My 5 favourite things about Goa

Another horn beeps, another Tuk tuk flies by, a man from across the busy street calls, ‘taxi, taxi?’ then a cow strolls by. This is Goa holidays.

If you haven’t heard of Goa, it’s a popular destination for winter sun holidays on the west coast of India. I’d always wanted to visit India so couldn’t wait to start my ten-day holiday to Candolim. Here’s my experience of this incredible destination, and five things I think you’ll love to do while you’re there.

1) You can bag a bargain

bag a bargain india

As I strolled the main street, stallholders came out to greet me and become my best friend. They don’t forget a face, so expect to be greeted every time you pass. Do haggle as it’s expected and you’ll be amazed at what you can buy for just a few rupees. If you want to get a dress or suit made at superb quality for a small fraction of what you’d pay back home, this is the place to do it. There are plenty of tailors with enormous fabric selections.

2) Life’s a beach

life's a beach in india

Candolim’s beach is a long stretch of soft, golden sand that joins with the beaches of Calangute and Baga. You’ll find plenty of water sports, if that’s your thing, and a stream of beach shacks, which are constructed just for the peak holiday season. Take a look at the names of some of these shacks; I’m sure you’ll recognise them. There are a lot of vendors on the beach, but if you walk to the Sinquerim end of the beach, you’re less likely to be approached.

3) The colourful cuisine

colourful cuisine in india

I can’t imagine anywhere else in the world better to try curry than in India. In Goa, there’s an overwhelming choice of curries. Goa has its own food specialities and I thoroughly recommend you try the fish curry, chicken chilli fry, or beef sizzler. Bear in mind, though, if you like yours spicy, ask for it ‘hot’. Everything I ate was fresh and full of flavour. You can eat cheaply and like a king in the beach shacks, where a big plate of mouth-watering chicken noodles set me back just £3. Beer appeared to be the drink of choice here, however, Goa is known for producing a spirit known as Feni. If you try it be aware, it’s very strong!

4) Dudhsagar Falls and spice plantation tour

Spice Plantation Tour

I was up at 6am to be picked up from the hotel for what turned out to be one of the best days of my life. This full day excursion included a climb by safari jeep up to the base of Dudhsagar Falls. This four-tiered waterfall is even more stunning in real life than I imagined. I went for a swim in the chilly lagoon before coming face to face with the local pink-bottomed macaque monkeys, who love peanuts and bananas. Finally, we were taken on a guided tour of a spice plantation with an expert who explained the healing properties of the spices. If you only have time for one tour, definitely do this one.

5) Mapusa Market

Mapusa Market

I’d read a lot about Goa’s bazaars, so thought I couldn’t miss a trip to Mapusa Market. Open every day, this large open-air market is a hive of noise, intriguing smells (apart from the fish market side) and sights. If you want to bag spices, fabrics and trinkets, enjoy haggling, and don’t mind the crowds, it’s a great experience.

On my last night in Goa, I got an obligatory henna tattoo then sat in a beach shack with a cold beer and watched the beautiful sunset. It was the perfect end to what had been an eye-opening and memorable experience.

Have you been to Goa? Let me know in the comments below what you loved about it.