Road trip to Goa
May 25, 2019
by Apeksha Roy
Goa might be the hottest destination on the list of most visited places in India, but that doesn’t change your experience if you are going there for the first time. And whether it’s a solo trip or with friends, you come back a bit tanned and changed. And the images from the trip, happy times spent on the beach, in a shack somewhere, witnessing one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world, or having a bonfire in the night or maybe even club-hopping with your buddies. They all get imprinted on your memory for a lifetime. Till the time you go back of course.
Modes of traveling
Ever since I watched the film ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ I have dreamt about going on a road trip to Goa with my buddies. Hence, my first time here was with friends on a road trip and trust me when I tell you that it is one of the best ways to go. The scenery on the way, the view from the western ghats especially the Amboli ghat is worth a 100 road trips. Plus there is a beautiful waterfall right at the top of the ghat which refreshes each and every sense in your body. You feel more active rather than being tired and look forward to your destination with that much more excitement. Usually, Mumbai to Goa is said to be a 12 hours drive but we covered it in 9 hours. It’s approximately 608.1 Kms by road.
If you are not a road trip person than there’s always the option of boarding a flight. The tickets are slightly expensive during weekends and around New Year. Dabolim Airport is the only airport in Goa. It is located at a distance of 30kms from the state capital Panjim. The nearest city is Vasco Da Gama at a distance of 4kms.
You can also reach Goa by train. Madgaon and Vasco Da Gama are the two railway stations here. They are well linked to the other parts of the country through an extensive train network. Regular trains from Delhi and Mumbai halt here. Madgaon station is at a distance of 38kms from Panjim whereas Vasco Da Gama is at a distance of 29kms. You easily get a cab or a bus from outside the stations to almost anywhere.
A wide network of buses also operate between Goa and nearby city or towns. Mumbai to Goa by bus is 12 hours top.
Where to stay
Accommodations in Goa are offered on a wide spectrum of options and choices. Right from the expensive and exclusive 5-star hotels and resorts, cottages at the beachside to cheap 1 or 2 bedroom apartments and single rooms.
It all depends upon how much you can afford and splurge. If you are accustomed to the luxury of an expensive hotel or resort, live there. If you want to see and experience the various kinds of people who flock to this place, I suggest you rent an apartment. These apartments are quite cheaper than a hotel room and they come equipped with all basic amenities like Air Conditioning, WiFi, Geyser, Fridge, Microwave and even utensils. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you might even get a washing machine and an iron with an ironing board.
We stayed in an apartment but I so want to stay once at a cottage by the beach. Where, when you get down from your bed in the morning, you feel the sand beneath your feet rather than a cold floor.
After sorting out the “where to stay?” the next thing you should probably do is get yourselves a couple of scooters because, even though you might have a car or a van, going through Goa on a scooter is a must. Zooming through the lanes, passing by old churches and ancient houses, marveling at their beauty, wind gushing through your hair. Nothing else in this world might match up to this.
What to do
Now, you all must be aware of the very popular phrase that says “When in Rome do as the Romans do.” Which simply says that whenever you are visiting a city or a town, it is so much better if you follow the customs of the people there.
So, when in Goa, rather than following a must do list you might have found in the various articles or stories regarding Goa on Google, follow your own heart. I specifically have this rule of not going by the book or making a list ever on any of my travels. I mean, what’s the fun in that if you do not leave any scope for ‘going with the flow’, right?
So, here are my golden words. Hop on your scooter, and just ride. You might see a very beautiful church on the way or a shack on the beach with a pretty view. Halt and take it all in. Take pictures through your eyes more than your DSLR or mobile phone. These will stay with you, always.
When it comes to beaches, The Baga Beach and Arambol Beach is a good place to spend a lazy afternoon. Or if you are an adventurer at heart you can try your hand at water sports like
- Scuba Diving
- White Water Rafting
- Jet Skiing
- Banana Tube Boat Ride
You can also spend a whole day and a night on a yacht or a cruise.
But if you want to witness the most beautiful sunset in Goa, you should probably be at the Anjuna Beach or the Vagator Beach.
The Dudhsagar waterfall is a magnanimous waterbody that is worth a visit.
Lay your hands on a plate of Goan fish curry as soon as possible. The taste, that aroma, I can still feel it in my senses. And you should definitely try it with the Goan red rice. If you are staying somewhere in North Goa, try the Fish Platter at The Fisherman’s Cove.
Now coming to the more authentic things, you must try your hands at Crab xec xec, which is a curry with a roasted crab. Poee is a substitute for bread or to be more specific a type of Goan pav. Kingfish rawa fry. It’s the best you would get anywhere in India. And finally the Prawn balchao, which is a prawn pickle accompanied by rice and curry.
While you savor all these dishes, you can also have a taste of Feni, a type of liquor made in Goa with cashews.
How to spend your last few moments there
After you have possibly achieved everything on your bucket list or whatever your heart had wished for, just sit on the beach, on the sand, and let the people walk by you, take in the voices and the smells. Hear the splash of the waves in the background. You can play some soulful music in the background if you wish.
Or better, have a bonfire with your friends. Eat, drink, sing and laugh together for you may never know, when a moment like this will come again.