Long Line Of Slum Kids


Siolim, Goa

With a population of 12,000, Siolim is one of the state's largest villages - not as though you would know it as you wander around the densely forested lanes, colonial era houses and colourful fruit and veg stalls that line the roads.

Unlike Calangute just 10km south, the town has escaped the mass development that so defines the popular tourist areas of Goa's coast. Shops in the village are aimed at locals and not tourists, markets sell food rather than sequined lampshades and foreigners are usually in and out in as much time as it takes to withdraw R.5000 from an ATM.

For anyone that sticks around, Siolim's appeal is quick to appear - the town is resolutely Goan, it has not changed itself for Western visitors. It produces some of the world's best feni, a uniquely Goan alcoholic drink brewed from cashews or coconuts, and there are some beautiful walks to be enjoyed by the river and along the shady lanes.

The town's two main hubs lie a few kilometres apart. To the south a busy roundabout in front of the impressive St. Anthony's Church is surrounded by small market stalls and shops. To the north, Tar is a cluster of stalls around the old ferry crossing where a regular fish market takes place, and a bridge crosses the Chapora river.

Between the two hubs, there is an intersection where buses from Mapusa pull in, and tourists pull over at the Exotic Regency building to use the cash machine. If you are travelling south to north, you will need to take a left at this crossroads to reach the bridge over the Chapora river.

From outside St. Anthony's Church if you are coming north to south (crossing the small bridge and stream as you approach the church), turn left after the church to reach Mapusa, right towards Chapora or straight ahead to Anjuna, Baga and destinations down the coast.

The inland location of Siolim village is largely responsible for its pleasant lack of tourist development, but the sea is nevertheless easy to reach with the closest beach being Morjim to the north