After travelling Rajasthan we hopped on a sleeper bus and headed down to Goa. The journey was a little less busy than the bus ride from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur and we actually had a double bed (yes a double bed!) so we could relax during our journey.
Now when we say ‘relax’ what we mean is drift off to sleep in-between the road humps. Due to our bed being over the back wheel, it was a little more bumpy than usual and felt a bit like a roller coaster at times.
Top tip: When travelling on sleeper buses avoid picking beds over the wheels!
Once we made it to Goa we travelled around Mandrem, Anjuna and Calangute, spending a few days in each place. As soon as we got to Goa we noticed the difference in atmosphere. It is a lot less hectic than the North and has a hippier vibe, cue Bali Beach vibe. We were finally able to put on a pair of shorts, a bikini and hit the beach!
Goa has some beautiful beaches, amazing waterfalls and great markets! Below we’ve listed what we got up to in each place.
When we got to Mandrem we stayed at The Mandala, this resort was 100% our type on paper with yoga classes and a juice bar, but unfortunately, it didn’t live up to expectations during our stay. One good thing about the resort was a cracking breakfast with a delicious Watermelon and Mint juice that seemed to be the juice of the day everyday, every single day… but we weren’t complaining (about that anyway!)
During our three days in Mandrem we spent most of our time relaxing on Mandrem beach, topping up the tan, reading our books and buying juicy-juicy pineapple from a local woman who stopped by our sarongs everyday.
The beach is beautiful during sunset so make sure you stay well into the evening. Plus, once the tide goes out the beach becomes covered in tiny little star fish, you have to be super careful where you stand not to hurt the little gems by its magic!
We found Mandrem a three day chill pill after the vibrant North, much needed and welcomed! We would recommend it as a first stop in Goa to recharge the batteries before you get caught up in another world.
After we left Mandrem we moved onto Anjuna and stayed in a lovely little guest house called Sunny Cow Village Villa. The house had a very homely feel with lovely staff, a good location and a very friendly cat! Breakfast is either porridge or an omelette, one morning we asked for scrambled egg but that was a complete no-go so we stuck to the trusty omelette!
Anjuna was our favourite place while in Goa, so we stayed here the longest. During our stay we visited Anjuna Market, took a day trip to Dudhsagar Waterfalls and let our hair down at the White Party on Marbela Beach. In addition we ventured away from Indian cuisine dining at the beautiful Thalassa and satisfying our Western needs at Burger Factory. Ready for the break down?
Anjuna Market is the biggest flee market in North Goa, here you can find anything from spices to textiles and crafts to jewellery, it’s a great place to explore and right by the beach so you can relax after a big day shopping!
The market is only open on a Wednesday from early morning until 5pm, so make sure you plan your time in Anjuna around the market. You may have already seen a lot of markets during your time in India but we definitely recommend stopping here as it is different to any other market we visited.
Dudhsagar Waterfalls, which literally means ‘Sea of Milk’, are a must do when visiting Goa. The scenic falls are four-tired meaning you get to see beautiful views while walking to the top.
The waterfall is located on the Mandovi Rive which is on the border between Goa and Karnataka. We booked a day trip which picked us up from our accommodation and drove us to the entrance to the waterfall, from there you jump on a jeep which takes you on a bumpy ride to the bottom of the falls, through a couple of rivers!
Once you reach the top of the waterfalls you can relax on the rocks or jump in the plunge pool for a swim, we suggest the latter! A refreshing dip, you’re even able to swim underneath the waterfall, but its pretty powerful so be ready to get hammered! It really was one of the most beautiful natural site we saw while in India!
The White Party at Marbela Beach
While travelling India our nights didn’t get much wilder than Polu bringing out the whisky at his son’s birthday party in Jaisalmer! Therefore, The White Party was a great night to let our hair down and dance the night away, plus who doesn’t love a beach party!?
We jumped in a taxi with some friends of our who had met us from home and headed to Marbela Beach. It has the chilled beach vibes of the Thai Islands or Bali, dancing with a beer in hand and with the sand in between your toes! It was a completely different experience to anything further North but worth a shot if your bum is itching for a wiggle.
Thalassa is an amazing Greek (yes, Greek!) restaurant that overlooks Orzan beach. It has delicious Greek cuisine, wonderful hosts, music and beautiful views over the beach at sunset, so make sure you grab a table outside and try and get one on the edge of the cliff to really maximise the sunset! What’s not to love?!
Burger Factory is known to have the best burgers in Goa and, if like us, you became pretty much vegetarian while travelling North India then meat will be on your mind!
The cute little restaurant on the beach has soooo many burgers to choose from i.e. chicken with aioli and beef with blue cheese and avocado. They do pretty good banana and peanut butter smoothie as well! Think of Burger Factory as Goa’s answer to Byron Burger.
Now we love India for exactly what it is and we wouldn’t change anything about it. The past month had been a crazy dream in the best kind of way, but, it was us not you India. We needed a little bit of Luxury for our last three days and we found it at North 16 Goa in Calangute (now known as the Hard Rock Hotel Goa).
Calangute houses some of the bigger hotels and worth stopping off at if you want to end your holiday in style. We spent most of our days relaxing by the pool, reading our books and catching the last bit of sun before heading home to London. However, we did leave the hotel to explore the surrounding markets and grab those last minute souvenirs, but if we’re honest we were pretty happy in our little bubble of luxury.
Goa can be whatever you want it to be, there are so many different areas to choose from to meet your travelling desires. You can turn into a Yoga-Hippie and juice cleanse; you can still seek out the true India via nature and amazing markets; you can say goodbye to India and jump into a bubble of 5* all-inclusive luxury; or you can rediscover meat and beer and eat and drink your way through. All are pretty good options and we tried to squeezes them all in.