Safety in Goa
Goa is an ideal holiday destination for travelers, but tourists should bear in mind that India has its own set of safety issues.
- Women should not walk on the beaches at night alone.
- Do not accept un-bottled drinks from strangers under any circumstances.
- Do not accept rides from strangers, locals or foreigners, especially at night.
- Do not ingest illegal drugs.
- Be careful when wading at the beach as undertow riptide currents can be strong in certain beaches. Avoid the mouths of all rivers (such as the Mandovi River at Miramar), especially at low tide when the flow of the water current out to sea is the strongest. And just don't get into the water at all in the off season. The safe swimming period in Goa is November to early May.
- Avoid contact with unprocessed cashew nuts as they contain an irritant ('urusiol') also present in poison ivy. The cashew apple is edible when ripe.
- Goans are very friendly and helpful; should you have any problems, talk immediately to the nearest Goan shop, restaurant or bystander and ask for help.
- Travel guides can be expensive and have been known to dupe foreign visitors. Beware of guides offering to take you to a disco with lots of attractive girls, who will dance with you. This is a sucker scam to cheat you of your money.
- Befriend a decent taxi driver and agree on regular business.
- Temperatures in winter and summer can be extreme, so do not forget sunscreen.
- Any scam that offers a free ride in return for a "prize" will be guaranteed to disappoint.
- Beware the 'ear doctors', who are more likely to accost men than women and 'produce' some tiny revolting creature, supposedly from your ear, for which they then offer a 'cure' (It is, however, humorous to read the cards they print up promoting themselves).
- While travelling by train, beware of pickpockets, strangers who offer you snacks or tea, and other such people who make trains in India a regular hunting ground. Make sure not to take off your footwear in non A/C coaches or you might not have anything to wear next morning. The same goes with all your valuables.
- Don't trust travel agents who say that a train is fully booked. They want you to hire a car that costs more and provides them a kick back. A better thing to do is to check out the details yourself on the Indian Railways website . Also, you can book your railway ticket online.
Goa now has a number — 108 for medical emergencies. This service is run by the GVK EMRI (Emergency Management and Research Institute) and is based out of Goa Medical College (Bambolim) and has ambulances posted at various parts of Goa. These ambulances are fully equipped and have trained paramedics.
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