Kerala is truly God’s own country. I have been there more times than I can count and each time it is a new experience. Varkala was recommended to me by a mallu friend (and I have many), as a lazy laid back destination. And I can tell you for a fact that he was right!
We made a 3 night 4 day plan to Varkala from 30th Sept to 3rd Oct 2017. This was just before the season begins. This place hosts a lot of German and Spanish tourists after 15th of Oct each year. We got very good rates, both for the flight and the hotel because we booked in advance so this was gonna be a budget trip.
I have to admit that initially I was a bit skeptical about a 3 night plan. What would we do there? Will it get tedious to be there for 4 days? Would 2 nights have been enough? There were very few other places to see nearby as per google and hence my concerns.
(Varkala Cliff)- Instagram ID- thefanatictraveller
We flew to Trivandrum and then drove to our property Krishnatheeram Holy Ayur Beach Resort. It is just a 1 hour drive from the airport to Varkala. As soon as we set foot into the property and walked up the cliff, we knew even a week would not be enough!
Varkala is like Goa, 20 yrs ago. It is off-beat, pristine and quiet. Crowd is limited and very civilized. The views are out of this world and even puts the best beaches to shame if you ask me! A hidden gem that leaves you gaping at every turn. There is a pathway made all along the Varkala cliff which ensures you don’t miss any corner of the spectacular views of the endless coastline. Bars, restaurants and shops are spread all along the walkway. The beach is famous for surfing and attracts people from all over the world!
(Krishnatheeram Resort)- Instagram ID- thefanatictraveller
I chose Krishnatheeram Resort because it was right next to the beach and had good reviews. Varakala also has a Taj Gateway, but I was not convinced about the location. It was not beach facing. Other than the Taj, there are no other popular chain of hotels here. You have to pick from the local list on the map.
Having spent 4 days going up and down the cliff and checking out all other hotel options first hand, I think we made the right choice! This property is located in the north side of the cliff and has access to the best and most private beach. South beach is more crowded and attracts a lot of locals who come to visit the Janardanaswamy temple.
The beach facing swimming pool was a great attraction as well, which I didn’t find in any other hotel on the cliff. We also had the best seats in the house as far as the sunsets were concerned. People staying in other resorts would walk over to our side to get a clear view.
This hotel also has a yoga studio facing the beach. Doing yoga early morning, facing the waters was so relaxing! I absolutely loved it! The AC Rooms were very basic yet comfortable. Do not expect luxury in this part of the country.
The only issue was that the resort did not serve alcohol. However, the restaurant next door did. So it was not such a big problem.
(Beach in front of the hotel)- Instagram ID- thefanatictraveller
The first day just goes in absorbing the raw beauty and simplicity of this place. The fishermen here still live such simple lives and use such basic tools to fish. It really takes you back in time! And makes you appreciate and respect the fish served on your plate each day.
Next day we explored the south cliff and just walked around. Some of the restaurants and pubs have fantastic locations – like the Tibetan Kitchen. The food was very average but we still landed up sitting there for over 2 hours 🙂 Each bar has a fixed rate for beer and mocktails. And everything is VERY STRONG! Mocktails are just INR200/- and are more potent that a tequila shot 🙂
Some of the better restaurants are:
Caffe Italiano, Cafe Del Mar, Milky Way, Puccini Lala and Rock and Roll Bar.
Varkala also offers a range of Ayurveda massages. Rates range from 500-1500 per massage. The shopping is quite decent as well.
Third day we hired a bike and went around exploring the nearby sight seeing destinations. It was fun, but we soon realized that Varkala was the best place to be.
Places to see around Varkala:
- Kappil beach- very rough beach. You can go kayaking in the backwaters there
- Ajengo fort- very overrated. Can be avoided
- Shivagiri- We didn’t go because we are into temples
Last day, we did yoga, had a lavish breakfast, took a dip in the pool, and then went into the sea. After that we took a short nap, had a lazy lunch. We checked out at 4pm and left for dinner to Leela Kovalam (1.5hrs). We caught the last flight back to Bangalore at 10pm
Overall budget: INR35,000 for 3 nights and 4 days for 2 people
Flight: 5,000 return from Bangalore per person
Room: 3,500 with breakfast
Bike hire- 350 per day
Airport transfer- 1,600 one way
Meals- Average 300 per head
Drinks- Average 200 per drink
Varkala is a place that will linger on in your mind for a while after you say goodbye. The perfect destination to unwind and enjoy a good conversation. We will surely be back there soon!
My verdict: Krishnatheeram Holy Ayur Beach Resort is a very good choice if you are looking for a basic stay in the best location!
My rating: 3.5/5 because the roof of the room was dripping on the last day. And because there was no alcohol. However location is a 5/5. I would book this place again!
See more photos on my Instagram ID- thefanatictraveller