Best Hostel in North Goa – Asterix

To Travel is to Live” – Seen on the wall of Asterix Hostel

After getting my trusty red Avenger at Panjim, I headed over to north Goa, to Vagator. My destination was Asterix, a hostel with rave reviews on Tripadvisor. I’d heard a lot about it and was curious to experience it for myself. Why miss out on visiting one of the best hostels in North Goa?

Asterix hostel entrance

Asterix hostel entrance

A couple of wrong turns, going back and forth on the main road looking like a lost tourist and I was there. A kind lady called Mary Ann sitting behind the desk took the registration details and then showed me around. I was pretty impressed by the relaxed ambiance, how clean and organised everything was.

My dorm on the ground floor

My dorm on the ground floor

Asterix hostel has two wings. The main one has a dirt track leading up to the hostel. You go down the path, past the gate, and reach a building with leafy trees all around. There’s a fun common area with books and board games, 2 hammock like seats/swings you can sit on and chill out with other guests.

Mary Ann showed me the dorm room which I’d selected. It was an AC dorm room at Rs. 500 (US$10) a night, to be shared with 5 others.  Quite a good deal. Mary also showed me the pantry, which has filtered water to drink, as well as a fridge with beer and snacks. The beer is cheap, just Rs. 40 (less than US$1)! The beer and snacks are charged, but on an honor system. Have what you want, just write your name on the notebook along with the quantity you had and you’ll be charged on check out. Mary Ann also explained the laundry system. They’ve got numbered laundry bags, 1-5. All you have to do is drop your clothes in one of the bags, and then they’ll be washed and returned. Then you have to hang them up to dry. It was pretty reasonable, I think around Rs. 50/100 (US$ 1-2) per laundry bag and lots of guests use it. Also their wifi password is really cute :P. Can you guess what it might be?

I took a lot of pictures of the kitchen and hostel, noting the messages various travelers had scribbled on the wall. Some of them were really creative; all of them had a whiff of adventure.

To Travel is to Live

To Travel is to Live

Kingkisser: Definitely not Beer

Kingkisser: Definitely not Beer

I ran and I'm still running away

I ran and I’m still running away

The most fun part of the day was in the evening, when I headed to the main hostel. A couple of German guys, David, Alex, Benji, a Swiss guy and an English girl, Charlotte were sitting and playing a beer game. It looked fun and I joined them. The game’s basically everyone taking turns to ask a question. The question consists of giving two options and asking everyone what their choice is, for example; God or Nature. After everyone gives their choice, the person who asked the options tells the correct choice, e.g. God. So everyone who was said Nature, has to take a swig.

It’s quite a fun game to play in hostels, especially with new people and travelers. And you get to know a lot about other people, from the way they answer their questions. We moved from God or Nature to much more adult options, which I won’t discuss here. Go to Asterix and find out for yourself.

Asterix has a fun code of conduct which I found pretty interesting.

Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct

If you feel hungry, just walk out to Mango tree. It’s 2min away from Asterix, and has a bar. You can sit order Indian, Continental or Goan; lots of options. I stayed at Asterix for one day, and had breakfast at Mango tree on the next.

Mango tree restaurant with bar

Mango tree restaurant with bar

How to get to Asterix: Hire a bike at Panjim, and it’s a 25-30 min ride away. 10min from Anjuna. Ask anyone for Asterix hostel near the Mango Tree restaurant. It’s on the main road, you’ll see a sign with Asterix’s helmet on it. Be alert, the sign’s kind of small, but you won’t miss it.

Anjuna to Asterix

Anjuna to Asterix

Budget: Low – Medium

  1. Rs. 300-400 (US$ 6-8) per night for non-AC dorm room
  2. Rs. 500 (US$10) per night for AC dorm room
  3. Rs. 1300 (US$26) for a single room which can be shared by 2 people

Keep in mind that these prices are in the low season of June-August. Prices will be higher during the peak tourist season of Oct-March. Call ahead and check to be sure.

Asterix Contact Info

Asterix Contact Info

Goan Flavour Rating: Bombastic 10/10!

All in all, I would rate Asterix a 10 on 10 for the stay, experience and ambiance. Compared to other places to stay, this is definitely one of the best options in north Goa. I met a fun group of people, talked to this dude who’s a sailor from Turkey; it’s a great place to hang out if you are travelling alone, or with 1-2 friends.

My Turkish friend and I

My Turkish friend and I

Uraak!!! Holi Goa @ the Soma Project, Ashwem Beach

Uraak in a chicken shaped pot!

Uraak in a chicken shaped pot!

Uraak!

No that is not the sad squawk of a dying bird, but one of the famed drinks in Goa, made from the distilled and fermented extracts of the cashew fruit. In a clear glass, it looks cloudy, quite similar to coconut milk, but is easily identifiable by its characteristic strong smell!

3 glasses and counting!

3 glasses and counting!

It was Holi and I was all alone.

The sea called to me, and I left home for the shores of Ashwem beach. Walking along the sandy coast, I heard loud music thumping from close by.

What was happening?

The Soma Project_Ashwem

The Soma Project_Ashwem

It was the Soma Project, a relaxed beachside resort and restaurant I had visited earlier. They play great electronic and trance music. I entered the Soma Project from the sea side, and was immediately greeted by a raucous bunch of guys. They were the staff, bartenders and waiters, who ran the place. They had arranged for the Uraak to be brought locally and were now enjoying the same. I was invited to partake.

So of course, I did.

Practical tip: It is generally advised not to buy Uraak from the highways while on the road. The product may be contaminated with other liquids and can be dangerous. Drink only with trusted people as far as possible.

I sat down with Hitesh, the marketing manager and André, the Russian. A big friendly happy go lucky fellow, it was André’s last day in India and he was wondering what all this commotion was about.

André and Moi!

André and Moi!

Maria, Moi and Hitesh

Maria, Moi and Hitesh

We had a few glasses of Uraak, then proceeded to dance on the floor, encouraged by the shouts of Hitesh, Rocky and others. Maria and a few other guests at the resort joined in the celebrations. We had a wonderful time dancing to trance songs interspersed with some Bollywood numbers!

All this Uraak was for free. Since it was Holi, they just wanted everybody to be happy and have fun.

I finally walked out after saying goodbye to André, Maria, Rocky and others.

I went to another restaurant called the Baba Huts to have some more food and rest while the Uraak wore off. After a scrumptious Chicken Sizzler and Cheese Toast, I settled down with a hot Ginger Lemon tea.

Sizzle awaaay!

Sizzle awaaay!

Hot Ginger Lemon Honey tea - my favourite :)!

Hot Ginger Lemon Honey tea – my favourite :)!

It was nice to see the sunshine on the sea, turning the water to gold. I spoke to a few people from the UK sitting in the restaurant, a girl named Scarlet and 2 other guys, Tom and Phil. Sipping my tea, I got know that they were in Goa on vacation. Scarlet actually worked for an Indian family based in the UK as governess for their children, and was on a break because of school holidays. Tom and the others were around my age (25-26) and just here to chill. It is quite nice to meet with other travelers and share stories. You always get to hear something new, and learn how others think from a different perspective.

Golden waters and the sea

Golden waters and the sea

The bill at Baba Huts came to Rs. 410 (around US$), which is pretty decent considering the quality and quantity of the dishes served. I recommend the place for a relaxed afternoon of swimming and soaking the sun, especially convenient if you are based in North Goa. You can easily move to Morjim, Mandrem and Arambol from the Ashwem beach.

Happy belated Holi to you all!

Have you ever celebrated Holi in India? What did you like best about it? What’s your craziest Holi story?

Share your stories in the comments below :)!