Gokarna is nestled in between mountains, temples and Arabian sea in Northern Karnataka, India. It is a famous destination for pilgrims but is gaining attraction amongst tourists too who love beaches and parties.
~ INR 5500 per person –
- Bus travel to Madangiri from Mumbai and back (INR 3000)
- Breakfast, lunch, and dinner x2
- Intercity auto and cab expenses
We visited Gokarna in March 2017. The best time to visit Gokarna is throughout the year barring July and August when the rainfall is at its peak.
From Mumbai – My friend and I left on a Saturday evening from Mumbai. Booked the bus tickets on Friday night from Mausam Tours +91 9594446492, 8108518401. We got on the bus at 5:30 pm on Saturday and reached Madangiri at 5:30 am on Sunday. You can also use Goibibo/Redbus for booking the tickets.
We chose a bus over trains because the buses take 12 hours to reach vs 24 hours for trains.
By Road – There are a lot of direct buses from Goa, Bangalore, Mumbai etc.
By Air – The nearest airport is at Dabolim, Goa.
By Rail- Ankola (20km) is the nearest railway station for most trains but certain trains like the Matsyagandha Express halt at Gokarna itself.
- We stayed at Haripriya Residency. The charges are INR. 700/- per night. Since we had checked in at odd hours of 6 am they charged us INR 1000 for two. Check-in and check-out time is 12 noon. There’s free WiFi too.
- Alternatively, you can stay at Zostel too. The rates here will also be around INR 500-900.
- Staying on the beach is prettier and cheaper ( no inter-city travel ) option. Do check it out here.
Om Beach and Paradise Beach
We had called for an auto driver (Mr Mahesh+91 9741277893) already to pick us up since we got down at 5:30 am. It was a good decision since there were no auto drivers at that time.
We crashed immediately as soon as we reach our guest house. Got up at 8:30 am to leave for Om Beach which is 7 km from the guesthouse. There was an auto and bus stand, 100 meters away from the guesthouse. We took an auto (INR 150) to Om Beach.
We were famished and hence went to the nearest shack – Namaste Cafe. Decent options were available on the menu. From the alcohol options, only beer is served there. We ordered Mushroom Cheese omelet, coffee, and Parathas. It cost us ~INR 500.
We went for a stroll and we’re planning to walk it up to Paradise Beach and Half Moon Beach. I had read on some blogs that it’s just a kilometer away. But it wasn’t and it was 30 °C. There were several boat rowers. He offered us to take us to both the beaches and drop us back to Om Beach but no getting down anywhere. He charged us INR 250 per person. We saw a few dolphins at the Half Moon Beach!
Walking to these beaches wouldn’t have been possible because it was a LONG trek. We weren’t well equipped and dressed for it. Also, we didn’t know the roads. The boat rower told us that people from different nationalities come to stay in tents (it’s theirs) at Paradise beach after bringing necessities from the market and camp there. There are no hotels, shacks, nothing on that beach.
After seeing Half Moon beach from the boat, We returned to Om Beach and went to Namaste Cafe again to have our brunch. This time we ordered a beer, pasta, mango milkshake etc . The bill was around ₹600/-. We stayed there for 2-3 hours and were enjoying the view.
Post lunch we left for Murudeshwar Temple. We booked a cab (+91 8088676881) from the bus stop itself. He charged INR 2000 for a Maruti Suzuki Ertiga. We met a couple at our guesthouse and clubbed this destination with them. Bringing our cost to INR 500 per person to and fro for Murudeshwara. Lesser money and carbon footprints!
We had a South Indian Thali for dinner at a local restaurant once we reached home. Everything shuts around 8 – 9 and there are just 1-2 options for meals in that area. So make sure you reach and plan your dinner accordingly.
Today we had planned on visiting Sahasralinga, Sirsi but exhaustion crept in my friends and had to cancel this plan. The same cabbie had offered us to take us there in a hatchback for INR1000. If you’re taking a detour via Yana Caves, he’d charge INR 1600. (Year 2017)
Another alternative was to ride down there on a bike (rent is INR500)
So instead we headed for Kudle beach. On the way, we stopped to see the only standing Ganesh idol. There is Gokarna Bazaar (market) too beside the temple.
We loved this beach the most because it was huddled between two mountains!!
We headed for Little Paradise Shack. Ordered a Healthy Breakfast (cereals, milk, fruit bowl, toast bread and juice) and an English Breakfast Cost – INR 450 for both. They served beer and some alcohol too. They had more cuisine options compared to Namaste Beach.
We relaxed on the beach and shack for 4 hours. There are many people from different nationalities sunbathing on the beach.
You can pack your bikinis and sarongs for this beach!
Later we explored another shack because the staff there called few of their friends on the eve of Holi. They ALL were drunk and were playing very loud music!! This shack wasn’t as fancy as Little Paradise but was little cheaper. Same varieties costed ₹30-40 less. We had a plate of dal rice for INR 70 here. They have lot of cats and dogs too here who’ll want what you’re eating. Unless you hate animals, this will not be a problem at all!! We loved this place and unfortunately forgot the name. This shack is just 4-5 shacks after Little Paradise.
All these shacks have places to stay too. Staying on the beach would’ve been prettier and cheaper (no inter-city travel) option. Do check it out here.
And alas, our time in Gokarna had to come to an end. We took an auto from the same bus stop and left for Madangiri bus stop (INR 200). There are buses available too.
Our bus arrived at 7 pm. It was our mistake that we took the last berth. We slept in the opposite direction because AC was coming directly on our face and the bolts were poking us. We got nausea and we’re trying to sleep ASAP! We stopped by at a dhaba for dinner. Next morning – Tuesday we reached Mumbai.
Other places to see around Gokarna:
- Sathodi falls
- Karwar beach ( where Ravindranath Tagore wrote his poems)
- Basra Beach, Kumta.
- Yana caves
A better pocket-friendly option:
Book your stay in hotel Makara. It saves your 50% cost since food is cheaper than places in Gokarna city. Om and Kudle beach can be done in INR 1000. You can combine Murudeshwar, Yana caves and Vibhuti falls. Makara is so centrally located that everything is covered in the minimum 300 km a day rate.
Other blogs you might find blogs interesting :
The Hippie Island – Hampi, Karnataka (I) -Read here
The Ruins and Temples of Hampi, Karnataka (II) -Read here
Wayanad, Kerala – Read here
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