The ‘Other Side of Goa’ Beaches and Night Life

My previous blogs were just a preface of my ordeal in GOA. Nevertheless should have mentioned that the heart of GOA beats in the Night.

Normally Goa gets seasoned by tourists from all over the continents from November to early March, with the peak of population explosion from Dec 15 till Jan 10th. It was already 3rd week of November, but the pubs and shacks were much less crowded compared to my last visit. Everyone wants to be in Goa for Christmas and New year. That’s the GALA time in GOA, it would be so crowded that people would be hitting onto each other while walking at popular joints. Then my superforcasting mind said “May be the season is just gearing up late”, alas there were some other reasons to it.

Along with two other friends of mine we checked into a couple of happening places in Goa with in limited time frame we had in North Goa, which is the all-night partying place, compared to calm and serene South Goa. I remember an old man giving us direction from a junction, saying ‘take that road and follow the crowd, you will reach Curlies’. Soon we reached Curlies which was like very different with few human souls here and there. The restaurant waiters and street food vendors were more in number awaiting the tourists in the beachside shacks. Needless to say the about the crowd in night clubs and beaches. I was getting many calls from my friends asking for places for the night, but something strange we were not lucky on the first and second days of our stay. Tired of the search like us were two guys in shorts, with radium party bands on their hands who came close to us and enquired about locations to party. I suggested them Anjuna, UV bar, Monkey bar and Lilliput to which, they replied remorsefully,”bhaai kuch nai hai bhaai, purakaali, ye dek…woh saare jagake entry stamps se haath bhi bar gaya..”LOL!

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Baga Beach and Titos are the only beachside shacks where we couldfind good crowd, irrespective of days and season. Loud music, colourful interiors, shacks and entertainment keeps these places busy all the time. The crowd here reminded me of that in MG road, Bangalore and eatery points of Hyderabad, but nothing Goan or Local to itself. Most of these shacks are open till 4:00 AM. We decided to sit and to relax over the beach instead of discovering further options when we checked into the Oceanic shack, which seems to be owned by the same family who owns Tito’s and Mambos. I met an interesting guy here, who has been working in this shack every season since 2010. He shared his experience and told stories on how goa can make people go crazy, for over an hour. This included a fight between a group from Chennai and a group of Russians last night over formers comments, three girls sleeping on the beach the other night, women in their forties who visit Goa every year and the tips they give to the boys and many more. I also met few other such guys and girls who take up small works in shacks, selling small stuffs, come to Goa every year during the season. Do not try sleeping over alone at the Baga beach, a friend of ours lost a mobile doing so the other day and his newly bought bike mobile holder was never used on that ride J.

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We have realised that the parties and Night Life happening in Goa has specific dates and specific locations each day. You get to know the day and the place to find the right crowd. For instance its only on Tuesday’s when the psy music happens at Shiva Valley, and on any other day it is a zombie land. Premium places like club cabana and LPK are always the most happening but with cover charges from 2,000 to 4,000 even for couples. Also you have the proper desi style dance bars which are found in Calangute, one popular among them is the Mehfil. Entry is RS 500 and you need to buy  drinks for anyone to dance with you, truly crazy it is right.

One more reason for the less number of people around might be the Saturday Night Markets, happening for the first time in this season. We first visited the Meckey’s Night market in Arpora, a well organised market space with ample parking, security frisking and sign boards at all points. The stalls where in horseshoe form within a perimeter of half a km with colourful shops on either side of the narrow lane filled with garments, handicrafts, and food joints. The small lanes led us to a central area with a huge food court spread around an open amphitheatre where some acrobat artists were displaying their skills. Having spent around an hour at this market, we next visited the much bigger Ingo’s Night Market.

The first view at the entrance of gate No 3 and the parking lot gave us a clear picture of where all the crowd had disappeared that day. The market was spread in a huge area with four entrance gates and exits, much similar to some exhibition or a trade fair. It has a stage for live musicians playing in the centre along with two night clubs located inside. All the shops are lined up in a spiral, towards the top on the small hillock. This night markets are a must visit place to learn about the Goan local crafts, art and culture. Here one can bargain to get the best deal. In general the goods are expensive where I still remember a Masala dosa priced at RS 250. My friend picked up a hand crafted drum for Rs 150 after bargain, which initially was quoted at Rs 750.


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“ Still Miles to go “ ………..
We were still left miles away from “other side of Goa”. At times I feel to explore some places it is better to go alone than in a group. One such place is the Monkey Valley. Uninvited guests are not welcomed to some of the parties happening here. A friend of mine who had been here already warned me from entering with an Indian group. It is always safe to have foreigners in the group to enter such places. Since we had none in our group marked this place for my next visit.

Arambol: The northern beach of Goa, the province of the Hippies.  The hippie culture which started in the 1960s and 70sin US and UK, spread far off places even to Goa. These communities which many think of as psychedelic music, sexual liberation and drugs gatherings, but there is much more to these communities like spirituality, yoga and meditation. During the hippie trail, these sub cultures moved over land into India, mostly Goa and South East Asia. Currently they are moving to other Southern locations like Gokarna, Kodaikanal, Varkala, Hampi and Northwards to Manali, Kasol or Puri.

Arambol beach was a pretty nice place to loaf around with less crowds comparatively than the other beaches. I found gymnastics, people doing Yoga and meditation here. Apart from the normal shacks on the beach and the hippie population around, this shack ‘Laughing Buddha’ has interested me. After a while, I was about to return, and I could see a small lane near the market, from which quite a few people were going in and coming out. That was not a beach, or are there any shops over there. I quickly checked with one of the person, who told me it is the way to ‘Sweet water lake’.

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To reach this spooky part of Arambol, ‘The Other Side of Goa’, you need to walk around two km in narrow lanes, it was too narrow that no bikes would be able to go in. The lane was on the beach side with shops and eateries on either side of the lane which leads to this mystic sweet lake. After a while the lane ends in between some rocks and beach sands. First thing that caught my eyes were the couple sunbathing on the rocks. As I pass them, I see a quite and serene beach, with hardly no human souls around. Here my friends Rahul and others gave a shout from inside a shack, who had already reached there before me. Ah, felt like I finally reached a place of bliss. What a feeling to relax with a beer in such a place after walking for so long. Here we met two interesting people one was a short, thin man with a thick beard in his thirties, Shambu was his name. A para gliding instructor by profession, but since had no work the last two days was just loafing around. He was telling us about all the places and so nice of him that he volunteered in taking us around. The other tall girl in a pink swim suit we met in the shack randomly was Aksana from Belarus who was just back from a dip and joined us on the walk around.

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Next to the shack , in between the trees was this small lake of fresh water, which was formed by the streams from the small hills and natural multhana mitti lumps nearby. Though it was written as ‘Private property, we could see many people taking a dip , by now we could hardly see any Indian crowds, looks like as if we are in some other land. Beyond that was this place, is the ‘Banyan Tree’, which very few would venture. Heard few things about this place like Indians are not allowed sometimes, police would be raiding once in a while, etc. You need to trek for around three to four km to reach the banyan tree. We were crossing small streams of water where you have this multhanamitti, few people were even bathing in the stream close by. Thanks to shambu, he took us in some short cuts, if not him it would have been difficult for us to navigate, in between those dense trees and rocks. First we met this Chota babaji on the way under a tree again. He was living with a lady from Russia since two months now and preparing for the Maha Kumbh. The way he lit a smoke saying ‘bam bam bhole and the way he passed the fag around, I so far have only seen in some dark movies. My other friend who came with us was almost scared with all these and after sitting there for a while, we gave him some money as offerings and proceeded towards the main babaji. He was a German, but now a sadhu again in his fifties, sitting under a banyan tree, with idols, trishul and mats around for people to sit. It was mostly Russians around him in the first circle, doped up and then the second circle, a bit on a top view with us and few other travellers from UK and some riders from the Rider Mania. By now, we are almost in some different world and seeing all this and would want to get back. All of us got down the hill and Shambu introduced me to this girl, Aksana as she had to be dropped to the next beach, Morjim. It was not very comfortable to ride in those streets as we could hardly communicate and that too she was sitting in a swim suit while riding all the way. Dropped her at Morjim and headed back to Vagator for the bikers event.


The English Colony: After three days in Goa, sleeping every night at 5 AM – 6 AM and with three to four hours of sleep each night, we were almost exhausted. I do not remember exactly what happened the other night, and how I met this beautiful lady, from UK around 10 PM. She was also high, in her forties and was full of energy. We made some conversations and she wanted to go to Cafe Lilliput to dance. I agreed to join and we went till the parking lot to take my bike. I offered her a lift and to my surprise, she said that she has her own bike, a locally registered activa. Late I came to know she has been living in Goa since 10 years now and owns many properties. Do not know what happened suddenly, she changed her mind and invited me to her home. She guided me through the narrow lanes on that dark night, I was just following her, could hear some bullet thumps once in a while riding through some spooky places. We then entered some gated colony and inside she made me feel comfortable at home. It was nice meeting her and to know more about the English colonies in Goa. They were beautifully spaced villas with a huge pool in between and security at each corner of the place. Each other person living around is either a family to her or a good friend, closely knit and highly influential community it was. There was nothing unavailable at her home, from collection of music, branded drinks, to smokes and what not. Got scared at some point as it was only two of us in the whole villa but however, it was a great night spent over there. We partied till 2:00 AM and I headed to my cottage in Baga, as she was travelling the next day.

Goa might not be the same as today: It used to be 2, 50, 000 tourists visiting every year till recently. With the devaluation of the Russian rouble, ever increasing prices by the local hotel and restaurants, Goa is losing its charm similarly like the Leh Ladhak regions. The recent, Russia striking out India from the list of safe travel destinations is another major blow to the decreasing tourist population in Goa.

My next visit to Goa would wish to be and share about Morjim, Kerim and Palolem and not to miss Monkey Valley too. Cheers!!

PC: Massimosunday, Vegabongimages, Sheetal Bhaai and Dinesh Bhaai
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