Before arriving in Goa, I naively didn’t realise just how big it was. And what many people don’t tell you about Goa is just how hard it is to travel from one part of Goa to another.
The Goan government have limited the availability of local transport so that local providers can benefit financially. So all you’ll really find in Goa is public local busses (for small distances), expensive taxis, motorbike taxis and overpriced tuktuks. So travelling between different parts of Goa is super difficult.
Our first stop in Goa was Arambol, a town with strong hippie vibes. We were visiting just before season starts so shops and restaurants etc were only just beginning to open up.
Where to stay
We stayed in a hotel called Casa Seaesta booked through Agoda. The rooms in the hotel were lovely and we managed to get an incredible deal on our stay at £4 a night for a lovely double room, due to the time of year of our visit.
Despite the lovely room, a couple of things did let the hotel down. When we arrived the WiFi was not working due to the rain, which was fair enough, however still after a day the WiFi was not fixed. We then complained and they eventually said it will be fixed in an hour. As it turned out, it could have been fixed all along and the staff just couldn’t be bothered to travel to fix it.
Once it was fixed, WiFi was working perfectly. Issue number 2 is probably only an issue for the time of year we went. But there isn’t an official road leading to the hotel. Just a muddy clay dirt road that is almost impossible to walk down, particularly after rain.
Where to eat
Here is a list of some of the top places we ate in Arambol.
Krishna Bar and Restaurant
We ate here on several occasions, partly due to its proximity to our hotel and partly due to its great food and low prices.
We ordered a butter chicken curry, a vegetable curry, chicken tikka, rice and some peshwari naan unlike any other I have had before.
Location: Arambol, Goa 403519, India
The Tibet Cafe
This restaurant was definitely by far my favourite. It combined a great aesthetic, great atmosphere and great food, along with lovely staff.
Location: Ashwem road, Morjim, Goa 403512, India
Cuisine: Goan and Tibetan
I’ll always stick by this, street food is so much better than restaurant food. People are often scared to eat street food when they visit India, however it is often way more fresh than restaurant food. They have a high turnover, as they get a lot of local customers and you can see where everything is being cooked. Often I walked past a restaurant kitchen in India and had a mini panic attack.
Price: not even £
Best beaches in Arambol
The good thing about visiting Arambol/Goa in general during off peak season, is how lovely, empty and calm the beaches are.
The first beach we visited was Arambol beach. It was a short 15 minute walk from our hotel, and it had several small little cafes on the sand that you could go to for food.
Although this beach had plenty of cute clothes shops and other shops near by, and was close to our hotel, it wasn’t the prettiest of Goan beaches. There was quite a bit of rubbish laying around on the sand. But like I said, it wasn’t peak season so maybe they clean it all up as the tourism numbers start to increase.
We decided to rent a bike for a day to explore around Arambol. We met up with two of our friends that we had met in Agra at the start of our trip. They took us to a beach that they had been going to for the past two days.
There is a little shop where you can buy cold drinks, beers, some food etc and there are a couple of street food carts selling cooked snacks, like sweet corn etc.
This beach was far cleaner than Arambol beach, and had a beautiful back drop of a jungle cliff side facing the sea. This beach was far nicer to relax on, as it was quieter and didn’t have any people trying to sell you things.
Once again though, that may just be because it wasn’t peak season yet.
The other great factor to this beach, is that the journey to get there is absolutely beautiful.
This beach is located further south of Arambol, in a town called Mandrem. We found that there were a lot more restaurants and places to eat in this area and perhaps a bit more going on than in Arambol, especially during peak season.
We were able to watch sunset from this beach, and it was beautiful.
There were more people her than Keri Beach, but not so much that you wouldn’t enjoy yourself.
This beach is even further south than Ashwem, but worth the drive.
It is mostly known for its turtle hatching, which unfortunately we didn’t see but would love to. Regardless, it is a beautiful beach with a long stretch of off white sand.
The beach curves around into a cove at the south end, which creates a beautiful landscape of lush green mountains.
Tips for Arambol
1. If you’re going during off peak season, don’t expect much to be open. In Goa they tend to close everything during off peak. I didn’t know this, I thought it would just be less busy and things would still be operating, that’s not the case.
2. Definitely rent a bike. Transport in Goa isn’t simple and taxis can be crazy expensive, so rent a bike to explore. We paid 400 INR for the day but prices may fluctuate depending on season.
3. If you have never ridden a bike before, then this is the perfect place to learn. The roads are super smooth in comparison to Rajasthan, and it is also less busy. I rode my first bike in Goa and I loved it.