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A "Just Planned" Trip to Goa…Go Goa – North Goa

Personally I have experienced if it’s unplanned, it ought to be SuperCool! Be it exams - unit, annual or entrance or a trip to nowhere.
Proving evidence was the trip I had last month to the most happening place in India- the Goa. Kaustav, a senior colleague, had a planned (somewhat) trip to Goa with his old school buddies. I popped in and asked be permitted to join the gang.  A quick look at history, no dent found, happy stickers on, and I was allowed. Bang, can I get my roommate with me? Okay! And, then I was happy, full on for the Go Goaaaa!
Gang posing at Aguada Fort
Those who have been to place multi-times or those who haven’t yet, may not be able to digest my excitement. Even I too feel quite childish, but I really felt that innocent excitement after a long time when the trip got confirmed. Leaves were the only hurdle, but they too were granted very easily. Finally we started off 23rd December’s night. I wished to ride, but train wasn’t a bad option either on such a scenic route. However, it was an overnight journey, and by the time we woke up, it was already a bright day. A few long tunnels and deep ditches, we reached Tivim station.  Kaustav was the sole planner of the trip, from the hotel-train bookings to the daily itinerary.  So, he led the crew, bargained with the ever-demanding auto-rickshaw walas and we left for out Hotel Lua Nova near Baga Beach, North Goa.
Our Hotel - Lua Nova
A Goa-trip can ideally be differentiated in to North Goa and South Goa trips. We did the same; a complete day for Sites of South Goa and rest 2-1/2 days for the Beaches of North Goa. It was Christmas time, and so we had to negotiate at every place. Tried getting Bullets for the trip, but it weren't our time and had to settle at Activa/Dio! Particularly I didn't want to ride anything except Active, if it’s not Bullet. And, after 3days of ride I strongly felt I too was severely treated for being obstinate. Well, to mention we could able to get the deal of 2Activa and a Dio for Rs 250/ each per day, which actually was a penny deal especially during festivals.
It was already post 3 PM when we reached our Hotel Lua Nova.  It was budget hotel, ok/tested/verified our colleagues and with basic amenities and a small swimming pool – it was enough for an all boys trip! Though, it would be good to mention that the Hotel was mostly occupied by Russian couples/families and a few Indian families too (More at TripAdvisor).
We spent our first evening, after having great off-time lunch at our hotel, at Baga-Calangute beaches. The entire stretch from Baga to Calangute is heavily commercialized, though it still has got stretches where one can take a dip. Few of the best known beach-shacks of Goa are located at baga, namely Brittos and St Antony’s. Water sport, a package of 3+2-sports, was on our to-do list. Sun had already half-dipped in the Arabina Sea, so we didn’t go for those but did enquire and negotiated the rates. Dinner was done at St Antony’s, and I again tasted the famous Goan Cashew–beverage, Pheny or Fenny. They say it stinks, esp the Coconut one, but I certainly didn’t had that feeling and surely liked it! It’s sort of country liquor with that homeopathic-spirit base, and surely with a peculiar smell that at least I couldn’t able to correlate with cashew or coconut. Well just on that note, I have never been able to correlate the smell of Whiskey/Vodka to barley/Potatoes either.
Twilight at Baga
Next morning, we woke up early at around 8 o’clock and took bath at hotel’s pool. A light breakfast and we were ready to raid the North Goan beaches.
In this post I would be talking about Beaches and Forts of North Goa, and those of South Goa would be told in next one.
North Goa
Government website for North Goa, describes it as “North Goa is known and loved as a land of golden beaches palm trees, paddy fields and wooded hills. Its churches, temples, shrines and forts tell its history. It is associated with music, the famous Goan cuisine and most of all with a peace-loving, smiling people” and it’s as true as written.
North Goa is one of the two Goan districts, other being South Goa. It’s about 1700 sq km in area and is enriched with the most happening beaches of Goa. It would be better and easier for me to detail the place as I visited:
Baga Beach: This is the first beach we visited in Goa. As said, this beach has got the few of the best shack-restaurants of Goa. Sands are white; water is clean, cleaner than Mumbai/Alibaug. As told by a boy trying to strike deal with us for water-sports, there are over 200 such boys on this beach. Simply, ample to negotiate to its best!
St Anthony’s and Brittos: are best on this beach. We had all our dinners at St Anthony. One important point to note is that St Anthony requires an entry fee of Rs 500/- on weekends that can be redeemed on food/beverages, else you have to 100 bucks over the total bill. And, don't forget to try Black Russian...it's Awesome!
Calangute Beach: It’s the largest beach in north Goa which extends up to Baga, with more shops, vendors but cheaper than Baga. Though we did water-sports at Baga day before we left Goa, our friends confirmed that the rate is cheaper at Calangute and one can negotiate for an Rs 700/- for 5–sports package.
Lively Calangute Market
Little Vagator: Vagator is one large beach in North Goa, famous for its foreign public and the bounding cliffs. Southern part is larger and mainly referred as Vagator. We visited the Northern stretch generally called as Little Vagator or Ozar Beach. At the northern end of Little Vagator stands high the Chapora Fort.
Little Vagator
Vagator from the Chapora Fort
Chapora Fort: The real ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ fort of Goa. Not much to it, one can have scenic view of Vagator Beach from top.
AT Chapora Fort - Pose to banta hai
AT Chapora Fort - Pose to banta hai 2
Anjuna Beach: Another long beach of North Goa. This beach is mainly famous for trance-parties during festival sessions. We couldn’t be part of any though there was one on the Christmas night L

Aguada Fort: This fort is located across the North Goa, near Taj Hotel and Sinquerium Beach. A part of fort houses Goa’s still active Central Jail. According to Wikipedia, the land around the fort is now owned by The Indian Hotels Co. and operated as the Fort Aguada Beach Resort.
Aguada
Sinquerium beach: It’s a small rocky beach behind Taj/Fort Aguada. Had just a view, and didn’t actually visit the beach.
Candolim Beach: It’s a white sandy beach, located just south to the Calangute. It was our Day 1’s last destination, and we had our 3rd beach bath of the day!
Dinner at St. Anthony’s with Cashew phenny and we retired to our beds. Next day was South Goa trip, and we were again exploring North Goan beaches on Day 3. The beaches we could visit on Day 3 were:
Arambol Beach: this beach is some 20kilometers due north from Baga. We got to know about this beach from an English traveller we met in train, who was to spend Christmas in Goa on Lonely Planet. This beach is vast open and with not many tourists. Shack-restaurants are not of that quality, and if you are off-time you may have to wait years for lunch! Wikipedia describes lot stuff about this beach, and we seriously missed those. May be we’ve got a reason to visit it again….


Arambol - Do I need write more?
Mandrem Beach: On our way to Arambol, we saw a beautiful extensive white sands beach. We confused it with Arambol, and later found that it was Mandrem. It’s one very beautiful beach that we missed due to time constraints. You know, it takes years to ride 20 kilometres on Activa/Dio!
Feroz and me - getting ride for water sports
Banana Ride
Bump Ride
It was our last evening in Goa, and we still had to enjoy the water sports, so we returned to Baga before twilight. Negotiations and the deal were done for 100 a ride, excluding paragliding and water-scooter! Kaustav went through an hour of study and chose not to do banana-ride. Bunty opted for the speed boat only. Rest 4, me, Ashu, Feroz and Jeet were already for all the sports – bump-ride, Banana-ride and Speed Boat. In bump-ride, they send 2-guys together on a small boat tide to a speed boat, to ride the waves. Kaustav, who opted for that after a long research, flew off the boat on a turn and was ‘drowning’ with his life-jacket on! So, actually he enjoyed Banana ride, where they topple the riders in waters, on a Bump-ride only, fun of 2 in 1 go! Speed-boat ride – we did together, and the guy showed us his skills riding/cornering on waves!

Another morning at Lua Nova, and we left Goa for way back home. I would be detailing our Day2 trip to South Goa and also about the Konkan railways’ journey in next post…till then chow…
And yess, do not forget to share with us, your own experience of Goa, especially the lively North Goan beaches….




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