Best of the West – A foodie itinerary to West India

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Best of the West – Highlights of West India Foodie Itinerary Ideas

Mumbai

Why Go?

Workers from across India, seeking to make it ‘big’ in the bright lights, bring authentic regional food  to Mumbai including India’s best range of creative street food (like Vada Pav, Behl Puri and Pao Bhaji).

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Try Parsi cuisine, originally from Persia…most fun at Britannia and Co.

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Don’t miss the dabbawallah unwritten delivery system that takes thousands of home cooked lunches to workers every day.

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Visit local food markets and Sassoon Dock fish market.

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All set against stunning colonial architecture…and surprisingly innovative and creative high density living in Mumbai’s many ‘slums’.

Check out:

Reality Tours and Travel – Excellent, great value tours around Mumbai that include the famous Mumbai street food, the dabbawallah delivery system and a socially responsible, sensitive Dharavi slum tour.

Where to Stay?

Colaba is the best area to stay, and a night in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel (while quite expensive) is a once in a life time experience.

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Another good spot in Colaba is the Ascot Hotel  – more budget friendly prices, but still an excellent location.

http://www.ascothotel.com/

http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Hotel_Review-g304554-d606365-Reviews-Ascot_Hotel-Mumbai_Bombay_Maharashtra.html

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How to get there?

Mumbai is a major airport in India and good airlines often have specials. Check out Singapore Airlines for regular specials.

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Jodhpur

Why Go?

Dine with fantastic rood top views of the mighty Mehrangarh Fort and beautiful ‘Blue City’.

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Head to the clock tower to try regional snack food favourites including the famous rich lassi, have lunch with a local village family and experience a delicious Rajasthani thali at Gypsy Dining Rooms.

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Where to Stay?

Raas

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But also consider Castle View Home Stay for an amazing view, very thoughtful and kind host and great prices.

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How to get there? 

Mumbai to Jodhpur return $186 Jet Airways (online booking).

Jaisalmer

Why Go?

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Dine roof top on the massive, sandcastle-like fort that rises out of the desert, above this ‘Golden City’ and enjoy regional Rajasthani dishes in between visiting gorgeous havelis and perhaps enjoying a camel safari.

 Where to Stay? 

Garh Jaisal

Gorgeous, well priced rooms with window seats, each a different colour and lovely roof top spot for drinks and breakfast.

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How to get there?

Hire a good sized car (e.g. Toyata Innova) from one of the many car and diver businesses.

(About 4.5 hours from Jodhpur. Stop for a snack or lunch at Manvar Resort and Desert Safari Camp or Samsara Resort long the way).

Goa

Why Go?

A distinct Portuguese influenced cuisine in a setting of post colonial architecture featuring whitewashed churches and colourful villas as well as beautiful beaches.

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Lunch at a spice plantation, visit local Mapusa market on a Friday and marvel at the lush greenery of rice paddies and coconut palms.

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Where to Stay?

Anjuna

(home to the famous Wednesday Flea Market)

Casa Anjuna

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or Marbella Guest House (Candolim)

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How to get there?

Mumbai to Goa return $152 Jet Airways (online booking).

Marbella Guest House, a Goan gem in Candolim

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Marbella Guest House, located on a leafy, quiet street, is an ideal, great value spot for a stay in Candolim at the southern end of North Goa, close to the Mandovi River and Fort Aguada. (Candolim is a much nicer area to stay in than Calangute or Baga, greener, quieter, with nicer restaurants and shops). (Don’t miss Newton’s Supermarket for Goan specialities to take home).

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A pleasant restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, is set around a lovely garden and serviced by an impeccably clean and efficient kitchen.

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Guests can watch happy and friendly staff prepare their meals from fresh ingredients.

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Banana lassi                                    The freshest, greenest palak (spinach) paneer (cheese)!

 

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Tastefully decorated rooms are complimented by a comfortable sitting area.

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Rajasthani suite ($AUS46 low season)

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Garden room ($AUS33 low season)

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Bouganvillea room ($AUS31 low season)

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Owned and run by the an ex-Bitish/German couple for 30 years, this charming guesthouse is open all year round and prices start at about $AUS30 in the low season (discounts for four nights or longer.)

Look for the Bus Station and Taj Fort Aguada.

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Candolim, Goa – a good spot to stay

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It can be hard to choose a location in Central Goa to stay.

Panjim is just too much city.

Calangute lacks charm and is busy.

Anjuna is quieter and can be lovely.

But another good spot is Candolim.

Leafier and greener, it is home to Fort Aguada, popular with local tourists and set in a large park area on the Mandovi River.

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Also worth a visit is Newton’s Supermarket, at the junction of Candolim Beach Road and Fort Aguada Road, full of Goan specialities to learn more about ingredients in dishes, catch anything you’ve missed, or to take home in in vacuum sealed packs the ongoing pleasure of  Goan Cuisine for yourself or presents.

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A great spot to stay in Candolim is Marbella Guest House near the Taj Fort Aguada and the bus station corner.

Casa Anjuna, Goa – sleeping

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This converted Portuguese mansion offers four types of rooms, each with it’s own charm.

1. Standard rooms start at $108 in the low season and are lovely. (Casa Special Rooms)

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Room 7 (A block first floor, overlooking the front garden)

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Room 6 (A block first floor, overlooking the front garden)

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Room 9 (A block first floor, no balcony)

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Room 8 (A block first floor, no balcony)

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Garden rooms G1 & G2 are in a bungalow in the front garden and share a common entry.

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Pool rooms 1&2 are in a bungalow next to the pool. P1 is opposite the restaurant.

2. Luxury Rooms (Casa Favourite) start at $122 in the low season

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Room 1 (Ground floor A block) has a lovely verandah onto the front garden but could lack privacy in the busy season.

Room 2 is at the other end of the verandah and is also a luxury room.

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Room 4 has a lovely verandah, but it looks on to the restaurant.

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Room 10 (first floor A block) has access to two nice shared areas with Room 11.

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Room 11 (first floor A Block)

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Room B1 (ground floor B Block)

 

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Room B2 (Ground floor) B Block

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Room B3 (first floor B Block)

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Room B4 (first floor in B Block)

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Room 12 (A Block second/top floor, overlooking back garden) next to suites.

3. Suites (Casa Luxury) (A Block second/top floor, overlooking the pool/back garden) start at $222 low season

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Shared areas on top floor A Block (shared by Room 12, Mango Suite, Palm Suite)

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Mango Suite (lots of room, but not as charming as other rooms).

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Palm Suite (more charm than Mango Suite, and lots of room).

Also in the Suite category is…..

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Room B5 (Ground floor B Block)                     (Opposite Room 1 in A Block)

and…

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Penthouse suite (top floor B Block) has lots of room, and a kitchen.

My favourites were the Luxury Rooms (Casa Favourites) Rooms 1&2, on the ground floor of A Block as they have the lovely verandahs overlooking the front garden and are close to the shared areas. (But they would lack privacy in the busy season). Room 4 on the ground floor near the restaurant in A block is nice in very low season if it’s quiet (but otherwise would be very public).

The Standard (Casa Special) Garden Rooms are lovely, private and over look the front garden. They are ideal for two couples who are travelling together as they have a shared entrance area.

Luxury Rooms  (Casa Favourites) Rooms 1,2,3& 4 in B Block are also very nice (and could be more private than rooms in A Block), but are away from the restaurant and shared areas.

Standard (Casa Special) Rooms 6& 7  in A Block on the first floor, are also nice (7 has a great bathroom) and have small balconies overlooking the front garden. Room 6 nearby is also nice with plenty of room, but no balcony.

The Suites are not very attractive (but the Palm Suite is the best as it does have a four poster bed.) However, there’s lots of room if you need to fit in an extra bed.

Standard (Casa Special) Room 5 on the ground floor of A block has a verandah like Room 4, that overlooks the pool but is more private. It is near the restaurant and could be busy. Room 3 in A Block is on the ground floor at the bottom of the stairs and probably not very desirable.

 

 

Casa Anjuna, Goa – ideal spot to stay in the rainy season

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Casa Anjuna, in quieter , leafier Anjuna, North Goa, is a converted Portuguese mansion, packed with character and charm.

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It is open and full of gorgeous spots to sit, making it ideal in the rainy season for sitting and drinking marsala chai or a gin and tonic and watching rain fall on the lush garden setting.

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Most rooms feature four poster beds and antique furniture and many have sit outs and balconies. There are so many lovely rooms, it’s hard to pick and even the base level rooms are a great choice.

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Staff are friendly and immensely helpful, there’s a lovely pool, the restaurant offers a range of good choices and room prices start at $108 in the low season.