You can travel Goa by many ways. You can either board a flight to reach the state or go by rail, road or by sea.
I mostly prefer traveling to Goa by rail and road. I love those small towns and villages along the entire route.
I do travel by flight when a trip is for a short period.
So, what about you ?... which travel method you would prefer ?
Let’s find in detail about each traveling method.
Travel Goa by Air
Goa is well linked by airline services to most major cities in India. All flights, national and international, to and from Goa, operate from Dabolim Airport at Dabolim, near Vasco da Gama.
The international gateway for Goa is Mumbai. There are both scheduled and chartered international flights. It is important that you should re-confirm all flights about 24 hours prior to departure and check individual airlines about the latest information.
Usually, most major international airlines have an agreement with one or more of India's domestic airlines so that visitors from abroad while paying for their international ticket can, simultaneously, book their onward domestic flight in advance.
Most of India's domestic airlines fly to and from Goa from major cities like Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Cochin, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata and Thiruvananthapuram. There are daily flights between Mumbai and Goa. As new routes are added from time to time, it is best to check on websites of airlines to find out the required particulars beforehand.
Recent years have seen an increase in the number of new domestic airlines (such as Kingfisher Airlines and SpiceJet), which has upped competition. Online booking is relatively simple and reliable, but flights to/from Goa fill up fast between December and February.
Following Airlines offer domestic services to travel Goa from various destinations.
- Air Deccan
- Air India
- Air Sahara
- Go Air
- Indian Airlines
- Jet Airways
- Kingfisher Airlines
- Sahara Airlines
Travel Goa by Rail (Train)
Goa has two major railway stations, Margao and Vasco da Gama, which are located in the state's southern area. The South Central Railway terminus is at Vasco da Gama and the Konkan Railway terminus is at Margao, Goa is connected by rail to Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Delhi, Cochin, Chennai (via Karwar) and Mangalore.
A train journey between Mumbai and Panaji generally takes around ten to twelve hours. But the high-speed Konkan Railway has a daily train that does not take more than eight to nine hours for the same journey.
As Goa is popular holiday destination, it can be very difficult to get reservations, especially during peak tourist season. To prevent this, bookings should be made months in advance.
Train Types & Class
There are seven classes on mail and express trains, but not all trains have all classes.
The most basic is 2nd-class seating, which has hard seats; five or six people will cram onto a bench made for three. Then comes 2nd-class sleeper (or sleeper class) which has open carriages where seats are padded and fold down to form three tiers of beds.
Air-con sleepers are comfortable and secure as each carriage has compartments. Bedding (sheets, blanket, pillow) is provided on some classes. The most common are three-tier (six beds in a compartment) and two-tier (four beds). Two-tier air-con is about twice the price of three-tier air-con and 1st-class (two beds) is about double that again. Sleeping berths are only available between 9pm and 6am.
Finally there’s chair car, which is individual reclining seats on certain air-con trains, and 1st class, a more comfortable version of chair car.
With a couple of exceptions, fares are calculated by distance and are fixed regardless of which train you are on and where you are going.
Reservations and Cancellations
The easiest way to reserve a ticket is to stay well away from the station and do it over the Internet through IRCTS. You first need to register on the site.
Tickets are refundable but cancellation fees apply: if you present the ticket more than one day in advance, a fee of Rs. 20 to Rs. 50 applies, depending on the class; up to four hours before departure you lose 25% of the ticket value; and within four hours before and up to three to 12 hours after departure you lose 50%.
At most major stations there’s a separate section in the booking hall dealing with the tourist quota. Only foreigners and nonresident Indians are allowed to use this facility. You must pay in foreign currency (cash or travelers cheque in US dollars or pounds sterling) or with rupees backed up by exchange certificates or ATM receipts. Only a limited number of seats are allocated to tourists, so if you can’t get on it’s worth trying for a normal reservation. When booking any ticket at a train station, you must fill out a reservation form before queuing.
If the train you want is fully booked, it’s often possible to get a Reservation Against Cancellation (RAC) ticket. This entitles you to board the train and have seating. Once the train is moving, the Traveling Ticket Examiner (TTE) will find you a berth. This is different from wait-listed ticket, which does not entitle you to board the train.
Travel Goa from Chennai
A direct Chennai-Vasco da Gama train, the 7311 Chennai-Vasco Express, runs on Friday, departing Chennai at 2pm and arriving in Vasco at 12.45pm the following day. Fares for sleeper/1st-class air-con are around Rs. 350/960.
An alternative from Chennai is to catch the 7pm Chennai-Mangalore Mail to Mangalore (18 hours), then the 2.50pm Matsyaghanda Express (16 hours) to Margao.
In Chennai you can make train reservations on the 1st floor of the Train Reservation Complex, next to Central Station.
Travel Goa from Mumbai
The journey to Goa (Margao) from Mumbai, takes 12 hours. From Mumbai’s Victoria Terminus (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, CST), there’s an overnight 0111 Konkan Kanya Express. It leaves Mumbai at 11pm and arrives in Margao at 10.45am the following morning. Alternatively, the 0103 Mandovi Express leaves daily at 6.55am, reaching Margao at 6.40pm on the same day. Fares on both range from Rs. 150 to 2345. Going to Mumbai, these trains leave at 6pm and 10.10am respectively.
The reservation centre is at the back of Victoria Terminus where the taxis gather. Tourist-quota tickets are available at Counter 52, but can only be bought 24 hours before the date of travel. You can buy tickets (but not tourist-quota tickets) with a Visa or MasterCard upto 60 days in advance.
Another three day trains depart from Lokmanya Tilak station, 16km south of Mumbai’s Victoria Terminus. The best option is the 2051 Jan Shatabdi Express, which departs Mumbai at 5.30am and gets in to Margao at 1.40pm. The 6345 Netravati Express departs at 11.40am and arrives at 10.30pm and the 2619 Matsyagandha Express departs at 2.05pm, arriving at 12.10am.
- Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) – Tickets can be booked online here.
- Indian Railways – The official Indian Railways website
- Train Travel in India – An invaluable resource for train travel information in India
Travel Goa by Road
You can either take a bus or hire a car or van to travel Goa by road, which is connected by good roads to major cities like Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai and Pune. The main highways that connect Goa to the rest of India are NH4A, NH17 and NH17A.
There are buses that ply daily between Goa and other major cities like Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune. These services are operated by state-owned Kadamba Transport Corporation as well as by transport corporations of neighbouring states. Besides, there are many private bus operators who provide various kinds of bus services. These range from special buses to deluxe AC ones.
If you drive down from Mumbai by car, you will travel along the highway by the side of the Konkan coastline. The area is picturesque and you will see many beautiful small towns and villages along the entire route. The road winds itself across mountain ranges, at times through hairpin bends, which add to the charm of the journey.
If you are coming from Mumbai, I would recommend you to travel Goa by car to experience true Goa, you will surely enjoy your journey.
More great destinations can be found in the Explore India page.