Varkala - A Cliffside Beach
Varkala is a town in the south Indian state of Kerala. It's known for the unique 15m high “Northern Cliff” adjacent to the Arabian Sea. This place is popular for its hippie culture, amazing beach, and exotic seafood.
Varkala can be reached by train or by road. There is no direct bus to Varkala from Bangalore, so I took a halt at Kollam and visited the Jatayu National Park. That place is another beauty. I recommend you read that before, so you will be able to connect the complete trip (READ NOW).
I took a train from Kollam and reached Varkala in about 35mins. I have booked a hotel from Booking.com at Bamboo Village at ₹1200 per night, which is at the North end cliff on Thiruvambadi road. I took an auto from Varkala station to my stay that cost me
around ₹100. I reached my hotel in about 10mins. The first impression was “WOW”. This place was amazing. Surrounded by coconut trees and small bushes with small huts around the corner, already gave me vibes of a great start to this trip (I'll write about this place in more detail soon. Watch out for the RELAX column). I met the host, proceeded with the formalities, and got into my room. The room was small, although for that ambiance, “TOTAL PAISA VASOOL”. It was right on the cliff and the pathway right outside the gate.
Now it was time to hit the beach and take a swim in the ocean. I started exploring the area and trying to find my way down to the beach. The place was lined up of hotels from basic to exotic ones and food choices from vegan to seafood. Walking on the pathway of the cliff and watching the ocean down from there is a feeling that cannot be expressed. There are couple of stairs lead down to the beach. And here I am, staring at the vast blue ocean and a tall cliff standing behind me. And when its thalassophile like me, it is very difficult for anyone to stop me from running towards the ocean, like a small child trying to reach out for an action toy. I went for a long swim and came back to my hotel, got fresh, and went back hunting for a place to have lunch. I saw a restaurant that had a sitting area on its first floor - CAFÉ ITALIANO. Cool place, great food. Having your lunch in the shadow of a tree with an eye-boggling view of the ocean, what else would you want from a day. But this place has lots more to offer. After a tummy packed lunch, I took a walk along the cliff towards the north, and just before the sunset, I reached a small beach just in front of the Varkala Aquarium. This beach on one side is stacked with rocks, so I just sat there to see the sunset. It was an amazing way to end this day.
But Wait! As I said, this place has a lot to offer and by that, I mean the night. Varkala cliff is as beautiful at night as it is in the day. This place was like a long 1.5km flee market with all shops selling printed clothes and tapestries and seafood displayed on tables outside restaurants. Later that evening, I had my dinner and went back to sleep. For the next day, I was excited to see the morning of Varkala. And it was as expected. The climate was great, the place had all colors, the oceanic breeze, and chirping birds. OH! I can not describe that morning any good than this.
For Breakfast, I choose a very famous place here in the area,” THE DARJEELING CAFÉ”.
The ambiance of the place is awesome. The cascading sitting arrangements on looking at the ocean and spiritual songs and music in the background just made the morning more beautiful. As I was enjoying my morning coffee, while there was another surprise that Varkala had planned for me. Far in the ocean, I saw something moving, and I had no doubt in recognizing it. There was a small pod of dolphins playing in the water. Seriously, there is always something more in this place.
The stretch of the Varkala cliff is somewhere around 2km. I have been walking up and down on the stretch for almost 4-5times a day. Later in the evening, I went back to the sunset point and then walked a little more ahead to that point and found the BLACK SAND BEACH and came back. For dinner, I tried seafood at ABBA Restaurant. And went back to my hotel, chilled on the Hammock, and later went to sleep. The next day was the last morning to be spent in Varkala as I had my train in the afternoon back to Bangalore.
This was the best way I could have started my year. I would surely recommend it to everyone, and I would plan a trip here again. Since it is a tropical place, plan your trip somewhere between Oct-Jan. Varkala is still not that popular among most of the people. No doubt, the place is packed with all the foreign tourists and Indian travel enthusiasts, but there are a lot of problems when it comes to Government and banking development. So the most important tip is to carry cash to this place as only a few restaurants and hotels accept cards and online payments. For shopping, there are rarely people using those mediums. There is no ATM nearby except in the city. Maybe the issue gets resolved soon or might have already been solved as when you are reading this article.
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