For someone thinking about visiting India, but not quite sure if they can handle the culture shock, in my mind at least, Goa is the perfect destination. It resembles popular beach-centric holiday locations found elsewhere around the world, yet offers the opportunity to start experiencing Indian culture. I would suggest flying into Mumbai, get acclimatized to the temperature and the culture while seeing the sights for a few days, then then head right down to Goa for some top notch “Rest & Relaxation” time.
Due to its popularity, there are tons of good quality hotels and restaurants which are used to dealing with foreigners. With many options for beaches to hang around, and interesting cultural and historical sights to visit (Goa was a Portuguese colony for about 450 years) Goa has lots to keep a person occupied. Goa even has its own unique cuisine (check out these great Goan recipes), and its an excellent place to take a class in cooking Indian food!
When I was in Goa, I had taken a tourist cooking class, it was both fun and interesting, but not particularly noteworthy in terms of adding to my own culinary skills regarding Indian food. However, part of the class was a visit to a market, and I totally stocked up on Indian spice blends to bring back home. Along my journey through India, I had came across a few shops and stalls selling raw spices, but for the most part they are all available at home so there was no point in buying any (the exception being saffron from Kashmir, which was quite reasonable – saffron normally being the worlds most expensive spice, and black cardoman). So while I had managed to temporally stuff the my suitcase with all these packages of spice blends, I needed to unload them fairly quickly as I had some budget airline flights ahead in a couple weeks when I would be back in Thailand, and I was definitely overweight luggage wise.
My own photographic “Muse” must have decided it was time for R&R time as well, as this is the only photograph of note that I took in the area.