Journey to Goa
We jumped on the 11:05pm Konkan Express from Mumbai to Goa, and arrived in Madgaon (Goa) at 12:30pm the next day. We had 3 a/c tickets which cost us rs.827 each. When the train first set off our cabin only had 4 people in it including ourselves; our two cabin mates were quiet so we jumped straight into our beds hoping for a good night’s sleep. Half an hour after shutting our eyes a loud Indian family came marching in and turned the light on, along with the extremely noisy fan. I noticed Ben reach down from the top bunk and turn the fan off, then the Indian guy turn it straight back on again saying ‘one minute, one minute’. I think we were both bemused as to why he needed the fan on when the cabin was air conditioned.
After 10 minutes of waiting for the family to settle down and get into their beds I heard some rather unsavoury words come out of Ben’s mouth, and then him turn the fan off again. I think at this point the Indian guy got the message.
Unfortunately a good night’s sleep wasn’t to be, even after the fan debacle, as the Indian guy in our cabin also snored very loudly – causing Ben to yell out ‘oh come on! Come on!’ which only seemed to make him stir and stop snoring for all of 10 minutes. The joys of train travel in India!
Madgaon train station to Palolem Beach
Rickshaw from Madgaon train station to bus station
When we arrived at the train station we were quoted rs.100 to go to the bus station in Madgaon – too much according to our Lonely Planet book which only reckoned it should cost rs.50. As the good backpackers we are, we tried to bargain with a couple of drivers but they weren’t having any of it. It seems as those either all the rickshaw drivers in Madgaon are greedy and lazy, or they have been spoilt by all the flashpackers who are willing to pay top dollar.
Bus to Madgaon bus station
We decided to continue walking straight up the road opposite the train station (approx. 400 metres) and at the junction to the main road is a bus stop where you can jump on a bus to the main bus station for rs.10 each (approx. 15 minute journey).
Bus from Madgaon to Palolem
At the main bus station there are many buses going every 30 minutes to Palolem beach and also to Patnem. A ticket to Palolem beach costs rs.30 and takes around 1 ½ hours.
Cressida Beach Huts
Location: Palolem Beach
How much does it cost: rs.700 per night (beach hut w/attached bathroom + free wi-fi)
We took a stroll along the beach and looked in a couple of beach huts before deciding to stay at Cressida. We were impressed with all the beach huts we looked at, as most had attached bathrooms and free wi-fi for between rs.700 – 800 a night.
The hut we stayed at was raised up on stilts and had its own balcony with table, chairs and a hammock. Inside the hut we had a double bed fitted with a mosquito net.
We would recommend these huts, but we witnessed one incident whilst staying there that is stopping us.
On the second night we were sat on our balcony playing cards, and Ben suddenly started shouting ‘oi! oi! oi!’, I then looked over our balcony down at reception and saw the owner laying into his wife. She was sat on her chair and he was using both arms to hit her, and his legs to try and kick her chair from underneath her. I have never felt so angry and I started shouting at him until he stopped. The most worrying thing was that all the other staff were just stood around watching and they didn’t say anything – it took us to stop him. It really concerns me that domestic violence is so accepted in India that he felt he could hit his wife in public. For this reason we would actually recommend you stay at one of the other beach huts along Palolem beach which are just as nice.
There are many restaurants both on the beach and in town that serve very similar food at similar prices, although there are a couple below that stood out more than the rest.
Location: On the main road through Palolem (they also have another branch on Patnem beach!)
How much does it cost? Rs.80 – 300
This restaurant serves a variety of food, although its main focus is Mexican. We especially enjoyed the nachos, and the burritos. Service is also half decent.
Location: On the right side along Palolem beach
How much does it cost? Rs.60 – 250
We eat in Dylan’s bar a couple of times for breakfast and were impressed. Service was reasonable (for Indian standards!), food was well priced and portions were a good size.
Location: On the right as you walk along the road from the beach
How much does it cost? Rs.100 – 350
We had a pizza here on our last night as we noticed they had a stone pizza oven, and we were not disappointed. The pizzas were thin, crispy and delicious.
Location: On the right side along Palolem beach
How much does it cost? Rs. 60 – 350
We had lunch at The Nest a couple of times during our stay in Palolem, and we enjoyed the tasty toasties which are served in nice thick bread.
Fancy trying the local tipple?
Head to the liquor store in Palolem and you can purchase a 750ml bottle of coconut fenny for rs.60 – they will even give you plastic cups for free. Mix with limca or lemonade, and sit on the beach and watch the sun go down.
We came to Palolem to relax after the excitement of Northern India so we didn’t want to do too much sightseeing, although if you want to have a day away from the beach then there are tour companies we saw in Palolem offering jungle tours, canyoning, and boat trips.
Walk to Patnem beach from Palolem
You can easily walk to Patnem beach from Palolem, if you walk left along Palolem beach and continue up the wooden walkway to the top of the rocks then follow the path around – you will then need to follow the road a short way until you reach Patnem. There are many locals & foreigners around that will point you in the right direction if you are unsure.
We actually enjoyed Patnem more than Palolem as the beach was a lot wider and there seemed to be more sun loungers available. If you just eat at any of the restaurants then they will let you use their sun loungers for free.
Watch dolphins from one of the beach front restaurants
We noticed dolphins out at sea twice whilst eating in Dylan’s bar at breakfast time. Just gaze out into the ocean and you have a good chance of noticing a couple of dolphins too – they are normally being followed by boats full of tourists wanting a closer glance!