Two posts in 2 days, yay to productivity! Following my lovely and relaxing time in Hampi, I headed off for the quite beaches of Gokarna. However my time traveling to Gokarna was anything but quite.
India does not believe in normal sidewalks. They are either crumbled or have holes and some sidewalks are even stone slabs over drainage lines. When you are me and always find a way to injure yourself when doing the simplest of things, these tend to be death traps for you.
WARNING, next picture is not for the faint of heart, :).
See, death trap. I was walking to get on my bus to Gokarna and it was extremely dark and I walked right into a giant hole. When I fell I went forward and slammed into and scraped both legs on the stone slab that was above the hole. But thank goodness for kind fellow travelers who helped wash me up, put iodine on the wounds, and bandaged me up.
Teaching Note: make sure to have some sort of medical kit in case this happens to you, because I did not have anything of the magnitude that I needed.
So after I had my little spill I had to sit on a 7 hour bus ride all the way to Gokarna. And then a minibus ride actually into the town of Gokarna. If you are coming from Hampi, the bus drops you off at a gas station outside of Gokarna at 3 in the morning. Then there will be a minibus to take you into Gokarna or your hostel. I didn’t have to pay to go to Gokarna, but did pay a little extra because my hostel was outside Gokarna.
The other travelers I was with didn’t have a place to stay so they were going to have to stay in a beach shack until everything opened. That is the downside of Gokarna when you come from Hampi and many other places, you get there really early in the morning and if you don’t have a place to stay, it can be a long few hours. Luckily, I did and was able to sleep in the common room of my hostel until 8.
Best Backpacker Hostel
I stayed at Zostel Gokarna and the view was one of the best parts of the whole experience. But once I woke up, they took me to a local clinic where I got cleaned up, I had bled through the bandages, got a bandage for my bigger cut, and a tetanus shot to make sure I didn’t get sick. However, for the rest of that day and the following morning I was not allowed to do anything because the wounds were still too fresh.
But there are much worse places you could be when your body is banged up.
Gokarna is the coastal region just south of Goa. Gokarna is actually a town in the state of Karnataka, but most refer to the whole region as Gokarna. The beaches that are around Gokarna are Gokarna, Kudle, Om, Paradise, and Half Moon. If you are wanting to stay at a resort, Om and Kudle Beaches will be your best bet. Paradise Beach is too small and secluded (which is perfect) and Half Moon Beach is even smaller.
These are not your white sandy beaches with really clear water, so squash those expectations. The beaches are sandy and with cliffs and rocky. If you want a beach area that is not commercialized and requires a great deal of walking, this is it.
To reach each of the beaches you have to trek through the jungle and up and over the cliffs. These paths provide not only a view of the landscape but some amazing sunset views as well. Also, my hostel had a night trek that drove you to a small fishing village and you trekked to Paradise Beach at night and got to see phytoplankton under the stars and have a bonfire. The moon wasn’t out when we were there so we didn’t see the phytoplankton as well, but the experience was worth it.
Gokarna also boasts some amazing landscape farther inland. I tagged along with a few other travelers to find a waterfall that was an hour and a half ride away by scooter and it was totally worth the sore butt after. It was the first real waterfall I had seen and the water was ice cold, which provided a nice relief to the heat. Unfortunately I didn’t get into the water because of my legs, but did dip my toes in. The drive back is also nice with driving through hills, rice paddies, and inland streams.
Best Part of Gokarna
Gokarna is the perfect place for you to just chill and hang out.
Over the next couple of days, I hung out with some amazing people. I had the luxury of hanging out with Indian tourists who were also visiting Gokarna. We trekked to beaches, hung out at beach cafes, and marveled at the interestingness that is Shamal. It was one of my favorite experiences while I was in India, getting to know them and exchanging some cultural questions, like “what is Thanksgiving?”
It is true when they say the people make the place and I don’t think Gokarna would have been the same without Neha, Randy, Ayushi, Karan, Ishan, Ishwar, Shamal, Swapnil, Balu, and Kaushik.
But watch out for that magic lassi ;).