Prateek is too excited to rush home today. He won a trip to a beach destination in India. As he shared his excitement with his family, some wanted to visit Goa, whereas some were towards Kerala. Now what? Where should he go? Goa or Kerala, which is better for a holiday? Let’s help him out.
Among the tourists, both Goa and Kerala have earned fandom. People flock to these destinations when a relaxing vacation is on their minds. But when you have to choose either of the two, it becomes a tough decision to take. It takes in-depth research and suggestions from people who have visited both places.
Goa vs. Kerala: A Comparative Study
Let’s have a look at the similarities and differences between Goa and Kerala in the account below. Having few things in common such as coastal location and climate, Goa and Kerala present a bundle of unique variations. These variations make them stand out from each other, giving different reasons for tourists to visit. So, let’s begin with the comparison of these beautiful destinations of India.
Goa –The Union Territory of Goa is located on India’s west coast. It is wrapped by Mumbai and Bangalore.
Kerala rests in the distant south-west of the country. Karnataka separates Kerala from Goa. The Eastern side of Kerala is hemmed by Tamil Nadu.
Goa and Kerala – Specific Characteristics
Goa is much smaller in size than Kerala, but not for beaches and water fun. Its landscapes are equally scenic. Palm-fringed beaches and coastal laterite headlands add to its glamor. Its paddy hinterlands and coconut groves, along with thickly forested mountains, make Goa a vacationer’s dream come true. Even north and south Goa landscapes differ, presenting a chance to choose from which one you want to head first. North Goa is known for its party vibes while South Goa is famous for its secluded beaches.
Kerala –Fondly addressed – God’s Own Country, Kerala allures nature lovers. It has attractions that fascinate tourists to the core, both in rural and urban tastes. Its festivals, temples, churches, backwaters, picturesque landscapes, traditional art forms, and Ayurvedic sessions are major aspects that highlight the charm of Kerala. Its mountains are higher and have a climate different from the coastal belt. The higher slopes are carpeted by tea, coffee, and spice plantations.
Conclusion: Among other aspects that present Goa and Kerala in different lights, there is considerably more forest and wildlife in Kerala than in Goa. In both the destinations, watersports options are endless, particularly in Goa due to its vast coastline.
Goa or Kerala – Ease of Accessibility
Different modes of transport connect both Goa and Kerala to various parts of India and other countries. The only time to reach your preferred destination varies, depending on your current destination and the type of transport chosen.
How to Reach Goa?
Dabolim international airport provides flight connectivity to Goa for domestic as well as international tourists. Goa has railway lines – the Konkan railway and the Southwestern railway that connects it to various parts of India. Goa is connected with all the country’s major cities and towns through National Highways NH4A, NH17, and NH17A. The state-owned Kadamba Transport Corporation and private buses ply between Goa and neighboring states.
How to Reach Kerala?
The other transportation mode is via road; where God’s Own Country is connected with the other parts of India through national highways.
With its three international airports in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, and Kozhikode, Kerala is connected to several international cities. It has a domestic airport in Kollam that connects it to various parts of India. The state also has an extensive railway network, connecting major cities of India to it. Kerala is also easily accessible by road network from the neighboring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Regular buses are available to and from Mangalore, Mysore, and Bangalore in Karnataka; and Coimbatore, Chennai, Madurai, and Nagercoil in Tamil Nadu.
Conclusion: Kerala has more airports than Goa. But chartered flights are available in Goa and not in Kerala. Rest, both the destinations have a good network of road routes and railways. Thereby, there is a tie in ease of accessibility for international, domestic tourists to both the places.
Goa and Kerala – Best Time to Visit
Both the destinations are tropical. Thus, experience a coastal climate. However, there are specific differences in month wise weather. Different months have something unique to offer. Also, there are certain festivals and events celebrated in different months. You can also choose your month of travel depending on the festive celebrations you want to be a part of in different destinations. And enjoy different flavors of Goa and Kerala. Let’s begin.
Goa Peak Season: November to February is the peak tourist season in Goa, and prices are high. The weather remains pleasant and great for sightseeing and indulging in various activities. During these months, you can delight in hip and happening festivals that include Christmas Eve, sunburn festival, Grape escapade, VH1 Supersonic, Goa food and cultural festival, and Goa Carnival. The famous religious events of Goa include Shantadurga (January), Shigmotsav (Shigmo) and Carnival (March), and Feast of St Francis Xavier (December).
To explore the freshly washed and emerald countryside with pristine beaches, visit Goa from June to October. These are the months of monsoon in Goa and present the hidden sides of this coastal place. However, the monsoon can hinder your watersports plans in Goa.
Kerala Peak Season: The best time to visit Kerala is from September to March. This is the peak tourist season in Kerala, thanks to the pleasant weather. You can also enjoy beaches and backwaters the most during these months. Additionally, you can indulge in various activities such as camping, trekking, wildlife safari, etc. Different festivals during these months add to your charm of visiting Kerala. These festivals include Onam, Kerala Boat Festival, Christmas, Muharram, Navratri, Mahashivratri, Guruvayur, Chittur Konganpada, and The Bharani Utsavam.
Those who love rain can explore Kerala from June to August. Apart from enjoying the lush greenery and rain-washed surroundings, the monsoon season is the best for Ayurvedic Treatments in Kerala.
Conclusion: For beach bums, Goa is the place to be, best enjoyed between November and March. On the other hand, Kerala can be explored almost around the year as there are places like Munnar that remain pleasant all year long. Tourists who love greenery with rejuvenation treatments, bookmark Kerala.
Goa vs. Kerala – Beaches
Goa – The beaches in Goa are much wider, longer, and smooth as compared to Kerala. Beach beds are free in Goa with a host of laidback shacks. Beachside accommodation is plentiful, from budget shacks to glitzy resorts. Some of Goa’s best beaches that command your visit are Baga, Calangute, Miramar, Candolim, Anjuna, Palolem, Arambol, Agonda, and Vagator.
Kerala – As compared to Goan beaches, beaches of Kerala are shorter and rocky and don’t have shacks. For beach beds, you have to pay rent of almost INR 150-INR 300. The beaches that welcome you in Kerala include Kovalam, Kappad, Varkala, Marari, Cherai, Varkala, Alappuzha, and Kannur.
Conclusion: It goes without saying that Goan beaches are better than Kerala beaches. However, both have their own perks. Beaches of Goa are more for fun-loving people, whereas those in Kerala are for solitude seekers and nature lovers.
Goa vs. Kerala – Party Scene and Nightlife
Goa is famous as India’s party capital, so we already have the answer to visit either Goa or Kerala for parties. No wonder keen partiers flock to this slice of paradise by the Arabian Sea. After the sunset, a new spirit of Goa comes alive with its vibrant nightlife. Dance, booze, lights, food; spice up parties and nightlife in Goa. Parties dawned with the advent of hippies in the 1960s, and by the 1990s, Goa Trance took over the scene, paving the way to happening nightlife. Anjuna and Vagator are the major party hubs. There are quiet party zones and areas for crazy revelry as well. To add, you can sip on varied drinks, both local and imported.
On the other hand, Kerala is not a nightlife destination, barring Kathakali performances. However, Kerala holds a slice of Goa as Varkala, which is known as Goa of Kerala. In Varkala, booze is poured, and parties are carried on for some hours.
Conclusion: Goa wins when it comes to parties and nightlife, but for those looking for a quiet vacation, Kerala is their place to be.
Goa vs Kerala – Things to do
Goa is well-known for thrilling water sports all over the country. Watersports in Goa that you must try to include parasailing, kneeboarding, banana boat ride, kayaking, diving, wakeboarding, windsurfing, scuba diving, rafting, and jet skiing.
The same water sports could be enjoyed in Kerala as well but canoeing, bamboo rafting, backwater rides in Kerala set a different benchmark.
Goa offers short cruises on River Mandovi. However, houseboat cruises in Kerala backwaters is one of the highlights of the state. You not only cruise through the calm and scenic backwaters of Kerala in the cruise but also enjoy an overnight stay on board with meals.
It is noteworthy that trekking options are available in both the destinations – Goa and Kerala. However, due to the presence of lush greenery, and manicured tea plantations, tranquil trekking trails that pass through pine and deodar forests are in Kerala.
Goa has spas where mainstream Ayurveda treatments are practiced for rejuvenation. However, Kerala is the Queen of Ayurveda in India because it uses Ayurveda as mainstream medicine. And often, the roots of Ayurveda are associated with Kerala.
Other things to do in Goa include Dolphin Watching, trying luck at casinos, and a visit to Butterfly Conservatory. Kerala, however, introduces you to unique activities like Oxen Racing and Tree Climbing. You must explore the historical aspects of Goa and Kerala as well.
Goa vs Kerala – Places to Visit
Goa – The Union Territory still exudes the Portuguese charm through the rich colonial legacy. To witness the Portuguese influence the best, visit Old Goa. Se Cathedral, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Chapora Fort, SaoTome, Terekhol Fort, and Fontainhas is among the best places to visit in Goa. Apart from these, there are waterfalls, spice plantations, national parks, and wildlife sanctuaries that intrigue you during your trip.
Kerala – Hailing from prehistoric times, Kerala has witnessed numerous kingdoms such as the Portuguese, the French, the Dutch, and the British. The influence of all these can be seen on Kerala’s myriad historic structures that include Bekal Fort, Hill Palace Museum, Synagogue at Mattancherry, Dutch Palace, Palakkad Fort, Thalassery Fort, Kannur Fort. Additionally, national parks, temples, dams, viewpoints, backwaters, rivers, lakes, tea estates, and coffee plantations in Kerala draw tourists.
Conclusion: You will get to see Goa’s and Kerala’s historical sites, although more choices are there in Kerala. Nature lovers will get a dose of closeness to Mother Nature with a considerably more variety of sightseeing attractions in Kerala. Also, it is a huge state in comparison to petite Goa. No wonder it has a broad array of places to visit for tourists of all age groups and make the most of their vacation.
Goa vs Kerala – Accommodation
Goa is a much-loved destination that is splashed by many accommodation options to suit travelers of every budget. However, beachside accommodation in Goa is expensive due to the international tourist influx. There are several beach shacks, beach huts, and beach villas to impart you a beachy vibe during your vacay. Luxurious hotels and resorts are also generously found all over.
Kerala, just like Goa, provides accommodation options at beaches as beach resorts or beach villas but at a little lesser cost as compared to Goa. Other than its beaches, tourists can stay in the middle of lush green tea plantations in Kerala. There are many guest houses and hotels as well to choose from. There are many budgets, luxurious, and mid-range accommodation options to cater to the requirements of its vacationers. You can also enjoy unique stay accommodations like treehouses and houseboats. To savor the traditional Keral-ite essence, you can also opt for a homestay.
Conclusion: Where Goa speaks high of its luxurious beachside accommodations, beach shack culture, Kerala offers moments of solitude with its simple yet lovely houseboats and treehouses.
Goa vs Kerala – Cuisines and Drinks
Both Goa and Kerala are known for their lip-smacking culinary treats. As both the destinations are coastal, the use of ingredients is similar to an extent. They use simpler ingredients that usually include lots of fresh chilies, curry leaves, coconut, and tamarind. Despite these similarities, there is much difference between Goan and Keralan cuisines. Let’s have a look at specific foods of each destination –
Goa – While savoring Goan food, you will relish a tasteful blend of Portuguese and Indian essences. Comprising mainly rice, meat, fish, and pork, Goan food has intense spices and flavors. Seafood is another specialty of Goa. Pamper your taste buds with famous ones that include crabs, pomfret, prawns, mussel, lobster, squid, and sharks. You will also get to delight in local spices such as kokum. But if you are a vegetarian, don’t worry. You will also have myriad choices to savor authentic Goan fare.
Kokum Juice, green coconut water, Sol Kadi, Feni, Urak, Port Wine, and Armada are the local drinks here that you must sip on during your holiday in Goa.
Kerala – Kerala is one of the famous culinary destinations for its spicy cuisine. Kerala treats you with a flavor extravaganza. The staple food in Kerala comprises idli, vada, dosa, and steamed rice cakes, among others, served with sambar. What makes Keralan food more crave-worthy is its way of serving – on a banana leaf. Traditionally, this state’s food is vegetarian but non-vegetarian delicacies are also available. Just like Goa, seafood is omnipresent here, along with lamb and beef varieties. Authentic Kerala flavors are influenced by Malabari, Arabian, and French cuisines.
Panakam, Kulukki Sherbeth or Shaken Lemonade, Elaneer Juice, Spiced Sambharam, Nannari Sherbet or Naruneendi Sherbet, and Pacha Manga Juice are among the local refreshing drinks that you must gulp on during your summer holidays in Kerala. Alcoholic beverages, however, are served in moderation by the state laws.
Conclusion: In Goa vs. Kerala’s battle, both have some brownie points in terms of cuisine and drinks. You can head to the place that caters to your flavors better.
Goa vs Kerala – Shopping
Both Goa and Kerala are paradises for shopaholics, thanks to their shopping zones and things to buy.
Goa Known for its flea markets and night markets, Goa welcomes tourists for a colorful shopping experience. You can buy items such as beachwear, footwear, semi-precious stones, handicrafts, clothes, musical instruments, handmade jewelry, spices, and more from these markets. Bargaining is common, and you can haggle for better prices. For designer stuff and antiques, you can head to shopping malls of Goa.
Kerala Kerala is synonymous with silk. So, apart from silk, Kerala’s must-buy items include coir products, jewelry, tea or coffee, Mural paintings, spices, shell showpieces, and cashews. Ayurvedic items are another take home pick from Kerala. Other souvenirs include antiques, Kasavu Mundu, Nettipattam, Kathakali masks, and bronze items.
Conclusion: Goa and Kerala give you a chock-a-block-full of shopping varieties. However, there are certain things that you get at only one destination and not at the other. So, decide on the type of shopping you want to go for. Being inclined to artistic, traditional, and antique stuff, our vote goes to Kerala for shopping.
Goa vs Kerala – Local Culture
Goa – Since the 16th century, Goa was a Portuguese colony till 1961, and a chunk of the Goan populace is Christian. No wonder there are ample churches, and those that command your visit are in Old Goa. Its hippie culture has transformed it into the most sought after tourist place for people of all age groups. Also, Goa presents a beautiful blend of Portuguese and Indian cultures, imparting it an essence of unique, multi-ethnicity. In short, the Goan culture is better described as a lovely amalgamation of its festivals, music, art, and of course – its people. A visit to Goa will give you a better insight into its cultural delight.
Kerala – Ritualistic to the core, Kerala follows several ancient indigenous practices. These practices make this state exclusive than the westernized Goa. Its night-long festivities at temples, fireworks, elaborately ornamented elephants, and drum beats collectively create a spectacle to partake in. Kathakali – the famous ritual drama of Kerala, is an experience that can’t be missed. To experience the colorful culture of Kerala at its best, you have to explore this scintillating state.
Conclusion: Overall, Goa is more westernized, and Kerala is holding ancient traditional roots. For a hip and happening culture, head to Goa. On the other hand, to explore the traditional richness, visit Kerala.
Goa vs Kerala- Trip Duration and Budget
To explore the best of Goa and Kerala, you have to keep maple time in hand, considering your requirements and attractions to explore. Also, Kerala is much bigger than Goa, so much more days are required to get to Kerala. It is noteworthy that Goa is relatively less expensive than Kerala.
When it comes to accommodation costs, you can stay comfortably in homestays and beach shacks of Goa. Also, other affordable accommodation options could be found easily in Goa due to its backpacker’s image. Whereas in Kerala, you have options to choose from resorts, hotels, treehouses, houseboats.
You can have your fill at beach shacks in Goa at low rates, whereas in Kerala, several high-end restaurants serve you food with few cheap eateries.
Among things to do, Goa entertains you at cheap rates. Enjoy dolphin spotting, parasailing, snorkeling, and surfing without shelling out much. The best of adventure in Kerala comes at a good expenditure. Cruising in houseboats, spa sessions, and the like charge you a considerable amount.
Conclusion: If a shorter trip is on your cards, Goa is the best bet. However, if you have a good time in hand, Kerala will not disappoint you. When it comes to budget, for Kerala, you have to be more spendthrift. Goa keeps you delighted at a comparatively low budget.
Points to Remember:
- For swimming, hit the waters from November to early May.
- Refrain from nudity at beaches as it is punishable under law.
- Stay away from indulging in the trade of drugs as it is unlawful.
- Carry your protective gear to stay safe under the sun, such as sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats.
- For the cheapest trip, visit during monsoons.
- Explore Goa on rented vehicles.
- Kerala is warm throughout the year, but places like Munnar, Thekkady, and Wayanad should be avoided during monsoons.
- Wear cotton and carry your swimming suits while visiting beaches.
- Do carry sunglasses, umbrellas, sunscreen, and hats.
- Possession of alcohol more than 3 liters by anyone above 18 years of age, with over 6 beer bottles and 1.5 liters of toddy, are punishable by law.
- Don’t drink inside moving vehicles, especially if a child is there.
Goa or Kerala – What’s Your Pick?
Goa – Goa is a great pick if partying, happening nightlife, a pocket-friendly vacation, and watersports are on your mind. Backpackers and solo trippers can have a gala time in Goa. Sun-soaking, good booze, and yoga sessions are available here.
Kerala – On the other hand, a family trip is enjoyed the most in Kerala. Traditional food, houseboat cruise, and calm places with many religious and historical sites make Kerala a wise choice for you. Also, you can immerse yourself in the rich culture and savor punchy curries in Kerala.
Conclusion: Both the destinations provide a pleasurable holiday experience. However, when it comes to a romantic trip, you can choose as per your mutual inclination. Whether to go to Goa or Kerala for a honeymoon is quite tough but if you are a couple who is more towards a happening trip, visit Goa. In another case, Kerala will impart you memories to treasure.
With this account that has elucidated Goa’s and Kerala’s vacation elements, now Prateek and his family are clear about where to go. Where are you planning to go? Let us know in the comments below.
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