Anyone been to Kerala, india? Advise please..

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  • Anyone been to Kerala, india? Advise please..
  • stugus
    Member

    I’ve got a 2 week break there coming up with my other half. Anyone got any advise recomendations for things to see/places to stay? We’re not really the ‘sit on a beach’ type, although sayin that we plan to do a day or so of that.

    I’ve never been to india so any advise would be greatfully received!

    Premier Icon chimpymcchimp
    Subscriber

    I went there during a year off, but it was about 5 years ago now 😥

    Fort Cochin is well worth a visit, lots of history to see there. Alcohol was a bit ‘underground’, we had to queue up at a government shop to buy some and you aren’t allowed to drink in public – but if you ask for a ‘special tea’ most places will sell you one in a cup so it looks like tea!

    drink lots of chai, cos it’s awesome.

    one thing that’s great to do is a boat trip – there were loads of rental places in cochin. they were amazing, cheap and really comfortable and you get a proper en suite room and all your cooking done for you!

    could take a train ride south to the tip of india, kanya kumari, too.

    india will blow your mind, it’s so different.

    MrNick
    Member

    I spent three weeks in India a few years ago. I arrived at Trivandrum in Kerlala, and flew out in Mumbai. In Kerala I spent a fair amount of time lounging by the beach, at Kovalam and Varkala. Away from the beach, the back water cruise from Alleppy to Cochin was worth doing (takes about 6hrs). I initially planned to visit Periyar wildlife reserve and the Munar tea plantation, but decided to be a beach bum instead. An excelent forum for all thigs India is India Mike.

    A few of my photos are here, if you can access them. The boat pics on the first page are from the back water cruise. The pics on the second page are from Kerala.

    I think that area of water behind is used as a pool/bathing area.

    Premier Icon chimpymcchimp
    Subscriber

    Oh…i’d probably grab a rough guide or lonely planet. don’t bury yourself in it and be prepared for lots to have changed since it was written, but they are really useful to know what’s good and what’s worth avoiding.

    stugus
    Member

    Yeah I got the rough guide and lonely planet guides, was after some personal experiences really.
    Cheers guys, everyone I have spoken to says it is a bit of a head f*ck (in a good way!) so I’m really looking forward to it!
    I take it the boat trip is the ‘backwater trips’?

    The only thing I have booked is our 1st 2 nights, we’ve decided to start at Varkala beach, mostly to unwind!

    fontmoss
    Member

    india is crazy but can really get under your skin, my gf hated it for 4 weeks then fell in love with it for the next 4, she says she thought about it every day for a year afterwards. *sigh* im overdue another return…

    stugus
    Member

    So any other unmissible places?

    Fort cochin
    Varkala + Kovalam
    Boat trips

    I was hoping to get into the hills for some treking, any ideas where would be best?

    MrNick
    Member

    Yeah, it’s amazing. I’m thinking of going back again this year.

    The boat trip/backwater trip is the same. I took a 6hr ‘cruise’, but you can also hire house boats if you want to spend more time on the water; including sleeping and eating.

    MrNick
    Member

    I think the Munnar tea plantation is in the hills. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munnar

    stugus
    Member

    did you hire the bike while you were there?

    Nice pics by the way.

    Premier Icon chimpymcchimp
    Subscriber

    Be prepared to get STARED at too, especially your other half if they are female.

    Yeah, we had a houseboat thing, it’s a pretty relaxing alternative to beach lounging and you see lots of stuff too, like fisherman catching fish with their feet!

    MrNick
    Member

    That bike was hired. Not from any kind of official outlet though. I just went to one of the many little tourist advice shops in Varkala. The guy looked surprised that I actually wanted to hire a bike (maybe they think us westeners wouldn’t choose such primitive transport), and I think he just got it from a mate! It was like, “one moment please”, then a phone call later and some dude shows up with it. This kind of experience is what makes India such a great country to visit.

    stugus
    Member

    chimpymcchimp I’d heard about the staring thing, guess we’ll just have to get use to it!
    Sounds like the houseboat thing is a must, we were thinking of doing an overnight trip.

    Fishing with his feet?!!? Crazy country lol

    I’ve heard the roads are pretty manic/lawless, so may have to think about the bike thing! Did like the idea of hiring a motorbike though 😉

    dickydutch
    Member

    We did India for two months last year. Was absoloutely amazing. The GF also hated it for the first 2 weeks, but really loved it int he end. We both got REALLY ill with food poisoning – something they say nine out of ten foreign tourists do (although that was in Northern India – southern india seems to be a little better with food hygiene). We hired a motorbike whilst in Goa and drove it all the way down to Kerala way – it is a little hairy, but if you keep your wits about you, you’ll be fine. The idea of a return visit this year for a couple of weeks has already been mentioned……

    stugus
    Member

    yeah dicky tum I guess is gonna happen 🙁

    I hope i get to like it a bit sooner than 2 weeks!! lol

    I’m sure it’ll be cool

    dickydutch
    Member

    Just take rehydration sachets. We managed to get hold of a really broad spec anti biotic before we went as well which we used to “self prescribe”. It did work, although to call a Dr out is cheap. We paid 8 quid including the medicine. Although one of the Indian Dr’s my mother works with assured me we were well and truly ripped off! That’s kind of the only downside really – the fact that I became very non-trusting of anybody who approaches you in the street. Not how I like to become on a holiday but a bit of a necessary evil really! Wish I was going now….

    fontmoss
    Member

    if you keep your nails trim, start using a probiotic before you leave, take babywipes so can clean your hands then that’ll help with illness. If you’re there for a while you’l prob get more accustomed- i was there for 6 months and didnt get ill then went to nepal and got an amoebic cyst :S when i went back with my gf for 2 months she didn’t get ill at all and i was ill most of the time (a hangover from my friend in my gut)

    its still amazing though, honest!

    dickydutch
    Member

    We did Nepal as well and had no problems. Although on return to the UK, the bugs we picked up in India persisted to give us havoc for months afterwards!! It is worth it though – like fontmoss says.

    A littel bottle of hand sanitizer spray and use it EVERY TIME you eat / scratch / handle money etc… I did 2 weeks in north India with no problems.

    Rehydration salts in the sachet form to mix with (bottled) water are great.

    Doctors and antibiotics are cheap over there if you need them so don’t hang about. have a look at Namaste India Tours for travel tips and a link to the “travellers dioreaha 101”

    SSP

    Premier Icon Andy
    Subscriber

    All from a quite frankly superb exodus trip cycling through Kerala, a holiday I’d happily repeat and bettered only by a couple of months in New Zealand South Island IMHO:

    Exodus Kerala trip

    Totally agree with Singlespeedpunk. Disinfectant handgel from Boots, use continiously, rehydration just in case, and worth going to a local chemist as soon as you arrive and stocking up on anti-biotics

    Highlights:

    Cycle up to Ooty hillstation (1600 mt climb) frollowed by dramatic descent, dropping 2200m through the hills and tea-covered slopes of the Western Ghats to the Indian Ocean. Its about a 40 mile descent!

    Aruvedic hostel near Alleppey

    Two day houseboat trip in backwaters well recommended (carry a decent bottle of white in your luggage to make the emost of the Sunset experience).

    Explore the town of Cochin

    The coast between Cochin and Kovalum

    Avoid Kovalum – I thought it a bit of a dump compared to the rest of the coast although some of the beachside hotels are Ok for a couple of nights!

    Photos:



    [img]http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3366/3182614618_f0611eae87_m.jpg[/img]

    coffeeking
    Member

    I have a friend who comes from there (Kottayam) – I can ask any specific questions if needs be.

    stugus
    Member

    wow, lovely pics Andy.

    Top advise, cheers.

    Went to rajasthan last summer and I would echo the points above;
    Be prepared to get stared at-especially if you are going with a pretty woman, or a pale skinned woman. We had problems with people trying to take pics of my girlfriend while she slept on on overnight train.

    Roads are shocking-we were told that the belief is ‘might is right’ therefore lorry drivers, bus drivers etc stop for almost nothing-cows being the notable exception!

    We both got sick and really needed the rehydration tablets we had with us-I would say bring a good supply because you might really need them if the food gets you.

    Hand sanitizer/wipes etc are also essential! In all the areas we were it was pretty normal for me to go to the toilet where-ever they wanted! Once beside a fruit and veg stall where I was about to buy some stuff…..

    Accomodation might be very different from what you are used to-be prepared to rough it some places. But that said it is really cheap on the whole!

    Our group either loved it or hated the place-It will blow your mind one way or the other!

    tang
    Member

    sorry cant help on kerala, my family is from the north and thats where ive lived. however, according to friends tirupati for the temples is a must and otty hill station. theres a feature in todays travel section in the guardian on kayaking on the backwater which looks amazing. india is amazing, so as long as you use common sense and keep your eyes open you will have a memorable time.
    *eat where lots of locals are. sometimes ‘hotel’ food is the worst for getting ill and some roadside stuff is the best and freshest. dont forget keralan coffee!

    stugus
    Member

    cheers for the tip off tang. I’ll grab the paper

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