November 4, 2015

5 Things You Shouldn’t Miss When You Visit Goa

A lauded vacation spot located on the western coast of India, Goa is undeniably one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Sandwiched between Maharashtra in the north and Karnataka in the south and east, this tiny state is world famous!

As befits the tourist capital of the nation, Goa is very well-connected to all the major cities across India. The nearest airport is situated just 26 km away from the capital, Panaji. Goa also boasts of two well-connected railway stations, which are situated in Thivim and Madgaon.

Although Goa is synonymous with beaches and parties, that’s not all you can experience there. In addition to its scenic beaches, Goa also boasts of a rich past, with remnants of Portuguese culture and architecture. Though it’s difficult to see all of Goa in one visit, here are 5 things that you definitely need to experience while you’re there.

Get Your Adrenaline Fix

Apart from offering several relaxing options like mouth-watering seafood, live music, and amazing cocktails, the coconut-fringed beaches of Goa also boast of plenty of options for you to get your blood pumping. Yes, we are talking water sports! The number of water adventures you can partake in are numerous. The list of activities includes jet skiing, parasailing, scuba diving, surfing, and snorkelling, and are available on the lively beaches of North Goa, such as Baga, Calangute, and Anjuna. Now, whether you want to enjoy a bird's-eye view of Goa while parasailing, or swim with colourful fish underwater whilst scuba diving, the choice is completely yours!

Catch Dolphins In Action

Taking a cruise in the afternoon from Sinquerim beach to see a school of dolphins will certainly be a memory you will cherish for life. Your kids will be more than happy to catch a glimpse of these friendly mammals frolicking in the water. Combine with a visit to the seventeenth-century Portuguese fort of Aguada in the backdrop, this is an experience you won’t forget anytime soon. 

Experience Some Portuguese Charm

Get a deep insight into the region’s rich history and culture by visiting the beautiful towns of Old Goa. Goa still shows signs of its rich Portuguese roots with well-preserved churches, government buildings, and old houses. These old buildings dominate the urban landscape of the capital town of Panaji, giving  rise to the name ‘Rome of the East’. Basilica of Bom Jesus and Se De Santa Catarina are two of the most visited tourist spots in Goa.

Play Your Cards Right

Goa is one of those very few places in India where you will find casinos. So, it’s not surprising that a floating one is such a big attraction. Whether you want to try your hand at gambling or just want to spend an entertaining evening with some delicious wine, the floating 5-star casino is an ideal place to spend an evening. Engaging live musicals and delicious seafood are some of the other reasons that you should take one of these cruises.

Spend Some Time With Nature

Visit the spice plantations in the Ponda, also known as the Sahakari spice plantation. Savour some traditional Goan delicacies cooked with freshly ground spices. Visiting Dudhsagar Falls should also be on your to-do list if you are a nature lover. This 1017-foot waterfall offers breathtaking views and is a scenic feast for the eyes.

Where Should You Stay?

Opting for a suitable accommodation is as important as planning the itinerary. Hence, you should consider choosing one of the best resorts in Goa, which fits your budget and meets all your requirements. If you’re looking for luxury and serenity, then opting for Goa-Club Estadia, a Sterling Holidays Resort is an excellent option. This Spanish-style villa is located in Alto Porvorim, near Calangute beach, and features several relaxing aspects such as lush green gardens and a swimming pool. The in-house multi-cuisine restaurant will satisfy the pickiest eaters with delicious Indian and Goan delicacies.

Resorts in Bangalore

Bangaloreans are well known for their love for vacations. Weekends are mostly spent outside Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of India. Hectic work schedules clubbed with exciting long weekends make most city dwellers leave for quick getaways from the city. Bangalore being ideally located, there is no dearth of places for one to find an escape. Located anywhere between 150 km and 250 km, there are numerous exciting destinations such as Mysore, Coorg, Wayanad, Ooty, Bandipur, and Chikmagalur.

However, most of these require a good amount of time to plan, book and chalk out the itinerary. Also, many of these places would need a minimum of 3– 4 days to explore to do justice to it. When it is just a weekend, the options dwindle, but the itchy feet as always crave for city breaks. Weekend vacations have become quite frequent outings, and are like power naps. They give the much-required break and energise you, however short they are. 

At distances as short as 50 Kms, there are numerous resorts in Bangalore that have sprung up on Mysore road, Kanakapura road, off international airport road, Sarjapur road, etc. Angsana resort, Eagleton golf resort, Elim resort, Goldfinch retreat, Our Native Village, Wonderla resort, etc. are some of the most well known and sought after ones in the outskirts of the city. Set amidst a serene locality, away from the maddening crowd, traffic and pollution, these resorts have become the most sought-after weekend getaways. Facilities and activities include sprawling gardens, large swimming pools, various indoor games, spas, and much more. Many resorts also have numerous activities for children; some even promote yoga. Some like ‘Our Native Village’ try to bring in the rustic village charm with pottery classes and bullock cart rides within the premises. Add to this cosy rooms, quality service, and delicious food, and it sums up a wonderful weekend break away from Bangalore. However, these getaways are slowly catching up with the Bangalore crowd, and it is advised to book the rooms much in advance.

With many options to choose from, weekends in Bangalore are no more confined to mall crawling and street walking. Instead, it is all about breathing some fresh air away from civilization, amidst greenery and serenity.

This is a sponsored post, however opinions are my own.

Indian Rail Journeys

If you wish to make travel experience across India truly memorable, one of the most exciting means to experience travel is by taking a train journey with Indian railway. The Indian railway, with its wide network, takes you to various corners of this diverse land. The landscapes it passes through, the bridges it runs over, the tunnels it speeds through, the numerous lakes and rivers it cuts across and the long list of big, small and unknown stations it stops/passes by are a real treat for any traveller to soak in. The journey throws up a totally new aspect about the country and its diversity. One would witness the setting sun over the arid landscapes of northern Karnataka and wake up to the rising sun over the green landscapes of central Maharashtra the next the day. How beautiful is that?

Not to miss out are the delicious local short eat outs, which vary from station to station. Another interesting part of a train journey is the numerous people you meet on-board. The interactions and the numerous vivid conversations make the journey a very lively one. Similar are the calls of the tea vendor, the groundnut seller or the book seller, which would remain with you long after you have disembarked.

The longer the journey, the more experiences you collect along the way. A journey on Vivek Express (between Kanyakumari and Dibrugarh) or the Himsagar Express (between Kanykumari and Jammu Tawi) would be a breath-taking experience. However, the smaller ones are no short of excitement. Even a ride as short on a passenger train between Shoranur and Nilambur Road in Kerala, which is considered to be one of the oldest rail tracks in the country is a delightful one with gorgeous landscapes splashed all over. The mountain rails which include Kalka–Shimla railway, Matheran Hill railway, Kangra Valley railway, Nilgiri Mountain railway and Darjeeling Himalayan railway are an integral part of Indian railways. Here one would say, ‘slower the ride the better’, as the landscapes are absolutely delightful. One can gaze at them in oblivion throughout the journey and would still remain hungry for more.

Every train journey evokes a sense of nostalgia and déjà vu. Personally, the most etched frames from my many train journeys are those of the deserted tiny stations where the train does not stop. Those few seconds, during which the guard appears so close that the next moment when he goes far away, myriad emotions come forth. He stands there all alone and waves the green flag until the last bogie goes past the curve. Train journeys across India have always and will always be memorable and exciting. Ideally, one of the best ways to experience India is to take a train journey.

This is a sponsored post, but opinions are my own.
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