Final destination of Golden Chariot train is Goa and then this luxury train goes back to Bengaluru to relax a bit, till the trip starts with new travellers. In my opinion, Goa was least interesting place in whole itinerary if I compare with other places we discovered with Golden Chariot. I think there is another things related to it - if you have visited Goa earlier you would hate the fact that you have only a day to spend there. So for first timers, it may be a good opportunity to get familiar with the place and the plan extended trip to Goa.
After sumptuous breakfast on Golden Chariot, we boarded a bus from Goa Railway station to Ce Cathedral and idea was to explore the old Goa churches including Basilica of Bom Jesus.
I have already shared a lot of Ce Cathedral and Basilica of Bom Jesus in past, so would encourage you to check more photographs with appropriate details in this blog-post.
These churches are so beautiful that you feel like to coming here again and again.
It was my last day with Golden Chariot, so I was thinking about all the places I explored with this beautiful & luxury train of south India. We went to historical places around Mysore & Shrirangapana, tiger & leopard sighting in Kabani, boat ride in Kabini river for bird watching, wandered around beautiful temples of Belur/Halebidu/Shravanbelagola and beautiful heritage sights of Hampi was my favourite in this whole trip. I intend to go to Hampi for a week at least.
Anybody visiting Goa, certainly comes to Old part of Goa and visit these churches. This is a huge area where you see various churches, museums, parks and walking areas.
I found this tree very interesting. Different seasons and air flow has given this shape to this tree. I have seen trees bent towards one direction but this one is interesting, which is bending left initially and towards right from the top.
Indian Railways is a huge network to connect various parts of the country and luxury trains like Golden Chariot are very few. Palace on Wheels is one of the most popular luxury trains in India. Planning Luxury train trips in India is quite easy and availability is not an issue. Luxury train vacations are certainly special when it comes to enjoying holidays with your loved ones.
Golden Chariot guests get to spend one day at Goa and then it heads back to Bengaluru. And in my opinion, Goa needs at least a week to really enjoy it’s beaches, restaurants, casinos, nigh life and explorations in old Goa. If you plan to take Golden Chariot trip and have more time in hand, I would strongly recommend to extend your stay in Goa and conclude your Golden Chariot journey here.
You find lot of jackfruit trees in Goa and even in various parts of south India. During this trip, we saw many of them and these were new to me :).
After exploring Old Goa and it’s churches, we headed towards a Solar Souto Maior which is oldest remaining heritage house in Goa and also a shop. Golden Chariot team takes all the guests to this place for tea, cookies and shopping, if you are interested.
Unfortunately our group didn't have good experience at Solar Souto Maior. One of the our co-traveller, bought some stuff. When we sat in the bus and headed towards our next destination Zuri White Sand resort, she checked the bill and inflated rates were charged in comparison to what was tagged on the cloths bought. When she took out the packet of bought stuff, she realised that all tags were removed before handling over the packet to her. I feel very sad when such travellers from other country face such cheating in my country. And it’s not only about travellers from other countries, there should be basic ethics irrespective of the fact who is the buyer. I know lot of Indians are very careful while buying stuff from such places and they negotiate hard. I request Golden Chariot team to seriously look into it and help not smiling the experience for guests. Shopping is never a main agenda for travellers so it’s ok to not stop at such places and rather chose a good restaurant for tea break.
Everyone in our coach was little disappointed with this experience and now were on our way to Zuri While Sand Resort.
Above is one of the churches we saw while driving through south Goa. There are plenty of such beautiful churches all around. And when in Goa, it's highly recommended to self-drive. Roads are not that crowded in comparison to other cities of India. It's cheaper as well as give you flexibility to drive around some remote areas in Goa. There is lot to explore apart from beaches, casinos & nightlife.
Zuri White Sand Resort is one of the most popular luxury resort in South Goa and you can get some interesting deals in monsoons. In fact, interesting deals can be found in monsoons for most of the 5 star properties in South Goa as as well North Goa.
After reaching Zuri While Sand Resort, we were warmly welcomed to the property. Above is the photograph on main lobby at Zuri White Sand Resort.
It was time for lunch, which was pretty good with great variety of options. One needs to take stairs from the lobby to reach this beautiful restaurant which is just front of the main swimming pool of Zuri.
We had quick chit-chat sessions during lunch and I was keen about knowing the experiences of different folks who were travelling with Golden Chariot Train for last 6 days. It was mixed feedback and I shall be doing a separate post on that.
After lunch in the main restaurant at Zuri White Sand Resort, everyone headed out to explore the property. Everybody was free to do whatever they like. Some of us chose to head towards the beach and then take some rest around pool. Few folks jumped into the swimming pool. Swimming pool at Zuri White Sand Resort is huge and at some places it goes through the cottages. So folks living in those cottages love to be around their cottage and enjoy the pool.
While walking around the place, I came across this huge chess-board made in the lawns.
Guess what it is? It's easy to guess if you can find the category of this object and how it can be related to Goa.
Most of the beaches in South Goa are relatively calm & peaceful, but still you get all those options of water-sports which you find in crowded beaches in North.
This is sort of private beach of Zuri White Sands Resort and they have appropriate arrangements to relax, enjoy your drinks and have great time around the beach.
This view would give you a sense that how this swimming pool is going through different cottages and guests have easy access to the pool around their rooms.
At around 4:30pm, everyone met again at the restaurant to tea and cookies. It was time to head back to the Golden Chariot Train as train had to leave for Bengaluru on same day. My plan was different. I wanted to save one day so took my return flight from Goa, instead going back to Begaluru and then flying from there to Delhi.
With this my Golden Chariot experience comes to an end, but I will be doing a consolidated post about this whole experiences, what I learned, do/don’t for folks planning a trip with Golden Chariot, few suggestions for Golden Chariot management and few facts to ensure that international travellers are aware what to expect on the train. I want to ensure that folks who plan for Golden Chariot journey should have right expectations because they spend a lot of money on this trip, so knowing goods and the bad is important. Every person has different preferences and hence few things may work for one person but may not work for others.
Stay tuned for the final post about Golden Chariot - The only luxury Train in South India.