By Chandni Moudgil
Yes, I wonder at the irony of it too. Who would in their better senses wish to know - how to spend a week in Goa! One would rather be keen as to how to stop the time racing by or perhaps invent a whole new time measurement system when it comes to hours ticking and days passing.
I’m sure the millions of enthusiasts who land here through the year would swear by their flip flops and beach shorts; the to-do list, if you really insist on one at all – is quite simple. Eat, lounge, drink, lounge, party, and lounge some more. And do that in repeat mode on the beach!
But then again, if a week is all you have and you wish to spend each day experiencing life before getting back to the same old boardroom meetings and traffic jams, well I take no qualms admitting, I lived each of those seven days doing what every stereotype in the travel book raves about. Here goes my recommendation of living it up in Goa-ah!
Day 1: Sunday
Set high standards for yourself; kick off your trip in the lala-land with lounging at Club Cubana, Arpora. Unarguably the hottest nightspot, you step in and you know why. You could opt to pay for the cover charges of Rs 1200 per couple or head to the cash bar. With only veg/non-veg pizzas as dining options – make sure it’s not food that’s on your mind. Fabulous music and free flowing drinks makes this place a hit and the crowd is great. With the lights luring ‘party animals’ of the town, the place truly lives up to its tag line, ‘The Club in the Sky’.
Day 2: Monday
Needless to say, partying till the wee hours of the morning, kicks starts a laid-back Monday. Better still, beat the life in the fast lane and hire a two wheeler. For Rs 300 (petrol costs an extra Rs 80-90 per litre if bought loose) you buy yourself an all access pass to freedom. Well whoever told you money can’t buy you happiness – can go fly a kite!
Moving onto more important matters, like a king-size breakfast! I’m told nothing beats the one at Brittos on Baga Beach, a hearty meal of scrambled eggs and fresh juice. To make sure you get your exercise after the heavy-duty eating, do window shop at the Baga beach market for trinkets, summer dresses, beach wears, hats and flip-flops. The bargaining can't get any more satisfying than this!
Talking of exercise , water sports at the adjoining Calangute Beach would be on the itinerary ( Rs 500 per person for 4 water rides on the banana boat , bumper boat, parasailing ( a dip costs Rs 150 extra) , water scooter would be the perfect dash of adventure that you can add to your otherwise ‘easy as a breeze Monday’ . The thought that you are getting all this fun at half the prize of what you would have otherwise got at the more commercial Baga Beach – Priceless!
That done, ride away to Fort Aguada for a dreamy sunset sojourn. Cross the little cafés and many bars and luxury resorts like the Kingfisher Villa along the way wondering how the city can be all pompous and humdrum all at the same time!
Post numerous touristy clicks, head back just in time for a quick cup of tea and a hot shower—and you are all set to party the night away at St Anthony’s on Baga Beach. With undoubtedly the best Karaoke in town, it’s a Monday night and yet the beach shacks run a packed house.
Day 3: Tuesday
After the action packed, over ambitious Monday, time to slow things down a bit. Explore the quiet and serene beaches of Arambol. Scenic ride through narrow roads, traversing through small Goan villages and lush green patches, you can spot Arambol’s pearly white & blue shore line from a distance. As you come closer, the colorful shops with everything ranging from clothes to tattoo shops greet you. After an elaborate breakfast at one of the shacks, head to the sweet water lake stretch and laze for the better part of the day in beachwear that you can pick along the way.
The valiant can tryout paragliding (Rs 1,400 per person for half an hour of soaring with the winds) and the impulsive can go for the mud bath with a dip in the ‘once’ sweet water lake. End the day on a perfect note as the sun sets into the quiet waves. Well not as yet, because another night of exploring the culinary trail on Baga Beach follows.
Choose a fine dining option at Cavalla (a very exclusive vintage restaurant, but a bit disappointing for the vegetarians) or go for a quiet one with live music to wind up the action packed day. Heaven!
Day 4: Wednesday
By now, the routine is growing on you! You are halfway through your much cherished vacation and you have had enough beach action – so it’s time to go beyond the ordinary. Head out to the Goan Capital—the vibrant Panjim. Act all touristy at the Dona Paula or spend time walking or cruising along the busy market place. Before the sun sets down, head to Casino Royale. A three deck cruise liner with a full-fledged casino, an entertainment zone which offers entertainment and dining options. For Rs 3,400 per person (with chips worth Rs 2,000 thrown in to get you started), you get drinks and snacks on the house. Enjoy performances by Russian dancers and popular performers and sway to an in-house DJ belting out numbers for you. Do check out their open terrace to watch in awe the glittering city at night after a three course buffet dinner. Casino Royale is a not-to-be-missed experience which no one should rush up, so make sure you have enough time on your hands and enough moolah in your pockets.
But like someone I know said – Goa is for everyone. Those seeking value can head for a cruise at the sparkling and beautifully lit up Mandovi River with cheaper options to suit your mood and pocket. At Rs 100 per ticket you can try the 600-seater Paradise Cruise, which has song and dance performances creating a complete carnival feel. With Goan dances and Bollywood music to keep you entertained, there cannot be a better way to spend an hour in a hundred bucks after which try out an elaborate Goan three course meal at Viva Panjim. A quiet little restaurant run out of the home of Ms Linda– this place is as unpretentious as it can get. Try out the recommendations by the owner who literally sits and supervises the staff and comes and exchanges greetings with everyone who comes around – eating authentic Goan ‘home made’ food here is an experience that lives beyond your pleasure of discovering ‘dining at a highly recommended place by the likes of lonely planet’- doesn’t always bring a dent to your pocket.
Day 5: Thursday
Give your overworked glutton-glands a rest and enjoy the simple pleasures of life by trying out a cutting chai and an anda-pav at a roadside store. Eat to your heart’s content as the food is served hot right out of the kitchen as you watch the lazy city coming back to life.
It’s time to wear your floaters and apply sun-block before getting on your bikes to head to Anjuna and Vagator – two more popular beaches. Try out a motor boat ride( Rs 100 per person) complete with all the twists and turns – enjoy the deep blue sea as you tumble away in your yellow ‘sea pirate’ boat. The proverbial – wind in the face and sand in my feet – can’t get truer than this.
Stop at one of the many French bakeries to try an apple crumble or honey almond cake or anything else that leaps out of the inviting shelves and catches your eye. Pick up a ‘flip-flop’ shaped fridge magnet as a curio & it’s worth your while to negotiate it to half the cost that’s being quoted.
A couple of more minutes of riding uphill and you are in Greece for a lazy lunch overlooking the sea. Yes, I am not mixing up places here in my utter state of deliria. Step into Thallassa, literary meaning ‘sea’ – a vision in breezy- white and melancholic-blue. Soak in the gorgeous ambience – wooden cottages named after Greek gods like Zeus, tavern like seating overlooking the blue expanse, a menu that promises Greek delicacies for a wholesome meal. Romance is in the air and you are on top of the world.
Once you land back on earth and if are still upto it, you could resume the club hopping at ‘Capetown & stop by at Titos for old time’s sake!
Day 6: Friday
After the tiring week, time to say TGIF. And after five days of beach hopping— it’s time to slow things down and move towards the quieter beaches of Arpora and Candolim. You may wonder if you are still in India—amazed at the number of foreigners sunbathing and surfing. You can spend the day lounging under a beach umbrella sipping some lemonade and reading that 500 page-turner you’ve been struggling to finish for a year now.
The rest of the day is dedicated to acting touristy – with the customary visit to the Church and the adjoining Museum. It’s Friday so next up on your agenda will be the not-to-be missed, famous flea market. From clothes to food to those literally ‘sweet-nothings’, fill up your bags with all the junk you can handle and more!
As you fly off on day seven back into the monotony of the daily trivialities – you can’t help but wonder about all the unexplored acres and acres of heaven that a week in Goa wasn’t enough to explore. The Rudrasagar falls and the luxury hotel line up of South Goa. But then that would make up for yet another travel-tale – the one that talks about ‘a month in Goa’. Till then, the memories of the refreshing week can take you through.
Chandni Moudgil is a marketing professional based out of Delhi, though she would much rather be a travel show host. An enthusiastic blogger and a travel buff, she believes travel writing is the best way to see the world without moving an inch. She dreams in technicolor, swears by the movies, can spend hours chatting over coffee, blogs occasionally and aspires to write a book one day. She blogs at The Address