Wednesday, 4 March 2015

India: Goa

Travelling down to Goa we decided to change up our mode of transport and try out the sleeper buses of India. We'd heard pretty good things about them from fellow travellers, and everything seemed promising as we settled into our beds. However the twists, turns and bumps in the road posed a real risk of falling out of the beds and the team of drivers were so loud at the front of the bus it made sleep pretty much impossible. Arriving into Mapusa as three very sleepy wanderers, we were kicked off the bus where we were met with an ambush of taxi drivers offering to take us to our hotel. Even though every inch of us wanted a quick, easy journey to our awaiting beds at the hostel, we decided a local bus would be a a cheaper option so walked just 5 minutes to the bus station. We paid just 15 rupees each for the 45 minute bus journey south to Zostel where we were staying in Candolim. We hopped off the bus and spotted Zostel quite easily as the directions given to us from the website were very easy to follow. We had booked in for just 3 nights - as we checked out we had totalled a massive 21 nights, making us Zostel Goa longest ever guests!

Our first week in Candolim was quite chilled as we basked in the sunshine and enjoyed the warm sea. Most people in the hostel were out partying almost every night, however we decided to give this a miss and explore the wider area of Goa. 

Anjuna Flea Market: Every Wednesday there is a Flea Market in Anjuna which was just 10km away from where we were staying. We priced a taxi thinking it would be a reasonable price and got a massive shock when he wanted to charge us a very English rate for the journey. After stopping and asking a few more taxis it was very clear that the prices in Goa were not like what we had been used to elsewhere in India. So, again we found ourselves packed onto the local bus, which conveniently stops anywhere along the main road. This was much more of a hassle as it meant we had to get one bus back to Mapusa, then change to another bus into Anjuna - anything to save a few pounds! The journey really was worth it, the market was massive selling everything you could ever wish to buy. We bought a few Christmas presents for the family as we were planning to send a surprise parcel home for everyone (you can thank us later :P). Wandering around the market for a few hours we had built up our appetites for dinner. We settled at one of the beach shacks that was playing live music and ordered a mix of pasta and pizza - yummmy! We decided to get a taxi back to our hostel in Candolim as it was getting late as we didn't want the hassle of the bus journey again, I think we paid around 600 rupees for all 3 of us. 

Old Goa: Our next place to explore in Goa was the city of Old Goa which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once a city inhabited by the Portuguese and used as a port for worldwide trading, it is now mostly abandoned serving mainly as a tourist destination for those wishing to visit the numerous churches. The Basilica of Bom Jesus holds the mortal remains of St Francis Xavier which attracts many visitors. We were lucky enough to time our visit when his body is publicly displayed, which only happens once every 10 years! However, this meant that Old Goa was extremely busy making it very difficult to take in the peace of the churches. We soon gave up and found ourselves in Baskin Robbins for an ice-cream treat. 

Panjim: Yet another local bus, this time down south to Panjim, the capital of Goa state. We strategically planned our visit to Panjim on the release date of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, as we just couldn't wait another day longer! We visited Panjim numerous times after this, a few times to pop to the post office to mail Christmas presents and a few more trips to the cinema. 

Palolem: We'd heard a lot about Palolem but was always put off by how far away it was on public transport until we realised how cheaply we could hire a car all to ourselves for the entire day! One of the guys who worked at the hostel arranged for a car to be dropped off to us the next morning at 7am ready for us to begin the hour and a half drive to the South. All of us had a turn at driving the beastly Suzuki Swift which took some adjusting to as India isn't known for it's rules and regulations when it comes to the roads (good job we're not nervous drivers!). Once at Palolem, we were immediately greeted with markets and stalls along the seaside which sold unique things we hadn't seen anywhere else yet. Needless to say, it wasn't long before some cheeky purchases were made and some food was consumed. After a good sing along session in the car as we made our way back to Zostel, we all felt really happy that we had made the effort to explore the South of Goa as it was good to see a different part of the state where there was a more relaxed vibe and plenty of friendly faces!

Our second week at Zostel and with the friendship group (from here they will be known as our 'Zostel Family') growing we found ourselves more involved in the parties Goa has to offer. 

It was so exciting getting all dressed up for a night out - putting make up on for the first time in weeks was a real treat and we all felt like we'd made a great effort (compared to the daily jump out of bed and we're ready routine). We met our group of friends in the common room for some drinks before heading out, which soon escalated to around 14 people playing 'Werewolves' and afterwards, 'Ring of Fire'. With everyone in high spirits we jumped in a few taxis and headed to Club Cubana. We had heard very good things about this place and it definitely didn't disappoint. We had to couple up for entry as they give you a cheaper rate (1000 rupees per couple), which included unlimited drinks throughout the night. Walking into the club it was covered with trees and has a kind of secluded jungle feel. It is split up into numerous sections, one chill out area with large beds, one area with a swimming pool, one large bar area and the main indoor club and VIP section. The club is set high up on a mountain which gives the most spectacular views. We all had such a brilliant time chatting and meeting new people and dancing the night away. We loved it so much we found ourselves in Club Cubana twice more. On a Wednesday they have ladies night, which entitles us lovely ladies to free entry (and free unlimited bar, winner!)

Once Club Cubana got a little same-same we decided to give another place a try. So Monday night we heard about a beach party at The Lilliput Cafe and headed there with who was left of the Zostel family - now a mere 6 people. Entrance cost around 400 rupees, however this didn't include any drinks. We chose a table directly on the beach and were chatting away when we noticed the sea getting closer and closer and bar staff ushering people away and removing tables. It wasn't too long until the sea had completely covered the beach and we were forced inside and straight to the dance floor. The music at The Lilliput Cafe was interesting to say the least - a mix of house, electica and drum and bass. We're usually not fussy about music genre but after a few hours it all got a little too intense so we called it a night. 

Here are a few pictures from our time in Goa - 

Off we go on our bus adventures
Basilica of Bom Jesus
Church in Old Goa

Old Goa
Old Goa
Don't mind if we do..
Palolem shops
Our Car for the day
Candolim Beach
Candolim Beach Shacks
Not a bad place for some 'breaky 
Lets go Partyyyy
Copying Bethans hairstyle
Double bun twins!

Club Cubana

Club Cubana (again)
Lilliput Cafe
Good Night?
Morning Hangover Cure

Thanks for an amazing stay Zostel Goa! Now onto Kerela.. 

1 comment:

  1. Nice trip. Thanks for sharing your trip experience. Club Cabana in Goa is the place you should be if you wish to find out why the place is such a rocking party destination. The first thing that strikes you is the mindblowing location and the uber cool setting of the club amongst the treetops and under a starlit sky. Explore Club Cubana more.