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North Vs South Goa

If you're planning a big India escape, a Goa holiday is a fantastic opportunity to see the sunny side of the great country's beachfront life. Yet even within the fairly small 100-kilometre stretch of Goa's shoreline, a few key differences exist.

If you're deciding whether to stay in north or south Goa, a quick blast through the facts will see you set up to enjoy your break knowing exactly where to go, and what you can enjoy when you get there.

The vibrant north

North Goa is known as being more active and vibrant than the southern part of the Indian state.

It's a reputation that's well deserved, as there are a number of reasons why this area attracts the more adventurous party-going crowd. It's also where the architecture of bygone days tends to attract the most sightseers.

Let's begin with the nightlife. In north Goa, it's Baga Beach where the most action after dark is famed to take place, ranging from world class DJs spinning sets until sunrise to more quirky clubs that boast a contagious zest for life.

Anjuna Beach has also made a name for itself with its beach parties and near constant revelry, with people from every corner of the globe gathering to dance on the sand until dawn. Goa's sunrises make this a more than enticing proposition, but of the more conventional nightclubs, landmark venues like Tito's and Cafe Mamo's are where the party's at.

In general, north Goa is a little more built up, although never at the expense of the natural beauty of the landscape. The more culturally minded among you will appreciate the colonial architecture left here as remnants of past dealings with Portugal and other great powers of bygone ages. You'll find the most Portuguese architecture in the urban centre known as Old Goa, which at its prime in the 17th century was a city larger and more active than even London in those times.

In terms of shopping the traditional way, which is to say at the bustling Saturday flea market, North Goa tends to have lower prices than the more exclusive stalls down south. Vibrantly coloured fabrics, masterfully crafted works of art and sublime local flavours are all available at the markets gracing the streets of Anjuna and Arpora.

The sunny south

In southern Goa, tourism has been taken into its stride with confidence. Beaches are golden, the sky is always sunny and the hotels lean towards the more luxurious. That being said, many of the top resorts in south Goa are All Inclusive, so that luxury isn't going to hurt your budget.

Southern Goa is also where nature lovers choose to holiday. Playing among the animals is a given here, and the whole region is enriched by some superb nature reserves both on land and at sea. You could swim with dolphins by the sea in the morning, then head to the Codigo Wildlife Sanctuary to walk where the tigers prowl for the afternoon.

Naturally, for many people who holiday in Goa it's the beaches that appeal the most. Over 24 kilometres of unspoilt shore are yours to enjoy in some instances, together with plenty of secluded coves and coastlines scattered across the map like a patchwork promise of peace. While the parties roar in the north, seekers of serenity in the south get to make the most of stretches of sand and glistening sea with hardly a soul in sight.

However, don't let those sleepy wafting palm leaves or gently rushing tides fool you. It's actually the southern parts of Goa where watersports are most actively pursued. Kayaks and more athletic options are available if you're ready to take on the waves, although cruising the water on a jet-ski is definitely the way to go if you've the need for speed. It just goes to show that even in the sleepier south, Goa still knows how to light up your holiday with fun.

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