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Suggestions for Varkala and Kovalam?

Suggestions for Varkala and Kovalam?

Old Nov 21, 19, 1:48 pm
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Suggestions for Varkala and Kovalam?

Headed to Kerala in early Dec., first time. Will be at the Gateway Varkala and the Taj Green Cove in Kovalam. Would love suggestions on things to do/see, restaurants, bars (if there are any) and especially a suggestion on an operator to organize a backwater day trip with (I assume hotel will = several hundred % markup). Thanks!
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Old Nov 22, 19, 9:34 pm
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Originally Posted by GetSetJetSet View Post
Headed to Kerala in early Dec., first time. Will be at the Gateway Varkala and the Taj Green Cove in Kovalam. Would love suggestions on things to do/see, restaurants, bars (if there are any) and especially a suggestion on an operator to organize a backwater day trip with (I assume hotel will = several hundred % markup). Thanks!
i would suggest you go with the hotel....the last time i was there (albeit a few years ago) there wasn't much difference between the hotel & an outside operator....
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Old Nov 29, 19, 1:56 pm
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Originally Posted by Keyser View Post
i would suggest you go with the hotel....the last time i was there (albeit a few years ago) there wasn't much difference between the hotel & an outside operator....
will do, thx!
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Old Nov 29, 19, 2:25 pm
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I think I've mentioned before that Clafouti in Varkala is a wonderful place for dinner, especially if you sit upstairs at sunset. Haven't found anyplace else in Varkala (or Kovalam) that matches it.

In Kovalam, nothing stands out as super, but you can eat well at the Malabar Cafe, and the Swiss Cafe is good if you're looking for European food.
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Old Dec 1, 19, 8:31 am
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Originally Posted by 889 View Post
I think I've mentioned before that Clafouti in Varkala is a wonderful place for dinner, especially if you sit upstairs at sunset. Haven't found anyplace else in Varkala (or Kovalam) that matches it.

In Kovalam, nothing stands out as super, but you can eat well at the Malabar Cafe, and the Swiss Cafe is good if you're looking for European food.
def not looking for Euro food! Indian food in India!
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Old Dec 3, 19, 12:36 pm
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Just came back from 2 weeks in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. We finished our trip by 3 days in Kovalam.
While the beach is nice (soft white sand, clear water but high waves), It is not at all the St-Tropez or Miami of Miami. More like a beach station stuck in the 80's.


Try "TIDES" seafood restaurant inside the Leela Kovalam hotel.
Link below:
https://www.theleela.com/en_us/hotel...ing/the-tides/


Regarding the 'backwater boat ride', we did a half-day ride during the day. We found the ride very boring. Just my $0.02, perhaps there's more to see if you spend the night on the boat.
Bring plenty of books

Last edited by zip10001; Dec 3, 19 at 12:42 pm
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Old Dec 3, 19, 12:55 pm
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"Indian food in India!"

The restaurants in Kovalam and Varkala all cater to a tourist clientele with a mixed menu. For classic Indian restaurants you need to head into Trivandrum. Better food at almost half the price.

The same holds true at Cochin: you need to head into Ernakulum for classic Indian restaurants.
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Old Dec 5, 19, 12:40 am
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Originally Posted by zip10001 View Post
Just came back from 2 weeks in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. We finished our trip by 3 days in Kovalam.
While the beach is nice (soft white sand, clear water but high waves), It is not at all the St-Tropez or Miami of Miami. More like a beach station stuck in the 80's.


Try "TIDES" seafood restaurant inside the Leela Kovalam hotel.
Link below:
https://www.theleela.com/en_us/hotel...ing/the-tides/


Regarding the 'backwater boat ride', we did a half-day ride during the day. We found the ride very boring. Just my $0.02, perhaps there's more to see if you spend the night on the boat.
Bring plenty of books
I'm not wed to the backwater ride and definitely don't plan to overnight, how many hours was it and just how boring? Could always give it a miss. I am definitely not expecting Kovalam to be the St. Tropez of India, I have heard Kerala in general is pretty much asleep by 10pm. India overall isn't much of a party country. It's good to hear that the beach is nice and clean and the water is clear. What did you think of Tamil Nadu? I am in Varkala now and quite like it. The beach is pretty, and the setting with the cliff is striking.
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Old Dec 5, 19, 12:41 am
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Originally Posted by 889 View Post
"Indian food in India!"

The restaurants in Kovalam and Varkala all cater to a tourist clientele with a mixed menu. For classic Indian restaurants you need to head into Trivandrum. Better food at almost half the price.

The same holds true at Cochin: you need to head into Ernakulum for classic Indian restaurants.
50km each way for dinner is a bit too much driving for me. None of the places in Varkala serve authentic local cuisine?
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Old Dec 5, 19, 2:54 am
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Of course the food in Varkala is authentic in a sense, but as you must have gathered if you're there right now, it is geared to Western tourists.

And yes, the walk along the cliff is wonderful. Be sure to continue north down the steps to the seaside walk: equally wonderful, if not more so.

Kovalam, truth to tell, will be something of a disappointment after Varkala. But hopping into Trivandrum for a meal from Kovalam is pretty easy.

As to the backwater trip, I took the cheap public ferry ride from Kollam and enjoyed it.

Last edited by 889; Dec 5, 19 at 2:59 am
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Old Dec 5, 19, 11:04 am
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Originally Posted by GetSetJetSet View Post
I'm not wed to the backwater ride and definitely don't plan to overnight, how many hours was it and just how boring?
We boarded the boat at 10.30am, it departed around 11am. We were the only clients. We saw other boats, some were crowed with groups, others with 2 or 4 people only.
After 1 hour on the river, we stopped by a 'fish shack' where we had the opportunity to buy fresh fish/prawns/crabs to be cooked on-board.
Around 1pm, we anchored and the staff served us lunch (traditional Kerala lunch with multiple dishes + the fish we had bought).
The boat-ride finished by 2.30pm.
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Old Dec 6, 19, 6:57 am
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For Varkala, I tried Clafouti yesterday and it was not so good. Ate at Cafe Del Mar today and had some great samosas, all the food there was pretty good. Nice sunset today, beautiful beach.
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Old Dec 6, 19, 7:39 am
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Sorry about that. As always, YMMV.
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Old Dec 7, 19, 12:38 am
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Originally Posted by 889 View Post
Sorry about that. As always, YMMV.
no worries! Suggestions always appreciated. Just arrived in Kovalam.
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Old Dec 8, 19, 12:38 am
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HUGE fan of the Taj Green Cove in Kovalam, haven't made it off property yet due to an awful head cold, but will head into town shortly. The plunge pool sea-view suites are excellent. I enjoyed the Gateway in Varkala, but it was a 3-4 star hotel, this one is a proper 5-star.
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