Goa

May 2nd, 2005, 11:28 AM
  #1  
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Goa

I am travelling to Goa in November for just one week. Do not really want a beach holiday - really more interested in sightseeing, a bit of shopping and eating local food. I notice that many posters recommend the Marriott in Panjim which looks ideally located for our needs but doesn't seem to have any real local flavour - my preference is the heritage type properties. Any recommendations - would also appreciate advice on what to do with my seven days. What is the shopping like in Panjim?
lyall is offline  
May 2nd, 2005, 04:07 PM
  #2  
 
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The shopping in Panjim, Lyall, is, compared to the rest of India, extremely expensive. Nearly everyone you'll see will be a tourist, and the shopowners are no fools. However, if you stay near the bus station in Panjim, there are any number of buses to nearby towns where the shops still set their prices with locals in mind. On my first day in Panjim, looking at the prices in the shop windows, I said "Well, it's for sure we won't be buying any souvenirs in Goa"... and when I went to the vastly-overrated Anjuna Markets (fun to see, but not to buy from), I said exactly the same thing. However, on the way back from Anjuna, we stopped at Mapusa, and it was like being back in "real" India again. I got the best sari bargain in India right in that town, in a little shop just outside the market area.

I think Panjim is a great place to stay, especially if you stay in the old Portuguese area called Fontainhas. This is just over the river from the bus station, and there's a footbridge that will take you from one to the other in under ten minutes. Every few minutes, a bus leaves for Old Goa (about a twenty minute drive), which is a wonderful place to wander around in if you're interested in history (among other things, you can see the body of St Francis Xavier). Take several hours to walk around here, as there are several old monasteries that are built back from the main road, and walking through the ruins alone is like stepping back in time; I had a great half day in Old Goa!

I think the best place to stay in Fontainhas is the Panjim Inn, a beautiful 300-year-old house with antique furniture. Unfortunately, when we were there, the cheapest double room was 900 rupees, which was above our budget; we were thrilled, however, with our second choice, which is just across the road from Panjim Inn, and is almost as old: Afonso's Guest House, where a double room with a lovely outlook (it's in a cul-de-sac with an old white Portuguese Church -- the chapel of San Sebastian -- at the end) cost us 500 rupees. This place is spotlessly clean: we arrived early and they were still getting the room ready, so we had a look at it an hour before checking in; there was a whole army of people in there, scrubbing absolutely everything!

We were also in Goa in November (but for only three nights); it's a lovely time to go there. Wish I could go back!
Alan is offline  
May 2nd, 2005, 04:41 PM
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Pl advise your budget - both for the hotel and the shopping!
hobbes is offline  
May 2nd, 2005, 08:26 PM
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The Panjim Posada & the Panjim Inn are really nothing special. They were expensive for what they were, at 1300 r's in March. We stayed at the Panjim Pousada and put up with noise from the rooms above and workers restoring furniture right outside our bedroom window! Afonso is a great budget choice if you like beds that are rock hard! Try this one www.casabritona.com-a couple we met at the Posada raved about this place. I think the Marriott is a first rate choice and you would be very difficult to please if you did not enjoy the ambience there! Shopping in Panjim is very good, but with Mumbai's fashion prices. I bought some beautiful designer stuff at the Marriott's boutique & lovely tunics & shirts in the town for my sisters. It is not the place to shop for souvenirs.
Lyndie is offline  
May 7th, 2005, 02:35 AM
  #5  
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Thanks all for the info. Disappointing to hear the shopping in Panjim is on the expensive side - not sure what you are comparing it to as clothes for example cost a lot more in the UK than the US. A couple of years ago we were in Cochin where we purchased a caseload of clothes at a fraction of the price back home. Our budget is fairly flexible – prepared to pay Marriott prices (or slightly more) for hotel and for shopping, since we are only there for a week (usually spend a lot more time away but have time constraints this year) I have quite a generous amount to spend. Not really looking for souvenirs – this will be my fifth visit to India so I have exhausted my quest for souvenirs. Looking more for designer stuff, sports wear, carved wall panel, unusual artwork/ornaments – anything really that catches the eye. Casa Britona looks exactly what I want, I like the idea of being in a fishing village but a stone’s throw from Panjim - the problem is trying to convince my husband who is more of a 'marriott' man. Usually I travel to India on my own – this time I have to take him into account! Would be interested if anyone out there who has stayed at Casa Britona could give me some feedback – especially someone who could put up a good argument for ‘heritage vs Marriott’. Not that I would really mind staying at the Marriott but something more intimate in size with local interest appeals. Old Goa will definitely be on our itinerary. Anywhere else we should go – somewhere off the tourist trail. Alan - I’m assuming Anjuna from what you say is worth the visit just for the ambience. Are the temples at Ponda worth a trip. Any suggestions for places to eat in Panjim? Would be very grateful for any more thoughts.
lyall is offline  
May 9th, 2005, 07:52 AM
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Lyall,

If Goa Marriott fits within your budget, I would strongly recommend that you stay there. You can sample the local ambience in many other ways, independently of where you stay. As a sidenote, the Goa Marriott is not like your standard cookie-cutter Marriott in America. It has a lot of character, and the service is outstanding.

You ask if the temples in Ponda are worth visiting. My answer: if you have interest in Goa's history, absolutely yes. They are not visual marvels (the Portuguese destroyed hundreds of temples in Goa when they first arrived), but they are monuments to tradition and faith. The idols from temples smashed by the Portuguese were taken inland by the Hindus and re-installed. The Goan hinterland provides a totally different ambience than what prevails along the coastline. For that contrast itself I would say, Ponda is a worthwhile visit.



agtoau is offline  
May 9th, 2005, 10:31 AM
  #7  
 
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Thanks agtoau, for the Marriott recommendation. I'll be in Goa in January and have been contemplating staying at the Marriott but was a bit concerned it would have no local flavour.
misspashmina is offline  
May 9th, 2005, 01:56 PM
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I'm a fan of the Cidade de Goa for its flavour,architecture,friendliness and super food. Have stayed there 4 times(and I'm a Marriott Rewards member)!
Frances is offline  
May 11th, 2005, 06:35 AM
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If you do not want a beach holiday, and you have a week to spend, I think Goa is not the place to be. Or otherwise, go for a couple of days to Goa and travel on from there to the Hampi area in Karnataka, which is absolutely fabulous culture-wise. I really think, from what you describe, that a day or two in Goa is enough to take in the Portuguese churches of Velha Goa, etc. I have filed my trip report on Rajasthan and Goa some time ago. Have a look. Good travels
cram is offline  
May 12th, 2005, 01:32 PM
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Thanks for all your advice. Frances – I have looked at the Cidade de Goa, mostly because it seems to be close to Panjim, but had read somewhere that it was ‘tired’ and in need of a refurb. Is this justified and how close is the hotel to Panjim?

Cram – I couldn’t agree more with you! My first choice for this trip was touring around Tamil Nadu starting off in Chennai. However my husband doesn’t enjoy living out of a suitcase so I have had to compromise and we decided that Goa suited us both (nearly!). I would love to visit Hampi – I read that it was possible to get a train from Margao but I’m not sure how long it would take, where to stay and how feasible it is to visit from Goa just for an overnighter – I would probably leave my husband by the pool for a couple of days! Can u plse advise.

Hobbes – any further thoughts?

Thanks again.
lyall is offline  
May 12th, 2005, 02:03 PM
  #11  
 
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I adore Goa and think you will enjoy a week there. I am traveling right now so this is a short post - as u ahve time (Nov travels)I will post at length next week. I would suggest splitting your time between a south Goa hotel (amazing beaches, do nothing but lie on them) such as Taj Exotica or Nilaya Hermitage and a Panjim (Marriott)/North Goa (Pousada Tauma, Fort Tiracol, Taj Holiday Village) for the best Goa experience. More next week.
hobbes is offline  
May 14th, 2005, 05:59 AM
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Iyall,
Hampi is indeed a very good option, it will take you about a day to get there. Then one or two days of visit to the various sites, which are all close one to another; and then a day back. That is ideally four days.
Another option is maybe to head South to Kochi, which is nice and interesting as a city. It may also enchant your husband if you go to Kochi and from there go on a pre-booked backwaters boat trip: you see quite a bit of land, and it is really relaxing. At the end of the backwaters trip (one night on the boat)you can recover from your relaxation, for instance in Coconut Lagoo, a very idyllic and nice resort.
I repeat: my humble opinion is not to stay for a full weak in Goa, but of course that my taste is not necessarily the one of someone els. For me, two days of Goa is definitely enough.
cram is offline  
Jul 17th, 2005, 01:04 AM
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Thanks again for all the advice. Finally I have made the arrangements for the trip in late November - I am going to Goa for 2 weeks and my husband is joining me for a week - so I will have time to pursue the activities I enjoy for 1 week and will be able to veg by the pool with him for the second! with a trip to Mumbai thrown in for shopping. We will be staying at the Marriott. I will be travelling to Hampi and have seen a recommendation for Hampi Boulders hotel in a guide (apparently the owner has two tame leopards as pets!). Anyone have any knowledge of this hotel - mostly the recommendations are in Hospet. Any thoughts?

Hobbes - would appreciate your recommendations for Goa as previously mentioned. Would also appreciate recommendations for Mumbai - shopping, hotels, sights, food etc.

Thanks again.
lyall is offline  
Jul 19th, 2005, 06:52 AM
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Hi, Goa is lovely...I come from a place called Belgaum which is about 3 hours from Goa. Amboli is a place inbetween Goa and Belgaum and the drive to Amboli is through the western Ghats, a scary experience if you are first timer in hill (read mountain) drives. But its lovely up in Amboli and after hot days in Goa it will be a lovely change to climb up to Amboli. Or a little further away from Panjim there is Terekhol with an old Maratha fort converted into a hotel, if you stay on the western tower room the views are amazing and early morning waking up to surfs crashing under your bedroom is mindblowing. Enquire about both places at your hotel. (http://www.journeymart.com/DExplorer...rekhol_goa.htm). Have fun and dont forget to eat Pamphret fry, a classic fish dish of Goa.
lordofthejungle is offline  
Jul 19th, 2005, 07:02 AM
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One further note, I am now settled in UK and know Marriotts and Hiltons, but if you have the budget for a Mariott and want a local flavour do stay in Taj....highly recommended, you have few properties to choose from at www.tajhotels.com
lordofthejungle is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2005, 05:35 PM
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Lyall, sorry for the delay. Has been a busy few days. In Mumbai where are you staying? Will accordingly reco things to do.

In Goa. As you are staying at Panjim you should plan to hire a car and go see the North and the South one day each. In the South my fav property is the Taj Exotica. If you call them up and book lunch they may agree that you can hang out by their strip of beach for a while. Make a day of it. In the North a great place to go for an evening meal is the open air restaurant at the Aguada Holiday Village. Great ambienbce, very reasonable. Other int hotel restaurants are at Nilaya hermitage and Pousada Tauma. Non hotel are all in the north, there is a strip of them near a bar called I think Titos which were great. Wed is the Anjuna flea market if you enjoy flea markets.

Two shops to check out are Casa Goa and Sangolda. Casa Goa stocks Goan designer, Wendell Rodericks - he also has his own boutique so if you like his clothes ask about his stand alone shop; when u are there aslo check out or ask about the jewelry done by Franco Fernandes with him and the footwear done by Edwin Pinto. The latter is near Nilaya so can be combined.Camelot is a great lifestyle store opened by a Banglorean photographer who has now made Goa her home. Sosa's has a collection of Indian designers under one roof.
hobbes is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2005, 03:37 AM
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Hobbes - many thanks for your post. I agree that the Taj Exotica looks fabulous - will try as you suggest to spend some time there. The shops also sound great - just what I'm looking for. We have not yet booked a hotel in Mumbai - would like to stay at the Taj Mahal hotel but think it may be too late to book. Would however like to be in that general area which seems to be close to the major sights - any suggestions? My idea is to travel one way by train, the other by air which will give us approx. 2 days in Mumbai - is this enough? Any suggestions for shopping - mainly for menswear. Do you know anything about Hampi?
LOFJ - thanks for your suggestions. Amboli looks lovely.
Thanks again.
lyall is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 04:03 PM
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Other hotels you can consider near the Taj are the Oberoi - has a Towers and a premium wing and the Intercontinental. The overnight train one way is a good idea esp as you will disembark near your hotel. Shopping for menswear. Formal - great Zodiac shop in the arcade of the Taj hotel for office wear shirts and accessories. My fav Mumbai boutique Ensemble at Kala Ghoda keeps menswear tho exp. Cotton World in the lanes of Colaba has good menswear very reasonable. WestSide department store at Kala Ghoda is the M&S of India i.e. all in store brands. Fab India also at Kala Ghoda has an interesting range of stuff (both very near Ensemble, all suggestions South Mumbai near your hotel).
hobbes is offline  
Aug 6th, 2005, 08:10 AM
  #19  
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Hobbes - thanks for all your info. Have managed to get a room at the Taj Mahal after all for $225 - not sure if this is a good rate but we wanted to stay. Everything now organised for our trip - apart from my visit to Hampi - will start a sep thread for this I think. Thanks again everyone.
lyall is offline  
Aug 6th, 2005, 10:22 AM
  #20  
 
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Check out my trip report on Rajastan/Goa of February. If you have a full week in Goa, you will be able to take things very easy. Sightseeing is interesting but relatively limited.
cram is offline  

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