With every travel, holiday or trip, we usually bring back amazing stories, lovely captures, precious memories and uncountable savoring moments. But there are few experiences which give your more. Its been nine days that I have been back from my recent trip to Goa and I am totally in love with the hashtag #OYOxplorer. I refuse to give up because travel-blogger sounds old, OYOxplorer sounds super-cool and totally in vogue.
Recently OYO rooms did a massive blogathon in 4 cities (Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Gurgaon) and a special one in GOA. Oh yes, I must confess I did do a happy dance when I had received a call that I was selected for the GOA fun.
Through this post, I wanna relive the moments just the way they happened… mind it this is not going to be about a travel post on Goa but about being an #OYOxplorer in Goa. In fact, this trip made me feel like a modern day explorer many times after one of my relatives posted a comment on my Facebook status calling me the same.
Once I landed in Goa, I gave up on the worries of household chores, job, leaves, boss, mother-in-law etc. Its tough to balance it all but as a blogger I never complain because blogging makes my life beautiful. I was thankful to God that once again I was in one of the most famous spot of our country, what more did I want?
With 3 bloggers to accompany you, it can never be a boring moment in the car. Together we reached the OYO property (Ruffles at Candolim beach) where we were supposed to stay for the two days in Goa. Over a refreshing drink of Pina Colada we were met by warm and friendly OYO representatives and within no time they briefed us that this was not just a travel fun but a exploration trip. So just like us if you also have been thinking what #OYOxplorer actually meant, here lies your clue. We were given an umbrella, a vibrant sipper and a white envelope with Rs. 6000 and told that now begins your time, go and explore Goa, find your food, places, conveyance, people, history, geography etc.
The message was very clear- Learn to Explore, enjoy, have fun when on budget!
No doubt, it left us all surprised. But since we were all bloggers, it came as a punch of excitement for us. In fact I got a feeling that it was a travel based reality show. The catch was that they did not restrict us from spending our own money but had very smartly sowed the seed of being on budget. Believe me the idea to save as much as possible and extract maximum fun by spending less stayed with us in everything we need from eating to shopping to exploring Goa.
Ahhh! We were all set and eager to start as OYOxplorers. Soon we landed in our rooms and the fun began. This was my first experience with OYO rooms and I had many thoughts running in my mind. ‘Can they really provide good rooms in just Rs. 999 for single occupancy and Rs. 1299 double occupancy?’ Here I must clarify not all rooms come at this price but yes they promise to give at least one or more property at this rate in the cities they are present as of now. Basically, they are here to revolutionize the idea of bed and breakfast and ensure certain standards.
When I entered the room, I got my answers. The lady or the traveler or both inside me almost sprang up to look into everything and scan the room. Luxury was not what I was looking at because this was no five star. As a traveler what held important to me was that the room must meet the basic requirements. I tried to look into things with an eye of a traveler on budget. With every amount of money paid, we all look for certain services and come with expectations. The little things like cleanliness standards, proper doors, latches, airy room, space to keep things, charging points, television add to the value of every room. As the Indian standards go, I would only say we are born with an eye for ‘paisa vasool’.
I must say I was satisfied with the good show. Though small but I was happy to find the washroom absolutely neat and clean. The room was airy and had more than I had expected. Let me take you around the OYO property, my room and more as I captured through different angles.
On the first day we had landed at the OYO property by 2:30 in the afternoon and by the time we winded up with our lunch, it was 4 already. Thus, without rushing into things we decided to restrict our exploration to the Candolim area itself. I wanted to breathe in the local air. We walked around the eateries, had fun at the Candolim beach, enjoyed the breezy sunset, clicked pictures, walked back to the hotel, enjoyed a dip in the pool and then again walked around to hunt for a good place to have dinner.
I love capturing random things at different tilts and angles. Some of my finds as an #OYOxplorer on DAY 1
Goa is Gorgeous!!! Isn’t it?
Day 1 was very fulfilling for me because this was my first visit to Candolim area and in Goa, its important to do the beach then think of other things. We had done it well. Before calling it a day we celebrated fellow blogger and great friend Ragini’s birthday and later Sujata and I chatted along for sometime. I felt happy knowing her better.
DAY 2 : SUNDAY
It was a Sunday but I was in no mood to laze around. I was already thinking about We started it on a very happy note. Oh yes! Early morning who doesn’t love to eat a cake?
Soon, we were all ready to leave for Old Goa and later continue till South Goa. We had called in a taxi and together we were all set to rock and roll in the scorching heat that day. Didn’t someone say the Monsoons were supposed to hit around 6th, well the skies did give a hint but the sun kept burning hot.
Well, to read elaborately about how we enriched ourselves with the history and heritage of Goa you must read my post here – DAY 2 in Goa: We went High on History and Heritage
In this post, I will refrain from going in depth rather focus more on the fun part. Let me share the pictures of my exclusive findings and more. Remember, this post is how I became an OYOxplorer and I must confess that my eyes were constantly searching for unconventional pictures moments and interesting story bites.
GIM had a great location. Next we reached Basillica of BOM Jesus. But before going inside we made our way to the nearby shopping arena.
The lamps too caught my attention
This capture has a sweet story. Ragini was yet to get photographed with her hat on. And before that a lady approached her politely and borrowed her hat to get snapped herself. Here, she returns it with a thank you! That’s Goa!Have fun!
By this time, it was already time for lunch. Before heading towards South Goa, we went by driver’s suggestion and walked in the below restaurant.
When we stepped out after an hour, Goa had been blessed with the first rains of this season. The weather change outside uplifted our mood and made us forgot about the dud luncheon. It was a breezy ride from here.
We took our next gallop to Ancestral Goa to have a peek into Portuguese history (Casa Araujo Alvares- Goa’s first automated museum which houses priceless artifacts of ancient Goa) and Goa village as it used to be 100 years ago. (Big foot has a virtual village set up)
BIG FOOT is a very interesting place. For some it may be boring to go around a Virtual Goan village but I enjoyed finding my way all around.
Another interesting find as an Xplorer…
It is believed that Legendary Lord Parshuram the avatar of Lord Vishnu, led to the creation of the land of Goa by shooting an arrow from Sahyadri mountains
After spending a good time at Big Foot, went around to have a ride till Vasco city. After that we had some street food, remember we were on budget and you aren’t a traveler until you become an expert in finding the right street food. We had a great snacking time over the vada pavs and cardamom tea.
Goa is not done until you have enjoyed the shack food. Thank fully I got a chance to do it this time. In my last three visits to Goa, I had missed this experience.
Overall a SUPERB day we had! What fun it was to be an OYOxplorer. Hope I helped you to explore Goa better through my pictures.
Next day we got up a great weather again and this is the last shot from the inside of the plane.
Before I wind up, I must share my little findings about OYO Rooms too.
Originally started as Oravel in 2011 by 18-year-old Mr. Ritesh Agarwal, OYO has more than 350 hotels (4000+ rooms) under its brand. OYO rooms has been created with a vision to change the way we stay outside our home. Its not just about traveling. Even in the same city, one may opt for the room due to several reasons- stuck in a panicky situation, want to take a break, when its too late to return home, some friends are here and you want some privacy or its a girls night out. It guarantees a wonderful experience in a reasonable amount. Bed and breakfast has a new meaning now. I was told that the owner himself keeps traveling and does not stick to a house or a hotel but prefers a bed and breakfast living.
The signature red bubble of the OYO room is a location symbol. OYO takes over the properties only once they meet certain standards or are ready to go for the transformation. There is an app which helps to locate the nearest property stamped by them and helps to do the booking too. In case of trouble there is 24 hour customer care service to solve issues. I did try the application and it was quite useful but I have not used the customer care service.
The Goa property was very cool and I had a great time. Some trips and some hashtags just stay with you forever…
#OYOxplorer has just stayed with me!
— BloggerLuvs2Tweet (@manjulika5) June 9, 2015