How to travel in Goa in the most cost-effective way

Hack #1

  1. For Airport Transfers: Ola, Uber or any other such popular cab services are actually banned in Goa. Local citizens are against of any such online services.
    But, don’t worry Govt. of Goa has launched an app for cab booking called GoaMiles available on both IOS and Play Store or you can take a Govt bus from the airport too (though the frequency is not that good, in case you are in a hurry). When you will come out of the Airport Terminal you will see a big crowd of drivers/travel agents, who will start approaching you. Don’t listen to them, instead, book a cab using GoaMiles. The cost will be not only economical but lesser as compared to other local taxis there.

    Caution: Never go for sharing/pooling with local taxi drivers there. The cost will be less and lucrative, but you will be in big trouble in the mid-way. Share taxis keep on stopping in midway and wait for more passengers to onboard else they transfer their passengers to some other cab.
    I travelled from Airport to Calungate and it charged around INR 1030 while the local taxis were charging in between INR 1500–2000 bucks.
    Same GoaMiles app you can use while coming back to Aiport also. But, one thing to remember currently there are not many cars running under GoaMiles, so during the pick hours, you might face difficulty in getting a cab. Same is true if you are staying at some remote outskirt, where again you will not get a GoaMiles cab easily. So, check the app well in advance, so that you will not miss your flights or trains.

  2. For Local Goa commute: The answer is straight- Bikes/Scooters on rent. Yes, Goa is very known for this type of rental service.

Almost everywhere you will find small bike rental shops and agents roaming here and there, trying to get customers for rental bikes. This is the best and most economical way to commute in Goa. The only thing you need is a valid Driving License. The cost of these bikes/scooters ranges from INR 300–500 per day depending on the season and day of the week. Bargaining is the key if you want a better price. You will easily get a bike/scooter in INR 300–350 if you bargained correctly.
Note: Before taking, always check:

    1. the bike condition. Because many times the owner gives very old bikes with very less mileage.
    2. try to get the copy of bike papers so that you are not caught up in legal matters while you are on road.

3. Fuel for your bike:
Like rental bike shops, there are small shops selling petrol too. But the cost will be almost 30–40% higher than what the fuel pumps/stations will be offering.

But stations are not everywhere, so in case you are in a hurry than only pay high to get petrol, else refill from fuel station only. In reality selling fuel in the bottle is illegal in India and also it will contain impurities.

While I tried to cover everything about travel in my answer, but in case you still have questions- feel free to comment. I would love to share more from my experiences.

Hack #2
How to get some Good quality, authentic and cost-effective food and drinks in Goa?

Say No to big pubs……. When I said No it doesn’t mean I am saying you not to go there.
Go there and yes you should go there, but just to enjoy the DJ and Karaoke and not the Food 🙂

It’s not really an eating place when you have tight budgets. Order some starters or a glass of drink and just keep on enjoying the free unlimited music and dance with your friends. Best time to go is evening 9 pm onwards.

And, if you are a foodie like me… then the best places to explore the famous Goan food is not the pubs but the local restaurants/dhabas and homemade food outlets.

Here are some of the lesser known but authentic food points which I spotted during my last visit (Share your experience in comments, so that I can keep this list updated). This is the list which you can/must explore. The list is mostly of North Goa, as I was staying at Calangute:

  1. Shree Jaganath Restaurant
    (Address: Calangute – Anjuna Rd, Baga, Arpora, Goa | Direction: https://goo.gl/maps/DoJtJybiE422)
    If you are an Odia or Bengali, then definitely this is a place for you. Quantity and Quality at an economical price on the plate. I tried Prawns and Mutton Thali. Rice quantity was very good.. was feeling like home.
    This restaurant also serves Indian Thali at the best price. Thali completely gives a home like feel here.
    Chicken Thali – INR 99 (2 piece chicken, with sabzi of the day, rice, chapati, dal, salad, pickle).. I don’t think you will find something cheaper and authentic than this in Goa 🙂
    same for Fish Thali.
  2. Punjabi Grill Bar And Restaurant
    (Address: Calangute- Candolim Road, Gauravaddo, Arpora, Goa | Direction: https://goo.gl/maps/AdsPtx1Cu1s)
    If you are looking for an authentic Goan Food, then this is NOT the place 🙂
    I know, many of us don’t like Fish, or food prepared in coconut base for them this is the place to try the other traditional (especially, north Indian ) foods. If you want to try authentic North Indian or Chinese food that also in Goa and at an economical cost, then yes this is the place. I ordered simple Roti, Naan and Mutton Masala Fry. It was awesome. We thought to try some Chinese also and ordered Chicken Fried Noodles which also turn out to be superb. Perfectly fried +1
    My experience so far- every restaurant is not good at everything… So you will always find some bad reviews about some of their food. Like this restaurant also serves GOAN food, but that is not good. There is always some food which is special for a resturant- like this restaurant is only recommended for economical and delicious North Indian and Chinese Food.
  3. Ekta Bar & Restaurant
    (Address: Calangute – Anjuna Rd, Naikawada, Naika Waddo, Arpora, Goa | Direction: https://goo.gl/maps/LgKUPf3FQ5H2)
    This is a small outlet touching the main road near the Calangute beach circle. I ordered Chicken (INR 120) and Mutton biryani (INR 180) as a parcel. While looking at the price, I was in doubt about the quality, but when I went back to the hotel and tasted with my friend, it was really awesome and worth of the money. The same biryani you will get in a pub or big restaurants at INR 300 or may be higher.

Few more Traveler’s Pick:

  1. Sai Prasad Restaurant
    (Address: 218-B, Aguada – Siolim Rd, Gauravaddo, Calangute, Goa | Direction: https://goo.gl/maps/jmcHVCwrPR12)
    Thanks to Sridhar Menon for sharing information about this restaurant.
    After seeing the pics on Google reviews, I can’t stop myself now. I searched for more than 10 restaurants in Calangute for King size prawns. I wish I could have known about this restaurant earlier. You will not find King size fish especially my favorite King prawns in every restaurant. Even if you are not a fish lover, but after eating tandoori King size prawns I am sure you will fall in love. For sure this is on my hit list for next Goa visit.
    It is slightly inside from the main road, but you can easily locate it if you’re following the Google maps. This restaurant is very popular and you will hardly get a seat empty around the meal times. This restaurant is primarily famous for its Goan Fish Thali, priced at Rs.80 which includes Rice, Fish Curry, Fish Fry, one vegetable/sabzi, Salad, Pickle. You can also choose between King Fish, Pomfret, Prawns, Chonak (white snapper), squids, Bombay duck, crabs, and mussels. Drinks are also available at a quite reasonable cost.
  2. If you had some awesome food experience somewhere in Goa, then please share below in comments … I would love to add those there.
    Remember: Anything you share should be economical else it defects the primary objective of sharing it with everyone as a Travel Hack 🙂

Goa has many such small shops… so you have to keep exploring to get the best out of it. If your stay is for a very small period 1–2 days, then just go with this list, else keep exploring- similar to the way I did 🙂

Now, let’s come to DRINKS..

In Goa, you will get Drinks, at almost half the price from the rest of India. But, the question is from where?

The answer is Supermarkets or Wine shops.

Important Note: If you want to save cost, then avoid drinking at Pubs, Restaurants, and Shacks. The beer which will cost Rs. 60 outside will be charged around Rs. 90 or 120 depending upon the place where you ’re drinking.

You can go on shacks and pubs, order 1–2 drinks to enjoy DJ and Karaoke. But, don’t get drunk there else you will be burning your pocket in Goa. Buy drinks from Supermarket come back to your hotel and enjoy sitting at your terrace or balcony.

I prefer the supermarket because there you can go and explore all brands and handpick your favorite one. Cost is same as compared to small wine shops. In fact, sometimes supermarket offers further discounts on bulk purchase.

In price range INR 40 – 70, you will get lots of good beer brand. Same for breezers.

Some beer brands which I can recall which was there on the rack:

  • Heineken
  • Corona Extra
  • Kingfisher Ultra
  • Budweiser Magnum
  • Tuborg
  • Estrella Galicia
  • IBC’s Oaked Brown Ale
  • Bira
  • Kings (This is a local brand of Goa and costs just INR 30)

Here, is one Supermarket in Calangute which I explored for international branded beer and wines.

Newton’s Supermarket Calangute
Near St. Anthony Chapel, Calangute, Goa
Direction: https://goo.gl/maps/3ggn47f82yS2

Few store images:

Hack #3
Which are the must to visit places in Goa? and how to plan so that you can save time, money and visit maximum places.

Goa is primarily popular for following:

  1. Sea beaches with Water Sports
  2. Peaceful seashore/Silent beaches with western seafood, chilled beer, good music, and night parties
  3. Churches
  4. Beach Shacks
  5. Collecting some of the precious stones and seashells on the shore. I have written about that in a separate answer on this link.
  6. Tattoo designs and hair styling
  7. Spa and Massage
  8. Cashew Nuts, feni, goa sausage and different types of spices
  9. Casinos
  10. Dudhsagar Waterfalls
  11. Dolphin Spotting
  12. Carnival and Festive Mood

One cannot complete Goa in these 11 items 😦

Goa is very big and it’s difficult to explore it completely in 1–2 days. If you really want to enjoy the Goa life, then be there for at least 4–5 days. Ideally, a 1 week holiday is the best.

If you are there at Goa for a short time span 2–3 days, then it is very important to plan your time very well. Else you won’t be able to enjoy much and end up missing lots of places.

The best guide and your time planner in Goa is: Google Maps

Thanks to Google for the awesome app. You will realize how important it is once you are there in Goa. Use Google maps extensively to plan your trip. Add all the places which you want to go and plan in such a way that you visit all of them on the way, instead of going to and fro and wasting time driving only. Here is an example of how I planned one of the trips on maps:

If I go non-stop, I knew that I can cover these 5 places in 2h 26 min, now if I add a 30 min halt at all places, it comes to around 5 hours.. So, if I start my journey at 6 am and covering the beaches first to capture the sunrise, then I can complete the trip by max 12noon and then I will have the rest of the day lined up for other work 🙂

Doing this not only saves time but also gives you more time to relax or gives more time to visit more places or gives more time to complete some of your other work/meeting (as it was in my case). 🙂

Important: Most of the time your mobile phone will be eating up the battery because either you will be shooting pics, videos or using google maps. So, keep a good handy power bank in you scooty all the time.

This time, I went to Goa for a 2 days Ruby Developer Conference which starts at morning 9 am and last till 6 pm plus there is always a couple of meetings lined up after 6. So, I hardly get some time to explore Goa. But, coming to Goa and not exploring it will be a true injustice to Goa. So, as usual, I went through my all time favorite Lifehack and GrowthHack skills to win both 🙂

So, my biggest challenge was how to get out my time to do all these, without impacting anyone or our core objective of making our presence at RubyConference also successful.

I was staying in Hotel Calangute Central, just above the Newton’s Supermarket in North Goa. Because of this 24×7 supermarket, I had the easy access to the most branded and cheapest beers every time 🙂

How to get cheap and good quality rooms in Goa for stay?

Another Important Hack to keep cost down and enjoy more privacy and freedom: I would recommend you not to book a hotel instead get an apartment via Airbnb or Oyo rooms- that will be good and more cost effective.

Day 1 (Arrival): Relax day

For me, Goa was like a mission. So, Day 1 is like smelling the land on which I want to spend my next couple of days meeting new people and giving my best at the conference.

So, I didn’t want to just start running here and there. I enjoyed some drinks and food in the afternoon, took a quick nap and then started my preparation for the next day conference. Later in the evening, I thought of going to some silent beach to get relax and enjoy the cool breezes. You will find both silent and crowded beaches in Goa. Crowded are the ones where watersports are there. One thing which I observed is that most of the foreigners prefer to be there on silent beaches enjoying there food and drinks.

Calangute beach was near to my place, so I went there. It is not a silent beach but one of the crowded beaches of Goa. But it really doesn’t matter. It is always good to get the real feel and happening of Goa on Day #1.

I kept my plan for silent beaches for other days, where I can relax and enjoy nature.

Here are few Silent/less crowded beaches in North Goa:

Note: If you are going there during the late evening, you will find the way to be very lonely and haunted too 🙂

But, nothing really to worry. You will find row houses and people moving around. I said haunted because there will be lots of trees on the way to some of the beaches with no street light. But, yes it’s fun if you are going with friends 🙂

  • Anjuna Beach
  • Mandrem Beach
  • Kalacha Beach
  • Ashwem Beach
  • Morjim Beach
  • Arambol Beach

Here are few more in South Goa (in case you are staying there):

  • Kakolem Beach: Secret Beach of Goa. Also known as Tiger beach.
  • Agonda Beach
  • Patnem Beach
  • Palolem Beach
  • Cavelossim Beach
  • Galgibaga Beach
  • Betul Beach
  • Hollant Beach
  • Cola Beach

-written by Dibya Sahoo, A Travel Enthusiast, Foodie & LifeHack Lover

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