I’m not sure what happened with that hugely popular 70’s fascination and general migration to Goa’s (hippy) beach getaway that was. It seems these days the very mention of India holds all sorts of concern and fear.
Thailand and Bali are reigning supreme as that cheap beach getaway, and with the bloody great beaches, resorts and weather it seems a pretty legit (touristy and unadventurous) option.
Goa, on the other hand is my pick. This tiny state on the Western coast of India holds everything you could want from a beach escape, and really, in terms of ‘India’, Goa and Goans’ sit outside the norm.
Each beach holds a different atmosphere dependant on what you’re after; if you like playing bongo drums till 5am, then hippy vibes Gokarna is for you. If you want that Bali scene head to Baga, if like me you are way to chilled for any of that head to the lesser known Palolem. When you hit the beach depending weather you turn left or right will determine your stay; left is great if you want to party and pass out during the day, and right (my option) if you like your sleep at night and during the day enjoying lazing in charming restaurants sipping a mango lassi and adventuring via kayak (because you’re not hungover), there’s also a great island often secluded which makes for an active day and a decent chance you’ll see some dolphins.
The water holds a pretty warm temperature, making it easy to spend the whole day alternating between laying under coconut palms to floating in the crystal clear ocean. Sold yet?
The accommodation here is cheap, for a double cabin you can pay as little at $8 per night, sans luxury but perfectly charming with decks facing out into village like setups which is great for meeting the occupants of the 10 or so cabins around you. You may also have to adapt to ‘cold water’ bucket showers which isn’t hard when the sun is so damn hot and no, you won’t have tv or wifi (which is something you will find at every café and restaurant you eat at so don’t worry). If you’re willing to fork out the big dollars you can get a pretty classy set up for about $50, really though, it’s not necessary.
The food is great, my breakfast every day from the charming Little World in the market village who make the best muesli and chai this world over, and the wander there is the best way to view the local market of hand made trinkets and made to measure clothing (you know you want a sari).
If you feel like exploring the walk along the coastline continues endlessly, or, for something a touch more adventurous hire a motorbike and brave the (relatively tame) Indian road touring about the state.