I gather that there is a delicate pull in nature which everyone can experience if they believe in courage over comfort. Most of us have become strangers to nature and are caught in the rut of city living, gadgets and stress. It is important to break-away every once in a while, rekindle with flora and fauna and cleanse yourself.
One of the perks of being a blogger is getting to travel ever-so-often and uncover diamonds in the rough around the world! These lucky finds don’t come around so easily, but when they do, I’m always so excited to share them on the blog! My latest breathtaking find was Olaulim Backyards, a quaint homestay situated in Olaulim village. I got to spend two nights here as part of my adventure in Goa. This property was my most stunning discovery of the whole trip!
Tucked away on a private estate in North Goa, Olaulim Backyards is a homestay full of happiness. This property is so private and so remote, you’d never know it was there unless you went looking for it. The homestay is run by one of the warmest families I’ve known – Mr. Savio & Ms. Pirkko Fernandes, a husband-wife duo along with their two wonderful children, Shameena and Manuel. The property is blessed with abundant foliage, fresh air and most importantly, the backwaters of Mandovi river.
I took a flight from Delhi to Goa which took 2.5 hours. The homestay is an hour away from Dabolim Aiport, approximately 40 Kms away. Making my way in Delhi with cab fares of 200-300 bucks, my cab ride from the airport to the hotel costed me 1,700 INR – the fares made me go YIKES but it is understandable since Goa is an all-year-round tourism spot and also, there is no Uber service.
It takes about 35-40 minutes from Panjim to Olaulim, and about the same time from Baga to the homestay. However, my ride from Baga was very relaxing and scenic – we crossed so many farmlands, almost like a pastoral paradise along with classic Goan/Portuguese style houses. The homestay is located far, far away from the usual Goa we all know of. This property is particularly for those who are trying to get away from cities, rowdy crowds and want to enjoy stillness and peace. Who knew such a place existed in Goa?!
You could almost mistake the main entrance for a grand farmhouse, but once we got out of the car, little did we know that we weren’t just entering a homestay, we were entering an experience!
There are 4 beautiful cottages and one more cottage in the making! All the cottages are named after birds which are spotted at the homestay. I was staying in the cottage facing the backwaters called Sun Bird. The others are Hornbill, Indian Pitta and Golden Oriole.
Though, a lot of us are still in the process of adapting to the concept of “less is more” but Pirkko and Savio have done an excellent job of inculcating organic living ideas within their property. The cottages are built using bamboo, palm leaves with net mesh windows. The cottages do not have Air Conditioners, Wifi or TVs which acts as a contribution in lowering the carbon footprint and also encourages guests to connect with nature better. In terms of eco/green living, Olaulim Backyards is one of the most progressive properties in the country.
Each of the cottages are individually designed with different shapes, layouts and one-of-a-kind features. I was shown to my cottage, which was in a quiet and secluded area of the estate. The room was spacious with antique furniture – 2 four poster beds, a study table, and an armoire.
The outdoor bathroom (Yes, exactly!) was my favourite part of the room – taking a shower was as relaxing as spending 3 hours at the spa! All the cottages are very well-thought and private!
Pirkko would always be on the move, making sure her guests are comfortable and enjoying their time at the property. She prepares out-of-the-world Goan meals which are served for lunch and dinner. There is no restaurant per say, just a family-style dining area called “The Down Kitchen” where all the guests along with the hosts eat together and exchange lovely stories of their day.
If you’re visiting during monsoons, you might be able to try Needle Fish. These fish are caught in cloth and not in fishing nets because they’re so tiny! They’re fried as whole and are very crunchy – almost as if you’re having fish crisps with your meal.
The breakfast is always very colourful with fresh fruits, juices and breads at your disposal. A local fruit which is grown at their property called Pomelo is a mix of orange and grapefruit – a must try! They serve homemade jams and preserves, mango jam being their specialty!
Tavern Hama Hama AKA Honesty Bar is open to all guests where they could help themselves to drinks and write down whatever they’ve consumed in a small booklet.
Also, do try Savio’s Special Hama Hama drink – if you’re not a fan of Fenny, this drink will blow your mind!
Activities In/Around the Homestay:
- Kayaking / Swimming / Boating –
The homestay is equipped with a swimming pool where you could spend most of your time relaxing. Apart from this, you could go kayaking or boating early morning or in the evenings. Otters may drop-by and say hi in the monsoons!
- Spend an Evening Cuddling With the House Pets –
If you want an instant stress buster, I recommend you hang out with the furry friends at the homestay!
There are 4 dogs – Max, Shibhu, Athina and Laku who will not leave you till they feel you’ve pet them enough. There are 2 cats – Silky and Fluffy who can fall asleep while you’re playing with them! Then comes Mantra the donkey who is a free soul himself! Lastly, there is Lilly the goat!
- Go out on a Scooty/Cycle Ride in the Village –
The roads in Goa are well-maintained and provide panoramic routes every time you head out. Hire a scooty or use the cycles at the homestay to get out and explore the villages!
- Visit to Ozran Beach –
All prime beaches of Goa are 30 minutes away from the homestay. Personally, I visited Ozran Beach which is a small add-on of the Vagator Beach located 20 Kms away. A very solitary and undisturbed area with not many people around.
The beach is particularly clean as compared to other ones like Baga and Anjuna. Also, the sunset at Ozran makes your trip to Goa complete.
From the rustic interiors to the picturesque views and village charm; you couldn’t even expect this place to exist! It’s a little sliver of Goan nirvana that proves soul over luxury is important. Olaulim Backyards is one of the unforgettable properties I have ever stayed at throughout my blogging escapades and it will remain lucidly engraved in my mind for years to come. I am 100% sure I will return again.
Perfect for; couples on their mini-honeymoons, solo travellers and a great base to explore the most enchanting areas of Goa.
Address: Olaulim, North Goa, Goa 403523
Phone: +91 9326017731 – Pirkko Fernandes, +91 9823390233 – Savio Fernandes
Photography Courtesy: Rahul Lal Photography for Appy Bistro
Post By: Sakshi Deswal / Appy Bistro