Gokarna is a place which lies on the western coast of India in the Kumta taluk of Uttara Kannada district of the state of Karnataka. There is a Mahabaleshwar temple very near to the beach whose main deity is Lord Shiva. Gokarna is known as one of the seven important Hindu pilgrimage centers. It was a secluded and private beach until recently there has been a flood of tourists at the beaches here.
It’s a perfect getaway from Bangalore where trek lovers can trek from Belakan beach to Om beach and non-trek lovers can just chill on the beach. There are also people coming form Hyderabad and Mumbai who can also reach Gokarna by overnight travel. I recently did this trek with a travel group called “Muddie Trails” and I must say the experience was just wonderful (Check their upcoming events here or here and join them if you want to have a superb fun weekend and also make new friends!).
So if you are going with a travel group you don’t have to worry about anything, but if you are planning to do this trek on your own let me list down a few things which might be helpful to you.
1) How to Reach?
- By Road
Gokarna is approximately 500kms from Bangalore and the most preferred mode of transport would be by bus which takes an overnight journey to reach (around 10hrs).
- By Train
There is Karwar express (16523) by which you can go from Bangalore to Gokarna but it takes approx. 16 hrs to reach. This is the cheapest option.
- By Air
There is no point of going from Bangalore to Gokarna by flight. If you are in such a hurry then the nearest airport would be Goa and from there you can hire a taxi to Gokarna. The airport is around 100kms away and this drive to Gokarna is pretty scenic if you want to try it out.
People coming from places other than Bangalore can choose to come by flight if the distance is more and people from Mumbai and Hyderabad can prefer either road or railways.
Best time for this trek would be right after the monsoons when the weather would be pleasant compared to the beach standards ( the amount by which you’ll be tanned will slightly reduce 😛 ). So you can go here from November till February.
If you want to camp then there are options in both Om beach and Belakan beach where you can find some of the people who provide you tents to camp. You should carry your own tent if you want to camp in Paradise beach – the experience here will be one of a kind as there is almost nill civilization and it’ll be like having a private beach all to yourself.
If you don’t want to stay in a tent and rather stay at a proper place then have a look at this link here – WikiTravelGokarna
- Sunscreen and Cap – Roaming around in beaches means getting tanned, hence carry lots of sunscreen. Also an hat/cap which covers your face from the harsh sun.
Clothing – Actually full sleeved shirts are preferred during treks but as this is a beach trek, you will also be playing a lot in water as you go. Some people may feel uncomfortable wearing drenched full sleeves so think and wear comfortable clothes. Polyester material is preferred as it dries fast.
- Drinking water – Also carry lots of water as along the entire beach trail you won’t get any drinking water.
- Footwear – Either wear hiking shoes or hiking sandals like this – Hiking sandals and let me tell you that anything like flip flops don’t work as the path is sometimes rocky and slippery so you need a good grip.
- Camera – This entire beach trek can be called a photographer’s paradise as you can get amazing beach photos here and you’ll also have a lot of time to click pics on each beach you pass. Hence taking your camera along is highly recommended. Also if you have an action camera like GoPro then take it also along as you can record while playing in beach water too.
- Towel – Since you’ll be playing at every beach it’s better to take a towel along with you even though the sun will automatically dry you as you continue from one beach to the other.
- Money – There are not any shops on the beach trail except at the Om beach where you can find a lot of cafes. So carry money accordingly
Spare set of clothes and a plastic bag – This is only required if you are willing to change your clothes after the trek. Most of the times the clothes dry by themselves and you can go change at the place where you are staying itself
- Garbage bag – It was seriously heartbreaking to see the amount of trash which we found on this trail. Most common were chocolate wrappers and empty water bottles. This is a nearly untouched trail which is beautiful and clean as of now. So I sincerely request you guys to please not throw anything on th trail. There are dustbins on every beach except for very few remote beaches. Hence please carry all the trash in your daypack and throw it only when you see a dustbin.
- Daypack – To store all the above things
You can reach Belakan by auto from Gokarna town. There are many other ways by which you can trek, either from Kumta to Gokarna (total 20kms) or the other way round. We followed the route from Belakan to Om beach which is approximately 5-7kms.
The surroundings of Belakan beach is basically a small village where you can find lot of shacks and small houses. Village people will be engrossed in their daily chores. The road actually ends here and the rest everything is like a forest trail. Keep walking straight on the road and you will encounter a small river. Remove your footwear and carefully find your way to the other side and continue walking on the pretty clear trail. The trail is not so tough and will be like an easy walk in between trees.
Continue for about 40 mins and you will find a clearing in the front leading you to the Paradise beach. Here you can find a few people already camping, soaking in the sun, playing in the beach. You can easily spend an hour here playing in the beach, make sure the waves are not that high and you’re good to go! Don’t forget to carry a frisbee along with you to enjoy playing in the beach to the fullest 😀 Here you can also have your lunch if you have bought anything else there is also a local shop which sells rice and sambhar for lunch. Quench your thirst in the hot sun by eating the pineapples, watermelons and coconut water sold here by the locals (seasonal).
Now continue towards the right side where you can spot a place to climb over the rocks and head on the trail. As you walk further you will notice that you will be trekking right beside the beach! With amazing views to your left to accompany you, keep walking to the right till you again fall inside the forest trail. After sometime the trail becomes steep and you have to be careful while coming down. There will be a lot of ups and downs in the trail so keep moving till you come in a pretty big clearing. Now walk straight and little further you will start spotting small huts surrounded by barbed wires. The trail is right next to this and you are about to reach Half Moon beach really soon!
Just a small descent and you have reached the Half Moon beach. It took us 45 mins to reach to this point. There are really no shops present here so you can play in the water here or proceed next. This is the only beach amongst the entire Gokarna beach trek where you will hardly find any people.
This will be the last part of your trek – Half moon to Om beach. So again start walking towards the forest trail for a while until you are out in the open again. Look at your left to find amazing beach views as you trek on the steep slope. Just make sure you always stay on the hill side and not on the valley side to be safe. Very soon you will be again walking through a trail surrounded by trees and the upcoming part is the best of them all till now. 5mins into forest trail you’ll again find yourself in a clearing where you will get the most stunning view of the entire Om beach! Do you know why the beach is named Om? Whether it be yes or no, you will get to know the reason just by looking at the beach from this view point! A few more minutes, keep navigating to your right and after a short descent you will find yourself at the destination – Om beach 😀
Compared to all the previous beaches you will find that this place is an over-crowded one and also full of foreigners. People will be playing on the beach waters and also you can find some of them chilling in one of the many cafes here. You can now just relax in a cafe for sometime and then head over to a proper view point to catch the beautiful sunset over the beach.! This is truly one of the amazing sunsets you will ever witness over the backdrop of this elegant beach.
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