Kerala – Indeed God’s own country.

General Tips and Do & Don’ts

  • It is strongly suggested to pre-plan your trip keeping in mind that Kerala attracts a huge number of tourist from world over.
  • Bike trip – Not recommended. Roads are not that awesome coupled with ever changing weather, sharp turns. We were a group of four and hired Innova. For hiring a car, have a verbal chat with more than 5-6 service providers from different rating segments (of course 3-stared ones) and ask for quotation. You can later confirm them just before leaving.
    Generally quotations are provided on per day per 100km basis. The distance on google maps are more or less same. Keep a buffer of 100-150 km maximum.
  • Our Roadmap:
    Kochi – Munnar – Thekkady – Kumarakaon- Allepey – Allepey – Varkala – Trivendrum.

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The very first road map we laid

  • We had hired an innova for 4 nights and 650 kms in 13K and ended up covering just over 450 km. Contact Details of service provider: Samjhu, Columbus Tours and Travels, Ernakulam. Ph no- 9995518793 / 9497717782 (website)
  • Your car driver is your best guide. Ours was this incredible fellow Nibin (09656482384). ( but last I checked Nibin went to gulf)

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Nibin, 2nd from left

  • We didn’t actually visit kochi. But we had some finest kapi (coffee) in tradition small steel mugs and mark my words those were some finest coffees I ever had (At a small roadside hotel near ernakulam railway station).

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O you fine blend of beans

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Munnar

  • It is costliest and a bit hyped place in Kerala and you can’t blame it. Economics work that way.
  • It’s a small city with scarce hotels and hence is expensive. I would recommend an out of city home stay where you can negotiate as per your requirement.
  • Do have breakfast on road side breakfast huts/hotels. Highly recommended.
  • Munnar is all about tea estate where you cannot enter just like that. You need to have some permission. There are again many resorts inside tea estates. Or if you have none than befriend with tea estate guard. He can let you in for some precious minutes.

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Told Ya !!!

  • Cycling is the best way to enjoy Munnar. Thrillophilia organizes one but its damn too expensive. Contact local for cycle renting. We didn’t hire one. Lazy bums of people I was travelling with. But you surely can get bikes.
  • Don’t you go for elephant rides. Those are just for “foreigners”. You have been warned.
  • Kalaripattayu shows are good. Didn’t get a chance to watch Kathakali dance.
  • The road trip from Munnar to Thekkady has magical smell of spices all around. There are many spice gardens on the way. Ask your driver to take you in one. We went to Anakkara Spice and Ayurvedic garden (9605060088 / 9747815692) and its was totally worth it. Do shop for some finest quality spices and cosmetics (they really work).
  • Stack your beer- Kerala is one state with highest liquor consumption but liquor shops, which are all government owned lacks basic infrastructure. No Refrigerators. Beat that. Buy from Bars instead.

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Grab maximum you can get

  • DO have some finest coffee and kerala cuisines on any dhaba on the way.

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A Coffee worth having

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Thekkady

  • A small beautiful city with rainy weather even in November. There are a number of hotels/resorts but we preferred a homestay and the decision was totally right. Edamala Homestay (09447065841, 09995444121). The best thing about it was the owner, porch and coffee from Aunty. (http://www.tripadvisor.in/Hotel_Review-g297636-d1978398-Reviews-Edamala_Homestay-Thekkady_Kerala.html )
  • Do eat at Ambadi resort. Nice food.
  • For visiting Periyar National Park, there are many options. We opted for half day Bamboo rafting. It included 8-10 km trek inside the park, lunch meal (pathetic), and bamboo rafting (Awesome).

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http://www.periyartigerreserve.org/

  • Carry a waterproof bag for storing gadgets in case of rain of which you are never sure. We didn’t and it started raining when we were in the mid-river. 🙂 . We saved our camera though thanks to lady trekking with us.

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Kerala aaye aur barish main geela nahi hue toh kya karela aye

  • Also carry a pair of sports shoes. Be careful of leaches. There are plenty of them.
  • Best time to visit Periyar is Summers – that when you get to see Elephants and Tigers

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Alappuzha / Alleppey

  • We skipped Kumarakom as it is more like a small Alleppey plus we liked stopping infinite times on the way. We fell in love with Kerala food.
  • In Alleppey, we had pre booked a houseboat from pournami houseboats and it was a wonderful experience. (Read my tripadviser review here. 9747033032 (Parvathy) or 09447776841). They charged Rs 9000 for 2 bedroom houseboat.
  • The food was like unbelievable. Crew members were friendly. It was a perfect way to end a road trip.

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Yes mesmerizing 

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This is CALM

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  • All five stars for this place.
  • A little piece of advice – if you have little time to spend in Alleppey then go for smaller shikara types boats.They can take places untouched by tourism in general.
  • Another piece of advice – Don’t over do it. A night and a day is more than sufficient at Alleppey.

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Varkala

  • What if say you it is better than most of the GOA beaches, don’t kill me. Why? It is much cheaper, much less crowded (99% of the crowds are foreigners) and very clean.
  • The length of beach is less than a km and rest is ridge. There are two beaches 1 km apart, I guess.
  • The sea facing resorts are a bit costly but I say there is no point in taking one. Its all on the ridge anyways. Just take a resort with easy access to shore. We booked an AC double bed room for 1500, yeah that’s right and the owner allowed all four of us in single room. The bed was the size of football ground. In fact, all over Kerala you will find such sized beds. (Sorry I misplaced the visiting card)
  • Its a black colored beach and the black is due to radio active thorium oxide. Yes I am right.
  • You can actually para glide from the ridge
  • Sunset is totally worth it.

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Like a dream 

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A morning glory 

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A ‘kerala’ for you

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Don’t stop me. I am ready to fly

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  • Do visit complete length of ridge road. Its packed with amazing restaurants, live performance and other shops.
  • Do not hire a bike. Again its not goa.
  • If you happen to know surfing, its your destination. The sea waves are very strong.
  • Its not safe to venture deep in to sea if you don’t know swimming.
  • Volvo buses are available for Trivandrum from Varkala bus stand (just in front of Railway Station). Its just 2 hours ride.

Overall Kerala is a ‘must go’ place. Enjoy. Do write to me if you need any other help.

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