For a girls-only holiday out of town, there are few places more lovely and lively than Goa. You’ve made your plans, got your tickets (even Instagrammed them!) and are all set for a week of fun. Read this handy checklist to ensure you’re not missing anything
What to pack Goa’s the kind of place where you let loose and go crazy with colours and accessories. Forget the heels, the full-length denims and the nylons. The Goa style is basically beach-wear: shorts, jumpsuits, flowy dresses, and of course, bikinis at the beach. Pack clothes that are light cotton, airy and comfortable to get into. Top them up with long beaded chains, bracelets, and flip-flops. The coastal city is notorious for frizzing up hair, so don’t forget to pack serums, hair creams, and maybe a bandana. Get a sunscreen lotion and sunglasses too, to avoid getting tanned too much or unevenly.
Where to eat, drink and party While Goa is full of restaurants, pubs and bars that offer all kinds of cuisines, Britto’s in Baga, Martin’s Corner in the south and Curlie’s at Anjuna are some restaurants that you mustn’t miss eating at. They’re famous for some of the best Goan-style seafood dishes that are highly recommended. The night-life in Goa is the best you’ll get in India, from stylish clubs like Tito’s to the open-air dance floor at Mambo. Club Cubana is known for its high-profile celebrity patrons and also has a Ladies’ Night on Wednesday.
Where and what to shop There isn’t much in Goa that you won’t find anywhere else, but the experience is what counts. Hats and necklaces made of beads or sea-shells are some things that you must get from Goa. The numerous flea markets in Goa let you believe you are getting a good deal on those trinkets and T-shirts. The Wednesday flea market at Anjuna has hippie, funky tops and dresses and snazzy footwear. Find your hats, bags and handicrafts at the lamp-lit Saturday night markets at Baga or Ingo’s at Arpora. You might have to brush up on your bargaining skills as the vendors are known to quote ridiculous prices. Goa also has its share of designer boutique stores like the chic and ethnic Malini Ramani, The Private Collection, known for its exquisite jewellery, handbags and more at Candolim, and Janota for custom-made shoes and sandals at Bardez.
Get around, kick back If (and when) you’re through with all the song and dance, and are craving some quiet time, drive down south. Past the crowds of Calangute, beyond Panjim and on the other side of the airport is where the real Goa comes alive. Narrow country roads, long sandy beaches (with few or almost no shacks), and most importantly, the peace that has long migrated out of North Goa – this is where holiday turns vacation. You can park yourself at any of the beaches, though Agonda, Colomb, Palem and the now-popular Palolem are particularly inviting. Known for its dolphin-spotting tours, Palolem is the most picturesque and is considered to be a relatively safe beach to swim at. And of course, a vacation in Goa is incomplete without a spa treatment. Pamper yourself at the Hyatt’s Sereno Spa or Jiva Spas at Vivanta by Taj, or get an Ayurvedic massage at Nilaya Hermitage.
Be safe Goa is a chilled out place for girls, even late into the night. Just practise general caution, use common sense, and avoid going to isolated places alone. If you want to stay out at beaches after dusk, South Goa is known to have a better crowd than North Goa, though common sense and caution cannot be suspended anywhere.
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