A Weekend in Goa - the Hippie's Paradise by a budget traveler

Arnav Mathur | 05-Oct-2016

Goa is a very popular coastal state very close to Maharashtra. It’s barely 600 KM from Mumbai (10 hours), 450 KM from Pune (8 hours) and around 560 KM from Bengaluru (9 hours). Close proximity to these cities results in Goa being the favourite hang out all year long.

The roads are in excellent conditions for all three routes and State transport and Private buses operate daily on these routes and in plenty.

A Weekend in Goa ? the Hippie?s Paradise by a budget traveler

There are a lot of reasons for Goa being a favourite among everyone like

  • Goa has it all, from beaches to nightclubs to waterfall to forest sanctuaries.
  • The taxes levied are very less compared to other states and this results in cheap petrol and cheap booze. One can get a pint of beer for as less as INR 25 from a shop and a litre of petrol costs almost INR 5-10 less than other states.

The fewer rates and a good standard of living attract foreigners from all over the globe. Some even come and settle here owing to its no extradition state for foreigners. The high influx of foreigners through the past decades has put Goa on the Hippie trail and it has become a hippie paradise.

The majority of the foreigners, who have settled here, are off to Old Manali in the summer months and return back to Goa during the winter months. This is the reason why many of the shacks are shut during the summer time.

As I was studying in Pune, I have experienced Goa during different months and each time with a different set of companions, from a family outing to a friend’s get-together to a couple weekend, I have done it all. And I have realised that it’s the perfect budget destination for all type of budgets ranging from INR 3k per person for a 3D/2N weekend to as high as 30-40k per person.

Having stayed both, in a 5-star resort (Club Mahindra, Varca) and a hotel in Calangute (Calangute Residency) and travelling both in own car and by public transport, here are some of my tips which can enable you to enjoy Goa at any point of time in a budget of your choice. I’ll divide it into 3 categories: Accommodation, transport, and food.

A Weekend in Goa ? the Hippie?s Paradise by a budget traveler

Accommodation

  1. In the recent 4-5 years, the ease of booking a hotel has improved and so have a number of hostels come up.
  2. A lot of hostels such as Zostel, Wanderer’s hostel, Roadhouse hostel, Wonderland hostel are operating in North Goa. One can stay for the night for as less as INR 300 per night.
  3. In the time of an aggressive travel industry, companies like OYO rooms, Fab hotels offer a well-budgeted room with all amenities for as less as INR 1000 per night or even lesser if booked well in advance and with some promo codes.
  4. One can even check out Airbnb, Stayzilla for home stay options, which offers a unique experience.
  5. There are a lot of budget hotels spread around Goa for as less as INR 500 per night and the same can be booked on websites like GoIbibo, Yatra, MakeMyTripetc and with a promo code this can be much less.
  6. PS : A hotel near the beach may not always be the cheapest option, rather book it anywhere in the radius of 500m from the beach , this way you will be away from the crowd.

Transport

  1. AC Sleeper and Semi Sleeper buses ply daily from Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru and one can get a seat in the bus for anything between INR 600-1500 per person, depending on the company and when you book the ticket. These rates as usually shoot up during the peak tourist season in December.
  2. The train is also an option, but it is advisable only when you are coming in a group as the time taken is more than the bus and the rates are somewhat similar.
  3. Driving down is usually the most sought after option and economical too if travelling in a group.
  4. However, a better environmentally friendly alternative is to take a bus till Goa and then further rent a Car or a Bike/Scooter for the duration of the stay with rates ranging from INR 200-500 for a 2 wheeler/day and around INR 1000-1500 for a 4 wheeler/day. The roads are in excellent condition and the petrol is very economical.

Food and Drinks

  1. Both food and drinks are very cheap in Goa as the demand is much less than the surplus supply. There is a shack around every corner in Goa.
  2. To be on the economical side, it is better to have a tummy filling Indian meal at any of the Indian restaurants for as less as INR 150 per head and then head to the beach shack to relax.
  3. All the major fast food chains like KFC, McDonalds, and Dominoes are present in Goa, but the feeling of having food in a Goan shack/restaurant is something different altogether.
  4. It’s advisable to buy your booze from shops as the rates in the shacks are almost double for beer. A pint of Kings Beer (Goa exclusive) costs INR 25 in the shop and around INR 50 in any shack. It is very common to find everyone walking on the streets in Goa with a pint of beer in hand.

Some other Goan to do things

  1. Everyone should make it a point to try some of the Goan speciality dishes such as Pork Vindaloo, Chicken Xacuti, Chicken Cafreal, Goan Fish and Prawn Curries, at least once during their stay.
  2. Everyone must try the local Goan drink, i.e. Cashew or Coconut Fenni. The taste is unique and extremely strong, but shill worth a try.
  3. Goan cashew nuts are very famous and one can get a variety in any of the Govt approved traders, with rates as low as INR 150-200 for 500gm Cashew Nuts.

A Weekend in Goa ? the Hippie?s Paradise by a budget traveler

Goa is a travellers hotspot and a backpacker’s paradise, hence a visit to Goa is a must and one should spend a minimum amount on the accommodation and transport and enjoy the typical Goan experiences because it’s the memories that remain forever.

Already been to Goa? Share your experience in the comments.

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About the Author
Arnav Mathur
Arnav is a civil engineer by profession and a hard core foodie and a travel aficionado at heart. Being an Army brat by birth, travelling and socialising is in his DNA. His belief is : "Go to a new place every month or two to explore, relax and live life to the fullest."