Backpacking to Gokarna & Goa

Tripoto
3rd Nov 2014

Cola Beach, Goa

Photo of Backpacking to Gokarna & Goa by Shraddha Pandya

Om Beach, Gokarna

Photo of Backpacking to Gokarna & Goa by Shraddha Pandya

On the trek to Paradise Beach

Photo of Backpacking to Gokarna & Goa by Shraddha Pandya

On the trek to Paradise Beach

Photo of Backpacking to Gokarna & Goa by Shraddha Pandya

Paradise beach, Gokarna

Photo of Backpacking to Gokarna & Goa by Shraddha Pandya

Kudle beach, Gokarna

Photo of Backpacking to Gokarna & Goa by Shraddha Pandya

Paradise beach, Gokarna

Photo of Backpacking to Gokarna & Goa by Shraddha Pandya

Cola beach, Goa

Photo of Backpacking to Gokarna & Goa by Shraddha Pandya

Cola beach, Goa

Photo of Backpacking to Gokarna & Goa by Shraddha Pandya

Cola beach, Goa

Photo of Backpacking to Gokarna & Goa by Shraddha Pandya

Cabo De Rama Fort, Goa

Photo of Backpacking to Gokarna & Goa by Shraddha Pandya

Cabo De Rama Fort, Goa

Photo of Backpacking to Gokarna & Goa by Shraddha Pandya

Agonda Beach, Goa

Photo of Backpacking to Gokarna & Goa by Shraddha Pandya

A chariout used during Ram Navami, Gokarna

Photo of Backpacking to Gokarna & Goa by Shraddha Pandya

Gokarna town

Photo of Backpacking to Gokarna & Goa by Shraddha Pandya

Tulsi plant in almost all courtyards, Gokarn

Photo of Backpacking to Gokarna & Goa by Shraddha Pandya

Om beach

Photo of Backpacking to Gokarna & Goa by Shraddha Pandya

Om beach at dusk

Photo of Backpacking to Gokarna & Goa by Shraddha Pandya

Om beach

Photo of Backpacking to Gokarna & Goa by Shraddha Pandya

A bonfire at Om

Photo of Backpacking to Gokarna & Goa by Shraddha Pandya

Our home at Agonda

Photo of Backpacking to Gokarna & Goa by Shraddha Pandya

Agonda beach

Photo of Backpacking to Gokarna & Goa by Shraddha Pandya

Cola beach

Photo of Backpacking to Gokarna & Goa by Shraddha Pandya

Gokarna is a small town, albeit with lots of character. Cows walk around the beaches and town freely without a care for anybody else, after all they've spent too many centuries being considered gods to actually change their ways ! The beaches are clean and the sea changes from blue to green, depending on the time of the day. Occasionally somebody lights up a bonfire on the beach and everyone is welcome to join in. The beaches of Gokarna, especially in early November, are not crowded. That being said, most of the crowd is foreign and they sure know how to enjoy the beach ! It became a common sight to watch people play frisbee and football or simply dance to the beat of music, right by the sea.

It was already night when our bus started from Kumta to Gokarna. Due to a delay of the Konkan Kanya Express, we missed our connecting train from Madgaon to Gokarna. As a result we had to take a later train which stopped at Kumta instead. The bus ride was beautiful and we passed many small villages twinkling in the dark. Unbeknownst to us, it was the night of dev-diwali and every courtyard was lit up by diya's and candles.

Goa is different, so very different from Gokarna. Gokarna is still not what you would call 'commercialized'. Goa is commercialized. This is not a bad thing, especially if comfort (and maybe luxury) is what you're looking for. The shacks on the beaches are built with comfort in mind. And they are definitely fancier than the basic accommodation you'll find in Gokarna. We stayed in South Goa, partying not being our scene really, and it was beautiful. South Goa still has beaches which most people don't go to, and they are a pleasure to explore.

We left from Gokarna and took the Mangalore Madgoan Passenger to Canacona. Agonda was where we decided to set up base and Canacona is the nearest railway station. From Canacona you can either take a bus or a rickshaw to Agonda. Traveling around Goa is expensive in rickshaws and hiring a scooter or a bike is your best bet. The roads in Goa are very well maintained and once we had our transport in place, Goa was ours to explore !

Our train back to Mumbai was from Madgaon. Buses to Madgaon pass through Agonda at specific times. Ask the locals hanging out outside the church, because the bus picks you up from there, and they will tell you the timings. It takes around two hours to reach Margoa Bus Stand. The station is a little out of the way, and you will have to shell out a fixed amount of Rs.120 to get there by rickshaw. Our train back was on time. Ironically, the only train which was on time was the one taking us back home ! It was a wonderful holiday and I hope this helps you plan your trip a little better. When you live in Bombay, and all you see is Juhu and Chowpatty, you tend to forget that such beautiful beaches exist so close to us. So take a a few days off, and go travel. Find a small slice of heaven that is just yours before they all disappear. 

Kudle beach can be reached by a short 20 minute trek from Om beach. The walk itself is not strenuous, but is lacks much shade and the heat tires you more than anything. So try to do it in the morning and work up a good breakfast appetite ! The beach is clean with lots of shacks lined up all along. In early November it is easy to find accommodation here. The sea at Kudle is much calmer than that at Om or Paradise beach and the tourists who stay here are mostly non-Indians.
Photo of Kudle Beach, Uttara Kannada, Karnataka, India by Shraddha Pandya
Gokarna town is a tourists delight. Being a religious town, it has many temples attracting Hindu devotees as well as curious tourists. The road connecting the Gokarna beach to the temples is filled with stalls selling the usual curios which foreigners seem to love including handmade musical instruments and clothes. Rickshaws have a standard rate of Rs.150 to take you from Om beach to town. It is a small town and worth walking around to explore, but other than that and visiting the many temples, there isn't much to do. A small local eatery in town definitely deserves a mention here. It serves an exceptionally delicious fish thali and is located one minute away from Gokarna beach. A sign in the lane before the beach leads you to the house where a local family serves you a fresh meal. Veg thalis are also available.
Photo of Gokarna, Karnataka, India by Shraddha Pandya
Photo of Gokarna, Karnataka, India by Shraddha Pandya
Photo of Gokarna, Karnataka, India by Shraddha Pandya
Paradise beach is a clean, quiet and mostly empty beach. The sand near the sea is made up of broken shells and the waves and currents are a strong, so caution is necessary. This is a beautiful secluded beach though and definitely worth a visit. The trek to the beach itself takes you through some lovely scenery, which more than makes up for the fact that part of the trip includes jumping over stones, probably getting your shoes wet, and at times crawling over rock formations ! If you aren't looking to trek it out to Paradise beach, it is a 15 minute boat ride from Om beach with the boatmen charging around Rs. 200 per person for a one way ride. Boats plying people from Om to Paradise continue until evening so you needn't be worried about getting stranded ! The walk from Om to Paradise beach takes around an hour and crosses Half Moon beach, where there are two shacks offering food, water and stay. The beach is small but clean, like most of the beaches in Gokarna. Paradise beach doesn't have any shops, shacks etc. so make sure to carry water and food with you if you plan to spend some time there. You can also set up tents and hammocks and stay at Paradise if you're looking for adventure ! A man from a nearby village comes to paradise beach everyday (and he's been coming for the last 30 years) selling pineapples, coconuts and a few biscuits.
Photo of Paradise Beach, Uttara Kannada, Karnataka, India by Shraddha Pandya
Photo of Paradise Beach, Uttara Kannada, Karnataka, India by Shraddha Pandya
Photo of Paradise Beach, Uttara Kannada, Karnataka, India by Shraddha Pandya
Photo of Paradise Beach, Uttara Kannada, Karnataka, India by Shraddha Pandya
Om beach is what we called home for the four nights that we were in Gokarna. It is shaped like an Om (hence the name) and the two halves of this Om are surprisingly different in nature. The first half of Om, where Namaste Cafe is built is generally where we found Indian families enjoying the sea. Namaste Cafe, situated on one end of Om beach is accessible by road. It is the only 'proper' hotel on Om beach, all the others being shacks situated on the other end. It is clean, and the restaurant is situated by the sea. Namaste Cafe is the only place that remains open throughout the year, and does bookings unlike most of the other shacks on the beach. A double room with attached bathroom costs around Rs.800 during early November and a single room with common bathrooms costs Rs.300. The other half of the beach is dotted with shacks, most of which don't have a working contact number and don't do bookings. You have to turn up, and they'll provide you with accommodation if available. In off-season, especially early November, this wasn't as issue at all. Simple straw shacks with common bathrooms cost around Rs.250 a night while double rooms with attached bathrooms cost between Rs. 500-600 a night in more or less all places. These prices increase as we move closer to December ofcourse ! This half of Om becomes a buzz of activity in the morning and evening. People come out to play, sunbathe, swim in the sea or simply read a book. The sea here is obviously great fun to swim in but can get a little rough at times, so caution is necessary. Though there are many shacks on Om beach, Sangam Cafe deserves a special mention. The rooms are comfortable and the staff is extremely friendly ! The owner always has a smile for you, and advice if needed. It is quite simply a lovely place to call home away when you're at Gokarna.
Photo of Om Beach by Shraddha Pandya
Photo of Om Beach by Shraddha Pandya
Photo of Om Beach by Shraddha Pandya
Photo of Om Beach by Shraddha Pandya
Photo of Om Beach by Shraddha Pandya
Agonda is a quiet beach, a few kilometers away from Palolem which is much more popular. The beach is clean and the sand feels so soft under your feet, you won't be able to stop playing with it. The sea here is not the calmest you can find, but the waves make it fun to swim and bob around in nevertheless. Goa beaches have lifeguards present, so make sure you are within their flagged area just in case of any problem. We landed up paying Rs.200 for a rickshaw from Canacona station to Agonda, but I believe we might just have been overcharged. It was a nice ride though, and on reaching Agonda we found a comfortable place to stay in quite easily. A road runs parallel to the beach, just half a minute away. On the other side of the road you will find houses which provide accommodation too, and probably at a cheaper rate. We stayed in a beach hut, but if i ever visit again I would like to stay in a house opposite the beach. These houses are owned by local Goans, and it will probably give you a chance to interact with the family and learn more about the place. Beach shacks ranging from basic (Rs.700 a night) to extremely luxurious (Rs.10,000 a night) line the entire stretch of beach. A double room with attached bathroom will cost you around Rs.700 at the start of the season. Unlike Gokarna, here the shack owners are more bothered about making the beach 'tourist friendly' so you'll find sunbeds and umbrellas which can be used by patrons. At night some shacks put away the sunbeds and move tables right onto the beach so one can enjoy a beautiful candlelight dinner under the stars, next to the sea. If you're looking for accommodation in Agonda, the best place to get off is at the Church. This is right in the middle of the beach and you can go either way, looking for a place to stay. Food at the beach shacks is all the same and very ordinary. Go to the places like 'Dosa & Thali House' or 'Fatimas Corner' to get a taste of the local food. It tastes good and is easy on the pocket too ! We hired a scooter to move around, and paid Rs.250 per day. Petrol at a petrol pump is much cheaper than buying from the place you hire the scooter, they grossly overcharge. We bought one litre from there (at Rs.80 per litre) and drove to a petrol pump to fill the rest (at Rs.55 per litre). Agonda is quiet and clean. You can take a nap, read a book or just look at the ocean from under your umbrella. And drink cheap beer, ofcourse. It is Goa after all !
Photo of Agonda, Goa, India by Shraddha Pandya
Photo of Agonda, Goa, India by Shraddha Pandya
Photo of Agonda, Goa, India by Shraddha Pandya
It took me a long time to decide whether to write about this beach. Cola beach is undoubtedly the most beautiful beach I've ever been to in my whole life. It has a fresh water lagoon on one side and the sea on the other, separated by sand ofcourse. When the tide is high, sea water very often washes into the lagoon. The water in the lagoon is extremely cold; so brace yourself, take a deep breath and get in ! You can see tiny fishes swimming around in the lagoon, especially where the freshwater meets the salt water. The beach is extremely clean and the water is calm. However you cannot touch the bottom and have to float if you don't want waves breaking over your head all the time. So non-swimmers might want to give the sea a miss, spending all their time in the lagoon instead. The beach itself has two fancy beach resorts to stay in. Since we were on a budget trip, we made this a day excursion. There is an absolutely terrible path of about 2 kms to reach the hill adjoining Cola. You can park your scooter there and climb down to the beach. Mind you, you will need GPS to find this path. But its worth it. All the effort is completely worth it !! It was the best part of my trip. Enough said.
Photo of Cola Beach, South Goa, Goa, India by Shraddha Pandya
Photo of Cola Beach, South Goa, Goa, India by Shraddha Pandya
Photo of Cola Beach, South Goa, Goa, India by Shraddha Pandya
Photo of Cola Beach, South Goa, Goa, India by Shraddha Pandya
Photo of Cola Beach, South Goa, Goa, India by Shraddha Pandya
Cabo De Rama Fort was built before the Portugese even settled in Goa. It isn't a very large fort and most of it is now in ruins. A small church still stands and I believe they still hold mass there once a week. Even though there isn't too much of the fort left to see, the views from there are spectacular. The fort is a little out of the way and thankfully not very crowded so you will get your peace and quiet. We reached there in time for sunset and after walking for around half an hour, found a perfect spot to watch the sunset. The north-eastern side of the fort is more easily accessible from the entry, but walk around a bit and find the western facing wall. Then enjoy the sunset, because it is beautiful.
Photo of Cabo De Rama Fort, Goa, India by Shraddha Pandya
Photo of Cabo De Rama Fort, Goa, India by Shraddha Pandya
Photo of Cabo De Rama Fort, Goa, India by Shraddha Pandya
6 Comment(s)
Sort by:
I too hv been to ds place. Ya its as excellent as u described. I could recall all d experience while going through ds article. Good job. you can read ma blog too about Gokarna http://badruddinsheikh.blogspot.in/2018/04/gokarna-heavenly-destination-happening.html
Fri 04 27 18, 11:41 · Reply · Report
Have you been to Malpe beach and St. Mary's island in Udupi? You should definitely give it a try. Check my blog on it. :)
Tue 01 26 16, 08:50 · Reply (1) · Report
yes i have been this place. awesome pace to visit and spend time. so peaceful and wonderful destination. you can read ma balog about ST Mary's Island http://badruddinsheikh.blogspot.in/2018/02/weekend-outing-to-st-marys-island_26.html
Fri 04 27 18, 11:43 · Report
Photo of Rupa Kamodia
Rupa Kamodia
Covers all the high points of your trip. It was a joy to read it and definitely has tempted me to go to these places. Very well written!!!
Mon 11 17 14, 19:40 · Reply · Edit · Delete ·
Photo of Rupa Kamodia
Rupa Kamodia
Covers all the high points of your trip. It was a joy to read it and definitely has tempted me to go to these places. Very well written!!!
Mon 11 17 14, 19:40 · Reply · Edit · Delete ·
Photo of Mrudul Bapat
Mrudul Bapat
Wonderful, Shraddha. Thanks for the detailed info. :)
Mon 11 17 14, 06:34 · Reply · Edit · Delete ·
Show More Comments