So it all started as a new year plan; the best place one can visit during new year’s would be somewhere near a beach and whenever you think of a beach the first place that pops up is Goa. But on a low budget making it to Goa was not possible for us so we came up with the second best place where we can get anything close to what Goa was 4-5 years back and i.e. Gokarna.
Gokarna is a small town on the western coast of India in the Kumta taluk of Uttara Kannada district of the state of Karnataka.
Dabolim, Goa is the nearest airport, and by train Ankola (20km) is the nearest railway station for most trains but certain trains like the Matsyagandha Express halt at Gokarna itself. Bus services are also available from Bangalore and Goa. From Dabolim, you can take a taxi, a bus or a train to Gokarna. Although, travelling by road is recommended.
So, when we started planning for the trip we stumble upon another place, Kumta, it is a town around 33 Km away which is only a 45 min drive and if you’re interested you can also take the ferry route which is only 21 Km but you won’t find any major transport services. So we planned to take a bus till Kumta, any bus going to Gokarna will go through Kumta, so you have to specifically tell the bus conductor to drop you off when the bus reaches Kumta. If you are travelling overnight via bus from Bangalore then you will probably reach around 5-6 in the morning. We booked a beach side budget-friendly resort @ ₹1000 per night named Nirvana Nature. The main attraction of Nirvana Nature was the beach at the front side.
So our route till here is :
After reaching Kumta around 6:30 in morning we booked an auto (fare: ₹200) till Nirvana Nature. The weather was extremely pleasant with cool breeze brushing against our faces and we were all pumped up & excited for the adventures lying ahead. As soon as we reached our resort we all rushed towards the beach kicked our shoes off and let the cool sea waves kiss our toes while absorbing all the beauty in.
After spending some time at the beach we checked in into our rooms , freshened up and charged all our devices in the meantime. Then around 10:30 am we left for Kumta city to grab some food and then we’d planned to visit Mirjan fort . Through a shortcut road we reached the main village road where we took a small Mahindra bus till Kumta City. We had our breakfast at some South-Indian joint (you will only find South-Indian restaurants here) then we walked till the bus station which is not too far. The best way to reach Mirjan is to take a state transport bus from outer region of the Kumta city going in the direction of Gorkarna. Our route :
The state transport bus dropped us at Mirjan bus stop, from there we had to walk approx. 800 m to reach the Mirjan Fort.
Mirjan Fort was built by Queen Chennabhairadevi of Tuluva-Saluva clan under the protection of the Vijayanagara Empire in 16th century. She ruled for 54 years and also lived in the fort. The Fort comes under Archaeological Survey of India and is maintained by them . Monsoon season is the best time of the year to visit this fort when it is filled with lush greenery. But there’s not much to visit so a couple of hours is more than sufficient to spend here.
Pro trip : carry at least two water bottles , you’ll need it.
After Mirjan Fort we returned to our resort, had lunch and were accompanied by many foreigners who were staying the night there, had a chat about their lifestyles and travel stories and then the rest of the afternoon was spent chilling on a rope hanging bag. We spent the evening at the beach, had dinner and that was a wrap up for day one.
Total Spends for whole day in Kumta was around :
- Auto to Nirvana Nature from Kumta : ₹ 200
- Bus fare to Kumta City from Village : 40 *2 = ₹ 80 (return journey & 2 person )
- Breakfast (Idli-Wada and tea): ₹ 100 (2 people)
- Bus fare to Mirjan from Kumta : around 80 * 2 = ₹ 160 (return journey & 2 person)
- Lunch at Nirvana: ₹ 300 (2 people)
- Dinner at Nirvana: ₹ 500 (2 people)
- Total : 1340/2 = ₹ 670 (cost per person)
Kumta to Gokarna route:
Today we planned to visit Gokarna through the ferry route visiting Heaven Beach, God’s own Beach, Paradise Beach, Small Hell Beach, Hell cliff, Half Moon Beach, Om Beach then the Gokarna City. We started at 8 am, trekking to village Rd to catch the bus till Ferry point as the trek to Heaven Beach starts from there . We got a little sidetracked by Google maps as its directions were not accurate. The trek to Heaven Beach is not easy as the way is very narrow through the mountains with pointy stones and sudden upslopes & downslopes . After the back-breaking trek for about an hour we finally reached Heaven Beach and it felt rejuvenating . The beach had zero pollution as its still not very popular among tourists. Now its time to relax and regain our energy as there’s a long journey ahead. From this point we had to trek back to the ferry point and then board a ferry to reach Gokarna ferry point (this is far from the city). After that, we had to walk past Gods Own Beach & Belekan Beach till Paradise Beach Trek start point.
We started our trek around 12:15 pm, with all our luggage as we planned to reach the city by night. We reached Paradise Beach by 1 pm, the difficulty level was moderate, most of the part of the trail was wide and remaining were trough bushes and small plants leading to Paradise Beach. As soon you step on the Paradise beach you will find a totally different vibe of hippies with camps and music. Enjoy the most of this as you won’t find a beach this clean in any other coastal strips. The only way(s) to reach here is either by boat or by trek, therefore, most people resist to visit here which make this a secluded beach and a true paradise.
Pro Adventure Tip :
Adventure hungry peeps can do this trek at night to see bioluminescent phytoplankton in the waves but it becomes very risky at night as the path is very rocky but the breathtaking view of the starry sky above and the glittering planktons in the sea will leave you mesmerized.
The real phase of this trek starts from Paradise to Om Beach through Small Hell Beach, Hell cliff and Half Moon Beach and vice-versa. We spent around 4 hours on Paradise and Small Hell Beach as they are a few meters apart. From here we started at 4:30 pm and decided not to hurry as we had almost 2 hours to finish our trek till Om Beach start point. Om beach is around 1.5 km from here and takes around 1 hour but its risky as the path is very rocky and in few patches, we were on the sideways of the ocean on a cliff which is around 60° incline so one silly mistake and things could go completely south real fast. Patience with a calm mind is the key for this trek, after sunset it gets dark as most of the path is through the jungle on a mountain. We reached Om Beach at almost the time of sunset and it was a sight for sore eyes.
Our first destination was Om Rock Cafe ’cause well a guy got to eat right! Also this is the only cafe on the trek route so we ate till our tummies were full so that we don’t get hungry before diner time. As the sun was completely set, we started our last part of the trek to reach the city and find a place to spend the night. We took an auto rickshaw from Om Beach parking to the city bus stop as it was dark he charged us extra money but by 9:00 pm we were in the city.
Found a hotel nearby for ₹1000 per night (2 people). We freshened up and then left for dinner around 9:40 pm and found a decent place to dine in. After dinner we decided to go to Gokarna Beach (city beach) which is around 800 m from the bus stand and hardly a 15 min walk . We walked to the beach, spent some time there and was back in our rooms around 11 pm and decided to call it a night.
Total Spends for whole day Nature Nirvana to Gokarna Hotel was around :
- Auto to Bus stop from Om Beach: ₹ 300
- Breakfast (Aloo paratha and tea): ₹ 440 (2 people)
- Ferry fare : around 30 * 2 = ₹ 60 (2 person)
- Nariyal Paani : 25 * 2 = ₹ 50 (2 people)
- Snacks at Om Rock Cafe : ₹ 200 (2 people)
- Hotel = ₹ 1000 (2 person)
- Dinner (coke and kerala paratha) = ₹ 150 (2 people)
- Total : 2200/2 = ₹ 1100(cost per person)
It was the last day and not much was left to cover. We had only two spots left on our list: Kudle Beach and Mahabaleshwar Temple. We checked out of our rooms at around 11:30 am and went straight to Mahabaleshwar Temple and did our darshan along with pet-puja. After that we walked our way towards Kudle Beach which was 1.5 km far and it took us somewhat 20 mins to reach there.
Kudle Beach had a very different scenario with locals and a lot more tourist (mostly foreigners) with different shops set up selling a variety of stuffs. We made our rucksacks into pillows as we look forward to relax & enjoy the lovely beach weather, and getting a little tanned in the process is alright. We finally had a whole day to recover with some Vitamin Sea.
Around 5 pm before sunset we said our goodbyes to Kudle Beach and started heading back to the city. After we climbed the stairs up-till the road, our eyes glowed with the golden hour lights falling over the dry grass on the cliff over to the left of the road. This golden sight caught our attention and we decided to take in the view up close. We started walking towards the cliff, & this little extra trip did not go in vain because on reaching the spot we were welcomed with a beautiful golden sight . Its an amazing feeling when you are at the right place at right time, seems to be one of the best ways to end your day. The sun going down filling the sky above with stars and below the city lights glowing up in dark.
It was already 6:30 pm by the time we were back on road, we rushed so that we don’t get late. By 7:30 pm we had our dinner and started walking towards the nearby bus station.
So this brings us to the end of our little budget-friendly trip but always remember that money may keep your pockets full but adventures will fill up your souls.
Total Spends for whole day in Gokarna City was around :
Breakfast in city : ₹ 150 (2 people)
Snacks at Kudle Beach : ₹ 200 (2 people)
(chicken paneer roti and coke): ₹ 500 (2 people)
Total : 850/2 = ₹ 425(cost per person)
Follow me on Instagram to get behind the scenes of this trip 😋
Bus tickets Bangalore to Gokarna : ₹ 1200 (2 person)
Bus tickets Gokarna to Bangalore : ₹ 1700 (2 person)
Day 1: ₹ 1340 (2 people)
Day 2 : ₹ 2200 (2 people)
Day 3: ₹ 850 (2 people)
Grand Total : 7290/2 = ₹ 3645
Check the Video series which I made on this trip :