Vagator & Palolem, Goa

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After a turbulent beginning of my experience in India and an unexpected (yet wonderful)  three-days stop in Varanasi, I finally managed to get to Goa, where time finally slowed down a bit and I had time to recover from the chaos of the first week.

I arrived in Vagator on Wednesday evening and met straight away lots of other travelers staying at Asterix hostel, one of the best places to stay at if you’re traveling on a budget but want a clean place and a fun vibe. On my first night, even though I was knackered from the journey, I got convinced into going clubbing to Club Cubana, a club hidden in Vagator hills surrounded by palm trees and swimming pools, definitely worth a visit! Not to say that drinks are free once in – don’t expect amazing cocktails though, but bottled beer is always a good choice.
The three following days in Vagator went quite quickly, between chilling at the beach, and hanging around the hostel, but worth a mention is our trip to the Dudhsagar Falls on friday: me, Judith, Deniz, Nir, Luke and Alex decided at late morning that we wanted to go see the falls, and couldn’t find a car to hire to take us there as it was a two hours drive away and everyone kept saying it was too late. After searching all town we randomly found one, but soon realized the driver wasn’t quite in the best shape to do the job, as he kept on falling asleep on the wheel (he looked high on something to be honest). Luckily Luke is an Aussie paramedic who also drives ambulances, so he took over and drove us there! It’s always handy to have someone like him around. When we arrived there another ride in the rocky mountain through some rivers was expecting us, not nice if you’re sitting in the back bumping around for half hour… But then we had one hour to enjoy a swim in the falls sweet water, which was definitely worth the whole journey there (and back).
Vagator Beach
Before…

During…

“Im alright when I fall asleep you can drive!”
…And finally after!

My last day in Vagator was unfortunately spent in bed with high fever and terrible stomach ache, due to a stupid overpriced beef burger I ate the night before at Tin Tin restaurant, so I couldn’t go to the night market. Apparently, from what the others told me, it is nice but way too crowded (mostly by Russians, just like any other place in Goa).
Chilling at Asterix Hostel West Wing
The day after I took a taxi to Palolem with a lovely Danish couple, Anne Sophie and Rasmus, and another British girl from the hostel, so we could split the Rs 2000 fare into something more affordable.
Palolem is just a breath of fresh air after Vagator, a long beach with white sand surrounded by palm trees and beach huts built just between them facing the Arabic Sea. Great place to relax before moving on back to chaotic India.
After visiting a few huts I decided to stop at Sameer, one of the firsts on the right coming from the main street, which happened to be the best value for money – Rs 500 a night for a private hut with bathroom attached, don’t have the sea view but it’s only few steps away, and I can definitely hear it!
On the last night in Palolem I treated myself with a handpicked Masala King Fish at Sameer restaurant, which was just wonderful!
Chosing the fish
Our amazing dishes
I wish I had more time to stop here and relax, but I only have a few more weeks left in India so today I’m moving south to Gokarna (Karnataka), where I will stop for a couple of days.
Overall Goa gave me the impression of not being really India, as it is so touristy and liberal (not to say quieter and cleaner than any other part), so it is the perfect place where to start a journey here for the first time, to get used little by little to the Indian life.
Moneywise, Goa is also more expensive than many other places in India, I’ve been trying to stick to my Rs 1500 a day budget but here it proves to be a difficult challenge! Here are few examples of my expenses during this week to give you an idea on what to expect:
VAGATOR
Asterix hostel
Rs 650 4 bed room ac
Rs 450 7 bed
Dinner at restaurant
Rs 110 for a Masala Dosa, Idli Sambar and a Coke
Rs 1200 taxi from the airport to Vagator
D Falls
Rs 2500 car from Vagator
Rs 2100 second car
Rs 20 entrance
Rs 30 camera (no one here checks if you have one, no matter what the driver will tell you)
PALOLEM
Lunch at Havana Restaurant
Rs 170 for a Calamari dish and Coca Cola
Sareem Restaurant and Beach Huts
Rs 400 on average for the King Fish, but it depends on the size
A meal is generally around Rs 200 with big portions and drinks
Rs 500 beach hut
Here there are lots of nice little shops around that sell nice stuff, but remember to barter before buying anything overpriced!
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