Goa comes as less preferred location for many family travelers (Vegetarian) as its always considered as a location for bachelors or couple. While planning for Goa with family I tried to ask people on online forums regarding How, where and which places to visit in Goa. Many times people on online forums mocked by saying Bangkok and Goa are not good for family trips.
Any how I decided to visit Goa by train and to stay at North Goa. North Goa has some wonderful beaches and lot of activity for kids. Though Goa is overall a safe place but north Goa being a crowded place is relatively better. Following are some take aways for people planning to visit with family.
- If you are visiting by train then get down at Thivim railway station as its the nearest station to Panjim and Calengute. Taxi pickup and drop is very costly so its better to do some homework and book a taxi in advance. Taxi drop or pick up from Madgaon may cost you Rs 1200 to 1500 one side.
- Do not waste too much money on sea facing or connected with sea resorts. Beaches are walking distance from all the locations and you can easily hire sun beds for 3-4 hours for Rs 200. Our travel agent suggested and booked a resort with direct approach to beach and with a swimming pool at Candolim. Being a first timer, in our 5 day stay, we hardly got time to use the amenities.
- Try to stay near calengute, Baga or Candolim as its near to market and you will get a lot of options for vegetarian food. Try to explore restaurants near Newtons super market or near the Tito’s lane Beach shacks usually offer sea food and have very limited veg options. Shree khodiyar, Rasoi, Satkar, Utsav etc are few good veg food joints. Avoid stay at foreigner friendly resorts as you would not like the food and atmosphere.
- If time permits try to cover Dudhsagar falls, its a 2.5 hr journey and would require a day but it would be a family fun. There are many operators who conducts group tours for Dudhsagar falls in A/C coaches. Normal cost is Rs 1200 to 1400 per person with lunch in spice garden. One can easily get the details from hotel reception
- Hire a I10 Hyundai or Activa scooter for city travel. A car would cost Rs 1200 for a day and an Activa which is most popular in Goa due to narrow roads and parking issues would cost you Rs. 300 to 350. Booking through hotel would be costly but try to negotiate for a day as most of the operators outside would book for minimum 2 days.
- If you have a car then explore South goa, Panjim, old goa on your own. In case if you wish to visit south goa and old goa by city tour bus then check the iternary carefully as most of the time they will make people fool in the name of Dolfin sight seeing and evening at crusie by repeatedly taking people near to Agauda fort and Goa jail.
- People are friendly but lazy and less hospitable as compared to people at other tourist destinations like Kerala and kashmir. They would charge high and deliver less. Be aware while negotiating else you will be cheated.
- For water sports and other activities there are government rates which are prescribed at the counter at all the beaches. There is lot of corruption and handlers would always ask you to pay extra even if you have already paid in advance. Its better to roam around and get view about rates.
- Goa is 100% safe and I never found anything unusual which makes it uncomfortable with family. Avoid lonely patches on the beaches and interaction with people unknown. In case you require help try to speak to the local Goan’s instead of tourists or foreigners.
- Lastly its a perfect place for night out and one can have a lot of fun with kids and parents. Earlier it was more considered as a place for adult tourism but after so much of legal actions and policing its now a safe and great place to spend vacations.