Is Goa a Safe Destination for Solo Women Travellers?
When you travel to India, you will see how safe Goa is. India tops in the list of ‘Must countries to visit,’ and being an avid traveller myself, I have realized that India might appear a picky choice in the beginning. However, once you are here, there is nothing like it. The warmth, love, and serenity take over all your fears, and you are left with nothing but a strange sense of belongingness with the holy land.
Read my guide – Why India is safe for female travellers to cut off the strings holding you back. My dear backpacking bee, you have earned this “me” time, and it is the time to embrace this wanderlust. As a girl, I understand that you, too, will have insecurities. Doubts may vary from people’s behaviour, safety in the hotel to managing transportation in a foreign country. It is absolutely wise to have these concerns. However, you can read my guide 12 Reasons Why India is Safe for Solo Women Travellers to make up your mind.
Goa – Las Vegas of India
Even in a random online search for the best cities to travel to in India, Goa will top your search bar. It is so for a reason! As I always say, Goa is like the Las Vegas of India. With the carefree nature of people, independence to explore, multiple options to choose your kind of entertainment, and connect with yourself by the beach, Goa offers everything that you seek for yourself. I believe that safety goes hand in hand, and no matter where you are, being aware and alert always helps!
It does not matter if you are in Goa or Sydney. You have to be vigilant and watchful of your surroundings. Being a solo female traveller may draw unwanted attention and comments from people. You only need to ward off these distractions and continue your trip, nonetheless. Nothing is worth earning until it comes with a pinch of challenges. Read my guide, 14 awkward first-time solo female travel moments: How to tackle them.
Let me begin by telling you the pros of starting your trip with a backpack to Goa in India. It really is LIT! You will not have any difficulty adjusting to the environment. The state has the maximum number of tourists since Goa’s economy thrives upon tourism. You can expect its residents at their best behaviour with the willingness to extend their hands in need.
No language barrier unlike other parts of India
Since Goa is a popular destination for many travellers from within the country and abroad, the state has taken acute measures to ensure its safety. Goa police have made steady steps to shift their focus to provide service 24*7. Unlike other states, you can expect the authorities to be working and investigating if there is a need. Another reason Goa tops my list from a safety point of view is that there is no language barrier. When I travelled abroad, it is a challenge to even ask a local about directions or the best coffee around. In Goa, you can be assured that language is not going to be a pickle. The state’s local language is Konkani, but almost everyone is well-versed with English, including house help. All the billboards, banners, and road signs are in English.
A land for yogis
Furthermore, Goa is home to Yoga and Ayurvedic practices. The overall aura of the state is peaceful, and everyone minds their own business. If you travel to South Goa, you will see many clubs and party hot spots. They are equally safe and enjoyable as long as you stay within your boundaries. Mine was a backpacking trip to Goa, and even though I booked tickets in a rush, I returned home with a treasure of memories and heart touching stories. There is too much beauty to be missed by anyone in India. Read my guide on 12 things that no one tells you about backpacking in India.
Rural meets urban
Situated in the Western Ghats of India, this former Portuguese colony wins over hearts! Its architecture and picturesque beaches became my new muse to travel. Given that Goa is a modern and forward-looking city, the state also possesses higher literacy rate amongst other states of India. Some of the best designers, artists, architects, and dancers have their humble abode in Goa. Not only do people prefer staying here for the natural beauty, but also to be inspired by their real-life heroes.
Any youngster will suggest Goa if you are travelling solo. My personal reason for recommending you is because it is a fusion of rural-meets-urban. The connection between North Goa, South Goa, and villages along the ghats is all strung from a linear thread. Keeping their authenticity, ethnicity, and traditions close to heart, even the remote villagers or Goan people from an urban area indulge in similar day-to-day activities. People’s basic interests, like fishing, listening to rock music, and living in an eco-friendly way, is visible across all the houses in Goa.
During my trips, I always try to look beyond what is mentioned in the brochures or websites. I rather try to explore the nuances of the place that makes it special. Goa is ideal for nature lovers, hikers, and soul searches. It worked for me on multiple levels. To put it in gist, the love from locals that I found was the nucleus of the place.
It is worth having a copy of Lonely Planet’s useful Goa guide book with you.
An all-in-one beach destination
Another reason I want to outline in respect of Goa being a safe destination for solo women travellers is transportation. Any place you visit, commuting locally within the city can become a handful if you do not have a personal vehicle. Not the case in Goa. It can be your own Cockaigne. Visiting the historical monuments and calming beaches will not be a task rather a soothing journey. Most locals travel by bus as it is clean, affordable, and have a higher frequency. You can download a local app on your mobile to know about the bus route, which bus to take, and which bus stop is available for your smooth transition. Travelling in a public vehicle reduces the chances of your being secluded and rather be surrounded by people. It helped me as I didn’t have to worry much.
On arriving at Goa, you will hardly have a cultural shock or notice anything different. Goa has been a hippie’s bay for so long, and over time, the needs from all the major cultures are catered here. At the granular level, even the lifestyle of Goans’ is very healthy and uplifting. Their main occupation is either overlapping with the tourism sector or with agriculture. They are simple peace-loving people.
The hospitality is world-class, and I would say, best in South Asia. You are lucky if you can book a coastal resort. From having fresh cocktails to grilled sea fish, from morning yoga to swimming in the ocean, from a walk by the beach to the bonfire under the stars, Goa has all the reasons to detox you and pep you up for another chapter of life.
So, is it safe then?
The state policies are very friendly, and you can always reach out to the concerned authorities as they respond well in time. I will also suggest you buy travel insurance before your trip. In any unfortunate situation when your luggage goes missing or you face any issue during your transit, you can buy some time and let the fully covered insurance do its work.
Additionally, the weather of Goa is hot and sunny for almost throughout the year. You will find people out on the street doing their business and tourists visiting remote places. Bamboo yoga is a popular practice in Goa and usually takes place amidst forests or beaches. You can also enrol yourself in group activities without a doubt. Spot a hammock by the beach and read your favourite book to fill your soul with wholesomeness. As much as Goa is about seclusion and finding your inner zen, take a break from the monotony and get yourself into salsa dance class or music workshops. Being in the group brings out collective energy and keeps you motivated to finish what you started. I’d say Airbnb Experience is the best option for all the non-touristy activities.
If you ask me, then yes, Goa is a safe destination for solo women travellers. It has always been the party capital of India. A quick getaway is not enough for this beautiful city as you will need a longer trip to do justice with its architectural beauty, wandering in the wildness, admiring its raw beauty, and enjoying its seafood. Safety is a personal choice that we have to ensure at every step. I have travelled to the safest of places, yet have experienced unpleasant moments. It starts at home while packing.
A real quick guide on safety
Here are five rules you should abide by during every trip.
1. Always keep an extra copy of your documents.
Keep one set of photocopied documents in your suitcase and one in your bag. Keeping all the originals in a folder or neatly place them in your waist pouch. You do not need to carry all your originals while travelling in the state as you may risk them losing it.
2. Keep your cash divided.
It is my personal rule that I always stash some cash in my clothes and leave that in the luggage while carrying the required amount in my wallet. All over India, especially in Goa, credit cards and debit cards are accepted. This way, you do not have to get the currency changed all the time. However, you still need to keep cash handy as you will require it while travelling, shopping, or eating locally.
3. Get yourself a local SIM card
In Goa, most of the cafes have public wifi. Chances are that you may lose internet connection or connectivity in some remote places. For that, you should buy a local SIM card that is easily available at the airports or any mobile shop.
4. Look for a spy camera.
Though I have never experienced it myself, I have heard stories from fellow travellers that there have been instances where they found a hidden camera in the changing/hotel room. Being a girl is not easy and even more so when you are travelling alone. Read my guide on what you need to know before travelling solo to Goa.
5. Don’t wear flashy jewellery.
No matter how aware and alert you are about your surroundings, it is always important to be smart with your choices. Wearing flashy jewellery can grab unwanted attention from anyone, be it taxi driver or your hostel front desk. To be on the safer side, wear it after you arrive at the venue and immediately take it off before you leave. It may sound a little crazy, but we all need to stretch a leg to ensure our protection.
During a trip, carry what is durable and comfortable. As we all know, Goa is the place if you fancy a party or a rocking fest, drink responsibly, and befriend strangers after giving it a well thought only. It is always better to make a mental note that prevention is better than precaution.
Never too late…
As Oscar Wilde says, “live with no excuses and travel with no regrets,” spread your wings and go somewhere where you have never been. Notice the little things that you unconsciously overlooked while doing your job. Watch how drops of rain make a pattern on your windowpane, how birds fly together, and how your coffee is made. You will realise that it is the best feeling to be alive. Go out, explore the world, my dear ladies. It is never too late to cross the bridge and start over.
Let me know your experiences from Goa in the comments below. Also, I’m always open to feedback and suggestions, not to mention love, in the comments.
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.