Many of us might know this, that there are two kinds of people in this world, the one who loves mountains and other loves beaches. Theories say that our choice of each destination is very much aligned with our character. Generally, those who like silence or solitude choose mountains and the more kind of proactive ones prefer beaches. It is just a broad classification, there are people who do not belong in either of the two. Sometimes, I had tried to put myself in one of the categories and I was disappointed. Though I like mountains a bit more than beaches, as a person living where the Bay of Bengal is only a few meters from my doorsteps, I never felt any dislike for them.
There are a few places where we can feel both the beach-mountain vibe together. Once such place is Gokarna, located in the Konkan coast of India. Just go there, you can experience what I am talking about. Unlike the party mood in Goa, which is very nearby, Gokarna finds its solace in the silence and laid-back people who visit here. The beaches here are amazing. The sunsets here are the best.
This is my second time in Gokarna. On my first visit, we had hiked up to Paradise beach and spend a night there. Later, I came to know about the Gokarna beach trek which is a 21 km long trail along this beautiful coastal stretch. The Gokarna beach trek is an extension of the hike to Paradise beach. Only very fewer people are aware of the trail from Kumta to Gokarna. It is the best way to experience this landscape. We can do Gokarna beach trek even without taking any guide or trekking packages.
In Gokarna, we can see mountains that comes as close and touches the ocean The Western Ghats and the Arabian sea together form some amazing landscapes with the sandy beaches and rocky cliffs.
Gokarna is also a temple town. Many people visit here for pilgrimage also.
Kumta to Gokarna beach trek, how to?
Gokarna beach trek is possible either from Kumta side or the Gokarna side. I would suggest to start from Kumta and end at Gokarna.
Kumta is a small town about 35 km from Gokarna by road. Kumta to Gokarna trail is a 21 km long. Though it is long, most part of the trail is through plain terrain and can be covered very easily and faster. During this trek, we come across more than a dozen spectacular beaches and cliffs. You need at least 2 days to complete Gokarna beach trek. Adding one more day will be good though.
My friend Alex was with me for the trek. By the time I reached Bangalore, the bus we reserved to Kumta had already left. We then had to search for other buses going in the same direction. Luckily, got a bus to Kundapura which is about 100 km from Kumta.
We reached Kundapura in the morning and took another public transport bus to Kumta. By around 11.30 AM, got down at Kumta town. Though we lost some time for the unexpected journey, we were happy to reach there finally.
We started Gokarna beach trek by noon from Kumta. It was hot already and we could not find any shade on the trail during the initial stretches, we had to walk quickly. Vannelli beach is the one after Kumta beach, hardly 1 km walk.
From Vannelli beach, you can see a hill at the other end. Leave the road and take the trail that goes to the top of the hill. There are two reasons to go up. First, the views from the top are amazing. And second, you can find the trail to the next beach. The further trail is pretty clear and scenic, you will leave the small coastal village of Vannelli quickly and enter the beautiful Mangodlu beach.
Unlike Vannelli beach, Mangodlu beach is deserted, calm and serene. Walking forward, there is another cliff and once you cross it, you find a long sandy stretch of about 8 km. This is the longest beach in our Gokarna beach trek. Though it is a continuous stretch, it is not a single beach. Kadle, Gudeangadi and Nirvana beach come one after the other.
It was almost evening when we reached Kadle beach. The sun was going down and it was beautiful. Our plan was to finish this stretch and camp at the next beach. But walking 8.5 km took a little more time, so we pitched our tent near Nirvana beach for the night.
Waking up to the sound of waves was different from the usual. We had to walk a little faster that day because we couldn’t complete as per our previous day plan. We continued our trek. The cold breeze from the sea accompanied us along the way.
We found another cliff at the end of Nirvana beach. Found one trail that goes up, so decided to take that, with the hope to cross cliff and reach next beach. But to our bad luck, the trail ended in the middle of nowhere and we couldn’t find our way forward. We tried to find some way to reach the other side. The trail ended in front of a forest with thick thorny bushes. We covered some distance through the forest by crawling on our knees. But it was getting more thicker and impossible to go forward. We came back and took the road.
Since we lost some time on the top, there was no choice other than to skip Haven beach. So straight away went to Aghanashini jetty to catch the ferry and cross the river. Actually, Heaven beach is one of the beautiful beaches on this trail and it should not be missed.
The name of the river is also Aghanashini. Frequent ferries are available to cross the river. Tadadi fishing harbour is on the other side of the river. From the harbour to the left, it is God’s own beach. It is better to take the road to reach Belekan beach which is the next after God’s own beach.
At the end of the rocky Balekan beach, there are two roads. The one which goes left leads to the lighthouse at the top of the hill and the other goes to the most beautiful beach in the Gokarna beach trek, Paradise beach.
If not on the wrong trail, you will find a small cafe called“New Cafe” after a short distance. From there the Paradise beach is a 20-minute hike. This beach will be very much different from the others in Gokarna beach trek. If you have more than 2 days, then I would suggest staying a night at Paradise beach.
From Paradise beach, the trail is easy and you can find a lot of people on the trail. As you hike further, you reach Small Hell beach, Katu Rock beach, Half moon beach and then Om beach. Om beach is one of the most popular beaches here in Gokarna. Unlike other beaches on this trek, Om beach will be more crowded and commercialised. Form Om beach, you can also hike to Kudle beach which is a little far. Or else finish the trek in Om beach and celebrate the trek with a beer from any the beach side cafes.
How to reach Gokarna?
You can start Gokarna beach trek from either Gokarna or Kumta. The best way to reach Gokarna or Kumta is by train, why because you can experience the beauty of the Konkan coast also on the way. There are trains from Banglore that goes via Gokarna road or Kumta. You get a train from Mangalore also, there is one train that starts at about 6 AM that goes to Goa. It will reach Kumta by 11 AM.
If you are planning to reach by bus, private buses are available to either Gokarna or Kumta from Banglore. An overnight journey will take you to Kumta. Kumta beach is about 2 km from town, you can walk or hire an autorickshaw and from there, start Gokarna beach trek.
Gokarna beach trek expense
You can do this trek with a very minimal expense. The major expense will be for travel. If you are taking a bus from Banglore or any other place, it will cost you around 1000 INR one side. There are cheaper buses also. Trains are a great option if you are travelling in a budget.
Apart from the cost to get there, I don’t think you have to spend on anything other than food and accommodation. Bring your tent, you can pitch it anywhere on the beach.
Things to know for Kumta Gokarna beach trek
I am confused whether to call this as a trek. By trek, many will expect it to be tough. But Gokarna beach trek is easy. Keeping aside a few cliffs on the way, most of the trail is through the beaches.
Days are hot in this part of the country generally. Though it was January, it was sunny during the day and the temperature was high. So I suggest, trek during the early and late hours of the day when the sun is less harsh. Also, remember to carry anything that protects you from the sun.
You can complete the trek easily in two days. A weekend is good enough. But as I said before, three days will be a good option, you can experience the place at a slower pace.
You can pitch tents on most of the beaches. Once it gets dark, you won’t find people and the place will be all yours.
If trekking for two days, hike up to Heaven beach on the first day and stay there for the night.
We couldn’t go to Heaven beach and that was the sad part of our trek. I am not sure how to reach Heaven bach from Nirvana beach. We saw a few trails ( not the one we took and lost) going in that direction. It is better to ask someone from Nirvana beach about the trail to Heaven beach. Don’t get disappointed if somebody tells you that such a beach or trail does not exist, try asking some more people. Many here are not aware of it.
Don’t forget to take enough water and food for your overnight stay at the beach.
If you have three days for Gokarna beach trek, stay at Nirvana beach for the first day and continue the trek up to Paradise beach on the second day. You will get enough time to explore the little town of Gokarna also on the third day.
Though Gokarna beach trek is through the cliffs and beaches, most of the time there will be a road going parallel to the trail. There are shops are restaurants on the roadside.
Some of the rocks on the beach are slippery, do watch your steps.
The trail between Om beach and Paradise beach is very popular. Many coming to Gokarna will hike up to Paradise beach also. You will find a lot of trails going in different directions between Om and Paradise beach, just make sure the direction you go is correct. Venturing in the night may be confusing.
To be frank, I find there is no point in choosing any trekking companies to go for Gokarna beach trek. It is very easy to find the trails and if you can carry your tent and food, there is nothing much needed for this trek.
If you have more time, do explore Gokarna town also. The temples and the streets are amazing.
That’s all about Gokarna beach trek. Hope you got all the necessary information. This small two-day trek will be a different experience, you will definitely like it.
Do let me know if you need have any queries regarding Gokarna beach trek, you can use the comment box below.
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