Thursday, October 23, 2008

Goan HoneyMoon

sandy beach

Given that our wedding was in August, we had a tough time choosing our honeymoon destination. The rains and floods in most parts of India ruled out many locations.

We finally settled on Goa, one of Keshav's favourite places and the one place I had always wanted to go. My previous trips were with families on religious trips so beach visits and seafood were not an option then.

Goa was in the grip of a flood in the south and even as our plane landed, we could see large parts inundated. It rained on and off for the next 2 days stopping only briefly to let tourists take a few photos.

  • Miramar
  • Candolim
  • Calangute
  • Bagha
  • Anjuna
  • Vagator

We also saw:
Old Goa's Basilica Church
Aguada Fort ( Its open in the evenings - find out the time before you go)

We drove through Mapusa and Vagator for some lovely scenery.



We drove through some lush green country side, even stopping for a bit of birding, we saw a Stork Billed Kingfisher and a couple of red rumped swallows. The trees outside our room had a resident pair of fantail flycatchers and we saw a lesser Flamebacked woodpecker in the Taj Village Campus.



We stayed at Taj Fort Aguada, in North Goa. We were very impressed with the service - personal and warm. Food was great as well, though not exceptional. Staff would surprise us with roses left on our bed on evening, a drawn bath with rose petals the next day. It was simply delightful to say the least. Full paisa vasool! :)


We were recommended to eat at Mum's Kitchen, near Miramar Beach, a lovely little restaurant with a warm ambiance and known for its authentic goan seafood. We had Prawn Peri Peri ( simply delightful and cannot be missed ) as our starter. For our main course we had Chicken Vindaloo with steamed rice. The Vindaloo was by far the hottest dish we have ever had! Delicious though it was, the heat proved to be overpowering. Fortunately it was accompanied by some freshly baked crusty bread, which was simply wonderful. 
Our waiter recommended San Andres Port Wine, which I really liked and it was certainly needed to cool the tongue after the vindaloo. 

Getting Around

The best option would be to hire a scooter - we found a shop just opposite Taj Holiday Village where we hired it (with helmet) for Rs 125 per day. This gives great mobility (provided the weather is good). 
Most of Goa has nice roads and distances are small, there are lots of signboards in English which makes navigation very easy. Local people are happy to help with directions.

In line


Some of our best souvenir shopping was done at Anjuna. We bought some Shell jewelery and elegant little boxes made from coconut shells. We also bought a large shell that the shop keeper was using as a tray.

Sadly there are few shops selling Goan handicrafts, we did find great many shops selling Kashmiri and Rajasthani handicrafts. Even the souvenir shop in the Taj, "Khazana" kept handicrafts from all over India, but not from Goa. We finally bought a small hand painted tile bearing a coastal goan scene from there.

We bought port wine (thankfully in easy to transport plastic bottle) from a Kamath Wine Shop at Panjim, near the Bus Stand. We also bought some cashews.

Nitty Gritties

Distance from Airport to Fort Aguada - 65 kms Time taken 1.5 hrs
Distance to Panjim from Aguada - 15 Kms
Our stay; 5 days-4 nights; at Taj with food cost us around 30K (since it is off peak season) and includes luxurious airport transfers.

Flight Time to Goa from B'lore - 40 min
Charge to BIAL (Meru) - Rs 700 from Old Airport Road
Drive Time to BIAL from Old Airport - 1 hr (light traffic on Sunday)

We were delighted with Meru's Service, no rash driving and well maintained vehicles.

BIAL Tips:

The Tea is horrid (there is no other word for it) we had to discard it. Food options are limited (bad continental or bad indian) and exorbitantly priced for the quality served. Seating at the food court is limited, be prepared to hunt around.

There is no pharmacy (cant buy toothpaste/crocin etc), or shop for confectionery (cant buy chocolates/sweets to take as gifts).
There are however several shops selling diamonds and designer clothing should you have an emergency requirement for a bauble or two or for CK.

By the mercy of the powers that be, there was one bookshop.

Other than these irritations, we found BIAL quite nice, clean and well maintained. Toilets were ok, not great though.
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