ARRIVING IN GOA
can reach Goa by air, train, bus or road.
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.
Panjim is also home to GSAs (general sales agents) of many prominent
European, Gulf, Far-East, African and other airlines.
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.
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
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 (findall-goa.com)
is available free of cost and supported by Goa tourism. Get Copies
from the newsstand, bookshops or from the offices of Goa Tourism.
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.
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.
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.
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.
CONSULATES AND HIGH COMMISSIONS
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
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
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
Pre-paid taxis are available from Dabolim Airport.
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.
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.
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.
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
has a total of 107 post offices, including two head offices at
Panjim and Margao. It also has 151 small branch post offices in
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
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.
Office and Vasco
Speedpost and registered letter booking 9pm to 3.30pm.
Speedpost 9am to 3pm; registered letter booking 9am to 3pm.
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.