Happy New Year!
Every year during the end of the year, I travel like I have all the time in the world.
In December 2011, I explored Hampi for the second time, spent a little above two weeks there.
On New Year’s Eve, four of us went to Arba Mistika, a cafe which was run by an Indian couple from Bangalore and they did an amazing job with their simple decor and delicious food. Travelers jammed with their guitars, congos, dijeridoo, flute tabla and people lent their soulful voices too.
We left the cafe five minutes before midnight as being on the road was what we desired for the next year. We were leaving for Gokarna the next day.
We took sleeper buses from Hospet and reached Gokarna at dawn. It is hardly an eight hour journey but bad logistics made us wait for more than two hours on the border and a fifteen seater camper van was sent for us to go to Gokarna.
Gokarna’s market was coming to life. Fresh vegetables were displayed for selling and other businesses were tidying up for the day.
Our destination was Kudle beach. Our friends from Assam was awaiting us at Dragon Cafe and with everything shut, it was quite a task to locate the place.
A late morning, we spent the whole day on the beach chilling, eating and some more chilling. During sunset, we went crab hunting but the surreal sunset bowled us over.
The next day we took a boat to Pardise beach which was the last of the beaches in this belt of four beaches, Kudle, Om and Half Moon. With no concrete structure, it is required to build your own spot if you want to enjoy the beach life.
The prep started and everyone did with what they could. The spot was perfect, by the beach but as evening fell and the water level rose, our base was completely swept away. In the darkness, it was quite an adventure to find a new spot but it wasn’t too long when we noticed a recently vacated spot and shifted there for a better view and better sleep too.
With no restaurants, there was one Anna (brother in Kannada) who was selling dal, rice, omlette and pickle. Breakfasts would be fresh coconuts directly from the trees or other fruits if any villager comes to sell. Packaged drinking water was available with the Anna or alternatively drink water from the well.
Back to basics, Paradise was fullfiling. The days would be spent walking in the jungles collecting firewood, chilling on the beach, trying to calculate the time with the position of the sun/moon and sometimes trekking to Half Moon for a better array of food. The nights would be bonfires, some more chilling on the beach and occassional skinny dipping.
I travelled in January 2012.
Where: Gokarna in Karnataka.
How to reach:
Easily accessible by bus or train. Madgaon (Goa), Karwar (Karnataka-Goa border), Kumta, Ankola are places close to it.
Stay: Kudle Beach- Dragon Cafe has concrete rooms with attached bathrooms and a porch to chill.
Gokarna International Beach Resort is a fancy resort if you don’t want to live in the shacks.
Om Beach is the most commercial one out of all the four and has quite a few concrete resorts with all facilities.
Half Moon Beach is a small beach with just two places which has lodging arrangements. Take your pick.
Paradise Beach is synonymous to camping ground. Stay as long as you want: pitch a tent
Eat: Namaste cafe in Kudle has delcious wood oven pizzas. Dragon Cafe’s Pasta Pomodoro was my favorite with extra cheese and garden fresh veggies, it is lip smacking.
The three beaches has more or less the same kind of food.
Best time to visit: Season starts around October till April. It gets hot and humid post that. Still accessible, it wont be that enjoyable.