We have moved on to Goa after spending four nights in Kerela.
The plan was to fly in to Delhi and head south on a sleeper train where we would eventually disembark and work our way up the west coast. The tourist visa is only for 30 days and we learned that actually that could take up two whole days travelling! Now as appealing as 35 hours in a metal box might sound to some… it’s not for me. We paid £99 when we booked our trip with STA travel which enables us to change flights as and when we need to, for a really small fee. We flew into Kochin instead and the total cost was £30 to amend the booking.
Internal flights are really cheap and frequent here. We could have flown from Delhi to Kerala for £60 each, that is 1500 miles so there are plenty of options that won’t break the bank. We spent a lovely few days at a homestay on Marari Beach which is one of the quieter southern beaches and liked it so much that we stayed an extra night. Eating delicious home cooked food, making friends with the family and commuting daily 100 yards to the beach.
After a couple of mini meltdowns trying to book train tickets, (that is not for the faint hearted, thanks seat61.com for saving us – if you’re travelling to India and want to get the train you should read this at least a week before you want to travel) we were given bracelets made from fresh Jasmine flowers and waved off in to the night.
We booked Tier AC 3 tickets on the Rajadhani Express for the twelve hour ride to Goa. This gave us each a bunk bed in an air conditioned sleeper cabin, bedding and a Breakfast in the morning. My advice if you’re tall would be not to book the side bunks as they’re a bit on the small side and you can’t hang your feet over the end. Our silk mummy liners (I use this one) have been a godsend, we snuggled down in them and slept on top of the blankets we were given.
I woke up at 6am to a nice man offering me a cup of chai and sat for the rest of the journey watching India come to life out of my cabin window.
We decided after spending less that £15 a night for our room in Kerela, that we would allow ourselves a little bit of luxury in Goa and went for Patnem Garden Cottages (£30 p/n).
We have our own a/c hut with marble floors, a veranda and good towels.
At this time of year as the season is calming down, you can usually arrive without a booking and negotiate room rates, sometimes they vary quite substantially to the ‘online rates’.
Patnem beach is one of the quieter beaches in Goa and there is such a nice, chilled vibe here.
A mile long stretch of silky sand with the coolest shacks and beach bars all with huge bright cushions to lounge on and fairy lights for evening time. All of them seem to be playing perfect beach music too.
Everything here is super cheap because they don’t add tax so there are so many good places to eat, shop, stay and have cocktails. And the setting is pretty special.
Our first night we had dinner at a little place on the beach called April 20. I had Palak Paneer which is a curry made mainly from spinach and cottage cheese. G had prawns in a hot sauce with rice which he liked, we shared a cheesy garlic naan and some poppadoms and both had drinks and it was £13. This is good food too, it isn’t just chucked on to the plate.
We’ve spent the rest of our time sizzling in the sun until midday then long jumping across the boiling hot sand to find a shaded carpet of cushions to cool down on.
This is the life.
I’ll be back with more foreign findings in a day or two!