Nature heals, yes its true nature holds within all the potential to heal a broken person. Here I am not talking about the Ayurvedic elements or the medical phase of nature or the world. The idea is very simple you travel around different places with natural beauty and freshness mostly so that you can escape from the reality or heal yourself from the pressure and the mental traumas that you have been through for the last many years. In my case the travel was not alone; I was travelling with my daughter to her favorite travel destination Kerala. Located to the southernmost end of India, Kerala is one of the most fab travel destinations that are filled with the goodness of nature and wild. The place holds within a number of best attractions and unique elements that makes the place one of the favorites for nature lovers and admirers. It was a year after the death of my husband that I and my daughter planned a Kerala trip. It was not our first visit to the land, we have been to the place a number of times before with my husband, and this trip was to recollect all the good memories we had of the place. Kerala is one of the best family travel destinations have always offered us the best family experience every time we visited the place. We mostly used to avail the tour package to Kerala that was organised by a travel operator names Gogeo holidays functioning in the land. But this time it was just the both of us and thus we decided to travel on our own more over we knew some of the best places to stay and the modes to reach to the place that we were to explore.
As per our plan, this family trip was organised with an itinerary which included Munnar as one of the main travel destination and Kochi as one of the stop-over destinations. We flagged off the trip on the 13th of November by around 8 am. After a long flight, we finally reached the Kochi international airport by around 12 am which was literally noon. As out a first place to explore was Kochi and as it was a stop-over destination I was completely fine with a landing at the place by noon. After getting the luggage from the airport the first thing that both of us look for was a cab and for our luck, we had a cab waiting in the stand. It was on our way to Kochi that the thought of getting an accommodation crossed my mind. As our last family trip was organised by travel operator we need not bather of the accommodation and such as the complete accommodation part was handled by the travel operators but this time as we were not accompanied by a travel operator it was my responsibility to looking for a decent budget accommodation. The last time I visited Kochi with my family, we stayed in a hotel named broad bean which offered us decent accommodation at a pocket-friendly rate so this time I asked the driver to take us to the same hotel. By around 12.45 pm we reached the hotel, after completing the check-in formality at the hotel we decided to take a small power nap as the both of us were really tired from the travel.
Later we woke up by around 3.30 pm with the alarm sound that my daughter set in my phone. By around 4 pm after having the tea from the hotel we moved on to explore some of the nearby travel destinations. As the hotel was located in the center of the city most of the travel destinations where close by. The first destination that we explored at Kochi was the Mangalavanam bird sanctuary. Located to the center of the city within the high court premises, the place was one of the best destinations where one could spot nature at its best. The place was mostly filled with mangrove plantations and thus gave an ambiance of a forest. The place was mostly filled with birds which are migratory. And thus it becomes one of the literal paradises for bird watchers. One of the other attractions in the place was the tree house from where you get to enjoy the best view of the forest and the plantations and the lake nearby. The place was one of the best spots where families could spend a refreshing and happening moment. After being at the place for a while we moved on to our next travel spot which was the marine drive. Like Mumbai Kochi too had its own marine drive that offered the travelers with the best view of the sea. One could see the beauty of the sea and the Chinese fishing nets in the area which is a sight worth enjoying. You could notice that it is mostly families that arrive at the place as you get to enjoy one of the best evenings seeing the sunset and tasting the roadside food in the area. Like all the others we too enjoyed a refreshing sunset in the place and then got back to the hotel after having the dinner from a restaurant on the way.
The next day morning we were woken up by the reminder call that we asked for at the reception. After refreshing, we got down to the hotel to have the breakfast which was complimentary. By around 10 am we checked-out of the hotel and then availed a cab from the hotel which was to take us to our next travel destination which was Munnar the queen of hill stations. Located to the western ghats of Kerala, Munnar is one of the most fascinating travel destinations that have always been one of the favorite travel spots for most of the travelers from around the world. It is a 3 to 4 hrs drive from Kochi to Munnar and we reached the place by around 12.30 pm. Instead of checking-in directly into the hotel, we decided to fit travel around exploring some of the travel destinations in the area and the check-in into the hotel by the end of the day. On our way to Munnar, our first stop was at the Cheeyappara Waterfalls which was en-route to the hills. The beauty of nature and the wild surrounding the hills is something that is admirable. Most of the traveler who was there at the place was families who were enjoying their day with their kids; the sight was worth enjoying altogether. After being in the falls for a while enjoying a bath we moved on with the trip. Our next travel destination was the eco-point in Munnar which was a place that was sandwiched between two hills producing the phenomena of echoing. It is mainly this natural phenomenon that is happening in the area that gave the place its name. With a small lake and valleys surrounding the eco-point was a perfect destination where families could enjoy some quality time together. Apart from the beauty of nature and the climate, the place also offers travelers with a number of adventures like boating, horse riding and more. As my daughter insisted on enjoying boating and horse rides both of us enjoyed the same. After being in the place enjoying some family time we moved on to our next spot which is the Munnar tea plantations. Filled with the gleaming beauty of nature and the tea plantations, most of the peaks in Munnar are filled with tea plantations. The place offers the travelers with the best view and a perfect spot for photographers. The climate and the mist in the area add to the mood. By the time we finished wandering through the plantations taking some pictures, it was already getting dark so we decided to check-in to the hotel. After a drive of another 45 minutes, we reached the hotel where we checked in and had the dinner after refreshing. As it was a trying day we slept real soon.
The next day morning we woke up by around 9 am. After refreshing and having the dinner we checked-out of the hotel BT 11 am. As it was our last day at the place we only had very few travel destinations to explore. The first place we went was to the Munnar tea museum which according to me would be a must-visit spot for all family holiday and travel packages organised to the misty hills in Kerala. The Munnar tea museum exhibited different verities of tea which starts from the white medicinal tea to the kid’s favorite chocolate tea. The both of us tasted almost all the verities and my daughter loved the chocolate so on our way back we bought a few chocolate tea bags and green tea bags. From the tea museum, the next destination that we moved on to was the top stations. Travelling for an hour we finally reached the top station from where we started our trek so that we could reach the viewpoint. Even though my daughter found the task very easy, it was really hard for me. Comparatively climbing down to the viewpoint was easier whereas climbing up was a real task. The view of the cloudy mist and the wild below was one of the best scenery that one can enjoy while at Munnar. It took us about an hour to climb back to the top station. The sandalwood forest was our last travel destination on the trip even though we didn’t have much time to explore the place we just had a small visit. By the time we started back to Kochi, it was 6 pm. After a very long ride back we finally reached the Kochi international airport by around 9.30 pm. From where we took the flight back home.
To be honest, Kerala is one fascinating travel destination for the family. The place not just holds within the beauty of nature but also have a very peaceful and calm climate that helps us relax and enjoy the time with one another. It is mainly the climate and the refreshing air in the best travel destinations in Kerala that helps in making a bond within families. The travel destinations in Kerala are not just about nature and hill stations but the place has much more to add-in to the list of attractions. The traditional centres, the cultural centres, the eco-friendly destinations, the backwaters, the beach destinations are all some of the other elements in the land that attract the attention of the travelers. Most of the tour packages that are being organised to Kerala would include almost all the attractions and travel elements. Offering the travelers with the best of attractions and being a state with the best potential in tourism Kerala is a must visit the spot to the south.
The world is upgrading daily with the introduction of technologies and standing under its shade, we are utilizing it to the maximum. The real benefit of technology is reflected in traveling. We can’t start our day without having a look at the notification in our smartphones. Possessing the blessing of technology is the only relief of every vagabond to conduct a travel safely. We seek the assistance of internet starting from gaining the information about a place, looking for accommodation, booking flight or train tickets and so on. South India’s most sought travel destination is Kerala and even from foreign countries, the travelers are encountered. For making the traveling easy and promising a thrilling Kerala tour, availability of internet and other technologies is essential in Kerala. Being a developing state, Wi-Fi or wireless fidelity is something every tourist destination has for sure. But, in Kerala, some of the attractions located in hill station lack the network coverage but the technology is so sophisticated that we can figure out the answers for the traveling quest amidst the travel itself. As per the CEO world magazine survey as a part of Digital Indian cities 2016, Bangalore was topped in the first position of having advanced technology and how not? Bangalore is the information technology hub of India. Thus the natives are so sophisticated in planning travels and have a high tech approach. From Bangalore, a lot of tour packages have been sold especially to Kerala. Their style of research is mind-blowing and let us check how we can utilize technology to the fullest to conduct an amazing travel.
How many of you have done a detailed research prior to the tour? Almost everyone who knows the value of money as well as who is keen on making an invigorating tour of his lifetime. The research must begin by choosing the destination till checking out from the hotel. Safety is an important trait one must care about. How it will feel if you have ended up with a wrong decision of choosing a destination or a tour plan that has resulted in the complete ruining of your trip and wastage of money. Nowadays, sitting within the four walls of a room with a smartphone, from start to end one can craft a journey.
The role of social media in travel is having a soaring popularity as people believe the reviews as it seems genuine. Twitter and Facebook are the prominent figures amidst youth. Cant, you see many invitations for a journey as well as trekking posted? This is a new way of attracting people to the culture of travel. Many travel companies are utilizing the platform of social media to advertise their contents, packages as well as strengthening their web presence. These companies can lure a lot of avid backpackers. Once the Meesapulimala trekking in Munnar, Kerala was an emotion for many. The trekking partners were collected through these posts. Those who have returned after a riveting trip post the images of the location, which is enough for one to enact the same.
The travel organizers have their well-designed websites with the availability of various tour packages that are free to be chosen by the customers. Depending upon the number of days, the price of packages, a flashlight on itinerary can be availed. These sites will also specify tours from major cities of the country and being near, Bangalore is given priority. To reach up to the customers, having a strong web presence is necessary and for boosting the same, the companies adopt the technique of Search Engine Optimisation.
Booking flights, hotels, a bus has been becoming very easy and with just a click away, you have selected your room of desire. The travel mobile applications like MakeMyTrip, Cleartrip, Goibibo, Trivago offer luxurious rooms at any hotels or resorts with discounted price. With these applications, one can see the images of rooms, read the inclusions and availability of common amenities. If you are satisfied then booking can be made. Even the flight tickets are easy to be booked through these applications.
To know about a place, one can go through the blogs, travelogues or even a community, forum and get the reviews. Most of the people rely on TripAdvisor to get the best reviews about a place, hotels or resorts. People believe that these reviews are genuine. In fact, they are quoting the real experience of being there that may not be accessed through any blogs. Google, the knowledge guru can lend a helping hand to the same.
If you are afraid of traveling in a location devoid of network coverage, then use of guidebooks in Pdf format or as a hard copy can make you locate places, nearby cafeterias, restrooms, petrol bunks, toilets, accommodation, or even for accessing route maps. You can download a portion of the guidebooks divided into chapters. Certain little mobile application can be accessed without internet and will be having all necessary information about a place.
Thus we can see magic being done in the field of travel by technology and Bangalore is the state utilizing it to the maximum. In Kerala, the presence of Wi-fi hotspot is increasing and it can provide you constant access to information. The telecom operators are now in a competition to increase speed, connectivity, and reachability. In a summary, we can say that digital revolution had already hugged travel and in future, it will spread like a wildfire.
How many of you backpack to a destination with a proper idea and research? Or do you completely believe the itinerary and brochures? Even though you have been guided by a travel agent, you have to take the pain to do a little bit research about the destination you are heading to. The north Indians and foreigners coming to South India especially Kerala used to talk with their friends or relatives who have prior visited Kerala and gains enough knowledge about various places. One such marvel in their eyes is Kerala backwaters and being the crown jewel of Kerala tourism, the Kerala houseboat cruise in backwaters is something the travellers will not miss. Prior to booking houseboats, get answers to some basic questions on Kerala backwaters and houseboats journey. It is special to conduct honeymoon on a houseboat and while picking the packages for the same, ultimate care must be given. The most renowned backwater trip arrangers, Lifemadeasy will give answers to some of the basic questions on Kerala houseboats and backwaters, which are frequently asked by the customers. To make your trip in Kerala memorable, meticulous planning and preparations are necessary.
How can one say that houseboat cruise is really worth in Kerala tourism?
Of the Arabian Sea bordering Kerala, there are many lakes and rivers flowing parallel to the coast. These waterways are actually interconnected network of canal, lakes and rivers. Amidst these, there are some major cities or towns like Alleppey, Kumarakom, Kollam and Trivandrum. Vembanad Lake is the largest one and at each destination, it has got several names. The reason why travellers pick a backwater package is that the ecosystems of these backwaters are really unique and nature is at its best here with many paddy fields surrounding the borders of backwaters. Honeymoon tours are best conducted on houseboats as couples can spend romantic moments amidst the brackish lagoon with all comfortabilities and luxuries they seek for. Just by sitting comfortably in a houseboat, couples can enjoy the scenic beauty and also gets a chance to taste the traditional Kerala food. Hence, one can say that Kerala backwater tours are really unique.
How many days can the guests hire the houseboat?
As per the package, the guest can pick a day trip or overnight stay. The number of overnight stays can be discussed with the travel operator and the package price will depend on that. The day cruise will take place at morning and will come to an end by evening. For night stays, the houseboat will be anchored at any location. Food will be provided on board itself. Depending upon the number of days and nights required for houseboat cruise, the rate of the package also differs.
What are the category and type of houseboats?
The houseboats in Kerala come in various standards and types.
Standard houseboats have basic boat facilities but most of them are without air conditions.
Premium or Deluxe houseboats are fully air-conditioned with standard facilities and at night too, the AC can be used. But, care must be taken to note that the premium houseboats are fully covered with glass. Talk on this to your travel operator.
Luxury or super luxury houseboats are on the lists to experience ultimate royalty.
The type of houseboats comes with the presence of the number of rooms, sun deck and upper decks. One can choose the houseboats with your desired number of tours. Groups tours are economical in houseboats.
What are the houseboat cruise routes?
At the time of picking your backwater tour package, the routes of houseboat cruises in Kerala will be mentioned with the Alleppey- Kollam route being the longest one taking 8 hours. All the cruises will start from Alleppey or Kumarakom and can travel to any desired places. Kuttanad, Munroe islands, Kumarakom, Kayamkulam, Ashtamudi Lake, Alumkadavu, Trivandrum backwaters are some of the common destinations. To be specific, the routes are mentioned below and these same routes can be chosen with desirable days.
Alleppey to Alleppey (Kuttanad), Kumarakom, Thottappally, Alumkadavu and Kochi
Kumarakom to Alumkadavu, Thottappally
What about the crew on a houseboat and the food?
Every houseboat will be having two oarsmen and one professional cook. The cook prepares the traditional Kerala style food on board. To relish the marvel of the traditional cooking of Kerala food, one must surely take a houseboat ride. The dishes are mostly rice, with varieties of curries, fish curries, fish fry, chicken items etc. Evening, Kerala snacks will be served with a hot cup of tea or coffee. The tapioca and fish curry are one of the tastiest dishes on Kerala food menu. The crewmembers will take care of any issues to the houseboats.
What if the houseboats are not available for the day cruise?
If houseboats are not available for the ride, then one must pick the Shikkara rides as an alternative. The Shikkara rides serve the same picturesque beauty as in the houseboat and are also more economical but privacy will be assured if you are coming with the group. If family get-togethers or celebrations are your prime need, then houseboat must be chosen. Always book in advance for the cruise.
Are the houseboat cruises safe?
This is the most asked question by most of the tourists. To have the safest travel on board, always pick from the packages of most renowned tour operators. Since the tourism is safeguarded by the Government of Kerala by all means, one can safely travel but always be cautious. Honeymoon couples can be fully assured with the privacy and freedom in the houseboat.
Does the houseboat ply during monsoon; if so are discounts available for the same?
Monsoon seasons are the time of offseason tour in Kerala and the people looking forward to an economic travel would love to travel in monsoon as accommodation, and tickets can be availed with less price. Houseboat will ply during monsoons but the rates are really low during these times. One can speak with the tour operator and avail the discounts.
What are the best options for backwater tour?
In backwater tour, the options are many other than a day in the houseboat. The village tourism and bird watching are some of the interesting activities. Canal tours allow you to go deep into the village and backwater world and the coir retting process, fishing etc can be seen so close. Canal tours will bring you to lotus ponds, churches, temples on the shores. Adventure tours in backwaters can be best experienced by kayaking. At certain places, there are options for kayaking. Thus, honeymoon couples can have a thrilling backwater vacation by kayaking. If interested, canoeing is also the best idea. In Kumarakom, a bird sanctuary is located and avid bird watchers can focus their eye on rare bird species and migratory birds visiting the backwaters. Cycling through the villages in Kuttanad can make you breathe the fresh air surrounding and also present with the morning beauty of green paddy fields.
Dwelling deep into the backwater tours one will come to know that the thrill is a lot more than as expected from the itinerary. As a travel operator, Lifemadeasy will be giving full assistance and support on conducting backwater tours in Kerala.