Our drive to Goa was anything but NON-Entertaining, driving 14-15 hrs on a road that went on and on forever. We drove thru a windmill farm, a one lane National highway, then a six lane express way, a jungle, train crossing, a ghat with no street lights and finally we drove parallel to moon lit beaches. Good Fun!
It was the shortest route possible, or so said the Yahoo maps! Guess Yahoo is still learning about the good & the bad roads of India. But like I said, it was exciting. We started at 5 in the morning from Bangalore & reached at about 9 in the evening at Sinquerim in North Goa.
North Goa offers glistening sands, hippie culture, ultra fresh seafood, luxury hotels & budget guesthouses and cheep chilled beer ‘n’ friendly people completes this compelling kaleidoscope.
We stayed at Lui Beach Resort a budget resort with all the basic amenities, a functional restaurant, a pool & a/c rooms. We’ve stayed at Taj Aguada & Goa Beach Apartment earlier & will recommend them both. Kingfisher Villa is also parked on the same stretch of road, only you’ll need to be Dr Mallya’s guest to stay there ;) (http://wikimapia.org/449932/Kingfisher-Villa-Vijay-Mallya-s-mansion).
Goa is known internationally for its beaches, be it water sports ace Candolim beach, the overpopulated Baga beach, foodie Calangute beach, rocky Anjuna beach or snobbish South-Goa beach. The golden sand spreads over miles and miles and the sunsets are to die for. One finds people just lazzzing around and getting that sun tan look or enjoying the cool waters of the Arabian Sea.
Since Goa is all about food and wine, we splurged with 4-5 mini meals a day. Some of my favorite restaurants in North Goa include Bristo on Baga, Xaviers on Candolim, and Fisherman’s Cove & Tuscany Gardens on the road to Fort Aguada. In the peak months (Nov-Feb), every courtyard of the houses on this stretch becomes a restaurant; I love the whole hustle-bustle.
We also went to Tito’s which was a big letdown. There wasn’t a valet parking facility and finding a place to park was a pain. At the entrance, their waterfall was spilling water on the pathway; I thought I spotted a stray dog in the restaurant also. Restaurant decor was somewhat akin to a shack. Food n Drinks menu was very limited, and the food was not up to the mark. It looks like Tito’s is just cashing the name. The entire road has big TITO’S signs and is very confusing. Basically Avoid. The disc section opens at 10.00 pm, and the crowd was (sorry to say) ghatti & rowdy. We didn’t even enter. Fortunately there are hundreds of other amazing places to go to.
As far as the drinks are concerned, we had the port wine (I know, I know, it’s not really a wine but I like it). The Kings beer a local beer is worth a try.
Suggested itineraries for Goa generally include attractions at capital City Panaji, Old Goa churches that are a legacy of Portuguese colonization (http://www.goaholidayhomes.com/churches-in-goa.php), Fort Aguda Lighthouse, River Cruise & the beaches.
On the beaches, sit back and relax get a non-permanent tattoo or buy cool trinkets. If you are the ‘lets-do-something-can’t-sit-still’ kind then a variety of water sports options are also available, just make sure you negotiate a good deal.
Shopping in Goa is luck by chance; you may get something incredible or nothing at all. Anjuna and Mapusa markets are famous for traditional curios and handicrafts of Goa. Remember to bargain a lot.
Goa will always be one of my absolute fav places to chill out. It is easy to slip into Goa’s warm effortless existence.
Looking forward to the next year’s trip!