Impressions from Goa: A very normal holiday
It is a very special place on earth. So made for tourism and one of the "easiest" destinations I have ever been to. What this means and why I would say Goa is boring for backpackers? The answer now in my new article about India's smallest state: Goa.
Oh Goa, you very special place on earth. The hippies have left a long time ago and yet alternative ways of living are more than present in the smallest Indian state. It is an all-sunny all-happy all-easy stripe of land and that's maybe the reason why Goa is not only among Indians themselves one of the top tourist destinations.
When speaking about Goa, the hippies come probably first to one's mind. Let's correct this image: Goa is one of India's 29 states and is very famous for its spice-plantation. Palolem and Ponda are two important regions to grow spices. Just like neighboring Kerala state, also Goa offers cruises on its backwaters.
You can book over night trips on one of Indias biggest swimming casino, the Casino Pride. Apart from that, Old Goa is an impressive historic site where you can learn a lot about the Portuguese colonisation. Yes, Goa belonged to Portugal until 1961 and had after that even a short period of independence as an own country before it got integrated into India.
Beaches in Goa are breath-taking, especially in the south. Speaking about all that, what is mostly associated with the "hippie-culture" refers only to some selected towns in North Goa. Anjuna and Arambol for instance, to name two of the most famous communities. North Goa is also much more developed and equipped with infrastructure than South Goa.
Your only sorrow in Goa is not to get sunburned. Speaking from a backpacker-perspective, Goa is one of the easiest travel spots where I have ever been. Starting with the language: everybody speaks English and nowadays most people working in Tourism speak one additional language like German or Russian. Also the food: the menus in restaurants consists often out of 20 pages on which you find everything from Tibetan food, pizza, Portuguese specials and of course Indian. Saying that, I assure you, you will love the food.
Even the smallest kiosk is hygienic enough so that you don't have to worry about diarrhea. As a lady, you can wear what ever you want, nobody is offended when you go to a restaurant in your bikini or if you stroll through town in your mini skirt. Couples are cuddling, kissing and flirting in public. Local customs is maybe even more liberal than back in Europe.
Taking photos is no problem. People are used to foreigners and their cameras, mobile phone videos and selfie-sticks. No need to film secretly....
Security is also at its best. There is no terror warning whatsoever. I did not hear about any harassment or theft incident either!
The small supermarket in Mandrem offers just the best things for little money: Moringa-Smoothies, Ayurvedic Bircher-Müsli, Lemongrass mud face lotion and organic chocolate with Himalaya salt. But also the common things you know from home (OBs, Nivea or Pringels) are available. The only thing you cannot find in one of the hundred shops is a traditional sari or classic Indian music, but probably not many asked for it ever.
It seems that everybody works in tourism here in North Goa. It is basically a big playground for travelers. Goa's main task is to make tourists happy. Renting a motorbike? Possible within 2 minutes, no contract or signature needed - just a handshake and 300rps (3,90 Euro). Finding a hotel? No problem, they told us to pay whatever we like. "You are happy, we are happy". Want a massage? No appointment needed, come at any night or day time you want!
Sounds great? Is great.
Goa offers in fact everything that I would call "boring" in terms of traveling and discovering. No hassle, nothing to complain, everything easy. But in the other hand, not much contact to locals.
Do you live according to Indian culture here? No. Is North Goa a secret recommendations for travelers? No. Can you learn about challenges that an average Indian family faces or how their daily routine is? No.
Nevertheless, I´m enjoying our small little Mandrem-Paradise to its fullest, because Goa stands out in many ways. It has not only the highest catholic population of India, it is also the richest state in terms of average income and has only 24% tax on alcohol (rest of India has 50%).
But also, you´ll love this place, because you can do free yoga with fellow travelers in the evenings and because there is always somebody playing drums at the beach and because you will never hear a "No" to your wishes and last but not least, because the South Indian food and the Milkshakes are just so tasty.
** Namaste **
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