Just an hour after leaving Mumbai's palpable energy behind, your airplane touches down in a different sort of India. Tinged with a hue of leftover sixties bohemianism, flea markets and waves of chic, Goa remains a lush, tropical hotspot where “Sushegad” or "take it easy" is the order of the day. No doubt Goa has more than its fair share of must-see sights and famous landmarks, but hidden down the side streets are the scattered collection of equally fascinating and lesser known gems. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could break-off a piece of this paradise to call your own?

This is exactly what you get when you veer down a rustic lane and arrive at “Elsewhere”. This secluded property is located on a thin stretch of land separated from the main coast and accessible via a rustic wooden footbridge. The exact location is a secret and only revealed upon booking which makes the place even more peaceful and private! The property’s four beachside Portuguese bungalows seem to exist in a bubble of solitude, thanks to the creek that surrounds them. Turtles nest on the beach, the water is warm and the sunset melts into the ocean canvassing the sky in reds and purples. There is also a selection of tents if you wish to sleep under the stars. A stay at “Elsewhere” definitely guarantees you plenty of “me” time without the intrusion from Goa’s perennial party seeker.

Alternatively you could head up on the Western Ghats at the meeting point of Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka to “Wildernest”. This resort provides the perfect escape in the lap of nature. You’ll see abundant greenery on every side and rooms with a view of the waterfall. There isn’t all that much to do here, which makes it perfect for spending time getting to know each other. In the evening, while the light is still strong, trek up the hills and enjoy the spectacular sunset as you breathe in the crisp mountain air.

Further down, South Goa lays claim to a heady combination of lush paddy fields, white sand beaches and warm, azure waters. If you are not in the mood for the swish Park Hyatt resort or the lavish Alila Diwa, opt instead for the beautiful Vivenda dos Palhacos. Set in a restored Portuguese-Hindu mansion, the hotel's six bedrooms and separate cottage (endearingly named The Chummery) are ranged around a gorgeous small pool. Dinner here is candlelit, locally sourced and courtesy of a highly proficient Keralite chef and if you are suitably impressed with the food, you can request cooking lessons the following day.

And when in Goa, how can you not party! On this “Oh so different Goan holiday”, head to a “silent beach party”. It is indeed a surreal scene: hundreds of party-goers, swaying and grooving on the dance floor…but wait, where's the music??? Here you are each handed a set of wireless headphones with a choice of DJs. You can lose yourself in the sensation of being at a private party while surrounded by multitudes of hedonists dancing between the glittering lasers. Now that’s truly music to my ears!

So on your next Goan sojourn, do something different. Walk down a quintessential Goan village, shop at the night markets, learn to cook with the locals and spend some quality time simply doing nothing!

Janhavi Rane
(Team Veena World)