels and beach huts on the entire stretch of extreme North. You just have to cross the road. Oyo Townhouse which was facing Ashwem Beach seemed like a great property and definitely stood apart from the rest for an urban traveler.

Photo of Ashwem Beach, Mandrem, Goa by Nikhita Biswas
Photo of Ashwem Beach, Mandrem, Goa by Nikhita Biswas
Photo of Ashwem Beach, Mandrem, Goa by Nikhita Biswas
Photo of Ashwem Beach, Mandrem, Goa by Nikhita Biswas
Photo of Ashwem Beach, Mandrem, Goa by Nikhita Biswas

It was 4pm now and we decided to head back home. It was a 20-minute drive from here. On our way, we picked up maggi, snacks and water for breakfast the next day. Later, in the evening, we decided to go to Curlies at Anjuna Beach for dinner.

Personally, I felt the place was too crowded which is usually not my cup of tea. We could hardly find a vacant table. The night club was on the first floor with an entry charge of Rs. 750/-. As decided we were just here for dinner, and ordered Chicken and prawn fried rice and Chilly chicken. It was an absolute delight. The place did not serve pancakes and soups at night because it was too crowded. Too strong a logic I believe. Plus, we were interrupted quite a few times by peddlers who were selling neon bands and headbands. It was quite annoying. The tables were laid out on the sand just few steps away from the sea. The place had a live barbeque counter where they were serving fish and meat. If you follow the Google GPS from Siolim, it will directly take you to Curlies parking. Car parking charges – Rs. 40/- per car. From here, you will have to walk 5-7 minutes to reach the shack. The street shops will guide you. Cigarettes are readily available. This is the first time I saw so many brands at one place. And, for some strange reasons they were selling chocolates along and not mint. Share with me if you know why they do so in the comment section below.

Day 3

The next morning we decided to head to Aguada Fort. Guys, 'Dil Chahta Hai' is not shot here. It was shot at Chapora Fort about which you'll read about later. It took us 40-45 minutes from Siolim. When I say the fort was a burning hell, I say nothing but the truth. The sun was harsh and the heat intolerable. Do carry your fuel if you plan to visit here in October and don’t forget to carry an umbrella. You can buy hats from the vendors outside the fort but I would suggest you to carry your own bottles because guys come on 'even one plastic bottle’ matters. Adjacent to the fort was the new lighthouse which we couldn’t see as we were completely drained out. It had a separate entry. Also, I would advise you guys to visit the lighthouse first and then wander around the fort but not sure if it might be wise as I am not aware how does one reach the top. if we have to take a plight of stairs or otherwise? So, comment below if any of you have been to the lighthouse before. I am pretty sure the view from there would be stunning. The fort overlooks the sea from where you can spot the passing ships. If Delhiites are reading this, you might wish to skip this place, as it’s a mini Hauz Khas Village of Goa. However, don’t miss out on the lighthouse. For those to whom History matters, Aguada Fort was built by the Portuguese to protect Goa from a sea attack. The high raised walls were built to defend attacks and control the entry of intruders through the sea. You will also find an empty space around the fort where now grasses grow. It acted as a natural water reserve then and was fed by freshwater springs. The water storage capacity of the fort was among the largest in the East. The fort overlooks the Sinquerim Beach and bisects the shore line into two. You can also explore the jail. I’m not quite sure how as we didn’t get a chance to visit as our trip was a short one. So, the route to Aguada Fort is such that when you head from Calanguate or Candolim, you will come to T point where on the left side, one has Aguada Fort and Jail and on the right rests Sinquerim Beach.

Photo of Aguada Fort Area, Candolim, Goa, India by Nikhita Biswas
Photo of Aguada Fort Area, Candolim, Goa, India by Nikhita Biswas

Sea View from Aguada Fort, Goa

Photo of Aguada Fort Area, Candolim, Goa, India by Nikhita Biswas

We went to Candolim Creek for lunch. The place served delicious food. However, I wasn't much a fan of their Strawberry shake. Chicken 65 was a delight. We ordered a special roti which was stuffed with honey and almond. It was delicious however, the bread would have been a delight if I hadn't paired it up with Konkani Chicken. The Bebinca Cake, a popular dessert in Goa didn't meet my expectations too.

Photo of North Goa, India | Turn on your beach mode by Nikhita Biswas
Photo of North Goa, India | Turn on your beach mode by Nikhita Biswas
Photo of North Goa, India | Turn on your beach mode by Nikhita Biswas
Photo of North Goa, India | Turn on your beach mode by Nikhita Biswas

On the right side of Sinquerim Beach rests The Taj Fort Aguada Resort and Spa. You can indulge here in water sports if you haven’t already. You will also find the bastion of the remaining fort thrusting into the sea which is a good spot to click pics as the waves crash into the rocks creating big splashes. We went here for dinner before heading to LPK Club, Nerul. Enjoyed a decent dinner there at one of the beach shacks. It took us 10 minutes from Sinquerim to club LPK which had a lovely view of the waterfront and had free entry for girls and couple entry for Rs.1700/-.We had a gala time there. The DJs were amazing and I loved the aura of the place. For the first time, I participated in a dance marathon. Ys my friends, we danced for straight 6 hours till 4 in the morning. What ruined the night was when a guy puked on my hand. Yeah, shit happens.

LPK Club, Nerul, Goa

Photo of LPK Waterfront Club, Nerul, Goa, India by Nikhita Biswas

We had booked Woke Hostel in Arpora for the night. It took us 25 minutes to reach back to the hostel. I believe it was not a wise decision to spend so much for one night as we hardly spent 5 hours in that location. The accommodation was just used to sleep. Instead of booking separate rooms, we could have booked bunks for ourselves which would have costed us Rs. 700/-. However, I was not in favour of the property’s location though the interiors were beautiful. You can see it for yourself here. The place provided breakfast ranging from Rs. 80- 90/-. But, if you are not a nature lover, you might not like this place because the cupboards in the rooms were home to frogs and lizards. It had a pool tool but it was unkempt. The air conditioning in one of the rooms (the one closer to the reception) was not functioning properly. In short, I did not fancy this place though it might be a perfect place for solo travelers. Also, it was a short stay and we had to return the rented car back to the owner which messed us pretty bad. If interested to know why, comment below. It’s a long long story and I don’t want to waste my reader’s time. Just as a head’s up, never fill the fuel tank for the car owner. Instead, pay him the equivalent money.

Day 4

In the evening we headed towards Panjim, a 47-minute scooty drive to have some street food in Miramar along the sides of Miramar beach. The street food was nothing compared to Delhi so you can definitely skip. However, you can enjoy pav bhaji and special MilkMaid Gola for Rs. 50/-. On our way to Panjim, we saw ships lined up back to back, Deltin Casino standing out amongst the rest. When you land at the airport, you can see a separate counter for Deltin Casino from where you can inquire and book tickets.

Panjim, Goa

Photo of Miramar, Panaji, Goa, India by Nikhita Biswas
Photo of Miramar, Panaji, Goa, India by Nikhita Biswas

Milk Maid Ice Golas, Miramar Beach

Photo of Miramar, Panaji, Goa, India by Nikhita Biswas

Our stay for this night and the following day was at Riveira Sapphire Apartments, Siolim again but at a different AirBnb, hosted by Pria and VB titled on the site as Goan Vistas. The place is designed intricately with beautiful interiors. Looks like a lot of time and heart went into making it feel homelike. The apartment was on the second floor overlooking the pool and the fields beyond. The apartments have a lift so you don't have to worry about carrying your luggage to the second floor. The house is built in a studio apartment style with a small bedroom on the upper floor. The house doesn't have a study but you can always use the kitchen table. You have to climb up a ladder to access the room. The bedroom on the lower floor is adjacent to the kitchen and bathroom. The place has just one bathroom which is a problem when you have 4 guests. It is a little compact than shown in the pictures but cosy. You have a balcony where you can enjoy a chilled can of beer while the cool breeze move past your face. The place has a lot of switches that will confuse you but Vb is a great host and took out time to gave us a tour of the place. The premises had a coffee maker, washing machine, microwave, hairdryer, rack in the balcony to dry clothes and a refrigerator. The place also had an invertor incase you need a power back up. All in all, it's a cosy little space where you can crash after a party.

Poolside, Riveira Sapphire Apartments, Kudal, Siolim

Photo of Riviera Sapphire, Kudal, Siolim, Goa, India by Nikhita Biswas
Photo of Riviera Sapphire, Kudal, Siolim, Goa, India by Nikhita Biswas

Bedroom level one, Goan Vistas, Airbnb

Photo of Riviera Sapphire, Kudal, Siolim, Goa, India by Nikhita Biswas

Studi Apartment styled by VB, Airbnb Host, Goa

Photo of Riviera Sapphire, Kudal, Siolim, Goa, India by Nikhita Biswas

Bedroom level zero, Goan Vistas, Airbnb hosted by VB and Pria

Photo of Riviera Sapphire, Kudal, Siolim, Goa, India by Nikhita Biswas
Photo of Riviera Sapphire, Kudal, Siolim, Goa, India by Nikhita Biswas

Entrance to the apartment, Riveira Sapphire, Kudal, Siolim

Photo of Riviera Sapphire, Kudal, Siolim, Goa, India by Nikhita Biswas

Entrance to the apartment, Riveira Sapphire, Kudal, Siolim

Photo of Riviera Sapphire, Kudal, Siolim, Goa, India by Nikhita Biswas

The last day we tried to cover a few more places. We headed towards Chapora Fort near Vagator Beach, about 15 minutes from Siolim. The view was breath-taking. The grasslands overlooked the sea and the soft breeze brushed against our faces. It would have been just perfect if the sun wasn’t that harsh on us. From the centre of the fort, you can see the divide of North Goa into two parts, Querim- Morgim Beach and Vagator-Sinquerim Beach. In other words, you can see the bottom edge of Morgim beach and the beginning of the Vagator beach stretch.

Day 5

Charpora Fort, Vagator Beach

Photo of Chapora Fort, Chapora, Goa, India by Nikhita Biswas

We spent almost 45 beautiful minutes as from here we had to head to Anjuna beach. The water sports guy, Chandru had made around 20 calls by then to come visit his kiosk. He was adamant that we wouldn’t find anything more cheaper than what he was offering. What I have learnt about Goans is that they don’t welcome haggling at all. It’s a ‘take it or leave it’ policy. Coming back to Chapora Fort. If you are planning to visit this fort, wear your sports shoes instead of sandals as it’s a treacherous climb from the parking lot. However, it seems like construction is happening to build steps for travelers’ ease. The parking charge is Rs. 10/- per scooty. There are no entry charges yet. It’s yet to be commercialized. However, you have a few men and women selling refreshments on the trail so if you don’t wish to spend extra bucks, carry your own chilled water bottles. On your way down, you can enjoy a chilled refreshing glass of lemon soda. However, if you visit the place in the evening, you can swap water bottles with beer cans. But, please make sure you trash them back at your hotel and not pollute around. #TravelResponsibily

From here, we went to Anjuna Beach. (BTW cops issue a challan of Rs. 950 and keep your vehicle if you are not carrying your driving license. Also, a four wheeler’s driving license wouldn’t work for a two wheeler in Goa unless you pay him under the table. And, incase you are confident in such dealings and can flaunt your Delhi swag, the name Rahul is enough to take care of the mess you might have committed. Not quite sure who is he. (If you know who this VIP is, I am all ears). At Anjuna Beach, parasailing alone costs you guys Rs. 800/- bucks per person and if you take the package of 4-5 water sports which includes Jet Ski, Banana Boat, Parasailing and bumper ride, it will cost you Rs. 1300/- per person. Obviously, the package was a cheaper option but we were short of time. And, what blew our mind was that parasailing at Anjuna Beach does not include a water dip. You have to pay Rs. 200/- over and above Rs. 800/- for that. The motor boat staff also encourages you to take a swim in the sea which will cost you another 200 bucks (Indian rupees). Yes my friends, you are a tourist even if you are a localite. We eventually paid those extra bucks which was not informed to us earlier because come on guys, parasailing without a dip? Don’t be stupid. It was a whole new experience for me as it was the first time I was doing any water sport. The bird’s view was heavenly abut then they eventually pull you down faster than you might think so enjoy whatever few minutes you have in hand. Remember to go before 4 because at 5 pm the kiosks for water sports starts shutting. Also, it’s very difficult to find a changing room or any enclosed area to change clothes. Only this particular kiosk had an attached changing room for its customers. Remember if you aren’t his customer, then he will charge you Rs. 10/- because ‘loot lo customers ko’ and nothing comes for free in Goa. The parking at Anjuna will cost you Rs.20/- per scooty.

Also, this is an important note for all those who have the urge to get inked temporarily and think it will not do any harm to their bodies. I shall warn you beforehand. There’s a tattoo shop at Anjuna if you start from the right end of the beach, right where the beach huts are located at the entrance of Anjuna Beach. Two guys are running the shop. They are no tattoo artists. These are two men trying to make some money. My friend and I got inked the other night where we chose our designs from the book but these guys were so bad with the art. No idea how big the tattoo should be. What all body parts are dangerous to be inked and charged us Rs. 75/- per square where it should have been Rs. 50/-. Keeping that aside my friends, we were not aware of the chemical used and thought it was safe as the guys had a pretty decent shop. But the chemical reaction has left a scar on my neck, the place where I got inked. It had started itching and burning like hell. I went to dermatologist who gave me an ointment and some oral medication. I still haven’t been able to get rid of the scar and I hope it's not a lifelong scar on my neck. So, folks, please do not do anything stupid that you would regret later.

From Anjuna, we headed towards Chorao Islands at somewhere about 3pm at noon. It was an hour ride from Anjuna Beach (29.3 km). The route as directed by Google maps was undeniably stunning. Almost after half an hour in the ride, you can see brooks of Mandovi River flowing along the road. Since, it was the rice harvesting season, we could see many farmers cutting crops and laying them on the roadside for the rice to soak some sun. It was a delightful sight. Women farmers were dressed in their local native dresses topped with a matching head gear. So, Chorao Island is the one where Salim Bird Sanctuary is located, just on the border of the Chorao Island facing Mandovi River. You need to buy tickets to enter the Salim Bird Sanctuary. You can buy snacks and water from the nearby food stalls surrounding the entrance. However, this was not our ultimate destination and we were stopped at the river since there were no roads ahead. You can only cross the river in a ferry which comes in every 5 minutes. We hadn’t imagined Chorao Island to be something like this. We had more of a Phi Phi Island kinda image. Want some free advice? Do not Google places in Goa because it’s pretty messed up and at the end of the search you get the same image results for different searches. In my case, it made Chorao have blue waters than the actual shade of muddy brown waters. Also, you will find a local shop on the route who can sell you petrol in a bottle so one need not worry if he/she is a little careless about filling tanks.

Photo of Mandovi River, Goa by Nikhita Biswas

Ferry Ride

Photo of Mandovi River, Goa by Nikhita Biswas

The ferry takes you to the other side – Old Goa, 10 km east of Panjim. As soon as you reach the land, take a left and and then Google maps and the signboards will guide you to the famous Old Church in Old Goa, Basilca of Bom Jesus, a Unesco World Heritage Site. It holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. Bom Jesus means good Jesus. The body of Francis Xavier was first taken to Portuguese and 2 years later was shipped back to Goa. It is said that the saint’s body was as fresh as the day it was buried. The saint is said to have miraculous powers of healing. His magnificent casket is made of silver. There are actually two churches adjacent to each other divided by a wide *clean* road. The parking charges were Rs. 20/- per scooty.

Basilca of Bom Jesus, a Unesco World Heritage Site, Panjim

P.S. – Don’t shortlist Udupi Restaurant just across the road from the church as your to-go restaurant even if you are damn hungry. The food ain’t that great when it comes to prawn biryani, it wasn’t spicy at all, chicken hyderabadi and garlic naan is 'dhokha'. Adjacent to the restaurant, there is an alcohol shop, Baskin Robins on the right hand side and a Caju shop on the left. We inquired about the island trip at the Udupi Restaurant which shares the same counter to an alcohol shop. So, it’s a full day thing with pick up and drop included from Calanguate and Panjim in the North. Not quite sure about the rest of the places. The package includes dolphin sight-seeing, island hopping, scuba diving, snorkelling, lunch, snacks and drinks. It starts at around 9 in the morning and end by 5 pm. I will mention the details about the agencies providing such services in the comment section below if interested.

You might have figured out until now that it was quite a chaotic trip. Don’t worry, I will simplify it for you. In other words, write down the itinerary for you.

1) First, and foremost, check-in in majority of the hotels/holiday homes and Airbnb happens at 2pm and check out at 12pm. So, book your flights accordingly.

2) Parking expenses at tourist spots

a. Chapora Fort – Rs. 10/- per scooty + free parking (if you park scooty infront of W Goa)

b. Old Church, Panjim – Rs. 20/- per scooty

c. Anjuna Beach – Rs. 20/- per scooty

d. Aguada Fort – free parking

e. Sinquerim Beach – free parking

f. Anjuna Beach (parking behind Curlies) – Rs. 50/- per car

g. Arambol Beach – Rs. 50/- per car

h. Ashwem Beach – free parking

3) Other Expenses

a. Scooty on rent available at Rs. 300/- per day. You have to fill your own petrol.

b. Car on rent available at Rs. 1200-1500/- per day. Petrol is on you. You have to pay security deposit and submit an identity proof.

c. Parasailing at Anjuna Beach – Rs. 800/- per person + Rs. 200/- (for dip+height) + Rs. 200/- (for swim in the beach)

d. Tattoo (kindly avoid) at Anjuna Beach – Rs. 50- 75/- per square meter.

e. Entry for girls at LPK free. Couple entry – Rs.1700/- (includes free 4 drinks per person)

4) Itinerary

Day 1

a. As you can the map of North Goa here, it is divided into two beach stretches. One Arambol- Morgim Beach and the other ‘Vagator – Sinquerim Beach’.

b. You’ll be able to cover the former beach stretch on the first day or choose any two out of the four and spend quality time.

c. The stretch is marked by many hotels and home stays. So, you can choose online from any travel portal. I felt booking.com was the most comfortable portal as it lets you book with free cancellation uptil a certain date. Rest it is entirely upto you depending on many factors. Personally, I felt Oyo Townhouse is just a perfect blend of luxury and affordability and is just across Ashwem beach plus its facing the sea.

d. Water sports were not available here (Arambol and Ashwem Beach)

e. You need not worry about commute on the first day as each beach is at a walking distance from the other.

f. There are not a lot of shacks in Arambol and Ashwem, so if you are more of a Baga Beach person, you might be disappointed as the beaches are a little quieter, crowd deficient and peaceful. However, the place has a lot of good restaurants across the beach. You can have brunch/lunch at La Plage, Ashwem Beach.

Day 2

a. Book a stay somewhere close to Vagator - Anjuna Beach stretch. Staying at Siolim is not advisable as it is quite far from the beach if we talk in terms of walking distance from the beach.

b. You can visit Vagator in the morning. Vagator beach is divided into big Vagator and small Vagator/Ozran beach. You can have lunch at Thalassa, Ozran Beach or at Antares Restaurant and Beach Club.

c. Vagator does have water sports but might be a little expensive than Anjuna due to the W Goa property located here.

d. From here, head towards Anjuna Beach, indulge in some water sports. Enjoy food at Curlies.

e. Anjuna also holds a Saturday Flee Market, so you can plan accordingly if you are interested.

f. Before sunset, head back towards Chapora Fort and enjoy the sunset.

g. Later at night, you can go to Baga Beach and take on the dance floor.

Day 3

a. For Day three, keep Calanguate, Candolim, Sinquerim and Aguada Fort. You can either choose three of the above-mentioned places or choose 2 beaches and visit the fort. However, if you are visiting the fort, make sure you go to the lighthouse. It’s different to have a different view.

b. Rise early and visit Aguada Fort as it really gets difficult to visit it later in the day even in October due to the heat. Instead of visiting the fort first, you can climb the lighthouse first and then roam around the fort for a while until you please. From there if you wish, you can also visit the jail. You can also decide to visit this place during sunset, hoping it would be beautiful.

c. The beach stretch from Candolim to Sinquerim is lined up with picturesque cafes and restaurants. So, you can pick the one which suits you. Of what I have heard Fisherman’s Cove is a popular one, though we didn’t go there. We chose Candolim Creek over it. It has car parking at the back of the property so it was easy for us to park your car instead of at Fisherman’s Cove.

d. After having a good lunch, you can head to Candolim or Calanguate beach, get a good foot or body massage and enjoy it with a chilled can of King’s. Though it didn’t quite match with my palate.

e. You can also pick Sinquerim Beach for the sunset and watch the sun bid goodbye and paint the sky with hues of yellow and red. Have dinner at the star lit beach, watch Taj Resorts lit up the Sinquerim Beach border and watch it rise in all its glory.

Day 4

a. Keep this day for the Island Trip and Old Goa Church. You’ll need an entire day to cover these both.

b. Wake up early, have a good breakfast or brunch whatever suits you and move towards Panjim. It will take you 45 minutes approximately, the ferry ride included.

c. These 45 minutes ride is in Chorao Island. The place has got its own scenic beauty. If you got time, you can plan to visit the Salim Bird Sanctuary which is located just at the corner overlooking river Mandovi that separates Old Goa and New Goa at one end. Though, I am not sure if you will be able to squeeze it in your tight schedule. And, if you are no a bird lover, you can choose to skip it. Instead, head straight to Old Church, Velha, Panjim, Goa and enjoy the architectural marvel.

d. Remember to register yourself for the Island trip and book your slot one day prior to the planned visit. I happened to visit Panjim on the last day. Hence, could not participate in it. Comment below if you are interested to get the details of the agencies providing such services. So, you can plan beforehand if need be. They also provide pick up and drop services at the hotel footsteps. And if you are staying in North Goa, then they can pick you up from Calanguate-Candolim at the max, so decide your stay accordingly.

Day 5 (Optional)

a. A trip to Dudhsagar Waterfalls will at least take half a day. And, you will have to start a bit early like around 7 am – 8 am, if you don’t want to face the maddening rush. It takes 2 hours to reach the place (without traffic). Once, you have reached the common entry point, you will be taken further in a jeep. Not sure, if they are charge extra or not but I suppose it will have ticket counter. If you know already, I will be happy if you could share the information. They send you in a group so you cannot to choose to travel alone. Also, not quite sure if they have a trek provision to this place. So if you guys know of any, do share. Reach the venue, enjoy a good bath in the natural water shower, head back at around 3 pm -4 pm as by 5 pm all activities at the location shuts.

And, if you are a waterfall baby like me, then here's a map for you. Pick one which you wish to see and get exploring folks.

Waterfalls in Goa, India

Photo of Dudhsagar Falls, Sonaulim, Goa, India by Nikhita Biswas

Hope you enjoyed reading this. If you are planning to visit Goa anytime soon, let me know if I can be of any assistance. Would be happy to help. You can scroll down my Instagram page (@TheOrdinaari) to glance through more pictures.

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