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The beautiful state of Goa is situated in western India with a long coastline that stretches along the Arabian Sea. It’s often referred to as the Indian sunshine state and if you’re looking to explore gorgeous beaches, tropical spice plantations and preserved 17th-century churches then Goa is your ideal destination. This pocket-sized paradise gives you the perfect glimpse of the blend between Portuguese and Indian culture and it’s a place that no travel enthusiast should miss. If Goa, is on your list there are a few things you need to know before you start your Indian adventure:
Before booking your trip to Goa it’s advised that you decide whether to travel during the peak season or off-season. There are a lot of benefits to travelling during the off-season. You can often save on flights and accommodation and enjoy hushed crowds as the beaches are less crowded. The off-season typically runs between May and September but during this time you do risk experiencing monsoons.
Another debate you may find yourself in is whether to visit the North or South district of the state. Both offer remarkable beaches and delicious food but you will experience totally different sides of Goa depending on which district you choose. The North district is for party-goers as it has lots of clubbing opportunities and the beaches, although stunning are usually a lot more crowded. South Goa and its beaches, on the other hand, are brimming with tranquillity.
While taking a dip in the balmy ocean to cool off might seem totally harmless in Goa it’s best to have your wits about you because you could unexpectedly be stung by a jellyfish at any time. The beaches in Southern Goa are particularly populated with sea jellies so be careful if you’re planning on going for a swim. Top tip: Jellyfish are intrigued by shiny objects so before swimming take off any shiny jewellery you might be wearing.
In Goa, you will be served the freshest seafood and the most aromatic curries, which are almost always delivered with a side of fries and Feni, the locally fermented liquor. This is something you absolutely must try when visiting Goa, it’s one of the state’s many gifts.
Goa hasn’t quite caught up with the rest of the world yet especially when it comes to payments. Cash is king when it comes to purchasing in Goa, debit and credit cards still aren’t widely accepted so always make sure that you have available cash to pay for food and souvenirs.
If you see a red flag on a Goan beach this is generally a warning of high tides and means that swimming could be dangerous. The signs are there for a reason so make sure that you follow them for your own safety. Even though there are lifeguards on the popular tourist beaches, there aren’t usually enough to cover the vast crowds that gather at the beaches, therefore just ensure you take all the necessary precautions.
The taxi system in Goa is chaotic and the price you pay for your journey can largely depend on an estimation of the distance or just simply the mood of the driver. It’s best not to take a taxi when you have been drinking as taxi drivers can often see this as an opportunity to extort you but equally don’t get into a taxi if you suspect that the driver might be drunk.
Part of the experience of going to Goa is embracing the fusion of Portuguese and Indian cultures. Attending the colourful festivals, enjoying the dance and music, wandering the mesmerising markets and indulging in the cuisine is an absolute must.
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