I decided that I would take a short break in the sun as the winter chill is finally starting to settle on the UK. Here are my quick observations and tips from my first 24 hours here.
Arrival at Goa International Airport and transport to Baga Beach
Upon arrival at Goa International Airport you would most probably have obtained your e-visa online. Arriving at 0240 meant that there was no one else there and I was able to wizz through immigration in a matter of minutes.
There are 2 or 3 currency exchanges in the baggage reclaim area and after customs checks. Once in the airport your will have a choice of about 4 different taxi companies to choose from If you are on a budget you can get the shuttle bus to Catangala and from there a tuk tuk to Baga Beach.
The taxi cost me approx 1600 rupees (£17) this included the 35% nighttime surcharge (otherwise it is about 1200 rupees). The first bus leaves at about 0800 so I wasn’t going to wait around for 5 hours and decided to get a taxi.
It appears that in Goa (unsure about the rest of India) you do take you life into your hands when you get in a taxi. The break peddle is there for decoration, the roads and roadworks are obstacles to be dodged and full beam is the default for your headlights. The taxi driver only really dipped them when there were no cars in the opposite direction. After almost careering into a central bollard, having overtaken multiple cars on blind bends and almost getting squashed by a steam roller I arrived at my guesthouse at about 0350. Fast and efficient even though my heart did skip a few beats at times.
Baga town and surrounding roads.
One of the first things you will notice is that there is quite a lot of rubbish around. Not that people fly tip, it is simply that there are a lot of dogs and cows roaming the streets but they do not bother you. They tend to tear open the plastic bags that are left out for the binmen and bin women.
Sand is everywhere so do not bother to wear your favourite trainers. Flip flops will do fine. Make to make sure that you keep a watchful eye for mopeds and cars as they will often honk to sound their arrival. Try not to jump into a wet patch on the road as you make way.
If you are missing the chill back home, they even have a Snow Park so you do not forget what you can look forward to when you get back later in December.
Well, the reason you and so many Indians go to Goa is for the stunning beaches. No seaweed, very little rubbish and clear waters that are perfect for snorkelling. There are a plethora of beach cafes and bars that stretch from horizon to horizon serving all manor of food at fantastic prices.
My first main meal was a Chicken Kadai, Basmalti Rice and Naan Bread. This all came to a very respectable 480 Rupee (about £5) you really cannot complain about that and the taste is fantastic.
The sun loungers cost about 100 Rupee for half a day and come with umbrellas and mattresses. This will depend on the bar you sit out in front of.
Baga Beach at Night
Well this is something else. Once you come off the back road and walk down to the beach it is lights, music and dancing all around.
I am sure that there are more lights on Goa’s beaches than there are in the whole of Las Vegas. The music is loud, but you can walk along and find a quietish bar/beach shak. You will be asked if you want to come and sit down at a bar, all very friendly and if you say no I am just walking you will not be harassed.
There are tonnes of places to stay. If you are looking for a place that is inexpensive yet very comfortable and clean then I highly recommend the My Sea Side Hotel. During Dec I managed get 5 nights for £15 a night. Great Ac, soft bed and very clean.
Overall I am very pleased by my first 24 hours in Goa. The people are super friendly and unlike some places you really do not get bothered at all with people wanting you to buy trinkets or bothering you on the beaches. I wanted to come to Goa, in particular to taste some real curry and enjoy the beaches and I have.
After 1 week in Baga
A few more observations after 1 week in Baga Beach
- Although the beach shaks are good fun. If you are looking for cheaper food and often bigger quantities then take a stroll along the main parallel high road.
- During high season you will be pestered by street sellers and hawkers. Such as a man that pretends to want to clean your ears to someone wanting you to stroke their cow and be blessed. The roadside shop sellers can be a bit of a hassle but just walk past if you are not interested.
- Remember to Haggle for non-priced merchandise and souvenirs, their initial price will be double what it is actually worth and sometime 3 times the price.
If you are in the position where you need the latest advice on what to do if you loose your UK passport in India, with visa then please take a look at this article.