Beaches or Mountains??
TBH we can’t decide what we like more! If you too can’t decide whether you are a beach or mountain person, there’s a place which has best of both world, Gokarna!
Gokarna is a small quaint town in Karnataka famous for its temples. It is famous for Mahabaleshwar temple which is believed to house original image of Lord Shiva’s Linga (Atmalinga). However, in last decade the place has emerged as hot destination for tourists worldwide for its serene unspoiled beaches and spiritual yet cool vibes.
We were on a backpacking trip to Gokarna for four days, wherein we explored its quite beaches, busy streets, did a bike trip to Yana caves and Murudeshwara temple. For full itinerary of the trip you can head to our previous blog: Complete budget travel guide to Gokarna.
Gokarna Beach Trek
Coming to beaches, we explored five beaches namely Gokarna beach, Kudle beach, Om beach, Half moon beach and Paradise beach. The beaches are clean and less crowded compared to Goa. One peculiar thing is that almost all beach has Western ghat hills running parallel to them which makes the view quite magical.
While you can rent a bike or hire an auto /cab for beach hopping but it is beach trek which we recommend to do while in Gokarna. It will take a one full day and lots of effort since you have to walk around 10 k.m from one beach to another but its totally worth it.
On second day of our trip, we decided to do Gokarna beach trek, famously known as ‘the Golden route’. We were staying in Hostelavie, a budget friendly hostel for backpackers! It is right next to Zostel and one can easily walk downhill to Gokarna beach and Kudle beach from there. Early morning at 7 a.m, we left for Gokarna beach, covered Gokarna beach and nearby markets, came back to hostel, freshen up, had breakfast and then left to explore other beaches on foot.
It’s the main beach in city, right next to Mahabaleshwar temple. It is mainly visited by locals and pilgrims for religious practices. It has main market beside it where you can go shop, but shopping in Gokarna is something we will not recommend, as the prices are comparatively high for a street market. Anyways, you can totally skip this beach if you don’t have much time in hand.
If you are starting trek from this beach, just walk to extreme left end of this far stretched beach. You will reach an old temple premises from where you can climb up the stairs to hill. There’s a beautiful view point in mid way, with a beautiful view of turquoise water from cliff.
We left from our hostel at 10 a.m for Kudle beach and reached in next 15 minutes. We went to Kudle beach for like three to four times during our stay as it was hardly 1k.m away from our hostel. If you will start from Gokarna beach, Kudle beach is around 3 k.m. away.
A clean beach with lots of shacks and cafes to sit and watch sunset while sipping beer and only beer, yes hard drinks are not served in Gokarna well in most of the places.
This time as we had to cover other beaches as well we did not stopped here, we walked beside beach from one end to another and reached stairs going to hills. The stairs goes upwards and reaches main road which one has to cross and keep walking. There are arrows on ground, following them for half an hour will lead to Om beach. The path is mostly walking on plain terrain amongst bushes. One thing common about most of the beaches in Gokarna that you have to climb down the hills to get to the beaches.
It is around 3 k.m away from Kudle beach by walking or by vehicle. As the name suggests , the beach shape resembles Hindu symbol OM and hence the name. The beach looks beautiful and quite scenic with rocky formations right in the middle which bifurcates the beach into two halves. While the first half of beach was mainly occupied by families the second was less crowded.
There are some famous cafes beside it, the most famous among all is Namastey Cafe. We had lunch in Namastey café, which was okay, however late service was something which spoiled our mood and all the excitement.
Post lunch we started walking to cross the beach front, and again climbed up and made our way towards Half Moon beach which was around 1.5 k.m away as shown by Google map, but don’t completely rely on google maps, instead just follow trails alongside beaches. Just as we climbed up on hill we found a place from where the Om symbol was clearly visible.
Half Moon Beach
You will bump to this beach while trekking towards Paradise beach, very tiny if you ask us. But trek to Half moon beach from Om beach is very scenic! Walking on narrow trails just beside sea transports you into different world, we never thought we would get such amazing view for such a long stretch. We stopped many times to take a look at beautiful surrounding, coconut trees, emerald green water stretched till horizon.
Coming to the beach, Just pass through if you don’t have time in your hand. The only restaurant/café on this beach was such a disappointment. We stopped to have some refreshment but the service was slow and poor, go at your own risk.
As you start moving forward towards final beach i.e Paradise beach, there is a view point, From there Hell cliff is visible! Many outdoor enthusiasts try rock climbing here.
We heard so much about this beach from our friends and it didn’t disappoint us. Paradise beach can be reached from Om beach via trekking to hilly terrain for around 2 k.m., the whole trail is very scenic with hills on one side and blue sea on other. The trail post Half moon beach is somewhat tough, considering you have to climb on boulders and the path is not marked. Wear proper footwear for trek, don’t be like us for we didn’t know much about trail we were in chappals (not recommended).
Paradise beach lives up to its name, as it quite secluded and quiet beach. Surrounded by palm trees and rocks, this beach is a delight to eyes. You will also notice murals and painting on boulders which give hippie vibe to the place. Many campers have set up their tents beside it and are living like they belong here. You will find people cooking, chilling on hammock, jamming and ofcourse basking in sun.
There’s only one tea stall at beach where you can have tea, omelette, pav bhajiya etc. You can put your tent and camp which is highly recommended by many. We stayed at this beach for long, as we watched sunset and took a dip in sea.
Returning from Paradise beach is tricky, as its little isolated beach you have to trek for half an hour if you even want to catch an auto rickshaw. The other options are trekking back to Om beach, which is 2 k.m trek to hilly terrain and for that you must keep timing in mind as it will get dark and risky after sunset. The third option is taking boat to Om beach, which we did and it costed us 200 Rs. per head, very costly ! But we were too tired to trek back.
After reaching Om beach, we climbe up the hill to get an auto-rickshaw for our hostel, the ride costed us 150 bucks.
Later when we checked on app, the total distance we covered on foot was 12.3 k.m., this includes our morning visit to Gokarna beach. As we were too tired after the eventful day we had dinner at our hostel only. With plans of covering nearby attractions on coming days we called off the night.
leaving with you all with the vlog on Gokarna beach trek 🙂 Do not forget to subscribe our blog and Youtube channel for upcoming travel stories.
Happy Tripping 🙂