Fun Way to Get Around Goa – The Dashing Pilots

If you are alone, and have just gotten off at the Panjim bus stand, and are wondering how to get around Goa, have no fear.

The dashing pilots are there.

Hello from Mr. Pilot!

Hello from Mr. Pilot!

No, the pilots do not have ANYTHING to do with airplanes or any other aviation related machinery. Proudly astride yellow colored motorbikes, these gentlemen will carry you swiftly to your destination. This gentleman happily posed for me at Panjim bus stand.

In Goa, the yellow color on the bike’s (or scooter’s or moped’s) number plate signifies that the bike (or scooter or moped) is for tourists. You’ll see this on bikes for rent, for example, as you can see on this lovely bike (my only long term relationship in Goa). She’s an Avenger and a lady, and if I ride her again, we’ll have to think of a name.

My lady in red

My lady in red

So back to the pilots. They can take you from Panjim to anywhere close by, like Dona Paula, Miramar, Candolim, Calangute (highlighted in blue in the map below). These are the popular areas, so I would recommend renting your own bike from here, if you want to go further to other places like Baga, Anjuna.

Place around Panjim highlighted in blue

Place around Panjim highlighted in blue

The pilots are pretty decent for the distances to the blue highlighted places. Any further and it becomes cost prohibitive/expensive. They should ideally charge around Rs. 100-110 (US$ 2-3) for distances upto 10km, which is more reasonable than auto-rickshaws in Goa, who charge Rs. 60-70 for 3-4km! My friend from Goa say Panjim to Mapusa (12km) is typically Rs.100(US$2), and a return journey (Panjim-Mapusa-Panjim) would be around Rs. 150.

However, its not recommended to go piloting, if you are carrying a lot of luggage (2-3 heavy bags). It’s cool if you have just your back pack and 1-2 light bags. 

Enjoy your pilot experience when you come to Goa, its one of those typical Goan things. It’s a fun way to get around Goa.

And here’s a sweet goodbye from our dashing pilot at Panjim.

Goodbye from Mr. Pilot

Goodbye from Mr. Pilot

Susegad! – About Goa and its flavours

Susegad!

That apparently does not mean good sausage, as I thought when I first came about it.

Derived from the Portuguese word ‘sossegado’, it is understood to mean a state of relaxed contentment which is often attributed to this beautiful land of coconuts, cashew trees and beaches.

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Lazy Sunday at Candolim beach

It has been nearly a month since the inception of this blog and I have not yet introduced you to the amazing state of Goa. It is my humble privilege to bring the best of this coastal area to your attention.

In ancient times, this place was called Govarashtra, which is a Sanskrit word for “Nation of Cowherds”.  It was ruled by emperor Ashoka as part of the Maurya empire in the 3rd century BC. It came under Portugese rule in 1510 and finally became a part of India in 1961.

This is a short version, and glosses over much of the history of wars, conflicts that inevitably happened here.

Today, Goa is known as a destination for fun and relaxation. Around 2 million people visit Goa every year, drawn by its laid back pace. Most Indians consider it a party destination, ideal for weekend getaways from Mumbai, Delhi and other metros. Foreigners consider it a backpacker destination which is easy on the pocket.

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FTV party at Candolim beach, Dec 30, 2012. Entry US$ 40 and unlimited beer.

Goa is one of the smallest states in India, with a population of only around 1.2 million people. The infrastructure and quality of life are rated as one of the best in all of India. Konkani is the local language, however almost everybody understands English. Important signboards are also in English, and it is very easy and cheap to rent a bike/car/jeep and roam around. A decent bike will cost like US$5 (INR 270) per day to rent. And you can negotiate for a cheaper rate if you are hiring it for a longer period.

May is the hottest month, with temperature reaching a peak of 35 °C (95 °F). You can see more weather related info on links given at the bottom of this post.

So nearly 500,000 party goers descend on Goa every year, with the top markets being UK, Russia, Germany, Finland and France. I had a little fun with the latest available figures given on the Goa tourism website (www.goatourism.gov.in/statistics) and put them down for you over here.

Top 5 nations of partying tourists coming to Goa and the total tourist arrivals in Goa from 2006-11:

Goa partygoers 2010-11

Nations partying through 2010-11

Visitors to Goa from 2006-11

Visitors to Goa from 2006-11

Kidding about the partying, many people come for yoga, relaxation and meditation as well. In fact there’s a great place called Yogamagic which I can’t wait to check out. It is an eco retreat offering yoga packages and healthy food. Check out their website here.

Goa is easy to get to from Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore. I had no problems booking a flight here from Delhi, and nowadays you can get air tickets really cheap, there are a lot of promotional offers going on. Check them out here.

I will be going to Bangalore this weekend from Goa via bus, so will let you know how the connectivity and service works out. As per redbus.in (online bus booking service), the fares as of March 2013 are around US$10-15 (INR 500-900) for a one way trip. A guy’s gotta rest from all the partying!!!

This blog is under constant evolution, and I am going to keep adding useful updates about everything Goan.

Do let me know if you have any questions regarding stay, travel, and I will do my best to assist you as per my personal knowledge and experience.

Some useful Goa links:

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/india/goa

http://www.goatourism.gov.in/

http://www.goatourism.gov.in/statistics