Some Must Do Things In Goa, India.

February 28, 2019

by Rini Joseph

India is a treasure trove of experiences and places. Among India’s key tourist attractions, is Goa – a small State nestled in the Western Coast of India, right against the Arabian Sea/ Goa is a beautiful cacophony of cultural eccentricities and local experiences that make for the ideal travel destination in India. So get down to Goa – not for a few days, but a whole week, at the least. People from all around the world come to the shores of Goa to enjoy the sun and all of Goa’s wonders.  And an insider tip would be to rent out bikes because that’s the best way to get around the little state. I’d also recommend that you don’t stay in only one side of Goa, and instead hop from one homestay or hotel or hostel to another, across the State. So here are some must-do experiences in Goa, India.

Nature Walks In Chorao Island

A common bird sighting in Goa, a kingfisher perches on a tree stump

A common bird sighting in Goa, a kingfisher perched on a tree stump

It is always a great day to explore the little treasures of Goa’s varied landscape. To begin with, if you’re up early, go on to the Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary in Chorao Island. It opens at 6 am and is usually quiet and empty – making it perfect for some birdwatching and some appreciation of Mangrove growth (Here’s a tip: Don’t give up on the tour until you reach the end of the path. And while you’re there, remember to stay silent and attentive because you’ll find a few residents there). Even if you can’t go in the morning, go in the evening. The ferry ride from Ribandar to Chorao is not only absolutely free but it is also a breath-taking experience. There are also cruises at the island that take you around protected wildlife areas to spot numerous migratory birds. What makes this a special experience is the opportunity to sight a variety of birds. Many birds migrate to India, and Goa is one of the hot spots. Goa’s islands and biodiversity serves well for their needs. Chorao Island is a definite peaceful getaway.

A Stroll Through Fontainhas, Panjim

The streets of Fontainhas is lined with Portuguese architecture.

The streets of Fontainhas is lined with Portuguese architecture.

India already has a rich art and cultural heritage. It is a result of India’s varied history and cultural influences. Goa is one of the places in India that has had a lot of Western influence in its history. To explore a bit of Goa’s past, and its art and culture, get on your feet or rent out bicycles to explore Fontainhas, Panjim. Its rich historical and cultural heritage needs no explanations and rests on the banks of the River Mandovi. It used to be the Latin Quarters prior to Goa’s independence when it was under Portuguese rule. The architecture speaks volumes of its Portuguese influence. You can also walk into some popular galleries in Fountainhas like Geetanjali Gallery. You will find a whole lot of cozy spots for food and drinks in the picturesque streets of Fountainhas. Joseph Bar comes highly recommended post an evening stroll. Some other legendary eating places include Viva Panjim, Down The Road and the relatively more recent Barrels & Bones.

Shopping in Mapusa Market and Assagao

Local women selling pork sausage in Mapusa Market

Local women selling pork sausage in Mapusa Market

Mapusa market is Goa’s biggest local market. It has served as a source of economy for a lot of locals. Whether it is fruits, vegetables, meat, and spices or handmade incense sticks, toys, clothes, jewelry, and furniture – Mapusa has it all. Shopping in Mapusa will give you a taste of not just the local cultural reflection, but all of India’s.

For a more high-end shopping experience, head on to Assagoa – a little village near Mapusa that houses many boutique stores for ethnic wear and accessories and some really interesting restaurants.  Get your shopping spree on with the classic and popular People Tree Design Studio & Store, and eat some exquisite food at the Gunpowder restaurant, right along the store. There are some other stores that might catch your eye as well, including Indian Story, Rangeela and the super ethical and organic boutique No Nasties. If you’d rather experience shopping on a far more local level, go over to the Mapusa Market – a boiling pot of Goa’s vast cultural elements.

Beaches And Fields In North Goa

Late evening in Siolim with an island of coconut trees in a paddy field.

Late evening in Siolim

The North side of Goa offers a lot of scenic landscapes. The route from Mapusa to Siolim will provide a glimpse into localities and the local life. You will travel through roads that cut through beautiful fields and ponds, that are major feeding grounds for birds.

Instead of going to the more popular and overcrowded Anjuna, Baga and the lot, head on to the more elegant and scenic beaches of Ashwem, Mandrem, and Morjim. The ride towards these beaches on its own is scenic. You will see rivers, fields, and hills.  These beaches also have some excellent shacks and street shopping opportunities. You can watch a stunning sunset on these beaches.

Partying In Goa


Party it up

Goa is India’s most popular party destination. It has a very active party scene for psytrance, techno, house and reggae music. If you’re in the mood for getting boozy and dancing, put on your party best and head out. You can keep pub hopping because you basically get booze everywhere here. And if you don’t already know, Goa is remarkably popular for its cheap alcohol. So, it’s time to keep your bikes at bay, and get boozy, but responsibly. You can party it up in places in Anjuna like Club Cabana, Curlies or even the iconic Shiva Valley.  Or, you can head on to Arambol, where you’re bound to land up at some trance or techno party at one of the shacks.

Food And Flea Market In Anjuna

Anjuna Flea Market

Anjuna Flea Market

Anjuna is a whole experience on its own. It is the hub for good food and experiences. When the hippies came to India, Anjuna was one of the hotspots. The beach in Anjuna can get overly crowded and sometimes super dirty. So ditch the beach and experience other things here. Some excellent restaurants include Burger Factory, Baba Au Rhum, the vegan option of Artjuna, and Melt Pizza Bar.  On Wednesdays, Anjuna also has a very large flea market. You will find all kinds of things here from clothes, bags, and accessories to art, furniture, and instruments.

Solitude And Serenity in Querim Beach

Querim Beach

Querim Beach

To wind down after the weekend’s up-tempo activities, there’s nothing like escaping to an isolated beach. It’s time to relax – and truly enjoy the serenity and peace of the holidays. A little ahead of Arambol is the north end of Goa, and its last beach at the border – Querim. It is one of India’s more cleaner and isolated beaches. Tourists rarely come here, making it pristine and almost untouched. Bask in the Goa sun, take a dip in the ocean, enjoy the carefreeness of it all. While there aren’t as many shacks as the more popular beaches, you will still be able to grab some drinks and some food nearby.

Goa is the accumulation of all these experiences and a whole lot more. There is much to see in this little coastal State of India, but it is super important to be able to retain Goa’s true beauty – its nature and wildlife. Lots of birds migrate to Goa particularly because of its biodiversity. Goa also is home to many turtle nestings. But with the advent of tourism or rather, careless tourism, a lot of it biodiversity is at risk. So while you’re here, remember to avoid plastic and littering. And most of all, remember to truly enjoy all that Goa offers you.

Rini Joseph

By Rini Joseph

I am an artist and a writer with a rampant need to explore and discover new experiences, cultures and adversities. I am terribly opinionated, about mental health, feminism, politics, privilege and even movies. I love that I can write and in the world where internet reaches so many corners of the world, I feel like I have a voice that can travel through space. I love drawing and painting as well. It provides an alternative medium through which I can express.


Leave a Comment...