A Solo Budget Trip to the south, exploring the best in nature

“The man who goes alone can start today, but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” Like the quote says, it is best preferable that you travel alone so that you can simply travel at your own comfort. Solo travellers could always explore most of the hidden beauty even in the most explored travel destinations in the world. I am such a solo traveller who loves to explore the beauty within ‘the beauty of nature’ that is yet to be explored or touched. One of the other secret reasons why I prefer travelling alone is that it is one best way by which you could keep the travel expenses under control. Here we are free to choose all our mediums of travel and accommodation. We are free to choose the ways by which we want to explore and traverse. It would be completely what we want the way we want it. Most of us are people who actually love to travel but is mostly the situations, the lifestyle or mostly the travel package rates that becomes a roadblock for our trip. Even though there are a number of travel operators like Gogeo Holidays that offers the travellers and the tourist with lists of best tour packages at a cheap price, the travel expense remains high for the budget travellers. In this blog, I will share with you my first solo trip to the southernmost end of India; Kerala.

Kerala-Unveiled
Exhibiting the best of nature, climate, cuisines, festivals and cultural heritage, Kerala is a state that I would say to be the perfect destination from where one could start their low budget or call it a cheap trip alone. Unlike all the other states in India, the gods own country has all of the best elements that a traveller would love to explore. It was during the peak season that I travelled to Kerala. Even though the state is known to house a moderate climate throughout the year, the month from September to March is best preferred for a holiday in Kerala. And thus the travel rates to the place were really high. Now what I had to do was to explore most of the travel attractions which are best known among the tourists at cheap rates. Being a resident from Chennai it was easy for me to save in travelling as I choose to enjoy a night ride. To be very precise it took a whole night for me to cross Walayar and to get into the borders of Kerala and another 3 hr to reach Kochi, the metropolitan city best known for its hidden natural beauty and historic charm. By the time I reached the city, all I could think of was food and some sleep. After having to enjoy a straight drive from Chennai it was rest that I wanted the most. Now choosing for accommodation in this time of the year is one of the best hectic things, but then there are different apps available like Oyo where you could search for the best budget modes of accommodation where you could enjoy a luxurious and comfortable stay. I, after reaching Kochi and having food from a Dhaba at just 50/INR checked-in at a hotel named ‘Greenland Residency’. Located in the centre of the city this was one of the best places where I could stay cheap and could connect with almost all of the best travel destinations in the city with ease. After taking a very refreshing nap at the hotel I woke up by around 4 pm, which was the perfect time for me to start with a small tour of the city. The places that I actually explored at Kochi were the Mangalavanam bird sanctuary, the Marine Drive, and Fort Kochi.

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The Mangalavanam bird sanctuary was one of the very first travel destinations in Kochi that I explored. Exhibiting the pristine beauty and charm of the wild and nature, this place was one of the best explored spots in Kochi, yet the travel rates to the place were just nil as there are no entry tickets. One of the main attractions of the place was the mangrove plantations. The place also has a treetop watchtower from where you get to enjoy the best of the beauty in the area. The place is home to a wider verity of birds and thus it is always the best to speak softly. Trust me this place is the best for budget travellers who are in search of natural charm. After being at the place for a while taking some pictures I moved on to the next travel destination which was the marine drive. Not just Mumbai, but Koch too has a drive which is the best spot in the city where one could enjoy the beauty of the sea and the flavours of the street foods in the area. The best part of taking a walk at drive was that I was able to taste Kulukki which is a special drink in the city, pineapple and such fruits which are soaked in salt water and many such things. By late evening I travelled to Fort Kochi which is mostly referred to as the city that never sleeps. It is mainly during the night that you could see the rush of travellers in this place and most of the shacks and shops are open till early morning. The best of attraction in the area would be the sunset that at the Fort Kochi beach where you can also enjoy the beauty of the Chinese fishing nets. To the end of the day, the one thing that I really noticed was my travel expense which was very low. Even after being a peak season for travellers my expense in the place was much less than 3000/INR.  It was around 11 pm when I reached back to my hotel and dozed off as the next day morning I was to travel to Munnar, the misty hills to the western ghats of the south.

Even after exploring the misty hills of Kerala the next day my travel expenses remain much lower and cheap than tour package cost which is organised by the travel operators in the land. Let it be any type of trip to any part of the world, according to me what one should look into the most to reduce the travel expenses are to be a bit conscious while selecting the destination, the season in which you travel, the places you choose to stay, the modes of transportations that you want to use and the type of food that you wish to taste. By taking a bit of extra care in such things one can reduce the travel rates to a greater extent. But yes if you are a foreigner and has no clue about the destination of interest, it would be best to go for a budget travel package as it would reduce your travel stress allowing you to enjoy the best of the trip with ease.

FOUR MUST VISIT PLACES IN ERNAKULAM

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Kerala is a wonderful destination to relax and rejuvenate yourselves. Each and everything about Kerala intrigues and excites me. The land is so unique and beautiful. If you are a person who is so involved in a busy work life then you should definitely take a vacation to Kerala, God’s own Country. Once you reach this stunning destination you will forget every worries and tension haunting you. Such is the power of this tiny coastal state of India, Kerala. Well, this destination is a true enchantress in every aspect. As heath of greenery surrounds this state and is absolutely pleasing to the eyes. This time I took my family along with me to Kerala and guess what they were extremely happy with the entire trip. They literally fell in love with Kerala. In such a short period of time, we were taken to almost all the popular tourist destinations of Kerala like Munnar, Ernakulam, Thekkady, Alleppey, Wagamon, Fort Kochi, Trivandrum etc. Thanks to our travel operator, Gogeo Holidays for making our trip so beautiful. They have a remarkable range of family tour packages to Kerala that comes at very reasonable prices. We did have our doubts first about the quality of our deal due to such low prices but our travel operators proved us wrong and we are so glad that we choose a package from Gogeo.
Of all the places that we visited, Ernakulam was our personal favorite. The place is a complete package in itself. A traveled is provided with everything. Be it dance bars where you get to party all through the night, the heavenly lush green landscapes where you can unwind yourselves and relax amidst the serenity offered or even the historical forts narrating intense tales of history, Ernakulam has everything that you desire. You should not miss visiting Ernakulam while in Kerala. Here are some of the places that you ought to visit in Ernakulam:
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Mattancherry Palace: Often called the Dutch Palace, the Mattancherry palace is one of the most intriguing tourist spots of Fort Kochi. The Mattancherry Palace was built by the Portuguese in 1557 and was presented to the erstwhile ruler of Cochin. Till to this date, the Palace attracts a large number of travelers. The Mattancherry Palace depicts a great blend of Portuguese, Dutch and Keralite architecture. Though the mansion is styled in Portuguese, the interiors architecture is done in the Keralite manner. The Dutch influence in the architecture is a result of renovation done by the Dutch a few decades after building the palace in the 16th century. The courtyard of Mattancherry Palace is extremely attractive. A temple for the Goddess Bhagavathy, which is considered as the protective deity of Kochi can be seen on the beautiful courtyard. Moreover, there are temples for Lord Siva and Lord Krishna inside the palace. The biggest attraction of the Mattancherry Palace is definitely the mural paintings depicting the Hindu Mythological tales. The paintings arouse your curiosity as every painting is narrates a tale in the most beautiful manner. The Mattancherry Palace is open for visitors on all days except on Friday from 10 am to 5 pm.
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Indo-Portuguese Museum: The Indo-Portuguese Museum displays a wonderful blend of both Indian and Portuguese architecture. Even the relics and artifacts housed by the museum is an amalgamation of both the cultures. The museum is located near Fort Kochi. It is said to have been built by the former Bishop of Kochi,  Joseph Urethra. When you visit the museum you will be able to see that the museum is divided into 5 wings namely, Cathedral, Altar of Furniture, Treasure, Civil Life and  Procession. The most priced and attractive possessions of the Indo-Portuguese Museum include the Coat of Arms of the Francis, Indo-Portuguese Monstrance and the Processional Cross made from precious metals like silver and gold. The museum is open for visitors from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 am to 5 pm. The museum remains closed on all the public holidays. The entry fee is Rs 10 for the natives and Rs.25 for foreigners. Well, if you are planning to visit on Thursday, you don’t have to carry any money to the museum, as the entry is free!
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Jewish Synagogue: The Jewish Synagogue is one of the most famous attractions of Kochi. The Jewish Synagogue also called the Paradesi Synagogue, was built in 1568 and is considered as one of the oldest Jewish Synagogues in India. The Synagogue was built by the Malabar Yehudan People (the Jewish Community of Kochi) and is situated in the Jew Town of Kochi. The synagogue is home to some very important and sacred relics and artifacts like the teak ark which consists of four scrolls of Torah, chandeliers made using Belgian glass, ancient copper plates, crowns made of gold and silver, a clock tower and carpets which are hand woven. Jewish Synagogue still stands as a mesmerizing wonder. The synagogue is open all days of the week from 10 am to 5 pm. It will be closed from 12 to 3 in the noon. There is no entry fee to the Synagogue. Due to its popularity, most of the tour packages to Kerala both the cheapest and the best include the Jewish Synagogue in it.
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Hill Palace: Hill Palace, situated in Tripunitura, is also an important tourist attraction of Kochi. Hill Palace is an archaeological wonder. It is a heritage museum that houses many important relics and artifacts that belonged to the Maharaja of Kochi. The splendid palace was constructed in 1869 and houses almost 49 rooms. The artifacts of the museum have a significant history to it. The gardens and the ponds of the Palace is a major attraction in the region. The museum houses an art gallery which is a hub of art lovers and painters. The major attractions of the Palace include Kudakkallu which is the tombstone, Thoppikkallu and various prototypes of objects that are believed to be from Mohenjodaro and Harappa of the Indus Valley Civilisation. Historians and history lovers are going to find this place extremely interesting. Children are also going to love Hill Palace as it houses a children’s park and zoo as well. It is indeed a good place for families to tour. The palace will be open on all days except on Mondays. The entry fee is Rs.30 per person.