I have always been curious of the flea markets in Goa and even though I lived there for six months, I have missed them, thanks to their seasonal visits. Luckily, this time I made up for the loss.
I decided to make a quick stop at Mackies Saturday Night Bazaar before heading to the bigger and better Arpora Saturday Night Market. This can be a little confusing since both of them are in Arpora and about 5 minutes away from each other. Mackies is smaller, the stalls are mostly by local vendors, the products are not exclusive, and the live music performance is significantly dull. I walked around with a pint to get a quick feel of the place and soon pulled away my scooter from parking and headed to its incomparable cousin.
Arpora Saturday Night Market was formerly called Ingo’s Night Market. It is very popular and at least, 5 times the size of Mackies. What makes it beautiful is the way it has been designed. The venue escalates to a hill-like slope and the winding pathway took me across the numerous stalls. There are multiple entry and exit gates, so if you have a vehicle parked, remember your entry gate number. The labyrinth-like ways will lead you to the central field. This is where the stage is setup for live music, with cocktail bars located on either sides. There isn’t a part of this market which is not crowded though it is least intimidating. If you will be visiting this place all by yourself, it’s all safe.
As I walked upwards, having crossed the many varieties of food stall, the kiosks and displays kept getting more interesting and exquisite. With the sound of the live music travelling far, the mesmerising stalls selling clothes, quirky jewellery and accessories, creative artwork, antique home décor and everything unnecessarily indulging you can think of will be ready to entice you here. I spent a lot of time chatting with the lady who made and sold dreamcatchers though my main mission of the evening was getting my hair braided with a new hair extension. It is a travel habit that I have developed over the years, when I get something ‘attached’ to my hair from a place I’ve fallen in love with. Having said that, two hours into the night and I didn’t find myself a stall with hair braids or feather extensions. I continued walking and remained hopeful.
Towards the topmost level of the market lies two open spaces for dancing and revellers. These are on either sides and the music was blaring EDM. Hurriedly, I made my way away from the noise, glancing through the shops. I stood at the very top level, looking down at the glistening flea market under the open sky. Truly, I haven’t been to very many places this creative.
I was recommended the roast chicken in the flea market and I tried the deliciously melt in the mouth food reluctantly! The salad that came along with it was just as scrumptious. I noticed a lot of crowd around the shawarma food stall too.
I was disappointed to see very few Indians there. Most of the shops are run by international travellers and a large percentage of the crowd comprises foreigners. The entire vibe of the place is very warm and friendly. It was nice to meet people who shared their stories on visiting Goa repetitively and soon I found myself singing songs with them!
On my way out, I still remembered that I hadn’t achieved my mission so I enquired about it and to my very good luck, I found a stall with hair wraps! Excited I got it braided to my hair and walked out feeling victorious. As I exited the flea market, I turned back at the bright lights in the hope of visiting them next season again.
Keep in mind: Parking is limited here. If you do manage to get a spot, chances are there will be one of the young boys making sure your car/bike remains safe till you’re back. He’ll charge a minimum Rs. 20 for n-hours.
I didn’t purchase anything from here because I felt most of them were exorbitantly priced. No one accepts card, carry cash.
Getting there: You can ask anyone for Arpora Saturday Night Market and emphasise on Ingo’s. Check map here.
Hours: Every Saturday, it opens late in the evening (around 7PM) and goes on till about 1-2AM. The market remains open only during season i.e. December to April (each year exact dates differ).
Have you been to any of the flea markets in Goa?