Goa has always been one of the most popular tourist places in India. People travel from far and wide to this small state for its diverse mix of beaches, adrenaline activities, parties, nature, and history. One of the best ways to see all that Goa India has to offer is by hiring a motorbike or scooter, and exploring at leisure.
These Goa India tourist places are on everyone's must-see lists.
1. Goa Beaches
The Anjuna flea market is held every Wednesday from morning until evening, except during the monsoon season, on the southern end of Anjuna Beach. The market has has exploded in size and attracts people from all over Goa. It's now got over 500 stalls, and is still growing. You'll find a huge assortment of goods there, but make sure you bargain. After a day of shopping til you drop, head over to Curly's beach shack and take in the sunset scene there.
If one market isn't enough for you, the Saturday Night Market and Mackie's Night Bazaar, both in the Arpora Baga area, are also worth checking out. They offer entertainment, including live music, as well as an eclectic range of food.
3. Old Goa
Once the magnificent Portuguese capital of Goa India, these days all that remains of Old Goa is a handful of imposing churches and cathedrals. They are amongst the largest in Asia though. Some of the buildings have now become archeological museums, and provide a fascinating display of Goa's history.
One of the most interesting buildings in Old Goa is the Convent and Church of Saint Francis of Assisi, built in 1521. Just opposite is the Basilica of Bom Jesus, which contains the preserved remains of the body of Saint Frances Xavier, a revered missionary and the patron saint of Goa. The body is shown to the public every 10 years, with the next exhibition due in 2014. Old Goa is situated not far from Panaji, Goa's current capital.
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4. Wildlife Sanctuaries
Goa India isn't just all about beaches and churches. The state's location along the mountainous Western Ghats is home to an array of birds and animals. Around 20% of Goa consists of wildlife sanctuaries. They're open all year round, although October to March are the best months to visit.
The two main sanctuaries are Bhagwan Mahvir (of which Mollem National Park is a part) and Cotigao. On the fringe of the Mollem National Park you'll find the imposing Dudhsagar Falls, where the water rages down from a huge height during and just after the monsoon season. Accommodations, provided by the Goa Forest Department, are available at both sanctuaries. For a very eco-friendly stay, try a mud hut at the Shanti Nature Resort in Mollem National Park.
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5. Spice Plantations
Another highlight of a trip to Goa India is the spice plantations around Ponda. Goa's tropical climate and dense forests makes it an ideal place to grow spices. The spice farms are open to visitors. You can take a guided tour, enjoy the picturesque scenery, and finish with a spicy lunch.
One of the most acclaimed spice plantations in Goa is the Savoi Plantation, reached by an enchanting drive through dense jungles and hills from Ponda. Others include the Sahakari Spice Farm, Pascol Spice Village, Abyss, and the Tropical Spice Plantation. Accommodations, and other activities such as elephant or boat rides, are offered at many of the farms.
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