Whilst I lived in Arambol last time, the Saturday Night Market in Arpora, Goa was one of the main weekly social events I went to. The first time I went I couldn’t believe the scale of it and how well it was organised… I was expecting some kind of flea market but it’s a serious operation! I made my way down there a handful of times with various mates over the course of the season and it never got old.
It’s on a permanent site in Arpora with where the stalls (from every corner of the globe!) are all set on a meandering hill – perfect for exploring. The area is brightly lit with different music stages and food stands scattered between the stalls.
Here are my 5 reasons why it’s a must-do attraction if you’re visiting North Goa and why it’s not like any old market…
It’s a night out!
It starts at 6.30 and doesn’t end until 2! You can buy drinks, have your dinner and even have a boogie, it’s a real social event.
There are three different music areas at the market, it’s like a shopping festival! In true Goan styley there’s a psytrance corner, some trendy house and disco and then the main stage in the centre which hosts different live bands from all over the world – many of whom you would have to pay to see back in Arambol.
It’s quite expensive to eat at the market but only by my cheapskate Indian street food standards! The food is really excellent quality and an interesting and broad variety – from homemade ice creams to Mexican wraps.
I actually had one of the best meals that I had the whole time that I was in India full stop from Bean Me Up who also have a restaurant in Anjuna apparently… totally vegan many different dishes made from a selection of different beans – so many different flavours and textures it was incredible!
The variety of wares
You can get all sorts of authentic Indian wares from every corner of India, from Rajasthani crafts to Karnatakan mirrored bags and even further afield to Nepali coats… As well as this there are many Western expat designers with beautiful boutiquey stalls like my friends at FARA boutique… aaaand there’s a toy shop, homeware, silk clothing, handcrafted leather boots, vintage sunglasses, incredible ayuverdic beauty products… the list goes on and on !
It’s suitable for all budgets
The products range from cheap trinkets to designer pieces worth hundreds of pounds – something for everyone!
If you’re travelling elsewhere in India and sticking to a budget is an important part of your trip – then I would probably wait until you visit the regions that the various wares are originally from (if you’re after bargains, wait for my shopping guide to Pushkar!) That saying, there are many boutique stalls with original designs or handmade products that you won’t be able to find elsewhere in India so if something takes your fancy get it here!
Top tips for when you visit Goa’s Saturday Night Market:
Haggle! Goes without saying for most of India – but you must haggle here, the sellers are never going to give you a sensible price straight off and if they sniff out that you’re a fresh tourist they’ll definitely rip you off. I love this guide to bargaining in India some really good tips!
That saying – many of the independent designer stalls will be fixed prices so don’t bother, you’ll only offend the designer!
Be prepared for traffic! There are plentiful carparks should you choose to ride your bike but I personally wouldn’t like to be on the roads when they’re that rammed – previously I’ve taken a taxi and hopped out and walked alongside all the backed up cars…
Best times to go… Christmas, new year and early January will be rammo so if you can go earlier or later in the season then do. It opens in November and closes in March.