Whenever someone mentions a beach holiday, Goa is the first place that everyone visualize. Many do not realize that there is another low key paradise south of Goa, called Gokarna . Gokarna is a tiny temple town in Karnataka, just 3-4 hours drive from Goa, with laid back, secluded and pristine beaches. The town draws pilgrims, holiday makers and backpackers with equal enthusiasm. This is a great place to travel on a budget as well. Travellers come here from around the world to escape the cold winters. This is the perfect place to slow down, make new friends and get a different perspective on life. Also if you’re seeking for some peace and quiet, or if you want to muse or an idea for a new book or article, then this is the right place for you.
We reached Gokarna early in the morning, having travelled from Bangalore the previous night, and checked in at the Hotel Gokarna International (which we booked online). Initially, we planned on putting up at Zostel. But unfortunately, it was fully booked because, mind you, december- january is the peak season for travellers in Gokarna. Our next option was to check the cottages around the beach, but again found that the ones with reasonable pricing were booked. So we booked a 3 bed single room at Hotel Gokarna International which is a little farther away from the beaches and were not very sure what to expect. When we got there we were welcomed to a fully furnished spacious room on the 2nd floor including a balcony with a view. At Rs 1000 per night split between the 3 of us it was great value for money.
We freshened up and headed out to rent scooters. But on the way we decided that bicycles would be better for exploring. And that was the worst decision we had made on the trip. I’ll tell you why. Gokarna is situated among hills and the beaches of Gokarna are some distances away from town. You need to climb the road uphill first and then trek downhill to the other side, because that is where the beaches are. We pushed and panted along with our bicycles all the way to the beach doing a great amount of leg workout in the process. In short, I do not recommend you use bicycles in Gokarna.
There are 5 main beaches in Gokarna- Om beach, half moon beach, paradise beach, kudle beach and Gokarna beach.