Like always, it was an unplanned trip. Vacation at Goa was on my to-do list for a long while and last weekend we made it to Goa. We checked if we could get a decent accommodation before we book the tickets. We zeroed Calangute as our Destination for stay and we had a contact of Mrs. Lobo who lets her property for stay. We called her and got our accommodation confirmed at Casa Soriano.
Opting for Mode of Transport:
On Thursday night, we plan for Goa and started looking for Train and Bus reservations. Train timings were not favorable though through Tatkal we could find seat availability. Through Bus, we preferred Kadamba Travels (Govt. of Goa) or KSRTC bus. However, Kadamba was all full and KSRTC had seats in a special bus with price hiked from 1300Rs. We scrolled through Redbus.in and opted for Paulo Travels. Again, this was an extra bus and the fare was 900Rs.
The TV inside the Bus did not work and the staffs were fine. The bus started from Bangalore (Race course road) at 10.30 PM and we reached Goa (Panjim) at 11:30AM.
Stopped for Dinner at around 12:30, food was not that great. For Breakfast, the bus stopped near Ankola and we did not opt for any breakfast. The coffee I had was pathetic.
The journey was good; we enjoyed the scenic beauty after Ankola. It’s was a pleasure to travels in the coastal areas.
Arrival at Goa:
It was very bright and sunny when we arrived at Goa. We were dropped near the Panjim bus stop. As we got down the bus, we walked down and agents started asking us for Taxi, with options to rent a bike and car. We wanted to have breakfast first and then decide on all other things. We had breakfast at a restaurant called “Ruchi”. We had Poori and it was good.
Renting a Bike:
As we came out, we found lot of options for transportation within Goa. At once, we thought we would reach Calangute and then hire a bike. It was wise on our part to rent the bike at Panjim and travel to our destination. We started bargaining on the rent. They have varieties and Honda Activa is the most preferred bike by the tourists. We too opted for Honda Activa and they charged 400 Rs for 2 days. We had to keep the original Pan Card as a security and copy of License before they handover the bike to us.
I was tempted looking at the Royal Enfield. However, they were charging around 600 per day for Royal Enfield Bikes.
We have to fill the petrol on our own cost. Moreover, the petrol price in Goa is just 58 Rs wherein the Petrol price here in Bangalore is 78 Rs.
Directions towards Casa Soriano – Calangute:
We had an awesome bike ride towards Calangute. From Panjim we drove towards Mapusa city and took a left to Calangute. You have directions all over, so you would not get lost in the city. Once we reached Calangute beach, as per Mrs. Lobo’s directions we spotted Mr. Bhandarkar’s statue. Took a left from there and we took the immediate left beside the Hotel Electric Cat. In just few meters, we reached Casa Soriano.
Mrs. Lobo and her son Michael was there to welcome us. They had an ancient house and they had built the holiday home with few rooms beside their house. Mrs. Lobo handed us the key to the room. I would not say the room was great but it was what we needed: a place to dump our things and sleep for a night. We were charged 1200 Rs for 2 days.
Our room was facing the road, had a small gallery, a small wardrobe and mirror. There is no safety lock on the wardrobe and we did not need either.
Note: Mrs. Lobo does not take bookings for less than 2 days.
About the host:
Mrs. Lobo and her family were welcoming and approachable. The hospitality was good and she would guide us if we wanted to check about visiting some places. Also, she asked us not to stay too late at the Saturday night market as it is not safe to drive too late.
Site Seeing Day 1: North Goa
The weather was hot and we wanted to refresh and get into the beach. We had lunch, spent sometime at Calangute beach. The beach is just 3 minutes from where we stayed. We did some photo shoots, we wanted to go Parasailing but we though it is too sunny and dropped the idea.
We then drove to Baga beach, which is 5 minutes distance from Calangute. You will find lot of shacks where you can buy drinks and relax on the sun beds. They charge 50 Rs per sun bed.
From Calangute, you need to take a left towards Baga beach. They charge 20 Rs for parking valid for 4 hours. We relaxed on the Sun bed for sometime and after sun set, we came back to the room, freshened up and started towards Mackie’s Saturday Night Market at Arpora.
Saturday Night Market:
Mackie’s Saturday Night Market is at Arpora and is just 3 minutes from Baga Beach. It starts from 6 PM and will be open until 03 AM. I always thought Saturday Night Market is very happening in Goa and you must not miss this one. I did not find any difference here. The Music was okay and the stalls had varieties and very expensive. Above all, they were targeting only foreigners on their shops and least importance to us Indians. 😦 I was amazed to hear almost all stall representatives were speaking Portuguese language.
We left early from there and started looking out for some place for Dinner. We had Dinner, wandered around for sometime, and got back to the room. We were so tired, did not realize how soon we got sleep.
Capricorn at Calangute
We had lunch at Capricorn at Calangute. It was a wrong choice as the Stewarts was only interested in International clients. Poor us. We did not feel like ordering anything looking at the waiter’s behavior. We were hungry to the core and the food was not that great. Better, avoid this place.
Britto’s at Baga:
Facing the sea, it is a lovely place for having drinks or a Candle light dinner. But it is always crowded.
I loved this place and the food they serve here. It is on the left side of the road when you go towards Baga from Calangute. The service and food is great here. Try the Pork Vindaloo or Chicken Cafarel.
It’s better you get from outside than from the restaurants. However, Infantaria had an offer “Order 4 Beers for Rs 100 only.”
Day 2 – Old Goa and South Goa
We woke up, refreshed and started at around 8 AM. We walked through the Calangute Beach when there were fewer crowds. We had breakfast nearby and started towards Old Goa at around 8 AM.
It took an hour’s drive to Old Goa. I just loved the drive besides the backwaters, enjoying the cool breeze. As we reached Old Goa church, we explored the nearby places around the Church. Behind the church museum, we have the river backwaters, where we could enjoy the calmness of the river. Almost no one comes there and it is so serene over there.
Old Goa Churches and Panjim Church:
When we reached the church, the Sunday service was going on. Until 11 AM, no tourists are allowed inside the church. We wandered around and at 11 AM, we entered the church. The tourists were noisy for the church environment. People should learn to behave in religious places.
From there we drove towards the ruins of St. Augustine’s Church, where only a part of the tower is visible. And then we drove back to Panjim, entered the lanes of Panjim, admiring the Portugal Architecture. We stopped at Panjim church; however, it was closed at that time.
Miramar and Dona Paula:
We drove towards Miramar beach and planned to have lunch at Dona Paula. It is a very famous beach in Goa. After lunch, we drove back to Hotel.
Om Restaurant at Calangute:
Please avoid this hotel. I thought Rajastani’s are the best in Hospitality. But this person was so rude and purposely delaying.
Sea Pebbles at Dona Paula:
When you enter Dona Paula, it is on the left side. This place is not visible; you will have to walk inside through the Guest House.
- Awesome food
- Great view besides the sea
- live song by Francis even during Lunch
- Try Crab Xacuti and it’s mouth watering
Attention: Trap by Karma Royal Group
On Day 1, we met a representative, who handed us a coupon and attractive gifts were listed in that. One that tempted us was the Apple iPad. We went there and they wanted us to spend an hour visiting the Resort and all other facility. We did not have time for all that and we said we have to leave tonight and we do not have time. And then somehow they agreed to scratch the gift coupon and we thought we would get some gift from that coupon. All we got is $1000 Rupees worth stay at Karma Royal Group of Hotels. When we came back and researched, we got to know about their fraud and tricks used to trap people. Please be aware and do not waste your travel time in listening to their bragging about their resorts and tempting gifts.
We checked out of the Hotel, spent some time around Baga, and then started towards Panjim. It took 30 Minutes to reach Panjim bus stop. We explored the lanes of Panjim and did some Cashew and Liquor shopping. Had Tea at Bengre Kamath Hotel and came to the Govt. Of Goa, bus stop.
We did not feel like coming back, but we enjoyed to the core even at the small stint.