Earlier this week, I took the bus to Gokarna as an impromptu trip. As opposed to my initial plan of travelling by the train, I nonchalantly walked to the Canacona bus stand and hopped on to the next bus to Karwar. Little did I know that I would have to change three buses to reach my ultimate destination!

My onward journey was easy, safe and beautiful. The Konkan Coast is probably one of the most scenic sights any traveller could witness. And the humorous stories that came with it will stay with me for a while. Here are some of them while I was travelling from Canacona, Goa to Gokarna, Karnataka.

The coastal town of Gokarna
The coastal town of Gokarna

Story #1: En route from Canacona to Karwar

Kadamba buses running across Goa are organised and have seats reserved for ladies and senior citizens, which is adhered by the passengers also.  I chose a window, ladies seat and beside me, sat an old lady. She must have been approximately 80 years old and for most part her journey, she looked anxious. She was dependent on a co-passenger since she didn’t know where to alight at. However, the co-passenger helping her, along with the conductor and a few other people ensured she got off at the correct stop.

Our interaction was brief but eventful. She tried to communicate twice with me but we didn’t speak a common language and it seemed like a hopeless situation. After some time, she came closer and whispered a few words. Promptly, I removed my headphones and asked her to repeat. After a 5-second shock, I understood that she wanted me to hook her bra. In awe, I did as I was asked to.

It was a first of its kind of request. After my initial hesitation, it occurred to me how much it would have taken her to ask a random stranger for such an intimate contact. I found myself laughing in a few hours!

It's always good to have a window seat!
It’s always good to have a window seat!

Story #2: En route from Karwar to Ankola

Once I reached Karwar, I was focussed on getting a bus to Gokarna. Since I had already missed the direct bus to Gokarna from Canacona, I was hopeful to get one from Karwar. However, that was unlikely. The following is part 1 of the conversation I had with a young, dashing conductor while trying to find a bus to Gokarna.

Me (in Hindi): Bhaisaab, this bus will go to Gokarna?

Young, dashing conductor: Gokarna?

Me: Yes, Gokarna?

He: No, Gokarna.

Me: Okay, thank you.

I stepped away and asked a few more uniformed men if there was a direct bus to Gokarna. I learnt that I would have to change buses at Ankola and my young, dashing conductor’s bus would be the first to depart. I geared up for a part 2 of my conversation with him.

Me (in Hindi): This bus will go to Ankola?

He: Ankola?

Me: Ankola?

He: No, Hubli.

Me: Not halting at Ankola?

He: Ankola.

Me: Sorry? I didn’t get you.

He: Ankola.

Me: Bus will stop at Ankola? Sure?

He: Yes, Ankola.

Me: Thank you!

Relieved, I sat in the bus and bought a ticket. To reconfirm, I asked him if Ankola bus stand was the last stop.

Me: The bus stops at the bus stand, right?

He: Bus stand?

Me: Ankola Bus Stand?

He: Bus stand.

Me: Ankola bus stand?

He: Ankola.

Me: Yes, Ankola bus stand?

He: Yes, Ankola bus stand.

I congratulated myself on the successful communication. Of course, there were a series of other questions, supplemented with a Yes or a No before I reached Ankola. But I was happy that he had the patience to address my queries and I had eventually made it to Ankola.

Proof of travel
Proof of travel

Story #3: En route from Gokarna to Ankola

I was now a professional traveller between Canacona and Gokarna. I was convinced my way back would be smooth and as I boarded my bus in Gokarna, I was greeted by a familiar face. I was surprised to see that it was the same bus I had taken to get to Gokarna the previous day and my excitement doubled when the conductor recognised me. (The conductor is not the same one from story #2.) He charmingly exclaimed, ‘Arre, you’re joining us on our way back today?’ That was just a beginning to an elaborate conversation I had with him on my way to Ankola. Unlike story #2, this conversation was held together by relevant Hindi words and his good sense of humour.

That familiar one from Gokarna to Ankola
That familiar one from Gokarna to Ankola


What are your stories from the road?


Amrita Das

I have been a travel and culture independent journalist. My bylines have appeared in many publications worldwide including National Geographic Traveller India, Lonely Planet Magazine India, The Indian Express and World Travel Magazine. A fellow of Media Ambassadors India-Germany 2019 program by Robert Bosch Stiftung and Centre for Media Competence, University of Tübingen. Currently, I am the photo editor for RoundGlass Sustain, a wildlife and conservation e-publication. I live in India.

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16 thoughts on “Bus journeys from Goa to Gokarna”

  1. Travelling by Bus in hot summer near Goa is painstaking. I would like to hire an activa or bike and zoom around.

  2. Really interesting post…I really like your style of writing :) And the ‘old woman and her bra’ is quite a story :)

  3. Haha. It reminds me of my journey from Karwar to Anshi National Park (ANP) and from ANP to Murudeshwara in March this year, I had to change 3 buses with one station being Ankola. I had the exact same experience as your #2 at Karwar and, then again, at Ankola. Basically, I was on a hiking and scuba diving trip but it’s the journey that I remember the most due to this and other such reasons. Like they say, the journey is more important than the destination.

    Funny read!

    1. You must be used to the humour then! It was full of hilarious experiences. Sometimes I want to go back through the route again, just for kicks. Hiking and diving in Karnataka is great! Hope you had a good trip :)

  4. It was superb! It was supposed to be an adventurous trip but it turned out to be a trip where I learned a lot about myself. I want to undertake the journey again as well, although I get many such chances thanks to my work.

    Hope you have fun with your future travels. It’s really good to see other women undertaking risks with life and travelling.

  5. Hi,

    I too was planning to go to Gokarna . But i am not sure of places to stay ? Can you tell me where you stayed in Gokarna?


  6. Hi,
    I was planning on doing the same thing, I would be in Goa around 7 in the morning. Can you tell me how long it would take for the onward journey to ankola ?

    1. Hey, if you leave Goa from Canacona Kadamba Bus Stand, it’ll take you an hour to Karwar and then another hour to Ankola.

  7. what I understood from your journey is, there are very few direct buses from caccona to gokarna. Early this year when I was in mangaluru, I was free until evening and my bus ticket was reserved from mangaluru to Bangalore night bus. I thought I could visit gokarna and come back to mangaluru due to lack of frequent direct buses. I could not go. Twitter: @vijaykallugudde

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