It was the first time that me and the husband sat down and planned on a vacation. Yes… we travel a lot but we had never gone on a vacation! I know it sounds weird but it’s true.
So I was more than excited for this trip. I wanted it to be perfect because we could only get 5 days for ourselves. Also because time was less, we wanted to get hold of some coordinator who would take care of the bookings. Luckily we found one!**
There is no direct flight to Kerala from Kolkata, so we planned on taking the flights which had less waiting time in between airports. We took the last flight from Kolkata to Hyderabad and reached there around 2am and our next flight was 5am to Kochin. We reached Kochin and we planned on travelling the very same day to Munnar and do the sightseeing on the way.
The first place we stopped was a spice garden ( you will find a lot of them!) , I hired a guide to make me identify the spice plants and also tell me the uses. The lady there named Radhika explained beautifully and answered every question of mine patiently. I couldn’t take many photographs because our phones ran out of charge and so did our camera( if you are taking the same route as ours, don’t just sleep at the airport charge your phones too 😛 ). Every spice garden has a spice shop where you can buy beautiful spices. I heard so much about red sandal that you only get in Kerala and the they have some special turmeric for the skin. I picked up tonnes of them!
The lady also convinced me to go for a fish spa and I was glad I listened to her. And starting your Kerala trip with a massage is always a good idea and ensures many more such relaxing experiences coming your way.
As we started our journey, we spotted some beautiful waterfalls on the way(Athirappilly falls, Cheeyappara & Valara Waterfalls) and we stopped for elephant ride and bathing with the elephants! I totally loved this one, it was fun… a must!
Our stay was booked at Tea Village In Munnar and I am still dreaming of that super comfy bed! It was one of the most amazing stay I have had in a while… The room had the most amazing view and was very comfortable, the hospitality was heart warming, the staffs were prompt and ever smiling, the food was tasty. We stayed there for two nights.
In Munnar we booked our tickets for Kathakali and Kalarippayattu (traditional martial arts ). There are daily shows in the evening in a hall which was near to our resort and tickets are priced at 200/- per person.
Almost every resort in Munnar have their own spa and massage centers but our driver Pradeep wanted us to experience it from the best place in Munnar so he took us to a Ayurvedic Spa Center and there were two doctors advising on what kind of messages would be good for you. The experience was unique. You need to completely undress for the massage and a lot of hot medicinal oil is poured on your body and after massaging the lady literally beat me up with a herb stuffed hot ‘potli’. Kerala is famous for massages and I totally agree now!
Because we already stay in the hills and it felt like home, we skipped a few sightseeing spots and spent more time on the stuffs we found more interesting. Our stay in Munnar was so good that I wish we had one more day there. It’s a beautiful place and I loved everything about it.
The third day we started for Thekkady. The drive from Munnar to Thekkady was beautiful and as I have demanded our driver to take us to the best tea tasting place and not just any, he took us to the Pattumallay Tea Estate and Tea Factory where we could taste a varied kind of teas and also learn about tea farming and processing. And the estate itself was beautiful!
However Thekkady as a place was a disappointment as I did not find anything great about it except ‘Periyar Tiger Reserve’.Our stay was booked at Spice Grove. We reached at around lunch time in Thekkady and we had the traditional Kerala lunch at a local restaurant where our driver took us. It was delicious. We rushed to catch our bus for the reserve (cars are not allowed in the forest reserve area unless you have booked a hotel inside). The boat ride was divine! I took a lot of videos its a shame I cannot post videos here. There is a KTDC owned resort bang on middle of the forest reserve on an island which caught my eye! That is in my bucket list now. A little expensive but staying there in the middle of a tiger reserve at night would be an experience of a lifetime.
After being well rested at the hotel we started for Allepy. Our stay was booked at a houseboat and we opted for a one bedroom premium houseboat.
Where do I start about my experience in Allepy – everything about it – the houseboat… the comfortable and cozy room… the hospitality of the boat staffs… the food… the backwaters… the boat ride… everything! absolutely everything about my stay in Allepy was wonderful ! I fell in love with the place <3 And I shall just let the pictures do the talking.
While you are on your houseboats, there are these little boats/shikaras that take you around the villages that have flourished on the backwaters. We did have second thoughts about going on a boat ride while still on a boat but the cook of my houseboat convinced us… and we loved it! It was really interesting the way the people make their their living there. There were really huge houses on the strip of land surrounded by water and everyone had personal boats for commuting from one place to another. There was no place to even ride a bicycle. Little strips of land, just wide enough for one person to walk at a time connected one house to another. And the electric poles that came up half submerged in water.
The whole village around the made me look around in awe. It was really interesting to see how we humans can adopt to anything. We bought some fresh lobsters from one of the shops in the village for our dinner.
Kerala for us was everything … It had everything from serene beaches to scenic hills, from tea & spice plantations to dense forests & calm backwaters. Also the very relaxing and different kerala ayurvedic massage, classical dances – Kathakali & Mohiniattam, the awesome Kalaripayattu, it’s delicious cuisine and the ever smiling people. I fell in love with a place and left a part of me there.
I am definitely go back again! 🙂
– Special Thanks –
At the beginning of the blog I did mention that we found a really good coordinator for our trip and we are so glad we did come across www.travilius.in . I sent an email for an itinerary that suited us and Nixon( the concerned coordinator for Travillius) had been very prompt and very eager and engaged. We were really impressed by the way he personally kept a track of our trip while we were in Kerala and made sure everything was fine during our trip. Definitely the same guy is booking our next trips 🙂 A special thank you to our driver Pradeep. He had been putting up with our weird demands and moods very patiently and always with a smiling on his face.