Perfect Place to stay near Saturday Night Market, Arpora

Last weekend, I was at Arpora, in time to attend the last Saturday Night Bazaar of the season.

I found a the perfect place to stay. Called Maitri guest house, the rooms are well furnished, comfortable and spacious. The owners built it recently, and I doubt that you will find it on any of the booking websites. A sweet old lady holding her grandchild greeted me and showed the rooms. I liked what I saw and negotiated a Rs.300 decrease on the price of Rs. 2500, ending up paying Rs. 2200 (US$ 40). If you stay for longer than 1 night, you can bargain for a higher discount.

Relaxed ambiance

Relaxed ambiance

The place is located a 2 min bike ride away from the Arpora Saturday Night Bazaar, going towards the Baga bridge. You’ll see a sign on the road pointing you towards the right. I liked this place as it was at a convenient mid point between Baga and Anjuna, making it easy to travel either way.

Welcome to Maitri!

Welcome to Maitri!

It’s a great place, and relatively cheaper than others, being newly opened. Some renovation is still going on, and the entrance is undergoing work, but as you saw, the rooms are great.

Booking a place is really handy because then you can leave your bags and stuff in the room, and not worry about it when you travel or go to the beach. It is advisable to look after your belongings, as laptops, phones have been known to be taken from hotel rooms. This was more like an apartment, so no such worries here.

Call Sudesh (or Sudi as his friends call him) at +91 9822138002 to book a room at Maitri. Do tell him you got to know of the guesthouse through this and he’ll offer you a special discounted rate :). Alternatively, you can book your Goa holiday here.

After keeping my stuff at Maitri, I headed to the Bazaar down the road.

A Goan who I contacted on Couch Surfing advised me to carry some extra cash to buy stuff at the Bazaar. It turned out to be great advice (thanks, Kapil Biyani). Things were being given away at throw away prices as the people prepared to leave Goa for the season.

Vast variety of junk jewellery

Vast variety of junk jewellery

I picked up a couple of nice t-shirts (around Rs. 2000 or US$ 40), different tea flavors (mango, strawberry, coconut, Darjeeling, Kashmiri, rose and more for Rs. 500 or US$ 10), as well as a bag (Rs. 100 or US$ 2).

Tea, tea everywhere

Tea, tea everywhere

It was kind of sad to see the Saturday Night Bazaar so empty.

Where are the people?

Where are the people?

It’s usually brimming with people, excitement and energy. It wasn’t for a lack of spirit though, as you can see from watching this enthusiastic barman preparing me a Macky’s special (have it only if you like thick sweet syrupy liquor).

He knew all the words. He must have heard the song over a million times, and still he was relaxed and happy :).

The Saturday Night Bazaar closes from May-July for the summer and heavy monsoons. I was told by a shopkeeper that they would be back again in October.

Make sure to stop by the Saturday Night Bazaar when you are in Goa. It’s an experience not to be missed.

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 :)?