A Traveler’s Guide to Goa

By Adele Sharman

7 February 2023


It depends on what kind of weather you’re used to. Goa lies in the tropics, so it has 2 seasons: the monsoon one and the dry one. The dry season lasts from October til May. I have only been to Goa in January when the weather is hot and no rain and I feel comfortable with it. The busiest time for visiting Goa is Christmas and New Year, which reflects higher prices.


When choosing the flight to Goa, you have a few options: a direct flight or an indirect one with a stopover. Manchester airport is the most convenient option for me since I live in Yorkshire. I travel with TUI airlines because this is the only agency that offers direct flights from Manchester. The flight time is just under 10 hours. I book a flight and accommodation separately, but you can do what suits you best. 


I highly recommend the Seashell Suites and Villas in Candolim. This will be my second visit to this hotel and I have already booked a room there for 2024. If you want to make a reservation at a discounted rate, email them directly and mention my name: gm@seashellbeachsuites.com


There are a variety of areas to choose from when it comes to selecting hotels or apartments. I have a particular liking for the Candolim area and I stay at the top of Beach Road. It’s not too far from the beach and the restaurants and bars are nearby. The only thing one might find off-putting is the increased traffic congestion with constant beeping and roaring sounds. Also, there are no traffic lights and you should be careful not to bump into popping-up mopeds or cows. 

Calangute is the closest spot to one of the local markets and it’s nice strolling around there, but the traffic is a bit overwhelming for me to live in. Baga’s hustle and bustle feel like Bangkok, especially in the evening. The place is not popular with tourists, so you would mostly encounter Indians who are either day-tripping around Tlto’s Lane and Club or vacationing on the beach. On my trip I didn’t see many  Westerners in Baga, so be prepared to be the black sheep among the locals. On my first visit, people would take pictures of me, and they were all happy to chat. I don’t find this offensive at all, and vice versa, I am pleased to be shown to their family upon their return to their village. Baga is a great place to hang out, but it is not my cup of tea for a three-week stay.

The South of Goa is another beautiful location for a stay-in. I have stayed here twice in a lovely hotel The Lalit Golf and Spa Resort in Palolem. To be honest, the service was not the best the hotel was stunning and set on wonderful grounds but the service let it down and the beach hut, where I stayed, was very basic,  so don’t expect to find any real luxury. Nevertheless, its definite remoteness makes the place calm and tranquil compared to the crowded and roaring Candolim. You could do a day trip to The South or split your holiday up and spend a few days both in Palolem and Candolim.


Yes, you need a visa to enter India. You can apply for a year visa or a five-year visa online via the link. Keep in mind, it is your responsibility to obtain one, not the airline or your accommodation. 


Upon landing at Goa Airport, also known as Dabolim Airport, you have to fill out a landing form which is given to you when you get off the aircraft (this may change). Don’t forget to bring your pen and I usually write my answers down beforehand on a piece of paper. The questionnaire includes

  • Name & DOB
  • Passport details
  • Flight details
  • Address of your accommodation in Goa
  • Phone number

Don’t worry when your bag is taken off the conveyor belt at the airport and placed on the

ground – it’s a usual thing here. If you need help with your bags, there will be some people who assist you with that for a few quid. Pre-booked transfers will be waiting outside of the arrivals hall. You can recognize yours by the name written on the card. Otherwise, you can take a taxi. It usually costs a set price, but it can change, so make sure you ask the driver before you get in.

Once you’re inside, buckle up and get ready for the drive of your life. Driving around Goa is an exhilarating experience, not for the faint-hearted.


The Rupee is a closed currency meaning you can’t exchange your money in the UK before flying out. The airlines suggest that you don’t change money at the airport when you land. It is better to go to the currency exchanges once you arrived at the resort. The driver will take your country’s currency, so don’t worry about that. Cash is pervasively used in Goa and they love the GBP.  Check with your bank for charges when using a card. The ATMs in Goa can charge and some only allow you to take small amounts out like £10 or £20 at a time. I am going to look into a Monzo Card or Wise Card for my next trip.


Check out your tariff terms before you go. I got charged £42 when I landed though I didn’t even use the phone. This problem was resolved when I returned to the UK thanks to my mobile operator 02. Make sure the mobile data is turned off and rather use WiFi when possible instead.

Most restaurants and shacks have free WiFi, so you won’t have difficulties connecting. A good idea is to take an old mobile with you and get an Indian SIM card. It’s super cheap, but you need to show your passport.


Don’t bother with beach towels unless you want to take your favorite one. You can buy them here for peanuts. Anyways, your hotel will provide you with ones for showering as well as beach towels. A mosquito spray will also be redundant in your suitcase since you can get one here. I would consider taking my shower gel, shampoo, and other skincare products because my skin needs special treatment. It is not necessary to bring yours as your hotel should supply you with the stuff, but I prefer products that perfectly suit my skin type. Suncream is a must in Goa during the hot season when the sun gets too harsh.

As for the clothing, all you need is beach attire which includes a light outfit, swimsuit, flip-flops, and a comfy pair of shoes for touring around the town. You don’t want to travel in high heels on bumpy Goan roads because they are hard on your feet. A pashmina is a good shout to cover your shoulders when visiting churches or temples or tie around your waist. Remember, not all rooms are air-conditioned, so it can feel warm in the evening.

Most hotels have a laundry service but I wouldn’t be taking my best dry-clean-only outfits. In other cases, they do a good job at a fraction of the cost. If you are staying in Candolim give Snow Whites a visit.

Speaking of Chemists, you can buy anything over the counter without a prescription. Most people encounter the “Delhi Belly” in Goa, but two tablets will sort it out.


  • A toilet roll and hand wipes 
  • Towel clips for the beach towels
  • Sun cream
  • Bottle holders
  • Paintbrush for Sandy’s feet
  • Turbans


The food in Goa is amazing. There is something delicious to eat for both spicy and mild food lovers. Most restaurants and shacks have such a varied menu, from Goan, Indian, Chinese, Mexican, and Italian cuisine to good old English pie and mash. The only thing that makes me doubtful is kitchen conditions, especially in the shacks. Still, Goan eateries cook the most outstanding dishes which are sometimes even better than in some high-end restaurants. The food always comes out piping hot and service works promptly. Food and drink are super cheap: you can eat three-course meals, spending less than £25 for two.


Poverty is a common phenomenon in Goa. You will see children begging and dancing on the beach for a few rupees. There are a lot of stray dogs roaming around the streets, but charities are helping them with food and shelter. Another thing you get accustomed to while living in Goa is cows. According to the Hinduism religion cows are sacred animals, so they can graze among people freely, blocking roads and leaving pats. As a foreigner, it comes weird at first, but you get used to it over time.

The situation with toilets is much more complicated. You are lucky if you have a toilet seat or a toilet lid because some don’t even have a flush – just a good old bucket of water. Don’t get me started about the toilet roll. 3-ply toilet paper is an unseen luxury here, so make sure you take one with you. Most toilets are designed as a “western type”, but you will still find some holes in the ground.

Whatever impression I have made on you talking about Goa, you should give it a try at least once and feel the place yourself. That’s a unique vibe you wouldn’t experience anywhere on Earth.

Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions left or if you want some advice on traveling to Goa. I will be more than happy to help you out with that!

2 Responses

  1. When I originally commented I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I receive four emails with the same comment. There has to be a way you can remove me from that service? Many thanks!

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