It was the end of my Seventh semester in college and so I decided to go on a solo trip to unwind and chill. I started googling for some touristy places not so far away from me and that is how I stumbled upon Varkala, Kerala's most popular backpackers' paradise. Without a second thought I decided to pack my bag and head to this beautiful place and spend my weekend there.
The cliff beach, Varkala
Where is Varkala and how to get there?
Varkala is a town in the Indian state of Kerala, about 50km north of Trivandrum. It is well connected by roads to all major cities in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The nearest airport is the Trivandrum Airport which is about an hour a half (50 km) drive. Bus services are also from Varkala to Trivandrum , South Kerala and Kanyakumari. As I was traveling from Trichy, I took a train to Trivandrum Central and then a train to Varkala.
I reached the Varkala Sivagiri Railway station at around 7 PM. I took an auto from the railway station to the place where I was going to stay and I was charged rupees 100. I stayed at this beautiful backpackers' hostel called The Lost Hostel. It is cute place which is just a 2 minutes walk from the Cliff beach. I checked into the hostel, had my dinner at a small restaurant close by and started making plans for the next two days (Yeah, I did not have an itinerary till I reached there) .
The Lost Hostel, Varkala
I woke up early and walked to the beach to witness the sunrise. It was beautiful. Then I head my back to my hostel, took a shower and got ready for the day. The hostel serves free breakfast. After breakfast I decided to rent a scooter for two days which will enable me to discover and explore places at my own pace (Auto rickshaws are expensive). The bike rental was just a minute away from the hostel. The charge was very reasonable and the guy at the shop was kind enough to help me frame the itinerary for the day.
I went to the North Cliff beach again and spent some time enjoying the waves and watching the surfers. It was noon and so I decided to have lunch at this amazing place called Coffee Temple with a very pleasant ambience. Their Bacon Omlette is a must try.
Then I went to the Varkala Aquarium which was about a kilometer away from the beach. Though it doesn't house a very vast collection it was very well maintained. After spending an hour there I decided to head to the Anjengo fort and the Light house. It was a 15 km ride which took me about half an hour to reach there but the view along the road is to die for. The entire 15 kms road was along the sea. The fort is not a very big one but it is one of the most instagramable spots in Varkala. Then I went on to climb the Light House. The view from the top was splendid. The light house opens from 3 PM to 5 PM only. So plan your visit accordingly.
I then came back to the cliff to watch the sunset and do some shopping. You'll find a lot of shops selling souvenirs, musical instruments, clothes, jewelry etc. Make sure to bargain (start with less than half of the quoted price). The shop keepers along the cliff speak good English. It started getting dark so I decided to have dinner and head back to hostel. I had my dinner at a cute little beachfront restaurant called the Little Tibet. Their Thupkas are amazing. It was 9 PM and so I headed back to the hostel and retired.
After finishing my breakfast at the hostel I head to the Papanasam beach. A dip in the holy water of this sea is believed to purge the body of all impurities and soul of all sins. You will find a number of families performing after death rituals to the deceased. Then I went to the Kappil Beach which is about 7 km from the North Cliff Beach. This beach is located where the Kappil lake meets the sea. You can opt for water sports here. After spending 45 mins here and I decided to head back to the main town. I had lunch at The God's own country kitchen. Afterwards I checked out from the hostel, returned the bike at the rental shop and went out for some more shopping and bought myself a Ukulele. In the evening I took an auto rickshaw from the cliff beach to the Varkala Sivagiri railway station and headed back to Trichy.
To be honest, this trip is the best weekend trip I've been on so far. There are other famous temples in Varkala but I chose not to go to them because I was never a fan of going to temples. If you are looking for a budget destination to relax, sit back and chill then Varkala is the place for you. Pack your bags now!