Stories from an illustrated travel : 24 hours in South Goa


Now this is definitely isn’t the post to read for a full breakdown of what to expect in South Goa, I only spent a day there after flying in from Gatwick to Goa International Airport, but I still did my share of drawing what I saw there, so I think its worth its own illustrated travel post as sets up for the rest of my journey.

As a huge part of my trip is drawing, I personally wanted to give more time elsewhere to places like the UNESCO heritage site of Hampi, the lush scenery of Kerala, and the super rich culture of Rajasthan, which is why this is such a whizz through! 

Flying into Goa and avoiding a big city to land in was a huge bonus, and meant I was nearly instantly out of the hustle and bustle of an airport town, and in a really lovely chilled location.

An illustrated map of the state Goa in India drawn by Jasmine Hortop

Illustrated map of Goa, India by Jasmine Hortop

Illustrated Majorda Beach

I chose to stay near Majorda beach as it was only a half an hour taxi ride from the aiport, and I was going to be arriving in the middle of the night I didn’t really want to be dealing with any late night public transport after a long day of travelling. It was also very close to Margao, where I had worked out I could get an overnight bus to Hampi, my next stop.

Waking up in Jes Guesthouse to the, oh so familiar, noise of car horns the next day, pretty much instantly reminded me where I was – I may in a sleepy little beach village in Goa, but I’m still in India!

After a Masala Omelette and a Chai for breakfast, and headed down to the beach. On the way I spotted a water buffalo (I think this is the right name…) having a cool bath. And these birds were so elegant, with their long necks perched upon a little body on its long stick legs. This wasn’t a wild buffalo though – it had a rope round its neck which was attached to a post.

Digital travel illustration of a water buffalo in south goa by Jasmine Hortop

A buffalo in the water – which may make it a water buffalo… (I need to brush up on my wildlife knowledge!)

The way to Majorda beach was lush and green, the roads parted thick canopies of palm trees and tropical plants, it looked and sounded like a tropical paradise! Coming up to the beach I started to come across bigger and fancier looking hotels, with tourists dressed much less conservatively then my previous trip to the north of India, short shorts and shoulders ahoy!

Travel illustration of sunbathers Majorda Beach, Goa India by Jasmine Hortop

Drawing the sun bathers, loungers and tanners of Majorda Beach

A beautiful and clean beach, with a backing of palm trees and some food huts that rented the sun loungers. There was maybe 10-15 sun loungers in the little stretch I was in, which were nearly all full of British couples, over the age of 50. A few of them asked if I was on my own, they were pretty shocked to hear that I was. They brought up concerns over my safety, and whether I’d get lonely (I’m great, thank you!). To be clear and to state something really obvious  – I know not all tourists in South Goa are this demographic – it just so happened the patch of beach I went to was like this!

Sketchbook travel illustration of fishing boat on Majorda beach, Goa, by Jasmine Hortop

Sketchbook travel illustration of a fishing boat on Majorda beach

There was a fishing boat that must have come in that morning, with a team of 4 local guys taking out all the equipment and nets from the boat and into one of the huts out the back, I loved snooping and watching them do this!

Getting on the local bus

I then made my way back to grab my bag, and to the bus stop (which although I knew the location, didn’t seem to have any actual sign of it being a bus stop). When a bus came along, a woman came and took me on the bus with her, and despite a massive language barrier, sat me down next to her and helped me with my journey, how to pay, and where to get off. This is one of many instances I have had like this, while using the local transport, someone always seems to take me under their wing, and help me, even if we aren’t speaking the same language!

Sketchbook travel illustration of a local bus in South Goa, India by Jasmine Hortop

A super sketchy drawing, focusing on all the GREEN going on outside my bus window!

Preconceptions of Goa

Goa has become really popular with tourism last 10 years – with package holiday companies like Thomas Cook and Thomson serving the region. There’s a big party scene in Goa (north mostly), I do my fair share of partying back home so missed this out!

That being said – India is big. And so the state of Goa is big (2.4x the size of London), and the size of it still means it’s possible to get to parts which do feel untouched, and not too heavy with tourism. My friend Dulcie from That Festival Life, and Rachel from Hippie in Heels, (who up until recently lived in Goa) have both done some fantastic (and much much more thorough) blog posts on Goa if you are thinking about going there.

I enjoyed my chill out time here after a long journey, and it was a great place to fly into, and start my journey through the south. If I did have all the time in the world – I would love to spend some time in Arambol, Agonda, and even head down right south to Gokarna (not strictly Goa but hey ho!) – I’ve heard good things about all! 

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