Difference between revisions of "Goa"
Revision as of 17:25, 20 June 2007
Goa  is a former Portuguese colony, currently a state in India's West region. It is 3700 square kilometres in size and has a human population of approximately 1.4 million. Its east-west mix, beaches and syncretic culture is what attracts an officially-estimated two million visitors each year. Bulk of the visitors are from the rest of India, but the quarter-million from abroad have an influential role to play because of their spending capacity. Among the foreign visitors, and increasingly among a section of young visitors from India, Goa is currently renowned for its electronic music parties and its beaches. From 1510 until 1961 Goa was a Portuguese colony and many aspects of Portuguese culture and architecture can still be found.
Goa is a very small state with only two districts, which are further divided into 11 talukas.
The Goan population is a mixture of Hindus and Roman Catholics, the distribution being approximately 60% Hindu and 40% Christian. Despite this, there have been no communal clashes in the past and Goa is regarded as one of the most peaceful states in India.
The best time of the year to visit Goa is mid-November to mid-February.
There are several bus routes from various cities, but most traffic is from mainly Bombay and Pune, but with increasing demand from the south, there has been an increase in buses and trains from Bangalore and New Delhi.
Indian Railways connect Goa from Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Mangalore, Ernakulam and Thiruvanantapuram (via Bangalore) and all other places in India.The destination station is usually Madgaon in Goa.There is a daily express train service from Delhi.Beware of Pickpockets, people who offer you snacks or Tea and other such people who make trains to Goa a regular hunting ground.
Some airlines fly directly to Dabolim Airport at Goa, but most international flights arrive via Mumbai. As the airport is also used by the military, it only accepts flights during the daytime (until 4 PM or so), which makes eg. sensible weekend escapes from elsewhere in the country effectively impossible.
Goa has daily flights to and from Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai and Pune (no flights return to Pune) and has flights twice a week to Chennai and Cochin.
A lot of tourists rent scooters which are usually Honda Activas, an ungeared scooter which is quite easy to ride. One can also rent a geared motorcycle including the popular Royal Enfield which is very similar to older British motorcycles and is even bought by tourists from the rental company if they plan to stay longer. However make sure you are careful while riding especially if you plan to ride on the highways. The rental company doesn't provide helmets and it is up to you to look for one if you want one. One can get these scooters or motorcycles from garages or from people standing on the road next to these scooters and one can expect to spend between Rs.150 - Rs. 250 a day on a scooter and a little more if one is looking for a geared motorcycle.
If you aren't comfortable riding in Goa or have a bigger group you can also rent a jeep. These are usually either Mahindras which are similar to Jeep Willys or Maruti Gypys which are the long wheel base version of the Suzuki Samurai. A lot of these jeeps are open without a roof and can really help to enjoy the Goa experience and is a better way to travel around as opposed to a regular sedan. One can expect to pay around Rs. 700 - Rs. 800 a day for these jeeps.
You can also use the local buses to travel to different beaches in Goa. Note that these buses are not owned by Goa municipal authorities and as such the fare can vary. A typical bus ride will cost anywhere from 4-6 rupees. Fares are not collected at the bus doors but rather after you after you entered and the bus has begun to move. It is prudent to ask your fellow passengers about the fare and the destination if you are not familiar with the distance or the place.
Goa is world famous for its beaches, its ancient temples and churches, and its Goan carnival
If naval aviation interests you, you might want to stop by the Naval Air Museum. This is behind the Dabolim Airport, and you will need to loop around the airport perimeter across the Dabolim Railway station to get there. There are seven outdoor exhibits and other memorabilia and models in a two story building.
Since Goa is still largely Catholic it has many Catholic holidays besides the Indian national holidays.
One of them, the Carnival though often mistaken for a 'Catholic holiday' is largely a Government sponsered affair of Floats and festivities.
There is a lot to do - for those who like their fun a little laid back
The Goan staple diet consists of rice and fish curry along with pickles and fried fish. This can be found on many of the beach shacks. The Goan cuisine is a blend of Portuguese and local flavours. Many dishes such as prawn balchao and Kingfish in Garlic have distinct Portuguese flavour.
Dishes such as Vindaloo and Xacuti (pronounced Cha'cuti) will be familiar from Indian restaurant menus, and are originally Goan dishes.
Places to eat
Most beaches have shacks that serve surprisingly delicious meals, specially sea-food and they'll usually consult you to see how you like your food. Don't miss the shack eating experience. You'll want to go back and do it again. Most fancy hotels and restaurants serve terrible foods, it is best to eat at local places, ask a taxi driver where these would be and don't let him take you to any fancy restaurants as they receive commission. For a taste of the local flavour with clean facilities but low prices go to Caji's Place, Colva.
Alcoholic Beverages The popular alcoholic beverages in Goa are Beer and Wine. There is also the local liquor, Fenny, which is quite potent and strong. It comes in 2 flavours, Cashewnut and Coconut.
Club Cubana(Arpora) - A night at the Playboy Mansion! This decadent mansion perched on the top of a hill looks over Anjuna and the sea and sports a huge pool, 4 bars, indoor dance floor, a pizza bar and four poster beds scattered around the place. Pay anywhere from 500 - 1000 Rupee for a couple entry (stag entry is not allowed) and pay no more for the rest of the night. Club Cubana has an open bar happening all night, unlimited beer, wine, sparkling and basic spirits are available to you all night! Enjoy the party!
A lot of great places to stay at, but more often than not, you will find that all your searches result in websites that do your travel/accommodation bookings. While this is good, it can leave a holiday maker frustrated. In this section, we will add direct contacts of hotels, resorts etc., so that one can choose to use travel agents and/or call/email directly.
Apart from alcohol, which is very cheap, Goa is one of the more expensive states in India to stay. Though for a foreign tourist it is still very cheap. Peak season, which is from November to late March the prices are very high. Especially in December, 5 star hotel rates rates range from around Rs.20,000 - Rs.35,000 per night some rates go even higher. All touristic places charge more in the season.
Many ancestral homes are being renovated to include full-facility guest accommodation, with/without authentic Goan meals, located in scenic, quiet and relaxed villages, all within easy reach of Cities and Beaches:
There are plenty of star hotels in Goa. So, depending on the location, take your pick .
It is very easy to get a Prepaid mobile, which is very cheap to get and for calls too. A Photo ID proof and photograph for prepaid as well as postpaid connection is required.
Internet Cafes can be found at tourist spots and hotels. It is not difficult to find a Internet center.
Goa is a generally safe state, but as with any tourism dependent economy, it has its fair share of petty crime and touts.
Please remember these important points when you are visiting Goa: