Goa, perhaps the most popular holiday destination in India, especially for the young.
Beaches, sunsets, loud music and alcohol are some of the things that pop in our heads when someone says Goa, but it is much more than just that.
Today, we take a look at some of the things you can do in Goa if you plan on making a getaway from your daily routine.
Goa is divided into two parts or districts, North Goa and South Goa. Simply put, North Goa is where you go if you’re looking to go to a beach, dance to some loud electronic music and end the day looking at the sunset with a cold one. South Goa, on the other hand, is the more reserved part of goa.
The idea of relaxing in South Goa is a little different. You’ll find cleaner surroundings and less crowded places in South Goa.
But for today, we’re going to be focusing on North Goa. However, you can read about places to visit in South Goa.
So, what time of the year do you visit Goa (North or South)? Some might think the ideal time is the summer but Goa actually gets pretty warm during the summer which is why we (and basically everyone else) recommends going sometime between November and February.
However, Goa will also be the most packed during the winters so if you’re not a fan of crowded places, you can alternatively plan your visit during the September time, just avoid the summers.
The temperature is cool enough during winters and September time to enjoy your favorite drink on a nice sandy surface.
Speaking of sand, there are more than 50 beaches in Goa. That’s a lot of beaches and every one of them is spectacular.
Some of the most famous beaches in north Goa would be Baga, Anjuna, Calangute, etc.
Alright, so you got to one of the beaches, now what? Now you get to choose. Do you feel like reading a book under the beautiful sun, do you feel like riding a jet ski on that blue water (or paragliding, boating) or maybe you feel like getting intoxicated and eating lots and lots of seafood in a beachside bar or restaurant.
One thing to remember is that some beaches will be a lot more crowded than others. Agonda beach in South Goa is generally less crowded and a better alternative if you want some time to yourself.
So you had your fun day out on the beach. You met some nice people, ate lots and danced some (or maybe vice versa). Where to now?
Here is a list of all the places to visit in North Goa other than beaches:
1. Basilica of Bom Jesus: If you have a thing for churches, The Basilica of Bom Jesus is for you. Apart from being a UNESCO World Heritage site, it is also Goa’s most famous church.
2. Dudhsagar Waterfall: If churches don’t fancy you, then maybe Dudhsagar Waterfall will.
It’s not terribly hard to guess what it is (it’s a waterfall guys), but holy moly, is it hard to guess how beautiful and mesmerizing it is from just photos. Definitely check it out if you get the opportunity.
3. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary: Did you know there is an amazing national reserve park in Goa? Well, there isn’t, but there IS a really cool bird sanctuary and if you’re into birds or photography or both, you just might spend your entire day there.
5. Casinos: 2 words. Largest. Casino. Yep, Goa has the largest casino in the country for the gambler inside you. Most casinos will ask for entrance fees with which you get unlimited foods, some chips to gamble and drinks!
6. Floating Casinos: Yes. Casinos on water. Something you should know about floating casinos is that most of them are built on rivers and are generally frowned upon by the locals since they hurt the marine life.
7. Shopping: If after your sprint to the casinos you’re left with any money or on the contrary have come out with too much, you can visit the shopping markets in Goa.
There is the Anjuna Flea Market, the Saturday Night Market in Arpora, The Mapusa Market and you can buy whatever tickles your fancy.
However I should add that these are only two of the more famous shopping hubs in goa, but being a tourist destination, you can always find shops and places where you can buy souvenirs from, just keep your eyes peeled.
“Okay, Nomad Girl, I have been in North Goa for a couple of days now, it has been a lot of fun and I think I have stretched my legs enough, I now want something different. I have felt like a tourist and I have liked it but now I want to feel even more relaxed.”
More relaxed, you say? I know exactly what you mean. So far, we’ve only talked about all the touristy things to do in North Goa but what if you want to feel like a traveler with no destination in mind and just discover as you go.
In that case, may I suggest renting a two-wheeler (Music video of the song The Cave by The Mumford & Sons come to mind) or a car and just drive around? You can rent a two-wheeler for the day for as low as 300 to 500 rupees.
Make sure you have photocopies of your passport.
Yes. You’ve got a vehicle, nice weather and a beautiful city full of so much to discover so why not use it? If you’ve got time, you can even visit South Goa.
One thing to note is that Google Maps may not be as handy in the lesser popular areas of North Goa, so don’t shy away from asking for directions.
Things you can do with your rental scooter in North Goa:
1. Watch a live band: You can visit places like Cohiba or Cavala in North Goa and find bars, cafes where there are bands playing live music every night. There is something new every night so you can go there to unwind, enjoy some music, eat some tasty food and meet people.
2. Go to Panaji: Goa’s capital is usually out of the spotlight and is often ignored by tourists who are overwhelmed by the music festivals and beaches, however, the capital city is definitely worth taking a look.
If you like trying out new foods, you can drive around and look at all the eateries selling cakes, bhajjis and lots and lots of seafood dishes. There is so much to try. You’ll feel fuller long before you’ve seen all the shops.
3. Explore: I can’t put enough emphasis on how good it feels to be free, not having to feel burdened by a schedule. Don’t let it discourage you to go out if you’re traveling alone, be responsible, don’t drink and drive and you’ll have a good time.
Some things to remember while you in North Goa:
1. Goa is known for it’s food culture. You’ll find good, healthy and properly cooked food most of the time, however, you should be extra careful when eating from stalls. Generally, you would want to avoid non-vegetarian food from stalls and stick to vegetarian.
2. Avoid public drinking. The law and order authorities have become more strict against public drinking and drinking in places where it isn’t allowed. If you’re found drinking in a no drinking area, you might have to face a hefty fine.
3. They say Candolim has the best clubs.
4. Palolem is probably your best bet if you want to be away from the loud and crowded atmosphere.
5. Avoid empty streets at night, even though Goa is a pretty safe place, no place (especially a tourist destination) is safe at night.
Goa is like any other city in India or any other tourist destination in the world. It’s got a lot of things to visit, experience and remember.
No one article could ever list all the things you can do here (or any other place).
As an advisor, friend and travel guide, I can say is do your research, don’t get overwhelmed, remember that you’re here for a good time and you’ll make the most of your time.