Best party places in India
Goa India Anjuna Beach
Anjuna Beach in Goa (about 8 kilometers west of Mapusa and 18 kilometers from Goa’s capital Panaji), has long been known as the backdrop for rave-style partying, where millions of trance, techno and rock fans have congregated on the beach to dance, chill and create electronic sounds with Asian and Indian beats – known as Goa trance music. While GoaIndia has a high season from November to March that hasn’t changed since the flower-power days, the questions is: does Anjuna beach, and Goa as a whole, still offer that singular carefree trance dance rave environment?
Is Anjuna still a trance-lover’s paradise?
Although Anjuna beach was once the most popular area in Goa, today it doesn’t necessarily offer the best beach environment or party activity (with a couple notable exceptions like Curlies). It’s not what it used to be in its hippie heyday, but that doesn’t mean Goa beaches aren’t a singular party destination. While Anjuna may only have a couple worthy trance dance party shacks, Goa is still amongst the top 50 places to party in the world. No longer just about Anjuna, but about a variety of places on Goa beaches, offering everything from secret raves, private jungle trance parties to luxury resorts and even a party boat for chic cruising and carousing at sea. But before discovering where the hottest places to party are situated, take a peek at the musical genre that bears its name – Goa trance.
Goa trance music
Electronic Goa trance music, also referred to by one of it’s musical-founding names EBM or electronic body music (trance dance), is a blend of techno, acid house, rock, bass, funk, repetitive tribal beats, Indian/oriental and psychedelic trance (psy) styles. It’s characterized by a progression of sounds that induces a hypnotic state. Although Goa trance began on beaches and in forest hideaways in the 60’s and 70’s, it’s been shaped by electronic sounds throughout the 80’s, evolved with techno in the 90’s, and continues changing. It’s now most popular outside of India, especially in the Netherlands, Germany, Finland, Japan and Israel. But, trance-lovers don’t let the sounds forget their Indian roots; there are plenty of places to go for psy, techno and Goa trance parties. Below is a list of Goa beaches and places with acid house, psy and trippy trance environments.
Goa nightlife – Curlies & Club Circus
While Goa nightlife venues have a tendency to come and go, Curlies Nightclub is going strong on Anjuna beach. It’s best labeled a beach party “shack” (although it also has an enclosed area that’s air-conditioned). Culies delivers Goa trance sounds (especially on Thursdays and Sundays) in an ambiance where dancing and chilling is still done in a laidback hippie style – under a canopy with a sand dance floor. Mix the sound of the sea, sand underfoot and 32°C temperatures with a few thousand feni-drinking trance dancers, and you’ve got a Goa party with or without an organizer. There are also a couple party shacks on Arambol beach with trance, electro and techno events in no-frills environments; just palms, sand, stars and the classic hypnotic vibe.
Private Goa events
Due to recent “noise pollution” laws that force bars, clubs and even beach shacks to shut down around ten o’clock, some of the usual Goa nightlife has been forced underground, onto private property or secluded areas away from main beach hangouts. One of those private places is Club Cirrus (in the Anjuna area south of Chapora river) – a private party venue courtesy of Bharat and Ignatious. It’s not specifically a trance music house, but none-the-less offers unique partying opportunities in a jungle-like setting.
Chapora beach & the Vagator area
Another area for Goa nightlife is Chapora beach, especially a place called Bubble Brunch, with a daytime chillout environment and a vibrant night scene with electronic trance dance rhythms. Nine Bar is still open, on nearby Vagator beach, which used to be the hottest Goa trance music club around, but it’s waned in popularity (and like so many of the best places, has been forced to close ridiculously early) despite producing trance sounds that waft out from the open-air venue. Hilltop club, situated on Vagator hill south of Chapora, hosts trance and psychedelic parties, especially on Sundays, yet because of the pesky noise pollution laws, appears to shut down at 10pm, but…if you ask nicely, someone may be able to tell you where the real rave is being held. For underground raves, it’s necessary to know someone who knows; some Hilltop events are semi-clandestine affairs.
Still in the Vagator area, situated behind St. Anthony’s Church, is a place called Primrose café, with a bit of psychedelic hippie dust still lingering in corners, but a modern nightlife scene inside the club. It’s another place to go to find out where after-hours raves are being held.
Baga Beach & Ashvem Beach venues
Moving down to Baga beach will bring you to Café La Musica that delivers a daytime lounge environment for cocktails and a nighttime atmosphere with Goa trance and varied live electronic music.
North of Chapora river is Ashvem beach with a whole different type of Goa party environment at Micasa Resort with lounges, pools, air-conditioned huts and deluxe electronic parties in a chic new style.
The Woof Woof party boat
One of the funkiest ways to privately party in Goa is on the Woof Woof Party Boat – a handcrafted teakwood boat with space for 12. The party voyage involves journeying around the Arabian Sea, eating gourmet food, drinking cocktails and being entertained with live music. The Woof Woof Goa party boat operates October – April.
Six Goa beaches
The list if Goa beaches is lengthy, but it can be narrowed down to six:
- Vagator beach:
- Varca beach:
- Aguada beach:
- Palolem beach:
- Baga & Calangute beach:
This is the trance dance party area, located in the northern area, with a palm-dotted beach and a backdrop of red cliffs. The partying options on this Goa beach range from elite to rustic; the atmosphere is relaxed in both. It’s where the Ozran Heights Beach Resort is situated with quaint wooden cabins facing the ArabicSea.
Situated in the south, this may be one of the calmest and more natural beaches in Goa, offering a variety of high-end luxury resorts for elite loungers, including Club Mahindra and Varca Palms Beach Resort.
For those who want to engage in water sports, and appreciate a lifeguard, then AguadaBeach (northern Goa) is the place to be. It’s picturesque with a backdrop of the ancient fort. It’s also the site of the Vivanta by Taj Fort Aguada Resort Hotel.
Although just a small stretch of beach in a half-moon shape, it’s the place for the famous Silent Noise Party, especially popular since the new anti-noise laws forbid loud music after ten o’clock. But this silent party is only a quiet experience for those not wearing wireless headsets. This beach isn’t a place to find high-end resort hotels. It offers fairly rustic budget-style accommodation, albeit colourful, at the Palolem Beach Resort.
These two beach are close together and have become the most popular ones for sunbathers, swimmers, loungers and partiers who wish to engage in all the above activities while remaining near a drink shack. Baga beach is home to Café La Musica amongst other places to party and chill. Baga beach is where Ronil Beach Resort is located and Calangute beach offers dozens of accommodation options such as the stunning Portuguese-style Pousada Tauma boutique hotel.
Goa full moon party culture
Goa retains undertones of its “au natural” past, with beachside bonfires and the strong local brew feni (or “fenny” made from coconut milk / the juice of cashew fruit) at impromptu full moon party sites. These days, Goa full moon party events worth attending will likely not be found near popular beach shacks, major clubs, or in areas where noise and mayhem will create an issue after dark. Most are arranged privately. The best way to know where to go is to hang out at beach shacks, be cool and talk to locals. The moon is full during Goa’s high season in 2013 on : March 27th / April 26th / May 25th / June 23rd / July 22nd / August 21st / September 19th / October 19th / November 17th / December 17th.
Candolim Beach Goa Sunburn Festival
A singular electronic dance music event rules the Goa party scene for three days in December – the Sunburn Festival. It’s held annually on Candolim Beach in Goa. It’s also expanded to Noida (a city about 20 kilometers from Delhi) and another in Mumbai.