Gokarna Travel guide
Gokarna is an offbeat town not visited by many tourists, making it one of the underrated destinations of India. Everyone knows about it, but not many visit, perhaps, because of lack of proper transport, or perhaps because people consider it a bit far to reach. Regardless, this means that it is less crowded and a destination worth exploring.
We have always had the notion that Gokarna is an alternate Goa, known for the hippie population, seafood, and alcohol. But once we reached, we realized that there is more to Gokarna than that! Beaches, yes, but Gokarna is also an important pilgrimage town for Hindus as it also hosts a lot of temples.
How to Reach Gokarna
Gokarna can be reached in one of these ways:
Air: The nearest international airport to Gokarna is Dabolim Airport in Goa (approximately 150 km). The nearest domestic airport to Gokarna is Hubballi airport in Hubli (approximately 145 km). To get to Gokarna, you can take a train, bus, or taxi from Dabolim airport and a bus or taxi from Hubballi airport.
Rail: All trains operating on the Western Rail lines or the Konkan rail lines stop at Gokarna Road station. As a result, this rail line connects Goa, Mumbai, Pune, Mangalore, and Bangalore. The main town of Gokarna is 6 km from the Gokarna Road railway station, and you can easily get an auto to take you there.
However, since Gokarna road station is a small station, not all trains can stop there. The main railway stations where you can get down are Ankola station to the north of Gokarna and Kumta station to the south. After that, you can easily get to Gokarna by bus or taxi.
Bus/Car: Gokarna is served by a number of government and private buses from major cities such as Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Goa, and Mangalore. These cities also have private taxis that can transport you to Gokarna. Most buses, however, will drop you off at Madangeri or Gokarna cross, which is about 10 km from Gokarna’s main town.
Madangeri cross or Gokarna cross is 12 km away from the main Gokarna town. You can board a government bus departing from Kumta (Kumta-Gokarna-Kumta route bus). Both buses coming from the south can stop at Madangeri cross. To get to Gokarna, you can take an auto from Madangeri cross. Remember to bargain with them. Alternatively, you can drive down yourself.
Best time to visit Gokarna
Gokarna, we can be visited at any time of the year. However, the months of October to February are perfect for visiting Gokarna because the weather is good and the humidity is low. Summer begins in March and lasts until May when it is too hot to relax on the beach. The monsoon season starts from June to early September, when the beaches are either closed or too barren and unkempt. Shivratri festival in March and Ganesh Chaturthi festival in August are the best times to visit Gokarna if you want to see the vibrant temples.
Best places to stay in Gokarna
Gokarna has a lot of accommodations available suitable to cater to all kinds of travelers, from cheap accommodation for solo travelers to people who give prominence to luxury.
Budget accommodation: There are many backpacker hostels in and around Gokarna’s towns and beaches. Zostel, Trippr, Hostelife, Hostel are some of the most popular hostels in Gokarna. Most of these hostels are located close to the beaches and offer amazing views of the beach. They are also a great way to meet new travelers and socialize with them. They all come in the range of 600 INR for a dorm bed, depending on the season.
Pro tip: If you choose a bed in a larger dorm, then depending on the season, you might get it for a cheaper rate. Keeping the pandemic in mind, most hostels even offer long stays discounts if you stay a week or more. So, that might be a great way to cut down on expenses as well.
Mid-range accommodation: Gokarna has many homestays, and basic hotels in the price range of 1500 to 3000 Rs whereinbreakfast may be included. Do note that the majority of them are usually slightly far away from the beach, so it might take a little while to get there unless you have rented a bike or have your own transport. Taking a rickshaw to the beach is not recommended as they are expensive.
Luxury accommodation: Om Beach Resort is one of the top luxury locations for accommodation here. Boasting of a pool etc., rooms here cost 5000-7000 a night, depending on the season.
Things to do in Gokarna
Visiting Gokarna Market: The Gokarna main market is a must-see in Gokarna. The market is close to the temples and Om beach. The majority of these stores sell clothing or products that are used in temples for worship, for example—cheap incense sticks, beads, printed T-shirts, caps, skirts, imitation jewelry, etc. The Thursday market in Gokarna is also well-known.
Visiting the beaches: Gokarna has many beaches worth visiting. It is more frequented by pilgrims than visitors because it is nearest to the temples. The waves here are gentle and ideal for learning to surf. This beach is conveniently accessible by car or rented bike/scooter.
Kudle beach is an amazing beach, but it is not directly accessible by road. From the parking lot, it is a 10-minute downhill walk over rugged terrain. Hippies and international visitors flock to Kudle Beach. The beach shore area is incredibly large, providing plenty of opportunities to sit, relax, practice yoga, or play volleyball. Since the water is not too deep and the waves are not too rough, it is ideal for non-swimmers. There are many shack restaurants and huts for lodging along the beach. Kudle beach has a magnificent backdrop of coconut and palm trees that cover the hills, and you will be able to see a spectacular sunset from here.
Like the other beaches, there is no direct road access to Om Beach. It is accessible by descending 100 paved stairs from the parking lot. The road to Om beach from Gokarna town is scenic and passes through hills. This is Gokarna’s most famous beach, and it gets its name from the fact that it is naturally shaped like the sacred Hindu symbol OM. The beach at Om is well-run and kept tidy. Even though it is a south-facing beach, the sunset can be seen from the rocky section in the east. The beach is lined with trees, which provide much-needed shade on hot days. It also has a number of colorful boats moored to its shore, which belong to local fishermen. The famous upscale cafes on Om Beach often serve freshly prepared seafood. You will have to walk to a hill near the rightmost end of the beach to get a clear view of the symbol OM.
Half-moon Beach is named for its shape, which resembles a half-moon. It is not accessible by road. Just a 30-minute walk from the leftmost end of Om beach or a trail starting from the main road leading to Om beach will get you there. The hike to Half-moon Beach is easy to moderate in difficulty and takes you through a forested area. As the trail runs along the hillside overlooking the vast Arabian Sea on one side, the trek from Om beach to Hal-moon beach will provide you with spectacular views. It is better to hike to Half-moon Beach in a group or with someone who knows the trails well because there’s a good chance you’ll lose your way. This south-facing beach is narrow, like a lagoon, but clean and lovely, evoking images of paradise. Half-moon beach is completely cut off from the rest of the world and has few facilities. Tourists have even claimed to see bioluminescence in the sea at the beach at night, but unless you want to spend the night there, you should go before sunset.
The final beach on the list is Paradise Beach. The beach is mainly rocky with a few sandy patches in between, and swimming is risky due to the heavy waves. Paradise beach is a small beach that bears no resemblance to a paradise. We did not find anything unique about the beach except for having our pictures taken with the words “Para Para Paradise” spray-painted on the walls, which was humorous in a way. While there are no shacks or restaurants (which is a good thing), the beach is well-known for camping.
Frequently asked Questions (FAQ)
Which is the best beach in Gokarna?
The best beach in gokarna is Om beach which is also the most famous beach in Gokarna
Best place to stay in Gokarna?
Stonewoods nature resort is a famous resort with great ambience in Gokarna is the best place to stay in Gokarna.
Best time to visit Gokarna?
Gokarna can be visited all the year around.
What is the nearest airport and railhead to Gokarna?
Goa is the nearest airport to Gokarna and gokarna itself has a railway station in india.known as Ankola.
What is the distance of Goa from Gokarna?
Gokarna to goa is about 120 kms.
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