We had a wonderfull trip. Thought of sharing a small trip report as it may help others.
Day1 (28th Apr) -
Reached Thivim rly stn at 6 20am by Train number 19331 Indore express. The train was late by about 1 and half hours, which was really blessing for us. Had the train was running on time, we would have reached by 4 45am, and there may be no public transportation facility at the station then.
We walked out of the station looking for bus to Mapusa. The bus stop is just 350 metres away from Rly stn. The prepaid Taxi guys were charging 600 bucks for a Taxi to Calangute and a taxi will only accomodate 4 passengers. We if we go by prepaid taxi, we would have to rent two taxis. While we were walking to the bus stop, one taxi guy, who doesnt have rly taxi stand permit, came to us and offered to take all of us in his taxi to Calangute for Rs 500 and we agreed. On the way to Mapusa itself, we crossed 3 Thivim-Mapusa public transport buses. So buses are very frequent in that route.
We reached Calangute by 7 30am and had our breakfast from a "Hungry take away" (Located near to GTDC Calangute residency) restaurant, which was the only way side open restaurant at that time.
After breakfast, we started to look out for a budget hotel with pool. Many hotels were charging upward of Rs2.5k for a AC double room. After checking many hotels like Rivasa, we checked into Kris resort, which is near to Calangute bus stop. They offered us two AC rooms for 5 people for Rs4.2K.
They have a nice pool also. The rates in bar and restaurant is reasonable. Rest of the day we spent relaxing in pool, strolling in the beach, did some water sports and all. We had Dinner from one of the shacks in Baga. The food and beaverages are exhorbitatly priced in all the Shacks.
We rented a i20 for Rs1.3k and started our visit to other beaches and places in Goa. We started at about 10 30am and visited Chapora fort, Vagator beach, and Anjuna beach before lunch. Anjuna flea market was closed as it is off season. The rates for water sports in Anjuna is less than that of the rates in Calangute. After lunch we visited Basilica of Bom Jesus, Church of St Francis of Assisi and Archeological museum of Goa. In the evening we visited Mangeshi temple. If you like to buy some gifts from Goa, the shops in market on the way to the temple offers the best rate.
By 7 pm we started our drive to Panaji cruises. We reached there by 7 45 and took tickets for the cruise. Ticket cost is Rs 300. There was three cultural dances and DJ in the cruise which lasted for about 45 minutes.
Later, we drove to Baga and spent time there till early morning.
Woke up with strong hangover. Our initial plan was to check out from hotel, catch a bus to Colva, check in a hotel and explore south Goa. But as all of us were not in a mood to travel, we extended our stay in Calangute for a day more. We spent our day shopping and strolling in beaches in Calangute and Baga.
Our return train was 01079 CST - Kochuveli exp arriving at Thivim by 10 30am. We caught a local bus from Calangute to Mapusa which took about 30 minutes and Rs20. From Mapusa we took another bus to Thivim rly stn which also took about 20 minutes and Rs20. The train was 45 minutes late.
1) Felt that May is not a good month to visit Goa , if you like to go out much. Its too hot and humid. Carry lots of sun screen lotion, an umbrella and water whenever you go out for walking in Goa in May. Or stay in room from 11am to 5pm and then go to outdoors.
2) It is difficult to get authentic Goan food near to beach. All restaurants were serving chinese, punjabi, continental, etc. We found one away from the tourist places in second day. But fish dishes were not fresh.
3) No Uber/Ola in Goa. Also very few govt approved (yellow in black back ground) self drive cars. Lots of govt approved self drive two wheelers available. You are at the mercy of Taxi drivers, who quotes high prices even for short trips. I think govt should initiate launch of online Taxis at the interest of tourists.
4) Goan people are very friendly, accomodating and helpful in nature. Even the touts selling "massages with happy ending" understand a NO as a no.
5) Best place to buy booze. An Old monk (my favourite) cost upward of Rs 700 in Kerala, Rs 343 in Bangalore and only Rs175 in Goa.