Taste Mumbai’s glitz and glam before digging your toes into the sand in Goa for the biggest beach bash celebration to reign in the new year.
When you should go: For New Year’s Eve (Between 27 December and 3 January)
Flights: Johannesburg to Mumbai – Between R5k and R6k.
Day 1 - Arrive in Mumbai. Explore and eat.
Stay: Spend 2 nights in a central part of Mumbai - 2 830 rupees (R585)/night.
Take an Airbnb Experience and eat like a real Mumbaikar would. For just R405 you could be eating your way through India in the matter of hours. Using public transport to get around the city, the host will truly give you a tour of the different types of Indian cuisine found throughout the country, all in one city. The tour route will also take you past some of the city’s attractions - so it’s really an all in one experience!
Day 2 - Spend the day at Mumbai Film City
If you’re in India to see its shiny, glitzy side, then you’ve come to the right place. Take one of many Bollywood tours – visiting the studio isn't open for public admission unless, special prior approval is obtained. A tour will cost you around 3 470 rupees (R720) per person for foreigners. Locals pay less.
Or why not be a Bollywood extra? Studios are always looking for Western extras, and this is the chance of a lifetime to be in an actual Bollywood film!
Getting there: The best and fastest way to get to the Film City is by train and then taxi, but you can also take Bus 451 for much cheaper.
Day 3 - Time to start the party!
Fly: Get a ticket on a local budget airline like Air Asia and fly from Mumbai to Goa – this will cost you about R2.5K. Arriving in Goa: Known for its package holidaygoers (there are some great package holidays available btw) and vibrant party-scene - North Goa is the most popular party destination. Try to avoid Calangute Beach as it’s the busiest beach in Goa itself.
Baga Beach is a bit less crowded, it’s still super vibey. Known for its great water sports scene - think parasailing – this, also where a lot of locals also go to party.
Stay: For a clean resort-style accommodation with a pool, you’re likely to pay around R730 for 2 nights by the beach in Baga.
Food: Instead of eating at the resort, keep it local and eat street food or at local restaurants. The average meal in Goa is about 250 rupees (R50), while a local beer, like a Kingfisher you’ll get for under 80 rupees (R20).
Party: Every night there’s a party – just be sure which beach it’s happening on the night you want to let your hair down, as not every beach is busy every night. Find plenty of commercial music spots with cheap drinks like Titos, Cafe Mambos, Cape Town Café lining the waterfront.
A day of shopping: Venture out from Baga to Anjuna Beach for the day. A 6km walk will get you there, or take a quick 8 min taxi there for just around R50.
Known for its fantastic beachfront flea market held every Wednesday – it has over 500 stalls and is ever-growing. Also be sure to bargain!
Go have lunch at Baba Au Rhum. An open-air restaurant with a garden vibe, tucked away on the back road between Anjuna and Baga it serves delicious French food. The loveliest way to spend a hot day in Anjuna.
Day 5 – Go hippie or go home!
Time to head to Arambol. Like a drum circle? Done. This is live AfricaBurn but Goa-style. Go for the trance, reggae and house music parties, hippie vibes and love and peace.
Stay: Hostels are popular here, and if you’re going solo or with a friend, hostels are great ways to meet more people you want to party with. A bed in a hostel dorm room will cost you around R300 for a night.
Day 6 and 7 – Go to the calm
Time for Cola Beach. Located just north of Agonda Beach, it's cut-off from the rest of the coast and has its own lagoon to relax in.
Getting there: The hour and 40 minutes there is best to do by car. If you have rented one, excellent. Otherwise if there’s two of you it would be most cost effective and efficient to take a taxi all the way as trains won’t take you all the way there. A taxi would cost you between R600 and R700.
Stay: There are very few places to stay at in Cola, making it ideal for those who really want to get away from it all. Try to get yourself an elevated jungle hut for around 3 440 rupees (R720)/night with plenty of privacy and peace - the perfect comedown spot after a few late nights. Not so cheap, but so worth the regroup at the end of a holiday filled with festivities and getting yourself ready for the next year!
What to do: Once you’ve arrived and settled in, take the day to relax. Though the area is quiet, there are still a few things to do and things to explore. Consider a day trip to Mollem National Park where you’ll see the majestic Dudhsagar Falls – though it’s a 2 hour taxi ride away.
Or spend a night on the beach. Maharaja Night Excursion. The magical excursion promises a day of swimming, spotting dolphins, eating delicious Indian food buffet style on the beach and end it by snoozing in your own private tent on the sand under the stars. This costs almost the same as a night stay in a hut.
Day 8 – Time to go home
Fly: Close to Agonda where Cola Beach is situated, is Goa International Airport. Air Asia has tickets from here to Mumbai for around R 1 303.
Getting there: Take a taxi for about an hour and a half to the airport for around 2000 rupees (R412) - depending on whether you want air conditioning or not. Probably wise to take air-con at this time of year.
*Disclaimer: Prices an estimated recommendation at the time of publishing
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