Tripologist: Find peace in hippie haven

My wife and I, both 70 and reasonably fit, are interested in travelling to Goa in April. Could you give us some hints and advice on a three-week stay there?

- L. Demchy, Tuross Head

Goa's pulse is governed by the ebb and flow of tourists and April is just past the main tourist season, when sun-starved hordes of Europeans descend for a midwinter break. You'll find lower accommodation prices and less crowded beaches and cafes but the monsoon is approaching and humidity will be on the rise.

Most accommodation is along Goa's coast, which sprawls for almost 100 kilometres beside the Arabian Sea. Each tourist enclave has its own distinct character and the choice of where to stay is crucial. The busy Calangute-Baga is the main resort area but if you prefer something quieter, Anjuna, Goa's original hippie haven, might be just your cup of chai.

The Anjuna flea market - every Wednesday - is a fixture of Goa's tourist scene. For European visitors, the beaches are the main attraction. None can hold a candle to our own sea-girt shores, yet they do have a flavour all of their own. The countryside is another story and a wandering journey along Goa's sleepy back roads is one of the more sublime experiences of the subcontinent. Just a short distance inland are villages that hark back to Portuguese days, with whitewashed churches and houses made from red laterite blocks and featuring big, shady verandahs and wrought-iron gates.

To help plan your trip, pick up a copy of Goa & Mumbai, Lonely Planet's excellent guide to the region.

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