All I can say is GO TO HAMPI. It is unlike any place I have ever visited in all my travels. Hampi is a surreal site to see and I highly recommend visiting! Thank you to all those voices encouraging me to check it out.
Transportation from Goa
I made the mistake of giving up my luxurious A/C Tier 2 train ticket to spend another day in Goa. It wasn’t really a mistake, but just made my trip to Hampi a sweaty long ride. FYI here are the transit options from Goa to Hampi.
- Day Train to Hospet – About 7 hours leaves in the early am and gets you to Hospet around 3pm. Then you take 30 min rickshaw to Hampi. Note: train only runs 3-4 times a week.
- Overnight sleeper bus to Hampi direct – leaves Goa around 8pm and arrives around 6am. Probably the best option if you don’t want to kill a day on the train.
- Or you can take various public non-ac bumpy loud buses that take about 12 hours. The true India experience. I'm not going to lie, during my own true india experience I was definitely cursing Daniel and thinking I can’t believe I gave up my ac bed on the train. Drenched in sweat and exhausted, but happy to have the opportunity to have so many warm smiles around me. During this ride I was reading Shantaram and couldn’t believe how perfect the timing was when I read this text: “And I learned more, during those fourteen constricted and largely silent hours in the crowded economy class section, communicating without language, than I could’ve learned in a month of travelling first class.”
A couple FYI’s
1. Hampi is a dry town – the police actually stopped my bus on the way to Hampi and were confiscating alcohol. You can get a beer on the north side or get people to drive the 5km to the other town to get you a beer, but it’s not legal to sell in Hampi. My new Finnish friend Paavo and I had the delightful experience of a knockout that was brought to us from the near town.
2. The ferry that gets you to the north side – I wouldn’t even call it a ferry, it’s a 10 rupee ride in a little dinky boat. Literally it’s a 2 minute ride haha…you could wade across if you don’t mind getting wet. Anyway the boat only runs from around 7am until 6:30pm.
My accommodation recommendation
Stay on the Hampi bazaar side for a 2 nights and then a couple nights in the peaceful serenity of the north side of the river. I would recommend Sai Guesthouse or Shanti Guesthouse on the north side as they have a really chill atmosphere.
I had just 4 nights and 3 days in Hampi, but made the most of it. I ended up staying on the Hampi Bazaar side because when I arrived I couldn’t get a boat to the north side of the river. The Kalyan guest house was simple, family operated and had 3 pluses – wifi, 24/7 electricity and a fridge to store cold water. That cold water was a saving grace.