India travel is not complete without a trip to the beaches of Goa. India is such a diverse country. There is everything from snow capped mountains in the Himalayas, The Great Thar Desert in Rajasthan and the tropics in Kerala.
My partner and I spent three months exploring as much of the country as we could but only managed to scratch the surface. For us, the highlight had to be the beaches of Goa.
Goa has long been a honeymoon destination for couples who want beach life without the huge expense. The most expensive things about India is first the flight and second the level of accomodation you choose.
India does 5-star exceptionally well. You are treated like royalty in the luxury resorts and get incredible value for your money.
Goa is a popular weekend getaway for the people of Mumbai. It’s like Parisians popping down to Cannes for the weekend. The North of Goa, around Calangute, tends to cater to the more affluent traveler. Here you have upscale market resorts, busy beaches and a bustling nightlife.
In Southern Goa, around Palolem, the time slows down. Here you have quiet beaches, small secluded bars and a real hippy vibe. For backpackers, the quaint beach huts along the water are incredibly cheap and charming. Though it’s mainly a backpacking mecca, there’s also a scattering of luxury bungalows.
Things to do in Goa
Goa has a long winding coastline. It’s ideal for hiring a motorbike and exploring. We took day trips where we sailed along endless empty roads and discovered secluded beautiful beaches. As long as we had enough fuel in the tank and a big bottle of water, we could ride around for hours, happily stopping for a dip by one of the empty beaches.
Some days we would make a beeline for famous seafood restaurants we had heard were worth visiting. The cuisine of India is world renowned and Goa is no exception. Whole snapper cooked on the tandoor, flash fried tiger prawns, garlic squid – you name it, we ate it. And it didn’t break the bank! I would gladly fly back right now just to have a calamari vindaloo again. Fresh produce, cooked that morning, jazzed up with fiery Indian spices just can’t be beaten.
Other days I liked nothing more than lounging on the beach reading a good book. It’s what beaches were made for right?
Inevitably when you’re lounging in the sand, you’ll end up with local hawkers trying to sell you their wears. It’s a great way to stock up on souvenirs, handy sarongs and gifts for loved ones back home. One of my favourite memories was getting traditional Henna applied by a lovely lady I got chatting to. It’s a very intricate process and beautiful to watch.
For us, South Goa, was the place to be. The energy of the place won us over. Palolem in particular was much less commericalised than the North and we could really unwind here.
Often, India can be hard work. The busy cities and stifling travel can be very exhausting. I would recommend slotting in some time to visit Goa if you are spending more than a month in this vast country. If you’re flying in for a short holiday, make the most of the higher rated hotels, as you get a lot for your money here. The Goan people are joyful, warm and vibrant and I’ve got to say, it was almost impossible to leave the beautiful Goa beaches.