If you enjoy positive and easy going vibes then you will love Goa. This tiny state was an important part of the hippy trail in India around the 1960s. Free thinking people flocked in search for something spiritual and well…. some never left.
Today you can still find a few psychedelic new age hippies doing Yoga or Meditation on the beach. It’s not only about the few hippies who stayed behind but the vibe they created which is still a part of Goa today.
1. It’s all about the vibe
Goa runs at a much slower pace than the rest of India. The people who live here and visit Goa are friendly and have more of an acceptance to an easy-going lifestyle. Music and dance are everywhere. There is a wide range of trance parties and drumming circles that bring people from different countries together.
There are not many places in the world where you get to lie on the beach, drink out of a pineapple and get a Henna tattoo while cows casually walk past. That is why we love Goa!
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The best way to explore Goa? On a scooter of course! The roads are quieter than the cities and if you a first timer you are guaranteed to have a few giggles getting lost, figuring out the rules of the road and going over the speed bumps.
There are plenty of places to stop and bargain for a souvenir around Goa. Who knows you may even decide to get a permanent one! We almost ended up getting a tattoo from this guy, who is a local tattoo artist at Arambol beach. Luckily enough there were three of us and we eventually decided it was not such a good idea. (Well, I would have done it!)
2. Beaches and Sunsets
Goa is a small state found on the Indian West Coast alongside the Arabian Sea. It has a history of once being a Portuguese colony and is predominately Catholic. The landscape of crowded urban India is replaced with tropical spice plantations, amazing beaches and rows of lush palm trees.
Feast for eyes
With beautiful beaches come beautiful sunsets. Sunsets are the perfect time to go for a walk, do some yoga, take some happy snaps or sip on a cocktail.
North Goa or South Goa?
There are so many online debates on which part of Goa is better to stay. North Goa or South Goa? I have been to Goa twice both peak season and stayed North and South and honestly they both have amazing things to offer. It depends on what you looking for. If you would like to visit a more traditional part of India the consider Bodh Gaya or Varanasi
North Goa is all about the nightlife, shopping and hippy vibe. There are countless bars, parties and it is the best place for shopping, not to mention there is ample adventure for all the water sport enthusiasts. I recommend you check out Anjuna beach, Baga beach, Calangute beach and Vagator Beach. If you looking to party, New Years is best!
South Goa’s beaches are more secluded and rustic offering more tranquillity. I believe the beaches are more beautiful and the drives more scenic. South Goa is also home to Goa’s wildlife sanctuaries and forests. If you coming as a family to relax and soak up the sun then South Goa is ideal. Palolem Beach has beautiful beach huts to rent and there are a few bars which do get a bit lively but not as wild as North Goa.
If you looking for accommodation in Goa then check out AirBNB, which offers some unique places to stay.
Hire a driver
You can plan a day trip to North Goa but I suggest hiring a driver for the day so you can relax and enjoy the drive. (It’s a long journey) If possible, try going on a Wednesday so you can visit Anjuna market and get some shopping done.
If you planning on travelling around India and considering using a Train then read about Traveling India by Train
3. Abundance of food
You can not visit India and not try some of their traditional Indian food. If you enjoy seafood you are in the right place and you won’t be disappointed.
Goa is not short of restaurants. Most beach accommodation offer bars or restaurants where they will go out of their way to serve you with whatever culinary experience that you are looking for. Ingredients are always fresh and you may even get to meet your dinner beforehand.
4. Drinks in all shapes and sizes
Did someone say cocktails?
Find a bar and beach and have a sundowner or two to close a perfect day while admiring the sunset. There are so many interesting cocktails to choose from that you will be tempted to try them all! Fresh fruit is always available and some barman can get quite creative to impress their guests.
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5. Retail therapy
The best market in Goa! You have to go at least once because you will find more than just a few souvenirs to buy here. Anjuna Market is the perfect place to meet some of the locals and find tapestries and trinkets of India.
Café Looda @ Anjuna Beach
After finding the perfect gift for everyone back home and realising that your shopping bag has reached its full capacity you come to a light at the end of the tunnel. The market ends at the beach where you will find the entrance to one of our favourite bars in Goa, Cafe’Looda. The bar has live music every Wednesday and offers an incredible view.
We watched this band called Kundalini Airport, it was one of the highlights of our trip.
When you ask your driver (who does not speak English very well) to take you to a market to do some shopping. Not quite what we expected but a fun adventure anyway. It a popular spot among the locals who are buying pots, pans, and bindies. Here is a short video so you can get a feel for the market:
Add Goa to your bucket list
No doubt that Goa is a small dent on the map but has so much to offer. You will realise why people keep coming back each year (myself included). There are so many awesome things to do in Goa from getting inked to watching the Goa carnival. These are just a few reasons why we love Goa but there is so much more to this magical place. I highly recommend you add Goa to your bucket list!
We love Goa and always looking for new places to explore. Have you been to Goa or somewhere that reminds you of Goa? Tell us your story in the comments below.
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