Your eyes light up, like those of a toddler, as you set foot on land far, far away from your own.Your feet itch to get sunk in the wonderfully inviting sand.You tend to click everything around you, from ordinary jackfruits to the crystal-clear seawater. You suppress the burning desire to get lost in the markets stretching far and wide. You sigh with displeasure as you forcefully step into your flight back home.

This is what this place can do to you. Welcome to Goa, where every grain of sand narrates a different story.

The north-and-south system

North Goa is the party animal’s stairway toparadise, owing to its not-so-quiet air and endless parties. It hasn’t many five-stars, which is why it’s perfect for those staying on a budget. Very popular as a tourist destination, its roadside shackscan easily compete with any gourmet restaurant. Its flamboyant, crowded beaches boast of jazz and water sports. It’s very happening. Since it houses Old or Velha Goa, you get to see historical churches (like the Basilica of Bom Jesus), museums and forts.North Goa remains incomplete without mentioning the night life and the casinos. Plus, anything available in the flea markets can be bargained down to half of its price.

South Goa, however, is different. Its beaches are cleaner, less crowded and offer a little more peace and scenic beauty; you know, the sort that calms you down? Additionally, you’re more likely to spot dolphins here.Staying here is highly recommended if you cannot compromise on luxury, because most five-stars are located in this part of the state. Its gourmet food spoils you and leaves you asking for more. The churches here are newer, as compared to those in North Goa.In terms of shopping,you’ll find Goa’s most exclusive collections here. Its calm, tranquil air is appropriate for those wanting to kick back and unwind.

The weather and when to visit

The climate there is hot and humid, which is basically just a posh term to say that the air is warm and moist. May is considered the hottest month, and June, July, August and September experience heavy downpours. The winters last from December to February. Essentially, you should visit the party capital between November and February, which is when the weather is nice and comfortable.

The beaches

Trust these amazingly clean and well-maintained Goan beaches to single-handedlylure tourists. Youcan wade through the water, collect seashells,explore the shacks, et cetera, et cetera, but undoubtedly, you willsurrender to your desires to stay there for ‘five more minutes’.
The Candolim beach is among the longest and most famous beaches there. You should expect some foreigners. It’s pretty well known for being peaceful. The shacks there are great and offer good prices.

Be careful with the rocks at theVagator Beach in Bardez. It’s not as crowded as the other beaches, but still makes a good hangout spot.
A few well-known beaches among a bajillion others include the Bambolim beach (south Goa),the Anjuna beach, the Sinquerim beach and the Aguada beach (all in north Goa).

The shopping

Goa is an awesome destination for impulsive shoppers all around the globe. You can find some funky bags, scarves, jewellery, clothes, items made of leather, metal and clay, and, how dare I forget them, heavenly dry fruits, especially cashews.Coconut and fruit vendors will be found in abundance. Souvenirs to take home, like fridge magnets, are available literally everywhere. Famous markets include the Panjim Market, the Mapusa market, the Margao market, the Calangute market and the Anjuna market. There’s the Caculo shopping mall, too, if you like shopping in an air-conditioned environment.

The night life

This article won’t be complete without mentioning what Goa is best known for- its night life!

In North Goa, lots happens at night. Heaven for party animals, as mentioned before, night clubs will be found in every nook and cranny. SinQ and Club Cubana are famous. It isn’t the same in South Goa; there are clubs, like Leopard Valley and Silent Noise, but maybe they’re not as abundant. There’s more focus on local culture.

The food

You cannot not eat traditional Goan food. The Goan fish curry with rice and crab xec xec win over you with a single bite. Bebinca, a cake usually served during Christmas, is Goa’s most famous dessert. But don’t worry if you’re a vegetarian- you can always have kokum, Goan mushroom chilli fry, tomato curry and baath cake.

Anyway, you are bound to find Mughlai, western and Punjabi cuisines, among others, if you’re not exactly keen on trying new food.

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