Ever imagined a Goa trip going wrong?

I’ve visited Goa so many times in my life that I feel like I’ve practically grown up in Goa. I think that’s true for most of the folks of DCH generation. For us, Goa is like our second home.

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“Saal me ek bar Goa ana to banta hai”

Funny thing is I don’t even eat seafood. I’m a vegetarian. Yeah, go ahead, have a hearty laugh at me. I’m used to it. That’s a common reaction I get when I tell that to people. But I do drink beer. So Goa trip is not a total waste for me after all.

If you’re a lazy-ass traveller like me who don’t want to spend hours thinking or planning, what would be the easiest destination to pick? You’d think, Goa is the one travel plan which can never go wrong, right? Well, you’re quite wrong! There are actually more than one instances when my Goa trip has gone horribly wrong. Here are some which I can recall –

Picking the right season

I remember the first ever Goa trip I went with a friend. We went there in June. We couldn’t have picked a more wrong timing. As soon as we landed in Goa, it started pouring heavily. Like really heavily. As we were locked up in our room for first few hours, my friend got frustrated that his first Goa trip was ruined. “Ab Goa aye hai to room pe thodi baithenge. Chal chalte hai!”, finally he said.

We both showed some gutsy spirit and walked out of the hotel room. To start off the heroic expedition, we didn’t even have umbrellas. So we had to get drenched first in the rain and bought an umbrella on the way.  It was some sight to watch us roaming on the mostly deserted Miramar beach in heavy rain, holding an umbrella!! But the brave souls that we were, the rain gods  failed to dim our mighty spirits and we continued the rest of our trip in the same way – fully drenched and fighting the rain gods with an umbrella. Like a bunch of soldiers on a mission!

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Goa being in Konkan region gets heavy rainfall so although you might think June-September would be a good season to beat the normally humid climate of Goa, but

Monsoon is probably not be the best season to enjoy the beach city. 

I’ve been to Goa in every weather. Summers in Goa are unbearable and best avoided, so I’d say, the best time to visit Goa is right after the monsoon has receded i.e.  October – Jan.

Always prebook your stay

A couple of years back, I went to Goa with my wife. And this time again during rainy season! Well, in my defence, the trip was planned on a extremely short notice. Our main trip plan got cancelled and we needed an alternate destination quickly. What else could it have been?

As per my usual habit, I had booked the hotel only for 1 day. This had always been my  strategy.

Unless I’ve stayed there earlier, I book any hotel only for only one day irrespective of how long I plan to stay in the city.

This is because while booking online, you have very little idea about the hotel. Irrespective of the pictures showcased on travel websites or the reviews, you can never be sure of how a hotel is. Hence after staying there for a day, only after being satisfied fully about the place, I extend my stay else I move out to some other hotel.

On this trip however, I realized that this strategy does not work in Goa.

It was a beach hotel and we got a great beach facing room. We had a nice garden and vast, clean beach to ourselves by walking right outside the room. We loved the room. But on the second day, when I went to the reception to extend our stay, the manager informed us that the hotel was fully booked so we cannot extend our stay. After requesting multiple times and pushing them hard to find some room for us, I realized that its not going to happen and we had no option but to move out. Well, that was a first!

Anyhow, the helpful manager recommended us a decent hotel which was quite near by. It seemed like quite a nice hotel. We booked it using the nearby app. But when we reached there, the hotel was not aware of our booking! We had to call the nearby app’s customer care. The hotel manager finally said that all but one room were full. The only available room had construction work going near it causing unbearably loud noises so we were definitely not going to take it. The app’s support guys processed our refund after some more haggling.

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I was very surprised that this hotel too was full. Because, here’s the thing. If you Google “Goa off season”, Google would quickly reply to your question as “May to September”. And considering my first trip’s experience there is no way hotels should have been full.  “Its raining cats and dogs outside. Isn’t it supposed to be off-season now?” I asked the manager. The manager smiled and said,

No, sorry sir. There is no such thing as off-season in Goa.

We totally agreed with him after we visited a few more hotels and searched online for a couple of hours for good stays but to no avail! That’s when I realized, if ever planning a trip to Goa, I should always pre-book my stay.  Hauling our luggage, we caught a bus to go straight to Anjuana beach to stay at a place we had stayed once earlier.

Choosing the right part of Goa to stay

In my initial trips to Goa, I was very naive to just book a good stay right in Panaji. And feel happy about it being very close to bus stand and railway station so that I won’t have to travel much after I land. Its a mistake a lot of people do while visiting Goa for the first time.

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A normal day on Calangute Beach.

There are mainly two parts of Goa – North Goa, South Goa. Both have their own type of beaches and crowd. While North Goa sees lot of tourist activity and crowded beaches, South Goa comparatively have very calm, serene and isolated beaches. Anjuna, Baga and Calangute are some of the most popular beaches in North. And in peak seasons, they’re super crowded. But if you stay in Panaji, you’d spend a lot of time, probably everyday, travelling to the actual beaches which you want to visit. Its best to pick one of the two areas and stay closer to the beach or better yet, stay at a good beach shack.

If you haven’t been to Goa yet, you’re missing out a lot. What better way to kickstart your new year? Its time to pack your bags and be Go Goa Gone. If you’ve already been to Goa and have any more useful tips to share, do share them in the comments.

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Also read: Things not to miss in Goa

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