RTW Trip Goa, India Day 77: How to shop at Anjuna Market
I was pretty excited to head to Anjuna Market. If you are like me and love boho chic decor and hand embroidered Indian textiles, you may love this market! You can find anything from jewelry, quilts, clothing, bags, sunglasses, spices, souvenirs and kick knacks. If you are hoping to buy a bunch of stuff, you may find cheaper prices elsewhere in India, but the convenience of Anjuna Market is the best.
I was with two men who are not so keen on shopping, so I sort of plowed through the market as quickly as possible, but I was literally tempted at every turn. Here are a few tips for surviving the market:
1. Go early. I’ve heard some people getting better deals because they were the first customer of the day. Another reason to go early is to avoid the crowds.
2. Anjuna Market only runs on Wednesdays.
3. If you see something you like, walk around a bit to find out the general price vendors are starting at.
4. When you see something you want, pretend you are browsing and just ask the price of several things. Don’t get excited about the actual item you want, or it will be hard to bargain hard.
5. Look at the quality of the item. A lot of the hand embroidered items had different grades of quality, and generally they would offer cheaper varieties if I thought the other items were too expensive.
6. Be polite but firm. If there are hesitations about the item you want, vocalize them, as they are more likely to drop the price down. Finally, only bargain when you really want the item. I found that after hearing their initial price, I would go down to 50-60% of their initial offer, and generally got my item for about 60-70% of the initial price. I had read others bargaining even from a lower price, but I didn’t find that necessary as the items were cheap enough.
7. Have an idea as to how much you want to buy and if you need to have the items shipped back to your home country. India Post no longer does Sea Mail, but I found their shipping to be rather efficient. I sent a couple quilts and a leather pouf to the States and it took about 3 weeks by Air Mail. Do note though, that India Post requires specific packing instructions that includes having your package sewn into a cheesecloth like fabric when sending things overseas. You can find a few places that can do this service for you. Some vendors will even ship it for you if you are willing to pay a bit more to avoid the hassle. I wanted to make sure the package was sent so I opted to do it myself.
So what did I buy? A floral kantha quilt with hand embroidery, and a patchwork hand embroidered bed cover. I also got sucked in by a couple of touts. You will see a few people there that may dress in traditional costumes for money, and beggars as well. Actually a woman gave me a blessing and put a red dot of powder on my forehead without any warning, so I ended up giving her 10 rupees. I actually think that is bad tourism though, as I really feel this promotes begging, and there are other ways to give back to communities.
We headed back to our friend’s hotel for a quick bite and ‘relaxed’ on Calangute Beach. It was a packed beach with a lot of package tourists from Russia and a lot of cows. The only reason why we went there was to say bye to our friend who was only staying there as it was more convenient for him to stay there to go to his next destination.
Once again, we ended our day at the always delicious Yangkor Moonlight for some more delicious Nepalese food.
Blessing red dot 10 rupees
Water 20 rupees
Kantha quilt 1800 rupees
Patchwork bed cover 900 rupees
Beer 50 rupees
Potato chips 35 rupees
Coke, veg noodles, fruit salad, lime soda at Johnny’s Hotel 240 rupees
Lime soda, water, beer at Cafe Goa beach shack in Calangute 250 rupees
Egg drop thukpa, veg momo, beer, lime soda, Yangkor Moonlight Restaurant 380 rupees
Bean Me Up Hotel 990 rupees
Total cost: 4675 rupees / 2 = $37.65 per person
What I learned: If you are going to Anjuna Market by motorbike, park on the street before the entrance to avoid the parking fee.
Actual date of travel: Nov. 19, 2014