If you love the sea and the beaches, Goa is your perfect holiday destination in India. India is a vast country with numerous beaches and sea shores with their unique charms. However, Goa possesses its own charisma and an India tour cannot be completed without spending some quality time at exotic beaches in Goa. This prompted me to plan a holiday to Goa last summer that is long overdue. So, we (my family and my friend with his family) spend some quality time there.
How to reach Goa
Travelling to Goa from my native place Kolkata is more convenient through the air. This saves time and break journey hassles. Nowadays booking any Domestic Airlines is a cakewalk and you can do it online while sitting at your comfort. All you need to decide is the most convenient Flight Schedule to Vasco-da-Gama airport and compare the fares.
Alternatively, you can avail a direct train from Howrah station to Goa (Madgaon) or can make a break journey via Pune/Mumbai/Bangalore.
Itinerary for Goa
We reached Goa in the afternoon and the resort; we booked sent a pick up for us. It was over an hour drive and we have lunch in between at a lovely North Indian restaurant. The resort was really nice and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay there. You can reach the beach quite easily from the resort and the best part of it is that the beach was not at all overcrowded and mostly visited by foreigners (so less chaotic). We decided to relax for the day at the resort with its lovely view of the sea beach and dining area.
The next morning we decided to roam around the popular beaches in Goa. Although, transportation in Goa is not cheap and the best way of travelling is to hire self driven cars or two wheelers, we opted for chauffeur driven car from the hotel. As we had small children with us and we had little knowledge of the roads in Goa, we thought it would be a more convenient option. Moreover, the comfort of the AC will be missing in two wheelers and Goa can be quite hot in the day time during summer seasons. However, you should always carry your driving license to Goa and preferably hire a two wheeler, which is way cheaper (around Rs. 500/day).
There are more than 22 popular beaches in Goa and no way could we cover all of them. So, we decided to cover as much as possible without stressing ourselves too much. We both went to the North and South Goa beaches. In North Goa we covered Baga, Calangute, Vagator, Chapora and Dona Paula beach, whereas in South Goa we covered only the Colva beach. All the beaches have its own charm and people who love shopping and people around in beaches will like Calangute. On the other hand beaches like Baga are rocky (not easy to roam around) and secluded. I personally like the later types with not many hawkers and water sports going on and one can relax sitting on a rock.
Cruise on the Mandovi River
For the next day evening we booked a river cruise on the river Mandovi. We booked the Government one and it was a nice experience. There were cultural programs on the boat and you can have drinks and snacks while watching it. The cruise price is very reasonable and you can also opt for expensive private cruises with casino on it.
Other Attractions and Goan Foods
We kept one day for other attractions of Goa. We visited the Aguada fort (an old fort built in 1613 by the Portuguese); Chapora fort; the famous church of the Goa Basilica of Bom Jesus (built in 1605), which has the remains of St. Francis Xavier (we were lucky to have a look at it as it was taken out and displayed to the public for the last time when we visited). There are some other attractions as well that we could not cover such as Naval Aviation Museum as we got too tired (especially the kids) and faced a time crunch as well. After all it is all about having fun and able to relax and not about the number of places visited.
However, I found Goan foods one of the main attractions of Goa. There are plenty of good restaurants, pubs and shacks serving quality foods at variable prices. There are expensive restaurants, but the foods at small shacks are good as well with cheap booze always available in Goa.
Overall, it was a memorable trip to Goa and I should have planned a Goa trip much earlier. Better late than never and will love to come back to Goa as soon as possible.