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Goa

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Asia : South Asia : India : Western India : Goa
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Palolem beach, Goa

Goa [1] 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.


Districts

Goa is a very small state with only two districts, which are further divided into 11 talukas.

Regions of Goa
North Goa (Bardez, Bicholim, Pernem, Ponda, Satari, Tiswadi)
The northern talukas.
South Goa (Canacona, Mormugao, Quepem, Salcette, Sanguem)
The southern talukas.

Cities

  • Panaji (Panjim) – the state capital

Other destinations

Understand

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.

Talk

Goa's state language is Konkani. Most Goans speak Konkani, English, Hindi and Marathi. Portuguese is also spoken by some, especially the elite class.

Get in

By bus

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.

By train

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.

For budget travellers,is the cheapest to travel in India.

By air

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.

Domestic Airlines flying into Goa include Kingfisher airlines, spicejet, Jet Airways, Indian Airlines, Air Deccan, Indigo.

There are international flights to Kuwait and UAE twice a week on Air India and charter flights to the United Kingdom, Germany and Switzerland.

By sea

Get around

Bikes

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.

Jeeps

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.

Bus

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.

See

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.

Beaches

Do

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

  • Relax at the Beaches. Goa has an almost unbroken 100 km coastline of beaches
  • Visit the venerable Cathedrals of a bygone era at Old Goa, which are still in remarkable good condition
  • Enjoy the cuisine at a range of restaurants that cater to just about every palate.
  • Check out the several Discos and Pubs that have sprung up around Goa.

Eat

Food

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

  • Brito's, Baga - Known for its Mix meat platter, this place serves continental cuisines, The deserts offered are to die for.
  • Montego Bay Goa (Morjim)- full fledged restaurant serving Continental, Indian, Seafood and the local Goan Cuisine[2]
  • Cavala, Baga - Beautiful authentic Goan food in a charming setting. Also great entertainment is often featured!
  • Bella Ciao The Italian Restaurant at La Calypso Hotels, Saunta Vaddo, Calangute Baga road, Baga, Goa - 403516 - Phone: 0832 2275821 Italian
  • O'Coqueiro
  • Mirabai Goan Village, off Baga Road, Calangute. Phone: 98 22176808- The best! Authentic Goan food, excellent sea food, charming knowledgeable owner
  • Souza Lobo - King Fish and Seafood are excellent
  • Hotel Mandovi
  • Casa Andre's, Calangute
  • Martin's Corner, Betalbatim
  • Casa Portuguese, Baga
  • J & A's, Arpora
  • Waves, Calangute
  • Mooncrest on the road to Baga beach
  • Tibetan Kitchen, Calangute - sizzling garlic prawn platter to die for.
  • La Resturaunt- Baga Road - French cuisine at its best
  • Stone House, Candolim - garden bar and rest - great cooking lovely atmosphere
  • Caji's Place, Colva- known for its fresh and spectacular Prawn Curry.
  • Dominos Pizza, Margao 0832-2713888, 2713660-61 Shop No.11-12, Durga Apartments,Louis Miranda Road , Near Saaj Hotel , Margao - 403601
  • Tato's in Margao and Panjim for good Pau Bhaji.
  • Bob's Inn on the main road from Calangute to Candolim.

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.

Drink

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.


Popular Bars

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!

Goa/Psy Trance

  • 9-Bar - Fantastic location nestled on the cliffs of Vagator beach. Things get going from around 6pm and close about 10pm. This is the place to go to find out about whats hot after 10pm.
  • Prim Rose - This is a small bar and restaurant in Little Vagator. Once the road to Vagator is taken (the first right from Anjuna) you are on the way to this psychedelic haven (ask the locals to take the crucial left from the main road). The place consists of a closed wall wherein the two story restaurant is located. To the other side of the road a few snooker tables are placed within a closed area. The roof of the ground floor is adorned with weird psychedelic graffiti in pretty abstract colours. The upper story houses a huge plasma TV and some more snooker tables. Life starts here after 10 in the evening when a huge section of Goa's foreign trippers and junkies get here to have a good time. Good food and wine is served (albeit a bit costly according to Indian standards, but considering the absolutely great music they play and the ambiance, it's worth it).
  • Hilltop
  • Bamboo Forest
  • Paradiso
  • DiscoValley
  • Dolce Vita
  • There are many outdoor raves/doofs/parties during the peak season ie December - March

Sleep

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.

Budget

  • Captain Lobos Beach resort
  • Montego Bay Goa [3]
  • Sussegado Nature Retreat - Cottages on a working eco spice farm in Goa's green hinterland - a place to relax away from the bustle of the beaches with a picturesque river and a good starting point for trips to Dudh Sagar waterfalls, the Tambdi Surla temple and Hampi.

Mid-range

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:

North Goa

  • Cavala Seaside Resort - Baga
  • Beach Villa,Montego Bay Goa Vithaldas Waddo,Morjim,Pernem Tel: (+91)-09822150847 (Mobile) Email: info@montegobaygoa.com

South Goa

  • Garca Branca [4] Hse.#934 on Hwy.17B, Loutulim, Salcette, Goa. Tel: (+91)-(0832) 277 7064, Rs.200-250 daily for renting a scooter (plus fuel), food at shaks is 125 rs to 150 rs per head

Splurge

There are plenty of star hotels in Goa. So, depending on the location, take your pick .

North Goa

Central Goa

South Goa

Contact

Landlines

Mobile Phones

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.

  • Airtel[5] - GSM
  • BPL Cellular[6] - GSM
  • BSNL-Cell One - GSM
  • Reliance Mobile[7] - CDMA
  • Tata Indicom[8] - CDMA

Internet

Internet Cafes can be found at tourist spots and hotels. It is not difficult to find a Internet center.

Stay safe

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:

  • Avoid sex with strangers, as there is always a risk of AIDS.
  • Do not indulge in drugs, as police in Goa, are very strict and cannot be easily bribed.
  • Be Careful when wading at the beach as undercurrents can be very strong, many tourists lives have been lost to the seas.
  • Goans are very friendly and helpful, should you have any problems talk to the the nearest Goan shop, restaurant or bystander.
  • Travel guides can be expensive and have been known to dupe foreign visitors. Try your hand at travelling alone, buy a map and hire a taxi or rent a bike.
  • Temperatures in Winter and Summer can be extreme, do not forget sunscreen.
  • Beware of hawkers who always mark up their goods, up to 300%.
  • Also beware the 'ear doctors' who are more likely to accost men than women and 'produce' some tiny revolting creature, supposedly from your ear, for which they then offer a 'cure'

Get out



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