Favorite thing: I always take a mixture of cash & plastic. Sterling is the easiest currency to exchange. Most large towns now have ATM's, Calangute has six, and there's a new one after arrivals at Dabolim Airport. Whatever you do don't change money at the airport...its a rip-off!
Favorite thing: As in all India, if you 'tip' people up front...you will get a better service. So if you go into a Goan restaurant...and need to be somewhere else at a certain time...give the waiter a tip and say 'we need to be out of here in an hours time...'. It works!
Favorite thing: As well as our visits to the tiger refuge, the monkeys at Dudhsagar and our several encounters with elephants, we were always on the lookout for other interesting examples of local wildlife. A visit to a wildlife park proved unfruitful, apart from a couple of very distant deer. But if smaller animals interest you, you might like this cute little frog, spotted in a car park near Panjim. I’m guessing that the huge spiders (photo 2) are less likely to be on everyone’s must-see list however ;-) But as the sign in photo 3 says, even spiders should be left to live in peace!
If you need to email, or update your VT page you'll find most major Hotels in the south have internet connections. If you are in a small resort just pop into Margao and ask wheres the nearest internet cafe.
In the north most of the resorts will have internet cafes...although they may be in a supermarket or other shop! I use a Sify Internet Cafe by the roundabout in Calangute as it has good broadband!
Best time NOT to use the internet is between 4pm & 8pm...as this is when the local power system is stretched...and you could be halfway through a long email...and there's a powercut!
Favorite thing: India is not a very travel-friendly place if you're planning to do so with your pets. First, of all, if you have a dog with you - no matter how well trained or obedient - you will not find hotel accommodation easily. We knew that but still decided to take a holiday in Goa with our 2 dogs! some experience that was! First of all, we travelled from Delhi to Goa by first class coupe in the Rajdhani Express train (24 hours+ journey). While the house owners from whom we had rented the accommodation welcomed our pets (Baloo and Oona), we realised, we could hardly ever venture to the beaches with our dogs because of the stray dogs that roam around freely over there. They are very fierce and will fight to preserve their turf. So our pets had to stay back at the cottage while we roamed the beaches...luckily the cottage where we stayed had a huge backyard and open green spaces where they ran around and played and chased buffaloes all day long!
Favorite thing: Like anywhere, theres no hard and fast guide to the weather in Goa. But generally from November to April it will be sunny with temperatures in the 90's. If you go outside of this, particularly in the summer...expect rain. At the moment (July) the monsoons are battering Goa with 8 to 10 inches of rain a day...with flooding, powerlines down etc. Goa can be visited all year around...as long as you appreciate which season you are in.
Tipping is fairly common in India with the exception of rickshaw drivers or taxi drivers, unless you hire them for the day (although a few rupees or rounding up the fare is always appreciated). These amounts are meant as a guideline. Tip ONLY in rupees, not any other currency. Check to see if a service charge has already been added to any bill.
Waiters - generally 10-15 percent of the bill in upscale places, in smaller places (local/budget) tip Rs. 10-20.
Bellmen - Rs. 50 - 100 (depending on how much luggage).
Hotel Doorman - Rs. 50-100 when you checkout.
Hotel Maid - Rs. 100-200 for your stay (5+ days). Be sure to hand deliver.
Room Service - Rs. 20-50. (20 for smaller things, 50 for meal delivery).
Drivers/ Guides - half day/ Full day sightseeing trips Rs. 150 - 250.
Drivers/ Guides - long trips spread over many days Rs. 150 - 200 Per traveller/ day.
Porters (train stations/airports) - set the rate beforehand (around Rs. 10-20 per bag).
I have to say the most fun thing we did in Goa was to participate in Holi..Lucky for us, we came to Goa to visit a friend that we met in Kerala last year. So on the day of Holi, he and his family invited us to their village to partake in the festivities, of which we were not disappointed...infact it was probably the most fun thing we have ever done whilst travelling..Goan hospitality is some of the best we have ever encountered..They love eating and drinking and entertaining and having a great time..And on Holi, they went all out!!!
Fondest memory: Holi will never leave my mind because it was a day full of fun...Everyone was drinking and dancing and acting totally crazy!! Color was everywhere.They were pounding away on a drum...My clothes were wrecked, but i didn't even care..We were drinking a local drink called Uraak..We met so many people that day and found that the Goan's were some of the nicest people we have ever met..And that is what i am going to miss most about Goa..the friendly warm people that we met...Not to mention the great food and the Kingfisher beer and beedis!!
Favorite thing: Because of the local economy Goa is dead cheap for medical treatments. My own Dentist this year said that Goa is at least 75% cheaper than UK. So if you need dental treatment...glasses...or even a boob job...it'll be much cheaper than Western Europe. I've met loads of people...including two women who were 'too' proud of their boob jobs!;) So consider local treatment...but do get reccomendations first.
Favorite thing: The main season for Goa is normally October to April which is when you can expect the best weather. If you go outside of this time most of the beach shacks, the nightclubs, markets etc will be closed. Hotels and restaurants are still open...although a lot of these shut too
Charter operators recommend Health Clinic in Calangute if you need medical assistance. +91 9822662979
Vintage Hospital St. Ines in Panjim is the best hospital in Goa. +91 8322232533.
Apollo Victor Hospital in Margao, Goa +91 8322728888.
Fondest memory: More than half of all the tourist in Goa are russian. You can hear their languages everywhere on the beaches of north Goa. And you can see signs with the cyrillic alphabet in the streets, hotels and restaurants. The russian tourist are cash-rich and spend a lot of money. Many Indian waiters in the restaurants speak russian and many try to learn the language. I personally have no bad feelings for russian tourist other than they don't speak other languages than russian. Especially the beaches of Candolim, Calangute and Morjim has a high number of russians.
Hi to you all and happy new year :)
Just come back from Goa and wanted to tip you a bit . I have
spend most of my time at Palolem beach so most of my tips
will be for this area .
I stayed in a great resort named " Alessandra " , a beautiful beach hut resort on Palolem Beach.
Great huts with en suite bathrooms and hot water, amazing beach, lovely staff , great atmosphare
and very good music .
There are many good restaurants at Palolem .
For the best Indian food at the beach , go to " Mamus " at the end of the main street , left side .
I'm veg. so i ate only veg. food but i know from friends that the other dishes are very good .
Try the okra masala and dal balti . Tasty !!!
One of the best restaurant at Palolem it's Dropadi . It's at the gate of the beach , on the left side if
you are facing the sea . They have great dishes and very fresh food cos of changeover . I know that
they serve great fish and sea food .
For a very good coffee ( real coffee !! ) and great food , go to "coffee inn " . take the left at the end of
the main street and walk like 20 meters . it's on the left side . they have real coffee machine .
At evening time there is Suvlaki ( street greek food ) at the place .Very good !!! there is also Suvlaki
at Agonda beach by the same guy .
For a romantic and quiet evening , go to " Green Park " restaurant . At the end south of Palolem , go up
the hill and than go down to the small bay . The restaurant is there and they serve good food .
It's a very nice place to eat and sit .
The main thing to do at night is to go to " Cafe del mar " . Its a noizy place with a lot pf people .
sometimes you feel there in a meat market :)
Good food you can find also at " The Banyan Tree " rrestaurant . Located at the north end of the beach .
Just after Palolem , at the south , there is a beach called Colomb beach . a beautiful beach but with no
good acces to the water . There is a Tapas bar there . Great spanish food and good vibes .
Another good restaurant there is "Boom Shankar ". Good food and great view for sunset !!
Patnam beach is right after Colomb beach . A quiet beach with nice vibes .
There is a really good restaurant there called " Home " . all veg. but very good stuff . Try the food there .
You will feel the difference ...
Agonda beach located 15 min. drive north of Palolem . A very long and beautifull beach .
There is a place there called " Turtle Lounge " . Visit there just for the style of the place !!
It's well designed and they serve good drinks and food .
I guess that's enough .... If anyone has questions , you are more than welcome :))
Have a great vacation !!
Fondest memory: Miss The amazing sunsets at Palolem beach ....
Favorite thing: If you are sending letters or postcards...find the local postbox...if you give them to Receptionists in Hotels who offer to post them...quite often they never arrive. So ask where the postbox is...and do it yourself!
If you have to decide where to stay, simple . if you want activity, with playing and drinking with the crowds, eating fish at the shacks, and simply observing the crowds, go to North Goa. great places from 400 to 10000 Rs are available. the Govt Resorts are good, particularly the Calungute Residency is nice.
On the other hand, if you just want to be on white sands with maybe 5- 10 people on the beach, with a sun umbrella, and a beer and nothing much on you, just go to South Goa.
It is very far from the irport, but your hotel will arrange transport, it is a bit expensive, but hey, u are on a holiday right, not at home. take the beer from outside the hotel anywhere, it si cheap and cold.