I am a big fan of unplanned journeys. Just pack up a little backpack with three pairs of clothes, some bare essentials, a camera and binoculars and Im ready to go anywhere. No travel books, no maps just my communication skills and a little money. Last weekend was probably the most wet, exciting, energizing and hangover-ing weekend of my life. Ive been to Goa before, but this time it seemed that it was an altogether different Goa. Having already seen in the tourist friendly central and North Goa, I wanted to try out the lesser explored and lesser known South Goa this time. Bumped into Palolem Beach and trust me it is by far the most beautiful beach I have seen till date. I started off from Mumbai by bus (though I would suggest you take a train, will save time) and reached Palolem at 4:00 am in the morning, dead tired having lost all hopes of finding a place to stay. Much to my surprise I found a very nice beach cottage (courtesy Armando and Dillon of the Getaway campsite) right on the beach and as I reached my cottage, I
felt that there was hardly any need for it, the sight was absolutely amazing. At 4:00 am in the morning, I reclined on a couch on the beach with a pint of beer in hand watching the beautiful almost-full moon and the sea. If I could describe the sight, I would probably be a fairly good writer.
I spent the entire night, whatever was left of it, on the beach itself, went into the cottage in the morning which was also fairly well equipped and to my logic very cheap costing me less than 150 bucks a night. At seven in the morning, I saw a couple of dolphins in the sea at a little distance from the shore. It was a terrific sight. Like I said, this is a relatively less known beach and thus you will find very few people on the beach and unlike other beaches of Goa this is an isolated beach, unconnected to other beaches and has no sporting activities, so if you’r looking for a peaceful weekend with your folks this is the place to be. Palolem is around 55 km from Panjim and you can reach there by reaching Margaon and from there taking another bus to Palolem. Once you reach Palolem find your way to the beach and then look for a beach hut or shack, they are very reasonable and its a experience worth taking. You do not need any advance booking or anything.
South Goa is a fairly good place to enjoy, very different from the northern tourist friendly Goa. It has an air of Portuguese culture which is easily visible in the architecture and food. You can also see places around Palolem like Margaon, which is a fairly old town, has a very old church and some really good sea food restaurants. Kovlam beach is close to Margaon and is worth visiting once. I would advise against taking bikes/mopeds for rent, they are usually in a very bad condition and will tire you because of the distances. Its better to travel by sate bus transport, which is fairly fast and comfortable.
In Palolem you will not find any Pizza huts and McDonnalds, so do try the local Goan fish curries and sea shell delicacies. I wanted to take some photographs but as soon as the food was served I forgot all about my camera and realized that I had to take some pics only after I had finished all on the table. Do try the local fenny, its an alcohol made from cashews and coconut, the one from the cashews is mild but the one made from coconut is damn devilish. I drank a little coconut fenny neat and felt like someone punched me in the nose !
You can plan your visit depending upon where you are coming from. If you are coming from Mumbai side, you can stay in Palolem chill out the weekend and then leave via north Goa after seeing some really nice places like Aguada Fort and Basilica of Bom Jesus in Panjim. You can also see the night flea market of Arpora. If you are coming from Karnataka, you can plan your stay in North Goa for a few days and then come to South Goa for at least one night and then return back. Palolem Beach is the best place to rejuvenate and chill out.
For more details you can mail me ujj[AT]mutiny.in