After our three days in Trivandrum it was time to head for the coast to Varkala. Varkala town in itself is quite nondescript, just one road with shops, market stalls and street sellers. But move to the coast to the area called the helipad, and things get a whole lot different.
From the helipad “yes there is a helipad”. Possibly used for air ambulances “as there is a hospital nearby or for the coast guard”. From here and as far as the eye can see is a meandering and spectacular cliff top walk lined with restaurants, shops, and street sellers plying there trade. A truly amazing sight. Running parallel with the walkway, and with access gained down some steep steps at various places along the way, is what possibly is around two miles of golden sand beach. A real idyllic location. Most of the people here are young backpackers, ageing hippies and us, a great mix. We are here for six nights before moving onto Kumarakom which is on the edge of the Kerala backwaters.
SIM card Now when we were in Trivandrum I took a Tuk Tuk to the Airtel main office. Went through a drawn out process of taking your passport, supplying a photo and filling forms. This was on Friday. I was told that my SIM card would be online on the following Tues. Tuesday came nothing. Good job I did not pay for the sim. When we arrived in Varkala, we went into a local grocery store, asked about a SIM card and after handing over sr 600 around £7, for two months usage 1gb of data a day and unlimited calls and texts within India I was up and running. A bargain in my book, the phone network supplier was Idea.
Restaurants; The ones we tried were
Abba not very impressed with this one, we tried pasta “not very Indian I know but we needed a change” meal was very bland and not very hot
Coffee Temple this one is in the lonely planet guide, good coffee, nice tunes and good breakfast. Quite expensive for Indian standards though but a popular haunt.
God’s own country kitchen Good for seafood and nice and friendly waiters.
Cafe del Mar Really good food, but no alcohol
Tibetan Kitchen Had some excellent steamed momo (dumplings)
Sky Lounge Reasonable meal but had better. Nice Lassi’s and fruit juice though.
Good for drinks
Rock & roll cafe good for cocktails and beer, and good music.
We stayed at MK gardens, although it had good reviews on booking.com, we were not overly impressed. Had an issue with the bedding, in particular the pillows, which quite frankly were disgusting. Contacted owner and it was soon rectified with some brand new pillows. But the place needed a good tidy up decor wise. And for what can only be described as a backpacker accommodation quite expensive at £25 per night. So I would not recommend it.
“Regarding the purchase of alcohol, most places serve alcohol although it’s not allowed by law, but the authorities seem to turn a blind eye to the practise. The most bizarre part of the whole drink situation is that if you have a beer the waiters quickly pour it into a porcelain mug and hide what remain in the bottles under the table. Also beer, wine and cocktails are not on any menu’s so you have to ask, but note not all restaurants serve it. At time of writing 650mm bottle of kingfisher was rs 200 around £2.15