Goa! Say the name and scenes of sand, beaches and boats cross your mind while the soft breeze of the sea finds its way through your memories to your nostrils. It is indeed an enigmatic place.
”The voice of the sea speaks to the soul!” There is truth in these words, a truth that pulls me back to the place. There is an amalgamation of joyous fun and serene calm in Goa. You find whichever you are looking for. A popular tourist destination, it is associated mostly with water sports, beaches, fenny and partying. Someone who understands and loves the place knows that it is much more. If you truly wish to carry the essence of Goa back with you, these are the five things you must do:
Stay overnight in a shack on the beach
Sitting by the beach at night when everything falls quiet and only the waves resound, is an unparalleled experience. Palolem Beach has such shacks where you must spend a night at least and sleep to the lullaby of waves crashing on the shore. Trust me, there is an incredible feel to being so close to nature. Wake up in the morning and watch the sun rise from the water and take a walk barefoot on the sand. No 5-star hotel or private beach can compare. The shacks serve yummy and fresh seafood and their breakfast menus are lip-smacking. Not an experience to be missed!
Grab a bike!
Goa is not the place to sight-see through the windows of a car, it is the place where you need to breathe in the air, throw your hands up and let your hair flow with the wind. Though cars, bikes, scooters, all options are available for rent in Goa (chauffeur driven cars too for the ones who wish), there is nothing like exploring the city on a bike. Explore beaches independently or go for offbeat places like the Beach Lane or Wildlife Sanctuary. You will add a sense of adventure to your trip!
Try your luck!
I do not advocate gambling, don’t get me wrong, but it is fun when you do it for experience. The casinos in Goa are on ships or cruises on Mandovi River and that adds to the charm. Most of the casinos do not allow children so plan accordingly. The casinos give a you a desi feel of Las Vegas and everything from their names to their ambience and the entire environs export you to a land of sheer luck and fortune. Don’t push it too far though!
Go shopping in the Saturday Night Market
How can you be travelling and not shopping, right? At a place like Goa, where there is so much to do and so many places to explore in the limited number of days you have, how do you do it all and still save time to indulge in your favourite part of travel-shopping? You do it where it all exists at the same place- the Saturday Night Market at Arpora! The sprawling market boasts of indigenous handicrafts and international brands alike and comes to life every Saturday, 6 p.m. onwards. There are food joints to satiate your taste buds and the centre-stage hosts live concerts. Can you think of a better way to spend a Saturday evening?
Experience a Silent Noise party!
Goa is of course the place to let your hair down and who doesn’t love dancing. I happen to be a Punjabi and we are
famous notorious for the ability to dance to the sound of generators too! Silent noise is a different concept altogether where everyone has the headphones on and is swaying to the beat while those who do not wish to dance can sit around in complete silence. I love the concept. Think of a discotheque with no time limitations on music and the option of shutting down the music for a heart to heart but not having to leave the party. Super cool!
Goa is not a destination, it is an experience. Now tell me, have you truly been to Goa?