Read about the Modes of Travelling in Goa, India.
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Goa Tourism : Goa Travel Guide : Travel to Goa

Travel to Goa

You can reach Goa by air, train, bus or road.

Some charter airlines and a few domestic and international airlines fly directly to Goa’s Lone Dabolim Airport, including Indian Airlines, Kingfisher, Jet Airways, Air Deccan and SpiceJet. There are plans for another airport at Mopa in northern Goa.  Arriving in Goa

Panjim is also home to GSAs (general sales agents) of many prominent European, Gulf, Far-East, African and other airlines.

Trains enter Goa via the Konkan Railway network that links India’s west coast with other trains coming in from the nearby city of Hubli. Trains connect Goa to Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Mangalore, Ernakulam, Thiruvanathapuram and other centres. There are express train services from Delhi. Panjim’s closest railway station is Karmali, located about 9 km to the east.

On the Konkan Railway route, the Tivim, Karmali and Margao stations roughly correspond to North, Central and South Goa. Tivim is close to Mapusa, Karmali to Panjim and Margao station is 4 km from the city. There are also stations at Pernem and Canacona. Remember that not all trains stop at all stations.

Buses link Goa to Mumbai and Bangalore, with some also going to Pune, Hyderabad and other destinations. Inter-state buses carry quite a few visitors into and out of Goa. State-run buses linking Panjim with out-of-state locations are Kadamba (Government of Goa), MSRTC (Government of Maharashtra), KSRTC (Government of karnataka) and APSRTC (Government of Andhra Pradesh). Their counters are at the Panjim bus terminus on the eastern end of town.

Besides state-run corporations, private buses link up with cities outside Goa. One major player in inter-state bus transport is Paulo Holiday Makers.

Entertainment, food, culture, sport and events are big business in Goa. Check the local newspapers for details. Local magazines like the monthly Goa Today carry a What’s On column. The 48-page pocket-magazine FindAll: Events and Entertainment Guide ( is available free of cost and supported by Goa tourism. Get Copies from the newsstand, bookshops or from the offices of Goa Tourism.

Fairs and Festivals
In this small state of a few hundred villages, there are a multitude of colourful fairs and vibrant festivals. Check the local calendar as the dates could shift from year to year. This happens with both the major cultural festivals – the Carnival and the Shigmo.

Public HolidaysPublic Holidays
Goa has nearly two weeks of holidays each year. Government offices have a five-day-week (Saturday-Sunday closed). Panjim city life usually comes to an end early (around 8pm) and shops here could have a fairly long siesta break (from around 1.30pm till 3.30pm). Major public or special holidays include Republic Day, Id-ul-zuha, Gudi Padva, Good Friday, Independence Day, Ganesh Chaturthi(both days), Gandhi Jayanthi, Dusshera, Diwali, Id-ul-fiter, Feast of St. Francis Xavier, Goa Liberation Day, Christmas, Mahashivratri, Holi and Id-e-milad. Banks may remain open during local religious celebrations.

The best time to visit Goa is during the comparatively cooler months from November to March, with the peak tourist season in December and January. April and May are usually extremely humid. The monsoons in Goa last between June and September. Die-hard Goa buffs feel that this is one of the best times to visit, when the countryside is lush and green. The temperature goes up to a maximum of about 33°C in the month of May.

Dress for a tropical climate. Goa can range from very informal to formal (if the occasion demands) in its attire. Goa’s hippy past means you might not raise too many eyebrows even if you dress to express the rebel in you. But avoid offending local sentiments by crossing the fine line; there are no beaches where nudism is legal in Goa and though levels of tolerance vary, it  is considered a violation. Take care to dress appropriately while visiting places of worship.

Goa is home to the Consulate General of Portugal, Britain, which has a significant number of tourists visiting the region, also has its Tourist Assistance Office (earlier designated as a consular officer) based here. Germany, Austria and Italy also have their consulates here.

Goa lacks an efficient mass transportation system. Its first state-run bus transport system. Kadamba (KTC) began in the early 1980s. Traveling to rural Goa by bus can be quite a challenge. Locals often deploy their own vehicles.

Mapusa, Margao, Vasco and Ponda are connected to the capital Panjim by non-stop Kadamba minibuses. You will need to queue up for a ticket. Buses go off Goa’s roads soon after dusk. Make sure you are aware what time the last bus runs.

Buses also connect to various beaches in Goa. A typical bus ride can cost between Rs 4 to 15, depending on the distance. You pay after entering (except in the non-stop Kadamba buses. Which charge you before boarding).

Pre-paid taxis are available from Dabolim Airport. ThGetting Aroundere is no public bus service currently from the airport.

Motorcycles (and scooters, to a lesser extent) are available for hire. Make sure you carry your license and valid papers for the vehicle. Wearing a helmet is compulsory for the rider (not for the pillion), with some relaxations within cities or rural areas. However, it is much safer to wear helmets throughout the ride.

Inland riverways are not harnessed for transportation as much as they could be. However, you can find ferries at river-crossings. Cycle-tours for tourists are also opening up in the some areas. Sight-seeings tours leave from Panjim’s riverfront as well. Government-run GTDC and private players offer river cruises with cultural entertainment every evening.

Meanwhile, plans for a six-lane north-south expressway are moving ahead in Goa. A monorail system is also being promised.

Goa has better than average health indices in India, but its once-prominent medical institutions are falling back compared to those in neighbouring regions like Belgaum, Manipal, Mangalore, Bangalore (all in Karnataka) and Mumbai.

There are many state-run hospitals, from the specialized Goa Medical College at Bambolim outside Panjim to a wide network of primary health centres in many villages. There are also private hospitals offering quality services like dental care to foreign tourists.

The spoken languages include Konkani, English and Hindi while English and Marathi are the written languages. Prior to 1961 the official language was Portuguese, a few traces of which still remain.

Life in Goa starts late and business closes down early, or so it seems. Rural Goa is hard working, but bureaucracy-dominated towns like Panjim swing into action only around 9 to 10 am, with a one-or two-hour mid-day siesta. Commercial towns like Mapusa and Margao are more ‘businesslike’. As buses go off the roads early (by 8pm in most areas by 9.30pm between main routes like Panjim-Margao), the urban areas also tend to shut shop early.

However, there are exceptions, School children have an early day, as school ends by lunch-time for most. Also on the coastal belt late night parties (sometimes to the dismay of nearby residents) are the norm, especially during the peak tourist season in the winter months.

POSTAL SERVICESSecurity and Safety
Goa has a total of 107 post offices, including two head offices at Panjim and Margao. It also has 151 small branch post offices in rural areas.

Timings differ in urban and rural parts of Goa. Counter hours at Panjim are from 9.30 am to 5.30pm, with differing cut-offs for different services. Goa’s main post service operates out of the scenic colonial building at the entry of Panjim, the Head Post Office.

Panjim Head Office
Speedpost 9.30am to 4.30 pm; registered letter booking 9.30am to 4.30pm; money orders, postal life insurance and telephone bills 9.30am to 3.30pm; National Savings Certificates 9.30am to 1.30pm and 2pm to 2.30pm). Late evening facilities for speedpost booking are available here from 6pm to 8pm.

Margao Head Office and Vasco
Speedpost and registered letter booking 9pm to 3.30pm.

Mapusa and Calangute
Speedpost 9am to 3pm; registered letter booking 9am to 3pm.

Goa is generally a safe place, but crimes against tourists have been reported sometimes, particularly during the peak season in places like Anjuna. It is important to take care of valuables and passports. Also remember to exchange money only through authorized changers. Driving on Goa’s roads can be hazardous and risky if you’re not used to them and it is advisable to use helmets and seat-belts at all times. Tourists should also be careful while swimming as sometimes the waters can be rough. Swim only during the high tide when the current and waves push you towards the beach. Do not swim near the mouth of a river where currents are strongest. Wear a life-jacket if you do not know how to swim. Make sure a life-guard is present on the beach, and do not venture beyond waist-deep water if you are not a swimmer.

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