How do I get there?
- By Air: Goa is connected internationally and domestically by the Goa International Airport, located in Dabolim (approx. 30 km from Panaji, the state capital). India's ninth busiest airport and the only airport in the state, it also operates as a military airbase; traffic within the airport termini is always bustling.
- By Road: Goa remains the perfect road trip destination. A 10 hour drive from Mumbai as well as Bangalore, and 8 hours from Pune, makes Goa quite a journey, but the fun on the way makes it all worth the while.
- By Train: With over 8 major railway stations in the region, Goa is connected to all major metropolitan cities - Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore. Dabolim Railway Station is the central railway station of the state. From here, finding your way to the other parts of the region becomes a lot simpler.
- By Bus: Direct overnight buses are available from most cities including Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and Pune (both private and government buses ply regularly). But be sure to book tickets in advance, especially if you're travelling over the weekend.
When's the best time to visit?
Goa is a year round destination, with every month having something new calling you to its shores. Peak season would be winter from around October-February. This is the time period when both Dussehra and Diwali are celebrated along with the famed Goa film and music festivals. At the end of December, the Christmas and New Year celebrations promise a fun time and are worth staying back for.
Though summer time is the off season, rates usually drop and one can get a chance to explore Goa without burning a hole in the pocket.
Most consider monsoons to be a bad time to visit Goa. However, though the beaches become rough and most shacks are likely to be shut, this season opens up trekking and hiking opportunities that will blow your mind!
All things considered, any month of the year would be suitable for a visit to this lovely destination. However, if you wish to have the perfect Goa experience with a wild party life by the beach and forest terrains ideal for exploration, October-January is the best time period to visit and see it in all its glory and beauty.
What to see?
When it comes to beaches, you'll be spoilt for choice. Whether you want to party hard or just lay back and get a tan with palm trees in the background, Goa's got something for you.
In the North, the most famous beaches are Baga, Anjuna, Calangute, Candolim, Vagator, Ashwem, Morjim and Arambol. For lively shacks, water sports, great shopping and parties, head to Baga, Anjuna, Calangute, Candolim, Vagator. But if you're looking for something more pristine, Arambol, Morjim, Ashwem and Mandrem make good options.
While North Goa might be the party hub, South Goa too has much to offer. Swaying palms, a laidback vibe and pristine beaches are what make South Goa what it is. Blessed with beaches like Palolem (a calm beach), Agonda, Colva, Varca, Benaulim, and more, South Goa allows you to soak in tranquility away from all the hubbub.
Visit Fort Aguada and Reis Magos fort if you wish to learn about the history of the state and marvel at the lovely architecture.
Basilica of Bom Jesus, Dudhsagar Falls, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church are other attractions definitely worth a visit.
What to do?
The handicrafts of the state are famed for being beautiful and perfectly capturing the essence of Goa and its culture.The Goan lace, handmade shopping bags, table cloths, terracotta figurines and brass made items are some of the most popular items in the area. You can also visit some of the flea markets and shop for a range of hippie clothes, bags, accessories, and more!
When it comes to edibles, it'll be morally illegal to leave without picking up Goa's famous bebinca. The cashews and sausages here are also extremely popular and make for perfect souvenirs.
While in Goa, you will find no shortage of water sport opportunities. From water skiing, jet skiing and windsurfing to parasailing, banana boat rides and river rafting, the beaches of Goa have plenty to offer! For underwater enthusiasts, the deep waters of Goa have a lot of potential when it comes to scuba diving. Whether it's Candolim or Calangute, put on your diving gear and explore the marine life this beach destination has in store for you!
Casinos & Nightlife
Apart from its beaches, if there's one thing Goa is famous for, it's the happening nightlife that seems to attract thousands of tourists every weekend. Famous for being one of the very few states in India that still allow gambling and for being home to many clubs which endless party nights, Goa is tailored to be the party-lover's paradise. It is also famous for its music festivals and concerts.
To sum it up, Goa is where you can test your luck at gambling, enjoy a wonderful time at the beach, explore the wildlife to reconnect with nature and party through the night with no interruptions.
Where to eat?
Goa is a culinary dream-train; with hundreds of years of amalgamation of portuguese and indian culture combined with its beach front, Goa is best known for its seafood and cashew feni. What you will find in Goa are restaurants that range from the fine-dining type (fancy ambience, air-conditioning, etc.) to simple family run shacks by the beach.
Souza Lobo (Calangute) offers Goa's best seafood, great service and its meat vindaloos are to die for. Thalassa (Vagator) is unique for its offering of both Indo-portuguese and Greco-Mediterranean fusion food. Enjoy some evening entertainment, a lovely ambience and great views. Be sure to book in advance though! La Plage (Morjim), a Goan institution, in the eyes of its visitors that introduces a European (French and Italian in particular) touch to its Goan offerings; find yourself enjoying some seafood ravioli and gazpacho sauce that is surprisingly friendly to your wallet. Britto's (Baga) is known for its fish Xacuti, BBQ pork and Chinese food.
Martin's Corner (Betalbatim) is a 3-star restaurant right by the beach, famous for its great view, delicious seafood and well executed Indian meats. Ourem 88 (Palolem) is simple, by the beach and is known for its seafood and beer. The Fisherman's Wharf (Salcette) is a large shack-style family restaurant serving amazing seafood, bringing out great musical entertainment and professional service. Palms (Arossim) is a luxurious, european-style restaurant, set right by the beach serving high-quality seafood.
Just take a stroll along the beach and you're sure to find plenty more shacks that all offer good seafood and other Goan delicacies. Goa is known to be a foodie's paradise and definitely lives up to that reputation in its own little ways.
Where to win big?
Goa is India's casino town; with casinos all around - on the shore and off, it is important to know where you can head to, to spend both your time and money.
- The Deltin Royale Casino: The state's most happening and famous casino is set on a mobile cruise ship. With over 40,000 sq.ft for dedicated gambling, The Deltin Royale is also equipped with rooms for Poker and Indian Flush, five-star gourmet restaurants, bars that will shake your faith whose service remains unlimited only at a 2000 rupee entry fee.
- Casino Pearl: Incorporated into the 5-star Bogmallo Beach Resort in South Goa, it is a new entry that has claimed to be the largest casino in the region. With a variety of gambling options - Tai-Sai, Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat and slot machines - Casino Pearl is supported by professional hotel staff and serviced by the hotel's amenities (five-star restaurants, specialist spas, amazing entertainment and well-stocked bars/lounges).
- Dunes The Casino: Located within the Zuri White Sands Beach Resort by the Varca Beach in north Goa, Dunes Casino is supposed to be the only casino on the mainland offering such a diverse set of gambling options - from Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat, 3 cards Poker, Mini Flush, Rummy and much more.
- The Deltin Jaqk: With over 350 different gaming options the Deltin Jaqk cruise casino takes after its more famous brother - the Royale - and offers a free dinner buffet, a dolphin discovery cruise, an onboard ATM facility and a kids play area, so that the adults are left to have a great time.
- Strike: Newly opened at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Bambolim, south Goa, Strike is surrounded by the Hyatt's amazing amenities and is known for its entertainment - DJ night, every night, a creche for infants and surprisingly entertainment facilities for teenagers.
Night clubs in Goa
- Club Cubana: Neon lights, soul-shaking music, unlimited food and drinks and a large pool is what makes up Club Cubana. Located by the Anjuna Beach in Arpora, Club Cubana is a staple of the Goan getaway.
- Club LPK (Love Passion Karma): Probably the most famous of all Goan clubs, LPK comes with all the offerings of a big-name night club - great food, great booze, great entertainment.
- Kamaki: A Goan nightclub with a twist. Located in Baga, Kamaki offers amazing Greco-Mediterranean fingerfood and is known for its pocket-friendliness, great ambience and fun crowd.
- Leopard Valley: Known as a "hardcore nightclub", Leopard Valley is famous for its loud music, pyrotechnics and laser shows. Located deep inside a jungle-quarry, Leopard Valley is that relentless rave you don't want to miss.
- Cafe Mambo: In Calangute, Cafe Mambo is a couples focused club with pleasing ambience, great music and terrific food.