North Goa of the buzzing nightlife, of the Titos and Brittos, of the bustling neon markets; of the crowds of families and teenagers competing to keep it sober or wild, of the traffic jams caused by rampaging youngsters on scooters. Nevertheless, the best parties, the ultra-cuisine restaurants, the exciting watersports, the firecrackers, the well-dressed people at beach shacks; they all occur at the beaches of North Goa.
If you manage to not get psychosomatic ally lost in the alleys of mystical Anjuna, you might land up at the clean sands of Vagator. (UcL Tip: Walk across Vagator beach and navigate the rocks at its northern end to land at a secluded portion of the beach with only a couple of shacks to pamper you with food and libations. It’s pristine.)
Ashwem is yuppie and hippie at the same time. It is a well-groomed and tailored version of the hippie Goa. Young entrepreneurs have set up lively places with artistic décor and delectable health food. There’s a surf shack and an organic garden resort; yoga classes are offered all over. The wide and long flat beach is perfect for joggers and runners.
Mandrem is a yoga hub with quite a few resorts and centers offering classes, courses, retreats and healing rehabs. It is a small, quiet, quaint stretch of sand.
Morjim – turtle beach
This is not the Goa you’ve heard or read about and maybe seen. This a place to stay, not visit. To experience an alternate way to live, away from the cities, elsewhere from the hustle, apart from the endless pursuit; come, stay and get to know the place, the people. Meet these people from all over the world who live here temporarily or permanently and learn that there are purposes of existence beyond whatever you might have seen. Wake up on the beach, go for a swim, learn some yoga on the sand, grab breakfast, hike into the hills, forests and trails, sit under a tree with a congregation of fellow travelers, share some fruit, maybe a smoke, play some music, sing along, partake of common tea, walk back out, another swim, hit the beach shacks, drink some, dance some, while the night away. Wake up, repeat and we guarantee you’ll have a completely different day.
UnCrushed Secret: A couple of kilometers along the main Arambol beach will bring you to the Sweet Water Lake; a tiny oasis of fresh water surrounded by coconut trees, barely 200 meters away from the vast, salty sea. A trail from behind the lake takes you to the ‘Banyan Tree’, which is exactly what it means except that it has been a permanent encampment for over 40 years. The baba who lives here claims that the Beatles came to hang out there when they traveled India.
For close interaction and more bonhomie with happy singing, chai-making forest dwellers; another little tree shrine is called the ‘Mango Tree’. You find it only if you ask for it!
UcL Alert: Drum Circle at sunset is a regular affair during the holiday season. A few people will line up with their djembes, bongos, drums and a bunch of people will gather together and dance to the beats.