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Sweeping palm trees, salty air, and a laid back lifestyle bring people to Goa each season to relax and enjoy “sussegad” (the Goan vibes).

Words and Images: Hippie in Heels

Goa, India is best known as the end of the hippie trail. In the 60’s and 70’s both Americans and Europeans backpacked through Europe and the Middle East down to the end of the trail, Goa, where they partied night and day, slept and caves, and some even burnt their passports. It has kept this hippie vibe and still plays the music created here, trance music, at most parties.

Goa has a lot to offer travellers. Because many expats live here, you have a huge variety of authentic food from around the world, it’s very affordable, and the locals are known to be more laid back here than the rest of India.

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Goa is more westernised than other areas of India; you can wear bikinis here on the beaches. Goa is a small state (you can drive from end to end in under 4 hours) but there are 34 beaches so it’s important to know which ones to stay near. The North is busy and has more parties and the South is very quiet and relaxed.

I’ve been living in Goa for nearly four years, and know it pretty well by now! Here are my top five tips for you to have a great time.

Choose a hotel wisely based on location

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You cannot “walk everywhere” like you can in big cities. A scooter or taxi is necessary here no matter where you stay.

Don’t get wrapped up worrying about what tourist things you should do here

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There are churches in Old Goa and old Portuguese streets and architecture in Panjim. There are some temples and big Catholic churches. But, the best thing about Goa is just getting into the slow Goa lifestyle. Put your checklist away and just enjoy your time here.

Shop!

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The Wednesday flea market in Anjuna is world famous and the Saturday night market in Arpora is a night bazaar with bands, food stalls, and lots of booze. There are wonderful Indian handicrafts but also leather, silk, and soft cotton to buy. Foreigners sell here as well. Here’s a full guide to shopping in Goa.

Eat local!

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The food here is spicy but usually has a coconut milk base, helping to tame it. You must try chicken xacuti and the vindaloo. Have some rava fried kingfish and drizzle lemon on top. It’s heavenly!

Try at least one party

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Goa is really known for its parties and you can’t come all this way and not see what it’s about. Trance isn’t for everyone, and personally, I don’t enjoy it, but it’s a way of life for so many people who travel here each year to see their favourite DJ’s. It’s a unique lifestyle to let yourself explore while you’re here.

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