Varkala is a hidden gem on the west coast of Kerala in South India. It’s still a developing beach destination, hence a perfect place for modern hippies and people who are into yoga/meditation/Ayurveda. A lot of Europeans come here and stay for months.
- We took the train from Cochi to Varkala station, it was a rather lengthy ride so make sure you reserve a seat in the AC compartment or at least a seat in the non-standing section of the train.
- Once you get to the Varkala train station, take an auto rickshaw to where you are staying, it shouldn’t cost you more than 150rs but make sure you have google map on for the driving route, not walking route as walking route may some crazy dirt road that the auto rickshaw can’t pass.
- A taxi to/from the Trivandrum airport is about 1500 -1600rs standard pricing, about 1:15-1:30 hour ride. (Btw for going to the airport, ask your hotel/homestay guy to book their trusted one for you, the price is standard not much room to bargain but at least you get good service)
Where to stay:
- The main area is the part on top of Varkala Beach - the green zone on the map . It’s the most touristic section with many shops and restaurants. Accommodation here hence are more expensive.
- Cheaper accommodations(about 1000rs/night/room) are more inwards or further south (aka not right on the cliff), many are homestays. We took a walk around they are super lovely also, if there is a next visit that’s where I’d book.
- Newer and fancier resorts with pools can be found towards the North side, around black beach. They'd be a good 30min walk to where the bustle is.
We stayed at a place near Coffee Temple, it's convenient if you have large luggage so you don't need to drag them around as it's tricky for cars to go inside on the cliff. It's right beside the stairs going down to the beach. Plus Coffee Temple has the best coffee in town ;)
- Scooter rental: 300-350rs per day + petrol cost
- Autorickshaw: always bargain, around town shouldn't be no more than 100rs. There are a lot near Coffee Temple (red dot on the map)
- The cliff area alone is pretty walkable, but a large part of it is not covered so it gets really really hot under the sun. If you want to go into the Varkala town, you should take a autorickshaw or rent scooter, it's not pedestrian friendly
- Uber/OLA isn't available in Varkala
What to do:
- Yoga/meditation/Ayurveda experience: there are various resorts, classes, drop-in sessions available. Many people come stay for months to deepen their practice and study.
- Beaching: the beach is quite nice, it’s a 2-5min walk to most places you’d be staying at. It’s sandy, shallow, swimmable - just mind the waves and tides
- Water sports are popular here: surfing, paragliding, boating
- Janardanaswamy Temple/Varkala Temple: we didn't get a chance to visit but a lot of pilgrims and visitors do