A week in Goa

November 14, 2018Hels

For my 30th birthday, and to celebrate our wedding anniversary, Sam outdid himself, and surprised me with a trip to Goa. India is somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit, and I was so excited!

When we’ve previously taken trips abroad, Sam and I have enjoyed travelling around and staying in different parts of a country, but this time we decided we would have a week of relaxation and enjoying some Dougie-free time – Dougie was staying with Sam’s family so he had an amazing week, and I doubt he even noticed we were gone!

Transport

We flew from Heathrow to Mumbai, which was around 9 hours, and then from Mumbai to Goa, which only took 45 minutes. Sam has been to Goa a couple of times before, and he always said how amazing Palolem beach was, so when we arrived at Goa airport, we got a taxi to Palolem.

The taxi cost around £20, and the drive took about 1.5hours. I’d heard a lot about Indian roads, so I was a bit nervous, but we were so shattered from the travelling that I actually slept for most of the drive. When we were leaving Palolem and heading back to the airport however, our taxi was driving at night and I spent most of the drive gripping Sam’s hand in terror!

There are plenty of taxis and rickshaws available if you need to get anywhere, and they’re pretty cheap, but most people use scooters. We hired a scooter for four days, it cost around £3 a day and a full tank of gas was £5. I was a bit nervous at first, but Sam was great at driving it (I had a little go and nearly crashed so I left it to him!) and it was such a fun way to get around – just watch out for the cows.

Accommodation

Around Palolem beach, the majority of the accommodation is beach huts. Some are there all year round; others are built each year at the start of peak season. We arrived right at at the beginning of the season, and many huts were still being built – by the time we left, there were probably twice as many huts as there were when we arrived! For most of the trip, we stayed in what was essentially a huge tent with a bathroom at a place called Tide Exotica. It had air-con, and the shower was brilliant, so what more could you want?! We paid £25 a night, which seemed to be fairly average along the beach. Prices ranged from about £15 – £60. For a couple of nights we stayed at a place called Round Cube. The huts were bright and colourful on the outside, but the bathrooms weren’t great. Almost all the places along the beach offered huts, a bar and restaurant, as well as free sun loungers.

Food and drink

As you can imagine, the food in India was incredible. Almost everywhere we went offered a range of foods, from Italian to Mexican, but we opted for the curries every evening, which were always absolutely delicious – most of our days revolved around where we would eat and what curry we would choose! My personal favourite was a paneer butter masala which was incredible, and Sam was always raving about his butter chickens and vindaloos.

I was really impressed at the vegetarian options available, and there were even several vegan cafes along the road that runs parallel to the beach, they all seemed pretty popular, and if you wanted a smoothie bowl or needed an avocado fix, these were the places to go!

The food and drink in Palolem is pretty cheap. During the evenings, Sam and I tended to have a curry and a naan each, share some rice, and Sam would usually have a beer and I’d have a cocktail – this cost around £10-12 for everything. The place where we stayed offered a snack of garlic naan and hummus (£1.50), which was absolutely amazing, and when we stopped off at one of the vegetarian cafes, I indulged in pineapple tempura with coconut and vegan ice cream (£2.70) which was probably one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. There were the usual offerings for breakfast, pancakes were generally our go-to – my favourite was pancakes with fried bananas and nutella…

When it came to drinks, I was a big fan of drinking fresh coconut water, which you could get at most places for around 60p. As a side note, I was also really impressed at how many places offered either paper or metal straws. You can’t drink the tap water in India, and you’re advised to stay clear of ice cubes if you can, but mineral water only cost around 30p for a large bottle, and a lot of restaurants and bars use mineral water to make ice cubes so we didn’t have to worry too much. Sam really enjoyed the lassis that most places offered – this is an Indian drink of yoghurt, water and spices blended together, and you can get fruit-flavoured ones too. I was a big fan of coconut milkshakes and fresh watermelon juice. Beer and cocktails are pretty cheap, and if you aren’t fussy about your brands, spirits are cheap too – it was about £1.50 for a double shot of vodka, and cocktails would vary from around £2 – £4.

Outfits

The weather was absolutely beautiful, between 30-34˚C everyday. Obviously England is slightly colder than that, and I’d packed away all my summer clothes. Luckily, Unique21 kindly offered to send me a few pieces for our holiday. I spent most of the holiday in this gorgeous Tropical Print Beach Cover*. It was absolutely perfect for the trip, so bright and colourful and the material was lovely.

The Roseanna Navy Heart Jumpsuit* was gorgeous, I loved that it had an elasticated waist and the open back with tie straps was so pretty! I wore it during the day but it was ideal for the evenings too!

The Mustard Skater Mini Skirt* was lovely and light, and I loved wearing it with a bikini, or with plain tops tucked it. It’s something I’ll definitely wear back in England – the colour is very autumnal too!

I was all about bright colours on this trip, and it was so lovely being able to pull out some of my favourite summer outfits, as well as being lucky enough to wear some new pieces!

Beaches

We spent most of our trip on Palolem Beach. It’s a gorgeous stretch of white sand lined with palm trees. It faces Canacona Island (known as Monkey Island) and visitors can go on boat trips, take yoga classes, enjoy massages and make the most of the nightlife. It was fairly quiet when we arrived, but as it got busier, there was more evening entertainment available.

Patnem Beach is a little further down the coast from Palolem. We scooted there one afternoon and fell in love with it, and went back again for a full day. It’s much quieter than Palolem, but still plenty of beach bars and restaurants. It was so picturesque, we went for a walk down to the rocks at the edge of the beach, and the water is beautiful.

Trips

There are so many trips you can take in Goa, but as I said, we were after a more chilled trip, rather than spending all our time travelling to and from excursions. We wanted to visit Dudhsagar Falls, a four-tiered waterfall in Goa, but it would have been around a six-hour round trip, and cost quite a lot, so we did a bit of research, and we found there were a couple of waterfalls relatively near where we were staying that we could easily get to on the scooter. 30 minutes of speeding through quiet, winding country roads and we reached Bamanbudo Waterfall, which was literally just on the side of the road. It was pretty, but it wasn’t somewhere you could really swim or enjoy some time.

A few minutes from Bamanbudo is Bhupar Waterfall. This was absolutely stunning. Quiet, set back from the roads, there was a beautiful clear pool at the foot of a small waterfall. The first time we visited there were a few local children splashing around, the second time (we just had to go back, it was so lovely) we had it all to ourselves.

Dolphin cruises and boat trips are popular around the beaches. We wanted to go on a boat trip at sunset, but we couldn’t really afford a boat by ourselves (they tend to lower the price if more people are taking the boat) – the boat…man? captain?! tried to find some others to join us on the boat, but when he couldn’t, he agreed to take us at a reduced price which was lovely of him. A lot of trips offer a ‘no dolphin sightings, no pay’ policy as well. We headed out into the sea, and it wasn’t long before we spotted a few dolphins – seeing dolphins in the wild is something I’ve always wanted to do, so this made me incredibly happy. They were quite fleeting glimpses, so I didn’t manage to get any photos, but it was amazing. We were taken to see a couple of small beaches and we watched the sun setting over the sea.

 

Goa is the most amazing place. There is so much more to explore – I’d love to go back and visit the night markets, but unfortunately they didn’t start until the week after we left, but it was the perfect place for a relaxing week.

 

Have you ever been to Goa? Does it sound like somewhere you’d like to visit?

*Unique21 kindly gifted me these three lovely pieces, but all opinions are my own

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