Kerala : How to plan for a lifetime's experience

Kovalam Beach
Kovalam Beach

I have been planning this for months and it finally came along in the best time. A full stretch Kerala trip with Kanyakumari as an added bonus. I will not tell you what to do, but HOW to do it. How to plan your dream Kerala Trip. 

Caution: Mine was too comprehensive. Needs high energy and will be quite tiring. 

I chose the monsoon theme..I wanted to be in the middle of the action. This is the only place in India which offers monsoon as a tourism opportunity. I was lucky. I expected super heavy rains. Instead. I ended up right in between the rainy season and summer which was Perfect.

Advantages in travelling in mid August

  • Rainfall almost over.
  • Waterfalls at their fullest.
  • Greenery all over the state.
  • Backwaters, beach sides and rivers all very clean.
  • Abundant coconuts to enjoy.
  • Hotel rates brought down.
  • Less crowd everywhere.
  • Festive Preparation going on.
  • Shopping becomes pocket friendly.
Our route map:







                                                   

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Day 8
Day 9
Panvel
Trivandrum
Kovalam
Kovalam
Thekkady
Munnar
Munnar
Kochi
Pune

Why should you go by train ?

Konkan railways is different from all others. Amazing sights . Beautiful waterfalls (some of them were huge). Lots of tunnels. Breathtaking rivers and bridges. Glimpses of the Arabian sea every now and then. It's a journey everyone should make at least once in his lifetime. (We took the Sampark Kranti from Panvel)

Our Journey through photographs

Kovalam Beach Side

Lighthouse standing guard at Kovalam Beach
Walking along the beach is such a joy

Sunset at Kovalam Beach



Alleppey Beach beside our resort
Sunset at Alleppy beach

A tiny boat with the sunset in background..Just amazing view
What's Kerala without Coconuts

Kerala offers various kinds of Coconuts. The water and the pulp inside are both consumed
Different kinds of coconuts can be found everywhere.

Kanyakumari

Waiting for sunrise at Kanyakumari was such a unique experience..One side Indian Ocean, another side..The Arabian Sea
Poovar Backwaters

Poovar Backwater was a good experience.

Thekkady/Periyar

An hour long boat ride in the forest. We saw an elephant herd.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Munnar 

Munnar Tea Gardens

Kochi beach with Chinese fishing nets



The harbor at Kochi is a busy one. You can see huge ships crossing it, all day and night.

The oil industry can be seen at the right corner. Ships keep crossing every now and then at Kochi Harbor

We finally got caught in rain at Kochi . It nevertheless made the scene more captivating.

Huge ship entering , while a couple leisurely walks by.

Very Important Tips



Before you journey starts
  • Book for trains from the list of Konkan Railways that suits best for you. (You can refer this link)
  • Book your train at least 2 months before. There's plenty of rush in these trains.
  • Plan your trip from the bottom of Kerala to the top (Hence,  book train till Trivandrum i.e Ernakulam Railway Station) . Catch return flight from Kochi. 
  • Book the train and flight YOURSELF. DO NOT let a travel company book them for you.
  • For each city you are going to visit, note down good hotels fitting your budget from good websites like TripAdvisor or MakeMyTrip. Then book your vacation from makemytrip or similar travel organizer. Tell them, that you have already bought tickets. They need to plan according to you. Also handover the list of hotels , so they book only from your chosen list.


What to Pack (The most important things)

  • Rain gear (Umbrella, raincoat, lots of plastic bags)
  • Rain proof Foot gear (My Quechua all weather sandals were enough for the whole tour.), Extra bathroom flip flops for beaches.
  • Extra fold-able bag to bring back all shopped items.
  • Laptop (A DSLR is going to need constant flushing of photos)
  • One light jacket (Munnar might be chilly)
  • Towel, Swimming gear, Cap.
  • Binocular.

Locations


Trivandrum:

Visit the Shangumugham Beach same day as you arrive, at evening. Preferably, book the "Uday Suites" hotel (Book online. Use as much vouchers as possible) . From there, it's walking distance to the beach.

Kanyakumari: 

Plan your Kanyakumari trip from Kovalam. Start at night 2 AM , so you can reach before Sun Rise.

Backwater experience:
We suggest, you visit the Poovar Backwater cruise. It's worthy, very private and beautiful. Visit this link for an idea.
Beware: Bargain very well. Take the 1 hr trip ONLY. Any longer is not worth. Pay only max 1000rs per head. No more.

Alleppey:
Choose for a resort along the beach side. Let it be far from the city. You will love the stay. Nothing but clean sea shores, beautiful sun sets. And the sound of the roaring sea. (Please carry mosquito repellents too).

Suggestion: If possible, do not choose to live on a houseboat. I heard it is highly boring and costly. Not worth it. It's your choice. 
Note : You can still visit them for some time, if not stay.

Munnar:
Choose a hotel with a great view. Read review comments before you book. 
Visit the Tata Tea factory. (There's nothing to eat there, so have your breakfast before you start).

Thekkady:
While in the city, choose a hotel in the midst of the market. Stroll around the market and you will get an idea of the richness of the local market in spices, chocolates, and art. The Martial Arts and Dance show is also nearby centrally placed. Shows start at evening . Around 200 rupees per head per show. Don't miss that.

Kochi:
Stay at a hotel near the sea beach. It feels European. It's fun to walk around the coast. Lots of classy hotels to dine. Also check timings for all visiting spots (churches, museum or zoo are closed on some odd days). While going to airport, ask the driver to cross the sea on steamer (the car itself rides on it).

Shopping

This might be the favorite part of many people. Kerala has lots to look out for. 

Saaris and other clothings: From Kochi, or Trivandrum
Chocolates: From Thekkady and Munnar.
Banana chips: Anywhere.
Spices: Thekkady and Munnar
Tea: From munnar local market.
Artifacts: They are very costly. So bargain well.

In all, enjoy the most. Eat, explore, sit beside the shore, and gaze. Bon Voyage.

Kovalam Beach road. Watch the amazing sunset.


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