Apr 23

Palm Trees at Baga Creek, North Goa6 months here in Goa are coming to an end; wow – the time was really flying! The season is ending also, many shops and restaurants shut down already, while the temperatures are rising every day. The coming monsoon is showing its hot side.

Everyone is waiting for the rain to fall. Time for a wrap-up, as done previously before the departure from Bali.

As this was the first time in Goa (and India) for me, I could only rely on what other people described on forums and by word of mouth:

A good resource, which helped me a lot to research Goa and India is for instance the forum over at Indiamike.

Still nothing can prepare you 100% for the culture shock that is India. The impressions of the first 14 days I wrote down here.

If you are looking for a cheap place to stay on holiday there, you can check here for a Hotel in Goa.

Now, after 6 months and without any further ado; the Best, the Good, the Ugly of Goa:

The Best

Getting the 6-month Visa for India - an easy and straight-forward processAlthough it may sound like nothing special or too obvious, the best thing about Goa (or India that is) for me was simply the easy Visa Process. Apply once and you can stay for up to 6 months without any other bureaucracy, hassles or payments.

Living and traveling the last couple of years around Asia, I don’t remember anymore, how much time I spent already at Immigration offices, doing Visa Runs, paying agents or friendly helpers, waiting for your tea money to make their day.

Also I went through 3 passports in the just 6 years living in Asia, due to all the stickers, stamps and visa notices in it – no joke!

When living in Thailand for 8 months; I visited the neighboring countries Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia or flying into Singapore or even Vietnam – all in the sake of renewing your Visa every month. While you will always explore something new in those countries and that wasn’t too unpleasant – the whole idea of being forced to move yourself *right now* to a different country – and be it only for a few hours – is something sooooo uncool.

Living in Bali on a tourist Visa (not the VOA, Visa on Arrival, which will make you to leave the country every 30 days), you are even forced to visit the Immigration Office around 20 times in just 6 months, not counting the countless hours wasted, money spent for forms, copies, passport pictures and all the hassles having to do with bureaucrats who simply enjoy showing you who is in power. But hey!

So I can really appreciate friendly Visa Rules when I see them.

Applying for the straight-forward and cheap Visa for India in Singapore was already a breeze, as even this is outsourced to a travel agent (famous Mustafa Travel in Serangoon Road) – India is simply all about Outsourcing. After 3 days you will simply have a new sticker in your passport -that’s all you will need for the next 6 months. On top of that, you can renew the Visa in most of the surrounding countries of India. In this regard India is exceptionally liberal as well, unlike some other countries, which force you to renew your Visa in the country of your permanent residence.

Still, plenty of Europeans manage to complain a lot about Indian Visa, they wish for a 5 or even 10-year-multiple entry Visa for India.

Okay – that would be really nice – but it’s simply not realistic!

You can’t compare the Schengen treaty for Europeans in Europe with Visa Regulations of other countries around the world and especially Asia. Just think about it how rigid Asians are treated applying for a Schengen Visa and you will see that Double Standards have its limits. ;-)

The Good

Rich tasty Chicken CurryMany things are good about Goa, so where shall I start? The Food must be somewhere on the top here. If you love Indian food – this is the place to come! Good value for money, great quality and legions of restaurants to choose from. Just make sure you come during the season (October to April) to avoid limited choice which occurs towards the end of the season, just before the beginning of the monsoon. Not convinced food-wise? Check out these 7 examples of delicious Indian Food or check out these fabulous Must-Try-Restaurants.

Just watch out for the tainted beer, want to know more? Read on here.

Colorful Spices at Mapusa Friday MarketBesides food, the Costs of Living is very affordable and one of the great things in Goa. You have all the modern amenities of a holiday destination and to a certain extend also the infrastructure. All that for very low costs to live long-term. Just imagine – a newspaper costs you Rs 3, a bottle of beer Rs 20 (less than half a Dollar), a meal around Rs 60-120 (2-3 Dollar) and housing is also very affordable. The value for money is generally outstanding. Check out the detailed spreadsheet with 70 day-2-day items here.

Did I talk about Medical Services yet? Another valuable thing you want to consider, when planning a longer trip to Goa. Dental Work, cheap OTC Over-The-Counter Medicine, Health Checkups and even Surgery can be had for a fraction of the prices in Europe or even other parts of Asia. Cosmetic and Pharmaceutical products costs here usually around 15-20% of the prices in Europe, the US or elsewhere.

Medical Tourism in Goa - worth your whileHospital and Clinics are basically very well equipped, with modern technology and the medical staff is up to the task.

Just shop around various hospitals to get a feeling for a market prices and choose which you liked best. Besides buying plenty of cheap OTC Over-The-Counter Medicine here, myself – I had positive personal experiences with Dental Work, Dermatology and Hepatitis Vaccination done here in Goa.

Medical Tourism is more than a buzzword. You can benefit from it, getting better treatment and saving more money than back in your home country. Here are some more details why you should definitely consider Medical Tourism in Goa.

Fantastic Tree Roots in North GoaThe Flora and Fauna in Goa is also breath-taking. Just drive around with your rented bike every day – you will surely discover something new. Endless beaches, long creeks in fractal shapes, jungles and hill slope make for a pleasant drive.

Bird Watchers love to come to Goa for the many different bird species. You will notice Kingfisher birds with bright blue feathers flapping among Water Buffaloes, Wild Boars, Snakes, even Crocodiles can still be found in some water holes.

The Ugly

Where there is light, there is shadow. Goa has plenty of it also.

Heaps of Garbage - a common sight in India. Holy Cows don't mindI don’t even want to talk about all that garbage in the streets, the heaps of filth and abysmal hygiene in public places. You can’t change people’s behavior in the short run. That’s something you simply have to and learn to cope with over time, just make sure you keep your own house tidy and avoid catching all the germs. A good stamina, some vitamin pills and regular swims in the ocean besides multi-daily showers will prevent you from the worst. ;-)

Being bombarded with constant SMS advertising on your cell phone (including daily automated calls), at your Cable TV Shows (for every 5 minute film you get 10 minutes Ads with increased sound volume) is probably meanwhile universal. The lack of fast, affordable and – above all – reliable internet access will surely be only a matter of a few more months or maybe some years. After all, the 3G auctions are just over and the first networks are going online while I write.

Corrupt Traffic Cops you have elsewhere as well, Perverts roaming the popular tourist beaches trying to get a good shot probably also, I saw them in Thailand and even on Sentosa in Singapore.

But the most annoying thing in Goa is – hold yourself –

the Behavior of Goan Males.

I don’t know, what’s wrong with guys here, be it the (unofficial) segregation of the sexes in India (you will mainly see 90% men and maybe only 10% women during your stay here), the sheer amount of people and therefore the difficulty to stand out or what else.

You won’t see many smiles in Goa anymore. Coming from SE Asia, this is even more apparent. I sometimes thought I’m back during rush hour in a train in an industry town in Germany. Nobody smiles, only frowning faces abound. You will be stared down many times.

Yes, they say it’s the bad economy, the long working hours, the unfriendliness of tourists and what else. I can’t accept that. You want business – you do something for it. It seems here they simply want Money for Nothing and Chicks for free. Other Expats confirmed that to me, that over the last couple of years, Goa seems to be in a decline in that regard.

Goan Males here appear simply rude, impolite, grumpy, show aggressive behavior, spit everywhere they go, will rip you off any chance they get. They show a coldness and complete disrespect to other human beings, be it in traffic on the roads, as your waiter in a restaurant or else.

You are a mere business opportunity for them. And those are not stereotypes!

Let me explain and give you some examples to make that a bit more transparent:

  • Go into any restaurant, rarely you will receive even a greeting from the staff, no “Hi!”, “How are you?” or whatever. The staff will stare at you with a grumpy look, checking you out and maybe you will have the menu thrown at your table in an abrupt manner. There will be no “Thank you” for paying, mainly no repeating of orders (still it will be your fault, if they bring out something else than ordered), constant attempts to cheat you with the amount on the bill and so on. I found the *most friendly* restaurant staff in Goa came from *Nepal* and they were season workers, having to leave when the season ends.
  • Another example: you slowly establish a business relation with someone, like buying your groceries or household items always at the same store. You are slowly being recognized and even sometimes greeted (after several weeks). Over time you think everything should be fair and okay. But no – even after months of bringing them your business you suddenly will be cheated on, somehow prices increased or you still will be given the wrong change. When you complain, you are looked at in disbelief, screamed at or even kicked out of the shop.
  • When I agreed with my landlord on the monthly rent, items included and money exchanged, hands shook – a few weeks later he still tried to charge me for the Cable TV, extra electricity costs or whatever and it was a constant fight with him. If I hadn’t paid in advance already (to get a better deal) I would’ve moved out right away. Son of a b*tch!
  • Even children of normal families see tourists merely as a walking ATM. Example: you stop at an old Goan house admiring it’s splendid architecture; suddenly a child of 6 to 8 years living in it jumps out, holding out its hand and asking for 20 Rupees. Why? Because you look at their house! If you don’t give anything it will frown, even scream at you to take off. A child! What attitude is that? My parents would have punished me for disrespecting a stranger like that. This happened more than once, with a parent or an older relative standing closeby, so it’s no coincidence.
  • Regarding the complete disrespect of the human factor: crime is exploding in Goa. This place is rip-off central (3 out of 5 times you will get the wrong or no change for bills paid), assault, rape, murders – you name it, the newspapers are increasingly full with it – to be fair not only foreigners are affected. Did you know that around 600 girls under the age of 16 disappear every year in Goa? These cases are said to be acts of crime, the local or foreign mafia kidnapping local girls and forcing them into labor or prostitution. Crime against tourists is usually covered up at first. Murders are systematically marked as drownings in the sea, suicides or drug overdoses. Rape is usually blamed on the victim, it is not uncommon that local women, who want to report a rape are raped again at the police station by an officer.
  • rush hour traffic cartoonRacism/Double-Standards are abound. In traffic; locals park wherever they want, chat in the middle of the road, take-over wherever/whenever, if you as a tourist do that: prepare to be punished with ‘Horn’ attacks, scolded at, cut off, even spit at! There is a complete disrespect for other people on the road; at night, people drive with their car’s high beam full light all the time, blinding all oncoming traffic. Alternatively they show no light at all in pitch black dark.

This behavior mainly is for me the main reason, why Goa seems to be a holiday paradise in decline.

The economic situation surely does its part, but you won’t gain additional tourists or better the economic climate by ignoring basic service rules, ripping the lower tourist numbers off with double pricing them or trying to cheat them at any given situation. The cheating tops any other country I’ve ever been in during my travels.

The decline of Goa is not my invention. It seems apparent to other people also, who travel here already for many years. I met some who visit Goa every year for the last 16 years or so and even those confirm the above examples. There are plenty of discussions of long-term Expats in forums, on where to move next, if this behavior in the tourism industry continues.

I hope the above complaints didn’t sound too negative. Reading it again, it’s quite a rant – but I stand to everything I wrote above. It won’t prevent me from visiting India again another time. Maybe I simply have to visit more remote areas, far away from mass tourism.

Hopefully the ugly shadows of Goa will improve over time also, with the improving economic situation. If you travel to Goa, just be aware that there is probably a high chance of getting annoyed at some point of time.

Also take my writing with a grain of salt. If you get annoyed in India – do yoga or take some massages to relax – or write a travel blog to let out your frustrations. ;-)

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written by Chris

63 Responses to “6 Months Goa – The Best, The Good, The Ugly”

  1. ChrisNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Planning on spending 6 months in India next year. Goa was, and still is a destination. Good read.

    What was your overall budget? Was it easy finding more long term accommodations?

  2. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    I don’t really budget that much, it’s more a come and try out scenario. :D

    And yes, it is easy to find plenty of long-term accommodations; houses, apartments; furnished/unfurnished – everything is there. Just different price ranges and conditions.

    Wish had come 2 months later, after the Mumbai events the prices for rentals dropped sharply…

    Good luck with your trip next year! ;-)

  3. mexicanNo Gravatar NORWAY Says:

    Wow! Sounds awful!

  4. ArunNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Made a good reading. Another complaint I have had on Goa is that it is not easy to find a quiet place. Nevertheless, the beaches are hard to resist in winters.

    It should be getting really hot there now. Do you intend to stay on through the summer?

  5. CathyNo Gravatar SWITZERLAND Says:

    Hi Chris,

    If it would come from someone else, I would think it is a rant but coming from you I trust that it is more or less objective.

    Mass tourism often have bad consequences….


  6. AndiNo Gravatar VIET NAM Says:

    As always, a very informative and authentic post. Are you moving now? Whereto next?

    All the best

  7. MikeNo Gravatar MALAYSIA Says:

    Interesting reading. I haven’t been to India, but I want to go sometime. I love the food.

    So where to next?

    Ever thought about Malaysia? You get a free 3 month visa. A little more expensive than other parts of Asia, but it’s less crowded, safe, fairly well organized, great food….

  8. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    mexican, it isn’t actually all that awful, as you can see from the many positive points also. Just sometimes I have to let off a bit steam as well, can’t see everything through my rose-tinted sunglasses. ;-)

    Arun, these days, there are many quiet places. Even my place between Candolim/Calangute in the 2nd row away from the main road is really quiet. The whole tourism industry actually took a real dive this season. Many people told me that the last few years there were at least double as many tourists. The Mumbai attacks, the Scarlett Keeling rape-murder and the economic downturn all did their part as well. The more you leave the tourist belt towards North or South, the quieter it gets. Even Anjuna was quite pleasant already. And yep – it for sure is veryyyy hot right now. Close to 40 degrees centigrade currently.

    Cathy, yeah, it’s really too bad. I would attribute most of it to mass tourism, so will visit maybe some more remote places next time in India.

    Andi, Arun and Mike – where to next? It will for sure be SE Asia again. Malaysia I know very well from many travels when living in Singapore. It has surely the advantages you mentioned (and more), but I don’t know what it is, that I’m currently not attracted on living there longer-term.

    So, first I will visit my family in Germany for a few weeks, some of them I haven’t seen in more than 3 years. After that it will most likely be the Philippines, somewhere outside the typhoon belt, e.g. West Visayas, North Mindanao or maybe even Palawan as a base. Though nothing is settled yet. Do you have any recommendations? :-/

  9. Tokyo DrifterNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Xlnt read Chris! Can’t wait to get there to experience those positives. But when the negatives set in I will just catch a train to another destination. ;-)

  10. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    That’s what I call the right travel attitude, Tokyo Drifter! And trust me, you will still enjoy it. Have a happy trip! :D

  11. Mindanao BobNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Hi Chris – Wow, the good stuff sounds good, but based on the bad that you wrote about, I feel that the good would pale. Are you still in Goa as you write this? Living in the Philippines myself, I feel that if I wrote this kind of stuff about the Philippines, I’d want to make sure I had left the country before writing it. I do see some parallels between Goa and the Philippines, though, in some of the good and bad things that you wrote. Overall, though, living here is good, and I love it. It sounds like you would say something similar about Goa as well.

    Where is your next destination?

  12. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Mindanao Bob, it surely does affect the good stuff and maybe even pale it. Initially I thought I would love it quite a while here, but the lack of human kindness made me change my mind quickly. And yes, I’ve been many times to the Philippines and only once/now to Goa – and you really can’t compare the human factor in both, it’s like 2 extremes.

    Bob, you know, I read your website regularly and you also mainly try to find something positive even in the worst of things. Otherwise, why are we doing what we are doing, right? I’m trying that also, just sometimes what is the most obvious and annoying (for an outsider) – I can’t stay silent about it. I wrote about Malaysian or Indonesian politics or also about the Thai Coup, all while living in Indonesia or Thailand. You would probably either, if you think there is something to be said.

    I just read your post about the ‘political trial’ of that American soldier and his Pinay spouse, that’s nothing positive also, but we – who care (who else?) – have to put a finger in the wound sometimes and hope for change, no? Or we should simply stop complaining and go home.

    Maybe I have to learn to be more diplomatic in how I write for a start. ;-)

  13. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Update: I won’t have internet access for the next 3 days and therefore the Comment Confirmation of new readers as well as replies by me will have some delay.

    Please bear with me while I’m traveling. Thank you! :D

    ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

  14. LarsNo Gravatar GERMANY Says:

    You have to check out the north of india. Especially in Spiti and Ladakh people are very different, very kind, cheating is virtually non-existent. blame it on buddhism… :-)

    In the rest of northern india it’s a healthy mix: there is cheating as well, but i guess it’s not as extreme as in goa. and you can meet lots of kind people.

  15. JurgenNo Gravatar ITALY Says:

    Hi Chris,

    reading your article Goa must have changed completely since last year or maybe you’ve been just unlucky and met the wrong people.
    I stayed there last winter for a some months or so and have not been cheated on a restaurant or grocery bill for a single time.
    In most of the beach shacks I have been treated as a valuable customer already after the second or third visit, giving me the possibility to pay my bill whenever it was convenient to me (sometimes because they did not have the right change, so they said pay tomorrow, sometimes because I went to the beach without wallet on purpose so it could not get stolen while in the water).
    Similar attention was brought to me for my daily breakfast orders. After two days a row in the same shack, the waiters usually approached my table asking: “Same as yesterday?”
    You are right about the enormous difference in kindness of the people from Nepal but on the other hand, you won’t find a local Goan waiter in any of the beach shacks. They are not used to work for money anymore…
    And last but not least, you are probably writing mainly about Candolim, worst place in my eyes in all of Goa, because they mainly cater to the 2-week-package-tourism from the UK and don’t have to care about returning customers.

    Have a great time in your (our) homecountry!

  16. Mindanao BobNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Hi Chris – Yes, you are right. I try to avoid writing about things that I find negative, especially if I feel that it is something that might conflict with my continuing stay in the country. Sometimes, though, I can’t help myself, and I have to address negative issues. For somebody being honest about the place where they live, well, there is no avoiding it.

    Enjoy your journey to your new home.. I assume that is why you will be offline for 3 days! ;-)

  17. Mike OwenNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    HelloChris, Sorry to hear you are leaving Goa. I assumed you were going to stick it out through the monsoon like some hardy Europeans do. Also, I missed the chance of a nice hour or two with you. You invited me to share a drink, roundaouts last Xmas, I did get to Goa hoping for about six or eight weeks but unfortunately I had to cut it short after two weeks.so never had a chance to contact you. Now—-to your last post. You have certainly laid it on the line but I agree with everything you say except that I, personally, have not experienced the “bad” to the same extent as you.. but bear in mind that Goa is the only place in Asia I have ever been to and if it comes down to explotation of tourists, well try Gambia in West Africa—compared to there Goa is a model of decency!!! I think Jurgen is completly correct—Candolim is an exception. That is why I tend to head further north, Vagator, Chapora or Arambol—all very rough and ready but used by long term visitors—I mean at least six months, and they and the locals mix marvellously but you certainly wont get fourstar treatment but you will get smiles (even if drunken ones) Anyway all the best, if you do ever think of coming back to Goa try the far North. Mike

  18. AnnNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Hey Chris,

    I’ve been planning to head to Goa for a while now. I came across your articles while blogging. Thank you so much for the helpful info :)

    I do understand and empathise with your feelings and I really want to apologise on the behalf of all my fellow Indians. It’s really embarassing to hear what you had to go through and even worse to know that it is entirely true :( But you really shouldn’t loose heart, India is a beaaaaaaaaautiful country with so many mind blowing places to visit!

    If you like, take a look at my blog link. I’ve penned down a few places Ive visited.
    I’m sure you wouldn’t have heard of a lot of these places, although you seem have discussed the houseboats of Alapuzha here. Maybe you should give India a shot again!

    Alrite good luck! take care and have fun,

  19. SusanneNo Gravatar SPAIN Says:

    Hi Chris – oder Hallo Christian ;-)
    I have been reading your Goa write-up with a lot of interest and have to tell you: I live in Mallorca, the part where there are not many tourists, and it took me five (5) years for the gas station attendant to say hi (I go there 2x/ month), the supermarket cashier has been the same foe as long as I live here, she started mouthing “hola” under her breath since I have a (very cute) baby son. The majority of Mallorquins are rude, impatient, have no respect for strangers, like to rip them off (10-20% “guiri” surcharge on everything/ guiri is foreigner), we get a different treatment at banks (if you select different language than Spanish at ATM you will get charged higher commission – automatically) the auto repair, the butchers. This may not be that apparent in the tourist areas, but usually business owners there are also foreigners to the Island. I have been toughing it out, because I wanted to live here and refused to be bogged down – the family values here and the education system are one of the best to raise a child. But you do not have to travel far! We went to the Caribbean last fall, and it made me realize how much nicer life is when you are surrounded by happy, relaxed, open minded and friendly people. I wish you good luck and happy travels! Best from Spain, Susanne

  20. Nomadic MattNo Gravatar THAILAND Says:

    i hear ya on the visa thing. i’ve used half my passport on thailand visa runs.

  21. Dave and DebNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    Thanks for telling us about the good, the bad and the ugly. I know what you mean, sometimes I find myself ranting about a country I am in, and although I love it on one hand, it drives me crazy on the other. Travel can be very tough and I appreciate the honesty. We are planning a long trip to Asia next year. Been to most of South East Asia, but not India, Nepal, China or Mongolia yet. So off we go. Happy to hear about the visa situation. We want to take our time in India.

  22. ChrisNo Gravatar GERMANY Says:

    Lars, great tips – thanks! Will try that than on one of the next trips!

    Jurgen, I guess our difference in perception comes from the kind of restaurants we use to frequent. I rarely visited beach shacks, as for me they were mainly too full around my area. And yeah, in other areas than Candolim/Calangute the people are more friendly, if only slightly.

    Mindanao Bob, I’m currently in my birth town back in Germany for a few weeks before we start to our new destination, somewhere in the Philippines. Hope I can make it for a short stopover to Davao someday also.

    Mike Owen, that’s really too bad that we missed each other in Goa. Be assured that I didn’t just move right before the monsoon, to avoid inviting you for a beer. ;-) Yes, you guys (Jurgen and you) have a good point there with the areas further North. It was a mistake somehow to leave the base for 6 months in Candolim, as you don’t want to drive all the way up to Arambol and further *every day*. We made it a couple of times, but lost quite some flexibility due to paying the whole rent in advance. Would’ve been better to maybe move after a month or so to experience other hospitality. Lesson learned!

    Ann, I will definitely give India another shot again. It is a large and beautiful country, no doubt about it! I regret a bit that the negative points come through so harsh in my article, but don’t worry, it won’t prevent me from visiting again another region some time later. Thanks! ;-)

    Susanne, ah yes – Mallorca! I’ve never been there, which is actually strange, considered the fact that Mallorca is been called the 17th state of Germany (due to the amount of German tourists there). Didn’t know that it is similar there, as it remains one of the most popular German travel destinations. But then maybe there is plenty of similarity in behavior, haha! :D I must agree with you that the differences in kindness and friendliness are probably more apparent, when coming from a more friendly destination. I came from Indonesia, but you see plenty of smiles in other countries in SE Asia also, so I wasn’t used to the more serious concept. But yes, that doesn’t mean automatically that people are more dishonest or cold. Anyway – thanks for your friendly wishes and have a good time also!

    Dave and Deb – sounds you are planning a very interesting trip there! Wish you guys all the best and hopefully you write a journal about it?!

  23. Happiness, you can’t avoid it! | Live In The Philippines UNITED STATES Says:

    […] Chris has been living in Goa, India.  In his most recent blog entry, Chris talks about “The best, the good and the ugly” of living in Goa.  One of “the ugly” things that Chris related about Goa was […]

  24. AngelNo Gravatar MALAYSIA Says:

    Indian food looks good in the photos. I think for sure they will be very spicy though.

  25. dodong floresNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Hi, Chris!
    I’m shock at how Goa turn out to be quite different as compared to any other Asian destination. The disrespect to tourists or fellow human is something you can’t easily imagine to be happening literally. But then again, there must be factors to be considered when things are happening. The declining economy? I don’t seemed to understand. Here in the Philippines, we have economic difficulties too yet people can still smile and crack jokes at you despite of that…
    Well, there are a lot of topics being tackled here in this post but what interested me is your “unique” experience there in Goa…

  26. ChrisNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Angel, for more food pictures and descriptions, check out this article. :D

    Dodong, it wasn’t all that bad – really. I regret a bit having formulated the above article so harsh. It’s maybe really only in the most touristy areas.

    But I agree 100% with you, that you won’t have that problem in the Philippines. One of the main reason also, while – after a short stint to Germany and Singapore – the next destination are the Philippines. I’m talking about it too long already and the last visit is almost 3 years – so Philippines, here we come! ;-)

  27. JurgenNo Gravatar ITALY Says:

    Hi Chris, as you said you went through 3 passports in the last six years, I have two questions for you:
    1. Where and how did you apply for a new german passport? I always thought it would be possible just in your place of residency.
    2. How many pages does a fully extended 6 months social budaya visa in Bali occupy? Is it just the one page with the Visa sticker on it or do they apply one more full page sticker for each extended month?
    I’m asking that because I have just 10 pages left on my passport and it’s still valid for another 6 years…

  28. ChrisNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Jurgen, I applied in Singapore, as that’s where I officially reside. I’m not registered in Germany anymore for the last 6 years or so.

    As for the stamps, it all depends, how efficient your immigration officer will handle the space. The initial sticker takes one page, an arrival stamp about 1/3 of a page and every extension stamp at least half a page. So, your 6 months usually take up 3-4 pages in your passport.

  29. RubyNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Hellooo, I am 18 years old & have been going to Goa on holiday to visit my aunt & uncle since i was 14.
    I am currently sitting my A levels and wish to travel to Goa for 6 months in the year I am taking between college and university
    I don’t want to rely too much on my aunt and uncle during my stay as I would like to have my freedom and would like to have a rough plan in place by the time I speak to them about my visit
    I am aiming to stay in the Baga/Calangute area because that is where friends I have made on previous visits live
    I was thinking about volunteer work or working in a bar/restaurant
    Could anybody tell me what would be the best way to stay there for 6 months and live comfortably without having to save up all the required money before leaving? Thankyou, Ruby x

  30. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Good question – there are probably many answers to that. Officially you can’t work, if you come in on a tourist visa. Or are you Indian national? Volunteer work might be different, but better check with the immigration or your embassy. I don’t think you can completely survive from that alone, but if your Uncle and Auntie provide you with housing, then the most expensive position is covered already…

  31. RubyNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Arghh hadn’t thought of that…how do people go over there for 6 months at a time? Do they apply for a business visa and do it that way? I don’t think it’s realistic to save up the money to live for 6 months….I would be willing to get a cash in hand job but I don’t know how easy that is for a white person. Thanks for your advice, anything you know will be appreciated!

  32. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Ruby, most people going to India for a longer than a few weeks without having an employer beforehand, use probably the standard tourist visa. It’s a straight-forward process, but (officially) you are not allowed to work. Although some people do that anyway. ;-)

  33. SteveNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Chris, looks like I just missed you – I can’t believe it! It seems I arrived in Goa when you had just left. I do agree with your summary of the state of Goa. Luckily I found my own little paradise where the negatives were at a minimum (Agonda Beach, just along from Palolem). I can see myself coming back to Agonda for a relaxing break again, but much of the rest of Goa I can take or leave.

    We’ll link up one of these days! You’re in the Philippines now, are you?

  34. akashNo Gravatar INDIA Says:


    You have to understand:

    1.We don’t have a culture of saying ‘hi’ unless we know someone too closely something like a family friend or relative.In hotel or shops people see you as customer and there it is simply plain business for them with no familierity that you want to see.You cannot expect them to salute each customer who comes in.But sometimes they become familier and they give a polite nod.Ours is a different culture with different methods to deal with attitudes so just ignore it.

    2.Everywhere in this world people will try to extract money out of you as long they find you an easy catch.Its plain simple human nature.Since they think you are white and potentially rich so you get in these suituations.You cannot blame people for it as this is happening everywhere albeit in different forms.

    3.India has a history of people invading our lands so the culture to keep women inside house came up as our ‘ free society’ evolved to prevent them from being raped or taken away.It has effected people mindset as well as they behaviour..

  35. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Steve, that’s unfortunate! But I’m happy that you enjoyed your time in Goa. I never made it to Palolem but will surely once I’m back in a few years or so. Yep, now in the Philippines, trying to organize a tricycle to get around a bit better and see more of the 7.000 islands. When are you coming? ;-)

    akash, I understand that India has a complete different culture than any other country. And I’m very open to experience other cultures and make the best out of it. I’m also trying to speak my mind without painting everything too rosy. And I hope that you are not mad with me, if I say that besides the many great things, there were some things I didn’t like so much. Still I try to understand why things are like they are and your comments made that somehow much clearer for me and probably other readers also. Thank you for that! Still friends? ;-)

  36. NoelNo Gravatar SWEDEN Says:

    Being an indian, I feel really sorry for the worse experiences in Goa i.e. most annoying stories. Frankly, sometimes tourist is to blame, not you in particular but overall attitude of ‘affluent’ tourist or lets say, the cultural clash.
    Asking about money for taking photo or something, this is a really really bad practice and I often get mad. But the fact is tourist pays and so they don’t mind asking. India is in mindset that white tourist is way richer than them, so if possible, rip them off (everyone doesn’t think like it though). I prevented one american tourist from giving money in similar scenario and she scolded me that I don’t have feelings for poor people and my reaction was, what the heck?
    Disrespectful towards tourists, yes, that has increased exponentially in recent years. The reasons are, most foreigners retiring in India come with big bag of strong currency and almost buy out the locals so the locals are left with no opportunity. I recently heard that most of the hotels, beach resorts are now owned by the foreigners and Russian and Italian mafia has taken over Goan mafia. If this is true then locals have a feeling of lost opportunity and sort-of colonization. The worst part is, the govt. doesn’t bother to do anything as their wallets are being kept stuffed. So they feel like, this is the only way to get your anger out. I agree that this method is really uncivilized but these individuals are either poorly educated or uneducated.
    Frankly, forget foreigners but when NRIs like us visit India, we are also subjected to sarcastic taunts. Sad but true.
    On the top of that, a significant number of tourist DO consider themselves superior. I have witnessed 3 such experiences. Once, I even ‘politely’ told the gentleman that British left India in 1947. Its common sense, if you are in a foreign country, better don’t pick up fight with the locals, unless you know the area and the population very well.
    Child prostitution in goa is rampant. Everybody sees it with open eyes but when there is demand, there is supply and they can’t do much. As always, authorities keep mouth shut, as they are kept happy.
    These factors and many others that we are still unaware of, are exploding now. Everybody can point fingers at the other but the ground reality is, common man is the one who suffers and they have no chance to vent their anger.

  37. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Noel, thanks for your honest and interesting comment. You are right, the bad behavior of many doesn’t help and holiday destinations around the globe are becoming more and more alike. It’s all business in the end, tough luck. We can only point that out (hopefully behave better than the others) and hope for the silent power of the annoyed. ;-)

  38. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Gosh! It sounds terrible. I think the Indian government should do something about these. Perhaps develop a few exemplary cities into a world-class city with world-class legal enforcement, public administration and infrastructure. Let the governors and mayors of other places who aspire to develop such world-class cities have some good examples to learn from. In China, they developed Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing, etc. Things there have improved a lot. I guess I shall just pay Goa a short visit but I don’t think I’ll spend 6 weeks, not to mention 6 months, in such a lousy place.

  39. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Great idea, Sunny! I remember being in China/Beijing in the early 90’s, shortly before HongKong came back to the motherland and how things have changed in just a few years. They really know how to adapt and make the best out of leaning a bit more to the West. If India could go a similar way – taking the positive values and not neglect culture and tradition, that’s be probably the best way….

  40. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    You are right. The Indians have inherited a very good political system from the British, but they have isolated themselves economically and culturally. On the other hand, the Chinese has a broken political system but the people are economically and culturally very adaptable. I think the Indians should learn from the Chinese.

  41. PRAGNYANo Gravatar KUWAIT Says:


  42. SoNo Gravatar THAILAND Says:

    As a female traveller I think I’d better skip Goa and try other places. I like to live in a safe and friendly environment and this sounds awful. I have read more articles of you Chris, so I know you are pretty realistic about your ‘travel-livings’

  43. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Goa is not necessarily a dangerous place, if you follow some common sense precautions. But it can be a very unfriendly place at times. And to be honest, in hindsight – if I would be a female traveling alone, I would decide in the same way like you. ;-)

  44. elaineNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    hi been to goa 4 times now, this time going to stay for 1 year and as you know i can only get 6 months on my visa i dont want to come back to the uk to renew every 6 months so need some advice on the nearest place to goa i can go to get visas for me and my daughter.
    people i have spoken to tell me they go to china so anyone with advice on this would gratefully be apprieciated.

  45. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    elaine, I can’t comment on that with first-hand experience, but most people I spoke in Goa went usually to Tibet or Nepal for easy renewal of their 6-month-Visas.

  46. EarlyRetiredNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    I am an Indian, living in Mumbai, but I also agree, India is indeed a pretty scary place overall to live in. People here have become mean and selfish. No respect for other soul. And always ready to rip you off. What has this country come to, the moral of most people, especially in commercialized places has gone almost down the drain.

    My last visit to Goa was not so pleasant either. I was surprised by the attitudes of street…err.. beach sellers, who tried to say bad words to me and my wife in cryptic way because we didn’t buy what they were trying to sell. And to make the matter worse, they were a group of some 15 to 18 youngsters, with not much crowd around and it was already getting dark on the beach. We were scared by their body language, anything could had happened. But we were lucky to make it back to hotel without much issues after all.

    We will never go to Goa again. May they rote in hell and may their life suck like a rotten egg… f***ing ba*****s

    Infact except Mumbai, no other place is safe for women here in India.

    That’s a sad fact.

    Never come to India, this is the last place you want to visit as a tourist.

  47. samNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Goa is a faboulous place. I love the clear blue / green Arabian Sea and the vast beaches with varied colours. The shacks on the beach, the villagers, the service that they give and the quality of a peaceful existence. Who cares if one is fooled by 5 or 10 cents once in a while when there is no practice of giving any tip socially.

  48. MariaNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    The garbage and bad manners from the locals it a huge turn off for me to want to travel to Goa. Much of the experience of traveling for me is learning about the local cultures. Thanks for your experience Chris.

    I meant to ask, when going on these trips do you spend a lot of time planning and organizing, or are you a more spur of the moment traveler?

  49. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Maria, usually I’m not planning much at all. Just chosing a destination, booking a ticket and trying to figure out everything else, once I touch down, As you can see from the comments of EarlyRetired, sam and the others above, perception might vary a lot and you will find it easier or harder than others to deal with the local situation,

  50. AdamNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    I’m off to Goa in a month and I’ve been told by british-Indian friends that the way to survive is just to become as hard headed and rude as the attitude you are met with. This get s a westener a sort of respect from the Goans. Assume any kindness with great suspiscion as they are probably after something. With this is mind everything esle will be fine.
    India will have to improve its tourist /traveller relations if it wants to be taken seriously as a country to visit time again and not just the one off gap year experience or endurance.
    Indians in the Uk and USA /Canada are so different from Indians in Indian who are probably the most crooked people in the southern hemisphere, and this is from Anglo Indian friends!

  51. AdamNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Does anyone want me to post back after my trip for some feedback?

  52. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Adam, great points before and yes, by all means, post back some feedback and updates about the current situation in Goa! Always useful for me and the readers here. Have a safe trip! ;-)

  53. PatrickWNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Oh, my lord. This particular article popped up by random, and what do you know? I went out to a sub shop in Central Square, Boston, and the Indian shop keeper took $30 USD from me and my friend for two subs and two beers that totaled $19.45 which was already friggin expensive and told us that he only got $20 from us. Not impressed with the business ethic and the short sighted mentality.

  54. AdamNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Bloody good site Chris. I’m recommending it as much of an essential as a Rough Guide or Lonely Planet Guide

  55. mebuddhafulNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Hi Chris,
    Was just researching the whole idea of living in Goa for 6 months and then came across your blog I found it very interesting and extremely informative the only problem is it did scare me a bit. Im a single female with a 7 year old daughter and want to live in Goa for a period of 6 months. Obviously the young girls being kidnapped and the rapes are very off putting. I have been to Goa previously but not as a mother and not as a single female. The whole being ripped off thing is not new to me at all, my Moroccan roots have prepared me for that and haggling comes quite naturally. The only thing I want to ask (and please excuse me if it seems like a silly question) but do you think I will come across a lot of hassle from men in Goa and is it really unsafe for a single women with a young daughter? Many Thanks

  56. AdamNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    You’ll be fine. Goans are very respectful people. The only thing you may find is that it is quiet a cheauventist culture and men get listened to and women sometimes get ignored when it comes to service. About the same as some eastern european countries Ive been to.

  57. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    mebuddhaful, I agree basicall with Adam, but would like to add, that it’s not safe to be out in the dark of night as a single female. Just check the local newspapers if you want to read up on some horror stories about rape and other crimes, which affect females of all ages. There are countless stories every day! But in general, if you use common knowledge and avoid shady situations you should be perfectly safe.

  58. footlooseNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Hi Chris ,

    Very thought provoking review of goa that you have done . absolutely amazing . Me being an indian ( or shall i say inspite of being and indian ) would tend to agree with you . Though not trying to justify ( Or may be my indian part is trying to justify ) , i would say that probably this attitude stems from centuries of being under occupation . Also , some part of it definitely needs to be apportioned to recently found prosperity .

    I have been a regular to Goa , once every year for around a week . My experience has been more of mixed bag . You visit in Nov – Feb period , people are looking to fleece you . Visit during off season or to not so touristy destinations , people are more friendly and welcoming .

    If i compare it to other countries in SE asia , ( I have visited only singapore and Indonesia ) , i would root for Indonesia . People are more friendly .
    As to safety for women is concerned . India is as bad ( may be worse ) than most countries ( Including Indonesia ) .
    Still I rate goa beaches as one of the best i have seen . Palolem/ patnem are standout .If you are looking for something more crowded , go for colva . In north , avoid calangute / baga / candolim . Go for vagator / arambol ( Particularly if you are ok with no frills accomo ) .

    Also , as rightly pointed out by Chris , india is already a hub for medical tourism . Food by and large is good . Beer is great ( and cheap ) . More over Goa is not the only place of interest . you could also take in Rajasthan , Himachal , uttarakhand J&K etc . They are worth a visit .

  59. eddieNo Gravatar MALAYSIA Says:

    hi Chris,

    Its a great pleasure to read your review about Goa and thank you so much….Guess i will need to take more precaution and be more alert from next week onwards…lol ;-) hope to see some changes there.

    how was everything in the Philippines?hope your are enjoying there…do update if you happen to visit Boracay Island. Thats my next target. cheers~! :D

  60. Kelly MarieNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:


    I have been offered a work opportunity in goa where return flights visa housing and food is offered aswell as pay for a high profile club. As a young female on my own would you recommend me to take this opportunity or would you recommend that Goa is not a safe environment for a young woman on her own working at a club that will be predominantly male customers? Many Thanks

  61. CeasarNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    The reality is that most beachside tourist venues / taxis are now run by non-goans who travel into the state for the tourist season.

    The issues which you attibute to Goan Males are in fact as a result of this temporary workforce out to make a fast buck – it is a source of much irritation to local Goans who have always warmly welcomed tourists

  62. KarlNo Gravatar SWITZERLAND Says:

    I’ ve not been riped off. And I had no problems.
    They gave me allways the correct change.
    I was astonished, even after 6 weeks.
    Actually people were overall friedly to me.

    It is all about not making oneself an easy target.
    Don’t pay with hig value bills if you don’t have to.
    Rent a motorbike to evade the taxidrivers.
    Just accept that the people are not there for a holyday but they earn their money with tourists.

    Crime is not an issue as long as you are not a woman alone in the night.
    Compare global murder rate statistics for this.
    Yes one girl got killed a cuple of years ago, but compare that with Dominican Republik.
    Most die on the road because they’re speeding with their bikes.
    …And some overdose.

    True is, that it is not a clean place and indians throw all and everything just away.
    Don’t play it as a beach destination, but see it as a extension to your India travels or trance-adventures.

  63. Ajay GoyalNo Gravatar not found Says:

    When I was there in Goa in December 2011, I noticed some things what you mentioned in this article, I agree with you.

    New hot and in-demand location, where some Russians have started planning their trips is, Vizaq in Visakhapatnam in South India. I got to know that prices are very low there for accommodation, food etc, and nice clean beaches with less crowd.

    Other place already known for good beaches and less crowd than Goa beaches have been Gokarna in Karnataka, yes the State in which Bangalore is also there.

    Marina beach in Chennai is also well known beach and termed as the cleanest beach in India.

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