Goa Bus – Easy Guide for Road Travel in Goa
Goa, although a tiny state in the Indian subcontinent, receives a huge number of tourists every time. A favorite party destination of vacationers – all thanks to the sun, sand, and sea – Goa is often regarded as the pocket-sized paradise. Since the distance between popular tourist destinations is relatively short, most vacationers prefer taking a cab or hiring a two-wheeler to travel.
But, if you are not sure about driving on the Indian roads or just want to explore Goan culture a bit more than boarding a Goa bus comes highly recommended, most of the travelers indeed prefer car instead of boarding a bus. However, their defense – they are not aware of the ways Indian buses run.
Although, somewhat chaotic – especially to a first-time visitor to Goa – the entire system is not that complicated. This write-up is dedicated to helping you understand the Goa bus system better so that you can travel in confidence.
Why board a bus in Goa?
If you have fared so far in this write-up, then you might be wondering as to why you should board a bus instead of taking a cab. Here are the few reasons:
1. Pocket-friendly Way
Usually, Goa bus tickets cost around 10 INR to 40 INR, and that too on an express bus - where passengers can have a seat (a novelty in the Indian bus) and minimum stops. On the other hand, cabs or two-wheelers might prove much more expensive.
2. Good Connectivity
The Goa bus network has good connectivity to major tourist attractions and the popular beaches, connecting almost every corner of the state. Although, scheduling these buses is a bit difficult, but once you board them you will reach your destination.
How to take buses in Goa?
There are two types of buses available in the state – one operated by the State Transport, while the other one is privately owned. Privately owned buses, usually make a stop at the mid-journey to pick up more passengers.
In Goa, there are designated bus stops for boarding and getting out of the bus. But what if you are standing on the road, away from the designated bus-stop?
Don’t worry. Just raise your hand towards the incoming Goa bus. In all probability, the bus will stop (there are exceptions though). If the bus stops, ask the conductor whether the bus is heading towards your destination. If not, the conductor will direct you towards the right Goa bus.
After boarding the bus, find an empty seat and sit down immediately. There are few seats available for senior citizens, women and differently-able passengers, so sit accordingly. If you do not find a seat, you might have to remain standing till the nearest seat becomes available. Generally, Goa bus conductor would approach you to buy a ticket for your journey.
Main Bus Stations in Goa
Some of the biggest bus stations in the state are Margao (Madgaon), Mapusa, Vasco da Gama, Panjim, and Canacona. Being the hub of bus networks, your chances of catching a bus towards your next destination in Goa is higher. At the bus depot, you can ask any conductor for direction and other helpful information.
These conductors are a huge relief in a heavily crowded station when you are looking for your next bus.
Getting towards Popular Tourist Attractions with Goa Bus
Palolem Beach - 62.0 km/38.5 miles from Dabolim Airport
Travel time- 1h 27min
Head towards, Margao and then, board a bus for either Canacona or Palolem beach. From the Canacona bus station (approximately 3 kilometers/ 1.86 miles) you can either opt for motorcycle taxi or auto-rickshaw to reach the beach.
P.S: The motorcycle taxis are comparatively cheaper than cars or auto-rickshaws.
Elephant Bathing / Spice Plantations
42 km (26.1 miles)
Travel time- 1h 1min
Approximate fare - INR 1,000-1,100
First head towards Panjim or Margao and get on a Goa bus to Ponda. For the next leg of the journey (which is at least a few kilometers/miles long), you can get on an app-based taxi, motorcycle taxi, or auto rickshaw. You can also walk the remaining distance.
The nearby spice plantations Tropical Spice Plantation and Sahakari Spice Farm are well-known for their natural beauty. You can also catch the glimpse of elephants relaxing at the nearby waterholes. You might even get a chance to bathe these giant beasts with the help of professional elephant trainers or mahouts.
Panjim to Calangute Beach (15.3km/9.5 miles)
Travel time- 30min
Approximate fare - INR 430-550
There are direct buses from Panjim to Calangute. You can board any of these four-wheelers from the Panjim bus depot.
Panjim to Baga Beach
Distance- 17.3km (10.53 miles)
Travel time- 33min
Approximate fare - INR 450-600
Board a Panjim to Baga beach or Calangute Goa bus from the Panjim bus depot to reach the destination.
Panjim to Anjuna Beach
Distance- 21km (13 miles)
Travel time- 37min
Approximate fare - INR 500-650
For Anjuna Beach, get on a Panjim-Mapusa Bus. At Mapusa, get on a bus to Anjuna. The bus would drop your very close to the beach. You can either walk or hire a tuk-tuk.
Panjim to Vagator Beach
Distance- 19.9km (12.9 miles)
Travel time- 33min
Approximate fare - INR 441-500
To reach Vagator, you will have to get on a Panjim-Mapusa Bus. Get down at Mapusa, from where you will get several buses to Vagator.
Madgaon to Calangute Beach, Baga Beach
Distance- (48.8 km, 30.3 miles), (52.7km, 32.7 miles)
Travel time- 1h 20min, 1h 29min
Approximate fare - INR 2,400-2,600, INR 957-1,000
To reach Calangute or Baga beach from Madgaon, you have to board a bus to Panaji first. From Panaji, you can board either express or regular buses for your destination. Since Baga Beach is close to Calangute, you can take walk the remaining distance.
Madgaon to Anjuna Beach, Vagator Beach
Distance- (56.4km, 35.0miles), (55.3km, 34.3 miles)
Travel time- 1h 33min, 1h 28min
Approximate fare - INR 1,400-1,800
To reach Anjuna Beach, first, you have to take a Goa bus from Madgaon to Panjim. At Panjim, board a bus to Mapusa, and from Mapusa, you can take the Anjuna Bus. For your Vagator Trip, you have to travel till Mapusa (in a similar fashion on your trip to Anjuna Beach) and from their board a bus to Vagator.
Few Things to Remember while Taking a Bus
1. A huge percentage of buses in Goa are old and do not have any air-conditioning. Also, the rides might be bumpy.
2. Local buses become irregular in the latter part of the evening, so if you are planning on traveling through the bus remember to head out early.
3. Goa bus trips are ideal for solo travelers, but for group travelers or family vacationers getting a taxi is recommended.
Exploring this tiny Indian state one a miss is an adventure, you should not miss it. Do visit Goa, and head on an exciting quest.