Best things to do in Gokarna, Karnataka

Top 10 Things You Shouldn’t Miss In Gokarna

Gokarna is yet another destination with a Hawaiian vibe besides Goa. In fact, it is less commercialized compared to the latter and attracts tourists from across the world. The coastal town comes alive in the Winter months, and you can indulge in several activities. These include cave explorations, hikes, sunset and sunrise points, and more. If you want to experience all this but don’t know where to start, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of the top 10 things you shouldn’t miss in Gokarna. 

10 Things To Do In Gokarna

1. Hiking Along The 6 Beaches

Paradise beach to half moon beach route

One of the best ways to explore the beaches of Gokarna is to hike along the coast. You can hop from one beach to another with the sparkling Arabian Sea as the backdrop. The hike involves climbing small hills and crossing golden sands. The best part is that you can experience sunrise and sunset from different points and revitalize your energy.

Read the DIY detailed hiking guide, which explains the routes and other helpful information needed to do the hike all by yourselves.

2. The Bioluminescence Plankton

Bioluminescence is a rare natural phenomenon on a beach. However, we were quite lucky to witness it on a new moon night when it was completely dark. Every time we slightly nudged the sand or moved the water, we could see the surface glow, and just for a moment, it felt like we were experiencing the magic for the first time. Since the glow was short-lived and the phenomenon required complete darkness, we couldn’t capture the magnificence on our phones/cameras. 

At Gokarna, you can see bioluminescence during February and March. 

3. Drool-worthy Local Cuisine And Delicacies

Sea food at Gokarna

Freshly prepared seafood is a must-have in Gokarna. The prawns, fish, crabs, lobster, and other dishes are peppered with Konkani flavors and taste divine. You must also try Gokarna’s Mangalore-style fish thali and fish curry.

Besides these, you can also try a few hand-crafted drinks and international cuisines at several restaurants and shacks.

4. The Vast Mirjan Fort

Mirjan fort second entrance

The Mirjan Fort is built in an Octagonal shape and is spread across 118 acres of the elevated mound. Surrounded by a moat, the fort has four entrances, and the main entrance is accessible through a bridge. Looking at the architecture closely, you’ll notice that the vast structure was developed using contemporary Islamic and Portuguese technology. Mirjan Fort resides 25 Km from Gokarna, but the trip to the place is worth it. In fact, when you go to the place, you’ll also learn quite a bit about its historical significance. 

You do not have to worry much about food as snack and juice vendors are present outside the fort premises. To know more about the place, refer to our photo blog about Mirjan Fort.

  • Timings: 8 AM to 5:30 PM
  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Parking: Free parking space is available
  • Restrooms: Not available

5. The Yana Caves

inside view of the majestic yana caves

Surrounded by the dense forests of Sirsi and Kumta, the Yana caves are well known for their unique rock formations and patterns that stand as high as 390 feet tall. The two monoliths are named Bhairaveshwara Shikhara (the tallest) and Mohini Shikhara, which is 300 ft tall. Both Shikars or hills are said to have formed naturally from black karst limestone. Do check out the photo blog to know more about the yana caves and their history.

  • Parking: Rs. 10 for two-wheelers, Rs. 40 for autos and cars, and Rs. 100 for buses.
  • Entry Fee: Rs. 5 per person
  • Restrooms: Not available
  • Timings: 8 AM to 6 PM, closed during lunch between 1:30 PM and 3 PM.

6. The Serene Vibhuthi Falls

Vibhuti falls, Gokarna

Vibhuti translates to “ashes.” Just 9 km from the Yana caves are the three-tiered Vibhuthi waterfalls. You must climb several stairs and hike for about a Km to reach the place. Despite the massive height, you will not see the falls until the very end of the trail. The flow of water is pretty high during the monsoon season. If you visit this place during other months, you can take a dip in the small pond created at the base of the falls.

  • Entry Fee: Rs. 10 per person
  • Timings: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Parking: Available
  • Restrooms: Not available
  • Changing rooms: Not available

Note: There are no petrol bunks around. You can buy petrol from the ticket counter near the parking lot.

7. Street Shopping On The Main Beach

Shopping at Gokarna

The Gokarna main beach has numerous shops lined up for your shopping spree. You get affordable Indo-western style dresses, bags, footwear, wallets, t-shirts, jewelry, and more. Since these are street shops, you can bargain and get a good price for all your purchases. Since Gokarna attracts many international tourists, you might get a cultural shock with how people dress, eat, and communicate, but don’t be overwhelmed and be open to new things.

Also read, How to dress in India?

8. Water Sports Activities

Water sports activities are a must-do when you visit Gokarna. Kayaking at Paradise Beach during sunset is stunning and pleasant. Speed boat rides, jet skiing, etc., are there at Om beach and Kudle beach for you to experience. Above and beyond these, do not miss the sleeping bumper ride.

You can also go on an overnight cruise at Tadri port, Gokarna.

9. Braiding Your Hair

Braiding your hair is a touristy thing that has become popular on the beach destination along the western coastal regions. You might have noticed some girls braiding their hair in colorful ribbons. You can try this too and get some Grammable pictures out of the experience.

It will cost you anywhere between Rs. 50 and Rs. 100 for a single braid depending on the season. Hair braiding is done on the shores of Om beach.

10. Camping Along The Shore

Camping along the shore

Gokarna is one of India’s few destinations where you can camp on the beaches. Usually, beach camping isn’t allowed in the country, but you can pitch your tents here and sleep under the starry night sky. If you are concerned about safety, you can put up your tent near a beach shack by paying a few bucks for using the space.

Look up to millions of stars while listening to the sound of the waves hitting the shore, and get lost in your own thoughts.

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