Again, paradise! I realise it is a beach, and beaches are always, to an extent, going to be beautiful, but this really was stunning! Far superior to what we had seen in the North – to be honest, I wasn’t overly impressed with those beaches. But this was on par with Varkala, only on a bigger scale and with more things to do. (Granted, more populated with tourism and a little more hassle to buy things).
We stayed here a total of 6 nights, though honestly, I could have stayed much longer! We stayed in the multicoloured Manifred huts for 300Rs per night – ensuite, double bed, mosquito net, fan, porch area. On the bus from Anjuna, we befriended a Russian guy, also called Alex, who stayed in the same accommodation as us.
Palolem had a lot to see and do – there were plenty of islands/beaches to visit, and you could easily get a quick boat trip there, though admittedly, the prices were a little high and hard negotiation was necessary. On our second day, Luke, Brendan and I took a one-hour boat ride around the small river which connected to the sea, but was in a more secluded, peaceful area. We paid 200Rs to a lovely guy who was really excited to talk to us about the various birds and monkeys in the area, and threw fish for the eagles so we could see them up close and personal. It was ever so tranquil, and each of us had a small mattress we could even sit up on or lie down, enjoying the slowness of the journey.
Later, we went for a stroll to the end of the beach that we weren’t staying at, and were greeted with incredible views of the beach area (below).
The following day, the four of us fancied going to check out Butterfly Beach, as we heard it was really pretty and not very touristy. We took a 1400Rs (total, including pickup) boat ride to the beach…. To find it was basically isolated, in the middle of nowhere – no shade, let alone restaurant, etc. It was tiny. Pretty, yes. But small. And hot. And we had no way of leaving. At all. Occasionally a few boats would come up with a crowd of Indian and foreign tourists, but none stayed, apart from 2 Russian couples who spent their afternoon posing as pornstars against the rocks and waves (a recurring theme here). We spent the day sunbathing, swimming, and the boys climbed to the top of the cliff as boys do. Finally, at 5.30pm, just in time for the sun to set, our boat came back and picked us up and took us back to Palolem Beach.
A couple of mornings, Winnie and I went to a beginners yoga class at Cosy Nook. I’m personally pretty flexible but not strong or balanced in the least and I found this class very calming and a nice introduction to yoga, having not tried it before. The teacher was very relaxed, to the point I sometimes thought he was drifting to sleep as he spoke, and on a few occasions he would leave us in an obscure position to go and speak to someone else. He also couldn’t remember who we were the following class, which was a little odd as I have peroxide blonde hair, and there were only 4 in a class, but even so he was lovely. He seemed to enjoy making us stay after class to chat about the weather and our travel plans.this cost us 250Rs each ($5 USD – approx 3 quid).
26th March was Holi Festival, and obviously this day was filled with fun activities involving lots of paint throwing! (See next post).
On our final night, Luke, Brendan and I fancied a night out – a proper one. That wouldn’t end early or with an argument. And so, the three of us headed to the silent disco at Neptune Point (not to be confused with the one mid-beach, which is merely a café). This was at the far left end of the beach, which you can see at night when the strobe lights hit the stars. As it didn’t begin until 11pm, we enjoyed a couple of drinks next door, where I discovered by putting my bare foot in it, that there was dog shit and vomit under our table. Awesome…
Nevertheless, I didn’t dwell on it and soon enough we were at the Silent Disco. It was really fun! We were a little skeptical at first, as we thought it might be pretty quiet, and when we looked over the wall of the venue we could just see a few people stumbling around the bar area. It was only after we paid the 600Rs entry fee, collected our headphones and went inside that we saw there was a large open area outside, with 3 different coloured stages, behind which a DJ played on each one. Without headphones, you could not hear what each one was playing, though if you changed the channel, the light on the headphones changed to match that of one of the DJs. The red one played Drum & Bass / Dubstep, the blue one played commercial music – more pop, and oldies, and the green one played hip hop / rap. Despite having an upset stomach which didn’t allow me to drink, it was a fun night which ended at 4am.
We departed Palolem on Easter Sunday, ready to see what Gokarna, in Karnataka, had to offer.
I haven’t mentioned any food places so here is a quick list of where I particularly enjoyed:
Brown Bread – a great place for breakfasts. Large selection of various breads (obviously), as well as cheeses, eggs, etc. friendly staff.
Magic Italy – AMAZING pizza place!!!
Cuban Café – good for breakfasts and dinner. Had some good Mexican food.
The name of a place I forget, but is next door to Big Bamboo – good curries.
Another forgotten name – is next to the corner shop opposite Brown Bread – excellent curries, big portion. Really small place, which might go unnoticed (and probably why I forgot what it’s called! – I realise this isn’t very helpful…)
Also, internet is terrible. It’s not just slow, it’s non-existent. Even the internet cafés told us not to bother as it just wasn’t working. I only came across one place here that did have free WIFI in their restaurant – awesome food. Great pastas.