Ah the exhilarating, exasperating mayhem of Mumbai, with its magnificent seafront buildings, lively Chowpatty Beach, the cave temples of Elephanta Island and some of India’s finest restaurants, bars and boutiques – all sprinkled with a dash of Bollywood sparkle. From here it makes perfect sense to head south from Mumbai to Goa for a spot of relaxation at India’s balmiest palm-shaded, white-sanded beach resorts.
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Where do I start?
You have multiple options for travelling between Mumbai and Goa. You can fly from Mumbai to Goa in under 90 minutes; while train, car, taxi and bus take much longer. If you can snag a cheap flight, this is a great option if you’re short on time or don’t fancy a long trip.
See all the details here:
How to get from Mumbai to Goa by plane: route map and schedules
How to get from Mumbai to Goa by bus: route map and schedules
How to get from Mumbai to Goa by train: route map and schedules
How to get from Mumbai to Goa by road: route map and schedules
What’s the cheapest way to get from Mumbai to Goa?
The bus is the cheapest, but it’s also the least comfortable and longest option. There are lots of private operators offering differing degrees of comfort, eg, non-AC, AC deluxe, AC super-deluxe, reflected in the price. Don’t expect any of them to be particularly ‘super deluxe’.
Journeys in AC tourist coaches are cheap and the seating is relatively comfortable compared to cheaper teeth-janglers, which have harder seats, are more cramped and will rattle you to your destination. Many journeys are overnight, but roads are chaotic, and although tourist-style deluxe sleepers have drawer-like bunk beds with little curtains, it’s not going to be a comfortable night.
Buses run direct to various Goa locations. For example, travel to Panjim from Mumbai’s Lokmanya Tilak Terminus Station, or Mapusa, Panjim or Madgaon in Goa from various pickup points in Mumbai (including around the touristy district of Colaba and Dadar Railway Station). Find the best route for you at Rome2rio.
Where can I buy bus tickets?
Redbus is a handy online bus portal run by multiple private and state operators (Make My Trip is another option). You can also just buy tickets at the bus station, but for peace of mind, it’s better to book ahead. Reputable local agents will also book tickets for you for a small fee – ask around for recommendations of reliable operators.
What’s the best option to get from Mumbai to Goa?
Although the bus may be cheap, we recommend taking the train instead: it’s doesn’t cost much more but is a far more comfortable way to travel.
Mumbai’s main train station is the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), but trains to Goa also leave from Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) among other places. Trains are direct from Mumbai to stops in the Goa region, but you’ll usually have to get further transport – a bus or taxi – to get to a particular beach or town.
Goa’s main train station is Madgaon, in south Goa. Get the train to Pernem station to access beautiful Mandrem beach in the north; Karmali (Old Goa) station for the laidback state capital Panjim and its Portuguese architecture; Thivim for Mapusa and north Goa beaches; and Canacona station for traveller favourite Palolem in south Goa.
Mumbai LTT to Pernem station
Mumbai LTT to Karmali (Old Goa) station
Mumbai CST to Thivim
Mumbai LTT to Canacona station
Mumbai CST to Karmali (Old Goa) station
Dadar Central to Madgaon station
Which train should I choose?
Indian Railways, India’s national rail operator, runs all the trains on the Konkan Railway Line that runs from Mumbai to Goa. If you’re looking for comfort and speed, the top-of-the-range Shatabdi train (which runs during the day, from Dadar Central to Madgaon in south Goa) is a good option on this route – but your choice will usually come down to what’s the best timing. Express and Mail trains are more ordinary, but still pretty comfortable if you pay a bit more for the upper classes, such as 1A, 2A or CC.
There is a bewildering variety of train classes, but there are usually only a few different levels on offer, varying according to the type of train. As Mumbai to Goa can take around 10+ hours, we recommend the overnight train so you can sleep through at least some of the journey. One of the better options is the Konkankanya Express, which leaves from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus to Madgaon, via Pernem and Thivim. Your best bet is to book a sleeper either in 1A, 2A, 3A or plain old sleeper (SL). The last, the cheapest, comes without bedding (take your own sheet sleeping bag), windows that open, and is a bit more crowded. Your ticket will have the number of your carriage and seat on it, so you just have to match that up with the correct carriage.
1A: AC first class: comfortable bunks, include bedding
2A: AC two-tier: two levels of bunks, include bedding
3A: AC three-tier: three levels of bunks, include bedding
EC: Executive chair car: AC seating coach with large padded seats
CC: AC chair car: Comfortable padded seating
SL: Sleeper class: 3-tier berths but with no AC (but the windows open)
2S: Second seater: similar to CC, but without AC (again, windows open)
UR: Unreserved general class: cheapest option, no AC, windows open; busy
How do I buy a train ticket?
Book online via the Indian Railways site, or in person at stations or local travel agents.
If you want to book on the Indian Railways site, you’ll need to register first. International mobile numbers are accepted (you’ll need to use a correct phone and email as you have to verify both). If your foreign postcode is not accepted, enter a random six-digit number. There is a small fee for anyone with a foreign phone number, which you pay when first logging in. Visa and Mastercard are both accepted.
It’s advisable to buy your ticket as far in advance as you can (booking opens 120 days before the journey), as this is a popular route and will fill up fast. Unless you’re booking general/unreserved seating, you’ll pay a small reservation fee (up to around 50 rupees) to book your seat on top of the ticket price. If you book online, make sure to print out your ticket for the journey.
Some trains have a Tourist Quota, which allows foreigners a chance at a reservation on these popular routes in case the general ticketing is full. If the train is full, you can join a waitlist (check your ticket: if it says ‘WL’ it means you don’t yet have a reservation), and you’ll usually get on if you’re not too far down the list. If you don’t get a place, you’ll be able to get a refund.
Can I drive from Mumbai to Goa?
Self-drive is an option, but not for the faint-hearted as traffic and driving conditions in India are nothing like those in Europe. More people opt for the affordable option of hiring a car and driver, which will give you the option of stopping at as many places as you like on the way down to Goa. Or you can hit the road, Easy Rider-style. There are plenty of motorbike companies offering bike hire or purchase in Mumbai
Rush hour on the trains and roads in Mumbai is pretty much all day, starting from around 6am to 8pm, though traffic is lighter on all transport from around 11am to 4pm. Start early to avoid getting snarled up.
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