Thursday, November 19, 2015

You know it like a local, now!

Handy tips for you if you are visiting Goa for the first time

1. Hire a vehicle: Not only it is going to save you a lot of money, but also it’s going to give you a lot of peace of mind and liberty to stop at and start from wherever. Besides, you will see Goa exactly like a local :) Ask for rented vehicles from the hotel where you are staying. Better if you could get some local agent from the hotel arrange it for you; you could haggle if you want. A Thunderbird 350 CC in good condition should not cost you more than 2000 for 3 days. 
2. Safety: If you are planning to move from your hotel at 10 in the night to check out the lifestyle of the place, please do not carry any excess baggage in your mind regarding your safety; leave that for metropolitans. Goa is extremely safe even if you are riding a bullet at 12 AM. There might be certain places, which would be completely devoid of any light. For all such places, I would advise you to carry either a fully charged smartphone (with a torch) or a torch itself. It’s better to be your own torchbearer! Further, try to arrange your late-night travels in groups in order to be extra secure and lastly, do not carry any valuable along if you are out to groove in a night club.
3. Toiletries: A hand sanitizer and a sunscreen. Never get these two to lose you ever! 
4. Clothing: Extra set of clothing no matter where you are going, be it Dudhsagar falls or the beaches, will always prove utile. 
5. A hat and shades: Available in abundance in Goa, these two will compel you to buy them seeing you give in to the heat and the sunny days. They are especially seen sold outside all popular forts and churches. 
6. Decorum: A lot of people forget where they are as soon as they are two pints down. Decide if you are staying where you are boozing or you are driving back sane. I saw a lot of girls go so wild being drunk that they started throwing cuss words at the bouncers. Obviously, they had to be thrown out from the club, but that’s not why you have come all the way this far – to get booed by a lot who you don’t even know. Better to be sane and enjoy knowing what you are doing than to guess what you might have done the next morning. 
7. Trust the locals: You can safely do this; though, a lot of them might not know English, Hindi comes handy to a lot. You can safely trust them for directions and ways. 
8. Hotels: They might be in hundreds, but you have to decide sanely where you would stay if you are travelling with a family. Since Goa tourists comprises a lot of crowd which comes there just to spend some days off partying, it is safer to go with either the brands or the hotels which have secured good user ratings on trusted websites, like 
9. Food: Goa will serve you the best of the seafood, tasty enough for you to savor it days after you had it; the bests are prawns, shrimps (the smaller, the better), crabs, beef and, of course, a variety of fishes. Do not hold high expectations of chicken dishes in Goa – they do not know how to cook this the best. We had very bad experiences with chicken dishes at a couple of top restaurants and we had to draw this conclusion. 
10. Potable Water: Carry this all along your travel, especially if you are going to the beaches or for water sports. The salt water really takes a toll on your head if it enters your body either through your mouth or your nostrils. Better to have an easy option to wash out ready. Drink lots of it, even if it means frantically looking for washrooms; you’ll find some easily. 

Having noted all said above, you're all set to boogie in a land with so much of positive vibes that you would definitely want to come back! Cheers!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

GOA: Go Out, Amigo!

Yes, you are not here to sit in the balcony of a posh hotel and catch the view; you are supposed to head out in the sun, kiss the sand, hug the sea and dance and swing all your limbs while grooving on trance in a larger-than-life club. This city has got everything to satiate all your senses right, be it eyes, tongue, ears or skin. I am sure if you have reserved travelling to Goa for that special occasion, Goa will make sure you take back home a lot of great memories and pockets full of sand.

This one was for our first anniversary and shortlisting Goa as a venue for our celebrations came quite easy. Goa, anyway, is a state associated quite often with ‘party’ and, thus, we decided to experience its aura first-hand. The week prior to the travel, obviously, revolved around shopping and, thus, I can say the celebrations started well ahead of when they were actually going to start. This four-day trip made us see the bests of Goa – food, architecture (churches and forts), water sports and beaches and I must say four days are more than enough to have fun and sustain the enthusiasm at its peak.

Our four-day itinerary goes as follows:

Day 1: Reached Goa, checked in at Keys Ronil Resort and straightaway headed to have our much-awaited lunch. Oh BTW, I have to tell you the amazing plus affordable Health Buzzz food we had during our heck-boring flight from Delhi to Goa. This was not only yummy to the core, but also very easy on pocket, way better than the flight food they serve you. So now, having checked in and changed, we set out to the famous Baga beach which was only two minutes walking far from our hotel. We had food at Brittos here. If this was the start of our culinary adventure in Goa, I must say it was a really good one! Coming back after a stroll, we had a mandatory nap of three hours, following which we went to check out the night life of Goa. Having heard from everyone about Club Cabana, we did not think twice about going there. They say it is the best and the most disciplined club in Goa and they do not allow stag entry. Nice move, I must say! Back at 3 in the morning, we had no option but sleeping like a kid.

Day 2: Dudhsagar falls! Please carry extra set of clothes and do NOT miss getting into the waterfall; you might just miss the best experience of your life. Plus, the drive from Baga to Dudhsagar will take around two hours, but the path, the fresh air and the scenery along would not let you feel tired; it would be better if you would arrange your travel in groups. Having spent a memorable time at Dudhsagar falls, we went to have our dinner (yes, we did not have any lunch because there are no great restaurants around Dudhsagar). For dinner, Goa surprised with its finest – Souza Lobo at Calangute beach; you must never miss having a meal here. And with the great food ended our Day 2.

Day 3: It was our ‘first’ anniversary this day, so this had to be really really special. After having a sumptuous breakfast at the hotel, we went to explore Fort Aguada and there on, headed to Vivanta by Taj to raise a toast. Taj is right next to the fort and welcomes you with a lot of class, poshness and a great view of the Sinquerim beach. Also, Fort Aguada will give some of the nicest spots for coolest pictures. Here on, we headed to Basilica of Bom Jesus and Se Cathedral. Both of these are in Old Goa and would be 40 minutes (if you’re driving a bullet) far from the Baga beach. We had local Goa food and drinks at this restaurant right opposite to the churches – Ratna Sagar and the food, especially the fish was totally up to the mark. From here, we headed to our hotel and had a tea, following which we, once again, went to Souza Lobo for our dinner. Needless to say, it had really impressed us quite a lot. With the food and a long walk along the beach at night came to an end our Day 3.

Day 4: This was the day when we were supposed to catch our flight back to Delhi and, thus, we really wanted to make the most of it. We could really think of nothing better than trying out all the water sports our friends had been discussing with us – bumper rinding, parasailing and speedboating! Having experienced the adrenaline rush, I am sure there could have been no better way to end our trip right but this!

With this, a short, sweet and memorable trip to Goa came to an end, but we were in no mood to let the party spirit leave us that soon, so we rushed to a liquor shop at Delhi airport, picked our favorite brands and a cake to mark our anniversary and, of course, a lot of food. Day 4 was, in no way, any less than any of the other days of the vacation. Over all, this has been one of the finest holidays together. Here, I am leaving you with a lot of picture collages to feel what I've been blabbering about. 
What we did
What we ate

What we wore
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