Gokarna is a town situated in the southernmost state of Karnataka. It is as much fun as Goa and thankfully, a lot less crowded since relatively a fewer people know about it. The evil nature of humans to commercialize everything beautiful and pristine in this world is slowly gripping this gem too. Every year now, more number of tourists are coming here as the young crowds in the nearby metro cities increases with a lot of time and money at hand to spare. You should visit it while the place still has its charm left.
If this blog inspires you to visit the place, please be thankful and respectful of the environment and the locals so that the place retains its pristine charm and more people can enjoy it
It is a place where you can go for long walks without finding any person in sight, especially if you are visiting in the off-season.
If you are curious to know more about Gokarna, then scroll below. We’ve listed down everything you need to know about Gokarna – it’s beaches, where to stay, what to see and how to reach.
Things to Do in Gokarna
Gokarna is a very unique place, with the beaches which require some effort, with narrow lanes with nothing on either side and no street lights, with quiet hilltops, there is so much to it. Maybe because Gokarna is not that touristy yet as compared to Goa, but it has a calm feeling to it, where you can find both – solace and company, whatever you would like.
Even though there are numerous things you can do in Gokarna, here are some off-beat things you should do in Gokarna:
1. Explore the Beaches
There are many beaches in Gokarna, the popular ones being – Gokarna Beach, also known as the main Beach, Om Beach, Kudle Beach, Half Moon Beach, and Paradise Beach, with each of these beaches have their own beauty and unique element.
The Main Beach is where you will find a lot of locals, filled with the hustle-bustle of simple town life, giving you a reflection of the local life in Gokarna. Kudle Beach is a small, yet serene beach, which is known for its clear water and is one of the most popular beaches. The most unique ones are Half Moon and Paradise Beach, where both have a very unique feel to it, which you will know about in the article below.
Another interesting thing about the beaches here is that you have to make your way from a rocky pathway to reach the beaches.
Om Beach is where they have stairs going down the beach, but Kudle Beach has a very rocky yet intriguing path with extreme quiet and barely anyone in sight, with birds sometimes chirping along the way.
To reach Half Moon and Paradise Beach, you have to follow a small trail and trek respectively.
Usually, a lot of walking tours take place from Kudle Beach to Half Moon since they are connected by a walkway and we suggest that you take that long walk either with a guide or alone, and see a different side to these beaches and Gokarna.
2. Shop at the Flea Market
The beaches in Gokarna are on the other end of the town, and the town is where the main hustle bustle takes place. There also is the main market in the town where you can shop for various handicrafts, traditional clothes, and other items.
If you are looking for some intricate jewellery made up of unique stones or seashells, you will find a lot of side shop vendors selling the same on the beach itself. Make sure you bargain since the initial prices will be very high but they will definitely come down if you are a good bargainer.
Also read: Top things not to miss in Goa
3. Trek to Half-Moon Beach
The last two beaches of Gokarna require for one to do some hiking and it is absolutely worth it. For Half Moon Beach you can either take a trail from Om Beach or start your hike from Belekan Beach. The half-moon beach is named such since it resembles the shape of a half-moon, and the trail towards this beach is beautiful.
If you are looking for solace, you should make your way to half-moon beach since you will barely find anyone here especially in the off-season. During the seasonal months from November to March, some cottages open up in half moon beach and you can choose to stay there.
4. Night Camping at Paradise Beach
When in Gokarna, you cannot miss a night trek to Paradise Beach, after all, it is called paradise for a reason. The trek for Paradise Beach also starts from Belekan Beach and it usually takes around 45 minutes of hiking and climbing of rocks to reach Paradise Beach. Once there, you can also camp by the Beachside, and enjoy the sight of Paradise Beach at Night.
You will barely find anyone at Paradise Beach, especially at night, and it is a very different experience to be at the empty beach, with nothing but the silhouettes of faraway hills, and white of the waves hitting the shore.
Another thing about Paradise beach is that if you come here on a no moon night, then you can also spot Planktons on the shore, which is a magical sight to witness.
Make sure you definitely Trek to Paradise and do it in a group with a person who knows the trail properly. You can also easily find shops where you can rent tents and other camping gear.
5. Sunset at Kudle Beach
Kudle Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Gokarna where you will find a lot of people staying in the shacks and eating under the moonlight. It is the sunset at Kudle Beach that takes your breath away. The hues of orange and red merging, with its reflection in the water, it is a sight that you will never forget.
If you are visiting Gokarna during the season, then you will also get to experience the madness which Kudle Beach turns into once the sun starts setting in. A lot of people set up their small shops, where they sell little products that they made on their own, and if you have some musicians around, then before you know it, you will be witnessing a jamming session happening on the beach out of nowhere.
Also read: Ever imagined a Goa trip going wrong?
8. Climb the Kudle Hill Top
A very off-beat place to be, mostly because people are not aware of what this gem of a place is. Kudle Hill Top is a hillside on a vast empty land that comes on the way to the Kudle Beach.
After a short walk into this vast patch of land and then climbing uphill, you reach the top of the hill from where you get to witness the best of views in Gokarna.
From the hilltop, you can see the whole of Kudle Beach and the best time to go there is during the sunset, to enjoy the view along with the breeze.
Places to Stay in Gokarna
In Gokarna, the travelers usually stay on the shack, where there are many cottages and rooms available. But most of these shacks are operational during the seasonal months. There also are certain options which are open all year round, hostels as well as hotels.
One of the very popular places to Stay in Gokarna is Namaste where they have three properties in Gokarna itself, in Om, Kudle and Gokarna Beach and they are mostly sold out.
If you are looking at an extravagant option, then you can stay at Kudle Beach View Resort, which is very close to Kudle Beach. The hotels offer some breathtaking panoramic views of Kudle Beach and also has a pool which is open till 10 at night.
If you are looking for Backpacking options, then you can stay at Zostel Gokarna which is on Kudle Beach Road and you can witness a beautiful sunset from their rooftop. They have dorms as well as private cottages, along with an in-house cafe, Mantra Cafe which is very popular among travelers in Gokarna, for it has the right vibe, amazing food and they also host several events like musical performances, movie nights and lot more.
Apart from this, you can also check out Hostel La Vie, and Rambler Stay for budget options. Since there are limited stay options in Gokarna, especially during the off-season months, so it is better to book these places well in advance because they get sold out pretty early.
How to Reach Gokarna
Gokarna is usually a weekend getaway from those in Goa, Bangalore or Mumbai. There is no airport in Gokarna, so you can either take the train till the Gokarna Station or the bus from Bangalore.
Train From Goa: To reach Gokarna, you can take a train from Goa from Madgaon station. Two trains run from Goa, both of which take around two hours or so to reach Gokarna. The journey from Goa to Gokarna, even on the train is a beautiful one, and the Gokarna railway station is a small station, a sight in itself. From the Railway Station, you can take an auto or a cab to the other side of the town where the beaches are.
Bus from Bangalore: Another way to reach Gokarna is by taking a Bus from Bangalore. Buses are frequently operational from Bangalore to Gokarna and usually takes around eight hours to reach Gokarna.