Goa means many things for many people. For me, it’s all about beaches, resorts, music and of course food.
After a 30 hours of train journey, the first sight of the sandy beaches was like entering a paradise. Starting a solo trip from Delhi to Goa gave me goosebumps of excitement and thrill. Goa is best to visit in the months of December, January and February; people from all over the world come here to celebrate this festive time.
My first accommodation was in La Casa, a beautiful resort with clean rooms, good food and hospitality in Siolim, in the middle of Goa. The first day I met Abhijeet, a DJ who plays in most of the parties in the season, took me on a bike tour. First place I encountered was Keri, a beach known to be one of the widest and longest in Goa. This followed other beaches like Arambol, Mandrem and Morjim. The shacks on the beaches served food and beverages with body-relaxing massage and sunbath.
The same evening, I attended my first commercial dance, music party in Goa, the Sunburn, which is one of the biggest gatherings in India. Sunburn happened in Goa after two years and it was brightly lit with a large, enthusiastic crowd all around.
Goa is also a food haven, with several mouth-watering seafood dishes available to please taste buds. I did not know fish could be transformed into these many cuisines, a must-try is fish curry-rice. If you are vegetarian, you need not worry as there is a lot to eat. In vegetarian foods, I tried Aatwal, made with methi or fenugreek seeds, rice, jaggery and coconut milk.
After staying for two days in Siolim, I relocated to a resort in Mandrem; this place definitely warmed my heart. Fantasy Resort is a good choice to stay there, very close to nature, coconut trees all around, big rooftop space where mellow music and open sky go hand in hand. “Goa has the world’s most expensive and best mangoes too, Alphonso. In summers the old woman who works here collects the mangoes from our mango tree and goes to sell them for around 500 per kg. Most of the foreign visitors come to Goa for exotic fruits and sea food,” informed the owner of the resort.
Adventurous water sports are also there to give you an adrenaline rush. It’s best to pre book all you want to do online because during the season there is a lot of rush and hustle. Goa’s long beaches, spread along the 105-km coastline, create a perfect setting for scuba diving, parasailing, jet skiing, windsurfing, fly boarding, snorkeling and many more water sports that are offered on beaches like Candolim, Calangute, Baga, etc. If you are a water sports junkie, you can definitely get high on adrenaline in Goa.
Any visit to Goa won’t be complete without the mention of Feni, local alcoholic drink made from fermented cashew, apples or coconut toddy. Looking for it, I went to a bar and ordered Feni with lime water but the taste did not please me much. Being a specialty of Goa I had huge expectations from the drink, bitter in taste and smell but the very first glass could get you tipsy.
Parties and beaches are said to be synonymous with Goa; there are plenty of party destinations here, both clubs and open air. Curlies, Origens, Chronicle, Shiva Valley are some of the places that serve the best alcohol with tripping trance music that starts from 5pm and goes till midnight. Hill Top, situated at the Vagator hill, is an iconic place that glows in the dark theme décor. The Hill Top music festival is talked about worldwide, with a crowd consisting of more than 60% of foreigners. It has the best music and vibes, though a bit expensive during the season. Kevin, a local from Goa, met me in one of the parties. Fisherman by occupation, he stated, “Parties are in our blood and we still follow the Portugal style of living.”
A week’s trip to Goa was about to end and a few hours before my flight from Dabolim Airport, the only airport in Goa, I submitted my scooter that I rented for a week. Before heading back, I was served bread and curry at a local stall run by three old women; the taste and flavours were tempting. One of them knowing that I was about to leave Goa, hugged me, saying: “Come again!”