Monday, 13 May 2013 23:33
What’s on your top ten holidays list? While ours includes alliterations—Moscow, Mexico and Morocco—we’ve been saving up for the perfect African safari, zebra spotting over breakfast, chilling with a giraffe at tea time and watching lions by the watering hole as the sun goes down. Chalo Africa, an eight month old Delhi-based travel agency, promises to organize safaris specifically tailored to your interests. The mane event?
We spoke to Smita Srivastava, who along with Sangeeta S Prasad and Tanvi Srivastava, runs Chalo Africa. Smita, a former school principal at Banyan Tree School in Lodhi Colony, is also a biologist and the idea of running an animal centric travel company was very appealing to her.
The company focuses on Eastern and Southern Africa, with five countries in the itineraries at the moment—Zimbabwe, Botswana, Kenya, Zambia and Namibia, and in the future, they plan to expand their focus to include things like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and spending some time in Zanzibar. (bpb tip: if you’re planning to visit Zanzibar, check out our cool postcard!)
The Chalo Africa website (www.chaloafrica.com) has a list of sample itineraries you can choose from—family, romance, wildlife and so on—and they give you what they call a ‘discovery sheet’ before you go. They also provide travelers with experts who can tell you even the slightest rustle of a leaf whether there’s a snake in the undergrowth or a panther staring at you.
While even the FAQs on the website say planning a safari can be expensive—so start saving!—they are willing to work within your budget and are planning a large tour around July or August, where anyone can sign on, so if you’re dying to go and have no one to travel with, it might be a good thing to sign up for that. (Check the Facebook page for more updates.)
Plus, we got Smita to give us her list of things to remember when you’re going on your safari. Packing heat!
1) Carry very comfortable shoes and a wide brim hat. Smita herself has never been bitten by mosquitoes on a trip, but carry some repellent anyway, just to be safe.
2) Also, carry a few paperback books to read during downtime.
3) While you’re reading—remember to do a good amount of reading about the best time to visit, although the company can help you out with that too.
4) While there are usually 8 tents to every camp, only the central mess tent has charging facilities and sometimes the internet.
5) Tents can be super luxurious —with bucket showers, western style toilets and fine dining food—so don’t be too intimidated by the camping life.
Getting There: Visit www.chaloafrica.com or call Smita on 9717275237, prices start at approximately Rs 1.5 lakhs.
Tuesday, 07 May 2013 00:12
Summer makes us think about Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, and while we plan to listen to plenty of jazz and poetry this year, we’re also super excited about a new tour in Manipur that we just booked. Coming?
One of the key yet forgotten battles of the Second World War was the Battle of Imphal, a struggle between Japanese forces and the British in India. The fascinating aspect of this battle was it's timing- in 1944, when the rest of the country was trying to shrug colonial domination, Indian soldiers were waging a battle on behalf of the British. Like Raghu Karnad writes in his prize-winning essay on Imphal “There is no monument and no Memorial Day, and there’s no notion at all of the dilemma they faced, fighting for the Empire at the very hour that their countrymen fought to be rid of it”.
In remembrance, Hemant Katoch, a former aid worker ( he’s been with the Red Cross in Congo and in Geneva prior to that) has set up the Battle of Imphal tours, to address it's fading imprint on public memory and consciousness.
The Rest is History?
The tour, which started last month, offers two daily options. Covering sites in and around Imphal and those related to the battle, the guided route (Hemant is conducting these personally until he trains local Manipuri tour-guides) winds through a Second World war era airfield, two war cemeteries, a battlefield (Nungshigum) and the colonial era Slim Cottage. Hemant plans to add more sites to the tour by the end of May, paying special attention those which are slightly away from Imphal, on the Tiddim-Imphal road.
Also – and this is the best part – if you know someone who is linked to the battle (a relative who fought in it, or passed through Manipur during the war) Hemant offers a “retracing of steps”. Using specific details research, he will try and be as precise in locating where your person was during the war.
The tour is conducted primarily in English with varying rates if conducted in French and Japanese. With prices ranging from Rs 3,200 (for an A.C Vehicle) and Rs 2,700 (for a non-A.C vehicle) this tour is a great way to go back in time. A summer of remembering, perhaps?
Getting there: Visit the website, or their Facebook page, Rs 3,200 for an A.C vehicle half-day tour.
Thursday, 02 May 2013 10:28
A haze of cigar smoke clears to reveal a men den, all wood with leather arm chairs, a bunch of suits standing around smoking and discussing the stock market.
The Bombay Cigar Aficionados club is nothing like this. "You can wear anything you like and say what you wish - even admit your ignorance about cigars - so long as you are smoking one," says Aneesh Bhasin, one of the club's founders, who often attends in shorts and a T-shirt. In fact, the dress code on the invite says "casual with a cigar in your hand".
Founded a year and a half ago, the Bombay Cigar Aficionados was until now a private monthly get together, mostly for friends. They've now decided to open up the club to you if you're interested and membership is free. "The club isn't just for experts. The whole idea is to encourage dialogue and interaction about cigars," says Aneesh. Hence the club's new Twitter account, and the decision to go public.
Cigar sessions are usually held at other founding members Clinton Cooper (Executive Chef at The Four Seasons) or Nikhil Merchant (he runs a food blog called The Nonchalant Gourmand)'s homes and are attend by people with varying levels of knowledge - there's a co-founder who is a " cigar Encyclopaedia", a member who runs a cigar factory in South America and others who can't tell one cigar from another. The setting is casual - you bring your own cigars and alcohol - and if you're new and don't know much you'll get the low down on what cigars to start off with, where to buy them in India and why the Thunder by Nimish by Rocky Patel cigar is no joke. "It's actually quite good," says Aneesh.
The Marriage of Cigaro
If you're new to this, Aneesh suggests that you start off with ITC's Petit Corona or Partagas Short, which are not too strong, quite smooth and burn for about 40 minutes. "We all travel quite a bit and usually pick up cigars during these visits, so it's interesting to see what everyone is smoking." Since they buy boxes, there's also a fair amount of barter that goes on at club evenings. If you're purchasing here, there's Cigarindia.com that has a good collection of cigars and accessories and ships in a day, the Cigar Aficionados tell us.
Their next evening in on May 4, so sign up before if you'd like to attend. Aneesh is bringing Flor de las Antillas, a brand that was recently rated number 1 by a reputed cigar magazine and comes in a box that's beautiful enough to be a Gabriel Garcia Marquez book cover. So how do you trade one of your Petit Coronas for his Flor de las Antillas? Clearly, you have a lot to learn about cigars. Join the club. Seriously. Sign up by emailing
or tweet to them at @BombayCigar.
Getting there: Bombay Cigar Aficionados, email
, follow @BombayCigar, free membership, Rs 300 cover for club evenings.
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 11:19
If your bum needs a deck chair, your brain needs a beach too. Your next vacation could combine the two, if you plan your trip around a wine conference, an art fair or a creative un-conference. bpb gets 8 conference hoppers - experts from different fields - to help you pick talks and trade fairs, fests and forums in India and around the world.
Rahul Akerkar: F&B
The MD and Director de Cuisine of DeGustibus Hospitality Pvt. Ltd, Rahul Akerkar of Indigo, Indigo Deli, Tote on the Turf and Neel has been travelling twice a year for a conference centred around the hospitality industry since he launched Indigo in 1999. He picks his conferences based on plans for deGustibus, and how he is planning to expand the business in that year. His recommendations include conferences that are great meeting places for hoteliers and those that are great for staying abreast with global trends. While the Merano Wine Festival is boutique in format and a great pick for those who want to know more about the artisanal food industry, Salone del Gustro and Terra Madre is an interesting event for anyone interested in off-beat food movements such as the slow food movement.
Akerkar’s Top F&B Conference Picks:
Gulfood, Dubai World Trade Centre: February 23-27, 2014 (www.gulfood.com)
Food & Hotel Asia, Singapore: 8 to 11 April, 2014 (www.foodnhotelasia.com)
Sial, Paris: 19-23 October, 2014 (www.sialparis.com)
Hofex, Hong Kong: 7-10 May, 2013 ( http://www.hofex.com" www.hofex.com)
Merano Wine Festival, Merano, Italy: 9-11 November, 2013
Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre, Turin, Italy ( salonedelgustoterramadre.slowfood.com)
Rashmi Dhanwani: Experimental Creativity
As member of the founding team behind The Goa Project, Dhanwani recommends Burning Man festival, which inspired The Goa Project. Usually held in the months of August/September in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, Burning Man is a life-changing experience, say most who have attended the event. Dhanwani loves the fest for its openness, unconference-like set-up, the fact that it's not restricted to any one area of conversation and the level of interactivity at the event. It’s of the people, for the people.
Burning Man, Black Rock Desert, Nevada: August 26 to September 2, 2013 ( www.burningman.com)
Tasneem Vahanvaty: Music
Head of Business Development-Arts for British Council India, Vahanvaty has been to more music conferences than you can keep track of. She travels for conferences four times a year to look for new talent and to network with artist managers, label owners and to know more about what is happening in the world of music across the globe. Completely overwhelmed by her experience at SXSW, she recommends it to anyone who is involved in the music, digital or film space. The warm and lovely vibe of the conference takes over the entire city of Austin, she says. These conferences are not only great for new conversations, but the people you meet are diverse and interesting and at the end of the day, you get a chance to catch some of the best new artists.
Vahanvaty’s Top Music Conference Picks:
South by Southwest or SXSW, Austin, Texas: March 8-13, 2013 / March 7-16, 2014 (www.sxsw.com)
The Great Escape, Brighton, UK: May 16-18, 2013 (www.mamacolive.com/thegreatescape)
Womex, Cardiff, Wales, UK: 23-27 October, 2013 (Usually travels across Europe, for the first time this year it is being held in the UK, www.womex.com)
Carlton D’silva: Digital Marketing and Advertising
As Chief Creative Officer for Hungama Digital Services, D’silva travels twice a year for a conference in the digital arena, either to scope out the latest or to play jury. He recommends digital marketing and creative festival, Spikes Asia in Singapore, the biggest gathering in advertising and branding. Apart from digital and ad-centric seminars by top media gurus, this festival sees a fun mix of industry people from around the world and is great for networking. If you’re lucky, the cocktail night could even shift to the Facebook office! Organised by the Cannes body, Spikes is truly the Cannes of Southeast Asia, says D’silva. For a more technical digital conference, the next best bet would be Ad Tech, which takes place in India and around the world. Carlton's advice while choosing a conference: pick one closer to home, as the data discussed will be more relevant to your work scenario.
D’silva’s Top Digital Conference Picks:
Spikes Asia, Singapore: September 15-17, 2013 ( www.spikes.asia)
Ad Tech: Next one is being held on June 13-14, 2013 in Singapore (www.ad-tech.com) a
Adobe Digital Marketing Summit: April 24-25, London (www.summit.adobe.com)
Goafest, India (www.goafest.com)
WAT Summit, Mumbai (www.watsummit.com)
IndiaSocial Summit, New Delhi ( www.indiasocial.in)
Ayaz Basrai: Design and Creativity
The co-founder of The Busride Design Studio, Basrai, who barely gets any time outside of work to attend design-specific events, strongly vouches for Delhi’s UnBox Festival that just finished its third edition in February, 2013. Organised by art collective B.L.O.T, he says it’s a maker’s fair where everyone is creating something, is devoid of the concept of a passive audience, there are no seminars and it uses metaphors from other music festivals instead of following design festival models – which means different stages and more mayhem. This loosely defined festival is apt for anyone in any creative field from designers and artists to chefs and musicians, it’s a common platform to meet an eclectic bunch of people, inspire a dialogue rich with cross-pollination, and to step into a completely bizarre world outside of one’s comfort zone. UnBox is also a showcase of each one’s personal experiments, so while on one side you will see someone screen-printing tees, on the other side you will find someone conducting a cognitive neuroscience workshop. The Busride Design Studio presented their Bandra Project at the festival and conducted a Pedestrian Workshop across Hauz Khas, drawing parallels between the streets of Bandra and Hauz Khas.
Dhruvi Acharya: Art
Mumbai-based painter Dhruvi Acharya recommends the Art Biennale held at La Biennale in Venice Italy as a must-visit event for any art lover or practising artist. This year will mark the 55th International Art Exhibition at the Art Biennale and will be held from June 1 to November 24, 2013. During this time, the entire city breathes and lives art with streets also doubling up as art venues, says the painter, who visited the 2011 edition of the event. Spread across various venues in the city, from Giardini and Arsenale, this year’s theme is titled ‘The Encyclopedic Palace’ and is curated by Massimiliano Gioni. 88 national participants will be showcasing at the historical pavilions at the Giardini, Arsenale and across the city that will see the work of 150 artists from 37 countries.
Shilo Shiv Suleman: Multi-disciplinary
As an illustrator, visual artist and animator, Shilo experienced one of her biggest life-altering moments at TEDGlobal in Edinburgh in 2010. She says it’s an amazing confluence of some of the most brilliant minds in the world, a melting pot of “awesomeness”. Not only do you witness the talks live, but you get to meet some of the most interesting people in the world, doing all kinds of different things – everything from street artists to flying robotic birds. Every event is larger than life, and is held in old Scottish palaces across Edinburgh. She also picks the INK Conference in India (in association with TED), where 20 inspiring young individuals doing innovative work are brought together for the conference and an attendee gets a chance to spend three days with some of these inspiring people. It’s a travelling festival and is held in beautiful locations across India.
Shilo’s Top Conference Picks:
TEDGlobal, Edinburgh, Scotland: June 10-14, 2013 and TED at Long Beach, California (www.conferences.ted.com)
INK Conference, Kochi, Kerela: October 25 27, 2013 (www.inktalks.com)
Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan: Literature
The author of three novels (most recently, Cold Feet) and bpb’s Delhi editor, Meenakshi loves travel and books, and thinks that the best kind of trip is when the two come together. Luckily, most literature festivals and conferences unfold in gorgeous locations, and besides the Jaipur Lit Fest, which is a circus in and of itself, there are several smaller literature festivals that encourage you to mingle with the authors, bug them for signed copies and generally sit around listening to people talk all day. Perhaps the prettiest lit fest she’s been to is the Kovalam Literature Festival, which generally happens around October in the gorgeous Taj Kovalam. With delicious food, an infinity pool and a private beach, the Taj itself is awesome, but she’s had the pleasure of listening to all sorts of interesting people talk there, from Gulzar to Om Puri and Shashi Tharoor. It’s a small crowd, but worth attending for the intimacy of the setting. (http://www.kovalamlitfest.com).
Meenakshi’s Top Conference Picks:
Tuesday, 09 April 2013 13:54
In between spoonfuls of Mulligatawny soup, we would scream, “duck!” warning each other before leaves and branches of the Banyan Tree slapped our faces. No, we weren’t playing a 3D game at a friend’s, but were dining on a new open-air double-decker bus that is also a restaurant in Mumbai – The Moving Cart. A year-old concept in Chennai, The Moving Cart, a bright red bus with party graphics, tables and chairs and LED lights, will now cruise down Marine Drive three times a day at 1 pm, 8 pm and 10 pm. bpb got on board on day one, peeping into lovely Marine Drive art deco homes, waving back at curious bystanders, minding our heads and soup.
B.E.S.T experience? Read on to find out.
For those of you who had their bus fare all ready, we're sorry to report that the experience is as disappointing as the concept is novel. The interior on the lower level of the bus is tacky with garish, night-clubby LED lights (think B-grade actor’s vanity van, don’t ask us how we know). The open-air level was spared the LED explosion, but the sofa covers, beige with white leaf detailing, were not much of an upgrade either. The yellow and red table mats that don’t seem to match anything, are apparently made of non-skid material, which means your glass of water won’t fall even when the bus moves. Plate, stay! Good plate. Now go fetch food.
Just when we were coming to terms with the décor in this mobile restaurant, the “entertainment” for the night began – old Hindi songs performed live, and loud. Not in an endearing way. By now we were hoping that nobody we knew spotted us here. As the bus moved forward, time moved backwards with Dilip Kumar classics from the 60s and dishes from a bad 80s house party - cocktail samosas, hara bhara kebab and a nameless mocktail that tasted like Pina Colada. We were in for a long haul, we realised.
The Moving Cart offers patrons a choice between Indian and Continental, and it promises a 13-course meal with unlimited helpings. We opted for Continental, but since it was the first day we were served some dishes from the Indian menu as well. The tent card menu that was supposed to be on the table was not available, and we weren’t exactly served a 13-course menu. They probably meant 13 items, but even then we were served about 10.
Tuesday, 05 March 2013 18:38
Our love for motorcycles is like our love for bad boys: hopelessly incurable. That's the idea behind Spicy Elephant, a new travel company founded by two nomadic Europeans (Karl Krochmal and Aurelien Cardon) who lived and travelled in India and decided that riding motorcycles through the Himalayas was an experience that not enough people have ticked off their bucket list.
Ladakh Odyssey 2013, the first trip under the Spicy Elephant banner comes with a customized itinerary which includes accommodation, flight segment from Leh-Delhi, motorcycle rental and a documentary DVD starring you at the end of the trip. Karl tells us that he has been organising motorcycle expeditions to Leh with friends and family since 2009 but this is the first official tour with the company. Which brought us to the name. Why Spicy Elephant? We were told that it was an amalgamation of visual representations of India and a spirit of adventure. You say potato, we say ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’.
Born To Ride
The motorcycles will all be Royal Enfields and Karl and co. encourage non-riders as well. They tell us of their last expedition where a previous non-rider learnt to ride only a week prior to the journey. With an eclectic group of travelers (people from the Middle East, Europe and Africa), the expedition will kick off on June 18. The 11 day trip includes a photographer who rides with the crew and will document key emotional moments. Hail fellow, helmet!
We're also excited about the Tour de Rajasthan coming up in 2014, a yoga retreat in Goa, and even a kite surfing school in Zanzibar. But with the Ladakh Odyssey 2013 priced at 2249 Euros/ Rs 1,57,430 per person, this might be one expensive elephant to ride. Too much commitment? Check out Vintage Rides, based out of Delhi, which offer cheaper day excursions around the city. Va va vroom!
Getting There: Registrations open at Spicy Elephant, view http://www.spicy-elephant.com, approximately Rs 1.5 lakh per person for an 11 day trip, registrations close in May.
Monday, 25 February 2013 11:09
You’re grouchy, irascible. Everyone around you seems annoying. It’s that time of the month again. That time of the month to plan a Goa trip. And bpb’s excuse number one gazillion and five is The Goa Project.
Started by a bunch of entrepreneurs and volunteers, The Goa Project (March 28-29) is an “unconference, an experimental platform” that will encourage the cross pollination of people across different fields. It’s a trip for you, but also for your ideas, which will meet other seductive ideas, get a room and have little baby ideas that will hopefully grow up and be awesome.
If you’ve already booked your ticket, go expecting a mix of talks, workshops, jam sessions and show-and-tell lectures that span across arts and music, entrepreneurship, film, society, visual art and design. The Goa Project follows the crowd sourced format, allowing you to suggest topics of discussion and speakers. “Everyone who shows up is a potential speaker, and those who don't speak contribute by posting photos, blog entries, podcasts, and video clips of the proceedings,” they tell us.
Discussions will range from the death of the company logo and farming as a secondary income to what an entrepreneur can learn from Bharatnatyam and art as a community builder. Don’t care for these? You can suggest your own ideas through The Goa Project’s “funnel” here. While you can help decide the speaker line up and prevent snooze fests as well, a few keynote speakers like conference circuit regulars Mahesh Murthy have already been locked in.
Since The Goa Project is entirely volunteer driven, they are relying on crowd funding through Wishberry’s platform. You can help by donating here, or getting your company to become an event sponsor. And If you are artistically inclined, you can also submit an entry for their official tee design contest, and put a shirt on their backs (send entries to
Psst: Also check out bpb’s guide to 8 cool things to do in Goa this season.
Getting there: Visit http://www.thegoaproject.com, Rs 5,000 for a ticket (20% off for early birds who buy before March 1).
Friday, 22 February 2013 11:36
What: The Great Wall Marathon by The Active Holiday Company, call 09886281381 or visit www.activeholiday.in, packages start from 1,200 USD (flights and visa exclusive).
Why: Beach bums, be scared. Really scared as The Active Holiday Company whirls in to get your vacation a** off its beach towel and into some sort of sporting gear. Sign up for a holiday with this travel fitness company and you'll find yourself running a marathon in a country you haven't been to before, trekking up a mountain to get a bird's eye view of a new city or scuba diving below a pretty island. Coming up this May is a holiday planned around the Beijing Great Wall Marathon that involves 5,164 stone steps, among other challenges. But you're on vacation? Quit whining and start training!
When: You don't want to be just another brick in the wall. From May 15 to 20.
Tuesday, 19 February 2013 23:26
This spring, skip up and away to Deer Park Institute, a centre for classical Indian traditions near Dharamshala, which models itself after Nalanda, the original Indian institution for learning back in the fifth century, and teaches all aspects of Buddhism as well as running an eco-friendly institution (example: all guests are asked to bring their own water bottles to refill on the campus.) Like any spiritual retreat, there are certain rules you must follow: no drinking, no smoking, no meat, and no “sexual misconduct”. But we’re sure you can manage a couple of weeks without. Cold turkey?
But we’re more interested in the classes they hold. Coming up in March is an introduction to classical Tibetan, a course that lasts a little over three weeks, and will end with you being able to read simple texts. Once you’ve done that, you might consider coming back for the eight-week Tibetan language programme, taught by an actual monk. (We also hear they're planning introduce classes in Pali soon!)
If language is not your thing, there are also creative classes: a film making workshop in June and a writing workshop in April and May. You could also choose to not take a class and just visit for the daily meditation and yoga, plus local sightseeing includes paragliding off a hill or a trek up to an ancient fort. Let the walls down!
You’ll see us return in the summer, much calmer people, and totally fluent in Tibetan, of course. Tashi delek!
Getting there: Bir, District Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, call 01894-268508, or check here for a volunteer form, Introduction To Classical Tibetan from March 4 to 29.
Thursday, 14 February 2013 13:11
We can never tire of a fresh list of things to do in Goa. Here's eight – most new(ish) - spots to visit in the sunshine state this season, from an EDM cafe that hosts beach tennis to a native American head gear stall at the Saturday night market. Look what the tide brought in! Hat tip to Deveshe Dutt, our honorary Scouter in Goa.
The Diwa Club
Semi-submerged pool chairs with champagne-sugarcane cocktails. That's really all you need to know.
A couple of weeks ago, the Scouters hit The Diwa Club, a boutique hotel inside the Alila Diwa hotel space that recently opened up to non-members. Here, rooms are spacious with uber-luxe bathrooms that are given almost as much importance and space as the room itself. And while the pool too is humongous, we much preferred the one on the regular side of the hotel, with abovementioned chairs.
And if you can peel yourselves off them, you'll find that the concierge desk here offers a bunch of cool activities to indulge in around the area: Margao market tour with the chef to bring back fresh catch and learn how to cook it; a packed picnic basket to carry to the Three Kings Chapel on a hill where the view is stunning; and a meal cooked by the lady of Palacio de Deao, an old Portuguese house. The cool bit is that these services are available for non-hotel guests as well, so if you’re living in the South, call them.
For those who prefer to dine in-hotel, Indian and coastal restaurant Spice Studio is yum.
PS: bpb was invited to visit, and was hosted here for two nights.
48/10 Village Majorda, Adao Waddo, Salcette , call +91 8322746800 or visit http://www.alilahotels.com/diwagoa, Diwa Club rooms currently start at Rs 15,900 but change subject to season.
While gossip of Greek restaurant Thalasa's new South Goa branch continues to do the rounds - a call to them confirmed that they don't have a new love child, but the whispers continue - here's a brand new sexy for you - Bardo. With a convincing Miami beach club vibe, Bardo (started by some of the guys behind Aurus in Mumbai) - has wide-as-grin white cane chairs overlooking an azure pool that overlooks the beach. While hot bikini-clad women flit in and out, you can order burgers, pizza, steak and more courtesy chef Vicky Ratnani. We went during the first week to find terrible service and many order muck ups, but our resident Goa friend tells us that it’s gotten much better now. Plus, there’s a Rs 900 Sunday brunch with unlimited alcohol that everyone’s talking about. Oh, and there’s a spa on the premises too!
Bardo, house no 62, Ashwem Vaddo, Morjim Ashwem Road, call +91 9890167531, http://www.bardogoa.com.
Although we’re developed a fatigue for Alice in Wonderland inspirations, this yummy restaurant that opened a couple of months ago should come with an ‘eat me’ sign. Under a maze of the prettiest lights – some look like giant tears cried by the moon - you can eat Middle Eastern treats (get the mezze platter with a bunch of drinks) and later, hang out in giant wire teapot like structures. Looks like someone got high at tea! And there’s a Bloody Mary brunch on Sundays that we haven’t tried.
Recently, these guys also opened a jewellery and clothes store at the premises that we’re told is super well priced and worth a browse. And the cool thing is that all profits from Samovar go to the Samarpan Foundation that aims for a better tomorrow.
House 1136, Mazal Waddo, Anjuna, call 09637007413 or view the Facebook page here.
The Soma Project
This EDM beach cafe and restaurant that started about two months ago by two Russian DJs, plays music until midnight. And recently, they started hosting beach tennis during the day. While the voice on the phone recommended the kitchen here for “barbequed stuff”, someone had another suggestion for grilled things – the Atona Waterfront on the Mandovi River with live music and a lovely view. Bring mosquito repellent.
Aswem Beach, North Goa, call +919822642624 or view the Facebook page here.
Now this tapas bar has been around for a year, but it’s still not recommended and visited enough, our Goa friend tells us. Get one of the pretty seats in the al fresco section and choose from the tapas list that covers Mediterranean, South East Asian, Latin American and Goan food (try the salmon quiche and chicken cafreal skewers).
Opposite O’Coqueiro restaurant, next to Urban Dhaba, NH-17, Porvorim, visit http://www.maracas-goa.com.
The Paper Boat Collective
Launched at the beginning of this month by two NID graduates who used to run Monkey Business pottery studio in Mumbai, this concept store operates out of a Portuguese house in Sangolda that you’ll want to make your home. Here you’ll find ceramics, furniture, bric a brac and texiles. See cushions that spell L-O-V-E, gorgeous teak rocking horse, yoga chair, airy bateek kurtas from Ruh and more. They’ve also been supplying to Mumbai’s fancy Le Mill store and exporting to others in London and Singapore.
No.248 Bella Vista, Chogm Road, Sangolda, Near Alua Resort, call +8326521248, view the Facebook group here.
Native American Head Gear Guy
On the third floor steps at the Saturday night market, right across from the angel card reader, look for a guy who sells only Native American head gear. One of us Scouters bought a mad-lush one for a friend’s Goa birthday party, which became the object of every Instagrammer’s affection. Many feathers in our cap!
Saturday Night Market, Arpora, North Goa, start at Rs 2,000.
If your Goa trip is one of those spontaneous lets-leave-now plans, chances are that you need some fun beach clothes when you get there. If you’re staying around Morjim, hit the adorable Beach Candy, where tiny, tiny printed shorts come with ribbons that you can tie on the side. If you’re going soon, also hit the Jade Jagger store that’s currently on sale, where we acquired a safety pin crop top for Rs 600!
Morjim Beach, North Goa, view product pictures here.