Kerala Vacation – Varkala Travelogue
Mumbai to Kochi
We had a very early morning flight from Mumbai. To board our 5.30 am flight, we were at the airport well before 4.30 am. After the check in and the security, we came to a kiosk at the airport where they were giving makeovers to the ladies. Now imagine a vacation that starts with a free makeover… has to be a good one right? The lady did an awesome job and made me look fresh as a daisy! Did I mention it was 5 am then? Yea… we had a 5.30 am flight!
Travelling from Kochi To Varkala
After an uneventful flight, we quickly collected our luggage and met our chauffeur for the week by 8 am. After driving through for 5 hours non stop, we arrived at the town of Kollam about 168 km from Kochi and made made a quick picture stop giving us all a chance to stretch our legs. Since our chauffeur was from around this area, he took us to a cashew shop where we made purchases. We covered the remaining 30 km distance to Varkala in over an hour and reached Varkala beach at 2.30 pm. I wanted to go straight to the resort but Hubby insisted that we stop by the cliff overlooking the beach and boy am I glad I did! The view of the crescent shaped beach from the cliff top was glorious and there were para gliders all around us!
Kshetra Resort, Varkala
We were at Kshetra resorts that was on the beach. It meant that the resort was perched on the cliff and was a mere 5 min walk to the beach. This also meant that the approach road was practically non existent. Varkala has many small hotels, resorts and home stays. The lanes are really narrow and very difficult to manoeuvre a large vehicle in. I remember being stuck for ten minutes because there was a tempo unloading supplies and refused to move!
Kshetra resort had an impressive facade and a delightful little lobby decorated with plants, traditional Kerala artefacts like Kathakali masks, elephant truck covers, idols and had a library full of varied books that can be read by guests. There were sofas and chairs strewn about that one could sit and relax in. The resort seemed like an old style house with a central open to air courtyard and rooms all around connected with a narrow passageway. The rooms were very basic with minimal flooring, furniture and normal bathrooms. They had working ACs and geysers though. The hygiene levels could have been a bit better with the sheets and stuff. We had to get them replaced in one of the rooms. The staff was courteous but not very helpful when it came to our queries about the beach or places to eat etc.
The biggest negative about Kshetra resorts was that it did not have a kitchen. That basically means no room service. Not even tea! We were famished by the time we came and would have loved a hot cup of tea or coffee. The staff said we could order it from any restaurant close by and they would serve us. We did not click pictures of the rooms at Varkala but here is a quick look at the facade. That was the best looking part of the resort anyway!
Varkala beach was one of the beaches I had a lot of fun on and undoubtedly amongst the top 3 places in this trip. The approach to the beach is from a hill and you have a long cliff side stairway to reach the water. Atop the cliff is a series of shops that sell everything from beer to handi crafts, from beach wear to tattoos and lots and lots of eateries! Post sunset, the market comes alive. The whole area is clearly aimed at foreign tourists. In fact, we were amongst the minority there.
The beach is very clean and while there were options of boat rides and water sports, the people are not nagging. I even saw lifeguards at the beach which is impressive! The water was clean, the slope gentle and it was great for a swim in the waves. We played around in the water till sunset and then made our way back to the hotel for the night.
What to Wear at Varkala
I saw a lot of foreigners at Varkala dressed in the usual beach garb. On the beach people were sunbathing in the tiniest of costumes and there were lots of bikinis around. Off the beach, tank tops, crop tops and shorts were common. However, around the resort, we mostly saw people in loose cotton tunics with shorts or trousers. The tourists sported bohemian mostly! I had opted for a striped pink and grey jersey with a matching pink tee underneath. This is one of the most comfortable dresses I own and does not crease!! I have worn this on many flights and is very easy to sleep in. Since day 1 was going to be a long day, I opted for this piece. A pair of cheery yellow wayfarers and I was set!
Varkala – Overall Thoughts
I would highly recommend this place to beach lovers and would have loved to spend more than one night out here. The place is slow and unhurried and great to relax in. Varkala is closer to Trivandrum though. Just about 50 km so that would be a better airport if you plan on spending all your time there. We did not cover the south cliff but you can do that too for a different view of the beach. There is lots to do in Varkala and it is a great option for a relaxing beach getaway or a pit stop in your Kerala journey.