Goa is located on the west coast of India also known as the Konkan coast. Karnataka lies to the east of it and Mangalore is 345 kms from it. Goa can be reached by Road, Indian Railways or by Kingfisher Flight from Mangalore. Driving is also a good option for those who are not bound by time frames or destination deadlines.
Since I love driving, I decided to drive down to Goa accompanied by a few family members. We started off at 7 am from Mangalore in order to avoid the early morning traffic on the NH 17 highway. The journey itself from Mangalore to Goa with a stopover for refreshments took us 8 hours to reach. We reached Panjim, Goa’s capital at 4pm. Incidentally, Panjim city is one of the most happening places in Goa.
If you intend to stay in a hotel in Goa prior booking is a must and since we had taken care of this formality earlier, we directly checked in as soon as we reached and had a much needed hot shower. This done, we didn’t want to waste any more time so we set off eagerly to explore our first evening in Goa.
Cruise Liners at Mandovi River…
Kudmi dance… a traditional dance performed on a cruise
Beautiful and Calm Mandovi River
First on the list was the Mandovi River Ferry cruise. This cruise should not be missed while on a tour of Goa. It is just 10 mins drive from Panjim city and the cruise itself starts just below the famous Panjim bridge. One can either choose a Sunset cruise which starts at 6.00 pm or the Sundown cruise which starts at 7.15 and 7.45 pm.
You will find various cruise operators like the famous Santa Monica, Paradise, Royal Cruises, Noah’s Ark etc. Each cruise liner has their own office and they operate in such a way that they follow similar timings. Rates may differ from one to the other for eg. Santa Monica charges Rs. 130/- per cruise and Paradise charges 150/- per cruise. The difference is minimal and each cruise consists of a 1 hour sail on the calm Mandovi river. Entertainment on board consists of three different cultural dances like the famous Harvest Kudmi Dance, Portuguese Dance and the traditional polka dance. All dances are performed by local artists. These cruise liners are equipped with Discotheques, Bars and Restaurants.
The Famous Old Cathedral Under renovation
Basilica of Bom Jesus and the Famous Museum of Christian Art
Basilica of Bom Jesus – where St. Francis Xavier’s remains are kept
The Famous Panjim Church
The Goa Secretariat(Assembly House)
The next couple of days we toured Goa and tried to see as much as we possibly could. Touring in Goa is divided into two parts. South Goa Tour and North Goa Tour.
Under South Goa one can visit the following places:
- Old Goa
- Basilica of Bom Jesus, St. Francis Xaviour’s Cathedral, Museum of Christian Art
- Temples of Shri Manguesh at Priol and Shri Shantadurga at Kavlem.
- Dona Paula Bay and Miramar Beach, Colva beach
Under North Goa one can visit the following places:
- The famous Anjuna Beach (also known as The Hippies Paradise)
- The Aguda Fort Beach (Special Attractions: Dolphin watch, Sea gliding, Speed Boat rides).
- Calangute Beach (A calm and peaceful beach where one can enjoy a sand bath and cool swim).
- Margoa market (This is where you can pick up some of those famous pork lingis/ sausages).
You can select your tours in such a way that you get the see the best of both North and South Goa, which is exactly what we did.
Mangaloreans and Goans share a number of common food preparations and topping the list is their love for fish curry and rice. Following closely is the pork sorpotel and the pork vindaloo and a trip to Goa is incomplete without tasting either one of these dishes. Goa is also famous for its wide variety of seafood. Deliciously prepared shrimp, mouthwatering prawns, crabs and spicy chicken. Speaking of spice, most of the Goan preparations are very hot and spicy when compared to the Mangalorean dishes, however coconut is also used in many preparations. Most of the tourists have port wine, beer or Goa feni as accompaniment to the exotic dishes.
Dona Paula beach
Sunset at Dona Paula
Aguda Fort, Anjuna Beach
Goa’s Oldest Jail which is still in operation
View of a Bunglow and a church from Aguda beach
Beautiful Goan Roads
Sand Bath… as they say is not only for Europeans….
Beaches of Goa
Goa’s pristine beaches are simply beautiful and comprise of an area of about 50 miles. They are unspoilt and the coconut trees that line the beaches add to the shade and make the whole area look very peaceful. The beaches are probably one of the main reasons this state has become one of the most popular holiday destinations for Indians as well as Foreigners. Families, honeymoon couples and famous personalities around the world spend long hours on the beach relaxing and taking time out from their daily grind of work. Some of the beaches found in Goa are the Agonda beach, Mabor beach, Bogmolo beach, Colva beach, Miramar beach, Dona Paula, Calangute, Anjuna etc. Most of these beaches derive their names from nearby villages.
- Always book your tour in advance.
- Book your hotel in advance and confirm before departure.
- Avail Public tour operators who leave from Panjim bus station either to North or South Goa and charge a nominal fee of Rs. 150/- for Non Ac and Rs 200/- AC. Bus Departure from Panjim Bus Stand 9.30 am Arrival 6 pm (Charges exclude lunch and refreshments or Entry Tickets at Tourist Places).
- Hotel Rates are Seasonal rates. Goa Tourism has its own Residencies like the Panaji Residency at Panjim where the following room rates are applicable during Peak and Off season.
- Rs. 870/- Double Room (Non AC) + Taxes ? Off Season
- Rs. 1120/- Double Room (AC) + Taxes. ? Off Season
- Rs. 1220/- Double Room (Non AC) + Taxes ? Peak Season
- Rs. 1770/- Double Room (AC) + Taxes ? Peak Season
- Above Rates are inclusive of hotel stay only.
Tel. 0832-2423962 or book by
- Rs. 870/- Double Room (Non AC) + Taxes ? Off Season
- If you are traveling in your own private vehicle, tourist guides are available for Rs. 150 – Rs. 200. This is a good option as these guides will drive with you the entire day and help you to explore Goa in a better way. You can hire the services of these guides near Panjim Bus Stop or near Panjim Bridge.
A visit to Goa is an unforgettable experience and most people who visit once go back for a second, third and fourth visit. Its close proximity to Mangalore also makes it a convenient holiday spot especially for an unplanned last minute holiday. So the next time you have a few days off and don’t know where to go, pack your bags and head to Amche Goa. I can assure you, you will not be disappointed.
Author: Deepak Pereira- Oman