Kovalam and Varkala – Kerala’s Beach Towns
After three weeks in India, we’ve ridden exactly 600 km (372 miles) – that’s more distance than we covered in either Thailand or Sri Lanka (560 km and 555 km, respectively). Shortly after leaving Kanyakumari, we passed from the state of Tamil Nadu into the state of Kerala – which is known both for its laid back pace of life and for its Communist heritage.
Joining in that relaxed pace of life (though in far more of a capitalist than a Communist style), we spent three nights in Kovalam and two nights in Varkala – both touristy beach towns, each charming in its own way. Kovalam is located right along the beach, with hotels and restaurants located in narrow alleyways leading away from the boardwalk. Varkala’s boardwalk is about 150 feet above sea level, on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Sunsets were gorgeous in both.
Riding through Kerala has been a revelation: good scenery, smoother roads, fewer horns honking, and 1000% less roadside defecation. (We’re starting to enjoy india more than before.) Also: churches! So many churches, each one completely different from the last.
I’ve also been impressed by the range of options here – from dirt cheap accomodations and food to some of the most luxurious and expensive resorts I’ve ever seen. We’ve met a number of travelers who have a budget of $10-$12/day, which is pretty easy if you stay in $5 hotels (often dorms) and only eat at local spots, where a meal is rarely more than $2. We’ve also ridden past resorts where the cheapest rooms are $300/ night. It is crazy to think that you can spend the same amount for either one night or one month of travel.
(In case you were wondering, our budget is somewhere in between these extremes. We usually stay in places that are about $10-15 USD/night and spend about that same amount on food, drink, and activities each day.)