Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I earn from any qualifying purchases, at no additional cost to you.
Save this for later!
How to Reach Gokarna
One of the reasons why people choose to make a trip to Gokarna is it's close proximity to Goa as well as good connectivity to Bangalore. Take a look at how you can reach Gokarna from Goa as well as other major cities.
Goa to Gokarna
There are different options for this route. You can catch one of the many KSRTC buses between Goa and Gokarna. The fares are super cheap and the buses are regular. The major stops between the 2 cities are Karwar and Ankola. You can catch a bus to one of these cities and then take a bus to Gokarna from there. Fares are from Rs 25 to Rs 70, depending on the route.
Trains are another popular means of transport between Goa and Gokarna. Check the Indian Railways site to find out trains between the two places. You can board a train at Margao station in Goa which is going South. Margao to Gokarna takes 2 hours by train.
Bangalore to Gokarna
There are regular buses on this route. Bangalore to Gokarna takes roughly 9 hours by road. Book an overnight bus on a Friday and you'll be dropped off on the main Gokarna bus stand on Saturday morning. This way you can easily spend 2 days in Gokarna then take a bus going back to Bangalore on Sunday evening. Bus fares start from Rs 750.
Gokarna is a tiny temple town located on the coast of Karnataka. While this often leads people to believe that it's a small town filled with nothing but temples, priests and pilgrims seeking peace, they couldn't be more wrong. Well, technically, they would be right but there's a lot more to this place than just the temples. Gokarna, infact, is a popular hippie destination famous for it's beaches. Two of the most popular Gokarna beaches are Om beach and Kudle beach. Unknown to regular tourists, there are a bunch of hidden beaches which are accessible only to those who seek adventure. This is exactly what I was looking for when I set out to Gokarna for 2 days on a weekend. Thus this post contains a list of places to visit in Gokarna in 2 days.
Places to Stay in Gokarna
Okay so here's the thing about places to stay in Gokarna. Most people go for the Gokarna beach resorts immediately. Book such resorts if you're travelling with your family or in a large group. However, if you're a young couple, a solo traveller or a bunch of friends out to explore, then Zostel Gokarna is your best friend. They have dorm rooms, private cottages, a cafe overlooking the Gokarna beach, hammocks and a funky common room (see image above). They also organise tours and walks at super affordable prices. Plus, you'll meet really interesting people there!
Watch the Sunset
It's a no-brainer that we've all seen sunsets, and some truly magnificent ones too. One of the most serene sunsets I've ever experienced was during my 2-day Gokarna trip. Maybe it was because it was my first solo trip, or because I managed to meet a bunch of truly amazing people. Whatever the reason may be, sitting on a cliff by myself, with gentle winds playing with the stands of my hair and an endless ocean ahead of me, I witnessed a magical moment that lasted a while. The spot where I watched the sun go down is located off the kudle road, on the right hand side of the road, when you're facing the kudle beach. Look for a makeshift playing ground where some youngsters are playing cricket, opposite to the kudle beach parking lot. Go towards the cliff that you see farther from the ground.
Explore the Town
You mustn't skip out on exploring the charming old Gokarna town. As you walk down the narrow lanes with houses packed closely on both sides, you'll find some commonality among all the houses. Almost every house has a white rangoli - a pattern drawn outside the house and a diya (lamp) lighting up the outside. I would recommend walking around the town right after the sunset. The heat can be unbearable during the day. Besides, watching the diya filled lanes and the priests performing evening rituals is enlightening. Pun intended.
Perform a Prayer Ceremony at Gokarna Temple
It is said that the main Gokarna temple houses the shivaling. Hundreds of people visit Gokarna each day just to be able to touch this shivaling with their own hands. Apart from regular temple visits, one can even perform special prayer ceremonies with the help of the Gokarna temple priests. Each ceremony has a different cost based on various factors. If you have the time, definitely perform a prayer ceremony inside the Gokarna temple.
Gokarna Beach Trek
Apart from the main Gokarna beach, there are many other beaches in Gokarna which make the place popular among the youth. Although Om beach and Kudle beach are the other most popular beaches in Gokarna, there are 3 other not-so-famous Gokarna beaches that are relatively unexplored. These beaches are Belekal beach, Paradise beach and Half moon beach. While most treks start from Om, take you to Half moon and Paradise beach, they require you to trek back to Om beach. A better alternative is to get to Belekal beach by an autorikshaw (tuk-tuk), trek to Paradise beach, Half moon beach and finally Om beach. This is the route that my gang followed. It look us 6 hours, But we took it easy, bathed in the sea and had a humongous breakfast at half moon beach!
Start the day early at 6 am so that you can catch the sunrise at Belekan beach!
Explore the Gokarna Food Scene
After you're exhausted from the early morning-afternoon beach trek, take some time to chill and explore the food scene. Zostel's in-house Mantra cafe overlooks the Gokarna beach, as shown in the picture. I would come back just for that view! Kudle beach has a bunch of shacks serving decent food which you can enjoy while watching the waves. Namaste cafe at Om beach is another popular albeit over-hyped spot. Personally, I think you can find hip shacks serving better food at lower rates at Om beach. Find a shack, sip a healthy juice and rejuvenate before you head back to your city after a break.
Best time to Visit Gokarna
Anytime is a good time for a trip to Gokarna! Just avoid the monsoon season from late June to August. You won't be able to enjoy the beaches and treks during this time. Also, if you can't bear the summer heat, then I don't suggest visiting Gokarna in May either. October to April is the best time to visit all the places in Goakrna. While there aren't many Gokarna attractions, beaches, treks, temples and a hammock will be your best friends during your short vacay in Gokarna! Spend 2 days in Gokarna to make the most of your trip.