Up the Northern Roads of Goa
While most people visit the exotic Goa, to experience reprieve from mundane city lives, the commonly flocked to Baga Calangute and Candolim stretch , provides in my eyes, no such relief.
However! Keep driving past these loud and crowded hubs are the long and beautiful stretches of Anjuna, Vagator , Ashwem all the way to Arambol and further still.
These stretches have a myriad of hidden cafes providing exciting gastronomical fares, hillocks waiting to be trekked with relative ease and maximum pleasure, meandering paths to achingly slow and quiet villages, quaint beaches speckled with multi lingual locals and awe inspiring views everywhere your head turns.
The infamous nightlife Goa has to offer is far more nuanced the further North of Goa you bravely travel to, with the Saturday night market tightly packed into the valley of Anjuna beside the mysterious club in the sky, Club Cabana. The Anjuna night market has made it to every list everywhere - ‘Night markets you must never miss’.
The special place that the Goan north has in my soul - The music never stops. And the genres of music waiting to be sampled are unending. From the deep techno sounds of the pocketed makeshift dance floors in the market to the Dancehall and pulsating Hip Hop in Club Cabana, sans the usual drunken drones of people at more famously known places. With stricter entry policies, the ambiance and music is far better experienced here.
A little past Anjuna are the Vagator hills, with the famous Greek themed restaurant Thalassa and their occasional breaking of the plates custom, that diners are asked to join in on coupled with the exquisitely made food is a welcome change.
Along the beach facing Vagator hill is another gem, Club Waters built into the hillside on three levels with electronic music wonderfully contained in a minimalist setup and on in full gear all through the night.
The further North of Goa you go you’ll soon realize, the party is where people are, underground clubs pop up everywhere in the peak season, club today, Italian pizzeria tomorrow.
A little further are the quiet stretches of Ashwem and Morjim with their restaurants sitting right at the beach, kitschy design coupled with cuisine far removed from the multicultural fare otherwise commonplace. French cuisine at La Plage , the American cuisine at Burger Factory all within meters of each other.
While the much needed dancing and high energy falls through, the relaxed and numerous places offering live bands performing great classics are often a great change up on some nights. For even quieter affairs , Arambol often has pop up bands and performers seated on the beach side waiting for you to join in requiring you to simply sit on the beach and dig your toes into the sand and lend nothing but your ears and senses up to the Goan night air.
The road less traveled is oft the most spectacular providing the quiet calm you were perhaps looking forward to amidst the hedonistic pleasures Goa has to otherwise offer. The perfect journey to Goa is not a packed schedule of bargaining cab fares and fighting for air inside the usual haunts , but exploring your adventure boundaries by travelling that much farther to experience that much more.