We had been thinking to go for a trip together from a long time and finally planned and executed our medium budget Goa vacation / trip. It was a 3 days 2 nights vacation. The distance from Pune to Goa is about 11 hours by Bus. People prefer bus over train to Goa because they believe it would be too much of a travel and from Panaji or vasco da gama railway station, the beaches like Baga or Calangute are far away. However, my personal choice is Train (AC sleeper Coach) when you are not in hurry. You can chill out with friends in the train during the long journey. One thing I experienced is that on the return journey you must book a faster conveyance because it becomes sad when your vacation is coming to an end. Preferably, flights! I am surely going to take a flight next time due to the experience at least on the return journey. The distance to Goa from Pune is 459 kms by road.
We reached the bus pick up point near railway station at 8.45pm according to their reporting time. However, it was not the main starting point, so the agent’s mini bus picked and dropped us at Swargate. The main starting point for buses to Goa is swargate in Pune. And we started at around 10pm from there.
The Journey To Goa – The beginning of our Medium Budget Goa Vacation
The road was a mix of nice well constructed highways, ghats, rough and smooth patches. I still remember the centrifugal force making me move from either to the bus wall or on to my friend sleeping next to me. The bus was fast and the turns were wild. The bus was decent, a bit smaller in length. I being 5′ 9″ tall, was totally fit as if it was made to fit myself without any movement while traveling. The bus was Purple – decent enough. I hate traveling in buses now because I want the toilet to be accessbile throughout the journey. And I had a bad time holding “it” in the morning time. We reached Mapusa at around 7am. We were supposed to go till Panaji but since I was in hurry, we all got down there itself. While I finished, my genius friends booked a cab fro all of us to our sweet & sexy hotel Colonia Santa Maria (CSM). we also booked 4 two wheelers (activa, a moped) for Rs. 250 each during this time.
Day 1 – Friday in Goa
The Hotel Colonia Santa Maria
This hotel is on Baga Beach. The hotel rooms were booked well in advance by us. The hotel room was for Rs. 4050 per night – A little expensive but worth. You need a good place to rejuvenate after the hot and tiring day.
The worst part is, you reach Goa at 7am but your check-in time is 1pm, while the checkout is at 11am! Since, we were so active already, we decided to put the baggage at the hotel counter and went on to explore Goa.
Just 10 mins walk away, there was a nice cafe Infantaria where we had breakfast of our choice and moved to explore the beach just 5 mins away. Infantaria was pretty reasonable and sober. We had stuffing breakfast in merely Rs. 200 each. The interior was great.
Before we realized, it was already 10.30 am. The hotel receptionist allocated 1 room for all of us until 1 pm when other friends actually got their own rooms to chill. We were two occupying each room. The waiting in one room was total fun. We also enjoyed the Swimming pool despite the hot sun!
The Lunch at Baga Beach
Bosco’s! What a lovely experience we had. Nice food, chilled beer and friends chit chatting. The time passed by, we clicked pictures and had an amazing lunch. On returning to the hotel, we took a nap of around 2 hours.
The Evening at Baga Beach
Loads of people around – girls in bikini and guys in their undies chilling, running, playing, enjoying the golden sun diving into the sea. I just don’t remember it further, but whatever it was, it was just fun! Ended up having beer under a shack.
The Dinner at Britto’s
Fantastic interiors, lovely crowd and yummy food is what Britto’s all about. Again, a nice time.
Damn tired, we headed to our rooms for a sound sleep, rejuvenating for the next morning.
Day 2 – Saturday in Goa
Early morning, I was keen to go for running and enjoying the calmness around the beach. Thankfully, a couple of friends got up early with me and were ready to join. We followed the road signs to reach Vagator beach, it was around 14 kms from our hotel CSM. Amazing view, pictures, running just made our day start with a big smile.
The Breakfast at CSM
There is a complimentary breakfast provided by CSM. After returning from Vagator beach we hogged on the food and energized ourselves for the noon to come.
Sightseeing – The famous Old Saint Xavier’s Church
So we got ready, took our hired two wheelers and started the journey to Old Goa via Panaji. You may want to just do a Wikipedia for more on this. It was a great Church with St. Xavier’s body preserved for so many years now.
You must strictly follow rules like – carry your original licenses, don’t be drunk while driving. We wasted 1.5 hours since two riders were not compliant and paid Rs 2000 as penalty. Due to this, we had a delayed lunch on our way back on the Calangute Beach. My friends wanted to try a typical Goan thali at Ritz but I was not really keen. It was a cool day, still; not with respect to the weather, though.
My Friends’ Lunch at Ritz, Goa
While I and some friends enjoyed the shopping at Calangute Beach, my other friends enjoyed the typical Goan Thali in Panaji.
The day followed with some rest at the hotel then back on the Baga Beach for some good evening time.
Later in the evening we wanted to go to clubs like Tito’s or Club Cubana. However, Cubana did not allow stags and Tito’s we did not check. So we ended up having alcohol and some good time at the Hotel. Further for drinks we went to St. Anthony’s shack. It was cool and we enjoyed our drinks and starters there. They were playing Karaoke but I had no intention to vacant the place by participating in that event, though I think I can sing =)
We concluded our day with the dinner at Britto’s and headed to the Hotel. We were late to the bed and so got up late in the morning and directly landed at the Breakfast lounge of the hotel.
The 3rd Day, Sunday – The last day
Today, for the breakfast, they had some Indian cuisine – Puri Bhaji in Vegetarian and for non veg there were Chicken Sausage, scrambled eggs. Bread butter jam, juices, tea coffee, fruits and the regular stuff which must be there was definitely there.
Some friends wanted to go to Panaji for buying Cashew and typical Goan varieties Since it was too hot, I and rest of the friends spent time on Calangute Beach, where I bought some Shorts and cheap use and throw shades. Had a delightful meal at a Shack named Sea Escape. Had a good time for eyes too!
Well, then it was the time to pack bags and depart to the pick up point for heading back to Pune.
The Return journey from Goa to Pune
As I said earlier, I run out of patience, when it is about going back. The return bus was a bad. We booked Paulo Travels online on travelyaari.com for such a higher rate and the service was absolutely poor. First of all, you are a stranger, you don’t know anything there and you are dropped by the pick and drop service to a location where there are plenty of buses. The conductors of the other buses were helping and that’s how we got into “our own” bus after some confusion in 2 buses. Now, you look at this bus and all the friends blame you for paying so high and choosing such a bad bus. This bus had charged us the highest, almost double and they provided no blankets or shawls or bed sheets as complimentary!
The bus was late according to what we expected but it helped us reach safe, sound and at lightening speed. We expected ourselves to be in Pune at around 8.30 am. But I woke up in the morning hearing the conductor about reaching Pune at around 6.15 am. I felt so relaxed then. And that’s when our medium budget Goa vacation came to an end.
Expenditure in Goa
We spent around Rs. 4050 for the hotel stay which included two days breakfast.
On the last day, since the checkout time was 11 am, we moved all our baggage in one room and paid Rs. 150 per hour till we finally checked-out at 5 pm.
Food & Alcohol
Almost everywhere we spent on an average Rs. 350 per person (of total 8) for a stuffing lunch, dinner and a happy high experience.
As I mentioned, the two wheeler on rent are for Rs. 250 on an average. The better the bike condition is, the more is its rent. It should be fine to pay a 50 note extra and take a bike with proper breaks and lights than to risk yourself for that small price.
Other vehicles like cars (with/without driver) & high class gear bikes can also be rented out for a higher but reasonable price.
Travel cost to & from Pune
The bus rates keep changing with the season. In March, we paid Rs 800 for the travel to Goa which was much much better than the return journey for which we paid Rs. 1300 and blankets and bed sheets extra!
If you want to have a luxurious vacation, you can prefer flights. If not for a round trip, think about it at least for the return. It will help you keep the blues, of the ending vacation, away.
Things You Need to Take Care Of
Overall, the special things you need to take care of while going to Goa is the travel and the stay. A wrong choice in either one may ruin your vacation. Paying a little more through a well known agency or through friends is not a bad idea.
Carry slippers – there is a lot of beach walk, so prefer slippers over shoes
Loads of sunscreen – It’s very sunny in Goa especially in March. Protect your skin with the sunscreen. You can additionally carry goggles & cap.
Water Bottle Keep yourself hydrated. You may not realize, but your body dehydrates fast when you are moving around under sun without a handy water bottle to drink.
Medicines – Medicines just in case for the flu as it’s very sunny there.
When Should You Visit Goa?
The right time to visit Goa is between November till early March. Peak time is December last week and January first week. The hotel rates and air/bus travel fare go high during this time. Rest of the time, they are pretty cheap.
If you have any questions for your trip to Goa, you can put in comment section below. I will try to answer them & help you. You can also appreciate or discuss anything, if you like to.