The wedding season is upon us! Do you have a wedding around the corner? The most interesting part of wedding planning for a couple is the honeymoon. Goa makes for a good honeymoon destination for the variety it offers. It has also been made popular by the movies that we watch on the big screen. Many movies have been shot in Goa such as the cult film ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ and more recently ‘Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd.’, ‘Singham’ and ‘Finding Fanny’. Goa is a second-home to many celebrities like Shahrukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Arjun Rampal, Farhan Akhtar, etc. Due to close proximity to Mumbai, Goa is a hot travel destination for the Bollywood fraternity to unwind between movies and over long weekends. On New Year’s it is the party place to be. Goa has a few of the best and most tranquil beaches within India which are a must visit for all, especially newly married couples. It offers many options for stay, eat, party and drink as well as options for much needed peace and tranquility after all the wedding festivities…! Goa as a destination caters to all budgets and tastes alike. Everything in Goa is largely divided into North Goa and South Goa. North Goa is more crowded, active and lively while the beaches of South Goa are dotted with many five star properties and is much more peaceful and de-stressing. One should pick a hotel depending on what one would like to do while in Goa. I would suggest dividing your time between North Goa and South Goa so that you can get a feel of both the places, which in my opinion are quite different. For a newly married couple, wanting some intimate ‘us’ time, the best places to stay would be the beaches in the far north or south. These beaches such as Ashwem, Morjim, Arambol, Palolem, Colva, etc. offer maximum serenity and solitude. The best and personal favorites in this respect are ‘Elsewhere in Goa’ (http://www.aseascape.com/) in Ashwem and ‘Marbela Beach Resort’ (http://www.marbelabeach.com/) in Morjim, both in North Goa. The next best would be Taj, Fort Aguada (http://www.vivantabytaj.com/fort-aguada-goa/overview.html) property is very serene and close to the lighthouse. If you would prefer to be in the centre of all the action, then I would suggest the ‘Casa’ properties which are in multiple places in Goa. There are apartments and villas that can be taken on rent for a minimum period of 1 week in North Goa and homestays like ‘Capella’ (http://www.capellagoa.com/) in Parra, which offer basic amenities for budget travelers. The Park Hotel (http://www.theparkhotels.com/goa/goa.html) in Calangute is also a good and reasonable stay option. South Goa is much more peaceful and attracts lesser tourists. It is also close to the Dabolim airport. The beaches of Colva, Palolem, Benaulim, all in South Goa are very pretty and tranquil. There are breathtakingly beautiful luxury resorts on these beaches and the best ones are ‘Alila Diwa’ (http://www.alilahotels.com/diwagoa) in Salcette; ‘Park Hyatt’ (http://goa.park.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html) on Arossim Beach is spectacular and the next best option here would be the ‘Majorda Beach Resort’ (http://www.majordabeachresort.com/) for budget options. For the party-goers who are celebrating a special event or an anniversary, Marbela Beach Resort has a nice club – Club M, which is lively, sunset onwards. Baxters in Morjim is another nice place to party. Club Cabana is a favorite with a lot of regular visitors to Goa. Goa is most famous for the many food and drink options – Coming to that, are the likes of Bomra’s in Candolim for Burmese food; House of Lloyd’s in Siolim for the best ribs that I’ve ever had; Republic of Noodles at Lemon Tree Hotel for asian food options; Chronicle and Thalassa in little vagator for the views coupled with good food and music; La Plage in Ashwem; Black Sheep Bistro in Panjim for creative cocktails and fine dining; Anand café in Arpora for cheap seafood thalis; Waters Beach Lounge & Grill in Vagator; One Lounge & Bar in Vagator for fresh pizzas; Flor Du Mar in Morjim for a romantic evening; Starlite in Arpora for seafood. Some local restaurants like Anand and Starlite, both in Arpora, are very good and cheap options for people who enjoy their seafood. One must not be put off by the lack of ambience as the food truly makes up for it. Also the drive to these places is through fields which are a treat for the eyes of city dwellers.
While one is in Goa, one shouldn’t miss the flea markets at Anjuna on all Friday nights and Arpora on all Saturday nights to get a slice of the hippie culture and to pick up small trinkets and gifts while listening to the live musical beats that are a unique part of Goa’s culture. There are also many eating and drinking stalls at the flea markets. Remember to bargain here.
The best way to move around in Goa is to rent a scooty for as low as Rs. 500/- for a day (they’re available for rent at every nook and corner) or a Thar Jeep for a higher price. There is no other way to travel unless of course you would like to hire a taxi for the duration of your trip which should be easily arranged for by your hotel.
As for the places to see in Goa, the Fort Aguada and the lighthouse (both next to the Taj, Fort Aguada property) shouldn’t be missed. Also, one should visit the Church of Bom Jesus on Old Goa Road. The Dudhsagar waterfalls are also a major attraction in Goa.