Kerala, gods own country! Really? The only way to prove this statement is to head for a full week expedition and discover myself! So here is a travel log for my journey with Ankit.
Day 1: Hyderabad to Munnar
With heart full of excitement for the trip, we had our flight bookings from Hyderabad to Cochin, and the first road block – flight was delayed by 2 hrs. Somehow, we reached to Cochin around 11:30PM. From airport we took a private taxi to reach hotel Illam Heritage, a small hotel near to KSRTC bus stand. The next morning we headed for Munnar. Took a 7:30AM bus from KSRTC bus depot to reach Munnar before noon. The Kerala buses are special in a way that they have big open windows without grills and a leather shutter to protect you if there is rain. And these big windows helped us discover Kerala on our road-trip! The first encounter with tea gardens happened just 10-12 kms before Munnar. The lush green mountain terrains and you don’t see an single inch of land with soil. Every single piece of land has either a tea plant or small water streams. With this my excitement was doubled. Getting off the bus, took a rickshaw for hotel hunt. After looking at rooms of few hotels, we finalized Hotel Bellmount. It was a good hotel and the best thing was it was near to a Gujarati/Marwadi veg restaurant at Sujatha Inn. The food is okay (as per per the price). We settled there for two days for the need of Munnar.
Around 2pm, we hired a private taxi and headed towards Mattupetty direction for sightseeing. Our taxi driver cum guide took us to our first sightseeing point, the Forest Garden. It’s a beautiful garden with varied species of flowers and plants. Expect there different varieties of plants and flowers, if not interested, you can skip this. Towards Mattupetty direction there are Forest Garden, Photo point, Mattupetty Dam and Echo Point places to visit. On the way you can find elephant and horse rides. Mattupetty dam has a small local market. The Dam and Echo point gives the best scenic experience.
Day 2: After taking our breakfast we started for Coimbatore Direction at about 9:00 am (prefer to leave at 8am). At first, we reached Eravikulam National Park. This is also called Anamudi view. Anamudi is South India’s highest peak 8841 ft above sea level. This is the best place to visit in Munnar. When we reached the highest point of the Eravikulam park we could touch the clouds (trek to Anamudi is not allowed). It takes 2-3 hrs for this visit. After that we went to Lakkam waterfalls. A space surrounded by boulders, clean water, and a small waterfall. We spent about an hour there.
Day 3: Thekkady
We started early in the morning (6:30 am) from Munnar towards Thekkady by cab. While on the way we enjoyed natural beauty of Munnar. Clouds spread all over the tea gardens and valley, the only words I have is River of Mist.
A must stop on this road is Lockhart Gap for mist-clad hills and panoramic view (prefer sunrise). Next, we visited one of the spice garden on the way to Thekkady (per person Rs 100). We reached Thekkady around noon. Settled at Jungle Palace hotel to spend the night. Rooms are clean, big and a homely place. Next, we headed for Perriyaar National Park for a boat ride at 1:30pm (expect a 2hrs visit). Though the reserve park is famous for tigers, we did not spot any. Neither any other animals. I think the best time to visit Perriyaar would be first boat trip in the morning (~9AM). Next, spent some time in the market for Spices and other shopping in the evening. You can find Kathakali or Martial Arts show which typically run after 6pm. We chose Kathakali show, there the artists explained about facial and eye expressions and a drama on a historical story.
Day 4: Alappuzha or Alleppey
Next in our list was Alleppey. There are KSTRC buses from Thekkady to Changanassery (2-3 hrs), and then Changanassery to Alleppey (1 hr). Alleppey is a place to enjoy backwaters. We had started in the morning and reached Alleppey around 1pm and settled in homely, small guest house, –name– . After lunch we went for backwater ride. We took a Shikara for 3 hrs (appx. Rs 400/hr). The Shikara took us from interior villages and Vembanad Lake. This lake connects three districts of Kerala. If you a couple (or small group) and vegetarian, Shikara is the best rather then a big house boat. If you are a big group a house boat is best to spend a day (22hrs). The evening we went at Alleppey beach with setting sun.
View of a Houseboat, Alleppey
Day 5: We had kept a day free for rest or to adjust against our dynamic planning. We decided to head to Kottayam city for a visit to our Keralite friend. We left from Alleppay in the morning for Kottayam (again KSRTC :P, 2hrs drive). Their house is in interiors of Kottayam. Thanks for their hospitality and delicious (veg) South Indian lunch. Around 3pm, boarded the train for Trivandrum and reached by 7 pm. Time to settle. Found hotel Samrat (don’t go there, horrible services). We took rest for the night and in the morning we headed to Kanyakumari.
Day 6: Kanyakumari
I am always fascinated about Kanyakumari. In my college days, I desperately wanted to go there. Last time when I has a chance to visit, this place had Tsunami warning and we have to cancel our trip. This time I am very excited.
We started in early morning from Trivandrum (or Thiruvananthapuram) via KSRTC bus to reach Nagarcoil (8am to 10:30am). After having some tea and breakfast, again started from Nagarcoil bus stand to kanyakumari (11:00am to 12:00pm). The bus drops you at exact point, you step out and see Indian Ocean. Expect to spend your day here. After little bit of shopping and exploring the area, we headed to Gandhi Memorial. From the top of memorial, we found a narrow man-made strip into the sea. I think it is meant for fisher-men and docking their boats. We decided to head there. It was like Marine Drive of Mumbai. Rocky strip, hitting waves and some crowd! Next, we spent the evening at the beach for sunset. This is the only place in India where you can see sun rise and set at one point. You can find plenty of veg restaurants returning back from beach. Had our meals and headed to bus-stand for a bus back to Trivandrum (8pm). Reached back to hotel at midnight.
Day 7: Kovalam
Trivandrum was supposed to be our last place, but one more place was waiting for us. Next day we got up early in the morning and hired a auto rickshaw for Kovalam Beach. It is about 10 kms from Trivandrum. A clean, beautiful, black sand beach. Just near to the seashore there are many hotels. I wished if we had stayed here with a sea view! Anyway we enjoyed at beach, clicked few snaps and left in around 1 hr. We were in hurry to catch a flight back to Hyderabad at 10:30am.
We just had to-and-fro tickets pre-booked and no other bookings for hotels. Before we left we ensured what cities to visit, i.e. itinerary and researched about few hotels. Some exploration of the area and information from local people has helped a lot. So, this is about our experience of a 6 days trip full or excitement, scenic greenery, beaches and adventure with clouds. Where are you heading next?
[Edited by Ankit Jain]
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