Who doesn’t love Goa?
When you’re in college (or at least when I was, way back when), The Goa Trip was the dream. Beer, beaches, partying – every young kid wanted in on the action.Let’s be clear – I’ve done that version of the trip, but this post is about a different Goa trip. A trip of serene beaches, cozy cafes, lively casinos and random drives. Not quite offbeat, but enough off the beaten trail that you’d like to try it at least once.
We started by grabbing a booking at the Deltin Suites, a reasonably priced 5 star property (yes, that exists) in Panjim. We thought that hey, since we’re planning to visit casinos this time, might as well stay with them too.
As luck would have it, Deltin has an office at the airport that gets you a cab for the hotel at discount fare.On day 1, time was limited as we landed in the afternoon. We just went to the hotel, ordered some Goan food in our swanky 1bhk kind of room, and crashed for a bit.
Evening brought with it my dear wife’s efforts to make me look presentable, compared to her radiance, and off we went to the Deltin Royale, Asia’s largest floating casino. Now I’m no Daniel Craig from Casino Royale, but who doesn’t like the thrill of gambling? Deltin has pretty nifty package deals that allow you to buy an entry pass with a value of gambling chips plus complimentary food and drinks.
So armed with 3,000 INR worth of chips and a cold beer, Vedika and I promptly went on to learn some of the casino games and to equally promptly lose almost 2,000 bucks worth of chips on roulette. Thankfully, some of the tips from the Learning Table stuck, and I managed to win us back another 1,000 INR from Blackjack, after which we congratulated each other and decided it was enough gambling for one night.
The rest of the evening was relatively uneventful, as we sat at the rooftop bar enjoying our drinks and the live entertainment, followed by a quick ferry ride back to the hotel.
Day 2 was a bit more eventful. Our first stop in our rented car was Mandrem beach, way up in north Goa close to the Maharashtra border. So far north, in fact, that there were hardly 2 dozen people on a sparkling clean, white sanded beach. What followed was a solid couple of hours of doing beachy things aka splashing around amidst the waves, taking photographs, lounging on beach chairs and sipping beer.
As lunch came closer, we decided to shift base to this cozy, quaint little cafe on Anjuna called Eva’s Cafe, run by (you guessed it) Eva, an Israeli national living in India. With a fantastic view of the beach and the setting sun, absolutely beautiful decor, and some truly delicious food, it was an evening well spent.
But the day wasn’t over yet, and our next stop was Deltin’s Casino Jaqk. Jaqk is apparently the first casino in Goa and hence the oldest, but the interiors would never give that away. It’s absolutely luxurious from the inside. With much the same games – Blackjack, roulette, Poker, Teenpatti – it is effectively not so different from Royale, except for being a bit more affordable and somewhat smaller. I personally enjoyed the cosier setting a bit more, and liked the food better too.
Day 3 was our departure day, and with only a bit of time on hand we stuffed ourselves thoroughly on the breakfast buffet (which was delicious btw) and headed to St. Anne’s Church, Parra Road. To those uninitiated ones who do not understand the significance of this place – it is where the famous cycling scene in Dear Zindagi was shot. Now I’m an SRK fan, and my wife is a photography fan, and this street is perfect for both. I’m not kidding, just check the photos out.
After all this posing and chaos was done, all that was left was a quick lunch at the authentic Japanese restaurant “Sakana” near Vagator, and the long cab ride and even longer flight home.So, a Goa trip that was different from “conventional” ones, but fun in some unexpected ways.
Before, if you’d asked me about Goa’s casinos, I’d have told you they’re only a place for rich kids and/or aging business tycoons with a love for gambling. Now that may or may not be true, but casinos are surprisingly entertaining even for couples like us. It’s about as expensive as any other evening out (cheaper if you love your liquor), and gambling itself is a fun one-time experience. If you’d like to check out their packages, do visit their website https://www.deltin.com/
And I simply cannot recommend Mandrem beach or Eva’s cafe enough.
If you visit any of these places when you go to Goa, give us a shoutout! We’d love to hear how you liked it!
Blog by Sarthak Saneja