Renowned for its party scene sun, sand and psychedelia form a big part of the Goan experience for most tourists. With sunny, palm-fringed beaches bordered by the endless blue of the Arabian Sea, the allure of Goa is hard to resist. The architectural splendor of its churches, temples and quaint white houses blend harmoniously with the beach scenery. Backpackers, honeymooners, holidaymakers.everyone has a reason to experience the Goan way of life. Its many beaches are ideal to simply stretch back and catch a tan or try out some water sports or indulge in rave parties. It, quite simply, is a one-stop beach destination.
Goa has lots to offer in terms of shopping, from wines to cashew nuts, Goan trance music, books, to handicraft, the array is diverse. Goan handicrafts are somehow underrated and under-appreciated even while being reasonably priced. Of local handicraft, you can shop from a range of carved furniture, china, pottery, brassware, crochet, shell artifacts and antique silver jewelry.
The area around Cavelossim Beach in South Goa is famous for its night market offering an eclectic variety of Goan souvenirs such as clothes, handicraft, silver jewelry, wood carvings, music and antiques among others. Besides, there are many night markets in North Goa selling an amazing variety of global items. 18th June Road in Panjim is also coming up in a big way as a shopper�s paradise. Mapusa attracts a number of tourists, especially foreigners to its traditional market each Friday. Don�t forget to shop for traditional Goan lacquer ware toys available at the Aparant emporia. Some popular bookstores are Broadways Book Centre on 18th June Road (nullnear Caculo Traffic Island), Confidant's Golden Heart Emporium in Margao (null), Mandovi Square near Cine Nacional (null), and Varsha Book Stall (null) near the Bank of India and Azad Maidan. The last two focus on newspapers and magazines coming in from the rest of the country and outside. You can even try out �Reading Habit�, at Campal on the way to
Artisans in Goa turn out some wonderful hand-painted ceramics. These colorful, intricately designed ceramics are unique to this part of the country, and hence popular with souvenir shoppers. Furniture and antiques are just as popular. Interestingly, medical services in Goa too receive a lot of foreign clients. There are a number of outlets that offer a form of health tourism such as Dr Pimenta's Dental Practice at Romano Chambers (nullnear the Old Petrol Pump in Calangute) and Lake Plaza near Nehru Stadium in Margao.
Goa has a network of state-run handicraft emporiums selling genuine artifacts including shell-work, clay, papier mache, bamboo and coconut fiber souvenirs. Such outlets are, besides four in Panjim, located at Vasco da Gama (nullon Swatantra Path, at the Vasco Residency) and at the local GTDC-run residency hotels in Margao, Mapusa, Calangute, the Bicholim Pottery Production Centre at the Industrial Estate, and at Loutolim's Big Foot. Most of the Aparant outlets are open between 1000 to 1800 hours depending on their location.
You will come across some interesting souvenirs of dry coconut and coconut-shells carved, often designed to fit on a wooden base. In addition to some traditional, handmade table lamps, flower pots, table clocks, religious statues and showpieces, beautiful designs and shapes are created of cotton thread in an artistic way with the crochet steel hook. Traditional clay art - in the form of vases, ash-trays and idols of deities - is a skill honed over generations in Goa. Ditto with bamboo artifacts.
Shop for clothes at �Just Casuals� that houses a great collection of garments exported from India, you never know which brand you might find here, besides the prices are a steal. This is located at Navelcar Trade Centre in Panjim (nullTel. 2226666).
Indian - Indian Dhum Biryani in Anjuna, Nirvana Hermitage in Anjuna, Oasis Restaurant & Bar in Arambol, Britto�s in Baga Beach, Caf� Mambo�s in Baga, East Meets West in Baga-Calangute, Copper Bowl in Calangute, Flying Dolphin Beach Bar in Calangute, Indian Spice in Calangute, Oceanic in Calangute, Plantain Leaf in Calangute, The Indian Kitchen on Calangute-Baga Road, Cactus Shepherd�s Pie in Candolim, Indiana Bar & Restaurant on Candolim Beach Road, Ruffles on Fort Aguada Road, Prainha Restaurant near Dona Paula jetty, Dunes Holiday Village in Mandrem Beach, Delhi Darbar on M.G Road in Panaji, Primrose Bar & Restaurant in Vagator, Joet�s on Bogmalo Beach, Pepper Valley in Canacona.
Chinese - Blue Sea Horse in Arambol, Dream Catcher in Arambol, Mirabai�s Goan Village on Baga Beach Street, Oriental Royal Thai Cuisine in Calangute, Salt and Pepper in Calangute, Beaches Restaurant & Bar in Candolim, Cuckoo Zen Restaurant in Candolim, Just Chinese in Candolim, Palms & Sands Bar and Restaurant in Candolim, Silk Route in Candolim, Pan Asian in Dona Paula, Goenchin Chinese Restaurant in Panaji, Dersy Bar & Restaurant in Agonda.
European/Continental - Blue Tao in Anjuna, La Franza Restaurant in Anjuna, Blue Sea Horse in Arambol Beach, Loekie Caf� in Arambol, Goa Solo Andata in Arpora, Turkish Grill in Arpora, J & A�s Little Italy in Baga, Lila Caf� in Baga, A Reverie in Calangute, After Seven Restaurant in Calangute, Fiesta in Calangute, Le Jardin in Calangute, Le Restaurant Francais on Calangute-Baga Road, Slalom Med Lounge & Bar in Calangute, Tito�s on Baga-Calangute Road, Boa Cozinha on Candolim Beach, Jazz House in Candolim, Hawaii on Hawaii Beach, Horseshoe in Panaji, O�Coqueiro Restaurant in Porvorim, Beach House at the Taj in Sinquerim, Martin�s Corner in Betalbatim, Joet�s on Bogmalo Beach
Regional Speciality - Caf� Looda in Anjuna Flea Market, Britto�s on Calangute-Baga Beach, Capricorn Bar & Restaurant in Calangute, Copper Bowl in Calangute, Oceanic on Main Calangute Road, Souza Lobo on Calangute Beach, Waves in Calangute, Calamari Beach Shack in Candolim, Floyd�s Hut in Candolim, Sweet Chilli in Sinquerim Candolim, Vanilla Lounge in Candolim, Hawaii on Hawaii Beach, Sea Pebble near Dona Paula jetty, White House Restaurant & Bar in Dona Paula, Caf� St. Francis Xavier in Mapusa, Camp 69 in Morjim, Montego Bay in Morjim, Mum�s Kitchen on Panaji-Miramar Road, Riorico in Panaji, Viva Panjim in Panaji, Florentine in Saligao, Algeria at Taj Exotica in Benaulim, Goan Hideout Restaurant & Bar in Benaulim, Joecon�s Garden in Benaulim, Coconut Creek Restaurant near Bogmalo Beach.
Goa is spread across an area of 3,702 km� (null,430 sq miles), between the latitudes 14�53'54" N and 15�40'00" N and longitudes 73�40'33" E and 74�20'13" E. Laced by a 101-kilometer-long (null miles) coastline, the state of Goa forms a part of the coastal country of Konkan which is an escarpment rising up to the Western Ghats. The highest point is the Sonsogor at an altitude of 1167 meters (null feet). Mandovi, Zuari, Terakhol, Chapora and Sal rivers are Goa�s main rivers. The Mandovi and Zuari rivers with their tributaries drain about 69% of the geographic area, making them the lifelines of Goa. One of the best natural harbors in South Asia, the Mormugao harbor is on the mouth of Zuari River. In addition to this, the region has over 40 estuarine, 8 marine and about 90 riverine islands,
with the total navigable length of its rivers being 253 kilometers (null miles). Also, there are more than 300 ancient tanks built during the reign of the Kadamba kings, and some hundred medicinal springs. Mineral and humus content in its soil explains why some of the oldest rocks in the Indian subcontinent are found in Goa between Molem and Anmod on its border with Karnataka. A specimen of such a rock can be found at the Goa University.
Goa�s location in the tropical zone and on the shores of the Arabian Sea keeps it hot and muggy for the better part of the year. Mercury soars the highest in May with day temperatures over 35 �C (null �F) coupled with high humidity. This is followed by the arrival of monsoon in early June, bringing much needed respite from the scorching heat. Goa receives most of its annual rainfall during monsoon that lasts till late September. Winter here is mild and short, and lasts between mid-December and February. At this time of the year night temperature is around 20 �C (null �F), and day�s around 29 �C (null �F), with moderate humidity. Not to mention, further inland owing to altitudinal graduation, the nights are cooler by a few degrees. But March 2008 saw torrential rains accompanied by strong winds in Goa; this was in fact the first time in 29 years that Goa witnessed rainfall in March.
An 18 kilometer (null.25 miles) drive from Goa�s capital city, Panaji brings you to the quaint Anjuna village punctuated by a white sandy beach surrounded by immense coconut groves. A secluded haven discovered by the Hippies in the sixties, Anjuna is a five square mile cloister nestling between the blue Arabian Sea and a promontory overlooking the beach complete with soft sands and swaying palms. After stepping on Anjuna�s sand, you�ll find yourself no longer wondering why hippies patronized this part of Goa. Not only Hippies, this beach has been a favorite haunt of backpackers, honeymooners and holidaymakers alike.
Surface - Goa has several bus routes from various cities, but traffic is mainly from Mumbai and Pune. But with increasing demand from the south, there has been a rise in buses from Bangalore. Overnight buses from Mumbai to Goa are another alternative over trains and flights. Note that many of the coaches are newer Volvo models, in which two passengers share a sleeper bunk.
Train - Goa is connected with direct train services by Indian Railways from Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Mangalore, Kochi, Kolkata, Trivandrum, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. The main destination station is usually Madgaon located in South Goa. Train ride to Goa is very enjoyable since the route passes through greenery and winding tunnels.
Thivim is a railway station served by most trains and is just 20 minutes away from Calangute Beach by taxi. For travelers on budget, this is the good option, apart from being faster and much more comfortable than travelling by road. It is advisable for tourists to make reservations well in advance as the major trains (nullRajdhani Express, Mangala Lakshadweep Express, Mandovi Express, Jan Shatabdi Express, Sampark Kranti Express, Chennai-Vasco Express, Amaravathi Express, Konkan Kanya and Nethravati Express among others.) are usually heavily booked. It is worth noting that trains from Mumbai and most other places have a quota of seats set aside for tourists. Quota tickets must be purchased in person at the railway station of origin by the tourist and cannot be booked via a travel agent.
Unless you are on a shoe string budget, it is advisable to travel by the air-conditioned sleeper coaches that are relatively quieter, and much more comfortable. Each bunk is provided with two freshly laundered sheets, a blanket and a pillow. You can also request for a hand towel.
Air - Goa has an airport at Dabolim in Vasco (nullNorth Goa) that was actually owned by the Indian Navy. Some airlines fly directly to Goa, but most international flights come in via Mumbai. There are daily flights to Goa to and from Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune (nullno flights return to Pune) and has flights twice a week to Chennai. Recently, daily flights to Jaipur and Ahmedabad, as well as to Mangalore, Kozhikode (nullCalicut) and Kochi (nullCochin) have also been incorporated.
Domestic airlines flying into Goa include Kingfisher Airlines, Spice Jet, Jet Airways, Indian Airlines, Air Deccan, Indigo and Go Air. There are international flights to Kuwait and UAE twice a week on Air India, including charter flights to the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia and Switzerland. On arrival, you are recommended to take a pre-paid taxi from Dabolim Airport to wherever in Goa you wish to travel. You will see the yellow pre-paid taxi booth, some 30 meters on the left when you exit the main building. Generally resorts offer complimentary pick up from the airport, so please confirm with your resort.
Sea - There are occasional cruise services between Goa and Mumbai. Though, the once-popular steamer service linking Goa with Mumbai via a 22-hour inexpensive journey, no longer plies.
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