Time for Trip
Onam and Snake boat race are 2 of the biggest crowd-pullers for the state of Kerala. Where Onam falls anywhere between August and September depending on the Malayalam month of Chingam and the race is set to 2nd Saturday of August every year. If you wish to observe these things or love crowd plan your trip in these months if you are peace seeker and still wish to see the best of everything, carefully craft your trip a month before or after this where everything is still in boom and there isn’t so much crowd and falls lighter on the pocket too.
For the past almost 2 months I have extensively written about my Kerala trip in 9 separate articles, which is in no certain chronological order and just segregated as an article per place. Today I will craft the exact itinerary and how I went about it, which would hopefully help a lot of people, in planning their ultra-expensive trip on a fairly cheaper budget and making the most of your trip.
I flew from Delhi to Kochi one early morning, stayed there for 2 days. From here I moved to Kottayam where I stayed for 4 days and did a number of day trips as this place although being small, has a number of places around that could be covered in a day.
For the first day I reached around evening, so I took rest at the hotel and the next morning did a day trip to Parumala for a wedding. The next day I did a day trip to Kumarakom for the bird sanctuary and back. On the last day, I did a day trip to Alleppey for its serene widespread calm of backwaters.
For the next leg, I became more adventurous and left early morning and thought of doing 2 places in a day both in Idukki belt though. Early morning I left for Ilaveezhapoonchira and by evening I was off to Vagamon. Where I stayed, both the places are close by and still both of them are very different from each other. One is a tough terrain with no trees and another one is grasslands reminding you of Scotland.
The next day I left for Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala. Which was back aching journey of 6 hours and I wouldn’t have made it there if it were not for the random friends I made on the bus. Spend the night here and the next morning did a day trip on the bike to Kanyakumari.
The next evening I took a bus ride to Bangalore where I stayed for a day and flew back to Delhi the next morning.
Almost all my meals were from the local shops. I feel the fancy restaurant scene is yet to catch up with Kerala or maybe they both have a different pace and they will never be on common grounds. The food here is simple, spicy and dirt cheap. With breakfast like Erachi double fry (Beef double fried) and Malabar Parotta which would cost you 30 INR. Top it up with a Kattan (Kerala black tea) for INR 5 and you can imagine the damage to brain vs your pocket.
The vegetarians can have a time of their life with the Vegetable Kurma cooked in coconut milk, which seems to be a sweeter version of Burmese Khow suey minus the glass noodles. A good beetroot Pachadi or Moplah Biryani can never be ruled out of Kerala too. The tea and coffee are equally good and unique and are worth carrying and gifting if you plan to.
One thing that would shock most people is none of the local places serves normal water. They have red coloured water which is water boiled with some local roots and they term it medicine water, which as per them has numerous health benefits. I drank a lot of it, nothing good nothing bad. So you should be prepared for this shock.
Although I took this trip 4 years back I still remember the ballpoint figures I spend. I remember booking the tickets 3 months in advance and I ended up spending 13K INR on both the flights. Considering it is 3 hours plus journey and this not being a round trip from the same location, this was a good price to my understanding.
I think the biggest expenditure on a Kerala trip can be the to & fro transport from one place to another, where I saved heavily by opting for the state-run bus, which are not the finest but are on time and charges a fraction of what you end up paying on any other travel mode. The hike to Ilaveezhapoonchira was done on a 4×4 which we rented from the base as that’s the only vehicle that can get you there unless you are willing to hike on your own.
The bike ride and all my stays were covered thanks to numerous generous friends I have spread all over the place. I just had to reach the place; a comforting bed was always ready for me.
For all my travel and food I ended up spending 11K in total from the time I reached Kochin till I reached Delhi, which I think is a steal. A Kerala trip is no short of 40k per person for 5 days even in off-peak season.