Exploring North Goa on Solo Travel Journey
Before visiting Goa, the continuous shots that pop into my mind on hearing about this beautiful tiny state are the turquoise sea, palm trees, people wearing swimsuits sunbathing, coconut drinks, parties, trance folks, and wine. I believed North Goa was all about beaches and parties. But, I was wrong. After my solo travel to North Goa, I found North Goa fascinating in more than its ordinary ways.
Jump ahead to:
Solo travel in North Goa
From UNESCO heritage sites, beaches with adventurous activities, religious sites with architecture that perfectly blends Portuguese and Hindu cultures, to places for partying and shopping, you name it, and North Goa has it! Sounds interesting, isn’t it? If you are a solo female traveller who loves exploring a lot, you will miss out a great deal if you do not make some time to visit North Goa on your solo travel.
I understand your concern. You doubt travelling to a place where you don’t know everything at the tip. At the same time, you don’t want to take the risk of paying for a travel package or a local guide. If so, you have landed on the right page! This blog post will provide all the information I experienced and gathered during my solo travel to North Goa.
1. Ideal time to visit North Goa
Let me start with the disclaimer first. June and July are not the right time to travel solo to North Goa. It rains heavily during these months in Goa. Just think. North Goa’s sole beauty is its beaches. How good is the travel time in North Goa without going to beaches? It’s not that great, especially when you’re soaking in the rain!
What is the best time to visit North Goa?
The best time to visit North Goa is between November and February. During this time, there will be less humidity and breezy weather. Also, it is the starting season of parties and water sports. The beach shacks, which have been closed during the monsoon season, will be open during this time. Tremendous festivals of Goa like Sunburn Goa, Goa International Jazz Festival, and International Film festival also happen during this month.
Can you visit North Goa in the summer?
Yes, you can visit North Goa in the summer months. If you can’t make your travel from November to February, you can consider March, April, and May. These are the summer months, and hence, there will be no rain. But you need to take the necessary steps to beat the heat if you plan your solo trip to North Goa at this time.
Whatever it is, never plan for June and July!
2. How to reach North Goa
Flight for international travellers
You can reach North Goa by train, car, flight, or even by boat during your solo travel. For international tourists, a few Russian, British and German charter companies offer direct flights to the Dabolim Airport in Goa. Otherwise, you can fly to the nearest prime airports to Goa, such as Mumbai or Delhi, and then transit via domestic flights like SpiceJet, Air India, Jet Airways, or IndiGo.
The Dabolim International Airport receives international flights during tourist seasons even though it is mainly served by domestic airlines. The airport has all the basic amenities like food joints and shopping centres. In addition to that, it also provides currency exchange, prepaid taxi counters, and ATMs.
Train for budget-friendly travellers
Coming to train stations, Madgaon and Vasco da Gama are the chief train stations in North Goa. Madgaon Railway Station is the biggest station connected to other parts of the country through a vast train network. The distance between the capital city and the Madgaon Railway Station is roughly 38 kilometres, and that of the Vasco da Gama station is 29 kilometres. That said, compared to other modes, travelling by train is certainly cheaper.
Hence, you can consider boarding a train to reach North Goa during your solo travel. When boarding a train, you must look out for the Thivim railway station stop because it is the nearest stop and well connected to the beaches of Goa.
Road trip for local travellers
If you are a fan of the Bollywood film “Dil Chahta Hai,” then a road trip to Goa might have crossed your mind at least once. You can take a road trip if you are located near Goa. For instance, it takes nearly fourteen hours to reach Goa from its neighbouring city Mumbai. So, you can rent a car or take a bus to get to this beach paradise.
Cruise for travellers from UAE and Maldives
Not only flights, trains, and buses, cruise ships depart from the UAE and between Mumbai and Maldives for all our water babies. A cruise ferry service operating between Mumbai and Goa will be available at your beck and call if you are travelling from Mumbai and would like to spend some time near the water. This will be a one-day trip with an overnight pleasure on the sea. The cruise is known as Angriya Cruises—it has an infinity pool, a spa, and two restaurants. It departs from Mumbai’s Victoria every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 4 PM and docks at Goa’s Mormugao cruise terminal at 9 AM the following day. I had a great time travelling alone and staying on a cruise ship. You, too, should try this one if you are travelling from Mumbai.
3. What is the vibe of North Goa?
Known for its beaches, North Goa gives you a laid-back and hippie vibe. It does not matter if you are a party animal or a lone ranger, as North Goa has places for both. It is sure to pass your vibe check. Whether you want to relax by the beaches or have an adventurous time doing water sports, North Goa is where you need to travel solo.
Joining this adventurous tripping bonanza is the party culture in North Goa. North Goa is a haven for nightclubs, themed parties, and cruise parties. Having said that, if you don’t know where to start experiencing the refreshing vibe of North Goa, check out my blog post on “What is the most happening place in North Goa.”
4. Places to visit in North Goa
The places to visit in North Goa are
You don’t need to sketch separate plans to explore each of these places. Churches and forts of North Goa are located on the shores of the beaches, like the Chapora Fort in Vagator Beach, Aguada Fort in Sinquerim Beach, and Cabo De Rama in Palolem Beach. This amazing pack of North Goa gives you a spiritual, cheerful, and historical experience on your solo travel!
5. A budget-friendly itinerary for North Goa
Let me share the happy news with you regarding the budget-friendly itinerary. One day of solo travel is enough to explore North Goa. Just now, we looked into the places to visit in North Goa. They all are connected to the beaches. You can also find nightclubs near the beaches. So beaches should be the focal point to start the itinerary.
Given that, the task becomes much easier. Choose one beach area with a fort, church, watersports, and flea market. Start by visiting the tourist spots. Then go for water adventures till late afternoon. Around 3 PM, you can head to the Mandovi river. From there, go to Divar Island and experience its demanding beauty. Return to Mandovi river to take a cruise ride. After the cruise ride, head to your accommodation. Get dressed to shake your legs at a nightclub. You can check out from your hotel/hostel the next day to end your solo travel in North Goa. Or even better, you can stay on the beaches till the morning as beaches are free.
NORTH GOA ONE DAY ITINERARY
Historic and spiritual locations
Mandovi River Cruise
Shopping at Anjuna Flea Market
Vibe of Goa
Vacating the accommodation
Staying on the beach till the morning (optional)
6. Budget-friendly lodging in North Goa
Now let’s talk about accommodation for solo travellers in North Goa. Our primary concern whenever we travel solo is getting good food and accommodation within our pricing range. While we need a place to stay for the night, we also want it to be safe and secure. Based on my experience, a hostel is the best option out there. It is super affordable and safe to stay in. You can also socialise and meet new people.
Hostels, Airbnbs, and beach shacks for super affordable accommodation
Considering North Goa, hostels, Airbnbs, and beach shacks are budget-friendly lodging places. And there is one hostel I prefer the most—a few steps from Anjuna Beach, there is Wonderland Hostel. This hostel has excellent access to all of North Goa’s tourist attractions. If you are a lazy bum like me, who wants to travel a lot without walking too much, then this place is perfect for you!
Likewise, Piggy Hostel offers backpackers, especially solo travellers, affordable lodging in many of Goa’s trendiest locations, including Arambol, Calangute, and Vagator in North Goa. I like that the hostel offers girls-only dorms apart from single-person rooms and mixed dorms suitable for solo female travellers.
And there is the Red Door Hostel which is best for night travellers. Located a short stroll from Anjuna Beach, the hostel’s operational reception is open around the clock. You can enjoy Goa’s vibrant nightlife to the fullest without worrying about returning to your accommodation on time.
Also, you can obtain local advice on where to go in Goa, how to hire a cab or bike, and where to go to clubs, pubs, and restaurants from the help desk at these hostels. They are friendly and readily available for any help. You don’t have to worry about getting lost like I once did. But that’s a story for another day, or is it another article? If you are still unclear about which hostel to choose, why don’t you check out my post: What are the Best Hostels in North Goa?
Beach shacks ring the ocean to your doorstep!
On solo travel, the best way to enjoy North Goa beaches is at a beach shack. Where else can you unwind, eat your favourite dish, and look out at the beach all at once?
Not only that, but Goa’s beach shacks also offer some of the best locations to watch the sunset. Intense night parties held at these beach shacks will keep you up on your feet till dawn breaks. There will be parties in every nook and corner at night. You can go to different ones, such as themed parties and headphone parties.
Are beach shacks affordable?
But are they affordable?
I always had this question at the back of my mind until I stayed in a beach shack in North Goa. When I think about budget-friendly beach shacks, Rudy’s Golden Mermaid Shack and Curlies come into my mind. Answering your question now, staying in a beach shack costs reasonable, but food in beach shacks is a little expensive. Hence, dining in beach shacks may not be the best idea if you are on a tight budget.
Which is the best? Hostels or beach shacks?
I have stayed in both hostels and beach shacks. Each has different benefits. So I leave it up to you. I believe reading my blog post on “what are the best beach shacks in goa” can help you make a wise decision. If you still need help, reach out to me in the comments below. I will be happy to help you.
7. Offbeat places of North Goa
Goa is typically associated with beaches, resorts, and late-night parties. Yes, it is the truth. However, that can’t define the whole beauty of North Goa. Before my most recent solo trip to Goa, I also thought about North Goa the same way. My pre-travel itinerary included only beaches and parties. But later, I discovered North Goa is much more than just beaches and wild parties.
North Goa tops the list when it comes to living it up by the beach. However, it can also meet the demands of all types of travellers, as I said at the beginning of this post. Whether it is your vacation time or a solo trip to explore your inner self, many undiscovered locations are waiting for you to find them, like yoga centres, islands, and ferry rides.
Less crowded beaches and yoga/wellness centres
Out of all the beaches, Arambol Beach, one of the most breathtaking places, is also one of the least crowded beaches in Goa. You can take a relaxing sunbath, read a book, practise yoga or other soul-searching exercises, or go paragliding to get your heart rate up. There are also plenty of other fascinating locations to explore in Arambol.
Islands and ferry ride
There are several islands spread around the Mandovi river. These islands in North Goa are not to be skipped on your solo travel. Ilha Grande, Butterfly, Conco, Divar, and Chorao are some notorious islands. Divar and Chorao islands are more remote and less visited by tourists. The ferry voyage from Ribandar takes ten minutes. You’ll be astounded by the mangrove vegetation surrounding the renowned Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, which is home to several bird species and creatures that live in mangroves. If you are a twitcher, then you will love this place!
The communities of Chorao Island are a fusion of Portuguese and Brahmin cultures. You can stroll through these towns’ little, muddy roads to see old Portuguese-style homes with a rustic, natural feel all around you. I enjoyed the calmness that came with breathing in the fresh air in these communities. Since these undiscovered locations are not commercialised, the natural charm is preserved.
These are some of the offbeat things to do in Goa. If you want to know more about these kinds of offbeat places, check out my blog post on “Offbeat places in North Goa.”
8. Where to socialise with travellers in North Goa
When North Goa is the reflection of beaches and parties, it is no doubt that you will meet many travellers from around the world while you solo travel to North Goa. Given that, beaches and parties are not the only places solo travellers gather in Goa. People congregate in flea markets, hostels, marketplaces, beach shacks, cafes, and bars. Places like the Curlies, The Shiva Valley, Ashwem Beach, Anjuna Beach, and Anjuna Flea Market are all popular places where travellers hang out the most. Of course, we can’t leave out festivals from this list.
9. Festivals in North Goa
Speaking of festivals, Goa celebrates Indian and Non-Indian festivals. To name a few,
- Jatra Utsav of Shantadurga
- Flower Chariot
- The procession of the deity on Ambari
- Feast of Three Kings
- Tattoo Festival
- the Kite Festival
- Sunburn Goa
- Mando Festival
- Feast of St. Francis Xavier
- New Year’s Eve
Parties are the minimalist type of festivals in North Goa. Every night, parties will be in full swing near the beaches. If you plan your solo trip to Goa, considering the best time to visit, you will have the joy of participating in at least one of the festivals of Goa. Since all the beaches are located in the North, North Goa is the ideal place for festivals. Besides that, the main city of Goa is close to North Goa. That way, all festivals are within your reach.
10. Things to do in North Goa
Here are the fascinating things you can do on your solo trip to North Goa.
- Refresh on the beaches of Goa.
- Play in the water on the swim-friendly beaches of Goa.
- Take part in nerve-chilling water adventures on the beaches of Goa.
- Stay all night on the beaches and enjoy the nightlife.
- Join a nightclub.
- Go cycling near the beaches.
- Get a tattoo by a local tattooist in the beach flea market.
- Visit a spice farm.
- Go on an adventurous cruise ride.
- Try your luck in a cruise casino.
- Shop in the night markets.
- Visit the forts situated near the beaches.
11. Travelling North Goa on a budget
Travel in the shoulder season to reduce the budget.
You should not plan your solo travel in December if you want to keep your hard-earned or hard-borrowed money in North Goa. November to February is the peak season in North Goa. The average budget during the peak is often at least 75% to 100% more expensive than in other months. If you have a limited budget, it is recommended to avoid peak season. Regarding that, March to October is the ideal time to visit North Goa on budget. You know already shoulder seasons are the feasible ones.
Is it better to travel to North Goa on weekdays or weekends?
Coming to the question of weekdays or weekends. Weekdays are affordable and comparatively less crowded than weekends. People located near Goa have the benefit of taking day trips to Goa on weekends. It is the busiest period for Goa’s hotels, clubs, and eateries. The majority of these establishments charge higher rates for weekend visitors. Hence, weekdays between March to October are the best time to travel solo to North Goa on a budget.
12. How to be a conscious traveller in North Goa
Six tips to explore North Goa like a pro
1. Skip long queues
2. Beware of tourist scams
3. Stay alert 24x7
4. Rent a scooter to travel within North Goa
5. Exchange money from a reliable source only
6. Call 100 on emergency
Skip long queues
Every traveller’s goal is to dine in the well-known dining places in their travel destination. People gather local information to find popular dining places. Although it is plausible, sometimes visiting popular restaurants results in a horrible experience. I have faced many encounters as such. So, don’t stick adamantly to popular restaurants or cafes. During peak seasons, these famous places will be busy. And you can’t waste your travel time in a queue for dining. So avoid long lines. Save time and money for travel.
Beware of tourist scams
Tour companies will compete for your business on practically every busy road. Many would even tempt you with cheap budget packages that offer to give you access to all the city’s top tourist destinations for an incredibly low cost. But believe me when I say that even these low charges are much more expensive than renting a car and self-driving to see these locations. Be aware of tourist scams and people who advertise themselves as local guides.
Rent a scooter to travel within North Goa
Renting a scooter is a top-notch way to explore North Goa. As a conscious traveller, try to rent a scooter for transportation in North Goa. However, don’t let rentals take advantage of you. I have seen people hiking up the rental cost depending on the nature of the customer. If they identify you as a naive person, they will try to fool you. Note that renting a scooter should cost no more than Rs. 150 per day.
Stay alert 24×7
Like anywhere else in the globe, Goa has a sizable drug scene, and people put substances in other’s beverages. Hence, you must be cautious to avoid getting caught up in these situations. Instead of going to the parties on your own, you can make some friends at the place you stay and go with them.
Exchange money from a reliable source only.
Never exchange money in Goa from an unreliable source. Make sure you’re performing it from a legal location. Keep all transaction receipts you get. Keep them close by. In the event of a problem, it might be useful. Be updated with information about currency exchanges in Goa. Bring multiple Visa or Master cards with you to Goa. This way, you’ll be prepared to get through any setbacks.
Call 100 on emergency
In case of emergency, contact the police at 100. I suggest you take a phone with a local sim while travelling in Goa. For it to function in an emergency, you must always add an adequate amount of recharge/credits.
With these guidelines in mind, you can enjoy travelling to North Goa alone without any worries.
13. End your doubts and pack your bags!
So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags for your next solo adventure because North Goa and its many wonderful places await you to discover them.
Since North Goa is known as a party destination, female travellers in India feel a little uneasy about planning their solo travel here. I hope this blog post was informative in telling you that Goa is more than beaches and parties. It is truly a fantastic destination for solo travel, regardless of gender.
I understand your trepidation, so I have included some safety advice and guidelines to be a conscious female traveller while travelling alone in Goa.
14. FAQs about North Goa
>> Is North Goa safe for solo female travellers?
Yes, North Goa is a safe place for solo female travellers. However, the culture of North Goa instils fear. It is a safe place to roam even at night.
>> Is North Goa expensive?
>> Is there any island in North Goa?
Yes, there are islands in North Goa. Ilha Grande, Butterfly, Vanxim, Conco, Divar, and Chorao are some popular ones.
>> Is Goa open for tourism now?
Yes, Goa is open for tourism now. For further details, check out my blog post on “Is Goa open for tourism now.”
>> What are the popular beaches of North Goa?
The popular beaches of North Goa are Vagator, Baga, Anjuna, Candolim, Calangute and Sinquerim.
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.