Best things to do on Malpe beach in Udupi

The very place where Lord Krishna landed in Udupi
The sandy shore that has been mentioned in Ptolemy's texts
The natural port that has been a bustling trade stop
And now - it is a buzzing hot spot of fun things to do.

Let's discover the best things to do in Malpe beach in Udupi
Malpe Beach in Udupi
Malpe Beach in Udupi

My first visit to Malpe beach was just after my wedding. As my memory serves, the beach was an endless stretch of soft white sands and the gentle waves of the Arabian Sea. Coconut vendors and chaat stalls populated the shore in the evenings around sunset when most families with kids came down to destress and enjoy the various Malpe beach activities. As I continued to visit this place over the last few years, I saw it change. What was already a safe shore became a must more welcoming and fun place to be in when in Udupi. In fact, if you ask me, it is should be your base to stay in Udupi.

This guide on Malpe beach Udupi will endorse my last sentence about why you need to stay here. From a complete list of activities on Malpe beach to when to visit and where to stay, I have covered it all in this blog post. I am sure that by end of this article, you will be all ready to book your next vacay to this beach destination in Karnataka.

A brief history of Udupi Malpe beach

Malpe beach is located at the confluence of the Udayavara River and the Arabian Sea. For centuries together, this has been an important port connecting the local Tulu tradesmen to the West. In fact, one can find the earliest mention of Malpe in Ptolemy’s texts dating back to the 2nd century.

One can even attribute the beginning of the famous Udupi Sri Krishna temple story to Malpe beach Karnataka. It is here that the current idol of Sri Krishna in Udupi was discovered by Madhavacharya ji (Read the full story here). The famous voyager to India – Vasco Da Gama too, made a stop – albeit at a small isle off the coast of Malpe. It was he who gave this coconut island its present-day name – St Mary’s island.

St Mary's Island Udupi - off the shores of Malpe beach
St Mary’s Island Udupi – off the shores of Malpe beach

Besides being a port, Malpe beach has always been a fishing harbour. The locals called Mogaveera are the ones who have always dominated the fishing industry here. The same continues to thrive even today – naturally given the marine diversity owing to the confluence of freshwater and saltwater.

Malpe beach in Udupi - a bustling hub of activity
Malpe beach in Udupi – a bustling hub of activity

However, this can be seen only on one part of the beach. What happens on the rest of the beach is what makes Malpe one of the most attractive destinations in Karnataka. All that coming up in my next section.

Things to do in Malpe beach Udupi | Best Malpe beach activities

Just 6 km from Udupi town, Malpe beach has always been very popular with the locals. However, in recent years, it has gained a reputation of being one of the key beaches of Karnataka. The reasons for these are best explained with this list of the best things to do in Malpe beach. Check them out and remember to tell me which one of these is your favorite.

Swim in the Arabian Sea

Arabian Sea hitting Udupi Malpe beach
Arabian Sea hitting Udupi Malpe beach

What makes Malpe beach perfect for a good swim in the Arabian Sea is the absence of sudden depth. The ocean floor is fairly even and the waves are quite gentle for the most part of the year. Add to that the warm tropical weather that makes the water actually quite therapeutic. With all that, how can one resist the lure of that ocean?

Of late, the beach authorities have started placing red flags in areas to warn visitors to steer clear of the water. Be attentive to the same – they are meant for your security.

Learn surfing on Malpe beach in Udupi

Try surfing on Malpe Beach Udupi
Try surfing on Malpe Beach Udupi

One of my recommendations to enjoy the playful waves at Malpe beach is to try your hand at surfing. Sign up for a beginner’s course and learn to conquer those waves. There are a few surf schools in Udupi that offer a variety of courses – suited for beginners and Pros.

I had a first-hand experience with Kadal Surf school which operates out of the beach shack called Kaliyuga Toddy Cafe. The surf classes generally start at 6:30 am on all days except Sunday. You can get in touch with Rohan or Tanvi at +91 7760604327 to find out the prices and enroll yourself. They are truly a professional bunch who know how to get you to learn this sport well. At the end of my 3 hours session, I had managed to get upright on the waves not once but multiple times ๐Ÿ˜€

Try some fun games & water sports on Malpe beach Karnataka

Parasailing in Malpe beach Karnataka - you can see St Mary's island in the background
Parasailing in Malpe beach Karnataka – you can see St Mary’s island in the background

There are a plethora of options when it comes to water sports on this Karnataka beach. From fun banana boat rides to jet skiing and even parasailing over the sea – you can avail them all on the shore. I even found, zorbing on the beach – something that I definitely want to try when I get to Malpe beach again. All these Malpe activities can be booked on the spot. The cost is fairly reasonable.

Zorbing- one of the things to do in Malpe Beach Udupi
Zorbing- one of the things to do in Malpe Beach Udupi

Visit St Mary’s island in Malpe

Stand on the shores of Malpe beach and look straight at the Arabian Sea. You are bound to spot a few islands with tall coconut trees. The largest one is called St Mary’s island – the same one that Vasco Da Gama landed on. This island has been given the tag of being the national geological monument for its rare basalt volcanic rocks – found only here.

Are these the tall columns the biggest ones on St Mary's island ?
The rare basalt columns of St Mary’s island Malpe

One of the best things to do in Malpe beach is head out to this island for a day picnic. That is when you can discover its pretty shell beaches and coconut-laden lanes. Read through this exclusive post on St Mary’s island to get details on how to get here and what to expect at the isle.

Discover Daria Bahadurgad fort

St Mary’s Island is just one of the four isles that you can see from the shore. The other three are called North Island, South Island and Daria Bahadurgad island. The last one is where you can visit a heritage fort built by Basavappa Naik – a ruler from Bidanur. Though the fort is not a big one, it does have picturesque spots. Besides this, you can visit an old tile factory located here. There are ferries available on Malpe beach that can take you to the Daria Bahadurgad fort.

Explore the Balarama temple in Malpe

Close to the beach is a temple dedicated to the elder brother of Lord Krishna – Balarama. The temple is also called Vadabhanda Balarama Temple. It is said to have been established by the same Madhavacharya ji who later built the famous Udupi Krishna temple. The temple is renowned for its architecture and its stone idol of Lord Balarama. One of the key places to visit near Malpe beach.

Gorge on some local food on Malpe beach

One of the many Malpe beach cafes that you must visit when here
One of the many Malpe beach cafes that you must visit when here

Stay back and grab a good meal at one of the beach cafes on Udupi Malpe beach. There are tons of options to pick from – from Fisherman’s Bay Beach cafe to Malpe beach shack and Kori Roti beach cafe. If you love seafood, you will go crazy with the options here – most recommended being the prawn ghee roast and prawn sukka. Don’t fret if you are a vegetarian for there is plenty there too – team your Kori roti and Paneer Gassi or try some Shavige with the coconut curry. I would not say no to the Neer Dosas and Kadabus too.

Gadbad ice cream - one of the must do things on the Udupi Malpe beach
Gadbad ice cream – one of the must do things on the Udupi Malpe beach

For dessert, do not miss the famous Udupi Gadbad ice cream that is available across these food joints. In fact, there are two or three exclusive ice cream shops that also, sell a lot of other types of sundaes.

Go for a Malpe sea walk

Malpe Sea Walk
Malpe Sea Walk Credits : KshitizBathwal via Wikimedia Commons

The latest addition to the lovely beach is a 450 m long sea walk that treats you to the best sights of Malpe beach. Malpe sea walk stretches between the river and the Arabian sea giving you a beautiful view of the islands. The well-developed walkway has numerous benches for you to just sit around and enjoy these sights. Pretty sculptures including one of a fisherman’s family add to the beauty of this place. Malpe Sea walk can be accessed for INR 20 per person – a price that is totally worth the experience here.

Food truck parked near the Malpe Sea Walk
Food truck parked near the Malpe Sea Walk

In the evening, you will find a few food trucks in the parking area. From authentic south Indian dosas to chaat options, you will actually find yourself wanting to sample it all.

Enjoy the sunset at Malpe beach

Sunset on Malpe beach in Karnataka
Sunset on Malpe beach in Karnataka

You must catch the sunset at the beach. Trust me, it is truly divine to see the sun sinking into the Arabian sea. The sunset can be caught at any point on the beach but I do recommend heading to the Malpe Sea walk for it. If you are a photographer, you will definitely enjoy from this place. Another suggestion would be to witness it from St. Mary’s island.

Sunrise over Arabian sea as seen from the Udupi island
Sunrise over Arabian sea as seen from the Udupi island

On my last trip, I could not stay back for a sunset at St. Mary’s island but did capture a lovely sunrise from St. Mary’s island. It should give you a good idea of what to expect.

Catch an event at the amphitheatre

Right next to the Malpe Sea walk is an open-air Amphitheatre that seats around 250 people. A large statue of Garuda marks the stage where if you are lucky, you can witness various performances. You can check this Facebook page for updates on various events. I got lucky to witness a Yakshagana dance.

Yakshagana performance at the Malpe beach amphitheatre
Yakshagana performance at the Malpe beach amphitheatre

A little about the dance – Yakshagana is a heritage folk dance – a dance drama that still lives on in Udupi. The dance involves the use of colorful masks and costumes and is performed to live music. With the use of mudras and bhavas, the dancers tell a story from the epic tales of Ramayana and Mahabharata. I got to witness the tale of Jatayu who attempted to save Sita when Ravana was kidnapping her. Trust me, it definitely added to my lively experience at Malpe beach.

16th century Veerabhadra Temple of Lepakshi

Story of Jatayu lives on in Lepakshi temple

Read and re-live the story of Jatayu and his sacrifice at the Lepakshi temple near Bangalore. The gorgeous temple also, has a giant footprint that people say belongs to Sita. Check out this post right here.

Go shopping in the local beach market

The flea market and beach stalls at Malpe beach
The flea market and beach stalls at Malpe beach

From colorful beach wear to quirky jewelry, the tiny Malpe market along the beach is a fun shopping experience. You will also, find shell craft and decor for your homes in these small stalls. The stalls are open from 9 am to 9 pm every day.

You also have a few tattoo studios in the market. I haven’t tried any myself but I did see a lot of people getting inked here. The prices too seemed reasonable. So, you might want to give it a try.

Capture some birds on a beach walk

Birds of Malpe beach
Birds of Malpe beach

Early morning or a sunset stroll on Malpe beach will introduce you to a variety of water birds. Some of the common ones include sandpipers, terns, Brahminy kites, swifts, rock pigeons, mynahs, egrets and various species of gulls. The best place to capture them is when you walk towards the northern side of the beach. Though not as clean as the commercial side, it is the quieter end of the beach and hence, tends to attract more of the winged beauties.

Explore the massive ship-building yard in Malpe

A glimpse of the ship building yard in Malpe
A glimpse of the ship building yard in Malpe

Right next to the Malpe sea walk is the huge shipbuilding yard of Malpe port. You may or may not get access to visit inside. However, you can just walk past the building along the lane. On one side, you will see numerous workshops that make various parts for the ship. On the other side, you will see boats and ships of all sizes. Talk to a few locals and you will get a good insight into how this industry works.

Interact with the local fishermen

The fishermen clan has been the oldest community of Malpe port. You can still see them in action when you walk toward the sea walk early in the morning. While some are busy casting their nets, many spread out their catch to dry in the sun. Some of them are just happy to share their stories.

Rent an e-auto and spend the day beach hopping from Malpe to Padubidri

Beach hopping on the Malpe Padukere road
Beach hopping on the Malpe Padukere road

This is one of the newest things to do on Malpe beach that I discovered on my last visit. You can just rent one of those electronic autos and go beach hopping from Malpe. Make sure you take the Malpe Padukere stretch where on one side you will see the serene backwaters and the other side has the roaring sea. The drive itself is extremely beautiful with the narrow road lined with swaying palm trees.

There are many offbeat beaches like Padukere beach, Pithrody Udyavar beach, Mattu beach and Uchilla beach that you will pass by. While you can stop at most of these, definitely plan a longer halt at Kapu beach for its lighthouse and Padubidri beach for its Blue Flag shore.

Entertain the kids with the fun games on Malpe Udupi beach

Malpe beach games for kids
Malpe beach games for kids

There are numerous carnival games for kids on Udupi Malpe beach. From fun merry-go-rounds to mini Ferris wheels and dashing boats (not cars) – there is a range of activities on Malpe beach for kids. These are available from 4 pm in the evening at a very reasonable rate. The kids are bound to have so much fun that they will not want to leave this place.

Well, that concludes my section on what can you do on Malpe beach. The next section is dedicated to answering all your frequently asked questions to give you the right tips for your own trip to Malpe beach Udupi.

FAQs on Malpe beach

What is the best way to reach Malpe beach?

The distance from Udupi to Malpe beach is just 6 km and once you are in the town, you can just hire one of the local auto rickshaws to get here.

There are three ways to get to Udupi –
1) You can fly to Mangalore which is just 55 km from Udupi. From here, you can either get into a bus, hire a private cab or take a train to Udupi
2) Udupi has it own railway station with a fairly good connectivity.
3) You can do a road trip to Udupi.

What is the best time to visit Malpe beach in Udupi?

In terms of season, the best time to visit Malpe beach would be from October to February – that is the winter months. Monsoons are quite heavy in this region, sucking the fun out of the beach. Summers are quite harsh and hence can be avoided.

The beach is accessible throughout the day. You can actually spend one entire day here with the number of attractions available. There is enough place to pitch your own umbrella or use one of the many shades that are added to the beach. The coconut tree cover also, gives you adequate shade throughout the day.

What is the best place to stay on Malpe beach Udupi?

There are numerous Malpe beach resorts that offer you sea front views. The most popular option to stay on Malpe beach is Paradise Isle beach resort. Another option that I happen to come across stays called Blue Waves front cottages and Hai Tide collages. You can book them using the booking resources below.

Is Malpe beach clean?

The main section of Malpe beach is very clean and well-maintained. Every morning, there is a sandboni or a sand cleaning machine that removes the accumulated rubbish and ensures that the place is perfect for the visitors of the day.

Is scuba diving available at Malpe beach?

No, there is no scuba diving on Malpe beach. However, you can get to Kaup beach which is just 19 km from Malpe beach for this activity.

Before you go, pin this

Malpe beach karnataka 1
Malpe beach udupi 1
Udupi malpe beach

Travel and Photography tips

  • Don’t forget to carry your sunscreen. Add a pair of flipflops to your packing list as well as sunglasses and an extra pair of clothes.
  • There are plenty of food stalls and restaurants on Malpe beach Karnataka
  • Please do not leave your trash on the beach. The authorities have installed plenty of bins for disposal.
  • If you are a photographer, a basic prime lens would be sufficient. If you have ND filters, you will find them useful for capturing the sunset here.

Booking resources

  • MakeMyTrip is a popular website for all flight (domestic & international) bookings. You can use this link to book your flight(s).
  • You can book your hotel in Malpe through using the given link.
  • For any local tours, transfers and stays in the Coastal Karnataka region, you can get in touch with Ms. Poonam of Dream holidays, Manipal on +91 9686574959 or Mr. Roshan Pinto of RR Travels on +91 9845331926. They are specialists in this region and can arrange for a flawless travel experience here.
  • If you use Amazon for shopping for travel or any of your home needs, do consider using this link.
Disclaimer: This article includes affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, I will receive a small commission if you purchase through my link. Thank you for supporting me with this.
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20 thoughts on “Best things to do on Malpe beach in Udupi”

  1. Hello Admin,
    I like this article.I was searching over search engines and found your blog site. I like your blog site…. great job. Keep it up

  2. Malpi Beach looks like a picture book image of a tropic beach. Great that it is also good for swimming most time of the year. As I am quite interested in strange rock formations I would enjoy a visit to the strange basalt rocks too.

  3. There certainly seems to be a lot of great activities to do on Malpe beach, I think I would love to swim in the sea and take a walk along the sea pathway and then book to see the heritage dancing – the costume the dancer is wearing in your photo looks spectacular.

    • You will love the Yakshagana performance. It is so lively and of course, the beach is just amazing. Thanks Angela for the lovely comment.

  4. Isn’t always wonderful to re-visit a place and rekindle our memories, especially your honeymoon or shortly thereafter. It’s great to hear that you recommend Malpe beach and your memory of the beach being an endless stretch of soft white sands and the gentle waves of the Arabian Sea lives up to the same experience today. Now, with endless things to do, I can see why it would be a great family friendly destination.

  5. That’s one fun beach! I have only been to Bangalore in Karnataka. But am really keen on seeing St Mary’s Island, have head a lot about it. Zorbing is also on my list of to do activities now, as is eating at a shack. The sea walk is amazing.

  6. It did not take much to convince me that we need to visit the Malpe Beach if we are in the Udupi region. Soft white sand, blue waters and great sunsets are always a draw for us. A trip to see basalt columns on St Maryโ€™s island sounds interesting . They look similar to ones we saw on the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland. And we would definitely plan to stay long enough to catch the local show at the amphitheater.

  7. It seems an awesome place to decompress if one needs a break. Azure ocean, sandy shores, and beautiful sunset are all wonderful. The water activities are a bonus. It’s the sea walk that got me!

  8. As a beach-lover, you had me at warm, gentle ocean waves with no sudden drop – and then reeled me in with so much more! I would love to visit Malpe Beach and view Mary’s island, try delicious seafood, stroll the sea walk, and be present in this lovely place with multiple, fascinating historic references. Easy to see why it makes a great home base for visiting Udupi!

  9. I have never been to Udupi though I have heard so much about it. Malpe beach looks really nice, especially the sunset. I’d love to take some surfing lessons here, the waves look pretty awesome for that!

  10. Malpe beach in Udupi is a beautiful coastal destination to explore.I would love to go zorbing and parasailing on the beach and grab some delicious prawns on one of the sea shacks. And of course I would love to enjoy a cultural show in the Malpe beach amphitheatre.


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