05 October 2010

Goa checklist

I recently had a week long vacation in Goa. It’s not very often that we travel for vacations (usually the travel is for some cousins marriage or some other family function where your presence is obligatory). To make the most of these rare holidays with family, I like an eager beaver scrounged the web, travel blogs and even wrote to some friends asking what should be done in Goa to make the most of 5 days we were there.

If you are 30 something, married and with small kid, let me tell you that all those travel blogs you read before going to Goa are not for you. Most of these blogs are written by and for twenty something who still enjoy special privileges of being single. Lets be honest, you are beyond your good ol’ wild days and you need to keep in mind many other things that will impact your travel plans. So here is my list of top 10 things to keep in mind when you plan a vacation to Goa.

1.     Do not read too many blogs about the surf, sand and wine. You are raising the expectations for yourself… keep the expectations and commitments to your family low and you are likely to return happier

2.     Pre-trip shopping is as gratifying for your wife (if not more) than the actual trip. So let her buy those shorty shorts, strappy frocks which she is too embarrassed to wear at home…you may not have the privilege to see her dress like this again soon.

3.      Choose your vacation partners carefully. You don’t want to end up baby sitting your friend’s kids when in Goa. In case you have convinced some who can baby sit your toddler… Rush - make them buy the air tickets before they change their mind.

4.     For God sake do not travel to Goa with your mom and dad. They have had their times; you better salvage some for yourself before it’s too late. No, not even if you’re sweet wife insists. She doesn’t mean it – trust me.

5.     If you can, travel to Goa in your own car. Most of the resorts in south Goa have taxi unions whose only agenda in life is to fleece the wealthy desis who stay in beach resorts1… if you are still childless you are in luck – go hire a scooter and have fun.

6.      Goa is about surf and sand. Don’t waste time visiting temples, gardens & museums if you are on a weekend trip… and yes Donna Paula is not a beach! (While I say this you should look at Goa beyond beaches by Neville Bulsara)

7.       After you have had your fill of beaches, go have a look at Portuguese houses in Panjim and Margoa. A walk in Fontainhas, Panjim is strongly recommended.

8.       Mandovi river cruise is not as romantic as it sounds on those large crowded boat cruises… unless your idea of fun is listening to loud MC goading you to have fun in fake Portuguese accent and watching some performance on deck with 200 other tourists.

9.       Eat2 at Goa Venite and Viva Panjim for best local goan cuisine while you are in panjim. Both serve excellent local cuisine in 100+ year old buildings at very reasonable price… am sure there are others but I can only vouch for these (see footnote below as well).

10.     Shop because it has to be done; pick your choice of Port wine & Kajus (almonds) when in Goa…you wouldn’t get them so good and cheap in your town.

See my photographs on flickr - Goa Postcards

1.   If you are staying at Mahindra Resorts, be prepared to shell out 30%-40% higher charges for car hire. The taxi services there are unionized and do not allow any external Goa cabs to ply there.
2.    If you are a foodie, check out top 25 hungry bum beach guide 


Nisha said...

I liked the way you've painted the other side of Goa. :)
I agree for most of the part of it.

mayank said...

@Nisha - many thanks. You have an impressive blog. Happy to connect.

magiceye said...

crisp guide :)

Bill Martin said...

Goa is beautiful place to visit. Goa beaches are very attractive. However, the innocence of the place is spoiled by petty peddlers selling
intoxicants! Hope it is not too fearful... with time. Govt must remain

mayankpandey said...

Bill - thanks for dropping by mate. Yes your fears are valid. Things have
gotten worse off late but hopefully the state would rein in.

Ryan Johnson said...

My mane is Ryan. I live in Aberdeen. Me and my family are planning a vacation to Goa next month. . We have already booked the tickets . Thanks for the piece of advice. :)

mayankpandey said...

Hello Ryan. Am glad you found the small guide of any use. Enjoy your
holidays in Goa. Am sure you will love it. And thanks for dropping by and
leaving comments.

Tristan Dorsey said...

Well said!

Color Holidays said...

Nice post about goa. I like your pictures too. Thank for sharing the details of your adventure.

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