October – December is perfect season to travel Goa – a beautiful place to enjoy vacations with friends and family. In month of October this year, I found long weekend and quickly planned a 4 day trip to Goa from Delhi with my family. We decided to use both modes Air and Rail to travel Goa.
How to reach Goa?
Goa is very well connected from Delhi by Air and train. We decided to reach Mumbai first and then catch a train to Goa. Mumbai to Goa by train takes 12 hours but trust me this was fun and I really enjoyed the scenic beauty.
If you are going in this period opt for sleeper class as weather is fine and you will actually enjoy the view. If you are planning by train to reach Goa then search for Madgao station (MAO) in IRCTC. I booked tickets in Konkan Kanya Express which starts at 11.30 PM from Mumbai CST and reach Madgaon at 12.30 noon next day. As my destination was Calangute, I decided to drop at Thivim railway station, 2 stations before Madgaon. Thivim railway station is 20 kms from Calangute and you can get pre-paid taxis from outside.
This is peak season in Goa so rates get increased and I realized it increases every day. We booked a normal hotel Calangute Grand through makemytrip as they were offering discounts. I booked 3 rooms and got discount of Rs. 1250/- on each room but to avail these discounts I had to make 3 different bookings as upper limit per booking was Rs. 1250/- only.
This hotel is approximately 1.5 kms away from the Calangute beach and around half km inside main road of Calangute market. After reaching we realized there are some more hotels which are much close to main road. The hotel is not great but not bad at all. It was close to the Calangute market so it was easy for us to organize things. Food is good in hotel and rooms were okay.
Places to visit in Goa
Goa is divided primarily in 3 parts – North Goa, South Goa and Old Goa (and Panaji). In3-4 days trip you can cover some destinations from each part but we planned to cover only North Goa and Old Goa this time, still we missed many places. North Goa is famous for lively environment, water sports on beaches, trance parties and discs. Each beach of Goa has a different mood, look and feel. This place is for everyone. Just decide what you want to do in Goa and visit places accordingly.
Travel mode within Goa
Taxi’s are easily available, still I suggest if you are planning to stay for 3-4 days then it’s better to hire a self-drive vehicle. North Goa is having enough road signs so it’s easy to roam around without worrying much about direction. If needed you can ask from local people, they are helpful.
Bullet, Scooty and Cars are easily available for hire and you can easily find them near your hotel. We were 4 adults and 2 kids so decided to hire a swift for self-drive. You have to submit one original photo id to hire the car. Rent of the vehicle depends on the size of vehicle and season. This was beginning of season and we paid Rs. 1500/- per day as rent for the car. We checked other options as well. Thar was available at Rs. 2500/- per day. For scooters and bullet they charged from Rs. 200 – Rs. 1000/- per day. This rate varies from place to place. As we were at Calangute, we got this costlier. With tourists coming in this rent goes up and drastically comes down in off season.
Calangute and Baga Beach
These are 2 most popular beaches in Goa. You will find lots of water sports, shacks, beer, food, tattoo artists and crowd. Both beaches are very much similar in terms of look and feel but I found Baga beach much cleaner than Calangute.
We reached to Baga beach and it started raining heavily. Please keep extra clothes in your vehicle so that you can change in such situations or even if you are planning to go inside the sea.
What to do at Calangute and Baga Beach?
At both beaches many water sports activities are available such as water scooters, parasailing, banana rides, speed boat rides. We decided to go to baga beach which is 4 kms from calangute. We opted for parasailing which costed Rs. 1000/- per person and it was just Rs. 800/- a day before. We came to know that these prices will keep increasing till December specially on weekends. In off season they even charge only Rs. 200 – Rs. 400/- for parasailing. Rest of the rides was also costing around Rs. 400 – Rs. 1000/-. Though my friends staying in Candolim found the same at Rs. 550/- per person, so it’s better to check in nearby options as well, because Candolim beach in not far from Calangute.
If you are looking for adventure then you must try banana rides. These are the funniest rides. An inflatable boat in the shape of a banana is used for these in Goa. This banana boat is linked to a speed boat. 4 to 6 people can be seated in one banana boat. The boat throws off the passengers as soon as the speed boat sprints across the sea. This will cost you Rs. 1100-Rs. 1500/- in peak season for 4-6 people.
There are good restaurants on the beach side where you can have drinks, lunch or dinner. Night life of Baga beach is better than Calangute.
Beware of Touts:
There are counter to book tickets for water sports. Book your rides through that and avoid touts. I met a person who said that he will take us on boat ride in deep sea and will show Dolphin by guaranty. He asked me Rs. 8000/- for 6 people ride and later negotiated to Rs. 6000 for 6 people. I ignored. Next day I got same thing at Miramar beach in Rs. 300/- per person. I suggest you to go board ride at Miramar beach rather than Calangute or Baga as it is cheap and give you different view.
Jelly fish bite
On the baga beach my sister in law was bitten by jelly fish which is actually very poisonous. She started feeling burning sensation and heaviness in her leg. We immediately rushed to the nearest hospital which is at Calangute. Doctor conducted tests, gave medicines and asked to take rest for some time. Moral of story is to be careful at seashore.
Our next destination was Chapora fort which is near to Vagator beach. This beach is at northest part of Bardez Taluka of Goa. This is a peaceful beach and also has water sports facility. We decided to ignore the beach and moved to Chapora fort which is at quiet height. Road to the fort is very narrow and some points only one car can pass. It is advised to leave vehicle around 1 kms before the fort and walk away.
Chapora fort is actually a ruin now. This became much famous after getting featured in Amir khan starrer movie Dil Chahta Hai. Way to the fort was very slippery due to small pebbles. It is advised to walk carefully or you can slip. After reaching to the top my expression was “Wow, what a view”. Chapora fort is the only place from where I enjoyed the view most. You will find view of Vagator beach from top, greenery all around and Chapora River on the other side. Sunset looks beautiful from this place. We clicked lots of pics at this place.
While returning back we decided to go to Anjuna beach which is known as hippy joint as well. When we reached to this place sun was almost set. Once again I found such a beautiful view of coconut trees at the beach and colourful sky. I heard that Anjuna beach is famous for trance parties, but when I reached I found this quite calm. Sunset, beautiful sky and someone was playing guitar. What else you want to make your evening better.
Anjuna is also having a very famous flea market which is 2 kms from the beach, though we were so tired that we decided to miss this.
We started from Calangute to Agauda fort and it took around half an hour to reach the place. Fort Agauda and its lighthouse is one of the famous destinations in Goa. This place is around 8-10 kms from Calangute. Agauda fort is 17th century fort standing at Sinquerium beach. The fort is open from 8 AM – 5.30 PM. On one side you will find vast Arabian sea on other side beautiful view of colourful boats and Taj Vivanta.
Hidden point near Agauda Jail
Don’t miss to go towards largest jail of Goa – Agauda Jail. This jail below the agauda fort and not open to visitors for obvious reasons. I heard that Jail is not in use now, but I am not sure. Just 15 mtrs before the Jail gate you will find a narrow path between the plants going down towards the sea. You will find stairs (slippery) going down on a rock platform from where you will get vast view of the Arabian Sea. Beautiful place to enjoy the scenery, get selfies clicked. Be careful of sea waves else you will come out drenched in salty water of the sea.
This was end of our North Goa trip. Next day was planned for Panaji and Old Goa. I am sharing places to see and visit in Panaji and Old Goa in next article.