A quick £1 tuk tuk took us to the town of Varkala; a cliffside resort set on the edge of North Cliff, separating two beaches, one long white sandy beach that goes on forever with bikini clad westerners who have been drawn in by the cheap prices and ability to wear whatever they want and the black beach, a much smaller beach which is a less developed end of Varkala.
We had pre-booked a dorm room which was a 6 bed dorm for around £3.60 each and our first hostel experience! We were slightly let down by our room mates as one was never around (came in at midnight, slept, then left first thing) and the second a painfully shy Spanish guy who was polite but not in the mood chat and had spent 2 weeks in Varkala on his laptop all day every day. However, our first morning we met a new guy who gave us some good advice on travelling around India.
A couple of nights in the hostel we moved on to a home stay which was cheaper for the two of us and ended up being an amazing deal since the owner put us in his empty expensive room and only charged us his standard rate (since no one was taking it). The room was gorgeous with a private bathroom, huge bed and a nice balcony.
Lonely Planet was right when they warn you the days just slip away in Varkala. Having finished three books in seven days, the lazy breezy days on the beach were a nice break from the 3 day turnarounds we’d done in Fort Kochi and Munnar. With row upon row of bamboo hut restaurants offering seafood on slabs of ice in front of each entrance, we quickly fell into the same routine as the hundreds of dreadlocked hippies that seem to permanently take residence in Varkala.
Of course there are drawbacks to such a place, the main one being the loss of culture. So western and touristy we found ourselves seeing more white westerners than locals and all the locals were in some way trying to making a living off the western trade with every store selling the same tie dye tops and every restaurant having a wide variety of western options which was a shame.
As with everything touristy, this also meant the prices were higher with us having to stick to the cheap dishes on the menu which were, thankfully, the veg Indian options. That being said, in terms of London prices the restaurants prices don’t even compare with the highest priced, most delicious seafood dish costing around £3.50 (something we treated ourselves to one night).
Having spent 7 days it was definitely time to move on and on our last day on the beach we both found ourselves with a puppy in our laps! Having run over from their shade, the puppies (4 in total) climbed into our laps and were playful and sweet. They were in a great condition and while we were careful not to get nicked by their teeth, we helped them to the rest of our water using the go pro case as a water dish. A perfect end to our stay.
Next stop: Gokarna!
Heavenly Breeze Hostel
Deauvill Resort Home Stay
Meals: Roughly £3.50 per meal