The party scene in Goa is dead, has been for a long time, or at least that’s what I read as I grew close.
The word “Goa”, like a phantom from a sixties I never knew, has for a long time sung to me, conjuring images of beach parties, free love, wild hedonism…
But as I neared Goa I was hearing increasingly frequent stories of cops pulling the plug on live bands, mid-song, at precisely 10pm, of conservative Indian attitudes towards alcohol, of strictly enforced noise pollution laws.
India is no Thailand, no Agia Napa, no Latin America, but there is hope – It took me a while, but I did track down the party in Goa.
Goa Beaches Nightlife Guide
|Palolem||Favoured by backpackers, couples and Lonely Planet. Quiet, laid back and clean beach. No noise after 10pm, hence the innovative “silent discos”.|
|Arambol||Probably the most popular beach with people of all nationalities (especially Russians of late) and the historic hippy heart of Goa. Some bars on the beach stay open until around 2am, but without music.|
|Anjuna||Last stand of the (highly illegal) Goan trance party. If you want to drink and rave all through the night, this is pretty much the only place in Goa where you’re likely to be able to do it.|
If clubbing is what you’re after, don’t waste your time elsewhere. Head straight for Anjuna.
However, I strongly recommend checking out the silent discos of Palolem beach…if only for the comic value of watching drunk people (of whom you will soon become one) dancing around and singing atrociously in the otherwise eerie silence.
Silent Discos in Palolem, Goa
|Silent Disco||Where? (Bar)||When? (Day of the Week)|
|Headphone Party||Laughing Buddha||Tuesday|
|HeadphoneParty Goa||Alpha Bar||Thursday|
|Silent Noise||Neptune Point||Saturday|
There are three regular silent discos in Palolem Beach (as of 2014). These take place on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays during the season, which lasts from November until the end of April – basically until the monsoon season arrives.
I hit a bar and got chatting to a couple of regulars (Oli and some Swedish chick) and the entire bar staff. At one point Elsie (the bar dog) and Oli had a dance-off.
We got wasted, they told me about all the people (locals and backpackers alike) who had died this season (drownings, overdoses…) then we all set off for Laughing Buddha.
At Laughing Buddha, headphones cost about 400 rupees (£4) ($7) and have two channels. Two DJs compete for your ears. One usually plays cheese, pop and classic power ballads (think “Eye of the Tiger”) while the other caters to slightly more serious customers. And if that doesn’t hit the spot, you can always just bring your own music like my mate Oliver.
The beach dogs and backpackers dance in harmony.
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the mood with the headphones on, but hilarious when you take them off.