Hi, welcome to our Yab Yum blog, this is where we try and give you an insight into our business, the ins and outs of running a boutique hotel-cum-beach resort (or is it an eco-resort-cum-yoga retreat?) in Goa, and the (sometimes) resulting soap opera. Of course we also provide some useful information for people travelling to Goa and India in general. We even encourage people to contribute to the blog if they have an interesting insight on anything Yab related. Feel free to just drop us a line.
For most people, planning a holiday involves compiling ‘the list’ at some point or another. We try and encourage guests to ‘just ask’ if they need to know what to bring or, more generally, just need to know a bit more as to what to expect in Goa.
Here then, just for starters, is our list of essentials for visiting north Goa:
1) Sun cream + linen clothing.
If you don’t cover up you will burn! If you don’t cover up you will be bitten!
2) Mosquito repellent.
Barely necessary in the daytime but use it liberally around sunset. We only bother with Jungle Formula (available everywhere), or local brands like Odomos.
3) A camera (and extra memory card).
You will take more pictures than you anticipate, especially of the sunsets, and especially if you’ve never visited India before.
4) A smile.
Essential. Westerners often feel uncomfortable being stared at. Men staring at women should be ignored, but any other combination should receive a smile in return, you’ll be surprised how it can embellish your holiday.
5) Hindi phrasebook?
Goans largely speak Konkani first, then Hindi, then English. That said, their English is probably better than your phrasebook Hindi, so don’t bother. It’s not like France, for instance, where you should make an effort.
Indian and international guests alike often don’t realize that a beach resort in Goa, in June, July or August, is no place to have a holiday. Don’t believe us? Check out the pictures, we are almost flooded and the sea is as rough as it gets.
We’ve finally come to the end of our closing-down month here in north Goa. The tarpaulins are on and the masses of ‘stuff’ that we use – from kitchen equipment to glitterballs and hammocks – is all packed, wrapped, sealed and in storage to protect it from the coming heat, humidity and, of course, the monsoon rain.
It may or may not be apparent, but we take all the feedback we get on Yab Yum very much to heart. Most of it is hugely positive and helpful, some is simply negative and makes is wince, some is just downright odd!
This season our good feedback has been crazy, with the vast majority of guests simply saying ‘don’t change a thing!’. Another comment we see a lot is ‘don’t get too big!’.
For no other reason than a quick chuckle, here are some of the more leftfield comments we have seen. Read more…
At Yab we’re lucky to have one of the most photogenic beach locations in the whole of Goa; someone even suggested ‘in the world’ but that’s not something I can vouch for.
Our 2 serene acres of boutique, eco resort-cum-beach resort (or whatever you want to call it) has been photographed thousands of times: by ourselves for the website, by guests for memories’ sake and by professionals for fashion shoots. However, we never get bored with seeing new pictures; different people see different things and, with the light constantly changing, no viewpoint stays the same for long. Read more…
This monsoon has been our busiest ever, even though we’re closed!
Our renovations have been continuing apace, hampered by the weather of course, but if we waited for the rains to stop then we’d be left with about 2 weeks to do everything before we open on October 15th!
We have improved so many things for the coming season, some of which are not visible to guests (plumbing, electrics, kitchens and so on) but there are some significant changes that our regular guests will love… Read more…
Here’s my own personal top 5 reasons for visiting North Goa. There’s 1 thing to note here: I don’t really drink or party hard! Lots of people go to central Goa (the busy part, where most big hotels in Goa are situated) for those reasons and good luck to ‘em, but I see Goa as more of a chill-out destination.
So here goes… Read more…
How many men does it take to move a coconut tree? Well we’ve done it a few times and it can be as many as 25!
Now, with Ashwem Beach closed and the monsoon looming, there’s a window of opportunity for planting, replanting and transplanting. Moving this particular tree was like moving Stonehenge. All nearby able-bodied men jumped in, and with some rope, brute force and tree trunk rollers, the coconut palm was moved all of 50 metres to a new spot. Read more…
On April 18th we drew a line under our busiest ever season at Ashwem Beach, north Goa. Like most hotels in Goa – whether boutique guesthouses, beach resorts or yoga retreats – we consider April to be the end of the holiday season. As the tourists fade away and the humidity and heat increase, local people start to yearn for the rains to arrive.
People do ask: ‘why not stay open until May?’ but the truth is we’re all tired and our staff need a well-deserved rest! We will re-open on October 15th.
BUT we don’t just shut up shop that easily! Remember: Jivana Plantation and the Artists’ House are still open! Both properties make wonderful retreats for the monsoon period. Read more…
Most people hate them but our staff are indifferent to them. Why? Because they have learnt what all inhabitants of hot, humid places have learnt: you can’t kill them all! And trying to do so is the quickest path to insanity!!
One of the biggest concerns western travellers to India have is malaria. Like any medical issue you can easily spend a week googling and researching and still be none the wiser. Most people in Goa will tell you that there is no malaria, and it is true to say we’ve never heard of anybody having it in Goa, but then we aren’t doctors.
Our advice: consider the probability of catching malaria and weigh that up against the side-effects and cost of taking tablets. There are all sorts of things you can catch when on holiday and perhaps malaria should be a bit further down the worry list. Read more…