Goa does it still deserve its legendary status?
travellers have now reached Goa and Rodney
Appleyard and Dan Thory set
out to discover if this Indian state still has its appeal. Goa has
a reputation as a tourist paradise, blessed with scenic beauty,
palm-fringed beaches, picturesque villages, temples and a friendly
and hospitable people. It's also rennowned for it's parties, music,
dancing and its laid back approach to life. This is what they found
'Goa's reputation as a paradise haven was established
in the 60s and 70s when hippies and travellers landed there and
created their own alternative free world. The general lifestyle
policy at that time involved doing anything you wanted! Some people
have suggest that Goa has lost its magic since that legendary era,
and criticise it for being over-run by tourists who don't appreciate
the original Goa spirit. This might be true for the initial visitors,
who still live there with their families, but Goa's lack of exclusivity
means that more people can now enjoy the states breath-taking environment
and/or its exhilarating parties. In Goa you can still find some
of the most relaxed and beautiful beaches in the world, experience
the wildest nights of your life or you can choose to escape the
crowds and find peace and quiet in a stunning environment.
Anjuna, Baga and Palolem are the three most diverse
resorts in Goa. It takes about 6 hours to travel from the top end
of the Goa coast to the bottom, so you can imagine the choice available,
but these three areas provide the most variety.
Anjuna, a place to party
is the place for 34 day parties without sleep. Anjuna is next
to Vagator, and these resorts are joined together by celebrations
at Christmas and New Year. Parties spring up spontaneously all over
this area during this season, but they can also be shut down by
the police just as quickly too. It is similar to being back in England
sometimes chasing the next venue for the rave to continue.
Parties are also organised on the beach throughout
the day and night, but the biggest venue is "The Hill Top".
This is in the middle of Anjuna and Vagator. The party here lasts
for 3 days non-stop at Christmas Eve, and 4 days at New Year's Eve.
It is an open air venue, surrounded by palm trees. Indian women
sell cups of tea, cakes and food on mats laid out for the people
who need to take a break from dancing to psychedelic trance. Some
people manage to stay at the venue from start to finish, but other
people go home, sleep and come back for more dancing the following
Baga for music, dancing and clubs
The resort of Baga, which is just South of Anjuna, is much more
suitable for package tourists and people visiting Goa for a couple
of weeks. It features many sophisticated restaurants, classy bars
and nighclubs. The music in the venues varies from mainstream house,
to pop music, jazz and even classical music in some of the restaurants.
The biggest night-club is "Titos", which often hosts DJs
from the Ministry of Sound. This is a very big open air disco with
an extremely friendly atmosphere, including many shows too, such
as fire-eaters, belly dancers and singers. Titos attracts a wide
range of people, including local Indians too, mainly from Bombay.
These visitors make a big effort to entertain Westerners. You might
even find yourself surrounded by a small crowd of them clapping
and imitating your dance moves. The scene in Titos can be quite
wild, although it is not as hedonistic as Anjuna's night-clubs.
Palolem, the ideal beach resort
is the place to go if you are looking for a perfect place to relax
on the beach, without any night-clubs, classy restaurants or loud
music. Palolem is probably the best place in Goa for non-stop beach-life.
The bay is extremely scenic, with an island next to the main coast
and a backdrop of forest. The beach is very clean, the soft yellow
sand sweeps out beautifully along the whole stretch of the bay and
the water is clear, blue and clean.
The best thing about Palolem is that all of the accommodation
is built on the sand. The beach huts are very comfortable, and they
are close enough for you to hear the waves crashing onto the shore
at night to help lull you to sleep. Visitors do not need to leave
the beach for their entire stay in Palolem. They can eat, drink,
sleep, log onto the internet, wash their laundry and ring home,
whilst only 20 metres from the sea at all times. It is one of those
place where people arrive for three days and end up staying for
So, despite many people saying that Goa has lost its special appeal,
we discovered that the region still has enough variety and excitement
to satisfy fresh visitors, intrigued by the party scene and Goa's
During our visit we talked to English born Allan Austin, who has
been living in Goa since '88 and now earns a living from his own
para-gliding business in Anjuna. He told us about life in Goa and
how it has changed over the years. Read
his account here...
Text © Rodney Appleyard;
photographs © Dan Thory 2003
Recommended places to stay, restaurants and night clubs.
Anjuna Beach Resort clean, spacious rooms with a friendly
restaurant, walking distance from the town and beach.
The Nine Bar Party revellers go here to find out about
the big parties.
Rose Garden Motel Set on the beach, serves delicious
seafood and Indian vegetable dishes.
The Flea Market is infamous in Anjuna because it has the atmosphere
of a mini-festival. You can buy unique Indian artefacts at
this open air fare. It is open only on Wednesdays.
Angelina Near to Titos. Rooms have big balconies.
Titos Hottest nightclub in town. Women are allowed
in for a free, but men have to pay.
Fiesta Enjoy sea views, Mediterranean food and prawns
steamed in red wine.
Ciaran's Camp 20 bungalows on the beach in Palolem's
longest established hut camps.
There isn't one!
Sun 'n' Moon Very relaxing, with hammocks, good music
and cosy seating areas under the palm trees.