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Which is better Goa or Kerala?

Discussion in 'Travel advice' started by Bani, Oct 19, 2016.

  1. Bani

    Bani New Member

    I am going on a holiday with my husband for our 5th wedding anniversary, and I have been given the task to choose the holiday spot. I am always wrong with decisions and end up making the worst ones, so I am totally relying on the forum members to help me out here.

    Goa is a lovely beach holiday and a place ideal for couples, whereas Kerala has its beautiful backwaters and famously known as gods own country......I am so confused! Which is better Goa or Kerala for our 5th wedding anniversary holiday?

  2. Blue Betta

    Blue Betta New Member

    I think it depends on what you are looking for. Goa caters more to Westerners, mostly because of its Portuguese heritage and because it is a popular vacation, honeymoon, and tourist spot. There is more of a nightlife in Goa (at least in the more tourist-oriented places), so if that is what you enjoy, Goa might be a good choice.
    If you want something more sedate, Kerala might be a better option. The backwaters are indeed lovely, and there is always the option of a river cruise. I think it would depend on what you would consider a fun holiday.

  3. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, @Bani. Welcome to the forum.

    Goa and Kerala are quite popular as honeymoon or even anniversary destinations in India. Whereas Goa is known for its beaches and party life, Kerala is known for its backwaters and varied landscapes. It really depends on what your interests are, as to which destination is more suitable for you. In this little guide, you would know the differences between the two and truly decide which is the best destination for you.

    There's Goa, known worldwide for its lovely beaches and of course, it's happening night life. Foreign tourists frequent the state but so do Indian nationals. In some regions, you'd find plenty of Russian nationals too, who have settled into the state permanently. This just proves that the beauty of Goa attracts foreigners to the extent of settling there permanently. If you would like your honeymoon to be a bit laid-back, there are also beaches in Goa for that. There are also a few natural attractions and Portuguese structures that you can visit around the state.

    New Year's Eve in Goa

    On the other side, we have Kerala, another state in India. It is such a diverse state, with options ranging from its backwaters, beaches, hill stations, lakes and man-made sites. Thus, it's possible to have such a diverse vacation where you can have a variety of exploring different attractions even if you're just visiting this state alone. So if you're someone who gets bored easily, you would be delighted with Kerala as you don't only have the backwaters, you don't only have beaches, you have plenty more of places to go to.

    Natural Beauty of Kerala

    So now, let us get into the main part of this guide, the comparison of the two destinations:

    1. Landscapes
    • Goa - Located at the southern part of India, just before Kerala, Goa is a coastal region in the country. You can find mainly beaches here but there are also a few rivers scattered along the state. The main two rivers of the state are the Mandovi River and Zuari River. The beaches are lined with coconut trees and have golden sands. The state also has plenty of dense forests and paddy fields that you can explore. In fact, there are some wildlife sanctuaries around the state that you would be able to find the true jungle of Goa along with the wildlife. Goa also has some hilltops like the Valgheri, Sanguem and Sonsogor (the highest point in the state).
    • Kerala - Located at the southernmost part of India, close to Sri Lanka, you can find Kerala. It is also a coastal region but has a diverse landscape too. Aside from its beaches, its backwaters draws a lot of tourists yearly. These series of interconnected water ways is the location for houseboat cruises done around the state. Some of the most visited backwater regions are Alleppey and Kollam. Hill stations are also plenty in the state with the likes of Munnar, Thekkady, Wayanad and Vagamon. With hill stations, you can find lakes, waterfalls, spice/tea plantations and lush greenery. The state is also blessed with high mountain ranges like Sivagiri and Banasura. The highest point in South India, the Anamudi Hill, is also located in Kerala. Yet it doesn't end there, jungles of dense forest coverings can also be found around the state, which is why several national parks and wildlife sanctuaries can also be part of your itinerary when in Kerala.
    2. Accessibility
    • Goa - Reaching Goa won't be an issue as you have a myriad of choices, by air, by public transportation or by road. By air, Goa has the Dabolim Airport, it is about four kilometres away from Vasco Da Gama. It has direct flights to Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and many more cities. Even foreigners from Moscow, Muscat, Doha and Sharjah can directly reach Goa through this airport. If going by public transportation, Goa is well-connected by bus to other cities like Mumbai and Pune. If train is your preferred way of travelling, Goa has several railway stations, with the main ones being Madgaon and Vasco Da Gama. If going by road, Goa is connected to main cities by national highways and the roads are in mainly good conditions.
    • Kerala - Kerala is also well-connected to main cities of India as well as other countries. Its main airport is the Trivandrum International Airport, it has direct flights to Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai and Bangalore. It also has flights connected to cities in other countries like Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Kuwait, Kuala Lumpur, Colombo and Singapore. Another busy airport in the state is the Cochin International Airport, it has flights to international cities like Dubai, Doha, Kuwait, Singapore, Sharjah and Muscat. These two airports have electronic tourist visa facilities for tourists as well. The last main airport is the Calicut International Airport, whereby it has flights to Doha, Muscat, Dubai and Kuwait too. By bus, Kerala is well-connected to cities like Bangalore and Mangalore. If going by train, the state has numerous railway stations too, with the main ones being in Ernakulam and Trivandrum. If bringing your own vehicle, Kerala is connected to other cities by national highways although if exploring more rural areas, roads might not be in good conditions. The Cochin Port is a major port in the country, where ships plying to Lakshadweep usually begin their journey. Thus, those coming from Lakshadweep can utilise ferry services to reach Kerala.
    3. Hotels and Other Accommodation Options
    • Goa - The state is known for being a backpacker's paradise. Thus, it's easy to find guest houses, home stays and dormitories around Goa. On the other hand, for couples, there are also many luxurious options in the state. Some of the biggest names in the hotel industry have their branches here, like the Taj Exotica, the Leela, the Marriott Resort and Spa and the Radisson Blu. There are also plenty of resorts around the state, complete with amenities like a swimming pool and indoor/outdoor games facilities. You can even rent a bungalow or an entire apartment to yourself. When it comes to accommodation options, Goa has plenty of them and you won't find any issues whether you're in a budget or whether you want to splurge.
    Taj Exotica in Goa
    • Kerala - Just like Goa, Kerala has plenty of accommodation options. Some higher end hotels have also made their mark here with the likes of Vivanta by Taj, the Leela, the Zuri and the Marriott. If you'd like to indulge in the real wildlife experience, there are also plenty of hotels in Kerala for that. There's Spice Tree Munnar, Forest Canopy and Greenwoods Resort. If you have a budget to stick to, there are also many home stays and guest houses around the state that you can opt to stay in. As you venture further into remote areas, you'd find that accommodation options become more sparse. But with cities like Cochin and Trivandrum, you are spoiled with choices. There's also the option of staying a few days in a houseboat, although rates are higher for the more luxurious ones.
    4. Attractions
    • Goa - Whether you're in for just the beaches or for both the beaches and the party, Goa has it all covered for you. Venture into Baga Beach and Calangute Beach, where the best nightlife can be found. Some of the most well-known party places here are Club Cubana and Cape Town Cafe. If you're more into sightseeing, then you must visit Panjim and its heritage sites. There's Old Goa, where you can find Portuguese churches like the Se Cathedral and Basilica of Bom Jesus. Another attraction here is Fontainhas, where you can find brightly coloured Portuguese houses. A place for the historical side in you is the Reis Magos Fort. If you're more into shopping, you can head on over to the Mapusa Market, where you can find affordable souvenirs and other knick-knacks. For the best beaches in the region, head to South Goa where you can find the most secluded and serene beaches. Cult favourites are Palolem Beach and Colva Beach while the most beautiful ones are Benaulim Beach and Mobor Beach. You can also find remote beaches like the Cola Beach and Butterfly Beach, which takes some time to reach but you'd be rewarded with amazing scenery and privacy once you do reach them. On the south, you can also visit attractions like the Dudhsagar Waterfalls and Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary.
    • Kerala - In Kerala, you have to pick which destinations you'd like to explore. Since it is a vast state, you cannot tour it in just a few days time. For beaches, Alleppey, Kovalam and Bekal has the best beaches in the state. If you do enjoy the crowds, then Kovalam might be a good option for you. It has three main beaches, Lighthouse Beach, Hawa Beach and Samudra Beach. If you're more into secluded beaches, then Alleppey has the Marari Beach and Andhakaranazhi Beach while Bekal Beach in Bekal has the notion of being one of the cleanest beaches in the state. If you're more into hill stations, there's Munnar, where you can tour around tea estates and several waterfalls. Or if you're into trekking, the Anamudi Peak is also located here. There's also Wayanad, where you can find the Soochippara Waterfalls and Banasura Sagar Dam. Another hill station, Thekkady, is also a good choice and it even has the Periyar National Park where you can indulge in a wildlife safari. If cities fascinate you, Cochin is a good one to explore as you can find several temples and historical sites here. You can also find churches like the Church of Saint Francis and Vallarpadam Church here. The historic Chinese Fishing Nets are also located in Cochin. One of the richest temples in the country, the Padmanabhaswamy Temple, is located in the city of Trivandrum. These are just the well-known tourist places in Kerala and there are plenty more that you can visit. Hence, for a week-long trip, you might have to choose two destinations which are located quite close to each other.
    Thekkady in Kerala

    5. Activities
    • Goa - The main activity that you can indulge in Goa is water sports. Water sports are usually done in popular beaches like Baga Beach, Calangute Beach, Colva Beach and Palolem Beach. Some of the water sports that you can do here are jet skiing, banana boat riding, parasailing, surfing and speed boating. Or you can also indulge in dolphin sighting which is done in Varca Beach, Sinquerim Beach or Palolem Beach. If you're into wildlife spotting, there are different wildlife sanctuaries in Goa for that, like the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary or Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary. Something a little bit laid-back is cruising along the Mandovi River, it's very romantic especially during night time, very suitable for couples. Trekking is another adventure activity that you can do here, you can trek through the peaks mentioned above or even to reach the famous Dudhsagar Waterfalls.
    • Kerala - Of course the main activity in Kerala is a houseboat cruise. You can choose between the different backwaters in the state from which your cruise would commence. While in a cruise, you can opt for an Ayurvedic treatment too, which is a good option for couples. If going to the beaches, water sports are available only in Kovalam while the other beaches have sparse activities. There are also plenty of wildlife sanctuaries around the state so a wildlife safari is a must here. Trekking is also another preferred activity and if you're feeling quite adventurous, you can choose to trek the highest peak in the state. If you're going to a hill station, be sure to take a tea plantation or spice plantation tour and taste the delicious and fresh produce as well. On the smaller rivers of the state, you can also indulge in canoeing, boating or kayaking, if the weather permits.
    So there you go, a detailed comparison of the two destinations. In a nutshell, Goa is mainly for beach lovers and party lovers. It also has secluded beaches perfect for couples and also a few heritage sites that you can visit. On the other hand, Kerala is more varied when it comes to its attractions. There are plenty of options in the state and you have to choose which best fits you. Thus, it is not only a destination for its backwaters, it also has beaches, heritage sites, hill stations and adventure activities.

    I hope this helps you.:)