Goa is, like india herself, very different depending upon which part of Goa you are in. You can have the hippy vibe if that’s what you are after, or you can have the charter holiday beach resort or even the higher end spa hotel pampering.
When we arrived to Goa it was to the main train station in South Goa, Margao, and we had just got off from a fifteen hour non AC second class journey from Kerala. We took the cheapest and quickest option as it was already four in the morning and took an auto rickshaw to Benaulam/ Colwa. We found a concrete bunker with a toilet which cost us 1000 rupees a night and the next day headed out to explore. we were there a total of three hours and packed up and left. Imagine a faded seaside resort, mostly closed up and you won’t be far wrong, imagine Rhyll in the tropics.
Anjuna Beach was the next area we hit and was to be our base for the next week, this was more like it! Anjuna was one of the original hippy hangouts way back when and the same vibe still hung in the air like charras smoke. Anjuna is basically one main road leading down to the beach and a coast road leading, strangely enough, along the coast. The roads are lined with souvenir shops, cafes, hotels and supermarkets and the people are very relaxed and laid back. They have been dealing with travellers since the sixties and it shows.
Next up the coast is Vagator, with little and big vagator beaches and the same relaxed vibe. On the beaches here you can lie on loungers and drink beer and if you are lucky, as we were, watch a Bollywood film being shot.
Even further up the coast is Arambol which has even more of a hippy vibe than Anjuna. Again it really is just one road leading down to the beach, the cafes and restaurants line the sand and are the perfect place to people watch, the aging, stoned hippies and the young backpacker crowd provide constant entertainment.
The hippy market at Anjuna, this has been going since way back and now to be honest it is a bit of a tacky tourist thing, the best bit of it was the bar at the far end of the beach, excellent food, wicked drink and nice friendly service, slur loved it.