Most recently, I have been on a short trip to Goa. Fondly known by its early Portuguese culture, architecture and not to forget the amazing beaches. Of course, we had planned for the beautiful beaches and the party scenes in the shacks near the beaches. But as we reached and roamed the streets of Goa, we realized it is much more than just beaches and late night parties.
I started realizing it after reaching my Airbnb and the owner asked me whether I am here for pleasure visit or yoga classes. A little baffled obviously, I soon realized that the owner of the Airbnb conducts regular early morning yoga and meditation classes. The surprising news is that people from far off continents such as Europe and the States come here to stay for at least a month or two for a spiritual retreat. Some places such as Arambol and Anjuna in North Goa, as well as Agonda and Palolem in South Goa, are known for some pretty good courses for multiple forms of yoga and wellness. These are particularly beach centers where you can have the beautiful view of the sunrise and enjoy the subtle wind from the beaches and still enjoy the benefits of meditation. During the peak season, there is an overwhelming number of practitioners with a yoga certification, mainly foreigners, who sets up classes and helps people who come in search of a healthy retreat or enlightenment. The ideal time is between November and March when the weather is at its best.
Apart from its spiritual abundance, Goa is known for its Portuguese colonization. The small houses with typical designs and its beautiful churches go a long way back. The beaches there, are to die for. Some of the laid out beaches such as Arambol and Palolem have their own essence and if you are looking for a quiet getaway in Goa, these beaches are a perfect fit. They are small villages with beaches and have its own charm. Because of its unflustered environment, Goa attracts varieties of people like artists, yogis and painters alike thereby increasing the vibrancy of its rich paradigm. Apart from these, the long coastline of Goa also attracts many water sports such as paragliding, jet skiing, kayaking and many more. Although I am a little disinclined to water sports, my friends who did it said that it was incredible and fun.
There are also some very famous night markets, one that I have specifically been to is the Saturday Night Market at Arpora near Anjuna. Trust me when I say, it was the liveliest scenes that I have been too. It starts around 7 pm on every Saturdays and ends late night. There are different types of shops selling small commodities, beach dresses, bags, cosmetics, pulses and spices, dream catchers and what not. The list is endless. Also, not to worry if you get hungry walking along and window shopping all over the place. It also has a huge area where street food is available. From different types of ice-creams to burgers and varieties of snacks, everything is drool worthy. I would be wrong if I say it is cheap. But with the surroundings and the liveliness of it, this is all worth it. To top it all, there is also a stage for live music where there are rows of chairs. You can sit down munching or sipping delicacies while enjoying the music. After all, who doesn’t want a Saturday like that?
All in all, Goa is one of the most versatile places of all. Beaches, local delicacies, late night parties, spirituality and its night flea markets are some of the few things that makes it lively at its utmost for whole 24 hours. You might just get a little confused about trying out and making the most of all that Goa has to provide but trust me, every little thing that it offers are worth it. Every moment in this place is satisfying and you will come back with loads of memories. And aptly said, it is not a place where you visit once and put it off your bucket list. Like I said, with what it has to offer to you, will leave you craving for more and you will need to come back to experience more.