Travel and Local Information

About Goa

Known as the Pearl of the Orient and a tourist paradise, the state of Goa is located on the western coast of India in the coastal belt known as Konkan. Panaji (Panjim) is the state capital located on the banks of the Mandovi River. On average, Goa annually has as many as two million visitors, including 1.2 million tourists from outside the country, and the territory is known for its inviting beaches such as Calangute, Colva and Vagator. Goa is essentially export-oriented because of iron ore and manganese deposits, and paddy is the main agricultural crop, followed by ragi, cashew and coconut. Rice is the staple food of Goans, and fish is also an important component of the Goan cuisine. Check travel Websites to see the historic, architectural and cultural points of interest to visit in Goa.

Travel Checklist

Visa to Travel to India

All non-Indian-citizens are required to have an Indian visa to enter the country. Allow yourself sufficient time (say at least 4 weeks) to procure an appropriate visa from your nearest Indian consulate (see Indian consulates worldwide). Indian consulates in the continental US are located in Washington D.C., New York, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, and Atlanta. All participants traveling from the United States must use Cox & Kings Global Services Pvt. Limited to obtain an Indian visa. All other participants should contact the Indian Embassy/ Consulate General of India in their respective countries for information on obtaining an Indian visa.

Important: Note that visa processes have changed in the last year, so HiPC attendees are advised to carefully check the exact set of requirements/documents that the Indian Embassy in their respective countries require, including requirements for security clearance that apply to some countries. HiPC must obtain government clearance before issuing the conference visa invitation letters. A letter giving this clearance will be posted here, so that attendees may provide a copy as part of their application to the appropriate agency processing their visa request. Attendees from Afghanistan, China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and Sudan may require additional documentation and clearances, so the visa application process should be initiated as soon as the applicant knows that they will be attending the conference.

When you have registered and paid your fees in full, you may submit the online visa letter request form to HiPC. This form and the clearance letter will be available to registrants when they log in to their account after their payment is confirmed.

If the visa application form requests contact information for HiPC organizers and a reference in India, see the Contact page for details.

Flight Reservations

Flights to India and Goa in particular tend to fill up well ahead of the December holiday season. We recommend that you make your flight as well as lodging reservations 3-4 months in advance, to be on the safe side. We strongly recommend that you avoid arriving in New Delhi or taking flights that stop in New Delhi en-route to Mumbai (Bombay) or Chennai (Madras); winter fog often throws air-traffic off-gear in New Delhi. For more information, see the transportation section of this page.

Foreign Exchange

While international credit cards are widely accepted in commercial establishments in India, several places rely on cash transactions in the local currency (Indian Rupee), especially if the purchase value is not very high. We suggest that you either carry some Indian currency when entering India or purchase Indian currency at the currency exchange agencies at the Indian airports, upon arrival. The current exchange rate is about Rs. 60/- per US dollar. The value of US Dollar has been fluctuating a lot recently. Please check the conversion rate before you travel. Once in India, you can purchase additional Indian currency from local branches of Citibank, Thomas Cook, etc. However, it is typically difficult to convert Indian currency back into foreign currency because of exchange regulations.

Hotel Reservations

Goa is a popular travel destination in December, so HiPC attendees are advised to make hotel reservations well ahead of time while there is availability. See the accommodations page for details.

Time and Weather

The Indian Standard Time (IST) is 5 1/2 hours ahead of the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and is 13 1/2 hours ahead of US Pacific Standard Time (PST). In December/ January the weather is mildly tropical with temperatures averaging about 27° Celsius (approx. 81° Fahrenheit) during the day and about 15° Celsius (approx. 59° Fahrenheit) during the night.
Sunrise: 6:10 am (approx.)
Sunset: 5:15 pm (approx.)

Transportation

Flights to India

Goa is well connected by airline services to most major cities in India. All flights, national and international, to and from Goa, operate from the Goa Airport at Dabolim. Major airline operators such as Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and Sahara Airlines have flights carrying passengers and cargo in and out of Goa. Besides these, a number of chartered flights land in Goa from UK and other European countries. The national airline Air India also lands a few international flights, especially from the Gulf countries. Most international airlines have direct flights to India from Europe and Singapore/Hong-Kong. From the US, most international airlines fly to India with a single stop-over, either in Europe or in the Far East.

More information about the flights to and from Goa airport can be found at air-transport. We recommend that you avoid flights into/via New Delhi if you are on a tight schedule –winter fog in December often delays flights at New Delhi airport, and some Mumbai-bound flights stopover in New Delhi. Please check with your travel agent about recommended routes for this time of the year. If you are planning to travel around India after/before the conference, check with your travel agent for attractive local air travel offers that are usually available with your international travel ticket.

Trains to Goa

Goa is connected by train from major cities in India: Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, New Delhi. Trains to Goa end at the Madgaon Railway Station (MAO). Please refer to the IRCTC website for up-to-date information on trains to Madgaon.

Transportation to Cidade de Goa Hotel

Goa's Dabolim Airport (GOI-Dabolim) is approximately 33 kms from Cidade de Goa. The driving distance is about 40 minutes. The conference hotel will provide complimentary airport transfers for guests. Please confirm while making reservations. Prepaid taxi services are also available at the airport across from the baggage claim.

The conference hotel is approximately 42 km from Margao railway station, 23 km from Karmali Railway Station, and 35 km from Vasco railway station. It is approximately 11 km from the Panaji City bus stand.

Local Arrangements

Chair
  • Ananth S. Narayan, Intel, India
    email: ananth at hipc dot org

Please contact the Local Arrangements Chair at localchair at hipc dot org for any additional information you may require.