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India

Area  3,702 km²
Capital Panaji
Culture and Arts Goa was first colonised by the Portuguese before India wrested it back in 1961 in a two-day war. As such, Catholic churches mingle with mosques and Hindu temples in this smallest, yet richest Indian state on the south west coast.

Goa has more than its fair share of museums, art galleries and libraries. You will find many government run museums in Panaji, including the Goa State museum, the Kala Academy, the Central Library and the Goa Science Centre. In Vasco da Gama, you can find the Naval Aviation Museum, a great place to see vintage aircraft.

Old Goa is a great place to see examples of Christian religious art, and sometimes, secular art.

Currency  Indian Rupees
Customs & Regulations  It is illegal to bring agricultural products, or weapons and ammunition into Goa.
Date format dd/mm/yy
Driving side Right
Electricity 2 prong plugs. It’s also worth noting for India there are three associated plug types, types C, D and M. Plug type C is the plug which has two round pins, plug type D is the plug which has three round pins in a triangular pattern and plug type M is the plug which also has three round pins. India operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.
Environment & Environmental Hazards The tap water is not safe to drink, always stick to bottled water. With what in mind, always check if your salad has been washed in tap water. Keep diarrhea medicine (just in case) and mosquito repellent.
Ethnic groups Ethnic Goans are predominantly Hindus followed by a large Catholic minority and a small Muslim community
Etiquette  Tipping at least 10% in a restaurant is recommended but not obligatory.
Food
  • Goan food is predominantly seafood.
  • Goan Hindu cuisine in Goa is mainly pescetarian and lacto-vegetarian
  • Goan Catholic cuisine in Goa is a fusion of Goan Hindu and Portuguese cooking styles
Getting around
  • Air – Goa International Airport, caters to scheduled domestic and international air services. Goa has scheduled international connections to Doha, Dubai, Muscat, Sharjah and Kuwait in the Middle East by airlines like Air Arabia, Air India, GoAir, Indigo, Oman Air, SpiceJet and Qatar Airways.
  • Sea –
    • Boat, River crossings in Goa are serviced by flat-bottomed ferry boats, operated by the river navigation department.
  • Road
    • Bus – Goa’s public transport largely consists of privately operated buses linking the major towns to rural areas.
    • Car & Motorcycle – Another form of transportation in Goa is the motorcycle taxi, operated by drivers who are locally called “pilots”. These vehicles transport a single pillion rider, at fares that are usually negotiated. Other than buses, “pilots” tend to be the cheapest mode of transport
    • Bestway to get around is on 2 wheels
Government website https://www.goa.gov.in/
Health insurance Foreign travellers are strongly advised to arrange health/travel insurance before travelling.
History The history of Goa dates back to prehistoric times, though the present-day state of Goa was only established as recently as 1987. The Portuguese invaded Goa in 1510, persecuted Hindus, Muslims, and other religious minorities. The Portuguese rule lasted for about 450 years, and heavily influenced Goan culture, cuisine, and architecture.

In 1961, the Indian Army invaded and annexed Goa after a 36 hour battle. The region was incorporated as a union territory of Goa, Daman and Diu. In 1987, Goa was granted statehood. Goa has one of the highest GDP per capita and Human Development Index among Indian states.

Holidays (Public & National)
  • Republic Day Sun, 26 Jan 2020
  • Holi Likely 9–10 Mar 2020*
  • Ugadi (Gudi Padwa) Wed, 25 Mar 2020
  • Good Friday Fri, 10 Apr 2020
  • Ambedkar Jayanti Tue, 14 Apr 2020
  • Labour Day Fri, 1 May 2020
  • Vesak Likely Thu, 7 May 2020
  • Eid al-Fitr Likely 23–24 May 2020*
  • Eid al-Adha Likely 30–31 Jul 2020*
  • Indian Independence Day Sat, 15 Aug 2020
  • Gandhi Jayanti Fri, 2 Oct 2020
  • Dussehra Likely Sun, 25 Oct 2020
  • Prophet’s Birthday Likely 28–29 Oct 2020*
  • Christmas Day Fri, 25 Dec 2020
Insurance  If you wish to rent a car, consider insurance locally from the rental company unless you are certain that your existing policy will cover you.
Internet Access
  • Wi-Fi Many hotels and international fast food chains offer wifi for their customers. Public wifi is available in some areas too.
  • Mobile Networks Vodafone, Airtel, Idea, BSNL, Aircel, Reliance, Tata DoCoMo. Roaming charges may apply.
Media  A wide variety of local channels in native language with international stations
Medical checklist Suggested vaccinations include: Hepatitis A and Typhoid Vaccination. Make sure that you are up-to-date with your routine vaccinations including Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio and Measles, Mumps and Rubella. Most travellers will need a course or booster of
Money
  • You may find it convenient to carry coins and small notes for minor transactions and tips.
  • Keep most of your cash locked in your hotel safe or carefully concealed during the day.
  • Airports are the best place to convert currency.
  • ATMs should accept international cards, but may charge you a withdrawal fee.
Official language Konkani followed by English
Opening Hours
  • Banks Mon-Fri: 9:30 – 15:30, Sat: 9:30 – 12:30
  • Post Offices Mon-Fri: 9:00 – 17:00
  • Restaurants anywhere from midday to midnight depending on restaurants
  • Shops (varies by location and size of shop)
  • Supermarkets Mon-Fri: 7:30 – 14:00 (Lunch Break) 15:00 – 21:30
Photography There are no cultural taboos against photography although it’s always nice to ask people’s permission first if photographing them. There are no restrictions on the beaches and churches.
Population 1.817 million
Post and couriers  We suggest traWellers use international couriers (DHL, FedEx or UPS) for their important parcels.
Religions Hinduism & Christianity accounts for 95%. Goa is famous for its religious harmony and one can see a harmonious blend of all major religions of India in Goa.
Seasons
  • Summers: April to June – 24.7°c – 33°c
  • Monsoon: July to Sep -23.8°c – 29.5°c
  • Post-Monsoon: Oct to Dec – 20.6°c – 32.8°c
  • Winter: Jan to March – 19.6°c – 32°c
Best times to visits October to February if you want a cooler holiday and no monsoons in sight

March to September is peak tourist/backpacker season and also monsoon season lashing the plains bringing amazing lush greenery and swelling rivers.

Smoking As of publication, smoking is banned in restaurants and most public spaces/beaches.
Taxes Value-Added Tax is 5%.
Telephone Calling code  +01382.
Time zones India Standard Time (GMT + 5:30)
Tourist information Goa Tourism (www.goa-tourism.com) Goa’s state tourism body.
Travellers with disabilities Not all tourist attractions are disability-friendly, but locals will be quick to help you if asked.
Useful Resources
  • Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/india/goa) A great first go-to point for information.
  • Goacom (www.goacom.com) Listings, information and recipes.
  • What’s Up Goa (www.whatsupgoa.com) Listings, events and more.
  • Goa Streets (www.goastreets.com) News and entertainment weekly.
Visa  Please check visa checker.
Women travellers  It is considered safe to travel solo with or without a local guide. Normal advice applies: do not allow yourself to become distracted.