Goa was neither on my wish list nor I had any plans to visit Goa. My nephew Avijit and a common friend of ours had planned for Goa preliminary. But at last moment, (un)fortunately, our friend blessed with the news of soon to be a dad!! And thus he had to back out in spite of his no-refund bookings.
Left with no other options my nephew, Avijit, as always, approached me to be his partner in crime. Because without some other known person, his parents are never going to allow him alone with his girlfriend for a 5-day trip that also to Goa!! Though I was hesitating at the beginning due to the shortage of cash, but he said that he’ll be paying all my flight and hotel bills by his credit card which I can return him later according to my convenience.
As a long-planned family trip to Sikkim is almost knocking on the doors, I was a bit reluctant to make such a move. But he assured me, that if I wish, I may even pay him next year and he have no issues with that. I already had bookings at Latpanchar back then which I was about to leave next to next week, I thought of cancelling the one and use the cash I saved up for Latpanchar Trip at Goa for fooding and other expenses.
So without wasting much time, I called up Mr Padam Gurung, for cancellation. He was very generous to offer me adjusting the advance with my next trip, if I visit anytime soon within this year. I sighed a breath of relief that my thousand bucks advance didn’t went into gutter.
Avijit was surprised to see that the flight prices have dropped since he had done his bookings with the friend of ours. He helped me by lending some GoCash and immediately we grabbed the offer of return flight for 2 of us on Goibobo. Now that flights were booked, it’s time to look for hotels. Avijit had bookings on Azzure By Spree at Calangute for first 2 days followed by moving to The Park for a night in Calangute only. And then moving to South Goa at Ramada Caravela Beach Resort near Varca for last 2 days.
We looked up few hotels near to Azzure such as Neelam’s The Grand and Neelam’s The Glitz, but finally we decided to go with Azzure only as that way we can stay at same hotel which would be convenient for us and also the price difference was not much. So we straight away booked Azzure for first 3 days. But in South Goa, Ramada Caravela looked too costly for us to afford. I know, that he’ll be the one who will be playing the bills, but at the end I have to return it one day!! So no point in increasing the amount. So he helped me finding a nice quaint property Colonia Jose Menino Resort near to Ramada Caravela Beach Resort.
Now that all the bookings were done, it was time to wait for long 2 weeks to pass by. In the meantime, we 4 gathered a few times to discuss the dresses we needed to buy to keep up with the Goan culture!! Jabong was running a few great offers which helped us grabbing the things we needed at give away prices.
Though beach never attracts me the way I’m attracted towards hills, but I always had an urge to check out the beaches and islands of Thailand from a long time and Goa looked much closer to that image. Though after spending some time on the internet, I quickly came to know that due to monsoon it’d lack its original vibe due to monsoon.
From various posts in Trip Advisor, I came to know that, it’d be mostly local tourists, and no water sports would be there, there’d be no shacks except few permanent ones, no beach party and all as in November to January. But given the fact, it seemed interesting, that due to the monsoon, prices will be very low and the Crowd Madness won’t be there.
Me and my wife was mainly excited about the flight, as it’d be our first flight in life which we always wanted to experience. It was kind of great chance for us to fulfil this of our dream.
Day 1 : 22nd July : Kolkata (CCU) – Hyderabad (HYD) – Goa (GOI)
Finally, the day came and I logged off early from my office as I had to catch the flight at 1840 hours from Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU). Reaching to the Airport was itself a comedy on its own. Even though I was on time, but I have never been to the Airport before this. So it was already getting exciting for me. But I hardly knew what was waiting for me. I thought of taking Uber to be on the safe side, but as soon as I stepped into the car the driver asked me “Sir, kahan jana hai?”, I replied “Airport” with a kind of proudness in my voice..!! Come on, after all, I’m going to Airport finally!! LOL!!
But soon, all my excitement drained, as the driver replied “Sir, can you please give me the direction? I’m new to Kolkata and today is my first day at Uber. So I don’t know where the Airport is”. I was like “come on, is this some kind of joke?”.
Anyway, as I was left with no other option, I relied on technology to find the way on Google Maps and finally, I could direct him throughout the route. But near the entrance of the Airport, I couldn’t decide which route to take to reach the terminal as in reality there were various lanes. Mistakenly, I entered the parking for which I had to pay an unnecessary fee of Rs. 100/-. As the time was passing by, and my wife being already reached to Airport by direct Bus was waiting for me and continuously keeping a tab on me of where I am.
I believe I would never forget, the chaotic experience I had, inside that parking for 15 minutes. As the time was passing by, my mind stopped working, my dad was calling to check whether I have reached Airport and continuously shouting at me that I should have started much earlier, the driver and I both couldn’t figure out where to go, different persons inside the parking was directing us to different route, I got confused with the questions like “whether you want to catch a flight or you came to see off someone or came to pick up someone” from peoples inside the parking, my wife was on call and continuously asking where the hell am I. It was kind of chaos we see in Priyadarshan’s movies.
Finally, one guy showed us a route and upon taking that we got out of that parking zone. While handing over the Parking Slip to the security persons I literally asked them “Sir, I have never been to Airport and I want to catch a flight and I have no idea where the hell I am. Please direct me to the zone from where I can catch my flight as my flight is scheduled at 6:40 and it’s already 5:30”. I think the security person realized the situation and calmly asked me “Sir, is it domestic flight or International Flight?” Then after replying him “Domestic Flight” he directed me “Sir the departure terminal is on the first floor, but it’d take time for you to go out again and take the flyover, so please get off here across the road and take the elevator to the first floor”. As soon as I went out of the parking and crossed the road, I was kind of relieved by noticing the same view as I saw on the images on the internet. I was damn sure I was at the right place now.
As soon as I disembarked from the car, I noticed my wife was waiting at the Bus Stop visible straight from there. Met my father-in-law and my wife told them the (horror) story I was going through. Without wasting any moment, we went near the gate and noticed a queue. I was not in the mood to behave like an educated man and get confused again, so I directly asked the other passengers in the queue that “I have to catch a flight. Is this the gate I have to go through to catch a flight?” They asked me about the carrier and after confirming that “it was Indigo” they confirmed that it is the entry point to the domestic terminal. I was now worrying about the further process, though my nephew, Avijit already briefed me about it earlier.
According to his instructions, as I already have done Web Check In to grab a Window Seat, as we were travelling for the first time, we looked for the Indigo Counter. Rest of the process went smooth as per the briefing from an executive at Indigo’s help desk.
After done with all the procedures, we noticed that the gate number has been changed and the flight is delayed by 30 minutes. So we just thought of having some snacks to keep ourselves busy for the while. Finally, the announcement was made and we embarked on the flight. I grabbed the Window Seat for the first leg of our trip to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU) – Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (HYD). After some time the real excitement began as the flight started moving towards the runway. The experience of flying for the first time cannot be expressed in words, but below are some jaw-dropping pics that I captured at taking off.
Now I know, why everyone wants to be on the top!! The view from the top is always something to cherish for!!
The first time experience was really nice and soon we reached Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (HYD). The Indigo executive at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU) already informed us that, we’d be getting our checked in luggage direct at Dabolim Airport at Dabolim Airport (GOI). It was around 1-hour layover, so we thought of having some food. By enquiring, we came to know we have to go to the upper floor for the departure and food court. But again, due to not being aware and confused with the procedures, we went ahead and entered the departure terminal again instead of going to Food Court which was beside the Departure Gate.
Even after requesting the security guards, they informed us that once entered you cannot go out of here. I surprised at this logic of theirs. So that means if one enters Departure Terminal once, for any whatsoever reason, s/he must board the flight?
Anyway as we had literally nothing to do again, my wife suggested to check in, as we’d hoped to get food joints there at the terminals like in Kolkata Airport. Hyderabad Airport looked much better than that of Kolkata Airport. Luckily we spotted KFC there, but most of the items were not available so we pleased our taste buds with whatever was available there.
Surprisingly, I spotted a board reading “Smoking Zone”. I was amazed to see a smoking zone inside the airport. Just a few hours before, while checking in at Kolkata Airport, I gave away the packet of cigarette and matchbox that I had with me to my father-in-law as I was 100% sure, they won’t be allowed at the flight. I even noticed shops selling cigarettes too other than general food and beverages.
So I bought a packet and asked for a lighter and/or matchbox. The shopkeeper informed me that I’d get those at Smoking Room. Suddenly I got a message about our next flight from Hyderabad to Goa being delayed by 1 hour and it’d now leave at 0000 hours at midnight. So again, we had nothing to do instead of calling our families and chit-chatting our experiences!!
This time my wife took the Window Seat, but out of her luck, the view of Hyderabad and both Goa was not that good, as the Airports at Hyderabad and Goa being out of the town. Finally, we reached Dabolim Airport (GOI) at around 1 o’ clock in the midnight. After picking up our luggage from the carousel, we went ahead towards the gate and noticed a Prepaid Taxi counter inside the Airport. The fare to Calangute was around 1200/- and we had to pay 400/- extra as of late night charge, so totalling up to 1600/-. I knew about its existence from the various blogs at the internet and it’s good that such establishment is there, else one has to bargain with taxi drivers and they can charge any odd amount especially at odd hours. It took us around one and a half hours to reach Calangute.
I had already informed Azzure about my late arrival while going to Airport. We were welcomed warmly and after the check-in procedure, we were taken to our room. Met Avijit and Falaque and chit chatted for a while having a Kingfisher Premium from the minibar before we went to sleep.
Day 2 : 23rd July : North Goa Beach Hopping
We woke up a bit late, due to yesterday’s schedule and got ready as Avijit had already booked a car as we had planned to hop through the beaches in North Goa. Booking a car or taking self-drive bike / scooty / car rentals in Goa is like having a piece of cake. At every step, you’ll come across such ad’s. While if you search on the internet you’ll find a handful of such because these things don’t work legally in Goa. The rates are almost the same across every vendor in North Goa.
Avijit got a Cabo (Goan version of the famous Malibu) for our trip. As it was already around 1:00 PM, we started with having brunch at a shack before moving on to Arambol. Arambol looked quite dirty. We tried Hookah at one of the two shacks. We hardly spotted any tourists out there. Few locals were playing football with coconut over the beach. A group of three were having Hookah and boozing at one of the shacks and few locals.
Next, we moved on to Vagator. We had to pay a parking fee of Rs. 20/-. Vagator looked better than Arambol. Even the amount of tourists in Vagator were much more than that of Arambol, though mostly domestic. As soon as we got off from the car, various hawkers approached us for Bangles, Earrings and other Accessories.
Next, we moved on to Anjuna which was almost the same as Vagator. Though I don’t like corn much, but corns over there was heavenly. I never had such sweet soft corns ever in my life.
Then we moved to Candolim. Candolim was cleanest of all, but we couldn’t spot a single person over there. Only two coast guards were there in the car.
Next, we asked our driver to drop us at Baga, but the road to Baga being not in a good state and it was raining heavily out there, he said he’ll drop us at Calangute. We agreed, as we had no plans further instead of just boozing and having Goan food at a shack nearby. And as it was raining heavily, getting into our hotel can be a challenge though.
Though we had plans to walk to Baga, but due to heavy rains, we made ourselves relaxed at Souza Lobo which is one of the famous permanent shack in Calangute. The Batter Fried Calamari was awesome and was just like melting in our mouth. Rest of the evening we boozed and enjoyed seafood at Souza Lobo with live music and the breathtaking view of Calangute beach.
Coast guards were busy shooing away irresponsible people near the sea as they kept getting on near the sea and sea was turning to be very rough. Few guys were playing football on the beach.
Later in the evening, when rain halted for a bit, the shacks litten up the tables with candles over the beach. The view was just awesome.
Later in the night, we had to take an Auto to Hotel for Rs. 150/- as it again started raining like cats and dogs. Later when rain halted again for a bit, Me and Avijit, went outside to get some drinks and some kebabs to keep the party going on!! Finally, we went to bed at around 3 o’ clock in the morning.
Day 3 : 24th July : Calangute
Again, we woke up a bit late at around 11 o’ clock and went to the Pool. The Pool was clean and well maintained. Later Avijit checked out and shifted to The Park, as per the booking. We went around with him. As it was raining heavily since morning, a car was arranged by the hotel only. We had plans to go out at Baga and try out various shacks. But as it was raining heavily, Avijit and Falaque suggested staying at The Park as some Brunch Pool Party was going on. Though I was hesitating a bit, but then we thought that would be the best economical way to booze unlimitedly and enjoy.
The rate was 1350/- per person for the Pool Party with Unlimited Drinks, Unlimited Food and the live DJ Music. We were hungry like hell, so we went ahead for the food first and then jumped into the pool. The Wines were not up to the mark, I went for the Budweiser and as it was chilling cold, rest of the team went for Old Monk with Cola!!
After enjoying and playing a lot, around 7 PM when we decided to get off the Pool and got freshen up and ordered a Pizza to keep up with the beverages we had!! Later at around 9 PM, Avijit and Falaque decided to hang out at Night Clubs at Tito’s Lane and we went back to our hotel, Azzure.
Me and my wife went ahead for a small walk around Calangute. Later I called up the same driver who took us to The Park from Azzure in the morning to check whether he’d be available to drop us to Varca tomorrow after sightseeing at Panaji and Old Goa. Finally, after getting back to the hotel and watching TV for some time, we went to bed.
Day 4 : 25th July : Calangute – Panjim – Old Goa – Varca
Today, we had booked at Varca, so checked out as per the schedule. Picked up Avijit and Falaque from The Park, and proceeded towards our first destination Panjim Market and Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church. Avijit got some free beer from The Park which we started our day with. Later after reaching Panjim Market, we didn’t find it much attractive, so we proceeded towards Church. It was a kind of colonial Portuguese style church and looked lively. Though the church was closed at the time we visited, we restrained ourselves on clicking pictures and taking selfies!!
Later after having lunch at Bombay Shiv Sagar, we proceeded towards Old Goa. Though we had spoken about Dona Paul and Mira Mar last night, but for some unknown reasons he didn’t take us there and as we were on our own, enjoying ourselves, we completely forgot about that.
Finally, he took us to Basilica of Bom Jesus which is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. We had to pay Rs. 10/- per head to enter the Museum and then proceeded to the chapel after the Museum.
Finally he dropped Avijit and Falaque to Ramada Caravela and us at Colonia Jose Menino. Preliminary I had reserved Non-A/c rooms with breakfast from Goibibo. But I enquired whether it’d be possible to shift us to A/c Rooms. We had to pay Rs. 209/- for the shift. After getting freshen up, we went to the restaurant and had a cup of Tea with french fries. Though it was not raining here like in the North Goa, but sometimes it was drizzling. But South Goa completely looked like a Ghost Village with no one around except few locals. The staffs at Colonia Jose Menino were also limited, around 5-6 people including all.
Later while chit chatting with the security guard, regarding the car or scooty rental, I came upon Mr Sandesh referred by him. He agreed to take us to Ramada and back for Rs. 200/- each whenever we call him and renting a scooty for Rs. 300/- and Rs. 75/- per litre for petrol. So I asked him to drop us at Ramada. There was a huge domestic crowd at Ramada, probably because Ramada were giving out rooms at very cheap rates due to offseason than what they generally offer in season.
Me and Avijit drove to Varca market to arrange the drinks and snacks by the rented scooty. Rest of the evening we enjoyed amongst ourselves before finally coming back to our hotel with Sandy.
Day 5 : 26th July : Varca – Panaji – Varca
Though previously, we had plans to hop around beaches in South Goa, specially Colva, Cavelossim and Agonda as we did in North Goa, but as South Goa was looking like a Ghost Town anyway, we thought of dropping the plan. As already suggested by the members over Trip Advisor Goa Forum, in monsoon, all the beaches look same. And we already experienced the same in North Goa. So we thought, in South Goa, it’d be more disastrous now.
Instead, we thought of enjoying the sea as like in North Goa, coast guards were not restricting the tourists here. And also the sea didn’t look much rough here. Fatrade Beach was like 5 minutes walking distance from Colonia Jose Menino and that of Ramada has its own way to the beach. So we planned to meet at the beach directly. So we picked up a few beers from the in house restaurant before proceeding to the beach.
While walking to the beach, we noticed, local people were enjoying Bull Fight, and sometimes they were running furiously. We got afraid and thought of going back, but soon the show was over and people started going away.
Finally, after coming back to the hotel, we thought of taking a nap after having lunch, as Avijit and Falaque planned for some activities back there at Ramada, like playing golf and taking massage etc. But suddenly Avijit called up and proposed “Let’s go for a cruise at Panaji”. We agreed.
I called up Sandy and bargained the price quickly. Later we picked them up from Ramada. Falaque proposed to enjoy some delicious Goan Cuisine before leaving Goa as this is our last day at Goa. So they looked up few options at Zomato and decided on a shack named Three Kisses near to Taj Exotica in Benaulim.
We were welcomed warmly by the owner himself. As we already had our lunch, we decided to just try out the dishes from them only. We asked the owner himself to suggest some best dishes according to our preferences. And he suggested us to take Prawn Masala Rawa Fry, Pork Vindaloo and Crab Xacxac (pronounces as shak-shak) with a plate of Rice.
I must say, each and every dish was just finger licking good. No one would guess the quality of food they prepare by the look of the shack.
Later we proceeded towards Panaji for the cruise. Steamers leave every 45 minutes and tickets costs Rs. 300/- per person. You can get the tickets outside the counter too for the same price. So to avoid the long queue, Sandy suggested us to get the tickets from a nearby shop. he then dropped us near the Cruise Gate and informed us that he’d wait at the parking and to give him a call when we are done and he’d pick us up from this same point only. Well to tell you truly, I didn’t much like the cruise. The crowd is not that good and there are some dancing programs along with they will call you on stage in groups, like one group for kids, another group for couples and another group for single men. And the DJ will mix some Bollywood music and upon dancing you will win some passes. That’s all. Instead, you may enjoy standing at the deck above enjoying chilled beers. Foods and Beverages are available there on the cruise.
Finally, we were back to the hotel by 9:30 PM. We had to parcel the dinner to our room as the restaurant got closed. Later after watching TV for a few hours, we completed our dinner and went to bed.
Day 6 : 27th July : Goa (GOI) – Kolkata (CCU)
Even though our flight Goa – Mumbai – Kolkata was in the evening, but the same was cancelled we were assigned to Goa to Kolkata direct flight leaving around 3 o’ clock in the afternoon.
Though I planned to enjoy some time in the pool at Colonia Jose Menino Resort, but due to the shortage of time, we couldn’t. We skipped the breakfast and instead went for lunch.
Later, I fixed up with Sandy to drop us to Dabolim Airport (GOI) after picking up Avijit and Falaque from Ramada Caravela Beach Resort.
Upon reaching the Airport, this time things went smooth, as Dabolim Airport is not that big like Kolkata Airport, also now we were much accustomed with the procedures and also Avijit was with us. I carried a lighter and packet of Ciggerate that I bought from Calangute this time, due to my previous experience at Hyderabad. But I was stopped at the security check-in and was asked to leave the Lighter. I got confused and upon asking the security person informed me that I cannot take inflammable articles in flight but taking some limited amount of ciggerate is allowed which I can light up in the smoking room.
Finally, now I got my confusion cleared!! Anyway, I had to leave off the lighter and they registered an entry of the same being collected. As usual, I spotted out the smoking zone after checking in. Upon reaching there, a message arrived informing that the flight has been delayed by 30 minutes.
This was the first time I was travelling via flight and in every scenario, I came across flights being delayed. The journey from Goa (GOI) – Kolkata (CCU) was smooth, as we slept most of the time 🙂
While going back to our home in Uber, we were missing the fun and the low-cost drinks and especially me being enjoying Corona for as low as Rs. 150/- per bottle. We did get some Cabo and Canadian Club for our family back home!!
Azzure By Spree, Calangute, North Goa : The property is very clean and well maintained along with the Pool. The staffs are very courteous and very helpful. They know very well how to behave with guests. The rooms are cleaned and maintained daily.
Though the rooms were not much spacious and not well lighten, but I believe that is what creates the ambience of the room. The rooms have attached balcony with chairs provided where you can relax and booze in natural weather. The mini bar has all the items that you’d lust for, but available at premium rates. Tea and Coffee kit is provided free of cost along with 2 bottles of water per day. The washrooms have adequate towels and necessary kits such as Dental Kit, Shaving Kit and Bathing Kit. The hotel also has 24×7 Restaurant to please your taste buds along with a Massage Parlour by the Pool. Well, the only disadvantage of this hotel is its distance from the beach. Calangute beach is around 25 – 20 minutes walking distance. So overall, I’d say it’s a very much value For Money property for the price that was offered to us.
Souza Lobo, Calangute : Souza Lobo is one of the oldest and permanent shack in Calangute. The food is heavenly and just melts in the mouth. It’s a perfect place to booze and enjoy seafoods by the beach with live music. Also, it’s very pocket-friendly.
Colonia Jose Menino Resort, Fatrade, South Goa : It’s a kind of apartment, more than half of which has been sold to tourists who keeps coming over to Goa for holiday. The staffs are very courteous and helpful, especially the security guard Mr Das. I must mention here that, it’s not a 3* or 5* hotel so keep your expectations low else look for something like Ramada Caravela or something in between. The restaurant operates at a fixed time, so if you couldn’t manage it within time, you will miss your meals.
Three Kisses, Benaulim : We had our best food here while in Goa. Though we tried very few shacks and restaurants due to monsoon. But it was the best of all we tried. Each and every dish was awesomely prepared which just melted in our mouth. The charges are on the lowest possible side. The owner himself and the staffs are very courteous.
Below are some insights of the cost of our trip.
Return flights from Kolkata to Goa for 2 Persons (From Goibibo) : 18940/-
Azzure By Spree (From Goibibo) : 1600/- per night x 3 = 4800/-
Colonia Jose Menino Resort (From Goibibo) : 188/- per night x 2 = 376/- + 209/- (payed for shift to A/c room) = 585/-
Prepaid Taxi From Goa Airport to Calangute : 1600/- (400/- was night charge)
Parking at Vagator and Anjuna : 20/- + 20/- = 40/-
Calangute to Azzure Auto : 150/-
Azzure – The Park – Azzure Car : 200/- (one way) x 2 = 400/-
Brunch Pool Party At The Park : 1350/- x 2 = 2700/-
Calangute – Panjim – Old Goa – Varca Car : 2000/-
Colonia Jose Menino – Ramada Caravela – Colonia Jose Menino Car : 200/- (one way) x 2 = 400/-
Scooty Rental with 1ltr petrol : 300/- + 75/- = 375/-
Cruise Tickets : 300/- x 4 = 1200/-
Hotel – Cruise – Hotel Car : 2000/-
Hotel – Airport Car : 1500/-
Our fooding and drinks cost was around 8000/- for 2 persons (me and my wife).
Costing varies from person to person. So above mentioned cost is just to provide you with an idea of the expenses out there but not to calculate the same exact way. Goa has foods for all budgets starting from Rs. 500/- for 2 persons to Rs. 5000/- for 2 persons. So it depends on where you eat and what you eat. Drinks are always cheaper at counters, and at shacks, restaurants and hotels it’d cost higher according to the category of the establishment.
Regarding transport, scooty / bike / car rentals are available at every corner in Goa. So most people choose to take rental for throughout their stay, as that’s the cheapest and most convenient way to transfer from one place to another. But as we went in monsoons and we wanted to booze without limit, we choose to not to drive ourselves. So we took a car with a driver which is not much common in Goa. But if you feel so you may hire.
Still, for your reference, our Total Trip Cost from Kolkata to Kolkata was 42000/- for 2 persons including everything.
Tips For Budget Travelers :
1. Goa have both food and hotel options for all the budget. So don’t go by the rumours.
2. Self Drive Car/Scooty/Bike rentals are the most common way to roam around Goa and such establishments exists at every corner in Goa. Though when you search the internet, you’d come across a handful of them, as most of them being illegal, which should not be a matter to you. If you are unable to find something (which is rarest of the rare case), just contact your hotel in that case.
3. Though during lean season, the prices are very low, but you miss the vibe of Goa along with various beach parties, shacks, clean beach, taking a bath in the sea, water sports etc. So if you don’t mind either of these, just proceed, you’ll have a wonderful time.
4. If you plan to booze without any limit, better hire a cab with driver instead of self-drive rentals.
5. Drinks at counters are always cheaper than in your hotel, night clubs, bars, restaurants and shacks (in that particular order).
- Trip Advisor Goa Forum
- Travel And Food Tales is an awesome blog I came across while searching for Goa. If you can drill down through the posts, most of your queries will be answered there. Thus guy have posted almost everything, starting from experiences at various seasons to scans of menus at various shacks.