There are many ways to experience the experience that is Goa. It’s a place that caters to all whims and fancies, a magical place where the fulfillment of every fantasy seems to be lurking just around the next bend in the long and winding ribbon of moonlight called the road. There’s something for everyone no matter who you come with – friends, family, partner or spouse, you’ll discover an aspect of this beautiful place that seems tailor-made to suit you.
Some people choose the five and seven star hotels, the Taj’s and the Oberoi’s of this world. Private beaches, varied massages, open pool, rich foreigners – who’d say no! But the downside is that one five-star in one part of the world is much like another, so comfortable, you don’t even feel like venturing out. The local flavour is lost amongst the uniformly extravagant décor and plush suites that encourage you to lounge in contented opulence. Others choose the party-Goa – sleep all day, paint the town red at night, wake up with a hangover in a possibly unknown place at 4 in the afternoon and then start all over again. Yet others live on the wild side, with the numerous exciting water sports offered on season and off.
The path I’d like to take you down is an exotic potpourri of the magic of bike rides down lonely roads, the exhilaration of parasailing, the charm of colourful local markets and the excitement of unfettered partying. A single action-packed day can give you all this and more – though let me not be misunderstood to mean all that Goa offers can be partaken of in a day! Far from it, a month would be insufficient to satiate my appetite for the wonders of this paradise.
Start the day at 10 am, with breakfast at Britto’s on Bagha, watching the beach fill up with more locals than foreigners, as the intrepid begin their sporting day early. If you like, this would be a good time to try out the jet skis, the banana boats, water-skiing or parasailing. Off-season prices are way lower, but there are other factors to weigh as well when deciding travel time. After breakfast, rent bikes or a gypsy and head towards Anjuna Beach. The ride till here will have brought you through the rolling hills and lush greenery of the Goan countryside, making the majestic rocks the third landscape type proffered for your delectation. The waves on the rocks of Anjuna is a sight in a lifetime – though most tourists tend to focus on the many-hued wares on display for sale in the stalls, where everything from jewelry to clothes to knick-knacks to artifacts is available with ease.
A quick refreshment later, you’re off northwards to Arambol, the hippie beach where you stop for a late lunch. Watching the white-turned-pink families walking around completely familiar with the area and known to the locals, you wonder what their little barefoot children will do to rebel against parents that are too cool. Warning – if you go into the sea, make sure your bike/gypsy keys do not float unobtrusively out of your pocket! The locksmith will invariably have gone home to his village for the day and you’ll be left somewhat stranded!
The last stop of the day is Kairi Beach on the northern tip of Goa. This quiet unspoiled beach is the best place to watch the sun drop below the horizon, painting the sky brilliant hues of purple and orange. No camera can do it justice, but like Wordsworth’s daffodils, it will come to you later, the memory bringing comfort in moments of solitude. The current here is somewhat stronger though, so be wary of going out too far.
The long drive home gives you time to dry off, though when you get back, you will want to shower. Rest for a bit if you will, and by 10 pm be ready to hit the clubs! There’s nothing like a bonfire, music, Goan food and dancing to set the mood – beach party, rave or mellow romantic dancing, Goa’s got it all. Unwind the way you like best, and let the magic of Goa wash over you like the tide.