I’m sure you read the part 1 of this series, about how I had to take 5 buses to come to Varkala(Kerala) from Chennai :). After Spending second half of the first day in varkala, going to the beach and having a sumptuous dinner. The first half of the second day was spent on lazing around and shifting to another “resort” (why? read this!). After shifting, we went to a nearby hotel for lunch. Varkala, like any other place is HOT during the day, you won’t appreciate that unless you are in Papanasam beach, Varkala for a sun-tan. I wasn’t there for that reason and I didn’t appreciate it! 🙂 it was hot!
Before lunch, we saw a trail going uphill and we took it. Not after a short walk, we came upon this edge. And here are some photos of Papanasam beach from this place:
Papanasam Beach, varkala, Kerala
Papanasam Beach, varkala, Kerala
Pretty high place. Look carefully, you will spot a person walking on those rocks.
We had lunch and returned to our hotel for a siesta.
Had lunch here.
After the siesta, got up by 5:30PM and went to the beach for sunset, photos, walk and dinner @ Papanasam beach.
Bird taking a walk in the beach
Rocky beach, Papanasam
Sunset from the cliff, Papanasam, Varkala
Bird taking a walk
After this was dinner, some of the lights were beautiful and I wanted to try Bokeh (not a dish, it’s a photographic technique!). Here are the photos from that. For more kickass photos from this trip visit http://potofshots.com
The first day/night of my Varkala, Kerala Trip, we stayed in Eden Garden resort, Papanasam beach (3.5 off 5 stars). It cost us only Rs.800 for a double-bed room for a night. It was 100 meters from the beach and we had no qualms. It was well kept, had a geyser – 24hrs hot water, bath tub, a small kitchen area (which we didn’t use) and a mosquito net (which we didn’t a need for). The reception area of this resort is in a posh looking side of this place and I’m guessing that would be very expensive. This place also offers a wide range of ayurvedic massages starting from Rs.1000.
Some pictures of Eden Garden resort:
Unfortunately, my friend who had reached Varkala before me had booked the room for only one night/day, cos we didn’t have a plan on where we will be on the next day. But we decided to stay here for one more day and went to the reception to keep the room for an additional day. They had already given the room to someone else and we had to find another hotel to stay.
Thankfully we found one “Nikhil beach resort” (2.5 off 5 stars) right opposite to Eden Garden resort on the beach road. This place was not as good as the previous one, but we decided to take it anyways. Rs. 800/day. We got this double-bed room attached bathroom. One thing I liked about this second floor room was that it had a balcony overlooking the beach road, which is used by a lot of people to go to the Papanasam beach. A good place to sit and chill, read a book or something.
The Papanasam Beach Road
We stayed here on day 2 of our trip. On day 3 we went to Kollam.
NOTE 1: There are a lot of resorts near to the beach, please do explore, walk around a bit and you might find a better place. There are lots of resorts on the cliff too, please explore and let me know if you found a good place and I might add to this post.
When I started out, as always, we didn’t have much clue about the destination. THAT has to change from now on, as I seem to miss out on many places due to my laziness of not checking wikitravel before embarking on a trip. Sometime I intentionally don’t read about the destination so as to have a “pure” experience of the place.
So it was for this trip too. Didn’t do much research, I just knew the destination, packed my bags and started. I had my android phone, of course with google maps and some money – that’s enough to travel, believe me.
That’s the stuff I travel with
Day 0 & 1 – 4 buses and 1 auto rickshaw to reach Varkala from Chennai
I was surprised to see that there was no direct bus from Chennai to any place in Kerala. So, I got a bus from Chennai to Tenkasi, a town in the TamilNadu-Kerala border. I reached Tenkasi by 6:50 AM – to this bus stand.
Tenkasi Bus Stand, 6:30 AM
BUS no. 2 – Tenkasi to Kottarakkara
Once there, got some biscuits and water, asked around for a bus to Kollam (a bigger town compared to Varkala). There were only two buses at the bus stand and neither were going to Kollam. But one of the buses was going to a town called Kottarakara, which is some 30 kms from Kollam. Boarded that bus and enjoyed the ride, it was shaky, bumpy and scenic 🙂
Bus from Tenkasi to Kottarakkara, Kerala
Some of the scenes on the way to Kottarakkara:
Bus no.3 – Kottarakkara to Kollam (25 kms)
After an one hour drive, reached Kottarakkara and got another bus to Kollam. Reached Kollam 11:45 AM of Day 1.
Bus no.4 – Kollam to Parippally (20 kms)
One could get a bus to Varkala from Kollam (30kms), but I had to wait for another 45 mins to get that bus, so I decided to take one bus till Paripally (how did I know about this info, thanks to google maps)
To bus or not to bus – 5th
Got down at Paripally by 1 PM, HOT HOT SUN. Varkala was 12 kms from my reach. I decided not to wait for a bus and took an auti-rickshaw (tuk tuk). I asked the auto guy “how much it would cost” and he said Rs.2000, I was totally shocked and told him it’s only 12 kms (thanks to google maps :)), then he corrected himself and said “Rs.200”, I went to the next auto guy and asked him how much he would charge, he said “Rs.150”, much better, so hopped in and tukked tukked my way to Varkala.
After 17 hours of travelling I reached Varkala. Honestly, I was tired and wanted to get out of the sun, so didn’t really appreciate the beauty of the place till I checked into the resort – Eden Garden resort. After a quick shower, went for lunch to one of the many beach-view restaurants.
Day 1 Lunch at Varkala
Went back to the resort, which was next to the beach, and took a nap till 5:30 PM. Hurried to the beach to enjoy the sunset.
Varkala is a much smaller version of Goa with no parties, and you get only Kingfisher, mostly! The beach-restaurants are styled the same way as in Goa. I would recommend Varkala(in Kerala) to anyone looking to take some time off from the busy/mundane(both equally taxing) schedule and enjoy a relaxing weekend.
Ideally, Varkala is a great honeymoon destination, and it is inexpensive. A day in Varkala – start off with a breakfast in your resort, followed by an ayurvedic massage to take away your travel fatigue and worries. Have a filling Kerala lunch of fish curry with a bowl of rice and pick from a plethora of seafood side-dishes. I’m terribly sorry if you are vegetarian but there are other things to enjoy for you. Have a nap, make sure to get out of the resort by 5:30 PM to watch the sunset. Evenings can be spent on shopping pretty dresses, followed by a sumptuous dinner by the beach and a walk in the moonlit sands. Next day, rinse and repeat!
Varkala, Kerala – Sunset
Restaurant lights in Varkala, Kerala
Restaurant lights in Varkala, Kerala
Lots of couples visit this place, from what I saw. The resorts and the beaches are occupied by foreigners, predominantly. Lot of love in the air, with beautifully lit restaurants and a long stretch of road full of pretty dresses (can make any girl’s heart leap with joy). Make sure to carry cash and hone your negotiation skills before going shopping in these shops, else carry more cash.
Below: Light on the cliff: At least 1 km stretch of road on the cliff, overlooking the sea, which is lined with shops and restaurants, do take a walk there!
[stitched photo, bad quality!] Shopping in Varkala, Kerala
That, my dear friend, is an experience you wouldn’t want to miss. Varkala great place to celebrate a special day with special people. In my list of destinations, this will be under the folder “Romantic, chilled out beach destinations”.
What should you take along for this trip?
Negotiations skills (else, carry more cash)
The special someone
Resorts: there are a lot of resorts around the papanasam beach. We stayed in Eden Gardens resort, Rs.800/night for a double-bed room. It is hygienic, has a water heater (geyser) and a bath tub.
Railway Station: There is a station in Varkala, many trains stop there, but only for few minutes
Airport: Nearest is Thiruvananthapuram(Trivandrum) airport, and a cab from there to Varkala will cost you Rs.1300 (overheard)
ATMs : Available, near the Temple Junction, 500 mts from the papanasam beach.
Gentle reminder to travellers: please do not litter!