What are some of the first things that come to mind, when we think of Goa? Beaches, Beer, Sea Food… right??? Lets say, visit popular beaches & enjoy in the ocean with friends or family, try their local beer Kings or have a Kingfish Curry & Rice. Isn’t it ? Whilst that is true to a larger extent, the popularity & uniqueness of this town cannot be undermined by doing just these and ignoring the others. For some of you who haven’t been to Goa anytime, this is for you. Which are some of the places that are frequented by tourists during their vacation in Goa, especially on their first vacation? Read it here…
In this post, I am focused on letting you all know on the 6 Popular Places to visit in Goa.
Brief on Goa
Goa is a bustling town located on the Western corridor of India, although it might appear very calm, quiet & quaint. With Maharashtra on the northern side, Karnataka on eastern & southern side and Arabian Sea on the western end, Goa is the smallest state area-wise and the fourth smallest in population. Freed from the Portuguese in 1961, they ruled here for not less than 450 years. Madgaon can still be seen having their inheritance even today.
Apart from the alcohol, sumptuous sea food and a laid-back lifestyle that is so very evident, there’s much more to be observed and dwelled into to get an exciting experience. Today you really have everything going well for Goa & it’s local population.
1. ‘ABC’ Beach Trio – Anjuna, Baga & Calangute
These are the 3 beaches being frequented by most of the tourists. Anjuna, Baga & Calangute are only some minutes & few miles away from eachother and I, for one, found them all alike. They are all dolled up with cash-filled youngsters who seem to have come to the thumping rave parties, to the tattoo-makers and the crowded night markets. Its all happening here, no doubt. There another ‘C’ for Candolim beach, which I would say a little less-crowded and empty shacks on the seashore. You may find a lot of beaches, as Goa has a 100+ kilometers of shoreline. But these 3 are by far amongst the most popular.
2. Arpora Night Market
As the name suggests, this night market is located in Arpora – which is only about 5-8 kilometers from Baga Beach. I have been here once during my total 5 visits to Goa since 2010, when I visited the first time and found it great to explore. Organized every Saturday from 6.00 pm onwards, it has Indian stalls selling anything & everything, from spices to handicrafts to artificial jewellery to men’s wear etc. There is mouth-watering food as well. In the last couple of years, Arpora Night Market has become one of the popular places to visit in Goa.
3. View from Chapora Fort
Chapora Fort, also popularly known as Dil Chahta Hai Fort actually got into limelight because of the Bollywood Film Dil Chahta Hai in 2001. Before that, this was just another fort, a ruined one in fact, with few tourists visiting. During the Portuguese rule, Chapora fort was used as a watch tower post as it offers views on all sides namely across the Chapora River up to Pernem in the east, Arabian Sea in the west and of the Vagator Beach in the south. Located 10 kilometers from Mapusa, the fort has steep slopes on all sides, making it difficult to climb. Worth a shot!
4. Stroll bylanes of Panjim & Miramar
Panjim (or Panaji) is the capital city of Goa and the largest city. Panaji is located on the banks of Mandovi river but it doesn’t have any beach like that of nearby areas like Miramar & Dona Paula. However, what Panaji offer is the age-old narrow streets having a lot of houses built in classic, heritage / Portuguese style. This, for me, was the best part in Panaji. Just about 2-3 kilometers lies Miramar beach area, that also has artistically built Government offices. A lot of ferries & some having in-built casinos originate from Miramar Beach. 18th June Road is the best shopping destination you need to head to.
5. Casinos in Goa
One of the popular places to visit in Goa are the Casinos. Goa is the only State in India where gambling is legal. Casinos in Goa reflect vibrancy, fun and nightlife. Goa is home to some of the finest Casinos in India. Now-a-days, you have smart phones, from wherein you can easily access them online as well, like for example Online Casino New Jersey, to name it. I tried playing online and it was so addictive ! I am sure a personalized visit once to live Casinos in Goa would be a good experience, to feel the place, to see how it all works and may be you could take a shot & test your luck. 🙂
Goa looks to me as a multi-cultural tolerant land with equal respect & justice to Indian citizens of all religions. However, it is but obvious to have one’s own identity and that identity is evident in the multiple Churches in the region. The above 2 are amongst the most prominent places to visit in Goa. The one on the left is the Basilica of Bom Jesus, located about 9-10 kilometers from Panaji, where the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier is still preserved. The body is in an air tight coffin made of glass and is over 450 years old. The picture on the right is that of another popular church “Church of Mary Immaculate Conception” located right in Panaji. One of the earliest of churches built in India, it is beautiful to view this during sunset and thereafter at night. It is lit up with numerous light bulbs and with it’s style of construction, this looks very beautiful. Do observe the bell here, as it is the second-largest in the world.
So, overall I think if you are planning to come to Goa for the first time and are here for about 3-5 days, these are some of the places you should ideally visit. Do not forget to relax. After all, it’s not just about how many places you tick during your vacation. It’s about how you sink in the overall culture and atmosphere… Isn’t it ???
Weather at Goa
Goa, since it is close to the ocean, is always humid and a little hot. However, it’s unlike any metro cities with tall buildings. So you can always feel the air. November to February are generally crowded, booking in advance is always recommended during these 4 months. As for the rest of the year, it is off-season. With less tourists, you are expected to get low rates everywhere.
Transport in Goa
Transport is not a problem at all in Goa. There are taxis available in abundance. But looking at the distance between one point to another, say North Goa and South Goa, I either travel by cheap public transport (buses) or bike-on-rent. Buses charge only about INR 40/- one way between North & South Goa, say a distance of 30 kms. But they may not go everywhere you want them to. Alternatively, bikes are available at your disposal, available on rent for INR 300-400 per day, without fuel.
Note: I am not endorsing & propagating that everyone must go to a Casino just because it features as one of the popular places to visit in Goa. I went once, liked the overall atmosphere, tried my hand at one of the games but lost and then that was over. Whether you want to try your luck at playing is entirely your call. The author is not responsible for your wins & losses 😉