Monday, 5 January 2015

My Offbeat Experiences In Goa

When I visited Goa way back in 1999, I didn’t like it much. Of course, I found it beautiful, but I also thought that it was too quiet. Besides, I got to explore it through a guide’s eye, which showed me just the touristic stuff – beaches, churches and temples. Since it was not a personal trip (it was a school trip), we didn’t have the freedom to do our own thing. I could barely smell the ‘real’ Goa – the Goa that I got acquainted with on this trip that I took with my family.

We stayed in Saligao area in North Goa. Saligao has both touristic and local experiences to offer. You have the choice to visit popular beaches like Baga, Anjuna, Sinquerim and Calangute, which are quite nearby, and then there are these Portuguese-style houses, churches and countryside to explore at your own whim.

Want to explore Goa beyond the usual? Pick up your copy of 'The Insider's Guide to Goa' Ebook here.

So did I like Goa on my second visit? YES! I loved it so much that I would like to go there again during the rains. Now I truly understand why people go gaga over Goa. But, there is so much more to it than what people take back home.
      
Here’s what I unravelled in Goa –

Fontainhas – The Latin Quarter of Panjim

The elegant lanes of Fontainhas and its colourful buildings – Fontainhas is an old quarter in Panjim City. We went there without knowing that it would turn out to be such a gorgeous place. I wish I could wander more and spot some more elegance of the Latin era. I’m sure I missed out on a lot of things, which itches me to visit Goa again.


The pretty souvenir shops and other cute corners – It’s impossible to just keep walking without looking around in Panjim City, as there is so much that grabs your attention. I couldn’t keep myself from browsing through a couple of souvenir shops that begged for my glance.

 
The unique art galleries hidden away in the lanes – There are quite a few quirky art galleries in Fontainhas that beckon you for a visit. I visited one by the name of Gitanjali Art Gallery & Café, which had showcased the work of a French artist Pierre Legrand. You can read more about him here.


A taste of heritage at Verandah Restaurant – We had breakfast at Verandah Restaurant, which is part of Panjim Inn – one of the heritage hotels in Goa. The first thing to be drawn to this place is its lovely décor and colonial style architecture. The atmosphere is quiet and classy, and the food is delicious. 


Saligao – North Goa

The soothing countryside – When I entered Saligao, I had no clue about its simple charms – the verdure of open grasslands and the grazing cattle. A glimpse of the rural way of life along with the touristic buzz on the beaches was endearing.


Beautiful homes hidden away in the bushes – One of the peculiar things in Goa is its bushes. Yes, there is enough of it. I was amazed to see many dilapidated and even well-painted homes with bushes in their courtyards.


The ‘Goan’ life – Staying at Saligao gave me an excellent chance to experience the local life of Goa. I used to wake up early and set out for spontaneous morning walks. I enjoyed strolling along the old-fashioned Portuguese homes, feeling the quietude and seeing the everyday stuff like bread-man riding on a bicycle to deliver the Goan bread Poee to the locals.


The local bakery – I was quite curious about the bakery culture of Goa, and thus, I decided to pay a visit to a bakery near Saligao. They start kneading the dough as early as 6:30 am and continue baking till 11 in the morning.


South Goa

The quiet vibe of Loutulim – Loutulim village is a modest village in South Goa. To be honest, I could not explore much of it. I wouldn’t say that I saw or experienced anything exceptional there, but it was definitely a different flavour of Goa.


The pristine lushness of landscapes – As soon as you enter South Goa, the lushness of trees and foliage surrounds you. It was difficult making a choice as to where to stop and spend a few moments, as everything was so scenic.


Where to stay in Goa – We stayed in an apartment in Saligao - Aldeia siesta. It was a spacious, clean and comfortable one bedroom apartment with a kitchen, bathroom and a balcony.

Where to eat in Goa – Besides Verandah Restaurant, you can enjoy a quick meal and coffee at Café Tato in Panjim City. Then there is Living Room restaurant in North Goa, which has a lovely poolside and also a little book-corner.

So did you enjoy GOA through my eyes?

This post has affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

If you enjoyed this post, you can –
Subscribe to receive ‘new post’ updates through Email.
Become a fan on Voyager For Life Facebook page.

62 comments:

  1. wow, impressed you went to the bakery! What would I do without my bread delivered each morning!? thank goodness for the bakers rising early!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I was very curious to visit the local bakery! :-) Must say that Goans are very warm people. I loved the bread too!

      Delete
  2. Good to see an offbeat article on Goa. Looking forward to more such articles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Abhi :-) I'm glad you enjoyed the article. Goa has got so much more than what it is perceived to be.

      Delete
  3. Amazing pictures of the offbeat Goa, Renuka. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Antarik! :-) Goa is so photographic!

      Delete
  4. I had no idea Goa was so gorgeous. Beautiful pictures. I missed Goa my first time in India because I was under the impression it was just a big beach party. I'm headed back in February and after reading this, I'm thinking about adding it to my itinerary!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should definitely add Goa to your itinerary! It has got many hidden treasures to explore. Even I am thinking to go there again during the monsoons when the rates will drop.

      Delete
  5. I think the quiet side of Goa is much more appealing than the raging parties of Calangute and that area. And your photos really do it justice! Thanks for sharing Renuka!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely true, Andrew! I hope more and more people realize that. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos too! :-)

      Delete
  6. I loved your experience of Goa.
    Superb pics of the local life. Yummy, I want that pav with chai.
    I agree that the experiences count more than destinations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, experiences definitely matter more than destinations. And Goa has lots to offer! Snacking their local bread with chai is fun. :-)

      Delete
  7. everyone has its own goa. and i am glad to discover your goa. my friend being there, and his description is completely different from yours but it is also good to learn about your experience. thank for sharing :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right! Everyone has their own perception about places. It's interesting to know everyone's opinion. :-)

      Delete
  8. Goa is truly beautiful. I have never liked the touristy beaches of North Goa. but the rest of it is soaked in culture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, that's right! Some of the beaches are good though - Sinquerim and Baga are quite vibrant.

      Delete
  9. I honestly don't know much about Goa except that it supposedly has incredible beaches. I've heard of the Portuguese-style architecture but I'm not sure I'd ever seen photos before. Those houses are so amazing. I want to live in one of them! Based on this post, Goa seems like the type of place I would really like :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure, Justine! If you ever come down to India, please do spend a few days in Goa, but avoid the touristic areas - explore the quieter side of Goa and you will love it!

      Delete
  10. Goa does have such interesting sights to be discovered other than the beaches.
    Great pics. Happy new year to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Indrani :-) Goa is amazing! Happy New Year to you as well!

      Delete
  11. Oh I went straight back to The Verandah with you complete with the menu board. I so loved strolling (unplanned) through that part of colonial Goa ... so many colours and as there was no need for rushing I was able to enjoy a chat and happening on small but pleasing discoveries. Goa has a lot to offer. One memory which I have just recalled - and I am not sure if a solo traveller could do it ... but I saw a delivery truck dropping off alcohol to a restaurant perched high above a cliff face about 5kms from Ajuna. I asked if I could tag along for the ride. Three hours and later, and a totally off-the-cuff tour of hotels, resorts, restaurants and bars in all manner of great places, I left my friendly companions staisfied that I had just had a very unique and local experience.
    So glad you hint you might even go back. There is a whole vastness to explore all the way down to and into the next State. Thankyou for sharing your photos and memories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice to know your experiences too! Thanks so much, Gtasoz :-) Yes, Goa has so much to offer! Since I was with my family, I couldn't do as much as I would have liked to. I'm planning to do Goa solo in the future. I think that would allow me to explore more.

      Delete
  12. Lovely post. There is definitely a lot more to Goa than its beaches.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely! I'm glad I could explore the real Goa! :-)

      Delete
  13. Lovely pics and post... got reminded of my visits..I visited Goa twice .. first time i stayed with my friends in one of my friend's home in Saligao. Pics.Pics reminds me of her house.. Stayed like a local... used buses and ferry to move around in Goa.. other Goan friend stayed in Panjim.. we had good time exploring Goa. :-) heard a lot of Ghost story... common in Goa.. :-) Did u visited Saligao Church.. the beautiful white Church? 2nd time it was with family n we stayed in a resort.. It was fun too :-)!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nah...I didn't visit any church, but yes I did take a walk around it. Your experiences sound so much fun! :-)

      Delete
  14. Always good to read a different post about Goa.. most people just laze on beach and get drunk.. Good that you explored Goa like most never do.... :) And that bread is one of the good things that came with the Portuguese...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's right! :-) Goa is such a magical place. It grows on you.:-) I'm already itching to go back!

      Delete
  15. Before our trip to India we had high aspirations to hit Goa towards the end, but we decided to go slow and avoid more travel days. As such, I know we will be back to take in the splendour of that area of the country!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you must, Emily! Goa is a great destination for soaking in the natural beauty, relaxing and just doing your own thing. :-)

      Delete
  16. Thank you Renuka for bringing back great memories of Goa. We only spent time in southern Goa, but I've heard many times how wonderful the north is. So, thanks for sharing. Great, great photography!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Thomas :-) Yes, North Goa has the best of both the worlds - the buzz and the quiet. I tried my best to capture Goa's essence, but I'm going to do even better the next time!

      Delete
  17. What an experience, great memories! I hope something similar would happen to me when I finally make it to India! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Agness! :-) I'm sure India will be one of your best trips!

      Delete
  18. Goa seems interesting to wander around and take lots of photos.
    Those buildings also remind me of what I saw in Portugal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, that's true. Goa has an easy, carefree vibe and lots of photographable places like Portuguese homes and buildings. No wonder my photos reminded you of Portugal!

      Delete
  19. I like when people share their off the beaten path experiences especially if they are about very popular destinations. The art gallery and the bakery would have been my personal highlights,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, exploring a different side of a popular destination is fun. I loved Goan bakeries too!

      Delete
  20. Goa looks gorgeous and I love your pictures of it !! It's somewhere I'd love to go. My cousin goes almost every year for a yoga retreat and her pictures always leave me desperate to buy a plane ticket :)
    www.myfroley.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be wonderful! I'm sure you will love Goa.

      Delete
  21. I hope my Goa will be something like what you've described in your post. I haven't been there yet - just waiting for a perfect moment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope so too, Antonina! :-) Make it to Goa soon!

      Delete
  22. Very interesting destination, few friends of mine actually went there for vacation and they said a lot of good things. Curious now :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, your curiosity is right! ;-) Goa is a lovely destination - good for all kinds of travelers.

      Delete
  23. I actually wasn't too impressed with Goa when I first arrived - but when I started to see the alternative side to Goa, I really began to love it! It's so beautiful, and I was totally fascinated by the Portuguese heritage of the place!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, its Portuguese heritage is a highlight. Goa has many facets to it. It's up to a traveler what he or she chooses to explore. :-)

      Delete
  24. Hi Renuka,
    The pictures on your blog were amazing. Did you click them yourself? I must say you are an excellent photographer. I have been to Goa several times, and each time I enjoy it better... It’s like getting transported to another world of fun and frolic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Goa is another world of carefree fun and frolic. And yes, I clicked the pictures that you see here! Thank you very much for the compliment.

      Delete
  25. we stayed in the fountainhas colony .. afonso guest house , the area is so very calm, quiet and peaceful, we attended the midnight mass at the chapel right next to the guest house. its a memorable experience. I could not find the typical goan bread in the bakeries.. in fact there are not many bakeries in panjim city may be it is located in the village side. I even liked the Kamat hotel.. that serves good south indian dishes...I liked your village side pics pal..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Fontainhas quarter is amazing! There are a few bakeries in Panjim. Maybe you didn't explore it thoroughly.

      Delete
  26. Lovely post and equally beautiful photos of a very colorful Goa.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rajiv! Goa is a charmer. :-)

      Delete
  27. Waaaaaoooow! I

    loved the fragrance of Goa that you have captured so beautifully! Excited to see it through my eyes now.. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Anjum! I hope you enjoy your trip! :-)

      Delete
  28. Hey Renuka,

    I am travelling to Goa this December. I planned my trip out of the blue and only then I realized Goa is going to be super crowded during new year.. An experience whatsoever, so I am pretty excited. Also I am staying in Panjim, so I think it'll be fun with the beautiful, colorful streets. :)

    Btw, Nice post. :) I am sure heading to Saligao in a bike with Mr.Husband. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Swati, you are going to have lots of fun in Goa during the New Years. So what if it's crowded. Saligao is a peaceful neighborhood. Have a great time with your husband. :-)

      Delete
  29. Great suggestions! Love the colour co-ordinated Portuguese style houses! i'm visiting Goa in january and I cant be more excited!

    www.yellow-postcard.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. January would be a good time to visit Goa. Have a lovely trip!

      Delete
  30. This is really good post! I feeling like, I am visiting it.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Goa is the first place i visited as a solo traveler. I rented a bike and traveled carefree for two complete days covering both beaches and rural Goa like Velha Goa, Saligao and much more. Yes , I smelled the Real Goa. It has its own charm. Your blog just reminded me those days.. Nice photos.. Please write more about South Goa, that is what I missed during my first trip. I will be looking forward to visit that part of Goa in few months...

    ...Dr A

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...