Wonderful Trip to Kerala

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Covering: Beaches - Backwaters - Waterfalls - Tea Estates and Highest peak of Southern India, Cities Kanyakumari to Kerala (Kovalam - Allepey - Munnar), Weather Kovalam :: Mostly Hot; Allepey :: Hot but Backwaters make it slightly cooler than Kovalam; Munnar :: Slightly Cold, Budget: Not More Than INR 25000 as of today,
For 4 Members in One King Size Room

Hi again. So this time I am bringing another cool-cool trip to Kerala. I will share my experience as well as different ways (which are not available anywhere else on internet) to plan a great and budget trip there. So a family of 4 or group of 4 people is so common in a trip and so hard to adjust in a normal single room. See three person are ok with an extra bed in room, but adjusting 4 is hard and normally we have to book two rooms for that. So I am taking 4 people in a room option to plan your trip in a better way and believe me you won't have to adjust forcefully in it, I will take King Size Rooms. Kerala is famous for its sea food and fishes, but vegetarian options are also available. I am a vegetarian with my group, so I will talk about veg food options.

So lets start...

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KanyaKumari to Kovalam

We were at Kanyakumari at Vivekananda Kendra, a peaceful place to visit... to stay. Options available from dormitory to double-bedded rooms. AC/Non AC both are there and rates... unbelievably low. Many places to visit here, like Sunrise Point, Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Bhagwati Aman Temple, Fort Palace and Wax Museum (a must watch). I am not discussing them in detail as I am here to tell trip of Kerala.

Kovalam is just 15km far from Trivandrum(Thiruvanantpuram) Railway Station. So from Kanyakumari to Trivandrum there are n number of options from taxi to bus to train. And we liked train at the most. Reasons...

  1. Trains last point is Kanyakumari, so trains start from here and till Trivandrum it is almost without rush.
  2. Train journey is pleasant in all months of the year and one can simply book sleeper or 2S as per availability (No need to book AC Coaches). Approx. cost is INR 120 for one ticket reservation.
  3. A panoramic view of real Kerala is available in train journey. Coconut trees, far sea, lavish greenery, backwaters all will come in your way and fill you with serenity.
  4. Frequent trains are available for Trivandrum. At 6:30 in morning, 10:55 in morning, 6:00 in evening and more.
  5. There are two stations, Kanyakumari and Nagarcoile with a distance of merely 15km. So if train is from Nagarcoile, you may book it too.
  6. No tension of toll and road traffic of-course.

Local buses are also ok and in budget option to roam around.

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KOVALAM

Now From Trivandrum (Thiruvanantpuram) railway station to your hotel at Kovalam taxis or uber cabs are available in INR 300 to 400, depends upon the distance. You may even book hotel in Trivandrum itself, if not available near beach. It will be cheaper.

Days Needed

Max: 2 Days

  • Day 1 - On beach and water sports
  • Day 2 - Sightseeing and shopping

Budget

  • Room: 2500 per night for a king size room for 4 person
  • Water Sports: Although depends person to person, but approx. 2k to 3k for 4 person
  • Sightseeing: 1000 for taxi/auto at max.

What you should have

Well it is a coastal area and remain hot all the year apart from monsoon season from July to September and that time sea is rough. Temperature lies between 23 to 35 degrees. So the following items you should carry:

  • Beachwear
  • Good Quality Shades
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen Lotion
  • Water bottle
  • Floaters

Where to Stay

I will suggest near beach. Good food options are there. Frequent visit to beach is possible. You may come in Beach-wear directly from your hotel. Room availability is there in peak seasons too. Rooms are available in approximately INR 2.5k to 3.5k per night in peak seasons. Samudra Resort has its own beach, but it is comparativly a bit expensive. Some hotels are sea facing and room charges are accordingly. But in actual when you are planning to play on beach and not sitting in your hotel room, it doesn't matters a lot and you can save here. Even you can stay in some hotel which is inside narrow streets on beach. Sea view is not available, but room rent will be in budget even in peak season. AC King size rooms (which have plenty of space after accommodating 4 members) are also available. I like to stay at LIGHT HOUSE BEACH as it has water sports to do and beach is lively. So one can do here whatever he likes. Our stay was at Hotel Swadesh, which is located in a narrow street on light house beach, just 22mtr. away from beach.

Narrow streets are clean and well maintained with tiles and have market. You will love to stay there.

Places to visit

In Kovalam

  • Light House Beach (Lively beach, surfing, boat-riding, motor boat and various sports, Sea view from Light House, sunset beach, artificial off-shore coral reef)
  • Hawa Beach (Speedy waves on rocks)
  • Chowara Beach (Lesser known beach for those who seek peace)

In Trivandrum and nearby

  • Shree Padmanabha Swamy Temple (Worth visit but too much rush and long queue. Dress Code: Dhoti for men Saree for Women)
  • Chalai Bazaar (For shopping freak)
  • Vizhinjam Village (Rock cut cave, marine aquarium, fishing harbor)
  • Karamana River (Boating, backwaters)
  • Veli Tourist Village (Ferry rides, budget boat safari, pedal-boat, speed-boating)
  • Vellayani Lake (Fresh water lake)
  • Zoological Park
  • Karikkakom Chamundi Devi Temple
  • Attukal Bhagavathy Temple

What to do

  • Relaxing on Beach and take Sunbath
  • Water Sports (Surfing, Body Surfing, Para-sailing, Snorkeling)
  • Boating (Motor-boat Ride, Pedal-boat, Ferry Rides)
  • Sightseeing
  • Religious Place Visiting
  • Shopping

What to eat

  • Sea food and non-veg is available in most of the restaurants.
  • For vegies some pure veg restaurants are available. We ate at Annam Restaurant and food was really yummy.

Note:: Here beach area and market closes around 9:30 PM. So plan accordingly.

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ALLEPEY (Alappuzha)

We have enjoyed in Arabian Sea and now its time to talk about the water body created by separation from sea... I mean the backwaters. Backwaters start from Kollam and spread till Kottapuram. It is around 205kms long waterway covers most of the coastal areas of Kerala. Allepey is famous for its backwaters of Vembanad Lake. It is largest lake in India and called venice of east. For honeymoon couple house-boat is a good option to enjoy stay at backwaters. But Houseboats can not move into canals. So they roam in main lake only. Canoeing is a good option to move in small canals and watch village culture or birds very closely. Shikara is cheaper than houseboats and bird-watching can be done with it too. You can enjoy ride in shikara or canoe and stay in house-boats (if budget permits).

One budget option is train from Trivendrum. Trivendrum and Allepey both have warm weather most of the year. Trains also have a good rush. So better to reserve AC Coaches.

Good quality hotels are available near railway station and bus stand and pre-paid autos are available at railway station at reasonable prices for local commutation.

Days Needed

Max: 2 Days

  • Day 1 - Sightseeing, shopping and beach visit (in evening)
  • Day 2 - Backwaters (Starts from 8AM in morning till 5PM in evening)

Budget

  • Room: You may get a good deal in 2k to 3k per night for a king size room for 4 person
  • Water Sports: Although depends person to person, but approx. 5k for 4 person (House-boat room for two starts from 8K and in peak season reaches upto 20K)
  • Sightseeing: For local sightseeing you can book either an auto in INR 500 to 800 or a taxi in around 1200. For backwaters you can book a shikara in 200 to 800 for 1 hour. Water-bus also run in backwaters and its max. fare is INR 40. So one budget option is to travel to Kumarakom from Water Bus and then take Canoe or Water bike to move inside the canals.

What you should have

Well it is a coastal area and remain hot all the year apart from monsoon season from July to September. Temperature lies between 23 to 35 degrees. So the following items you should carry:

  • Good Quality Shades
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen Lotion
  • Water bottle
  • Floaters

Where to Stay

I will suggest to stay near railway station or bus stand. Market is near, sightseeing places are near, veg restaurant Aryans branch is there, backwaters shikara stand is there. Another good option is to stay near the bird sanctuary in Kumarakom. Shikaras and Canoes are cheaper there. That place has its own charm, different types of migratory birds can be seen there. That is a peaceful place and heaven for the bird lovers. Room rent is cheaper here and options available from home-stay to house-boat to good size rooms. Lake Palace Family Resort, Laxmi Hotel and Resort are available there. Taj group resort is also there if your budget allow.

We stayed at Cambil Residency, 600mtr from railway station. 2 Double beded 3star room with 2 lat-bath was available for us. Hotel manager was a nice guy.

Places to visit

In Allepey

  • Backwaters of Vembanad Lake
  • Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
  • Kuttanad Backwaters (4-10mtrs below sea level farming)
  • Edathua Church
  • Ambalapuzha Temple (1000 years old Lord Krishna Temple, built in Kerla style
  • Mullakkal Rajeshwari Temple (Main temple of Allepey)
  • Alleppey Beach
  • Marari Beach
  • Pozhiyoram Beach (Sunset Beach)
  • Revi Karunakaran Museum (Beautiful artifacts, silverware and furniture, collections of Swarovski crystals)
  • Krishnapuram Palace (Museum)
  • Light House Museum
  • Karumadi Village (Famous for magistic black granite Bauddha Statue)

Nearby

  • Sree Subramanya Swami Temple
  • Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple
  • Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple (One of the most famous temples of Kerala)
  • Pandavan Rock

What to do

  • Must do Shikara ride with Bird Watching
  • Boating (Motor-boat Ride, Pedal-boat, Ferry Rides)
  • Sightseeing
  • Religious Place Visiting
  • Shopping

What to eat

  • Sea food and non-veg is available in most of the restaurants.
  • For vegies some pure veg restaurants are available. We ate at Arayans Restaurant at highway and food was really yummy.

Note:: Here beach area and market closes around 9:30 PM. So plan accordingly.

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Munnar

After visiting sea shore of Kovalam and backwaters of Allepey, its time to cool down our body temperature in hilly areas of Munnar. Munnar is Tea Valley of Kerla. With splendid tea estates, it looks like a cool heaven for those who are coming from all time hot coastal areas. Large wild elephants, tuskers, lion faced nilgiri monkeys, bisons, giant squirrels and panthers are name of few which are commonly visible on road sides and in Tea Estates in Munnar. To view wild animals so closely, it was a mind boggling experience. You will see different types of flowers, leaves, flora-fauna all around and different smells of spices, tea and medicinal plants will mesmerize you.

Although everybody has its own taste, but personally I feel sightseeing is worthless here. Normally cab drivers mention 9 points namingly, Vattavada Vegetable Farming, Echo Point, Photo Point, Elephant Arrival Spot, Mattupetti Dam, Attukkad Waterfalls, Top Hill Station, Tata Tea Museum and Rose Garden & Floriculture Center. Floriculture Center is good to visit with different types of plants of southern species. A tea museum visit is good if you are interested in knowing the complete tea making process. Same for the spice garden. Top Hill Station has good view of tea estates. But Dams are normal, waterfall runs in rainy season and more good waterfalls are here.

Actually the whole Munnar has scenic beauty everywhere and you cannot define it in some points. Tall Eucalyptus trees, lush green carpets of tea estates with sliver oak trees in between are everywhere. Elephants can be visible anywhere if you are lucky and same for the clouds. It will be worth visiting a wild life sanctuary like Chinnar or Periyar National Park (Thekkady). It will consume one complete day. If covering Chinnar then in returning to Munnar you may visit Marayoor Sandalwood Forest (Only from outside) and Lucckam Waterfall (opened till 5PM in evening). You will have majestic hills, curved paths, tea estates and clouds around you in your way.

We took cab in INR 4500 from Allepey to Munnar. Railway Station is not in Munnar so one can go by train till Aluva, which is around 120km away from Munnar.

Days Needed

Min: 2 Days (You may cover two different sides in Munnar in two days)

  • Day 1 - A particular destination like Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary which is in Coimbatore direction. Other places here are Marayoor Sandalwood Forest, Muniyara Dolmens (3000BC old), Lucckam Waterfall, Eravikulam National Park (Rajmala Hills)
  • Day 2 - Devikulam Hills - Lock Hart Tea Estate Musem, Sita Devi Lake with flora-fauna and lawns (Towards Thekkady Direction)
  • Day 3 - Kanan Devi Hills - Mattupetty Dam, Echo Point, Kundala Dam, Top Station
  • Day 4 - Rose Garden & Floriculture Center, Spice Garden etc in Kochi direction.

Budget

  • Room: You may get a good deal in 2k to 4k per night for a room for 4 person.
  • Sightseeing: For local sightseeing you can book either an auto in INR 600 to 1000 or a taxi in around 1500 per day.
  • Tickets: In national park, tea museum, spice garden, rose garden, you have to pay ticket charges. On most of the places it is nominal but tea museum and spice garden have good price.

What you should have

It is a hilly reason with 95%-99% humidity. Temperature lies between 11-20 degrees. Nights are cool and in summers hills have good hot weather. One should carry umbrella for unexpected rain and sun. Rainy season is from June to September.

  • Good Quality Shades
  • Hat
  • Umbrella
  • Some warmer
  • Sport shoes for hills and tracking
  • Floaters for waterfall and rainy season

Where to Stay

I will suggest to stay near railway station or bus stand. Weather is too much humid here so you may feel wet even inside the hotel room. No need of AC but geyser is a must. If you find rooms expensive in Munnar because it is a hill station, then you may plan to take room in Marayoor, a close proximity to Munnar and Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary or in Thekkady where you can visit Periyar National park and Periyar river.

Places to visit

In Munnar

  • Vattavada Vegetable Farming (Zigzag roads with vegetable plants)
  • Echo Point
  • Photo Point (Lush tea gardens, big silver oak trees, small rivulets and undulating hills make this place ideal for photography)
  • Elephant Arrival Spot
  • Mattupetti Dam
  • Attukkad Waterfalls
  • Top Hill Station
  • Kolukkumalai Tea Estate (Highest tea factory in the world)
  • Tata Tea Museum
  • Rose Garden & Floriculture Center
  • Blossom Park (Water Cycling, Skating, boating, tree houses, ropeways)
  • Cheeyappara Waterfalls (7steps waterfall)

Nearby

  • Punarjani Traditional Village (Kathakali and Kalarippayattu are the two main art forms that are performed here.)
  • Devikulam Hills
  • Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Sita Devi Lake
  • Muniyara Dolmens (3000BC old)
  • Lucckam Waterfall
  • Eravikulam National Park (You can find some endemic species of plants and animals like Nilgiri Tahr and Neel Kurunji Flower which blooms once in 12 year only on Nilgiri Hills. Next blooming season is in Sep-Dec 2018)
  • Meesapulimala (Second highest peak of western ghats, eight hills that spreads like a moustache, World Heritage by UNESCO)

What to do

  • Elephant Safari
  • Speed Boating
  • Horse Riding
  • Jungle Safari
  • Night Safari
  • Water Cycling
  • Tree House Visit
  • Visit to Tea Museum
  • Visit to Spice Garden
  • Watch Kalarippayattu
  • Watch Kathakali
  • Tracking
  • Ropeway
  • Rappelling
  • Buggy Ride

What to eat

  • Veg and non-veg is available in most of the restaurants.
  • Some veg. restaurant are there. We ate at Annpurana, but found no worthy. It is a crowded restaurant and food quality was not good. In place of it there is a restaurant Sukh-Sagar, just opposite to it and it has very good quality food in reasonable price. Hotel manager and waiter understand Hindi as well, which was a rare incident in South India.

Note:: Here market closes around 9:00 PM. So plan accordingly.

It seems God has bestowed all his blessings at one place. From Sea Shore to backwaters, from rivers to lakes, from hills to waterfalls, from tea estates to tall trees of Eucalyptus, from rare and endemic species of flora and fauna to usual sight of elephants on road-side. One can find all beauties of nature here. Come and visit our Kerala.

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