Playing in Paradise

During my four months living abroad, I was fortunate enough to do a little traveling. This time, we went south to Goa, India. Fortunately, once you are in Southeast Asia it is pretty cheap to travel around.

When I grew up, I always saw people go on these extravagant vacations that I thought I would never be able to afford. Little did I know, at 22 years of age I would be waking up at a resort to a view of the Arabian Sea.

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We stayed for four days at the Mayfair Hideaway Spa Resort and this was legitimately the view just outside of our room. Inside our room was just as incredible with a spacious bedroom, giant bathroom, bathrobes, mini-fridge, snacks, tea, a flat screen TV, and cozy beds. The hotel even has a library and DVD rental on site. If there wasn’t so much to explore outside of the resort, we could have stayed here forever. To top it all off we only spent $60 a night!

If you do want to get out and see Goa, the resort provides a shuttle to and from a selection of local beaches. The first day we decided to spend our day relaxing on Pololem Beach. 

Pololem is the place to go if you just want to de-stress and have a day full of relaxation and delicious food. The local restaurants provide beach recliners to anyone that eats there which is super convenient- it was so nice to have the umbrella for shade and a comfy cushion to tan on. After spending three months living in hectic Hyderabad, it felt so nice to just lay back and relax.

The next day, we were a bit more adventurous and decided to hike the Dudhsagar Falls.

The Dudhsagar Falls are famous for being one of India’s tallest waterfalls with three tiers of beautiful ridges! Make sure to bring cash with you to this location (INR) because you will need to pay a local guide to take you by jeep up to the falls. Again, totally worth the expense because you are treated to a nice ride through the jungle with a few stops along the way.

Somewhere in the middle of the jeep ride they had us stop at the only house in the jungle preserve. The people who lived there keep watch of the temple and make a local alcohol named, Fenny. This alcohol is traditionally made from cashews or coconut and can only be found in Goa.

This moment will stick with me forever.. we were sitting in a shack, in the middle of a jungle where three tigers roam free, drinking a strange liquor from a bottle that had clearly been resealed. It was such a surreal moment for me. I could not believe this was my life.

After we took a shot we headed on to the main attraction – the falls. The water was freezing cold but so beautiful we couldn’t resist. They provided us with life jackets and after a lot of toe dipping we decided to go for it. It felt so refreshing after spending a day in the hot jungle.

We came back to the hotel exhausted and ready for bed. For our last day we decided to explore the northern beaches which are said to be the place to party. They were not wrong.

We arrived at the north beaches after renting a taxi. The drive was a bit longer but super scenic. The beach was pretty crowded so we didn’t swim but there was a really good selection of food and drinks as well as shopping! The shopping here was definitely the most fun. There was at least a mile of stalls leading to the beach that had clothing, tapestries, pottery, and much more.

The drum shop pictured above was so cool! The two men working the shop told us how they make the instruments, how to play the drums, and even hand carved ours. They made it look so easy to play but let me tell you, my neighbors are not happy about mine.

In addition to the adventures, Goa also offers an interesting culture. This land was once settled by the Portuguese leaving behind gorgeous architecture and culinary influence. Goa also has a language called Konkani which has no official written alphabet (sometimes Marathi or the Roman script is used by government). Most signs are written in Russian (Goa is full of Russian tourists). Here are some pictures of the Portuguese influenced homes:

 

That is Goa in a nutshell: tons of fun, relaxation, and full access to the jungle and Arabian Sea. Next time you want to take a tropical vacation keep Goa in mind! Once you’ve got a plane ticket, everything else is fairly cheap and extremely worth it.

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