I always say “Heaven is Here” whenever I’m at the beach. I love the beach. Love the sounds of crashing waves or rustling palm leaves. Love the feel of sand in between my toes. I don’t mind the hot sun but at the same time I don’t bake myself in the heat either. Have never been a good swimmer but love to dip myself every now and then in the water. Ahhhh…the Beach. It’s relaxing. It’s HEAVEN.
Indeed, I came to the right HEAVEN…in Goa. I stayed in Benaulim, South Goa and the name of my accommodation for the following 4 nights was, coincidentally, Heaven Goa Guesthouse.
I had arranged for airport pick-up and met John the driver. John gave me a warm welcome and a huge smile. Immediately I felt HAPPY. As we drove to the guesthouse, I had realised how slow John drove – 40km/hour – and then, I thought, this is chill mode. Cool.
Car window was down. Sun was setting. Wind was blowing. The scenery was just incredible – coconut and palm trees, rice fields and lush greenery. I almost wanted to do what dogs do in the car – stick their heads out of the window and feel the wind! I saw, in the midst of plantations, were quaint houses painted in bright red, yellow, blue, purple. I thought to myself, this place has HAPPY colours all over it!
We reached the guesthouse and I was greeted by Sunil. Sunil, a Keralan, and his Swiss wife, Karin run Heaven Goa Guesthouse since 2005. The guesthouse has 12 rooms – half of which face the rice fields, and the remaining half face the dining area and the swimming pool.
I booked the non-AC room and the room is incredibly huge! A double bed with mosquito net and a ceiling fan above it. Furniture is spartan but the bathroom is the largest I ever seen!
Wi-Fi is only available in the dining area. I reckon this is a good idea as it encourages guests not to stay in their rooms but come to the dining area to mingle. And that’s what I did throughout my stay there, and got to know my hosts better and met other guests.
Woke up the next morning after 11 hours of sleep, feeling refreshed, and this is the view from my balcony.
When I ate my breakfast at the dining area, it was either this lazy cat which kept me company, or Sina, the lovely Labrador.
Sernabatim Beach is only 5-8 minutes’ walk from the guesthouse. I walked past rice fields ready to be harvested. Following the curve of the road and continue down the path is Furtados Beach House and a few huts selling provisions (I call them the 7-Eleven beach huts and I met John again who owns one of these huts). And then the beach…
And I saw this…
I was told that there was another beach up north called Colva Beach which is 8-10 minutes’ walk from Sernabatim. Reviews of Colva Beach are not that great – apparently it’s very crowded. I was curious and decided to check out Colva, and yes, true enough, there was just too many holidaymakers and that time particularly was the Dussehra Festival in India. It was a holiday season for them, so many from Mumbai, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu flocked to Goa, to Colva Beach. But it was quite odd that Sernabatim was completely opposite.
Anyway, I turned and walked back to Sernabatim, and parked myself for 2 days at Xavier’s Bar and Restaurant. Xavier’s was perfect for me – on the beach, the water is just right in front, therefore I had a great view. All I did the whole day was eat, drink, read, people-watching and swim.
Sernabatim Beach is very clean. The atmosphere is tranquil. The sea temperature was warm, and the waves were not too rough. The R&R that I wanted for so long!
I arrived in Goa in during the first week of October. The monsoon had ended in September and the high season would start from mid-October onwards. Accommodation is still cheap during the shoulder season but some may not have opened yet. I was told that many accommodation owners used the shoulder season to make repairs and maintenance, to spruce things up before the high season starts.
Although this was my first time in Goa, I’m glad I went during this time of the year. Not only accommodation was more affordable as per my budget but lesser crowds. South Goa is less commercialised than North Goa but even nowadays they take advantage of the high season – beach shacks are not opened till November. And when they are opened, they are overpriced.
The easiest way to get around is to rent a motorbike or a bicycle. Unfortunately, I do not know how to ride a motorbike and I could not rent a bicycle because it was “not the season” 🙁 However, there are motorcycle taxis available.
Another thing which the shoulder season became an inconvenience, well, at least for me, was the street lights were not switched on at night. It was very dark to walk from the beach back to the guesthouse. John had mentioned that street lights were damaged due to torrential rains during the monsoon but would be repaired by mid-October. Although the locals stressed to me that it was indeed very safe and that I had nothing to worry about, I was not feeling comfortable at all. There were no auto rickshaws or motorcycle taxis that night to take me back to the guesthouse. That was when I wished I had learnt how to ride a motorbike!
I had to use the torchlight from my mobile phone to guide me back to the guesthouse. The fact that I was travelling alone made me scared of dark surroundings, as such, I walked as fast as I could. For the next couple of nights, I ordered take-away food and used that opportunity to eat with my hosts and other guests 🙂
Have you been to Goa, and was it Heavenly and Happy place for you?