The Messed Up Casino Industry of Goa

Sunday, August 23, 2015





Deltin Royale is the largest 'floating' casino anchored in the river Mandovi in Panjim Goa. There are three other similar casinos in the river. 'Floating' here only means that its a big boat that can float but it is anchored or rather attached to the river bed using some means which appear to be more than a mere anchor. Once inside, you will never feel any jerk or movement to remind you that you are inside a boat. There are some serious issues involved here and since this article is about Goa's casino industry, this is the right place to talk about them. Floating casinos in Goa are a testimony to the fact that politicians can mess up even the simplest of things. Logically speaking, there is absolutely no need to have casino boats in the river Mandovi. But politicians have brought them about and now nobody is able to figure out what to do with them. Keep reading...



Customs Duty and other Rules for Passengers Arriving in India

Friday, August 21, 2015

Passengers arriving in India via an international mode of transport are required to fill-up a form called "Indian Customs Declaration Form". This form contains some basic information of the passenger, the declarations to be made in "yes" or "No" format, and the instructions that help the passenger in filling up the form correctly. In short, this form contains the basic Indian Customs rules for passengers arriving in India via an international mode of transport. The form specifies the prohibited goods, that cannot be imported in to India, the duty-free allowance & the duty payable on the goods that are allowed to be imported in to India, and the restrictions applicable. Keep reading for details...

Caculo Mall - Panjim Goa's Retail Experience

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Stuck in Panjim and not having much to do? Well, maybe you would like to spend an afternoon inside Panjim Goa's air-conditioned shopping mall: Caculo Mall, promoted by the Caculo Group of Companies. Caculo Mall promises a retail experience of "international standards for the discerning consumer of Goa". Let us include tourists into the game because all are welcome in to Caculo Mall. There is shopping - from daily needs to fashion, food - a food court and some speciality outlets, and entertainment for the young. The mall is located at 16 Shanta, St Inez, Panjim, Goa-403001 (Phone: 91-832-2222068/69). An easy access to the place is via the Dayanand Bandodkar Marg, the road on which the casino jetties are located. One needs to come to the Campal area where the Parade Ground and Bal Bhavan are located. In the middle of these two, there is a road that takes you straight to the mall. An auto rickshaw ride from Panjim Market area to Caculo Mall should cost a maximum of INR 100 (please see the location of Google map later in this page). Caculo Mall opens everyday from 10.00am to 9.00pm. Keep reading...

One Time Play (OTP) Chips in Goa Casinos

Sunday, August 2, 2015

One needs to pay an entry fee to enter a casino in Goa. This entry fee will be a minimum of INR 700 (equal to the government levy on entry as in August 2015) per person but usually more than that to cover the "free" drinks, food, and entertainment in the casino. The floating casinos docked in the river Mandovi in Panjim charge the most entry fee. For example, the minimum entry fee to get into 'Deltin Royale', Goa largest floating casino, is INR 2500 whereas for 'Casino Chances' in Dona Paula (on-land casino) it is just INR 700. Even 'Chances' throws in a few free drinks and a buffet dinner but that casino is small, away from the city, and has nothing to offer in terms of entertainment. Deltin Royale on the other hand has a complete package of drinks, snacks, dinner, and entertainment to offer on its dedicated 2nd floor. When you buy an entry ticket to a floating casino in Goa, another thing that you get as part of the package is something called "One Time Play Chips" (OTP Chips). The face value of these OTP chips can be less, equal to or more than the entry fee that you paid. So if you get more face value in OTP chips than the entry fee you paid, are you already a winner? May not be, because probably you have not understood how the OTP chips work. Keep reading...

Country Inns & Suites Panjim Goa Hotel Review

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Country Inn located near Panjim City's Kadamba Bus Stand (Plot No. 31, EDC Patto Plaza, Panjim, Goa-403001, Phone: 91-832-674000) is one of the two 'Country Inns & Suites By Carlson' properties in Goa at the time of writing this article. The other one is in Candolim. Now going by the comparative pricing of this hotel it is supposed to be one of the better properties in Panjim. To an extent it is, but its not my favorite. I have stayed here three times, twice on free award bookings and once on a paid booking. As it sometimes happens in a casino, I got lucky here only one out of the three times. Actually, finding a good mid range hotel in Panjim is not easy. I have tried a few and the best one in my experience is located in Dona Paula (The Hawaii Comforts). The ones in Panjim city are either too expensive or too bad or even both. This Country Inn scores over many others because of its location. It is not only very close to the city bus stand but also in the middle of Panjim's business centre - Patto Plaza. But whether you will have a comfortable stay here still depends a great deal on your luck. Keep reading...

Panjim Inn WelcomHeritage Goa Hotel Review

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Before this post, I reviewed one of the best hotels in Panjim - The Hawaii Comforts - and now it is the turn for one of Panjim's worst. When I booked a room for three nights at Panjim Inn, I had no idea that this experience would be the one to forget as soon as possible. After writing this article I will try never to think about Panjim Inn again. But right now, I must share some details with you. Panjim Inn, a so-called WelcomHeritage Hotel (I don't know what that means, and don't want to know) is located at E-212, 31st January Road, Fontainhas, Panjim (phone: 832-2226523). Its a nice area close to the Casino jetties on one side and at a walking distance from the city church on the other side. The property is an old residence, not sure of the "heritage" claim though, of the owner of this hotel. After my check-in, when I was being escorted to my room, I saw the gentleman (owner) sitting in a hall. I said hello to him but he did not respond. Later, one of the hotel's staff told me that "Sir" likes to speak only to "foreigner" guests and not to "Indians". That was strange but I was not there to make friends with royalty anyway. Now if only the hotel had turned out to be better than the owner's behavior! Keep reading...

The Hawaii Comforts Panjim Goa Hotel Review

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I have till now stayed in several hotels in Panjim, the capital city of the State of Goa and out of all those hotels, Hawaii Comforts was the hotel where I had the most comfortable stay. Not to say that Hawaii Comforts is perfect but in Goa where the hotel industry relies more on posting fake Tripadvisor reviews than doing anything worthwhile to ensure guests' comfort, this one hotel deserves all the praise. The only known and incurable problem with Hawaii Comforts is the location. In a way, it is located in Dona Paula which is one of the places of tourists' interest in Panjim but then this area does not really have much to offer. The taxi & tuk tuk guys repeatedly punish you for staying in a hotel in Dona Paula because the public bus service to this area stops at 9.00pm. There is no other good restaurant around for the sake of choice so Hawaii Comforts' own restaurant remains the only source of meals. Breakfast is always included in the room price and that is a good thing because not only the breakfast is nice, the room tariff itself does not pinch the pocket too much. Keep reading for details...

Prepaid Taxi Counter at Panjim City Kadamba Bus Stand

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Similar to the prepaid taxi facility at Goa's Dabolim airport, there is a prepaid taxi counter outside Panjim City's Kadamba Bus Stand. This prepaid taxi counter operated by 'Panjim Pavan Yellow/Black Taxi Association' is open from 7.00am to 8.00pm everyday. The taxi fares at this counter are similar to the ones charged by the yellow/black counter at the airport. For example, a non-A.C. taxi fare from here to the airport is INR 672, which is the same as the fare charged for a ride from the airport to a hotel in Panjim city. The passenger is given a bill (2 copies) at the counter but the payment is to be made directly to the taxi driver at the destination. In this page, I will give the fixed prepaid taxi fares (as in July 2015) to Goa's major destinations from Kadamba Bus Stand. Pictures of the full tariff cards are also included. Keep reading...

Hong Kong Disneyland Essential Information

Friday, July 10, 2015

If you are travelling along with kids, then this is one attraction in Hong Kong that you would not want to miss. And let it be clear at the outset that this is perhaps Hong Kong's most expensive attraction. A standard single day ticket price for an adult is HKD 499 and for a kid (3-11 years) is HKD 355. Two-Day discounted tickets are also available. You will find detailed pricing later in this page. Another thing, and take it seriously, visiting Hong Kong Disneyland for just one or two days is not going to be enough. Because so much goes on in this park that in one or two days you will miss more than what you will be able to see and do, which is why taking an annual membership of the park is highly recommended. In this page, I have given all the basic information that you need to have to plan a visit to Hong Kong Disneyland. Keep reading...
 

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I left my day job in October 2013 and became a full time blogger. I love travel and hence a travel blog was the obvious place to start from. The result is desiyatri.com. My second blog is RupeeClues.com. I currently live in Bengaluru, India. - Narinder Singh. (Email: desiyatri@gmail.com)

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