Buses are by far the cheapest and best way to get around Goa. We took advice from a travel agent on how to get from Calangute to Palolem beach in the south. We had to take 3 seperate buses and thought this would be a bit of a nightmare, not at all, every changeover you ask a station boy where the next stance is and he will run in front shouting at you to hurry and lo and behold the next bus is there. The conductors on the buses have a whistling communication with the driver, whistled in different `keys` to let the driver know when to stop, start etc. The journey took us 4 hours but it was so entertaining it was not at all boring. We were even sold oranges through the bus window whilst stuck in traffic. The whole journey cost about 150 rupees for both of us about 2 pounds! Great day and good way to see the country. The locals on the bus were so friendly if not a bit curious about us. Everyone was helpful.
If you're single or Couples then best way to explore Goa is via bike. And if ask how it is possible then I would say -- Bike Hire -- You are free to choose from scootes, bikes & Enfield.
In peak season the rental price will be around -
Scooter -Rs 300
Bike - Rs 400-450
Enfield - Rs 500 & above.
It is necessary to check the legal documents & papers of the hired bikes. Unauthorized bike rental is illegal in GOA
Taxis are everwhere in Goa they will find you they are inexpensive and they will take you just about anywhere,that includes further a field e.g the waterfalls , palolem or any other beach in the region and wait for you all in the cost. Always a agree price. you will probably find you may use the same driver during most of your stay.The buses are mad they get packed and are hustle and bustle but fun.Preffered choice is motor scooter A to B its up to me. Petrol is cheap aswell. Pomp your horn when you overtake another road user ...The trains I believe are a must,very popular and you will probably find you will need to book a seat in advance of your visit to Goa, on the internet. I am going by train Goa to Hampi in April and booked my tickets on the internet.Its fairly simple. www.seat61.com is a good site for information on indian rail for beginners.
The best way to xplore Goa on your own is on a two wheeler. U can get either a scooter(geared as well as ungeared-- the latter being the more popular and easy to use) or the relatively heavier motorcycles. I got the gearless Honda Activa scooter for Rs 250 bucks a day without fuel.. I guess if you are hiring for a long time.. more than 2-3 days you can bargain off say another 50 bucks from it.
The bikes are available all around once u are on the road. Usually the taxi guys keep the numbers of people who have bikes available for hire.. I think out of the Rs 250 per day that I paid 50 bucks would have gone to him. Heres a mobile number of one of the guys who rents his own scooter.. maybe you can get a better deal.. 09764269014.. Pratap(name)
These light scooters ride about 30-40 km on 1 litre of petrol. So fuel it according to needs. Usually..the guys renting it to you would give it to you almost empty.. at times just enuf to reach the gas station:-)
Gas stations are at pretty distances(by Goan standards). For instance theres no gas station at Candolim/Calungate the two most touristy places in Goa. Theres one about 5 km from Candolim and theres one which is close to Vagator. Prices are around Rs 45 for a litre or about $1.1 per litre.. its also available at some shops in bottles who obviously charge more(abt Rs 60 or $1.5 a litre) and are half spurious... mixed with other fuels(not gud for the engine)
A lot of people take the train to Goa.. There are 2-3 train stations and if you need to take a taxi theres a pre paid counter which is sort of reasonable.
However if you are taking pre paid taxi from "inside" you are getting a bad deal. We took a taxi from inside the airport.. pre paid with the guys screaming to get attention of passengers to be fooled.. They charged us Rs 850 one way from airport to Candolim.. abt 45-50 km or I hour journey. This we later found to be 30-35% more than what we bargained while getting from Candolim to airport on our return journey. The only difference was a relatively better car while going to Candolim but an atrocius driver, the guy just didnt listen to us.. he was in such a hurry that atleast 3-4 times we felt our holiday is ending even before it started with a road accident. The driver's name was Salauddin(short guy somewhat dark with specs).. if you end up with him just make sure you let him go and take another one. I think the better option while getting down to town from airport is to go out and take one of the black and yello taxis which I am sure would charge at least 100-150 bucks($2.5-3.75 less).
From Candolim general taxi guys would ask for about Rs 750 but can be easily bargained down to Rs 650 for an airport drop.. if you drive harder you may be able to knock off another 50-100 bucks I think.
Taxis in Goa are cheap; and the price of a ride is always agreed upon before departure. You can either arrange for the driver to take you one-way only, or to wait for you and then take you back (hourly fee for waiting is approx. Rs 15.-)
I find that this system works well, because the drivers have no reason to take "the stupid tourist" the long-way around! By the time you've been in Goa for 2-3 days, you'll know the approximate "fair fare" for certain distances... you can't blame them for trying to make you pay more, and I don't mind giving a tip, but if you are not sure and if the price seems waaaay to high, ask the staff at your hotel for advice.
And don't worry too much about the crazy driving style of your taxi guy... everyone drives that way, so he's no exception!
Some useful expressions:
Sida - Straight.
Ruko - Stop.
Kitna? - How much?
Bilkul Nahi - Absolutely Not.
Nahi Mangtha - I don't want.
The local buses charge around Goa...and you can get anywhere by bus. They are often packed...but are incredibly cheap...and you get to mix with the locals. Calangute to Arpora 4 rupees; Calangute to Mapusa 7 rupees; Calangute to Panjim 15 rupees.
We found that most big hotels in Goa, have a taxi service. It costs around £15 to hire an air-conditioned taxi for the day. We used this extensively during our stay, it is a great way see things, and remain in relative comfort
If you are not in a mood for riding a bike or bicycle, and taxi is too expensive for you, take a local bus. The rates are very low (10 rupees or so), people are friendly.
Learn about the bus schedule, rates and the nearest bus stop from the reception of your hotel or just from local people.
You can rent a taxi for specified tour or you can rent a taxi for a whole day at your hotel desk. For the ones good with directions, you can rent a self driven car though you should know that in india driving is on the left side of the road, and the more adventerous ones can rent a motorcycle.
If you happen to be travelling solo (like most of us). You can avoid having to pay for a taxi from the airport/ station/bus stand to your hotel.
If all you have is a back pack you can jump on a taxi bike.
The riders are called pilots and they will take you anywhere in goa you'd like for atleast 1/3 what a taxi would cost.
The best part is you get to take in the sights sounds and smells of goa without sitting in some pissy taxi with tacky upholstery.
Goa, to my hearts delight is a very biker friendly place. You have old school british marquees and newer japanese machines.
There are a lot of places to rent bikes from. You will definately be approached for "two wheels for hire". The ball park figures as of 2006-2007 are:
Motorcycle / scooter - 150 a day
Royal Enfield Bullet - 300-500
During peak season you can expect the prices to double.
Firstly: do not book a tour from the hotel for this trip. See a local taxi driver (or 3) and negotiate a price. You are basically taking the driver for the entire day as it takes a good 2 1/2 hours to get to Dhudsagar. Leave early 8am.
Also try to visit the Spice Plantation on the way back, lunch is included and you take a very informative tour of the spice gardens for Rs300 each.. very beautiful place, you will see elephants here too.
Public transport is really fast and good in Goa, but most tourists only get around to trying it out after they have visited Goa more than 3 times.
You can take a bus from Baga beach to Mapusa for Rs7, thats a huge reduction of the Rs300 you may pay if you hired a taxi.
Even going into Panaji (Panjim) the Capitol city, you can pay less than Rs10/- each way. Taxis have been known to charge Rs 5-600/- return journey. Small distances like Arpora to Calangute are usually Rs 5/- each way.
Taxi drivers will tell you that Petrol has increased..this is true, but taxis in Goa are still hugely over priced.
If you are a single traveller, then consider taking the motorbike pilot taxi's..hiring a pilot is a cheaper solution than auto rickshaw (you are sometimes charged the same as taxi) or taxi.
What makes a good taxi driver in Goa?? How about an honest, learned, good, hard working, reliable family man??
If these things are important to you too then call Kishor who was our taxi driver for the duration of our holiday. We found him on the first night at his usual point outside the Osbourne Resort in Calangute and we really taken by his refreshingly honest and kind approach. Unlike some of the other drivers who want to take you to where THEY want to take and are rather pushy with it, Kishor gave advice, honest and fair rates and kept a clean and safe taxi. He took us on all our escapades and shopping trips and was always on hand to give us "price guides" for our barttering! Kishor was always happy to wait for us in his taxi untill we were ready to go or he would come back and collect us.....he never left us stranded!
Highly reccommended!! His number plate is GA-01-v-1570