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The insider’s guide to Margao

Marketing consultant and model Haima Simoes tells all – local haunts, hidden gems and more.
Things to do in margao

Haima Simoes, 27, is a marketing and events consultant, a model, and a cat parent. She is also someone who squirms at the mention of her being featured on the cover of Vogue India, goes on weekly flower runs, and is guilty of sending fan mail (and being left at read) by her favourite Instagram chef. More importantly, Simoes is our travel guide for the month, who will give us an insider’s peek into the bylanes of South Goa, and help us unearth some hidden gems. “I’m going to get into so much trouble with my local friends for sharing some of these fiercely gate-kept secrets with you,” she thinks out loud. Here is her guide for things to do in Margao.

Meet the travel guide

What better way to get to know someone than a quick game of this or that?

Peanut butter or cream cheese?
Peanut butter.

Vacation or staycation?
How about both?

TV series or movies?

Ninjas or pirates?

Hanging plants or candlesticks?

Writing or speaking?

Goa through the local’s lens

For most Indians, Goa is a prominent chapter of their coming-of-age story – the first unchaperoned trip with a group of friends that ended with the promise “We will never speak of this again.” But for Simoes, the country’s favourite holiday season getaway stands for something completely different – “It’s home.”

“For tourists, Goa might mean letting their hair down and partying till they drop, but for me, and most locals, Goa signifies slowing down and catching a breath. Goa is where you walk into a bar – a room full of strangers – and still feel comfortable and at home,” says Simoes.

The sacrosanctity attached to tea time is what Simoes says perfectly captures the essence of the Goan way of life. It’s a ritual that everyone takes rather seriously. This is when all devices, distractions, chores and worries are set aside. All you are meant to do is put your feet up, caress a cuppa (alone or with friends), and slow down.

There are multiple things to do in Margao and the ease with which beaches, hills, and paddy fields seamlessly come together to form Goa’s beautiful landscape is something Simoes uses as a metaphor for the effortless coexistence between people who call Goa home – people from diverse backgrounds, in varied professions and from different walks of life.

Simoes’ Margao checklist

  • Breakfast at Mon Petit Frère.
    Pro tip: You can’t go wrong with their sandwiches and ​​Vietnamese cold brew.

  • Eclairs from Jila Bakery.
    Pro-tip: This is your chance to have something in common with Sachin Tendulkar. He loves them too!
  • Dig into some momos and Thukpa from Tibchi’s, Orlim.
  • Head to Beno for dinner, cocktails and live music performances.
    Pro-tip: My go-to is their range of seasonal Urrak cocktails – Cazulo Granita and Tropical Urrak.

  • Delicious Feni-based cocktails at Feli.


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A post shared by feli tavern (@feli.goa)

  • Start your day with a mangrove kayaking session in river Sal with Aquatrails Goa.
  • Among other things to do in Margao, don’t forget to lounge, laze, and swim at C’Roque.
    Pro-tip: Order seafood anything, and you won’t be disappointed. Also, it’s only accessible by a 4 X 4 jeep, so, brace yourself for an adventurous, bumpy ride.

  • Carry back a bit of Goa home with you – shop for Goan sausages from M.M.C New Market.
  • Hop on a bicycle and explore the idyllic village of Raia.