Beach Life

Trip Start May 01, 2010
Trip End Apr 30, 2011

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Where I stayed
Namaste Cafe Gokarna
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of India  , Karnātaka,
Sunday, February 13, 2011

From the lofty heights of the Western Ghats, we have descended to the Arabian Sea to the small beachside settlement of Gokarna. From Wayanad we took two buses to the coastal city of Kannur where we spent one night in a largely empty cliff top hotel which reminded us of an out of season, old-fashioned English seaside resort. The next day we took the early train up the coast to Mangalore, where we got chatting to a businessman from Delhi who had some rather xenophobic views on people from different countries: 'The Italians, they are bad people. This is correct, yes? The Australians, they are not civilised people. This is correct, yes?" Hilarious! We spent one night in Mangalore and then it was back on the train in the morning heading further north to our final destination, Gokarna, where we have spent the last week chilling on the beach.

The coastline around Gokarna is gorgeous. Rocky headlands, covered in a tangle of forest and scrub, are interspersed with a number of lovely, quiet, golden sand beaches. We are staying at Namaste Guesthouse situated at the northern end of Om Beach. There is very little development along the coastline save for a number of low key bamboo beach huts and small restaurants. Gokarna is maybe what Goa was some years ago and there are hippies aplenty!  Wherever you look there is someone doing yoga, whirling a hoop around their waist, making bead bracelets or discussing the links between feminism and vegetarianism (seriously!)!  It feels a bit like Glastonbury by the sea and we love it!

Generally our days have consisted of a walk across the headland to either Paradise Beach or quiet little Half Moon Beach, our favourite, where we have whiled away the hours swimming, sunbathing and dolphin spotting, returning to Om Beach in the early evening. Om Beach is nice too but a little busier and also suffers from a problem common to many Indian beach side destinations: bus loads of Indian men who travel here on day trips to wander up and down fully clothed while gawping at all the western female flesh on display! It is rather strange but maybe the inevitable result of a conservative culture in which the women are mostly covered up. As with all Indians, they are generally very friendly though and eager to talk to you and ask all the usual questions about how much you earn, whether you are married and how many children you have.

We have eaten some really good food during our week here. Even in the simplest of beachside cafes, you can get a wide range of both Indian and western foods. And the lassi, a heavenly yoghurt drink, which I cannot get enough of, is the cheapest we have found in India!

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