Udupi – The coastal paradise of Karnataka
Sitting in the coastal belt of Karnataka, Udupi is a beautiful town famous for it’s palm-fringed beaches, rustic temples and picturesque waterfalls. Not only the scenic beauty, but also the Udupi special delicacies and the sea food are enticing enough to attract any traveler to spend a few days here. A walk in the soft sand beaches, a dip in it’s waterfalls and a fiery sunset by the sea were all it took us to fall in love with this charming beach town.
This is our itinerary for a 3 day trip to Udupi. But you can always add more places depending on the duration of your visit.
Day 1: Reach Udupi. Visit Malpe Beach and St Mary’s Island. Spend evening at Malpe beach.
Day 2: Visit Kudlu Falls and Kodi Beach
Day 3: Krishna temple and Kaup beach
Places to visit
Malpe is the most famous beach of Udupi with the shoreline adorned by swaying palm trees. There are many shops along the beach selling different kinds of snacks and sea food. The place is suitable for leisurely walks along the beach or having a dip in the sea. But like other popular sea beaches, this too gets quite crowded during holidays and weekends. We visited Malpe early in the morning after we reached Udupi and it looked spectacular with a overcast sky and very few people around.
- Paid toilet and bath facilities are available near the beach. But we did not see any locker room to keep the belongings.
- Watersports like speed boat ride, banana ride, water scooter and parasailing are available at the beach.
St. Mary’s Island
If you ask us what is our favourite place in Udupi, then without any second thought we would say it is St Mary’s Island. Honestly speaking, this island was the primary reason we had decided to visit Udupi. To reach this island, you need to take a Govt operated ferry from Malpe harbour (5-7 minutes walk from Malpe beach) or take a private boat from Malpe beach itself. The ferry takes around 20-25 minutes to reach the island and as you make way through the tall coconut trees, the blue water of the sea comes in to view.
The place looks insanely beautiful with rock formations spread all over the island and the sea water reflecting many shades of blue. The hexagonal rocks found here are basaltic rocks that are created due to volcanic activity. These rocks on the shore make the place even more striking and provide a picture perfect background to get clicked.
- Ferries to St. Mary’s island do not operate from May to beginning of October due to monsoon. If you are keen to visit this island, plan your trip accordingly.
- The ferries operate from 9am-5pm at regular intervals. Govt ferries charge INR 200 per head for a two way trip to St. Mary’s island.
- The beach is rocky and not suitable for swimming. But there are certain areas where you can swim and there are lifeguards monitoring those areas. Be careful while getting in to water as the water level increases quite suddenly sometimes.
- Coconut water and some small snacks items are available on this island
Kudlu falls is located deep inside a forest on Udupi-Agumbe road and is quite a famous trekking destination. The fall is absolutely breathtaking with water plunging from a great height to a pool below and surrounded by lush greenery. In order to reach the fall, you need to park your vehicle near the entry point and then start trekking through the forest for around 30 minutes. The trek is not an easy one with the path being steep and stony at many places.
- Entry time for Kudlu Falls is 8:30am to 4pm and entry is regulated by forest department.
- Entry ticket is INR 50 for adults, INR 25 for kids and INR 100 for foreign tourists. Parking fee is INR 50 for car.
- There is no public transport available directly to the waterfall base. You can take a bus from Udupi till Hebri and then hire a taxi to reach there.
- The road to the fall is not in good condition and was mostly rough and dusty for a long patch.
- The trek is not suitable for old age people and people having arthritis or heart problems.
- Toilet facility is not available at the fall. But toilets are available near the entry point from where the trek starts.
- Plastic is not allowed inside the forest, but you can take water bottles (you are going to need a lot of water on this trek). Just show the bottles to the person at the check point and he/she would put a sticker on it which you have to show again after returning.
- Wear comfortable clothing and goos shoes for the trek.
Kaup (aka Kapu) is one of the most picturesque beaches in Udupi with a lighthouse on it’s shore and is famous for it’s sunset views. When evening comes, a lot of people gather here to soak in the gorgeous sunset views. If you can brave the narrow spiral staircase that leads to the top of the light house, you can have a 360 degree view of the surrounding area. Our driver who is a local informed us that after sunset when it starts getting dark, the light coming from the light house makes the place look even more dreamy.
Kodi beach is still one of those few beaches which has not been commercialised yet and hence is pristine in every way. As very few people visit this place, you can easily spend hours here in complete tranquility. We visited this in the evening during sunset time and were quite blown away by it’s undefiled beauty. Not only the beach, but also the drive to the beach is quite pleasing with lot of greenery and the view of backwater at one side. As part of visiting Kodi beach, you can also visit the Delta point which is the meeting point of the river and sea.
Food items and toilet facilities are not available near the beach.
Sri Krishna temple is considered as one of the most sacred religious sites in all of South India and is visited by a huge number of people everyday. This temple has a very unique feature where the idol of Lord Krishna can only be seen through a small window and no one can reach near the deity. The priest who gave us a tour of the temple told us that the idol of Sri Krishna revered in the temple is around 200 years old. The whole temple area has a very pleasant vibe and in our opinion, definitely a place not to be missed.
- Since many people visit this temple, there is usually a long queue especially in the morning and evening times. If it is any festival day, the queues could be even longer taking more time for darshan.
- Wear appropriate clothing and avoid short clothes for the temple visit as there seemed to be some sort of unsaid dress code.
Other places of interest in and around Udupi
- Mattu Beach
- Chandramoulishwar Temple
- Mount Rosary Church
- Uppinakudru Island
- Maravante beach
Best time to visit
November to February [Peak season: Dec – Jan]: This is the time when the climate is pleasant and less humid.
Our time of visit: End of January
Avoid monsoon [June-September] if you want to visit St Mary’s Island as the ferry services are suspended during this time.
How to Reach
By Air: Take a flight to Mangalore Airport. You can then book a taxi to reach your destination in Udupi.
By Train: Take a train to Udupi Railway Station.
By Bus: There are many overnight buses that run from Bangalore as well many other major cities like Chennai, Kochi, Thrissur, Hyderabad and Pune etc.
We reached Udupi by taking an overnight bus from Bangalore. The whole journey takes around 9-10 hours.
Where to Stay
If you want to stay near to the beach, then following are the resorts available near Malpe Beach.
- Paradise Isle Beach Resort
- Malpe Sea Front Cottages
- Those Par Beach Resort
Another nice option is the Paradise Lagoon Resort which is a sister property of the Paradise Isle Beach Resort and is located right next to the backwaters. They also provide option to stay in a houseboat.
Apart from the above options, there are plenty other options in the main town of Udupi starting from budget ones to luxury. We stayed for 2 days at Samanvay Boutique Hotel and loved every bit of it starting from the big luxurious room to the yummy food and impeccable service.
We stayed in Malpe Sea Front Cottages which is actually the budget segment of Paradise Isle Beach Resort. The resort is economic with nice rooms and sea views from the dining area. The best part is you can just walk a few steps and be at the beach.
Transport inside the city
Local Buses: Traveling by local buses is the cheapest mode of transport in Udupi. Udupi has excellent bus service with bus stops located throughout the city.
Auto-rickshaw: Local autos are a convenient mode of transport in the city. Autos are easily available and fares are reasonable.
Taxi: Both AC and Non-AC taxis are available for hire with prices at the higher side compared to other two modes of transport.
What to eat
Mangalore Bun: A local sweet and fluffy bun made from ripe bananas and wheat flour. This is a speciality of Mangalore and is mouth-watering.
Neer Dosa: Made from rice and coconut, this dosa is a Mangalore cuisine and not to be missed.
Sea Food: Being a coastal area, there are a varieties of sea food options available in Udupi.
Do not forget to try the authentic South Indian dishes at the MTR Restaurant in Udupi. Their sumptuous meals and butter-rich dosas are super delicious.
Things to Pack
- Sunscreen, Sunglasse, Hat – Udupi is hot and humid all through the year and these are the must carry things to help you go out in the day time.
- Loose cotton dresses, short pants and comfortable tops – The perfect kind of clothing for hot weather
- Beach Slippers – The obvious item for a beach destination
Have you already visited Udupi? Let us know about your experience in the comments. And if you have not yet, go ahead and plan a trip. We would be glad to help if you need any suggestions in planning.