DNA Magazine - - TRAVEL -

Best for: Lovers of mas­sages on the beach, deep techno sun­rise raves and raw ve­gan cafés. At­trac­tions: Decades ago, the hip­pies, back­pack­ers and party starters took cus­tody of this for­mer Por­tuguese colony. That queer mix of Catholic guilt and In­dian in­no­cence trans­formed it into a tol­er­ant tourist mecca. Goa didn’t earn its he­do­nis­tic rep­u­ta­tion for sex, drugs and trance by ac­ci­dent. Re­cently it has at­tempted to re­brand it­self as a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for In­dian hon­ey­moon­ers (spot the new brides by the proud jan­gle of their red ban­gles). It’s also be­come a refuge for Delhi and Mum­bai’s gay set, es­pe­cially fol­low­ing In­dia’s 2013 re­gres­sive re-crim­i­nal­iza­tion of ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity. Dis­trac­tions: Like Ibiza, Gran Ca­naria and Mykonos, the re­gion of Goan is now a vic­tim of its own suc­cess – the traf­fic and garbage a tes­ta­ment to progress with­out prin­ci­ples. Those phat party beats also keep pump­ing all night long… un­less that’s what you’re up for. Ro­mance Fac­tor: Since a hon­ey­moon is generally more about cud­dling than cruising, Goa’s lack of a vis­i­ble gay scene may be just what the reg­is­trar or­dered. The Ara­bian Sea sun­set is pic­ture post­card perfect, with the ocean wa­ters warm, invit­ing and, yes, clean.

Gay or nay? Like much of the rest of the world, Goa’s gay­ness is nowa­days mostly app-friendly. There’s a busy gay club ev­ery Satur­day in a ho­tel back room in the tourist area of Can­dolum promis­ing, a “full monty English break­fast” to those who can go the whole dis­tance. While the Goan guys are at­trac­tive, friendly and ea­ger, gay life here is still un­der­ground, some­what ten­ta­tive and rather re­pressed. Han­dle with care.

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