From workshops to beach parties, there’s never a dull day in the hippie beachside town of Arambol in Goa, India. Here is my essential list of the top places to visit in Arambol and a round up of all the best things to do in Arambol beach, Goa.
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Get blissful with yoga and meditation classes
If you’re interested in yoga, there are plenty of places to go in Arambol. The highly rated Universal Yoga Center is located on Arambol beach. Run by Vijay Amar, who has been teaching yoga for over 25 years, the school offers teacher training courses and drop-in classes for ashtanga and hatha yoga.
Browse and book the best yoga retreats in Arambol here.
When researching my solo trip to Goa, I found a ten-day course in Arambol offering ‘soul realisation through movement’, which intrigued me. The course has been created by Panda Chi, a Vancouver-born man of Chinese descent, who has been a tai chi practitioner and learning from a range of spiritual teachers for over 40 years.
Panda blends the philosophy, practice and principles and tai chi, chi kung and chakra healing to allow you to clear away any emotional baggage and be truly present in the moment. It really helped me.
He teaches his system around the world and always returns to Arambol for a few months during the main tourist season. The serene space, named Panda’s Garden, is a marquee-type construction set in gardens a few metres back from Arambol’s busy main road. It is so tranquil it feels like a million miles away.
To find out more, read about my experience at Panda’s workshop in Goa.
Go shopping at the famous Saturday Night Market
Arambol has a fantastic local street market where you can browse for clothes and local souvenirs, but visiting the epic Saturday Night Market is one of the must do things in Goa.
Around 20 minutes by motorbike taxi from Arambol is Arpora, which holds a weekly Saturday Night Market, also known as the Arpora Bazaar. It takes place every Saturday evening from 6pm until the early hours of the morning.
Visit North Goa’s lively markets in this one day tour.
It is a vibrant and entertaining experience, with live music, delicious food and a broad range of quirky and eclectic hippie stalls. It even has its own bar and nightclub.
A visit to Arpora’s Saturday Night Market is definitely worth the trip. If you decide to buy something, remember to negotiate to get the price down – often the original price vendors will give you is up to five times its actual value. Otherwise, you can just grab something to eat or drink, wander around the fascinating market stalls and enjoy the entertainment.
Read all about Arpora night market in my dedicated post.
Try one of the workshops teaching everything under the sun
A popular hippie beach destination since the 1960s, Arambol is still a laid-back place to be and full of surprises. Here you will find plenty of offbeat things to do in Goa. On a walk around the village, you will see flyers and posters for countless courses, workshops and hippie festivals. In Arambol, you’re certainly not limited to lazing on the beach or hanging out in a bar.
It’s worth having a copy of Lonely Planet’s useful Goa guide book with you.
Many of these workshops take place at yoga centres and cafés near Arambol beach, such as Magic Park and Blue Pyramid. Just follow the posters, signs and flyers to see what catches your eye, and give it a try.
It could be learning Ayurveda, belly dancing or even one that I saw advertised called ‘laugh power: the funniest interactive workshop on planet earth.’
Get your groove on with ecstatic dancing
I tried an ‘ecstatic dance’ class at Blue Pyramid, which basically means you get to dance around barefoot like a crazy person for a couple of hours, with lots of other people doing the same thing.
Once you get past feeling self-conscious, it becomes a lot of fun, indeed cathartic and the ultimate ice breaker to meet others, especially if you are travelling solo in Goa.
This was an open evening to mark the start of the Heart Festival, a week of sessions encouraging awareness and connection with other people.
Meet a great mix of people from around the world
Arambol welcomes friendly, open people from Europe, Israel and beyond. As well as plenty of solo travellers like me, there are parents with toddlers, young sun-seekers, elderly retirees, hippies, punks and yogis, all here to enjoy the warm climate and coastal living.
Meet fellow travellers by reserving your place on a fun Goa pub crawl.
During my stay here, I was invited to join an open-air movie screening at the home of a young British couple who have a house in Arambol. This was a really nice chilled evening, though we had to be careful of the bats hanging from the tall trees above us, in case of unexpected bowel movements.
Another afternoon, I mentioned to a fellow traveller that I fancied doing some painting. He introduced me to Maria, who was starting an art class at her home and she invited me to join the group. It couldn’t have been better timed. The people here are warm and generous, and everything just seems to flow.
Enjoy the music – it’s everywhere that you go
Arambol is full of music. From people jamming on guitars in chilled cafés, to live performances and open mic nights at venues across town, and beachfront bars with heavy trance beats for the night owls. Every day and night there are tunes emanating from across the village.
If you haven’t heard of the hang – a beautifully melancholy-sounding instrument, which looks a bit like a miniature spacecraft or an inverted steel drum – you are sure to find one being played somewhere in the village.
While I was in Arambol, the town was abuzz about a visit by world fusion music pioneer Prem Joshua and his band. He performed at a specially constructed concert venue in the coconut grove behind the beach.
Book your spot on a fun Goa party boat adventure trip here.
Experience the amazing Arambol beach party every sunset
Every evening as the sun goes down, people from around the world gather on Arambol beach. A small drum circle steadily turns into a party, with strangers joining in to play instruments and dance freestyle to the tribal beats. Everyone is welcome. It’s a rousing experience and a special way to mark the end of another remarkable day in Arambol.
Check out this article on how to find Arambol’s sunset beach parties.
There are plenty more things to do in Arambol
If you’re interested to explore other places to visit near Arambol Beach, why not check out the Arambol sweet water lake. This freshwater lake next to Kalacha Beach, one of the beaches near Arambol, is a popular local attraction and a peaceful place to hang out.
Nearby, in a secluded spot in the forest, is the Arambol banyan tree, which is well known by locals. People come here to sit under this spectacular tree to meditate, play music or simply relax and be at one with nature. The ‘banyan tree’ marked on Google maps in the centre of Arambol is not the original, so don’t get them mixed up.
The most awesome places to stay in Arambol
There are a lot of affordable accommodation options, from hostels to guest houses, beach shacks and hotels in Arambol.
If you’re backpacking in Arambol and you’d like to meet other people, check out the popular and highly-rated Happy Panda hostel. This relaxed hostel has an on-site bar, kitchen and library, and all of its rooms have a shared bathroom including a bath.
Alternatively, try the ImagiNation – Artists’ Hostel, where the hosts will make you feel like family, or the super clean and friendly Silly Potatoes Hostel, which has mosquito nets installed over all the beds for your comfort. If you’re looking for a female-only dorm, try the beachfront World People Hostel Arambol.
To check availability and prices of accommodation in Arambol click here.
If you prefer a private room, try one of the many affordable hotels near Arambol Beach, Goa. I stayed at the Piya Guest House, which is comfortable, well-located and run by a friendly family. The Noname Guesthouse is close to the north end of the beach and the helpful staff here prepare tasty food. The funky Surf Wala offers beachfront private rooms in Arambol, as well as a bar, a garden and barbecue area where you can meet fellow guests. The top-rated Aaria Residency has large, well-appointed apartments including a TV and excellent showers.
For beach shacks in Arambol, the Sweet Valley Cottages are among the best. The accommodation is basic but each room has a balcony and free WiFi, and includes breakfast.
The tastiest places to eat in Arambol (for vegetarians, too)
If you are looking for restaurants in Arambol, you will be happy to know there are plenty of options. There is so much good, fresh food here and it’s affordable too. It’s also very vegetarian and vegan friendly.
Here you can find a freshly prepared thali platter of curry, dahl, veggies and rice, washed down with juice from a coconut sliced right in front of you, for less than a fiver.
The Twice in Nature vegetarian cafe in Arambol is one of my favourites. With chilled vibes, live music and tasty food, it’s a good place to meet open-minded people.
Another laid-back place I liked to hang out in is The Bees Knees, which serves tasty vegetarian-friendly international food and specialises in Mexican dishes.
The most convenient ways to get to Arambol
It’s best to get a taxi from Goa airport to Arambol, as the journey takes up to two hours. You can usually order a private transfer via your accommodation so you don’t have to queue for a taxi at the airport.
From the Goan beach resort of Calangute to Arambol the distance is about 19 miles (31 km). The journey takes an hour by car or by public bus it’s closer to 2.5 hours.
The best places to visit after your stay in Arambol
If you don’t mind travelling overnight, you can take a trip by local bus to the ancient city of Hampi in Karnataka. Even if you only have a day or two, it is a fascinating place to visit, as there are so many ornate temples and quirky statues to discover.
Travelling from Arambol to Palolem in South Goa can take up to three hours, so an air-conditioned taxi will be the most convenient and comfortable.
You can read more about Hampi and its ancient attractions here.
South of Goa is Kerala, known as God’s Own Country, because it is so lush and green. In Kerala, you can visit the rolling tea plantations of Munnar, sail along the backwaters of Alleppey and relax on the hippie beaches of Varkala.
Check out my ultimate guide to backpacking Kerala.
Final thoughts on things to do in Arambol, Goa
Arambol is an infectious place. Once you have caught the bug, you are likely to return. Many people come back to this special North Goa town, year after year, to be welcomed back by the guest house owners who remember you by name. I am yet another happy victim.
For much more information on what to do in Arambol and the rest of Goa, download the 170-page The Insider’s Guide to Goa eBook by Rachel Jones, an American who lived in Goa for five years.
Click here to check out The Insider’s Guide to Goa now for all the details you need before you visit
Next up, read my comprehensive guide to solo travel in Goa.