So I finally found a good enough travel buddy who agreed to put up with me for a journey. We decided we shall start from the party town of Goa. Now there are a lot of ways to get there. The train fare and air fare will be almost the same given you book it a month or so prior. Also there are quite a lot of things to do while at Goa. So we took this guy’s itinerary as a reference.
Boarded the Vasco de Gama train to goa on Friday. Mind you, it is a weekly train only available on Fridays. It is a 20 hour journey and will be reaching Goa on the following day around noon.
We got off at Madgaon station. Better option will be to get off at Vasco itself. Since we had a hostel booked at Candolim we took a prepaid taxi from the train station itself. Another better idea will be to get down at madgaon and go to the bus station. From there go straight to Anjuna or Arpora. And slowly come down south.
We had a room booked at the Session Haus Hostel. A supposedly good place, but it was horrible. I would suggest Backpackers Panda for the stay instead. Once we were all freshened up, we hired a scooty and set off to Dona Paula.
I shall be putting up rents and scooty hire rates at the end.
Dona Paula has this nice view point from which the sunset has been mentioned as am amazing experience. But for our bad luck it was pretty cloudy and all we could get was a barely visible sunset.
The Miramar Beach has all these nice roadside shops that offer yummy food. But beware… The shopkeepers keep asking you to come to their shop and it becomes a slight nuisance at one point.
Since it was a Saturday we then decided to go check out the night market at Arpora. What we did not know is that this flea market happens only during November- January. So after driving for 30+ km and ending up in a dead end and we decided to get back to the room. We didn’t have the energy or the time to go to Panjim then. So we hit the Tito’s Lane in Baga Beach. Just for the nice clubbing experience. We retired early that night. Next day was going to be a long day…
We heard that Arambol beach has good shacks that offer breakfast and also some fun activities. So in order to catch the first rays of sun, we started from candolim at around 5:30 am. It was a long 35km drive. And we reached a very empty beach which had no signs of anything happening any time soon. After roaming around the beach till 8 am we needed some food.
So the search for a place open at that time on a Sunday began. After an hour of searching, we came till Ashwem Beach to find a nice place that offered breakfast. They were also barely opened that time.
There we met up with a German group who had come to goa to surf and swim. After this we were heading back to the room when we noticed that a lot of crowd was going in our opposite direction. So we again went towards the sweet water lake located near Arambol Beach.
Goa is such a lazy city man. You won’t even find a tea shop open by 7 or 8 am. The whole hungover city wakes up at 11. Then again any place during the off season time is a bore. This includes the sweet water lake.
The Vagator Beach is another place with white-ish sand. But then it was all pretty black with oil contamination when we went there. Atleast there was quite the amount of crowd there. Our next stop was at Chapora Fort which is adjacent to Vagator. The fort was good to get nice pictures. What was better was the view of the horizon from there. It was a sight to die for. And the sunset from there is something you shouldn’t miss.
Since the day was coming to an end we wanted to check out the famous Baga Beach again. But then we stopped by the market road and burnt a nice hole in our pockets at the Tibetan handicrafts market before we retired for the day.
We checked out from candolim. North Goa was over. Now it is time for South Goa. We had to get like four buses in order to get to Palolem. The route was Candolim – Panjim – Madgaon – Palolem. By the time we reached our stop it was almost 3 pm and both of us were hungry out of our minds. After checking into Roadhouse Hostel there we wandered off towards the beach where there were numerous cafes and restaurants. The whole way was scattered with eateries and shops. Once our hungry tummies were satisfied, we took our new dorm mates Brittany and Victoria to the beach. This is the best part about backpacker’s hostels. You make loads of friends on the way and make new plans as well. While watching the sunset at the peaceful Palolem Beach we met Leon, another foreigner with whom we had a hearty dinner again.
The incharge at Roadhouse mentioned a waterfalls that was about 30 km away from there. So we planned to catch that place the next day. Joining us were four other foreigners.
After renting bikes and finishing breakfast, we started towards the Netravalli Falls at around 10 am. It was a 30 km drive from Palolem. The place was located inside a wildlife sanctuary. After driving for 3 km inside the sanctuary, you have to park your vehicles and do a slight hike down a hill to get to the waterfall. The whole path has stone steps, so it was easy while getting down. As we climbed down the last of those steps, we saw a glimpse of the paradise. A beautiful stream of water falling down rocks and so much lush green surrounding it. To add to the effect there were so many butterflies and the whole place was pretty empty except for our group and the forest ranger who had come down to keep a watch on us.
There was nice pool of water to swim and cool yourself down. It was just too pretty to even explain in words. The coldness of the water and the occasional nibbling of the fishes was enough for us to enjoy a couple hours in that almost hidden paradise. When we decided to leave, it started raining and all of us took shelter in the office building located just outside the sanctuary. Although the rain made us wait for about an hour, I am thankful we did. Because the ride back was made even more amazing with mist and luscious greens with the petrichor.
So our journey in Goa was coming to an end. After bidding goodbye to our new friends we made our way to the bus stand. Next stop – Gokarna.
Suggested hostels :
- Backpacker Panda, Candolim (rates are as low as Rs.400 per night)
- Lazy Llama, Anjuna (Rs.450 per night)
- Zostel Goa, Calangute (Rs.550 per night)
- Roadhouse Hostel, Palolem and Aarambol (Rs.350 per night)
The bike rentals are around Rs.300-400 in all these areas. Depends on the kind of bike you prefer.