Goan Getaway Uno – Bangalore to Goa, April 2013

This April, I had two awesome guys come over from busy Bangalore to relaxed Goa.

Neel and Ayush

For best effects, click below and listen to song while you read this post :P!

Boyz in town

Da Boyz in town. Mission: Relax, Party and Freak OUT.

Ayush was my roommate in college and Neel is our batchmate. They’re both working for very nice companies in Bangalore and were in Goa to chill for the weekend. And chill, we did. From Morjim to Ashvem, from the Vagator beach to the Saturday Night Bazaar and finally from Baga to home, we had a blast. 

The two days were packed! We found a new way to Vagator beach after following the wrong signboards, had awesome food at Sublime (post here), Britto’s and more.  Both Sublime and Britto’s have great reviews on Tripadvisor (click on the names and check them out).

Relaxed and recharged from their weekend break, they were kind enough to answer the following questions, really helpful to all the folks coming from Bangalore to Goa for the perfect Goan holiday.

1. What was the budget for the trip?

Neel: The trip being a last minute, unplanned vacation overshot the estimated budget of Rs. 10k by around Rs. 2-3k (Rs. 12k or US$ 225 approx). For a weekend spent in Goa, Rs. 10k (US$ 185 approx.) per person should suffice if planned well in advance without factoring in the cost of air travel which is highly recommended.  

Ayush: Our budget was around 10k but it got shot up to 12k per person 🙂

2. How many days did you plan to spend in Goa?

Neel: 3 days, Friday to Sunday . My suggestion would be to extend your trip by another day, give some leeway to take in the sights and sounds of Goa.

 Ayush: We had a set itinerary- 3 days and 2 nights in all (2 nights in the bus as well)

Vagator beach

Vagator beach: an ad was being shot there

3. What was the mode of travel and how was the experience?

Neel:  We took a Volvo seater bus from bangalore to Goa. It is not a very comfortable journey but more importantly the bus travel eats up on your vacation time. The 12-14 hour ride along with the time taken to recover cuts down on significantly on your time spent in Goa. 

Ayush: We traveled by bus and it took 12 hours on each side. The journey was alright but I would advice taking a flight if one can plan out one’s trip well in advance.

4. How was the hotel/guesthouse you stayed at and would you stay there again? Especially in terms of cleanliness, safety, etc.

Neel: We spent the first day at Montego Bay Resort which is right on Morjim beach. Highly recommended to those seeking to be Far from the Madding crowd. Proximity to good eateries (Sublime) and pubs (Cabana) made it an ideal stay. The second day was spent at a resort near Vagator beach. What it lacked in ambience it made up in comfort and facilities. 

For fellow vacationers , it is highly recommended to plan your place of stay in advance. 

Ayush: Both our guest houses were comfy. Our first guest house was along the beach and that was a plus point. They were priced slightly on the higher end but I guess you more or less get what you pay for :p

5. Overall, how would you rate your Goa holiday – Horrible/Ok/Good/Great/Awesome??

Neel: Great 

 Ayush: I would rate our trip as good. Unfortunately we did not have chances to make new friends 😦

Band playing at Saturday Night Bazaar, Anjuna

Band playing at Saturday Night Bazaar, Anjuna

6. Was there any bad experience (e.g. taxi/bike overcharging), and if yes how did you overcome it?

Neel: Searching for a resort the second day. Good old Google helped us overcome it. 

Ayush: Nope, no bad experience

7. What would you recommend for other working guys to do/not do if they were travelling to Goa?

Neel: Plan it out guys and don’t forget the sunscreen. 

Ayush: Definitely go to the Saturday flea market. Hire a vehicle for most of your stay since you’ll be travelling around a lot.

Strawberry Daiquiri at Britto's

Strawberry Daiquiri at Britto’s

8. What was the best part of your Goa trip?

Neel: Time spent on Morjim beach, Saturday Night Flea market .

Ayush: I think the vast variety of food available was a treat in itself!

Here’s a breakup of the expenses of around Rs. 12K (US$ 225 approx.): 

Ze Goan Getaway Uno Budget

Hardly any was spent on shopping. Room, food and travel were major expenses. Renting transport is pretty cheap unless you go for a huge open air jeep (which would be awesome and I plan to do so, soon).  If you are travelling with ladies with a propensity to dip into your pockets, you might want to consider additional budget for picking up various souvenirs and knick-knacks that all the cute little beach side markets have.

For all you readers, here’s a special sneak preview of a fun GGC (Goan Getaway Calculator) that I am preparing to make budgeting a Goa holiday fun :):

Bombastic Holiday Rating from GGC

Bombastic Holiday Rating from GGC

Bombastic Holiday Rating: 5

Goan Flavour verdict: Neel and Ayush had a great trip, planned the stay in advance and really enjoyed the food :)! They’ll be back for more. 

So forget your excuses, and plan that Goa trip!

What are you waiting for :)?

Walk away with the magic of Goa

“I’ve been giving it out
But it’s not coming back to me, baby!”

I’ve been humming the words of this song by Above and Beyond featuring Zoe Johnston. For better effects, click here, and listen to this song while reading this post.

It perfectly sums up my feeling at efforts of promoting this blog and the results :)!

However, never fear. I am an eternal optmist :). To be fair, it has just been two months and I’ve got lots to learn about posting great content.

So I’ve been working on some very cool items for all the visitors to this site. Here they are:

  1. Goa News – Will be covering more about whats happening here, how it is going to affect tourists coming in and opinions on the same.
  2. Goa Getaways – This explains the milestone countdown to your right. It’s gonna cover interview of people who
  3. GGC – Goa Getaway Calculator. Under development. A fun Excel tool to calculate the budget for your Goa trip.
  4. Goa Videos – Of the beaches, Restaurants and parties in Goa
  5. Hotel/Restaurant/Food Reviews – Will continue in ever snazzier forms!

Other than these, I’d love to hear more from you about what you’d like covered on this blog. People Power!

With fellow travelers at Saturday Night Bazaar, Goa

With fellow travelers at Saturday Night Bazaar, Goa

I love meeting new people and hearing their travel stories! And am happy to help out with any Goa related info – whether it’s a hotel, restaurant or beach, let me know and I’ll check it out for you! Or at the very least point you in the right direction.

Goa magic.

Goa magic.

You come to this blog, you gotta walk away informed, entertained and with a little bit of Goa with you :).

Over 1.3 million views! – Classic Goa Trance Music Video

Over 1.3 million views! – Classic Goa Trance Music Video

Enjoy. 

Mahadeva (version original 95) by ASTRAL PROJECTION

Delicious Chicken Biryani, Kebabs and more at Panjim, Goa – Niyaaz

Just landed at the airport and on your way to Panjim?

Waiting for a bus and have a few hours to kill?

Have a sudden craving for delicious, steaming, hot chicken biryani (rice dish served to Mughal emperors)?

Then all you have to do is head to Niyaaz.

Niyaaz - Biryani, Kebabs and Tikkas

Niyaaz – Biryani, Kebabs and Tikkas

Roughly a 5-10 min drive from Panjim bus stand, you can either take a yellow-n-black autorickshaw or even catch a bus going to Margaon. Of course, nothing like going on a rented bike/car/jeep. Ask anyone and they’ll point you in the right direction. Its pretty famous. Prices are also quite reasonable around Rs. 100-300 (US$ 2-6). Service is fast, and you can have an ice cold dessert as you wait. Sometimes its fun doing things backwards.

Word of advice: They apparently prepare biryani only on weekends, so if you end up going on Mon-Friday, have this instead:

Chicken Malai Tikka. With extra malail

Chicken Malai Tikka. With extra malai

Enjoy :).

“I love deadlines…

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”

– Douglas Adams

Hey guys.

Douglas Adams is one of my most favourite authors, and this quote from his book is perfect for describing the past week. I set myself a goal and was busy preparing two kickass items for Goan holiday goers buuuuut there was a slight delay.

But no worries!

Very soon, you’ll get two detailed itineraries for having a killer time in Goa.

1. Killer Goa Trip by College Students

2. Killer Weekend Goa_Bangalore edition

This will have detailed information with everything regarding travel, budget, best parts of the trip as well as what to watch out for in Goa.

These interviews take place with actual people who visited Goa recently. I promised the Bangalore guys that their names are going to be up in Neon lights for being the first to contribute :)!

Hope you enjoy reading as much as I am enjoying writing!

Keep watching this blog.

Ever missed a deadline? How did you cover up for it?

Office at the Beach

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My daily training ground

A vast stretch of golden white sand spreads out before me every morning, as I get ready to run and wait for the sun to come up over the green mountain.

Raising a salute to the sun, I begin.

Not too long ago, I would spend nearly two hours getting from home to office through a crowded, smoky city. I would wake up everyday at 6am. Have a quick shower, iron my clothes, have a quick breakfast made by my sleepy mom, and then rush to catch the metro. After a 40min ride, I would then catch the office cab. Then we would play the radio, pick up 2-3 other colleagues and then FINALLY reach the office at 9.30am.

If I got up any later then 6, it would have a domino effect on the rest of the day. I would rush through the morning, and generally be grumpy throughout the whole day. Weekends were spent abusing my body with alcohol and restaurant food.

That’s how I used to spend the first year in the first job after college.

Now, I wake up at 6am. Take a deep breath. I have one single minded goal. To wear my shoes. That’s all. Nothing complicated. I have to tie those damn laces and wear them shoes.

I like to imagine that I am a great strategist with the wisdom of Sun Tzu and the energy of Alexander the Great, but the truth is, I am pretty lazy. So I trick my brain into focusing on a simple goal. After wearing the shoes, next thought goes like, well, might as well open the door now and smell the fresh air. After smelling the fresh air, well, I might as well go for a walk. After walking 20 min, well, might as well do a short run on the beach.

It is a great way to start the day. Everyday there is something new to see.

Whether it is fisherwomen at the early morning market near the beach (this is an evening photo of the market, but you get the idea).

Fisherwomen at the market with the day's catch

Fisherwomen at the market with the day’s catch

Or a cashew nut on a tree.

Cashew nut freshly plucked from a tree

Cashew nut freshly plucked from a tree

So that’s how I end up walking for 1.5 hours and running for 30min. Reach back home around 7.45 am. Get ready, have a shower, wear the clothes I ironed last night and am ready to rock. In office by 8.30am, and the first thing I do is prepare the To-do list for important tasks to be achieved through the day.

It is a blessing to stay close to the office. For the last two jobs now, I have been fortunate to stay not more than 10min away, and it’s great. I am sure that much of future stress has been avoided, just for the happy way I glide to office.

After working in the city, the beach and now a mixture of the countryside and the beach, I have to tell you, staying near the beach is pretty awesome. There are the obvious health benefits. And then there are so many other collateral benefits, which you don’t realize.

How long does it take you to go to the office now? What would you do if you worked 10 min away from the beach 🙂 ?

Goa Underground Trance with DJ Shine at Bubble Brunch

DJ Shine_6 April 2013

Music has been a long time coming, and finally, I bring to you a select delectable 20s of DJ Shine.

headbanging

Shake away!!! Courtesy tumblr.com

Enjoy, like and comment :)!

Riva-ving a Sublime Experience at La Plage – 2 Great Food Reviews and 1 Free!

It has been a busy busy busy week for Goan Flavour.

Yours truly has been to not one but 3 restaurants in the space of the last 10 days. 2 for leisure and 1 for work, but all three were fun.

Keep in mind that these were not your typical backpacker hangouts, but slightly higher end. Be sure to carry some cash with you, as credit cards may not be accepted at some place. They are perfect for working couples on break, newcomers wanting to try something adventurous and those looking for nice warm places with a distinct character.

In the order I visited them, they are Riva Resort, La Plage and Sublime.

Enjoy the reviews below:

1. Riva Resort and Spa 

Hai? Where’s That ?- Located at Arambol, not on the beach, but on the road between Mandrem and Arambol. Its about a 45 min bike ride from Anjuna beach.

What’s there to eat and what’d you have, anyway? – The menu is quite comprehensive. It had been a while since I had some good ol’ North Indian Food. I was missing the kebabs of New Delhi. So I ordered Chicken Malai kebabs and Pudhina Paranthas. And keeping with the spirit of Goa, I ordered some Prawn’s Vindaloo as well. It was the first time I had ordered Vindaloo in Goa, and I was curious to see how it was going to be. I ordered an orange juice, no liquor that day.

Chicken Malai Kebabs, simply delicious!

Chicken Malai Kebabs, simply delicious!

So how was it? –  The Kebabs were nicely done and good with the green mint chutney. Pudhina paranthas were the stuff of dreams, soft and delectable, with just the right amount of crispiness. The Prawns Vindaloo, came with a deep red gravy, was spicy-tangy and quite nice.

Bill came to around Rs. 1200 for 1 person. (I told u it was steep!)

Still, why should I go there? – There’s a small wooden platform which takes you from the restaurant across a small stream to the sandy beach. At night, all you can see is the shining yellow lamps on the middle of the wooden platform, and the hint of the beach beyond. Walk across and you feel like an explorer at the summit of the vast unknown; the light and the massive darkness beyond play on your mind, especially when you are alone. The restaurant itself has decent music playing. There were lot of foreigners there, mostly Russians, enjoying an evening out. 2 small Russian kids, a boy and a girl, kept running around, playing games.

Cool! Who can I take? – Go here for a relaxed evening with friends and family. It’s a nice place to take your parents.

2. La Plage the French Restaurant

Hai? Where’s That ? – At Ashwem beach, just before Arambol (if you are heading north from Anjuna). Around 30min by bike from Anjuna.

So what’s there to eat and what’d you have, anyway ? – The menu is focused on a range of interesting French dishes and they have a good selection of wines as well. I was with a group of architects, and decided to go for a Filet du Poisson avec Moutard. I’ve probably spelled this wrong, but it basically means Fish Filet with mustard sauce. I promise you the description on the menu is much better than the boring one here. We also ordered crispy potato wedges and some other starters which are not interesting enough to comment on. We had a few beers (Tuborb) and 2 white wines, a Sula and an Italian one.

Fish Filet with Moutard Sauce

Fish Filet with Moutard Sauce

So how was it? –  The fish was nicely cooked and tasted very nice interspersed with the light mustard sauce. Trés Delicioux! The white wine nicely complemented the dishes.

Bill was around Rs. 6300 for around 7 people. So roughly Rs. 900 per person (We had wine, which was the major component, around Rs. 1200 each)

Lamps with shellfish!

Lamps with shellfish!

Still, why should I go there? – The tables and chairs are placed in the sand under a wooden canopy out in the open. So you can sit and enjoy a nice meal in the shade even during the hottest day. The decorations are nice, with paper lamps covered with actual shellfish. The place comes alive in the evening with many guests from all over the world, animatedly chatting away.

Cool! Who can I take? – Go with your girlfriend. Go with your friends. Relax, enjoy the food and wine and let the conversation flow, as the night passes.

3. Sublime

Hai? Where’s That ? – At Morjim beach, just before Ashwem (if you are going towards Arambol). Around 20-25 min by bike from Anjuna.

So what’s there to eat and what’d you have, anyway ? – Sublime is famous for having fusion food.  And we ordered everything backwards; dessert, then main course, then appetizer and then dessert (x2) again. We had an Apple Turnover (a kind of pie) with ice cream, then a Rock fish filet, a Nut encrusted Fish, a Spring Chicken, Thai Minced Chicken Salad, a hollow cake with butterscotch cream and then another Apple Turnover. The waiter kept laughing each time we called him for the menu; he couldn’t believe the amount we had.

The first victim: Apple Turnover.

The first victim: Apple Turnover.

So how was it? –  I was with 2 college friends. We hogged like we hadn’t eaten since the dawn of civilization. Plus we were all laughing continuously for some reason. The food was delightful, and we couldn’t get enough of the Apple Turnover. We still haven’t had the chocolate dessert, which I am looking forward to trying next time.

Bill came to Rs. 2400 for 3 people. (But this was just because we were pigs. There is no excuse for the massacre we committed that night)

Still, why should I go there? –  I met Chris, the chef and owner of the restaurant, at another of my favourite restaurants, Sakana read about it here) He is an Indian dude who works 6 months in Ibiza, Spain and 6 months in Goa (what a life!). He invited me over to this place, and when I heard it had fusion food, I knew I had to be there. He had a Spanish sushi chef helping him. Sublime is right next to the beach, and the seats are in the sand. It’s a cheery place and you can see Chris going around, greeting people taking orders, and seeing them off with such a passion, energy and infectious friendliness. You can see why people patronize the place and keep coming back.

Cool! Who can I take? – Great for a relaxed evening with friends and having food you’ll never have elsewhere. Enjoy.

So thank me, and tell me which place you want to visit the most :). Hit the comment button below!

 

Why the hell should you read this blog?

Yes, indeed, why?

What the hell is this damn Goan Flavour anyway?

You don’t know anything about Goa and why should you?

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Den of Vices?

Or you do know about Goa and think it is just a god-forsaken place where people go to get wasted, party on the beach, do drugs and things that happen in movies like Hangover. That it’s a place with scary dreadlocked backpackers and people waiting to rip you off.Teeming with young inexperienced people who have no idea how to handle scooters and end up crashing everywhere.

You would be right.

You would also be wrong.

I do not deny that Goa has a dark side. It does, and even today there are many major issues that face the people.

However, I believe that when you go to a place, you explore each and every aspect. You see the good, the bad, ugly, and then you decide.

YOU decide how you want to see the place.

YOU decide what memories you want to carry back. Whether it is spending the most romantic evening with your loved one under one of the most starriest skies on the planet. Or whether it is spending the whole day in your room in a drunken stupor  go out only at night, boast to your friends that you ‘DID’ Goa, and believe that’s all there is to Goa, and that’s all that ever will be.

Well, there’s more.

I remember swimming in the sea at 6am, feeling and hearing nothing but the sound of the roaring waves, and being calm inside despite being alone, like I was part of the universe.

Dawn at Arambol

Dawn at Arambol

I remember spending the night at Arambol with my younger brother and his friends. It was one of the best times we shared and we stayed awake to see the dawning sun slowly light the sky and bring it to life.

I remember the excitement in my Goan colleague’s voice and the way his face lit up, when he mentioned that I MUST try out Florentine’s near Candolim for some of the best Chicken Cafreal dish in Goa. (Try it. Florentine opens everyday at 6pm. Amazing stuff)

I remember and am especially grateful to the random dude who I met at party, who turned out to be an orthopedic surgeon. I had a bad fall from a bike near Anjuna, and having no friends or family in Goa (new to the place), I called him up. He asked me to come to his hospital right away, and in 10min, my arm was bandaged and cleaned up. The arm has completely healed and you can barely see the deep cut anymore.

Goa is going to be what you want it to be.

You will carry back unforgettable memories or mundane ones. Just depends how you look at it.

You should read this blog for great stories.

Having responsible fun.

And how to manage yourself safely if you are going to have irresponsible fun (have a designated driver/don’t ride after drinking, etc.),

There will be useful practical advice.

Hotel Lemontree Amarante at Candolim, Goa

Hotel Lemontree Amarante at Candolim, Goa

There will be good food reviews (my friends will attest to the fact that we ALWAYS have great food when we meet up, bad food experiences are few, but I’ll warn you about those too).

I am planning interviews with different groups of people; students, couples, professionals, weekend escapees, and foreigners (non- Indians), so that I can give a whole range of people a realistic idea of the budget and practical considerations should be when they visit Goa. And also how to ignore the budget and just have a blast. (I had a crazy fun Holi in Goa recently without paying a dime. Read all about it here.

But mostly you should read this blog to have fun. To see Goa in a new light.

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Seen on the way to Anjuna beach

And to see what your trip here could mean to you.

That’s why you should read this blog.

Thanks for reading all the way to down here. If you liked this post, share your thoughts in the comments below :).