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Old 20th October 2010, 16:43   #16
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Originally Posted by 2500cc View Post
Hey Saikat,

December is peak season, since you have mentioned the budget hotels, i doubt you would get any. From my observation, even the small hotels/guest houses will be in the range for 5k/Day.

-Rajesh
@Rajesh

I am finding cheaper options from www.travelguru.com, but am unsure of the quality. So need a first hand experience from somebody. December will be costly, but then I dont have any leaves before that.. so cant help it :-)

Ginger hotels is available for 2200 that is one option I know.

Any other pointers?

-Saikat
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Old 20th October 2010, 16:50   #17
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Yeah Ginger is very well within the budget, but few guys here suggested to stay away from it if you have a kid, it is a self service hotel.

-Rajesh
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Old 20th October 2010, 17:07   #18
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If you want Budget Hotel within the 1000-1500 budget in North Goa, you can try Shelsta Resort on the Baga -Calangute road. Clean and nice rooms and has a Subway attached to it.
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Old 20th October 2010, 17:28   #19
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If you want Budget Hotel within the 1000-1500 budget in North Goa, you can try Shelsta Resort on the Baga -Calangute road. Clean and nice rooms and has a Subway attached to it.
@MileCruncher
Thanks for the info. Will look into that option via the different hotel portals available.

@Rajesh
If you are going in Nov, your inputs will be very valuable once you are back because my trip is in Dec. Do post your experience, I too will be in touch with you.
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Old 20th October 2010, 18:38   #20
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Sure Saikat, will update the trip details once am back.

@Milecruncher: I'll explore the option you had provided. Thank You Buddy



-Rajesh
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Old 20th October 2010, 19:38   #21
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Hi Guys,

Note to Mods: Am not sure if I can start this new thread as this topic has been on TBhp, however, the idea behind opening this thread is, to get specific information for the trip planned. If you Mods, thinks this is not necessary, please feel free to delete this.

Friends I have finalized on visiting Goa this holiday season. Here is the itinerary of my trip:

Start Date: 3:00AM on 30th Oct Morning
Return Date: 3rd Nov
People: Kiddo (4yrs), Wifey and Self
Ride: Bolero

Route: Bangalore - Nelamangala - Tumkur - Chitradurga - Davangere - Ranibennur - Haveri - Hubli (Through Bypass) - Yellapur - Ankola - Karwar - Polem - Goa (Courtesy JLN)


Since this is my first time to Goa, Am not sure about places to stay. However, from T-Bhp and other travel portals, I have few places in mind.


Stay:
Hotel Ginger:
Pros: Cheap and the Best
Cons: No pool and spa, Self-service.

Lotus Resort:
Pros: On the beach, decent place to stay, Service available
Cons: Didn't find any.
But no bookings available for the days we are looking for.

I would request someone to recommend a decent yet not so expensive accommodation. As i mentioned below there are many hotels and resorts in the travel portals, but since I dunno much about this place, I don't want to take any chances as I would be traveling with my kid.

Preferences: Should be a decent, should have a pool, Spa, restaurant, should be closer to beaches (preferable North Goa)

Sight Seeing:
1. Interesting places (though i have listed down few places to visit from others TLs)
2. we prefer visiting a secluded beach, any suggestions ?
3. Is it preferable to go sight seeing in my Bolero or is it better to hire a 2-wheeler ?

Apart from this, any other must dos and donts you suggest ?

Also, if anyone who's looking to visit Goa during this time may join us. (strictly Married Couple)

Cheers,
Rajesh
Hotels: Rajesh: I would highly recommend Santana Beach Resort (near Candolim) - But I must warn you - this is not a fancy resort, but if you are looking for a value for money clean & comfortable place - you will be happy. Cleartrip had some great deals with a 30-40% discount for a 3-4 night stay. we stayed there during our trip for 4 nights. The location is good, the rooms are large and most importantly clean and kid friendly. They have 2 pools - one with a nice swim up bar. They also have a nice bar and a restaurant (this is not great). The location is right on the main road and you are just about 10 minutes away from Baga beach.

I have stayed at the Taj Fort Aguada and the Cidade De Goa before (paying an average of 5000 bucks+ per night). At Santana, we paid 700 bukcs per night including taxes and breakfast. great value for money.

The other hotel which looked good was Nazri Resort (very walkable to Baga beach and loads of places to eat around) - this place also has some good reviews on tripadvisor. They had some good prices on travelguru and cleartrip.

I would avoid Ginger (as it is in the city - a little away from the north goa beaches), especially when you have so many options in North Goa (Candolim, Calangute, Baga areas).

If you are OK with spending some money on the hotel - Lemontree is a decent option in Candolim.

For secluded beaches, you can drive north og Baga to Vagator and Anjuna. For really secluded beaches, you will need to go to South Goa (1-1.5 hour drive from North Goa). Palolem beach is good but way outside Goa - a decent but very expensive hotel in that area is the Intercontinental Grand. In south goa, Club Mahindra is decent and so is Ramada (reports from friends).

But for a first trip to Goa, I would suggest you stay in the Baga/Calangute/Candolim area - you will get a good feel for Goa. South Goa is more for those looking to just stay in a resort and spend time in the beach.

You can rent a bike (Activa) for about 200-250 bucks a day. This time, we used the car fully - more convenient (can dump all the beach stuff easily). Finding parking in Goa near the beaches was not too difficult. So you can do both.

Last edited by JLN : 20th October 2010 at 19:48.
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Old 20th October 2010, 20:14   #22
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@2500CC:
I stayed in this place a couple of years back and it checks most of your boxes.
Welcome to Chalston Beach Resort - Calangute - Goa
Most resorts claim to be on the beach but they usually are not.
Chalston's back yard opens to the beach. So, you can play in the beach and when you are done, you can just walk into the resort. That was our primary requirement and was a fit to the T.
Cheers and have a nice trip to Goa.
Deepak

PS: Had you planned that travel a day earlier, we could've met on the way. I would be on my way to Pune
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Old 20th October 2010, 20:39   #23
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Default Goa for first timers (especially Families)

The info below is a very subjective recommendation based on a few trips to Goa and some extensive research on Tripadvisor. I have no vested interests in any of the places mentioned below.

Goa in a nutshell:
Goa can be divided into 3 parts - North Goa, The City & South Goa:

1) North Goa – The erstwhile hippie part of Goa. Very active nightlife and street life with a number of bars, restaurants and hotels (ranging from cheap budget hotels to fancy ones like the Taj Holiday Village).
Places you will hear about:
a. Baga beach (a great beach to hang out in). People complain about it being crowded, but the good thing is that you have everything available here – beach beds with umbrellas for rent, water sports (Jetskis, Parasailing, banana boats), temporary tattoos, massages, pedicures etc. – all on your beach bed, & food served to the beach bed from the beach restaurants including Brittos (Dominos delivers Pizza to Baga beach). The sand is smooth and very nice to walk on).
b. Calangute & Candolim Beach – There is a big ship that is stuck and is a major eyesore at these beaches). But Calangute is an OK beach.
c. Anjuna & Vagator: Less crowded beaches with most of the amenities at Baga not available (except maybe during peak season – December).
2) The City with Mandovi River – This is the Panaji area – most hotels will recommend you to take the river cruise – we found it very cheesy and not worth the time. The city area (old Panaji) is quite nice with a number of churches and nice architecture. Unless you are into this, the city can be given a miss.
3) South Goa – Essentially when North Goa got crowded and Goa started becoming a tourist hotspot for the normal Indian tourists, celebrities, politicians etc., the resort companies wanted to offer the guests a great secluded beach experience – so they set up fancy resorts on the less crowded south goa beaches and virtually made these private beaches (access to outsiders is not prohibited, but made difficult).

About the Beach Resorts:
A number of hotels call themselves "Beach Resort" and claim to be on the beach. Well none of the hotels in North Goa (starting from the ones in Aguada to those in Candolim, Calangute and Baga) really are a beach resort in the way you would be expecting. They all may have a small stretch of sand (can technically be called a beach) nearby. The real beaches (where we can spend our time in) in North Goa are Baga, Anjuna, Vagator and Ashvem (maybe Calangute to some extent) - none of these have a nice beach right on the property. So don't pay a premium for a beach resort. You will anyway find yourself in Baga, Anjuna and Vagator.
In South Goa some of the resorts are true to their name - have a nice big beach very accessible from the resort. So if you are going to spend a lot of money on a beach resort expecting a nice beach right on the hotel property pick something in South Goa - real good ones: Leela, Taj Exotica, Club Mahindra (their Goa property is actually quite nice). If you pick south Goa, you probably will have to eat at the hotels you stay in (outside options are few) - so be prepared to spend big money on food.

My recommendation for a first time visitor who wants to get a feel for Goa, and not spend too much money:
1) Pick a decent value for money hotel in North Goa – I would recommend the following: Santana Beach Resort, Nazri Resort, Lemontree Amarante. For the slightly more well heeled: Taj Holiday Village, Taj Fort Aguada (both of these are called Vivanta now). Ideal spend: Rs. 1000 to Rs. 4000 per night depending on when you visit.

2) If you have only one day to spend:
a. Plan the day at Baga beach. Get there post noon/early afternoon, rent a few beach beds, hit the water, take your pick from the watersports, drink and have fun. Spend: 50 bucks per beach bed per hour, 200-250 bucks for jetski, 500-600 bucks for parasailing. Get a temporary tattoo (100-200 bucks depending on the design). Get a foot massage (100-200 bucks).
b. Eat at Brittos (if you are non veg) – everything here including the veg food will smell of non veg. so if you are a strict vegetarian, avoid the food here. Their desserts are great (almost similar to what you would find in Europe in an average bakery).
c. Visit the Anjuna Flea market on Saturday night (starts only in mid November)
d. Shop at the local street stores for knick-knacks are have fun bargaining like crazy.
e. Buy some cashewnuts at any of the govt. approved stores (big boards are there). It will cost you about 200 bukcs for 500 gms, but the cashewnuts are good.

3) If you have a second day:
a. Do Baga again (depending on how much you liked it the first day)
b. Explore Anjuna and Vagator beaches – a little less crowded – carry a beach mat and some towels.
c. Do a dolphin watch boat ride near Aguada Fort – We did this twice and saw a few dolphins both times. Most of the boat fellows will give you a money back guarantee if you don’t see dolphins.
d. Visit Aguada Fort – the fort is quite nice with a great view of the sea.

4) If you have a third day:
a. Visit Old Panaji city (if you like monuments, churches, old building etc.).
b. Do the river cruise – just for the fun of it – don’t blame me if you find it a bit cheesy.
c. Do one of the secluded beaches – Ashvem in the north
d. try Go-Karting - there is a decent place on the road from Anjuna to Baga.

5) If you have a fourth day:
a. Do one of the really secluded beaches in south goa - beaches all the way upto Palolem. Google will give you a list of beaches.
b. Spice Plantation tour – This is a popular one on the tourist circuit in Goa (most hotels will recommend this). But IMHO, this is overhyped. You drive an hour (almost upto Ponda) to a real spice plantation. They take you on a tour of the plantation (nice and you can learn about some of the spices we use regularly). The lunch is bad (they claim the lunch is a traditional one eaten by the Goan families). I would skip this one, unless you are tired of the beaches and want to see something different.

6) If you have a fifth day – You probably know more about Goa than I do now – so you figure out your own thing.

Jara Hatke experience – We were driving through Old Panaji town along the river and saw a ferry carrying cars. We stopped on hopped on – just 10 bucks to take your car and all its occupants to the other side – bikes are free. The ferry ride was more exciting than the river cruise. On the other side is Divar Island – we drove through the island (very deserted for a few miles and then some houses popped up). The place felt a little creepy and we went back to the ferry, took it back to the Panaji side. My son loved this “car on a boat” experience. For 10 bucks, the ride is more than worth it.

For Vegetarians: You will find a number of options in Goa, including a bunch of Pure Veg places serving even Jain Food. Most of the Italian restaurants in town are quite good and have good veg options. Sharanam is probably the most fancy pure veg restaurant in North Goa.

About renting a bike/scooter: This will be best mode of commuting in North Goa – for 200-250 bucks a day, you will get a decent Honda Activa/Dio. Finding this is easy - just ask your hotel reception or walk on the main road and you will find enough boards. Parking is easy and you can keep stopping at all the street stores to buy various stuff you really don’t need. Taxis are also easily available for you to got to South Goa/city etc.

Last edited by bblost : 21st October 2010 at 14:10. Reason: Please do not cross post. Also refer forum rules esp rule 11. Thanks.
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Old 20th October 2010, 21:35   #24
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The info below is a very subjective recommendation based on a few trips to Goa and some extensive research on Tripadvisor. I have no vested interests in any of the places mentioned below.

Goa in a nutshell:
Goa can be divided into 3 parts - North Goa, The City & South Goa:
.
@JLN
A very nice compile. Would be very useful for anybody visiting Goa and not only the first timers.
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Old 28th October 2010, 14:11   #25
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@2500CC:
I stayed in this place a couple of years back and it checks most of your boxes.
Welcome to Chalston Beach Resort - Calangute - Goa
Most resorts claim to be on the beach but they usually are not.
Chalston's back yard opens to the beach. So, you can play in the beach and when you are done, you can just walk into the resort. That was our primary requirement and was a fit to the T.
Cheers and have a nice trip to Goa.
Deepak

PS: Had you planned that travel a day earlier, we could've met on the way. I would be on my way to Pune
I have stayed there as well a few years back and on my recommendation two friends have been there too after me. All have been satisfied. It is close to action and yet offers relative quite too as the backside of the hotel leads the less crowded portion of the beach. The hotel is clean and nicely maintained property with a nice open restaurant and lawns with a small swimming pool thrown in.Though mostly it caters to europeans groups, the wife of the owner being a european herself. I'm not sure of the rates which may have increased but four years back it was around Rs 8-900 without room service, which infact was better as it forced us to explore more.
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Old 28th October 2010, 14:27   #26
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hi 2500cc,

even i am going to goa from 1st to 5th Oct, check out Welcome to Chalston Beach Resort - Calangute - Goa, hope its within budget, it has a pool and the beach is also just outside the restaurant.
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