Ye Raatein, Ye Mausam,
Nadi ka Kinara, Ye chanchal Hawa……..
These are lines of a famous hindi song from an old Bollywood movie sung by legendary Kishore Da and Smt. Asha Bhosle. This song came up to my mind while I was having dinner with my lovely wife at St. Antony’s restaurant of Baga Beach, Goa.
We happened to visit Goa last month. It was then I realized that why Goa is called Land of Beaches. Goa has the finest, most well maintained beaches in India. We witnessed the actual Goa Rush of December & January. Believe me it is the best season to visit Goa although an expensive one also. People from all over the world come to Goa in Dec. & Jan. to celebrate Christmas and New Year. One can indulge in many festivals or rock concerts like sunburn etc.
Our trip to Goa was not a planned one. It just happened and later I felt blessed that it actually happened. We were very desperate to go on holiday as the past many months were very hectic for us due to my wife’s pregnancy and initial month of our baby.
Note:- Travelling with a 3 month baby is far more easier than a 1 year old baby.
How to Reach?
Goa International Airport is located in Dabolim which is 4 km. from Vasco Da Gama and 30km from state capital Panjim. You can find best suitable flight as per your need.
One can travel through train as well. The two main Railway Stations in Goa are Madgaon Junction and Vasco-Da-Gama Railway station.
But due to long hours of journey via train and a 3 month baby, we preferred flight. After landing you should download Goa Miles app on your phone. It is just like Uber but State Govt. operated. Although you will find many taxi/Cab service outside the airport but in my experience Goa Miles is the cheapest one. If you are solo traveller you can prefer Bus also. It takes 1 hour from Airport to reach Candolim or Calangute Beach.
Where to Stay?
Those looking to fall off the map head to the extreme North or South (Arambol or Palolem), regular party goers favour Baga and Calangute(younger & swisher), those favouring for private villas and 5*resorts prefer Palolem & Colva in South. Anjuna, with its annual night market is still a big hit with families & solo traveller alike.
Hotel Booking in Calangute, Candolim & Baga Beaches:
We had booked Hotel Ocean Palms, Calangute as it’s just 2 km from the Beach. Although it is a 4* property but we were very disappointed by the facilities and room quality. Only thing good was the location and the breakfast buffet.:) The hotel is very near to the Baga Beach and the Candolim Beach, some of the famous beaches of goa. Within an area of 2 Kms of the hotel you have the access of all famous Restaurants, Bars and Shopping complex. I would suggest you to kindly book it through online portals like Make My Trip or Goibibo to get best deals otherwise the hotel tariff is very high. Also try to visit Goa during off season because rates are very low at that time. If budget is not a problem you can go for Baga Beach Resort, Estrela Do Mar Beach Resort, Golden Tulip, Resort Rio, some of the best properties in and around Candolim, Calangute & Baga beaches. You can take help of Make My Trip & Goibibo and plan accordingly.
Sightseeing and Cuisine:
After having some rest we planned to visit Baga Beach in the evening for Dinner. We called a cab from Goa Miles(trust me guys this is best transport mode in Goa).
We asked our driver for some famous restaurant in Baga Beach. He suggested St. Anthony’s. We went there and were amazed at the ambience. We then felt that this kind of Night life we are missing @ Chandigarh. The restaurant is located on the Beach itself having both indoor & outdoor sitting areas. There are adjoining other restaurants also and the whole beach was full of lights and music. We were totally mesmerized. We ordered some snacks and settled ourselves in a taste on the beach. You can indulge in variety of sea food. The cold breeze was soothing our body. We stayed there for an hour and enjoyed the sound of sea waves.
Next day our plan was to visit Candolim Beach, Fort Agoda, Panjim, Lady of Immaniculate Conception, Basilica of Bom Jesus. Outside our hotel only, we were able to book a self driven car. Due to seasonal rush the prices were nearly double. Having a baby with us, booking a car was the best option. Otherwise one can hire two-wheeler also.
- Candolim Beach: It is among the best beaches in Goa. It is very neat and clean. One can get many options of adventures water sports also. Personally I liked this Beach more than the Calangute. Calangute Beach has become more commercialized. We stayed at Candolim for few hours and clicked some pictures. You can have oil massage and tattoo inked on your body at reasonable rates.
- Fort Aguada: On our way to Fort Aguada there is a Dolphin point but because of short time we did not stopped there. I would suggest that if anyone is into historical sites & monuments then only she/he should visit Fort Aguada otherwise it’s just waste of time.
- Panjim: We decided to have lunch at the capital city of Goa. If anyone wants to try his luck at Gambling then Panjim is the best place. There are many famous casinos like Deltin Royale and Casino Pride. They charge entry fees which includes dinner on board. We had our lunch at Goa Marriott Resort and Spa. It’s a beautiful resort with a sea facing restaurant. If anyone is willing to spend more and want to stay in Panjim only, I would recommend this resort.
- Lady of Immaculate Conception: We then headed for Lady of Immaculate Conception, just 5 Kms far. It took 15-20 mins to reach there despite traffic. If you like Churches then you must reach here before 5 PM. Otherwise it will be closed.
- Basilica of Bom Jesus: This is the oldest Church of Goa. It is enlisted as Goa UNESCO World Heritage Site and holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, one of the founders of Society of Jesus. The Basilica is in old Goa and is one of the best examples of baroque architecture in India that has emerged as a landmark in the history of Christianity. It was 10 km. away from us and Google map showed approx. 25 mins to reach there due to traffic. I was dying to see it from inside but due to our hard luck we reached there by 6 PM. And till then it was closed for general public. Hence, could not post any pictures. But you can see more details on their Wikipedia page.
Finally, we returned back to Panjim to meet one of my friend and decided to have dinner at Fisherman’s Whaff Restaurants, famous for sea food. Only sea food known to me is Fish, never tried anything extra. Their Seafood is actually yummy and should not be missed. It was a dinner well paid off.
Next day we checked out and before heading towards our new destination we did some shopping. We bought the famous Goan Zantey Kaju and some other items. We booked Goa Miles for Bogmallo Beach Resort, Vasco Da Gama which was 40 Kms away (approx. 1 hr 20 mins by car). The main reason for booking it was that it is just 6 Km from the Airport and the following day we had our flight. On reaching the Resort we were completely mesmerized by the look. We had forgotten our stay of Ocean Palms. The Resort gave us a superior room than the one we had booked due to non-availability. It was sea facing and the noise of sea hitting the rocks could be heard very clearly. Moreover, destination wedding was being organized there. I won’t lie by saying that I felt a bit jealous by the marrying couple as we could not have a destination wedding like them. Our last night at Goa was spent well and full of joy. It was a perfect ending to a well spent trip. If giving a chance I would like to visit Goa again and see places that I missed this time.