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Which is better Goa or Pondicherry?

Discussion in 'By The Sea' started by NiviKalia, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. NiviKalia

    NiviKalia New Member

    As the title of my thread explains I would like to know which is better Goa or Pondicherry?

    Both of these destinations seem beautiful, but I have a feeling that Goa maybe more of a tourist place than Pondicherry is. I am also worried about going to the right beach in Goa, as some beaches are dirty and too overcrowded which I don't want, but then again Goa is a place where you can enjoy yourself more.

    I am quite confused. Please give your advice.

  2. vkar

    vkar Member

    Goa, for me. Both places are beautiful, but Goa seems more of the 'party' type. Pondicherry is more calm and spiritual (if I may), and Goa is more commercial, hip and crowdy. Yes, Goa is overcrowded comparatively, but it is also more enjoyable. If you wanna enjoy yourself, go to Goa. If you are just sightseeing then both places are good and has unique attractions.

  3. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hi there, welcome to the forum!

    Brief Overview of Pondicherry & Goa

    Located to the south of Chennai, you can find Pondicherry, also known as Puducherry, a union territory of India. As soon as you step foot into the territory, French structures would greet you. It's a little of France right in India and the mixture of the Indian and French cultures is apparent. It is a small destination and you can cover all the tourist attractions within a day or two. As a tourist destination though, it is not as talked about unlike Goa or even Kerala. Perhaps because it doesn't offer the usual touristy activities nor attractions. Its charm though is underrated and if you love history and architecture, there's plenty of that in little Pondy.


    On the other hand, Goa is a state in India, actually it is the smallest state in the country. Yet it's impossible to cover all its attractions within a day or two. Goa is well-known for its Portuguese structures, since it was under the rule of these colonial rulers for a long time. Of course, it is also known as the party capital of the country and it has many beaches to keep you busy for many weeks. It is a popular tourist destination, not only in India, but also in the world as evidenced by the thousands of foreigners flocking to the state.


    But the question is, how do you choose between these two destinations? Both have beaches, historical sites and natural attractions. Is it possible to love one more than the other? It sure is, but this depends on your preference and interests.

    Pondicherry & Goa - A Comparison

    1. Ease of Access
    • Pondicherry - Reaching Pondicherry might be a bit more complicated. It does have its own airport but it ceased operations after being opened for 6 months in 2014. Even before that, the airport has had on and off issues with flights and airlines. It is said that it will operate flights again in 2017 though nothing is official yet. Your better option, if you come from a further city, is to reach the Chennai International Airport. It has local flights to Ahmedabad, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata and many more. It also has some international flights from Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. However, it is about 150 kilometres away from Pondicherry proper. From the airport, you then need to ride a taxi to reach Thiruvanmiyur. From here, there are plenty of buses plying to Pondicherry. Or you can just ride a taxi directly to reach Pondicherry from the airport. If going purely by road, you can reach Bangalore, Chennai or Coimbatore and from these cities, there are direct buses to Pondicherry. By train, the nearest railway station to Pondicherry is the Viluppuram Junction in Tamil Nadu, just about 37 kilometres away. It has trains coming from Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Pune. You can also bring your own vehicle and access Pondicherry via the National Highway 45. The views along the way are very scenic and enjoyable.
    • Goa - Whether reaching Goa by road or by air, you won't find any issues at all. Goa is well-connected by air via the Dabolim Airport, an international airport serving local and international cities. It has local flights to cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune and many more. It also has international flights to cities like Doha, Dubai, Muscat and Sharjah. The airport is also just 26 kilometres away from the state capital, which is Panjim. If reaching Goa by road, you can opt for buses or trains. By bus, there are direct buses from Mumbai to Goa. If you come from another city, just reach Mumbai and from there, board a bus plying to different cities in Goa like Panjim or Margao. By train, Goa has several railway stations but the main ones are the Vasco Da Gama Railway Station and the Madgaon Railway Station. Both these stations have direct connectivity to Delhi as well. Goa is also connected to other cities via the National Highway 66 so bringing your own vehicle is also a good option.
    2. Landscapes
    • Pondicherry - Comprised mostly of plains, Pondicherry has quite similar landscapes all throughout. Forests are not that rampant in the region but it has its fair shares of lush greenery in the form of trees and plants. You can also find coconut trees and some paddy fields around the territory. Aside from the beaches, other water bodies that can be found in the territory are lakes and rivers. The Ousteri Lake is probably the most popular lake here. The beaches of Pondicherry vary in appearance, some have white sands, some have golden sands and some have rocky outcrops. But if you like mountain views or hillocks, you cannot find them in the region.
    • Goa - In terms of landscapes, Goa has very varied ones. Starting with its beaches, you can find white sandy shores or golden shores. You can also find rocky shores or even black shores. You can also find other bodies of water here like rivers, lakes and waterfalls. The main rivers here are of the Mandovi and Zuari. You can find freshwater likes too like the Paliem Sweet Water Lake and Cola Lagoon. Goa also has some forest coverings which is why it is home to some wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. The state also has a number of high points, with the highest one being the Sonsogor Peak. In some islands around Goa, you can even find paddy fields which are very pristine and untouched by human interference.
    3. Attractions
    • Pondicherry - Ranging from religious sites, natural attractions and historical sites, there are plenty of places to visit around Pondicherry. Beginning with the religious sites, there's the Manakula Vinayagar Temple, one of the oldest temples in the region. Did you know that it was built even before the French colonised the city? There's also the Kanniga Parameswari Temple, well-known for its beautiful stained windows and also the Aayiram Kaliamman Temple, where a festival dedicated to the Goddess Kali is held every five years here. For exploring the religion of the French colonisers and their contribution to the region, you can visit the Church of Sacred Heart of Jesus or the Annai Velankanni Church. Both were designed using the Gothic styles of architecture and give you a glimpse of the bygone era as well. For a natural attraction, apart from the beaches, it's a must to visit the Ousteri Wetland and National Park, where the Ousteri Lake is located. You can also spot lots of birds here especially during migratory season. A historical place worth visiting is Auroville, an experimental township created around the 19th century. It is like exploring a modern or futuristic village, where you get to indulge in agricultural or meditation activities. There are plenty more of places that you can visit around Pondicherry but you only need two days at the most for them.
    • Goa - Sightseeing in Goa is a bit more complicated since the tourist attractions are a bit far apart. You can start with Panjim and explore its historical sites. Old Goa is worth a visit here as it has some Portuguese churches that can give you a glimpse of the once glorious era of the state. Some of the churches located in Old Goa are the Se Cathedral, Basilica of Bom Jesus and Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount. In Panjim proper, you can visit Fontainhas, an old Portuguese residential area, lined with brightly coloured houses. There's also the Reis Magos Fort, overlooking the Mandovi River and also the first fort the Portuguese built in the state. A boat ride away from Panjim is the Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, a very scenic place where you can indulge in bird watching. In Ponda, just a few kilometres away from Panjim, you can also find several temples worth visiting like the Mahalsa Temple and Mangueshi Temple. In Sanquelim, you can visit the Arvalem Waterfalls and Caves, both these natural attractions are pristine and cannot be found in any other area in North Goa. Once you're done with the north, you can reach the southern part of Goa. It has fewer historical places but the best ones are the Cabo De Rama Fort and Rachol Fort. For something more nature-oriented, there's the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, home to a number of wild animals like sloth bears and panthers. Another must visit is the Dudhsagar Waterfalls, located in the Mollem National Park. It requires a bit of trekking to reach though and is not easily accessible by road. Goa has plenty of attractions too and you might need at least a week to fully explore these places.
    4. Things to Do
    • Pondicherry - There are plenty of activities to indulge in when in Pondicherry although not a lot of people know about them. Much like Goa, you can try out water sports in some of the beaches of Pondicherry. Mainly, Paradise Beach is the main location for such water sports like jet skiing, canoeing and boating. Serenity Beach is perfect for surfing though because of its high waves. Boating in the Chunnambar Backwaters is also a must here. You can also indulge in meditation in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram although prior reservation is mandatory and you have to pay a fee to stay in the area. Ever wanted to try scuba diving? The beaches of Pondicherry are perfect for that and one of the top-rated diving schools in the country is also located here, which is the Temple Adventures PADI Centre. And lastly, shopping is a must when in Pondicherry, with its numerous boutiques. Prices for souvenirs might be on the higher side here though. You can try out La Boutique D’Auroville, for clothes, handicrafts and other knick-knacks.
    • Goa - Water sports are available in the most popular beaches of Goa like Anjuna, Baga, Colva and Mobor. You have plenty of options here like jet skiing, banana boat riding, boating, bumper boating, windsurfing, parasailing and kneeboarding. You can also indulge in dolphin sighting around the beaches of Palolem and Dona Paula. If you are one of the party animals, the night life in Goa is very active. But the best areas for partying would be Calangute, Baga and Palolem. Flea markets are also rampant around the state but Arpora and Anjuna have the top-rated street markets here. The best features of these markets? Haggling is permitted and usually they stay open until past midnight, perfect for the night owls. Trekking, biking and nature trailing are just some more of the activities that you can do around Goa.
    5. Accommodations
    • Pondicherry - Most of the accommodation options in Pondicherry are between mid-range hotels to high-end ones. There are some guest houses around the territory which offer room options for around Rs. 500 to Rs. 700 per night. For hotels though, starting prices begin at Rs. 1,200 per night and the highest priced one at about Rs. 12,000 per night. So in a sense, even the higher end hotels here are quite affordable. You won't find five-star hotels here though, the top hotels are only at the four-star rank. Villa Shanti and La Villa are the posh hotels, offering modern amenities and top-notch services to guests.
    • Goa - In contrast, Goa has a variety of accommodation options ranging from beach huts, guest houses, budget hotels and luxury hotels. It is a backpacker's paradise as there are also dormitories around the state for the cheapest price. While those who enjoy luxury can find plenty of options too, with the likes of Marriott, Novotel, Vivanta By Taj, Radisson Blue and many more rampant around the state. For the mid-range options, you can find a variety, starting from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 5,000 per night. But even with a budget of Rs. 600 and below, you can still find basic accommodations that can cater to your needs.
    6. Dining
    • Pondicherry - The unique blend of Indian and French flavours in the cuisine of Pondicherry is apparent in the numerous restaurants in the city. There are restaurants like Cafe Des Arts and Tanto Pizzeria offering mainly French dishes to guests. But there are also restaurants like Carte Blanche and Blueline - The Promenade, offering Creole cuisine to guests (a mixture of Indian and French cuisines). If somehow you enjoy Indian cuisine more than French cuisine, fear not, as there are also other restaurants around Pondicherry serving mainly Indian dishes like Appachi Chettinad and Surguru. One thing is for sure, your palate would be satisfied when in Pondicherry with nothing but the best cuisines.
    • Goa - Much like Pondy, Goa has a mixture of different cuisines ranging from Portuguese, Indian, Goan and many more. Of course, seafood dishes are rampant here with the main dishes calling for fish and prawns. To truly enjoy Goan cuisine, head on to places like Fat Fish or Kismoor. If you like a bit of Goan and Portuguese, there are restaurants like Viva Panjim and Ritz Classic for that. But there are also places like Thalassa (Greek) and Da Tita's (Italian) offering other international cuisines to guests. For snacks, Goa also has plenty of cafes, with the top-rated ones as Cafe Al Fresco and Baba's Wood Cafe. Aside from snacks, they have delicious coffee and other beverages. Yes, Goa is also a foodie paradise and there are plenty of eateries around the state that won't burn a hole in your pocket.
    7. Best Time to Visit
    • Pondicherry - The union territory experiences tropical climate almost all-year round. Summers can be unpleasant with temperatures reaching the 40°C mark and sometimes even higher. If visiting during this time, consider doing sightseeing only during the early morning or very late in the afternoon. Monsoons in the territory are more pleasant with a little variation in temperatures, ranging between 27°C to 37°C. However, enjoying the beach during this season is not possible though as the waves are rough and the shores might be a bit dirty. However, lakes become fuller during this time and are very scenic. Winter season is the best time to visit Pondicherry, with temperatures ranging between 20°C to 25°C. You can indulge in sightseeing all you want and also swim in the beaches. Most water sports are also available during this time.
    • Goa - Goa is an all-year round destination but summers can be very harsh. The temperature can sometimes reach the 45°C mark and can definitely be uncomfortable. But the good thing about this season is that there are no crowds and the hotel rates are cheaper. If visiting during this time, pack lots of sunscreen and only indulge in swimming during the early morning. Monsoons are great too just because the region is enveloped in lush greenery. Remember about the waterfalls mentioned above? This is the best time to visit them as the monsoon rains feed them with more water. The last season, winter, is the peak tourist season, crowds are plenty and hotel rates are higher. But all water sports and other activities plus hotels are operational during this time.
    8. Beaches
    • Pondicherry - Pondy has a total of six beaches with Promenade Beach being the mainstream one. You can easily access this beach and there are plenty of hotel options around it. Swimming here is not recommended though as its shores are lined with rocks. But for just strolling around and enjoying the views, this beach would be enough for that. A boat ride from Chunnambar can take you to the Paradise Beach which has creamy white shores and clear blue waters. You can indulge in water sports here or just enjoy swimming in the water. There are no accommodation options here though and you need to ride the last boat leaving by 6:30 pm to reach the mainland. A little bit further from the city centre is Serenity Beach, more secluded and pristine but also offers a few water sports for guests. Other beaches that you can visit further from Pondy are Mahe Beach, Karikal Beach and Auroville Beach.
    • Goa - There are over 50 beaches in Goa, including its southern and northern sides. The northern beaches like Anjuna Beach, Baga Beach and Calangute Beach are the most crowded ones. But they also offer the best partying options and water sports facilities for guests. Quieter beaches in the north include Arambol Beach and Querim Beach. But the best beaches in Goa are located in the south and they are more serene than the northern ones. Cola Beach, accessible by a rough ride from Agonda and a trek climbing down, is the hidden gem of Goa. With its blue lagoon, the confluence of the river with the sea, its beauty is unmatched by any other beach destination in the state. Another must visit beach is the Butterfly Beach, reachable by a short boat ride from Palolem. It is just a short beach but very pristine and beautiful. Even without venturing away from the city centre, you can reach quiet beaches in the south like Benaulim Beach and Patnem Beach, both have white sands and clear, turquoise waters.
    To summarise:

    Summary of Comparison of Pondicherry and Goa

    Ease of AccessMediumHighGoa
    LandscapesSimple (Aside from beaches, some lakes, paddy fields and plants)Varied (From beaches, to rivers, to waterfalls, to forests, to mountains and plenty more)Goa
    AttractionsPlenty (Historical sites, beaches, lakes, religious sites and wildlife)Plenty (Beaches, rivers, historical sites, religious sites, wildlife and natural attractions)Both
    Things to DoPlenty (Water sports, boating and shopping)Plenty (Water sports, dolphin spotting, trekking, biking and shopping)Both
    AccommodationsSome options but not as varied (Affordable to high end)Variety of options (Cheap to luxury)Goa
    DiningPlenty of options (Mostly French and Creole cuisines)Plenty of options (Mostly Goan and Portuguese, plus Indian cuisines)Both
    Best Time to VisitMonsoon or winterMonsoon or winterBoth
    BeachesFew options but lesser crowdsPlenty of options, some are crowded, some are notGoa
    As you can see, the winner here is Goa but do keep in mind that this is just a guide. It still depends upon your interest as to which destination would be perfect for you. Pondicherry is more of a laid-back destination, more suitable for families wanting a serene getaway. If you only have a short vacation, Pondicherry suits you well since you can visit most of its attractions within a short span of time. The beaches here are good too, less crowded and clean.

    On the other hand, Goa, is perfect for a myriad of travellers, backpackers, couples, families... As it has plenty of beaches for that. It can get crowded though during peak tourist season. The good feature of Goa though is that it can keep you busy for a few weeks. But if you only have a short time, you cannot explore the whole of Goa.

    I hope this helps you!:)