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.

Susegad! – About Goa and its flavours

Susegad!

That apparently does not mean good sausage, as I thought when I first came about it.

Derived from the Portuguese word ‘sossegado’, it is understood to mean a state of relaxed contentment which is often attributed to this beautiful land of coconuts, cashew trees and beaches.

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Lazy Sunday at Candolim beach

It has been nearly a month since the inception of this blog and I have not yet introduced you to the amazing state of Goa. It is my humble privilege to bring the best of this coastal area to your attention.

In ancient times, this place was called Govarashtra, which is a Sanskrit word for “Nation of Cowherds”.  It was ruled by emperor Ashoka as part of the Maurya empire in the 3rd century BC. It came under Portugese rule in 1510 and finally became a part of India in 1961.

This is a short version, and glosses over much of the history of wars, conflicts that inevitably happened here.

Today, Goa is known as a destination for fun and relaxation. Around 2 million people visit Goa every year, drawn by its laid back pace. Most Indians consider it a party destination, ideal for weekend getaways from Mumbai, Delhi and other metros. Foreigners consider it a backpacker destination which is easy on the pocket.

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FTV party at Candolim beach, Dec 30, 2012. Entry US$ 40 and unlimited beer.

Goa is one of the smallest states in India, with a population of only around 1.2 million people. The infrastructure and quality of life are rated as one of the best in all of India. Konkani is the local language, however almost everybody understands English. Important signboards are also in English, and it is very easy and cheap to rent a bike/car/jeep and roam around. A decent bike will cost like US$5 (INR 270) per day to rent. And you can negotiate for a cheaper rate if you are hiring it for a longer period.

May is the hottest month, with temperature reaching a peak of 35 °C (95 °F). You can see more weather related info on links given at the bottom of this post.

So nearly 500,000 party goers descend on Goa every year, with the top markets being UK, Russia, Germany, Finland and France. I had a little fun with the latest available figures given on the Goa tourism website (www.goatourism.gov.in/statistics) and put them down for you over here.

Top 5 nations of partying tourists coming to Goa and the total tourist arrivals in Goa from 2006-11:

Goa partygoers 2010-11

Nations partying through 2010-11

Visitors to Goa from 2006-11

Visitors to Goa from 2006-11

Kidding about the partying, many people come for yoga, relaxation and meditation as well. In fact there’s a great place called Yogamagic which I can’t wait to check out. It is an eco retreat offering yoga packages and healthy food. Check out their website here.

Goa is easy to get to from Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore. I had no problems booking a flight here from Delhi, and nowadays you can get air tickets really cheap, there are a lot of promotional offers going on. Check them out here.

I will be going to Bangalore this weekend from Goa via bus, so will let you know how the connectivity and service works out. As per redbus.in (online bus booking service), the fares as of March 2013 are around US$10-15 (INR 500-900) for a one way trip. A guy’s gotta rest from all the partying!!!

This blog is under constant evolution, and I am going to keep adding useful updates about everything Goan.

Do let me know if you have any questions regarding stay, travel, and I will do my best to assist you as per my personal knowledge and experience.

Some useful Goa links:

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/india/goa

http://www.goatourism.gov.in/

http://www.goatourism.gov.in/statistics