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Old 4th February 2016, 12:40   #91
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Default Re: Goa Vacation for First Timers

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Below are my questions and any response to them is appreciated.
I personally wouldn't base out of Miramar. In the middle, and far from anywhere worth seeing. So you will have to travel to north goan locations like Baga and Calangute (and further up for more pristine beaches) for most of the beaches/forts. Lots of driving involved if you want to take in all sights (including the NOT TO BE MISSED chapora fort). So i suggest you take the GTDC run north goa and south goa bus trips ex-miramar.


From airport there must be kadamba shuttle services to Panjim. Cheap, comfortable and quick. Then take a rick to miramar.

You can't cover much by walking, other than immediate local sights. Goa is vast and spread all over. Renting a bike is most practical way to cover places.

Skip churches/places of worship unless you are the religious/architecture-loving types. I did. But DO NOT skip forts, since they give FANTASTIC views. Chapora fort offers stunning unspoilt views from certain spots inside it. That was the highlight of my stay there. Cover Aguada fort also - less spectacular, but offers excellent bay view. Aguada beach was lovely. Not as flat as Baga, but less crowded. Atleast when i was there.

Goa is beautiful. Enjoy.

Last edited by WindRide : 4th February 2016 at 12:45.
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Old 4th February 2016, 12:50   #92
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Default Re: Goa Vacation for First Timers

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I personally wouldn't base out of Miramar. In the middle, and far from anywhere worth seeing. So you will have to travel to north goan locations like Baga and Calangute (and further up for more pristine beaches) for most of the beaches/forts. Lots of driving involved if you want to take in all sights (including the NOT TO BE MISSED chapora fort). So i suggest you take the GTDC run north goa and south goa bus trips ex-miramar.
@WindRide, Thanks a lot for the inputs. I cant avoid the stay at miramar as it is free . So, have to work around that for the trips and i dont mind travelling a bit in order to reach the places of attraction. I believe miramar is located in panjim, and ideally, should have enough transport options. Correct me if i am wrong. Also, will it take too long if one is to travel from miramar to say, Calungate and/or Baga beach?
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Old 5th February 2016, 16:15   #93
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Default Re: Goa Vacation for First Timers

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I am planning to visit in the second week of march. This is my first time here.Below are my questions and any response to them is appreciated.
1) Stay is planned near Miramar beach. Are the main attractions like beaches, forts, restaurants, shacks etc. easily accesible from here?
Any specific reason for staying near Miramar?

North goa is where you want to go to experience the party atmosphere and the tourist culture of goa. Panjim is the capital city and is like any other city in India. Does not really give you the real goa vibe. South goa is where you go to relax and enjoy a quiet beach holiday.

Unless you are looking for a quiet beach holiday, for a first timer, I would suggest staying in candolim & sinquerim area of north goa. There are lots of nice hotels and resorts there. Dont stay in Calangute or baga.

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2) Not going by road. Instead will be taking a flight in and out of goa. What are the options to reach the place where i stay from the airport? Public transport is preferred.
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3) I believe in taking public transport or walking in order to explore the city and would like to know the options available. I will rent rides for longish drives. Again, public transport is preferred.
Getting from airport to your hotel can be a challenge in public transport. Cheapest way is to get a motorcycle taxi if you have a small backpack. You can get a bus, but you will need to take multiple buses to reach your destination. I would not recommend that for a first timer unless you are ok with spending a good part of the day to figure out the buses.

While in theory you can travel around goa in public transport, but it is best to hire a 2 wheeler or a car when in goa. A gearless scooter like activa is the best thing to hire. Should cost you around 250-300 per day for a bike in decent condition.

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4) I would like to try goan cuisine. Dont need any fancy stuff but something that is close to authentic and is affordable. Suggestions on pure vegetarian options will be really helpful.
Here are some suggestions:
  • Ritz Classic in Panjim
  • Anand ashram in Panjim
  • Anantashram in porvorim, next to corporation bank in porvorim. This used to be a famous place in south bombay till the owners decided to pack up and then re-open in their native goa.
  • Anand Bar & Seafood in assagao on the arpora siolim road
  • Sharda restaurant next to bambolim shrine (church)
These are places which are cheap and which have good seafood. You should try to eat a fish curry rice thali at these places for lunch. Anantashram is one of the very few places where you can get a fish thali for dinner.
Order stuff like rava fried seafood, butter garlic prawns, muscles, etc.

Some of the fancier places:
  • Suza lobo on calangute beach - Their tandoori baby kingfish, masala fried prawns and calamari are my favourites
  • Martin's corner in betalbatem (this is in south goa)

These are some good places run by foreign owners/chefs:
  • Thalassa in vagator - Great greek food
  • La Plage in Ashwem - Great French Food
  • Ciao Bella, Assagao - Great Italian food
  • Basillico in Anjuna
  • Gelato Place next to Oxford stores in Anjuna - Superb Gelato
  • Nick's place in the Baga-Arpora road near the T point around arpora. They have great english food. Try their english breakfast.

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5) Is scuba diving available. If so, what is the price range?
I would not trust diving operators in India. While I personally am not into diving, when I asked some diving junkie friends, they all recommended skipping dive places in goa and suggested going to thailand instead.


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6) Not really into the usual tourist stuff but would like to know about any must-visit churches and forts. Also, any suggestions on places that host live music are welcome.
Old goa is a must visit for the churches. Do visit all the places, dont just visit the area around basillica of bom jesus. You can go via the ribandar causeway and come back via the newer highway to make it an interesting journey.

dudhsagar falls is a good destination.

Most upmarket restaurants host live bands on some days of the week. Check with your hotel for a local recommendation.

Check out ingo's night market in arpora on saturdays. You can get some amazing grilled chicken and burritos in that market. I would not go to other food stalls in that market.

You can check out places like Titos, Mambos and other places on Baga area. But I would give that part of goa a miss. Calangute and Baga have for most part become a tourist trap with very high prices.

Remember that ferries are free for people on foot and for 2 wheelers. When going from panjim to north goa, you can take a ferry from the panjim ferry terminal on the road to miramar to get a different experience. It is close to the quarterdeck restaurant and all the casino jettys.

At the aguada fort, you can climb the new lighthouse. That comes after the old upper fort aguada and post the historical lighthouse. I found it closed when i was in goa this dec, but visitors are allowed for a small fee and it gives you some amazing views of the sinquerim-candolim-calangute-baga beach on one side and panjim on the other side.

And here is a small trick to find less irritating crowds on most goan beaches. As you enter the beach from a road, take a turn either left or right and walk 100-200m away from the road head. You will find that a lot of the loud irritating tourists would not make the effort to walk a little bit on the beach. This does not apply to a beach road where you see < 5 vehicles parked at the beach end of the road.

-- no1lives4ever

Last edited by no1lives4ever : 5th February 2016 at 16:23.
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Old 8th February 2016, 15:05   #94
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Default Re: Goa Vacation for First Timers

@no1lives4ever. Thanks a lot for your response. This is going to be really helpful as i think i will be frequently referring to the info that you have provided

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Any specific reason for staying near Miramar?
The reason is pretty simple. I will be staying in my company's guesthouse and hence, wont have to pay for the accommodation. The line of thought here is that i can spend the money saved this way on other stuffs. But i am open to reconsidering it if travelling to popular destinations will be a headache.

Quote:
While in theory you can travel around goa in public transport, but it is best to hire a 2 wheeler or a car when in goa.
Hiring a two wheeler seems to be the ideal thing to do. I will do the same.

Quote:
Here are some suggestions:
Whoa. That is quite a list that you have provided. I am pretty sure all my gastronomic needs will be taken care if i cover the options listed here.

Quote:
I would not trust diving operators in India.
You saved some money for me here. Guess i will save the scuba diving for my Thailand trip later in the year.

Thanks again for all the info. This is gonna be like a mini-bible to me during my trip.
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Old 9th February 2016, 00:30   #95
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Default Re: Goa Vacation for First Timers

The good thing about panjim is that it is located centrally in goa. So both south and north goa places are within accessible distance. The bad part is that panjim as such is not what people go to goa for, so you would need to travel 15km or more to reach any happening part of goa.

You can get decent hotels in candolim area for around 1000-2000 per night in march. If you are adventurous, then you can find sea side cottages with basic facilities in places like palolem, agonda, anjuna, ashwem or arambol for that amount. If you are staying in goa for more than a few days, then I would suggest that you land in panjim, stay at your company guest house for a couple of days and hire a vehicle. Then visit different parts of goa and check out hotels. You can get very good deals in the month of march if you walk up to a hotel and ask for good rates.

Goa is a big state with a huge coastline and a mostly unknown hinterland. You can spend months and still only experience a part of it. You can be seeing new things in goa even if you have been there every year for 10+ years. You cant really visit Goa once. After you get back from your first trip, you will be planning the next one

I also forgot to add this before. You can find almost all the popular restaurants, hotels and clubs of goa on google maps.

I would suggest logging in to your google account from a computer and marking all places you want to potentially visit. On your phone, you should also be logged in using that same account and you will get to see all the starred locations on google maps. This makes it easy to just whip out your phone and zoom out the map to find recommended places that are nearby.

In goa, navigation works great with google maps. So make use of it and dont depend on asking for directions.

-- no1lives4ever

Last edited by no1lives4ever : 9th February 2016 at 00:43.
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Old 18th August 2016, 17:53   #96
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I am planning to Goa with the family of 4 (2 are kids) from Coimbatore. This would be my first-time visit.

While I am OK to drive from Coimbatore (All new Endeavour with Auto gives me confidence), But my family is fond of a train journey which we hadn't have for several years.

So, I thought of catching a train from Shoranur (which is 100 km away from Coimbatore, since we do not have direct trains from here) to Goa.

Out prime intention is,

1. 3-4 nights stay preferably at a place near to a beach (resort or service apartments)
2. Visit to churches
3. Visit to beaches
4. Exploring food, especially Fish, a lot.
5. Shopping

I would like to get some recommendations have the holidays memorable.

The trains from Kerala mostly goes to - Madagaon, Karmail and Thivim.

1. I am not which is the right station to get down. Also, your recommendations on stay. My budget is around Rs.3000 a night (if breakfast included).

2.Can I rent a car there on a daily basis for self-drive?

3. Which are the places which we should not miss at any cost?

I look forward to your thoughts.
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Old 18th August 2016, 18:40   #97
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Default Re: Goa Vacation for First Timers

Putting down a few tips for you, feel free to improvise keeping your preferences in mind

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While I am OK to drive from Coimbatore (All new Endeavour with Auto gives me confidence), But my family is fond of a train journey which we hadn't have for several years.
If your family is comfortable with road trips, I highly recommend driving down instead of taking a train. Self drive rentals do not legally exist anymore as of last year. You could double check on this. Travel distances for touring around Goa are fairly large and taxis are very expensive. Self ride scooters and motorcycles are available in all trims and sizes, but I'm not sure if that is a great option for hopping between North, South and old Goa with family in tow.

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2. Visit to churches
Most of Goa has some really beautiful churches. Old Goa has some of the the more famous historic ones. Drive time from South Goa or North Goa would be about an hour.

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Originally Posted by agbenny View Post
3. Visit to beaches
Listing some commonly frequented beaches for you:
North Goa: Anjuna, Ozran, Vagator, Sinquerim
South Goa: Palolem, Cavelossim, Fatrade

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Originally Posted by agbenny View Post
4. Exploring food, especially Fish, a lot.
Listing some commonly frequented joints for you:
North Goa: Fisherman's Cove, Britto's, Tito's, Thalassa, Curly's
South Goa: Fisherman's Wharf, Martin's Corner, Fipleys,

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5. Shopping
Panaji has the regular retail outlets that feature in most metros. Don't particularly see any USP for shopping whilst in Goa apart from taking back some mementos.

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Originally Posted by agbenny View Post
The trains from Kerala mostly goes to - Madagaon, Karmail and Thivim.
1. I am not which is the right station to get down.
Madagaon for South Goa & Thivim for North Goa.

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Originally Posted by agbenny View Post
Also, your recommendations on stay. My budget is around Rs.3000 a night (if breakfast included).
Most hotels with direct beach access would a little more expensive. Suggest you lookup the travel portals on this and shortlist a few that have availability on your preferred dates and suit your budget.

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Originally Posted by agbenny View Post
2.Can I rent a car there on a daily basis for self-drive?
Nope, self drive rentals from the local travel guys are not legal anymore. Check if Zoom / Myles / Carzonrent, etc. have their services available in Goa.

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Originally Posted by agbenny View Post
3. Which are the places which we should not miss at any cost?
Above listed beaches and shacks.

Last edited by manson : 18th August 2016 at 18:55.
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Old 18th August 2016, 18:46   #98
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Putting down a few tips for you, feel free to improvise keeping your preferences in mind
Thank you for the comprehensive response for each point. I think I will have to drive, now need to find out the best road and one day stop and stay. Thanks a lot Mate.

Last edited by manson : 18th August 2016 at 18:59. Reason: Mod Note : Please quote ONLY the relevant bits of a post. Quoting a full, long post inconveniences our mobile readers.
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Old 22nd August 2016, 15:52   #99
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Thank you for the comprehensive response for each point. I think I will have to drive, now need to find out the best road and one day stop and stay. Thanks a lot Mate.
Since your travelling with Family, There would be 2 options. Either you can take a halt in Mangalore or Udipi which are about 500 Kms from Coimbatore. Or you can proceed on upto Gokarna (Beautiful place as well).

Mind you there are 2 different routes to go to Udupi/Mangalore, and Gokarna. Make sure you check on gmaps and decide which route would be best suited based on how long your family can sit in the car during the journey.

Staying in Gokarna will give you some more places to see before you proceed to Goa. You can do a short sight seeing trip by starting at 7-8 in the morning and then proceed to Goa by lunch time and proceed straight to the north.

Leave the last day or last 2 incase you want to visit Palolem and Dudhsagar on your return journey. I wouldn't advice dudhsagar on the way to Goa as there is quite a lot of walking that needs to be done. Driving another 90-100 kms after a long walk is not something I personally like to do.

Good luck on your trip.
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Old 22nd August 2016, 19:23   #100
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I think I will have to drive, now need to find out the best road and one day stop and stay
For driving down, Bangalore route may be less stressful. Check the Bangalore-Goa route queries thread for info. Davangere or Shimoga could be options for night halt, depending on the route you choose.
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Old 22nd August 2016, 20:22   #101
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Since your travelling with Family, There would be 2 options. Either you can take a halt in Mangalore or Udipi which are about 500 Kms from Coimbatore. Or you can proceed on upto Gokarna (Beautiful place as well).

Mind you there are 2 different routes to go to Udupi/Mangalore, and Gokarna. Make sure you check on gmaps and decide which route would be best suited based on how long your family can sit in the car during the journey.

Staying in Gokarna will give you some more places to see before you proceed to Goa. You can do a short sight seeing trip by starting at 7-8 in the morning and then proceed to Goa by lunch time and proceed straight to the north.

Leave the last day or last 2 incase you want to visit Palolem and Dudhsagar on your return journey. I wouldn't advice dudhsagar on the way to Goa as there is quite a lot of walking that needs to be done. Driving another 90-100 kms after a long walk is not something I personally like to do.

Good luck on your trip.
Considering the drive within the Goa city and the inconvenient timing of train journey, I will take your advice and stay at Gokarna, as on the first day, its better to cover as much as possible distance. Will there be too much rainy?, as I see a resort called " Deva Samudra Beach Stay", say are closed until October for rain.
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Old 23rd August 2016, 11:19   #102
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Considering the drive within the Goa city and the inconvenient timing of train journey, I will take your advice and stay at Gokarna, as on the first day, its better to cover as much as possible distance. Will there be too much rainy?, as I see a resort called " Deva Samudra Beach Stay", say are closed until October for rain.
I have not been to Gokarna recently but I don't think any of the hitels close down due to the rains. Someone who have been there recently may be able to shed some light on this.

Gokarna has a lot of hotels and this technically being off-season, most hotels would be empty. I would suggest call a few hotels and in advance and check the availability a couple of days before you travel (If you don't book the room online, you may be able to get better rates by bargaining when you get there).

I didn't see you mention your travel dates anywhere.
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Old 23rd August 2016, 13:09   #103
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I have not been to Gokarna recently but I don't think any of the hitels close down due to the rains. Someone who have been there recently may be able to shed some light on this.

Gokarna has a lot of hotels and this technically being off-season, most hotels would be empty. I would suggest call a few hotels and in advance and check the availability a couple of days before you travel (If you don't book the room online, you may be able to get better rates by bargaining when you get there).

I didn't see you mention your travel dates anywhere.
I am planning to be in Goa between 25th and 29th of Sep. I am in the process of a resort close to a beach, My budget is Rs. 5000 per night (2 Adults and 2 Kids). If you have something mind, please let me know. Thanks, mate.
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Old 23rd August 2016, 15:39   #104
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I am planning to be in Goa between 25th and 29th of Sep. I am in the process of a resort close to a beach, My budget is Rs. 5000 per night (2 Adults and 2 Kids). If you have something mind, please let me know. Thanks, mate.
I personally like Keys Ronils Resort. Itís on the way to Baga (at the beginning Tito's lane). 5 mins walk to the beach. It should also fit into your budget. Cavala's also is a nice place in the same vicinity. I have stayed at both and enjoyed my stay. Ronils is more on the fancy side, while cavala's has that old world feel to it.

Again since it is off season, you may want to take up the room for a day and then shift into another better option if you happen to find one or you could also use your long stay as a bargaining chip. Things in Goa change from Season to Season. Some hotels that were there last year may not be around this year. The two above have been there for the longest time.

Ronils have their own gated parking, which is sometimes difficult to find on some of the beach side hotels(Most have Road side parking). Parking is another thing you should consider since you mentioned yours in a new Endeavour. You wouldn't want a drunk biker with a hired activa putting a scratch or dent on it while youíre on holiday.
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Old 24th August 2016, 14:53   #105
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I personally like Keys Ronils Resort. Itís on the way to Baga (at the beginning Tito's lane). 5 mins walk to the beach. It should also fit into your budget. Cavala's also is a nice place in the same vicinity. I have stayed at both and enjoyed my stay. Ronils is more on the fancy side, while cavala's has that old world feel to it.

Again since it is off season, you may want to take up the room for a day and then shift into another better option if you happen to find one or you could also use your long stay as a bargaining chip. Things in Goa change from Season to Season. Some hotels that were there last year may not be around this year. The two above have been there for the longest time.

Ronils have their own gated parking, which is sometimes difficult to find on some of the beach side hotels(Most have Road side parking). Parking is another thing you should consider since you mentioned yours in a new Endeavour. You wouldn't want a drunk biker with a hired activa putting a scratch or dent on it while youíre on holiday.
Wow, what valueable details you have given. Thanks a lot mate. I will keep them in mind and search for Ronils and Cavala. Thanks Again.
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