With coconut trees lined on either side of the highway, you experience the distinct smell of the sea in the air - the one that exclusively belongs to Goa.

September happens to be my favourite month. And, why not? Birthday months tend to have that special place in our lives! Being a true Libran (that I am), I personally prefer to spend my special day at some extra special place, getting pampered with little luxuries and collecting lots of memories that usually last me until my next birthday. So, with travel on my mind, I shortlisted a couple of exotic destinations, but ...only to realise my passport had already expired. And, before I could blame the bad timing or imagine celebrating my special day blowing away candles while attending a few phone calls and replying text messages, I already had a backup plan in my mind.
So, instead of brooding over what I wasn't able to achieve, I booked myself for the much awaited holiday - to a short, sweet Goan escapade. 

It's only after you land in Goa, you realise the place has much more to offer than the sun, sand, seafood, and fiery spices. With coconut trees lined on either side of the highway, you experience the distinct smell of the sea in the air - the one that exclusively belongs to Goa.
The kaleidoscopic view of golden sand beaches, especially as the sun goes down, is sure to transport you to a different world of calmness and laid-backness. And, later as the blue sky drapes the thick blanket of darkness, pint-sized Goa transforms itself into the party capital with revelers thronging to the hottest new clubs and cafes.  
Luckily, September does not happen to be the peak tourism time in Goa. Infact, you may encounter many Goan shacks and seaside restaurants either renovating or getting ready for the much awaited Christmas and New Year’s Holiday season. 
Surprisingly, even popular beaches like the Baga in North Goa (which is otherwise totally packed during winters) are a little less crowded during this time of the year.  
Well, for me this Goa trip was a completely different experience. Firstly, I got a booking at one of the partier friendly resorts in the backpacker haven of North Goa. And, secondly, due to fewer bookings, the hotel staff, without me having to request, upgraded my room to a seaside view premium category - luxury, isn't it!!!
colourful streets in Goa
Interestingly, beaches too were clean and more private. There was sun but then there were rains too. Goa definitely offered me a mixed bag of everything- serenity for the day, trance parties at night, fiery Vindaloo and Goan Xacuti throughout the stay and lots of happy shopping. What else could one ask for?  So, if I spent my birthday afternoon lazying at the hippyish Anjuna Beach (which was barely 7 km from my lodging place), then in the evening I was hopping around at North Goa’s much-hyped Tito's lane. And, after trying a string of cafes and bars pumping loud music and serving amazing food, I eventually decided to spend rest of my day, or night to be precise, at one of the restaurants by the beach. 
A day that started with a fresh note of serenity ended with the music of all kinds- right from Reggae to Punjabi to old Hindi remixes to the noise of cutlery and above all, the soothing rhythm of waves.

#First Time Traveller's Tips
  • As you land in Goa, its advisable to opt for a prepaid taxi from the airport exit point. Their cabbies are not just reliable but they have a better direction sense too.
  • For commuting around, you may hire a two-wheeler - scooty, bike or even a car. But make sure to carry your DL besides any another photo ID card too. 
  •  Maps are passé. When in Goa come handy with a smartphone that’s activated with unlimited internet for GPS. 
  • Another best way to see Goa is through HOHO bus promoted by Goa Tourism.  
  •  If you are against using plastic straws, don’t forget to carry paper straws from home as Goa is yet to catch up with the trend. 
  •  Most importantly, many hotels, even the best places to stay in Goa (North specifically) do not allow kids. 
  • So as you decide on where to stay in Goa, make sure to confirm with the hotel staff once.

#Shopping in North Goa

Once in North Goa, you’ll get lots of beachwear, cool tees with funky one-liners and eye catchy prints, leather bags, seashell souvenirs, Goan spices, Cashewnuts and yes, their very own Port Wine. Though Goa has end number of malls and lots of marketplaces, when it comes to shopping, my personal favourite remains to be the one around Tito’s Lane, Anjuna Flea Market (Wednesday) and Mackie’s Saturday Night Bazar.  

images copyright: ©pinkstreakblog