During my last trip to Goa I met a solo female traveler from Brazil waiting at the ticket counter at Vasco da Gama to buy a public shuttle bus ticket to go to Panjim. She had arrived at Vasco from Goa’s Dabolim airport on another public bus. It seemed unusual because I generally see foreign tourists arriving at Dabolim airport either hopping onto their ‘pick-up’ vehicles or taking prepaid taxis to get to their hotels. This lady was different so I asked her why? She said, ‘there are always hundreds of people working at airports. So do they all take taxis to come to work or go back afterwards? There have to be public buses for them and obviously those buses can also be used by tourists’. That was very sound logic and I felt ashamed that I had come to learn of this only after paying a lot of money to taxi drivers to travel between Goa airport and Panjim city. of course now I use public buses only and I feel that all my fellow travelers should do the same unless they are carrying too much luggage. Consider the difference in the cost: INR 670 for a taxi ride and just INR 45 per person for a bus ride. In this page, I will tell you all that you need to do to make this trip on public buses both ways – to and from Dabolim airport. Once you reach Panjim Bus Stand, there are public buses to go anywhere in Goa, like Calangute, Baga, Candolim, Dona Paula, Miramar, etc.
*Read about a government direct bus started in 2017 from the airport to Calangute via Panjim at the bottom of this article.
Public Bus From Goa’s Dabolim Airport to Panjim City
There are two ways to do this. One can take a public bus from Dabolim airport to go to a nearby place called Chikalim (pronounced Chikaali or Chikhli) and from there take another public bus to Panjim City’s Kadamba Bus Stand. The other option is to first take a public bus to Vasco da Gama Bus Stand and taking a non-stop shuttle bus from there to Panjim. I will tell about both the options here but first the pros and cons. In case you decide to go to Chikalim first, the first leg of your trip is quicker. Chikalim is very close. But the second leg will be slower because the bus that you get from Chikalim to go to Panjim will take longer by stopping at many places en route. On the other hand, Dabolim airport to Vasco takes about 30 minutes or more but from there you get a non-stop shuttle bus (last bus at 7.00pm) to Panjim that takes you to Kadamba Bus Stand in about half an hour. And as a bonus, you always get a seat in the shuttle bus whereas the ‘local’ bus that you take from Chikalim may be too crowded.
Dabolim Airport to Vasco da Gama Bus Stand
After you collect your bags and come out of the airport, turn right and walk up to the end of the airport platform. When the public road begins, immediately turn left and you will see a few public buses parked, all going to Vasco. See the picture above. Board the one that already has people sitting and waiting in it. These buses usually have a waiting time of up to 15 minutes at the airport and as long as the scheduled flights arrive, buses going towards Vasco are available here. You can keep your bags next to the driver’s seat or keep them along but try and sit in the back row. Per person fare from the airport to Vasco Bus Stand is INR 8 but if you do not tender exact change, the conductor will keep INR 10. The bus is usually almost empty at the airport but fills up on the way. Vasco Bus Stand is the last stop for this bus so there will be no difficulty in getting down.
Shuttle Bus From Vasco da Gama to Panjim’s Kadamba Bus Stand
After getting down at Vasco Bus Stand, you need to turn right from the main road. In case of doubt, ask someone for directions to the shuttle bus counter. It is a 2 minute walk from here. Going towards the shuttle bus counter, you will see a square with a statue in the middle as in the above picture.
Once you find this shuttle bus counter, buy a ticket to Panjim that costs INR 37 per person. It is better to tender exact change but the staff at the counter are helpful and will most likely return change to you. The staff at the counter will tell you which bus to board. There are no seat numbers so you can sit anywhere. A window seat will be better if available. The non-stop ride from here to Panjim will take about 30 minutes. This shuttle service is available everyday up to 7.00pm.
Public Bus from Goa’s Dabolim Airport to Chikalim
Instead of taking the first left from the airport platform, take the second left to go to Chikalim. Public buses going towards Chikalim are generally waiting here but if there is no bus, wait for a few minutes and a bus will come. The ride to Chikalim from the airport takes 5-10 minutes and costs INR 8 or 10.
Chikalim Bus Stand to Panjim City
Find the bus stop shown in the above picture and wait. Soon a bus going towards Panjim (Panaji) will show up. This bus costs INR 20 per person and takes 45 minutes to one hour. Sometimes, if there is no seat available, you may have to stand. Better not take this route if you are carrying heavy bags.
Public Bus From Kadamba Bus Stand Panjim to Goa’s Dabolim Airport
Go to the ‘Intrastate’ side of Kadamba Bus Stand and ask at the Inquiry Counter or someone else for ‘Vasco Shuttle Counter’. You will need to go to the shuttle counter as shown in the above picture. Buy a ticket (INR 37 per person) and ask the counter staff about the bus number. The buses are parked right next to the counter. You will always get a seat in the bus. Start the trip from Panjim at least three hours before the scheduled departure time of your flight. The last shuttle from Kadamba to Vasco leaves at 7.30pm.
Two Options – Via Chikalim or Via vasco
The shuttle bus going from Panjim to Vasco will go via Chikalim bus stand so you will have the option of saving time by getting down at Chikalim and taking an airport bus from here.
When your bus going to Vasco reaches Chikalim area, you will see sign boards of business establishments and banks, etc. saying ‘Chikalim’. It is most likely that some other passengers too will get down at the Chikalim stop so you will not miss it. If in doubt ask a fellow passenger. Get down at Chikalim and find the bus stand shown in the Chikalim picture earlier in this page. You will need to cross the road. This is the same bus stand from where you will get a bus going towards Panjim but that bus will go straight on the road while the bus going to the airport will turn right after leaving the bus stand. The fare from here to the airport is INR 8 or 10. These buses usually go to some other places via the airport so airport will not be the last stop. You will see the big airport building when the bus gets near it. You are dropped on one side of the road and that requires hauling your bags through a bit of traffic (managed) to cross towards the airport but there is not much walking involved.
From Vasco da Gama Bus Stand
If you did not get down at Chikalim, go all the way to Vasco Bus Stand. From here, again go towards the shuttle bus counter but before you reach the ticket counter, you will see these buses parked on one side of the road along a vegetable/fruit market. Some of these buses will have sign boards saying ‘Vasco to Bogmalo Via Airport’ or something like that. If it says ‘via airport’, you can board the bus. Ask the bus staff or another passenger to confirm that the bus will go to the airport. The funny thing is that this bus may also go to the airport via Chikalim, the bus stop that you left behind. The fare is INR 8 or 10 and this ride may take 30 minutes or more because the bus staff are in no hurry. But they will drop you right in front of the airport.
If all of the above sounds complicated to you, just take a taxi. A non-A.C. taxi between Panjim and Dabolim airport should not cost more than INR 870. An A.C. taxi should cost INR 921 and no more. Also read: Prepaid Taxi Service From Dabolim Airport Goa and Prepaid Taxi From Panjim City’s Kadamba Bus Stand
Direct A.C. Bus To Calangute Via Panjim
A symbolic bus service has been started by the government in 2017 from Dabolim Airport to Canagute via Panjim. There is only one departure per day in the afternoon and the ticket has to be purchased from the conductor in the bus. I have not yet experienced this bus service but will gather more info and update it here soon.