As the unlocking of the nation started, a lot of you might be thinking of moving to a place near your city, base yourself for weeks and work out of a quiet yet accessible place. If you are a beach lover, I am going to recommend you this pristine town in Kerala, full of budget stays and wifi enabled cafes, where you can work in peace, while overlooking the beautiful Arabian sea. This is also quite a romantic spot for you to travel with your partner and spend the workation there.
Disclaimer: Travelling during the pandemic needs to be done with the utmost precautions.
One of the few cliff-side beaches in India, Varkala is known as the 'Pearl of the Arabian Sea', and can be reached from South and West India quite easily. If you feel that Goa is now getting crowded, this is a fantastic option for being in a beach town while not losing out on required facilities for a workation.
How to get to Varkala?
Nearest Airport : Trivandrum International Airport (46 km)
Nearest Railway station: Varkala Sivagiri (~4km), Paravur (12km)
Distance from Bangalore: 679km
1. Budget stay options:
For a workation, you might want to put up for a slightly longer time. Booking.com throws up numerous budget stay options. I suggest a stay near the cliff, as you can walk upto any cafe for a morning cuppa, and then work throughout the day. The cliff side has a row of stay and cafe options. I stayed at Ashiyana cliff and beach resort. But please do check before booking about the property being operational during these times. A quiet spot, a garden, a hammock and functioning wifi - were all I needed to spend some productive yet quiet time there.
2. Lovely cafes
If you walk along the cliffside road, you will come across many cafes with wifi enabled. A few of my favourites are as follow -
i. Little Tibet - Apart from having decent coffee, this place has a variety of food options. Do check their fish preparations, if you would like to.
ii. La Mirban Beach Resort - It has a fully equipped cafe with Italian and continental spread.
iii. Coffee Temple - One of my favourite spots for breakfast and coffee in Varkala. They also play nice chant music during the evening.
iv. Darjeeling Cafe - One of the most popular and hip spots here. The ambience was nice, though I did not really find it exceptional in terms of food. The organic drinks were rather nice.
v. Sunrise Restaurant - A good place for lunch. Nobody tells you to get up in Varkala, giving you ample time to work in peace.
3. Varkala Beach
The north-side cliff near the helipad is the best place to explore Varkala beach. Unlike rest of India, Varkala beach is to be accessed by climbing down from the cliff. There are 3 public entries to the beach through stairs. The beach closes down just after the sunset and the security guards ensure the same.
The sunset colours at Varkala are unlike most of the other places. The mix of orange and pink hues are the best way to wind up a day after work. You can use one side of the stairs to walk on the beach for almost 1.5 km and come up through the other side. Don't forget to remove your shoes while feeling the clean sand in your feet.
4. Places Nearby Varkala
While chilling at beach cafes can pretty much be your idea of workation at Varkala, if you want to venture out on weekends, there are a plenty of off-beat places around this town. Auto and two-wheelers are a good way to move around.
i. Anchuthengu Fort - 12 km away from Varkala, this fort, formerly known as Anjengo or Anjenga, was an old colonial settlement. Do not expect a majestic structure once you get there, but the place is fairly empty and Instagrammable for pictures.
ii. Varkala Lighthouse - A few hundreds of metre from the fort, you can enter Varkala lIghthouse. If you deem yourself physically fit, I suggest you climb up the spiral stairs to get to the top. You will be rewarded with an awesome drone-like view from here.
iii. Kappil Beach - About 7 km from Varkala, this is a hidden gem only known to the locals. I wrote about it in detail in a Tripoto blog. Do go there during the end of day to spend some time in a hidden pond opposite the beach as well.
iv. Janardhana Swamy temple - While cool beach vibes are what make Varkala interesting, Varkala is also a temple town. You can visit Janardhana Swamy temple, a 2000 year old temple situated on the side of the Lighthouse. Please do not wear shorts if you are visiting the temple.
Please be careful and inquire before travelling during the pandemic time, as a number of cafes and accommodations are functioning on a very dynamic basis at present.
Varkala remains one of my go to beaches on a budget option in India. Let me know in the comment section if you guys have recommendation about other beach workation spots.
For more stories and photos from other parts of India and the world, you can check out my Instagram handle here.
Keep going places