Are the hotel gradings the same as European destinations?
As a developing country, hotels, service levels and gradings in India cannot be compared to those in European destinations, although the top end of the market is world class. We have therefore created our own rating system to grade our hotels, illustrated by a lotus flower.
A few hotels do not have a grading attributed to them. We consider these properties to have unique features and hard to classify despite offering comfortable accommodation.
We are also pleased to offer a number of ‘Exclusive to Us’ hotels within our programme. These are hotels that no other UK operator features in their brochure.
We provide detailed information on our hotel pages with further details on our website to help you make the right choice. Our dedicated reservations team will be happy to discuss in more detail which hotel best suits your requirements.
What is the weather like?
Goa is an ideal winter sun destination. It enjoys almost uninterrupted sunshine and virtually no rainfall during the months of November to March. Daytime temperatures are on average 30˚C, and in the evening the temperature cools off nicely.
From April until June, the heat and humidity starts to build, leading to the arrival of the monsoon. It is not until October that the skies start to clear again and the humidity gradually dissipates.
What are the beaches like?
Goa’s is blessed with 105km of coastline and some of the most picturesque beaches in India. Dependant on which region you visit, determines the beach experience you will have. To learn more about the beaches in Goa, see our beach guide.
Are there many festivals in Goa?
The Goan calendar is filled with all kinds of festivals and events - both Hindu and Christian in origin. Visit our festival page to learn more.
During festivals and local bank holidays, hotels may organise special entertainment and live music to celebrate the occasion. Events can be impromptu and we are unable to advise that these will be going on at the time of booking.
Can I get a sea view room?
Due to government regulation, many hotels in Goa are not able to build directly on the beach. Hotels will normally have gardens, extensive grounds or even golf courses between the main hotel building and the protected coastline. Therefore, when a room is classed as having a sea view in Goa, these views are often over the gardens and out towards the Arabian Sea.
Does Goa have water sports?
Many beach resorts in Goa have water sports available and equipment for hire. Please take caution when taking part in water sports however as the Health & Safety standards are not as stringent as they are in Europe.
What is the currency and how can I pay?
The currency in Goa is the Indian Rupee (INR). Indian Rupees can only be bought in India and must be exchanged back before you return home. We do not recommend exchanging currency at the airport on arrival as the exchange rate is usually very poor and queues are common. You can exchange money either in the hotels or for an even better rate in shops in most resorts. The exchange rate as of Nov 2016 is INR 80 to £1.
Can I book an excursion?
We offer an extensive programme of excursions and tours through our agent Sita, which can be booked in Goa through your representative. See a full list of excursions. Payment can be made in £’s, by Visa or Mastercard, the surcharge is 1.5%, however this can be subject to change without notice.
Can I ride an elephant in Goa?
Although elephant rides are sometimes available in Goa, The Goa Experience does not recommend taking part in such rides. As elephants are wild animals, it is difficult to provide the appropriate conditions for them in captivity which many lead to the animals being poorly treated. Unethical training is also sometimes carried out on elephants for them to become compliant.
What language do they speak in Goa?
The state language of Goa is Konkani with a soft song sounds. The Indian national language is Hindi but the Indian official language for education and commerce is English. Therefore English is widely spoken.
How easy is it to get around Goa?
Although Goa is a very small state, due to narrow winding roads and occasional traffic congestion, short distances can take longer than expected. As a tourist it is not advisable to hire cars or motorbikes whilst on holiday. The rules of the road are very different to what we are accustomed to in the UK and can be challenging to navigate and in a poor condition.
Taxis are readily available in tourist areas and often of a good standard however always make sure that you agree on the fare before you set off.
Do I need inoculations to visit Goa?
Although inoculations are not compulsory for entry from the EU, certain medication, including Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Tetanus and Yellow Fever vaccinations are usually advised. Other inoculations and anti-malarial tablets may also be advised for travellers considered high risk. Please ensure you consult your GP or health clinic prior to travel, who will advise on recommended inoculations. Children and pregnant women may require special vaccination procedures.
What medicines should I take with me?
Any prescribed medication should be carried in your hand luggage with a Doctor’s prescription. We would advise that you take medicines to treat dehydration, small ailments, stomach upsets, insect bites and cuts, along with mosquito repellent and sun tan creams. A practice which should be avoided in any hot climate is drinking very cold drinks straight after coming out of the hot sun as this can cause stomach upsets. Bottled water can be bought in most hotels and supermarkets at a reasonable price. A Department of Health leaflet (Ref T7.1) "Health Advice to Travellers" is available from your GP, Travel Agent or online.
What are the medical facilities like in Goa?
The medical facilities in Goa are not up to the standard that we have come to expect in the UK. If you need medical treatment whilst in Goa, we would recommend visiting a private clinic. Your representative will be able to recommend an appropriate clinic for you.
What is the time difference between here and Goa?
The time difference between the UK and Goa is +5.30 hours. During British summertime this changes to +4.30 hours.
How long is the flight?
The flight to Goa is around 9 hours 30 minutes. On the return, the flight can be longer due to prevailing winds.
What type of clothing should I wear?
Generally take clothes that are comfortable and loose fitting, preferably cotton or linen; we also recommend a hat as protection against the strong midday sun. When visiting temples in Goa, it is important that your shoulders and legs should be covered. Although dress is not formal, in the evenings most hotels and restaurants require gentlemen to wear shirts and long trousers or dress shorts. A jumper or cardigan may come in handy on some evenings.
Is there poverty?
Whilst standards of living are lower than in Europe, Goa is one of the richest states in India and has one of the highest standards of living in the sub-continent. You may on occasion come across begging in main resorts.
Can I take photos or videos?
Please ask first as not everyone likes to be photographed and you may be asked for payment in return. Uniformed personnel such as the police, military and government organisations generally will not accept photos being taken.
What is Goa’s smoking policy?
In 2000 Goa introduced a smoking ban in public places which includes enclosed restaurants, bars and hotel reception areas.
Do I need a visa to visit Goa?
As well as a full British passport valid for at least 6 months after the planned date of return from your holiday, all British citizens are required to have a visa when travelling to India. You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before you are due to arrive into India or an e-visa up to 1 month before travel. For more information, please visit https://www.goaexperience.co.uk/visa-requirements
Do hotels have Wi-Fi access?
Many hotels in Goa have Wi-Fi access, usually in the reception area although some do have access in the rooms. There may be a charge locally for this access.
Are there many restaurants in Goa?
In main resorts such as Colva, Candolim, Calangute and Baga, there is a wide range of dining options offering both Goan, Indian and International cuisine. Goa is also famous for its beach shacks where you can sample some of the local cuisine with views of the Arabian Sea.
Do hotels often host weddings and large events?
Goa is a popular destination for weddings and events for the domestic market. On occasion hotels may organise special entertainment and live music to celebrate these occasions. Events can be impromptu and we are unable to advise whether these will be going on during your stay.
Can I stay on an ‘All-inclusive’ board basis in Goa?
Many hotels situated in the busier resorts of Goa only offer a 'Bed & Breakfast' or ‘Half Board’ board basis, due to the affordability of meals and drinks, plus the wide variety of restaurants available. At The Goa Experience, we encourage clients to support the local economy as part of our commitment to Sustainable Tourism where possible, although some hotels do offer an all-inclusive option. Buffet style dining is generally available, often with the added benefit of choosing from the à la carte menus at an additional cost, varying your meal options.
Is it safe to swim in the sea?
The Arabian Sea can be deceiving and often has strong currents and undertows. On many beaches, there are trained lifeguards and flag systems in place but please observe caution when swimming in the sea and do not swim out of your depth.
Is it safe to walk around at night?
The crime rate in Goa is generally low. As in all destinations, especially in the larger towns, we advise you to exercise caution and not show valuables or large amounts of cash. Please also observe caution when walking around resorts at night.
Where can I get extra safety information about Goa?
We are working with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to do all we can to help British travellers stay safe overseas. Their website at: www.fco.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo is packed with essential tips, travel advice and up-to-date country specific information.
What about travel insurance?
Insurance is a must. We feel it is so important that we insist you either take our special travel insurance (with zero excess) or arrange a policy yourself at the time of booking which must provide cover equal to our own standard policy.
If you have taken our insurance and have booked online or received an email confirmation from us, the insurance policy will be attached as a PDF and also appear as a PDF link within your emailed invoice. If you receive an invoice by post, the insurance policy will be enclosed in the form of a booklet.
In both cases your booking reference acts as the policy number and your invoice is the insurance certificate.
Are transfers included?
Transfers are included if you have booked a package holiday with us. Private transfers can also be arranged from £25pp return. Please note we do not provide transfer vouchers in your ticket pack for standard transfers, however it will be displayed on your confirmation invoice.
The average transfer takes around 1 hour depending on the drop off and collection point. The longest transfer is about 1 hour 40 minutes.
What is Advance Passenger Information (API)?
As a result of UK Government legislation, we are required to collect Advance Passenger (passport) Information from all customers (including infants) travelling to and from the UK by air. If we do not receive this information, tickets cannot be processed.
What information is needed per passenger?
- Full name, as per your passport including any middle names
- Date of birth
- Travel document 'type' eg: passport
- Country of Issue
- Passport number, issue date and expiry date
When is the information required by?
- Either at the time of booking or at least 21 days before travel in order for your tickets to be processed in time. Failure to do so will prevent tickets from being issued. Any API details received within 7 days of departure will result in a Ticket on Departure being arranged, for which you may be charged.
How can I provide this information?
- Please visit our API page where you can input the information. Alternatively you can call Administration on 01489 866987. We advise that you do not email this information for security reasons.
What if I book late?
- Our website will not allow a booking within 7 days of travel, unless API details are input at the time of booking.
- Ticket on Departure information will not be provided until we have your API details.
Who do I tell about special requests?
We shall be pleased to pass on your request to the airline or hotel, however we cannot guarantee that they will be met. If you have any special requests for your accommodation or flights, please ensure they are requested at the time of booking as procedures for flight requests vary from airline to airline and they require as much notice as possible. Airlines tend to require at least 5 days’ notice for any dietary requirements.
How do I go about changing my booking?
Any amendments will be subject to availability and will incur amendment charges in addition to any difference in costs. Further details can be obtained from our Administration department on 01489 866987 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When will I receive my tickets?
These can be expected 2 weeks prior to your date of travel and will include our Goa Guide which we hope you will find useful. For security reasons, tickets can only be posted to the billing address.
What happens if there is a delay?
Occasionally, despite the best efforts of all concerned, flights are delayed for reasons beyond our personal control. If a long delay occurs, we will always do our best to provide a snack or meal when appropriate and in the case of an overnight delay, suitable accommodation. If we are made aware of a potential delay we will do our very best to advise you.
Please note that the choice of accommodation for flight delays is made by the airline and is not part of your original package holiday.
What is your deposit?
Our deposit is £125 per person plus any insurance premiums, which needs to be paid at the time of confirming your holiday. Your balance will be detailed on your invoice and must be paid in full no later than 12 weeks before your departure.
Can I travel to Goa with a non Machine-readable passport?
As of 01/12/15, the Indian government will refuse non-readable passports for non-Indian nationals seeking entry into the country.
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