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 all the places to visit in Arambol and the best things to do in Arambol beach, Goa.
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, groups of young sun-seekers and elderly retirees, here to enjoy the warm climate and coastal living.
In Arambol you’ll find hippies, punks and yogis, as well as the obligatory older guy on the beach wearing tiny Speedos that leave little to the imagination.
On my first evening here, I was invited to join dinner with an organisation called Balanced View. Another night, 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 any 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.
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. On a walk around the village, you will see flyers and posters for countless courses, workshops and festivals. Here, you’re not limited to lazing on the beach or hanging out in a bar.
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.
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.
Get blissful with yoga and meditation classes
India is the home of yoga, so on my visit to Arambol, I was keen to try yoga classes and meditation. 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 my post about my experience on Panda’s course here.
If you’re interested in yoga, there are plenty of places to go in Arambol. The Universal Yoga Center, located right on Arambol beach, is highly rated. The school is run by Vijay Amar, who has been teaching yoga for over 25 years and practicing yoga for more than 45 years. As well as 200, 300 and 500 hour teacher training courses, it offers six-day courses and drop-in classes for ashtanga and hatha yoga.
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 the full details of Arambol’s sensational sunset beach parties.
Go shopping in the vibrant local markets
Arambol has a fantastic street market where you can browse for clothes and local souvenirs.
If you like markets, around 20 minutes by motorbike taxi from Arambol is the Arpora night market, known locally as the Arpora Bazaar. It takes place every Saturday evening from 6pm until the early hours of the morning.
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.
Read all about Arpora night market in my dedicated post here.
A visit to Arpora night market is definitely worth this trip. If you decide to buy something, remember to negotiate to get the price down – it’s expected. Otherwise, you can just grab something to eat or drink, wander around the fascinating market stalls and enjoy the entertainment.
These are the best 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.
To browse and book all the affordable accommodation options in Arambol click here.
If you prefer a private room, 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.
Where to eat in Arambol if you are a vegetarian
If you are a vegetarian 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.
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 Cafe, which serves tasty vegetarian-friendly 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.
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.
There are plenty more things to do in Arambol
If you want to explore other places near Arambol beach, why not check out the Arambol sweet water lake. This freshwater lake next to the Kalacha Beach, one of the beaches near Arambol, is a popular local attraction and a peaceful place to hang out. Nearby is the spectacular Arambol banyan tree, which is well-known in the area.
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.
You can read more about Hampi and its ancient attractions here.
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.
Next up, read my comprehensive guide to solo travel in Goa, here.