Earlier this month we struggled to nail down a place to travel to that wasn’t too far away from Doha and convenient enough to holiday with a baby. With the recent gulf airspace ban things got a little more complicated for us than we had expected. Going west was going to be harder and much longer flying time which left us looking east. While everyone in the country was hoarding on chicken, eggs and bananas we on the other hand were trying to finish up the stock of food in our fridge and were busy plotting another great escape.
After going through several options a winner had clearly emerged and Goa it was!
The flying time to Goa from Doha is only about 3 hours. Well that of course and I’m of the opinion that some places are just blessed with a special something in the air that puts everyone instantly at ease. Goa has just that effect on me and everyone I know. Its also the place My husband and I got married the second time. Yes I married the same man twice. The same day as our first wedding but only year apart and this time in church. 4 years on and we thought it would be great to take Amelie to our special place, so we did.
Where to stay in Goa?
If you’re not in the mood to see too many people, want your space to enjoy some down time then head down south Goa. The beaches are pristine and its perfect for a recluse. You could also book yourself a wonderful stay and one of the many luxury resorts like the Grand Hyatt Bambolim which is only 20 minutes away from the airport or drive further down south to Alila Diwa Resorts or Park Hyatt Goa.
The Grand Hyatt Goa – Bambolim Beach
As for us we wanted to be able to have a relaxed time but also to enjoy a bit of the local carefree lifestyle and hence decided to stay up north in a resort called Highland Beach Resort on the Candolim beach Stretch. Highland Resort offers apartment style living. We got a two bedroom apartment as my mum accompanied us on the trip to enjoy some play time with her grand daughter.
If you live around this area there’s a ton of restaurants and cafes to walk to. Also a short trip to the main market at Panjim City is only a 20 minute ride away.
While in Goa a trip to the local market is a must. A few things to buy as souvenirs for friends and family are – A local alcoholic drink called FENI made for Cashew or Palm. Also local sweets like bibic , Dodol etc are easy to find at the market.
Goa being a seasonal destination restaurants and bars usually shut shop during off peak season which is monsoon time. Its also time to renovate or change owners and many of the places around the month of June to September are not accessible. If you do happen to go around this time though or any other time then I highly recommend the places listed below:
Serving South Indian Cuisine this colonial structure houses one of the cutest places in the state . The restaurant is run by an ex journalist turned chef. This place used to operate out of Haus Khaus a popular foodie zone in Delhi however now calls Goa – home. The food is extremely delicious and also has a big shopping space within it. If you’re an ethnic Indian freak then you’ll absolutely love it here.
This ones a bit of a family affair. A another beautiful Portuguese styled house recently converted into a restaurant. Food is great but portions are extremely small for Goa standard and price. Also the place serves Hyderabadi food so don’t expect to find Goan dishes on the menu except for 2 seafood based dishes. The restaurant has a minimalist approach in decor and food however does real good justice to both. What it lacks in quantity it makes up in character.
This on is our all time favourite simply out of convenience. It also dishes out good food, prompt service and offers a fun ambience. It can get crowded so make sure to arrive on time for lunch / dinner. Excellent value for money and flavors of local dishes are spot on.
House of Lloyd
We stopped by one night for dinner however the only thing that impressed me was the killer jalapeño martini’s that I would go back for any time of the day. Spicy and strong just how I like it.
Brittos @ Baga beach for seafood and a relaxed time by the sea.
Cohiba @ Candolim for drinks, good music and a fun night out.
A reverie goa @ Calangute for jazz and fine dining. Perfect for date night.
Thalassa @ Vagator beach for greek food and flea market.
Zeebop by the Sea @ Utorda Beach for jazz and local food.
Antique lovers ride down a town called Nagoa to find some great antique bargains
Now you must not leave Goa without eating a Choriz Pao. At Candolim junction AKA – Candoicho Tinto a place where locals meet to talk politics and football over a snack and tea every evening,
you will find a tiny corner stall that sells small rosary sausages stuffed into a local bun. The sausages are home made and sold by the lady that makes them.
If you’re looking to shop for home decor or good handloom products than a trip to @fabindia is a must. Every city in the country has atleast one store if not more.
For boderline shopperholics like me Goa has plenty of unique designer stores that sell excellent clothes at resonable prices. I found this pop up store in Aguada and fell in love with both its decor and the clothes on display.
Goa caters to all types of tourist. It is for you to decide what kind of holiday you are in need of and choose places to explore, dine at or party at accordingly. For us these 5 days of good family time and great food is just want we needed. For now we are rejuvenated until we will need to Go Goa again 🙂
Bon Voyage & Bon Appetit