Air Force & Public Buses – Goa, India

India. A country so unique & fascinating that all the words in my vocabulary could be used to describe it in some way & somehow that description would fall flat. Some people do a very good job at summing up their time in India, I was so awestruck that I don’t think I can. I’ll stick to telling one short story at a time.


We had stayed in Mumbai for a few days & had just flown in to Goa. Apart from taxis, bicycles & tuk tuks, we hadn’t used any other transport in India. Standing just outside the arrivals hall were dozens of taxi drivers offering their services at an astronomical price. My brother & I had planned to use the bus from the airport to Panjim & set out to find the bus stop. We never use busses in our home country &, therefore, neither of us were overly experienced with these types of systems. We were in for quite a surprise as using a bus in India is an experience.


The bus stop we were looking for & as described on various websites seemed to not exist. So there we were, walking down the dusty roads with bags & backpacks looking for this bus stop & debating whether or not to bite the bullet & pay an exorbitant taxi fare. My brother was willing to give in & use a taxi while I was set on using the bus. I guess I can be slightly more stubborn as we ended up not using a taxi.


I saw some young men in uniform & we asked them to help us find the bus stop. They were new recruits in the Indian Air Force & they too were headed towards Panjim & had no idea where the bus stop was. As we suddenly learnt, in India busses don’t need a stop to pick up passengers. Everything happened at super speed from then on.


A bus drove passed us & one of the recruits shouted to get it to stop. The bus was quite empty & the recruits jumped on. Two of them forcing us onto the bus as well. Getting suitcases through the narrow door & up the steps was slightly tricky & must have taken slightly longer than the bus driver liked. I was behind my bother & I had one foot in the bus & one outside on the ground when the bus started moving. With the acceleration, one of our bags went sliding towards the bag of the bus. We quickly found seats & planted ourselves there – later seeing a sign above the seats reading “Ladies Only”.


The bus going at a speed, jolting & shaking & driving in a manner that can only be described as ‘death defying’, many more passengers squashed on & one change later, we reached our destination. My first public bus experience in India was an experience I will never forget. I absolutely loved the chaotic thrill of it. It was an experience I had again & again & one a trip to India would be incomplete without.

Good way to relax after a new experience

30 thoughts on “Air Force & Public Buses – Goa, India

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  1. Loved this post especially how you have described the whole experience 🙂 Every time my husband and I take the buses in European countries we compare it to what happens back home in India. I am from a Southern Indian state called Kerala and in our place, the bus stops for barely a minute and there will be a person at the door who will keep urging you to climb in at lightning speed, getting off is the same and there were times I used to worry that I would have to jump out of a moving bus if I don’t get out within a split second. Also, we have these winding roads and because they drive so fast even while taking turns you will slide from one end of seat to the other almost pushing the person sitting next to you off the seat 😀 and yes, boxes sliding to the back is common 🙂 I have often wondered if the bus driver thinks if he is driving a Ferrari. But anyhow it ends up being fun and something to laugh about later.

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      1. Not really..despite all of that, you will leave the bus unscathed. That is the best part 🙂 Also, there are two types of buses. Some are slower with more patient conductors. Anyway, whenever you decide to make it to India (despite your current reservations) maybe you can try it 🙂

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  2. It feels great to hear that you travelled to my country India and I hope you are going to travel to other parts of country too. Yes, travelling by public transport is a bit difficult, I am from Mumbai and we usually travel by flight to another city and then we travel in a pre booked car that mostly 99% pick us up from airport itself and we are even aware of the prices beforehand or we also take our own car and travel by road . I suggest strongly to pre book everything if you are not from India as that is more convenient way to travel around. Hope to hear more stories about your India travel.

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  3. I am from Pune but have stayed in Goa for 3 months, I miss the beach. If you’re still there do visit Old Goa and other churches. Panjim is a happening place and a lot of art scenes and film screenings happen here. Try out the fish dishes and xacuti chicken at any beachside shack it is too tasty 🙂 Lol the buses in India ride like the “Knight Bus” from Harry Potter so hold on to that rail!

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  4. In India, every city will have a different type of buses some luxurious and some adventurous. In Goa too, there are different types of buses and vans which are shaped like minibus. I lived in different cities and experience all types of these bus types. One of the places near to Goa had the Bus which we called as the roller coaster ride. I would agree with Shindebai , this roller coaster ride bus type had really made me feel like Harry Potter Bus.

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  5. “And suddenly we learnt, In India buses don’t need a stop to pick up passengers.” Had a good laugh. Usually you get similar experiences in all the Indian buses. But then they do vary with local buses or state or inter-state buses. At times, I’m surprised why do people find these journeys amusing when there is so much hassle.

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  6. Hahaha, I guess we just got used to this!
    And in some ways I feel that these journeys bring out the best stories!
    I was one of those who travelled by Uber and the metro, but honestly shifting to the most basic modes of travel, there’s a lot to learn and I loved it!
    Being new to solo travelling, I guess these small stories just bring the most experience!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. you rightly said that experience travelling in India would be incomplete without a bus ride. I appreciate your courage of taking a bus from Mumbai to goa as many foreigners would be too afraid to do so.

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  8. ‘As we suddenly learnt, in India busses don’t need a stop to pick up passengers. ‘ That’s so true!Every ride back home is me trying to hold on to something for my dear life. City buses can be real hard to safely ride sometimes, without getting thrown out or getting jostled around. Appreciate how you took it into your stride!

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  9. Apart from your adventurous bus ride, I hope you had a great time in Goa. Goa is just the glimpse of the picturesque locations in India. I hope you get to visit Ladakh sometime. I assure you, it’s surreal. I’ve added some photos on my page. Feel free to check them.


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