Yes, most passport holders need a visa for India . You can generally get a 6- month tourist visa which you must organise before travelling. Consult your local Indian embassy. Most embassies have an online application form you can download off the internet. Your visa will start from the date it is issued not from the date of your travel. Applying in good time is advisable!
At Aithein we accept Euros, US Dollars, British Pounds or Indian Rupees (INR). But you need Indian rupees for eating out, buses, rickshaws and buying small local items.
Yes, in nearby Chaudi (5 mins by motorbike or rickshaw) you can find three different ATM machines. They accept most international cards, including Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus, etc. The maximum you can take out per day is 20’000 Indian rupees.
The climate in Goa is the opposite of the European/North American winter. From October until May it is warm and dry. The daytime temperatures range from 28 to 32 degrees. At night the thermometer may sink to 20 degrees in December and January – but it will feel colder due to the humidity – so bring a jumper and long trousers for the early morning practice and the nights. Generally you will encounter blue skies every day from November to April.
Not at all. India is a safe country for Westerners and poses no problem for women travelling on their own. Especially Goa is very used to tourism and one of the only places in India where a woman can get away with wearing a short skirt or shorts, without being stared at.
There are no compulsory vaccinations for India (unless you are arriving from certain African or South American countries with yellow fever) but it is best to consult your doctor about any personal vaccinations you may need for travelling. Goa is not a high-risk malaria area and none of us take malaria tablets as the side-effects are controversial.
India’s official language is Hindi but English is used widely and you will be able to travel and communicate perfectly even if your knowledge of English is basic. There are 16 further regionally registered languages in the country. The local language in our area is Concani. Learning a few words is not necessary but it might make you very popular with the locals.
You will be living on the beach so you’ll be surprised how little you actually need. Bring a beach towel or sarong, bikinis or swimming trunks, vest tops, t-shirts, a jumper for the evening, loose fitting yoga pants, shorts, shoes etc. In Dec and Jan, the nights and early mornings can be cool so bring a jumper or something warm for the early practice. However due to the heat and strong sun you may feel more comfortable in long sleeved shirts and long, cotton pants. Leave some space in your bag for anything you might buy here. India has a wide array of cheap clothes, scarves, jewellery and blankets. As soon as the sun comes up the temperature averages 28 to 30 degrees and you can lie in the sun all day. Goa is a liberal state and the goans are used to Western tourists and you do not need to cover your shoulders and arms unless visiting churches or temples. There is a very affordable laundry service which means you do not have to pack too many items.
We are happy to organise transfers between Goa airport and Aithein in Agonda Beach. Please email us for more details. You can change money at the airport on arrival as drivers only accept Indian Rupees. You should pay the driver directly. You will need to send us your flight details including the day, date and time of your arrival, airline and flight number and city of departure much before your arrival. Cancellations or delays to your arrival times have to be notified to avoid Taxi charges. Please note that drivers usually take a maximum of 2 guests due to size of vehicle and comfort.
Yes, running, jogging and walking along the endless beaches. We are at Agonda beach which is very empty and Palolem beach is also nearby. The Indian beaches are ideal for long walks and runs. Sailing courses, ocean kayaking and kite-surfing are offered at other beach (s). And you can indulge in daily swimming, of course. The sea is very clean; no jellyfish or other nasty surprises.
Yoga mat: You can buy a Yoga mat in Agonda / Palolem. It is better having your own mat because it’s more hygienic and you can use it for self-practice.
Electrical adaptor plug: The voltage in India is 230 – 240 V. European two prong plugs work fine but you will need a conversion plug if you are coming from the UK or US. Don’t get alarmed if the lights suddenly go out. Power cuts are very typical in India. However they don’t usually last a long time.
Torch: See above. Also for long midnight walks along the beach, some people prefer to take a torch – more so that they can see the little crabs darting across the wet sand, than anything else. You can also buy torches locally or from beach vendors.
Driving licence: You have to show proof of this if you want to rent a scooter, motorbike or car.
Sunscreen: Although you can buy sunscreen here, if you have a particular brand you like, bring it along. Remember the sun in India is quite strong, especially if you’re coming from the winter. It’s best to avoid the midday sun if possible or cover up with long sleeves. After a few days your skin should be accustomed to the sun and you can move around more freely.
Sunglasses: The sun is bright so don’t forget the shades.
Mosquito repellent or citronella: There are generally not that many mosquitoes on the beach but if you are particularly sensitive to bites bring along repellent and light, long sleeved clothes for the evening. You can also buy local repellent which seems to work.
Flip flops or sandals: The sand can get quite hot around midday so unless you’ve got elephant skin you might want to save going barefoot for sunset. Also for going to the local market and excursions you might find it most comfortable in open shoes. Most people here live in flip flops so you will probably only need your trainers/winter shoes for the flight. The trekkers amongst you, might want to bring walking shoes if you’re planning trips to the forest. You can buy sandals, flip flops and crocs (cheap copies) here for very little money.
You can get most of what you might need in Agonda Beach or nearby Palolem Beach, or in the nearby village of Chaudi. Things like toiletries, postcards, books and snacks can all be found in Agonda. The pharmacies in Chaudi and Palolem are well stocked and you can also find things like contact lens solution and tampons. Chaudi market is very colourful and great for fruit, vegetables, fish and trinkets. There are a few clothes and souvenir shops in Agonda and neighbouring Palolem. The markets in Anjuna and Arpora (North Goa) are very popular and we can organise market trips if you like.