Stepping through the beach bar from the dusty courtyard, I caught my first glimpse of the bay at Palolem and I fell in love. A sweeping bay of dappled sand and calm sea, fringed with palm trees and beach shacks, it wasn’t surprising I was so enamoured.
Interesting fact: my family have a history of love in Palolem – it’s where my brother and his fiancée got engaged!
We had arranged a boat trip with a friend of Anil, our taxi driver, so we strolled down to the waterfront and hopped on board our little boat. We set off to see Palolem from the other direction, and were able to appreciate the Western Ghats in the far distance, marking the border with Karnataka.
We headed south and spent some time watching a dolphin frolic in the waves, before turning north to see Butterfly Beach (sadly devoid of butterflies at the height of the day – dawn and dusk are best according to our guide), round Monkey Island and finally arriving at Honeymoon Beach.
I now know exactly what I want my private beach to look like. Just without the five other people who were there! It felt so good to swim there and I had to be dragged onto the boat back to Palolem!
Back on Dry Land…
After our boat trip we stopped for a drink at Art Resort, in order to meet up with my step-dad’s colleague who was in Palolem at the same time – it’d be a shame to miss the chance to say you’d met up in India, after all. This bar was a lovely setting to sit, relax and chat, although there were kids playing football just behind me so I was constantly worried about getting hit in the back of the head by a ball.
We hopped back in our taxi to go to the other end of Palolem, but had a bit of excitement en route when we turned down a narrow road and were confronted with someone trying to overtake one of the many cows wandering the streets. With a bus pulled up behind us, it was gridlock, so we made a hasty retreat so long-suffering Anil, could sort it out in peace.
We had lunch at ‘The Israeli Place’ as everyone seemed to refer to it – after some research, I’ve discovered it’s actually called Cafe Inn. The clientele were a combination of young backpackers and older grizzled hippies, which gave the place a very bohemian feel. The staff were absolutely lovely and I had the best sandwich I’ve ever eaten – a tortilla wrap filled with feta cheese, aubergine and pure magic.
After lunch, we visited the high street area for a bit of retail therapy. The area is made up almost entirely of gift shops of one kind or another. There’s a lot of variety there, with shops selling different products, some cheaper and some more upmarket. My mum came away with a hammock and quilt, and I got myself a nice shopping bag for 200 rupees (£2).
I’ve probably mentioned this before, but one of the things I enjoy about travelling is scoping out potential places to live at some point in the future. Palolem doesn’t make that list for me – it’s an odd combination of bohemian and touristy which would absolutely do my head in if I had to spend too much time there. However, I’d like to spend more time there as a visitor, enjoying what is on offer and chilling out a bit.
Have you been to Palolem? I’d love to hear what you thought.