Kudle beach Gokarna sunset

Gokarna 2010: Day 1 – Trekking from Kudle -> Om -> Half Moon -> Paradise beach

Date: 27th February, 2010

Four guys. Another trip.

We had already been to Goa and after Thailand, I decided not to waste anymore money in India’s much-hyped party destination. So instead, we decided to head to Gokarna in Uttara Kannada, a coastal town 3 hours before Goa.

Gokarna is actually famous for being a spiritual temple town. But of course, that’s not how most young (& in-the-know) Indians know it.

We thought about driving down but seeing that it was going to be a 10-plus hour drive (453 kms from Bangalore) and that we were only planning on a weekend trip, it seemed like a waste of a day. Train options were slim as well. So we opted for bus, which turns out, is how most people go to Gokarna.

We booked our tickets on RedBus.in and opted for VRL’s buses as the timing and prices suited us. Three of us decided to just spend one night while I decided to stay two nights in Gokarna.

We left on Friday night from our offices, took the Volvo bus to Majestic bus stand and made our way to Anand Rao Circle, which was going to be our pick-up point. We had dinner from nearby and waited for our bus, which finally picked us up at 9:45pm.

The bus was just a standard semi-sleeper (push-back seats below with sleeper beds on top) and we were scheduled to arrive by 8am the next morning.

I tried to sleep in my sleeper bunk but barely managed to as I always find it hard to get sleep in rattling buses.

None the less, we arrived in Gokarna at around 8:45am. The buses stop at the point from where one can take an auto or drive down to the coast. Gokarna maybe a coastal town but the beaches most people want to hang out at are 6kms away from the town.

We hired an auto in which the four of us with our luggage somehow crammed ourselves in. The ride wasn’t comfortable but he was charging us Rs. 100 (which we would later realize is at the lower end of the spectrum).

We got to Kudle beach and the auto driver told us that if we ever needed a ride back to town, we could call him (his name is Jalander, mobile no: (0)97412 69429)

The thing about Kudle beach is, you have to park your vehicle on top and climb down the hill to get to the beach.

Kudle beach car parking area
To the left is the path down to Kudle Beach

We made our way down the steps and finally on to Kudle beach.

Kudle beach shacks
Kudle Beach, Gokarna

Prior to leaving Bangalore, I had asked my friends who had visited Gokarna where to stay and one regular suggested I try Sea Rock Cafe — a place he frequented. So we walked up to the “shack” and asked them if they had rooms. An old man there showed us to the rooms with attached toilets, which were a bit inside.

The rooms pretty much everywhere in Gokarna are basic at best (I’ll write about stay options in detail in a later post). The room we were shown with a fan and attached toilet (& the only one that was available) cost Rs. 300 ($6 – yes, that’s how basic we are talking!). Since the other rooms in that row were occupied and we really needed a place to dump our bags quickly, we took it.

Sea rock cafe room Kudle gokarna
Looks cute from the outside doesn’t it? Yeah, anything but cute from the inside!

The “bed” was a mattress on a stone base… with the mattress being as hard as the stone beneath it. The room had a mosquito net and the fan — well, it worked. No matter at which speed you turned it to, it was the same.

One of us, Ramesh, wasn’t too happy with the room and asked if there were better to be found. So as two of us held the fort (in case we found no other options elsewhere), me & another friend (Anand) went along the entire stretch of Kudle Beach in search of better rooms. Most places were full and the rooms that were vacant were shoddier than the one we got at Sea Rock Cafe. So, we made our way back.

The ‘bricked’ room we got was only a double room so we had to ask for another double room. They only had Rs. 100 ($2) mud huts vacant — so we took one.

After freshening up, we went for breakfast. I forgot the name of the restaurant but it was the cafe before the Tibetan-run joint.

Kudle cafe breakfast
All four us were ready to click a lot (Photo taken on Nokia E72)

After a good breakfast, we prepared for our exploration of Gokarna’s popular beaches. We decided to trek from Kudle Beach to Om Beach. Everyone told me it was just a short walk over the hill but the others weren’t too keen and opted to go by auto.

I chose to trek.

Gokarna Kudle beachI climbed back up to the parking area…

Climbing Kudle beach… and just started climbing the rocks…

Kudle to Om Beach trekking over the hill… followed the path through the small trees…

Kudle to Om beach trekking… passed the Dolphin Cafe down below…

Kudle to Om Beach Dolphin cafe… stopped and stared at the place and imagined how cool it would be if I had a house down there…

… descended down, got to the point where the autos were parked and…

Om Beach stepping down
… voila! Om Beach

Om Beach is by far the most popular beach in Gokarna. Mostly because of its distinct shape from where it gets its name. We skipped on the chance to stay on Om Beach because we felt it being so popular, it would be very crowded and Kudle would have been a better place to base ourselves. But we realized we weren’t the only ones who thought like that because we saw as many people on Om as Kudle itself.

Oh, by the way, the time I took to reach Om beach was the exact amount of time it took for my friends to arrive in their auto. So just take my advice, if you can walk a bit, just climb over instead of wasting Rs. 60 on auto. It will only take you 10 to 15 minutes.

Om beach Gokarna sandOm beach boat taxisThere were boat taxis anchored on the shores offering boat rides to Half-Moon beach and Paradise beach but they were asking for Rs. 500 — which we thought was a bit much. We could see a path in the distance at the end of Om Beach, so we decided to just keep on walking.

Om beach shacks restaurants
Options to eat at are adequate on Om Beach
Om beach Goa
Somebody needs to tell this guy he’s at the wrong place

Once we reached the end of Om Beach, we began our ascend once again.

Om Beach to Half Moon stones

Om beach rock divide
You’ll come across this divide

Om beach to Half-Moon trekAs you climb higher, you’ll get a great view of Om Beach.

Om Beach Gokarna high up
Om Beach

Walk up further and you’ll come across a distinct looking tree from where you need to take a left turn.

Om Beach to Half-Moon trek treeOm Beach to Half-Moon leftFollow the path…

Om beach to Half-Moon path

Om beach to Half-Moon dug path

… stop & stare out into the beauty of the Arabian sea…

Om beach to Half-Moon palm treesHalf Moon beach GokarnaHalf-Moon Beach Gokarna Arabian sea… descend down…

Half Moon beach Gokarna… welcome yourself to Half Moon Beach…

Half-Moon beach shack… watch hippie white dude practice with a ball…

Half-Moon beach ball guy… reward yourself!

Half-moon beach shack beerIt was hot and we were yearning to quench our thirst with some chilled beer. Plus, the trek was awesome!

We were feeling quite satisfied that we opted to trek instead of hiring a boat. It took us around 30 minutes including stopping to take photographs. Well worth the walk. We were all the more pumped and decided to conquer the final beach via a trek too.

Of course, we decided to take a break first! We sat in an isolated ‘cafe’ on Half-Moon beach, cooled off a bit and had some light snacks before setting off again.

Half-Moon beach Dama cafe
Dama cafe: We were reluctant initially as it was empty when we arrived

There aren’t many shacks on Half-Moon but then again, it isn’t a very big stretch. We quite liked the thickly sliced deep-fried potato chips at Dama Cafe. Beer was Rs. 100 for a full bottle of Kingfisher.

They had basic rooms and a clean toilet at the back. Looked like a decent place to stay at Half Moon beach.

Half-Moon beach Dama cafe insideWe asked the guy there how to get to Paradise beach and he told it would only take us 15 minutes. So, with glee, we set off again.

Half-Moon beach Dama cafe sideHalf-Moon to Paradise beach trekYou’ll come to a point you have to cross over a barbed wire fence (don’t worry, we didn’t see a sign saying we were trespassing or anything).

Paradise beach Gokarna trek barbed wireHalf-Moon to Paradise beach trek rocksHalf-Moon to Paradise beach Gokarna trekYou’ll pass some shacks…

Half-Moon to Paradise beach shacksHalf-Moon to Paradise beach Gokarna… climb up, climb down…

Half-Moon to Paradise beach climbParadise beach Gokarna trek tree branchesHalf-Moon to Paradise beach panorama… wish you could soar above these coastlines like an eagle to get a bird’s-eye-view…

Paradise beach eagle GokarnaParadise beach Gokarna coastParadise beach Gokarna trek… before you get to ‘paradise’.

Paradise beach GokarnaParadise beach plastic bottle treeNow don’t get your hopes up or anything. Paradise beach isn’t that much better than all the other beaches you pass through, but it is bigger than Half-Moon beach.Paradise beach Gokarna touristsParadise beach Cafe Paradise

Paradise beach boat taxi
Pfff, lazy people

Paradise beach pirate flagWe really felt a sense of accomplishment having trekked the entire stretch of Gokarna’s popular beaches. It wasn’t planned but I guess that was what partly made it all the more fun.

And since it was past 3pm at this point, we decided to lunch.

Paradise beach resortI forgot the name of the place we sat down but it was the only open air “resort” like place there, which is why we were drawn to it.

Clicked some more after we had ordered our food.

Paradise beach Gokarna boardParadise beach Gokarna boatsParadise beach GokarnaThe food was just about okay.

Paradise beach resort pita bread
The pita bread was nothing more than a thick naan
Paradise beach resort pizza
Pretty decent pizza

I’ve been on treks before but never before by the coast. The views were awesome and I loved exploring the routes. It really was an adventure.

Having said that, we were tired and in no mood to trek all the way back. So we got on to a boat taxi and made our way back to Om Beach (fare Rs. 100 per person, taking a boat back to Kudle costs more).

Paradise to Om beach boat ride

Gokarna from boat taxiIt was nice to see the terrain we covered from another viewpoint.

Gokarna hill from boat taxi

Om beach Gokarna kayak
If you can’t trek, you could try kayaking too

Om beach rock from boatOm beach boat taxi anchoredThe boat ride barely last 5 minutes but it reminded me of a similar one I took in Railay, Thailand.

Back on Om Beach, the guys decided to take an auto back to Kudle beach while I decided to walk back.

Om beach cart GokarnaOm beach Appu tattoo GokarnaOm to Kudle beach sunsetOm to Kudle beach parking areaBack at Kudle, I re-grouped with my friends and we made our way back down to the beach.

Kudle beach Gokarna sunsetKudle beach sunset dogKudle beach yoga sunsetKudle beach boat sunsetKudle beach dog Gokarna sunsetAs you can make out from the above photos, it was nearing sunset, so I headed back to our room and freshened up.

Sea Rock cafe Kudle beach GokarnaAfter a cool bath, I packed up my laptop and went to the beach.

Sea Rock cafe Kudle beach mud hut
The hut on the right is the other room we took at Sea Rock Cafe

One of the intentions I had for this trip was to try out time-lapse photography.

I had to carry my laptop and use the software from Canon to remotely control my camera as I did not have a dedicated remote/intervalometer. They’re expensive, so I had to make do with something free for the time-being. Also, this was going to be a learning experience for me as it was the first time I was trying timelapse.

First experiment: capture the sun setting. How did it turn out? I’ll share the results later.

Kudle beach Gokarna full moon
As the sun set on one side, the moon came up the other

After I got all my shots, I packed everything up and went to the joint next door to Sea Rock called, Sunset Cafe (& German Bakery).

We just sat there from evening…

Sunset cafe Kudle beach Loiyumba Anand Phadke
Left: Loiyumba – Right: Anand Phadke
Sunset cafe Kudle beach Mithun Ramesh
Left: Mithun – Right: Ramesh

… until night.

Sunset cafe night Loiyumba Anand PhadkeNibbling on snacks and sipping beer. What else is there to do? There was a beach party at one of the other hotels but the music didn’t interest me much. So with camera in hand, we just sat at Sunset Cafe well past sunset.

Sunset cafe Kudle beach Gokarna night
Sunset Cafe at night

Sunset cafe Kudle beach Gokarna lightsAfter dinner, it was one cool walk on the beach before hitting the rock sack.

Kudle beach Gokarna full moon
Luminous full moon

As the guys went back to the room, I thought I’d try my hand at time-lapse again, as it was a starry night.

Kudle beach Gokarna starry night
Took many such frames

I was drawing quite a lot of attention with my laptop in hand and a camera on a stand pointing at the night sky. A lot of passers-by stopped and asked in their various accents as to what I was doing — and I replied back in my accent, a lay-man’s definition of what time-lapse photography is.

Unfortunately, my laptop battery didn’t last the entire shoot so I had to stop at 50 less shots than programmed. (I may seriously have to invest in a remote). Oh well, will see how it turned out anyway.

I packed up in the dark, and headed back to the room.

Sea Rock cafe Kudle beach room nightAfter a bit of before-sleep chatter, we finally called it a night. Ramesh and Anand took the ‘bricked room’ while myself and Loi slept in the non-fan, non-toilet mud hut.

Not the best sleep I had but the fact that we were quite tired and we tried to drink ourselves to sleep, we managed to pull through.

We had to, for some of us, the next day would have been the last in Gokarna — and there was still much to do!

Book Gokarna hotels at Booking.com

Next post(s) in this series:

Gokarna 2010: Day 2 – Gokarna town, Kudle Beach and Sunset Cafe

Gokarna 2010: Day 3 – Where to stay on Kudle and Om Beach

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  • Loiyumba


    This is just awesome. Thanks for covering everything. This one will last forever and ever. After seeing our photos, few friends of mine are desperate to go to Gokarna. Let’s make the next one a great one again.

  • Antony Pratap


    Great post, yup, next time do keep me informed as well.


  • azhad


    top class mate

  • magiceye


    a very comprehensive travelog about gokarna beaches….
    wonderful photography too!

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  • Gautam


    Nice Log Mithun. Very nice pics too. Just for our benefit which beach (Kudle or Om) would you recommed to stay? Which is better in terms of cleanliness and less crowded (decent crowd)? Which has more options to have food? Which is safe or better for swimming?

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Kudle has a good mix of foreigners and Indians but I found Om to be mostly Indians (and tour bus tourists) as the beach is crescent-shaped; and people don’t bother to trek over the hill to get to Kudle Beach (or are completely unaware of what’s on the other side). I found Kudle cleaner and better overall. It has enough stay options which you can see in this post: http://mithunonthe.net/2010/03/18/gokarna-2010-where-to-stay-hotels-shacks-kudle-om-beach/

  • Gautam


    Thanks Mithun. Is there any other decent option to stay at Kudle other than Gokarna International beach resort at Kudle beach? Which would be your 2nd pick after Gokarna International resort? Does Sun Set Cafe have decent rooms for family also?

  • vinny


    this is very informative and interesting..i just heard abt it..but now i want to visit it thanks to ur blog 🙂

  • Giridhar


    Thanx fr d info and photos. That gives a nice virtual tour of Gokarna beaches, trekking, stay and food.

  • Deep


    how should I thank you ? If you are in bangalore, I would say I owe you two beers :). Do reply

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    He he, cheers mate. Thanks for the offer though 🙂

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  • Deepak


    Dude, this is a fantastic writeup, and the photos were lovely (and helpful). And hilarious captions!

    Thanks so much – this will help us immensely in our upcoming Karnataka trip.

    Deepak (@chuck_gopal)

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Thanks a lot Deepak! Enjoy your trip to Gokarna and try to keep the place clean. I was disgusted to see the amount of trash on Om and Kudle beaches.

  • Rachna


    Very informative! Specially for someone travelling solo! Keep at it!

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