Goa a state on India‘s West coast, is a former Portuguese colony with a rich history. Spread over 3,700 square kilometres with a population of approximately 1.8 million, Goa is small by Indian standards. It has a unique mix of Indian and Portuguese cultures and architecture that attracts an estimated 2.5 million visitors each year (including about 400,000 foreign tourists)
Travel Guide Goa
Since the 1960s, Goa has been attracting a steady flow of visitors — first the hippies and returning expatriate Goans, then the charter tourists (starting with the Germans in 1987), pilgrims visiting Catholic and Hindu shrines, those opting to settle in Goa as their home, people going for medical treatment, and a growing number of those who attend seminars and conferences in Goa.
Goa has a more than its fair share of museums, art galleries and libraries. You will find many government run museums in Panaji, including the Goa State museum, the Kala Academy, the Central Library and the Goa Science Centre. In Vasco da Gama, you can find the Naval Aviation Museum, a great place to see vintage aircraft.
Old Goa is a great place to see examples of Christian religious art, and sometimes, secular art. There you can find the Christian Art Museum and also a modern art gallery containing the works of surrealist Dom Martin. In Mormugao, you can find the Religious Museum of the Blessed Joseph Vaz. The Xavier Centre of Historical Research at Bardez also has a gallery on Christian Art.
Attracted by Goa’s bohemian life, many artists, painters and architects have made their home here. They too have proceeded to set up art galleries and museums. An example of this is Subodh Kerkar’s art gallery in Candolim. Benaulim also has the Goa Chitra Museum, containing the largest collection of ethnographic artifacts ever assembled in one place.
In recent years, Goa has developed as India’s creative hub, attracting also more contemporary artists, designers and creative coders and engineers. In this context, India’s first Museum for Technology and Art, called chose Goa as its location. This museum features new media, light and sound installations, Virtual Reality applications and unique space design across 700sqm indoors and 1000sqm outdoors. This digital playground for all ages is located in Badem, Assagao, between Vagator and Chapora.
Other museums of note are Gerard da Cunha’s architectural museum Houses of Goa in Benaulim, Big Foot(aka Ancestral Goa) at Loutolim, Salcette, an attempt to illustrate and recreate Goa’s traditional past. There’s even a vintage-cars collection of sorts — Ashvek Vintage World, in Nuvem, Salcette
Travel Guide Goa
The best time of the year to visit Goa is mid-November to mid-February when the weather is comfortable, dry and pleasant.
- Panaji (Panjim, also referred to a Ponn’je in Konkani, and earlier called Pangim and Nova Goa during Portuguese rule) – the state capital
- Old Goa, home of famed sixteenth century churches, convents and monuments
Wild life sanctuaries and others
- Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary has sambar, gaur (Indian bison) and wild boar, amongst other animals. Elephants have also been spotted here at times.
- Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary
- Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
- Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary
- Dudh Sagar Waterfall
The Dabolim airport in Vasco da Gama is Goa’s only airport. Some airlines fly directly to Goa, but most international flights arrive via Mumbai. Air India has international flights to Kuwait and UAE twice a week. Air Arabia has discount flights to Sharjah. Qatar Airways has flights to Doha, along with convenient connections to Western Europe, Africa and USA.
On arrival, take pre-paid taxis from Dabolim Airport. A yellow pre-paid taxi booth can be found 30 metres on the left when you exit the main building. There is also a pre-paid taxi stand in the international arrival area.
- Official Govt Rate Taxi Board (Official Govt Rate Taxi Board), (Taxi Board is just outside arrivals), Those who want to make the trip to their hotel before the supplied coach may like to go by taxi, Just outside arrivals there is a taxi board showing rates for all the popular destinations (see link). Another option is to find a taxi just outside the airport gates who might be on their way home and save yourself a few hundred rupees. Official Govt Rate (2013). edit
Many resorts pick up guests from the airport for free, so make sure you ask your resort for free pick-up.
There are several bus routes from various cities, but most traffic is from mainly Mumbai and Pune. Due to increasing demand from the south, there has been an increase in buses and trains from Mangalore and Bangalore. Overnight buses from Mumbai to Goa are an alternative to trains and flying. Book in advance during the crowded seasons (particularly during the Christmas-New Year rush, for Carnival, or when other Indian regions have school holidays when families travel).
Kadamba Transport Corporation is the Goa state-run transport service. Its buses have seen better days, and more efficient times. There are also other state-run buses run by the governments of Karnataka (some services are efficient, specially the Volvo buses), Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh. Many private players also offer bus connections to other cities, with varying levels of discounts and efficiency, with the two usually being inversely related.
The main centre for booking train and bus tickets, in Panjim, is around the Kadamba inter-state bus terminus. Tickets for the Konkan Railway can also be booked here, though expect long queues during the holiday season (which in India, can also coincide with the timings when children have a school break).
Goa with direct train services from Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Mangalore, Kochi, Kolkata, Thiruvanantapuram, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. The destination station is usually Madgaon in South Goa, one can also choose to get down at Thivim in North Goa. Travelling to Goa by train is a real pleasure as the route passes through greenery and many tunnels. Goa is also connected to Pune via the Belgaum Miraj line.
A railway station most tourists tend to miss is Thivim, which is served by most trains and is located very close to the popular beaches of North Goa. In case one had already booked a hotel, it would be a good idea to consult them on which station to get down at.
For budget travellers, this is the cheapest option, along with being faster and much more comfortable than travelling by road. It is advisable for tourists to make reservations well in advance as the major trains (Konkan Kanya, Nethravati Express, etc.) are usually heavily booked.
Trains from Mumbai and most other places have a quota of seats set aside for tourists. Quota tickets must be purchased in person at the rail station by the tourist and cannot be booked via a travel agent. Note that quota tickets are only sold at the station of origin. Tickets can be booked
Unless travelling on a shoestring budget, it is advisable to travel in air conditioned sleeper coaches. These are quieter and much more comfortable. Each bunk is provided with two freshly laundered sheets, a blanket, and a pillow. You can also have a hand towel on request.