By Parm Johal
For Desi travel adventurers heading to the Motherland, Goan beaches are typically on the bucket list, but can seem like a far off dream when stuck with only one past time while abroad – visiting the relatives.
You know what I’m talking about. We’ve all been there. Between slurping your umpteenth cup of chai, visiting the distant relative you don’t know about and listening to the next door padosan constantly pestering you to have more children, you’re ready to pack up your hubby and kids and go explore. Goa is a good place to start as any.
While visiting a friend in Mumbai, we decided to drive down to her place in Goa – a 12-hour long journey filled with green landscapes, crazy driving manoeuvres, dhaba stops, our favorite house music, laughter and whole lot of bonding time. Goa was the grand finale in my three week trip to India and I was ready to relax and slow down.
Once in Goa, I learned that the state is split into the North and the South. The North part was discovered by the hippies decades ago and is now over run by tourists of all kinds – families, backpackers, domestic Indian travelers, you name it. South Goa is what North Goa was like years ago – up and coming, quieter beaches, has tourists, but not as over populated as the North…although that is now starting to change.
Whether you’re in the North or the South, during low season or shoulder season you can enjoy the beaches with less crowds. Anjuna, Baga, Calungate and Candolim beaches can offer a lively, crowded atmosphere and a fun nightlife. But I like my own slice of paradise on a beach without having to fight for space.
Here is a list of my favourite quiet(er) beaches in Goa:
Arambol Beach – North Goa
Arambol is located to the far north and has become the new hippie haven, complete with yoga and meditation on the beach. Beware of spandex shorts though or lack thereof. You’ve been warned.
Ashwem Beach – North Goa
This is where my friend and I spent most of our time because it was quiet and offered comfy sun beds. Something you don’t always think about, but when the sand crabs come out, I’d rather be a few inches above the ground.
The food and drink stand right behind us was a bonus. Russian expats and travelers have taken over this stretch of the beach so there will be no shortage of vodka being offered, but the cocktails could have been mixed better. What saved the day? Eating fresh prawns for lunch while looking out at the water.
Agonda Beach – South Goa
Agonda Beach was by far the quietest beach during shoulder season. It’s a favourite amongst the locals, relaxing and not as developed as the Northern beaches. You won’t get the heavy trance tunes here like you do at Anjuna Beach in the North. You can chill out until the cows go home. Literally. *
Tip: If you have time, go further south to Palolem, a semi-circular shaped beach with picturesque palm trees, soft sand and mostly beach huts.
There are many beaches to choose from depending on what type of holiday you are looking for. The beaches in Goa may not be the best in the world nor the cleanest, but they can offer a relaxing getaway at the tail end of your trip to India and offer a nice break from visiting the relatives.
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