This area north of Siolim was undiscovered by the average tourist, cut off by the Chapora River and a slow ferry crossing until 2002, when the long awaited bridge was completed opening up this stunning area of Goa. The road from Siolim follows the Chapora River down stream through fishing hamlets before turning north. From here it winds through fields full of rice, chillies and onions before climbing on to the plateau giving breathtaking views of the beach and ocean. The whole area remains mainly agricultural interspersed with sleepy villages and fishing, prawn farming and cashew nuts are still the main stay of the villagers. The beach, dotted with the occasional sleepy beach shack stretches to infinity with miles of golden sand from Morjim at the mouth of the Chapora, Mandrem, Arambol and finally Tiracol, the last beach in Goa. Many determined lovers of utopia however had already made the journey a few years ago and put down roots. This area has attracted artistic and creative people who enjoy a casual lifestyle but demand high standards and know good food, company and ambience when they see it. When they couldn't find it they just set it up themselves! Loulou has set up 'The Olive Ridley', Florence, Serge and Morgan (Le Restaurante Francaise) opened 'La Plage' and Uddam Singh of MTV fame runs 'The Other Side' (where the clientele are a 'who's who' of the Bollywood film crowd) - all currently on the top of Goa's 'must do' list. Tiracol Fort Heritage Hotel is also close by and is now being run by Hari and Claudia from Nilaya. Mandrem village in particular, has become cosmopolitan with shops meeting the ever-increasing demand for imported goods Goan villages are slowly losing their original identity. Mandrem and Tiracol are likely to shed their natural charm too - but, for the present, pigs still dart across the narrow roads, children play on the beach, fishermen mend their nets and women are busy in the fields. See it before this life vanishes.
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