It has been over a year since I took my annual vacation to Kerala and I have not yet posted about it. So, I am finally penning down about my journey before the trip fades to a few hazy memories in my head.
Kerala Vacation Research – The Pre Planning
I call the stage of vague ideas and Research the Pre planning stage. We had taken advantage of an air line offer and booked our Mumbai – Kochi – Mumbai tickets well in advance. We figured we had plenty of time to do the research and come up with a kick ass itinerary. Well, we did. But as usual, things got pushed to the last month and we got started with serious research only toward the end of December! Having taken Holiday packages before, both hubby and I are of the opinion that a pre-designed package was not for us. We like to have the flexibility to do as we please on a holiday and not be bound by a routine. Also, this time since we were travelling with a toddler (my four year old daughter) and an elderly person (my 60+ father in law), we wanted to be able to do as we pleased.
Kerala Vacation Research – Holiday Packages
While I knew the holiday packages were not for me, they were still the first point in my research. We were going to be in Kerala for 5 nights and I looked at all sorts of packages on the popular as well as the off beat sites. This gave me a very good idea of the popular tourist places and how to economise on the travel within Kerala.
Kerala Vacation Research – Travel Blogs
Travel Blogs were the next stop in research. I actually checked out details of the short listed destinations from the research above and read about the experiences of people. That is how we figured out that Alappuzha and Kumarakom were both similar in the offerings and I could choose one over the other. It was a travel blog that told me Poovar was a must do even though most packages did not include it and I am glad we did it! So my tip to you even if you are going to be taking a package, do read a few travel blogs about the place. You can make better use of your time.
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Kerala Vacation Research – Trip Advisor
Once I had a general idea of things and places, I read tons of forums and articles on tripadvisor about Kerala in general and the places in specific. As a result, I was able to short list the places I wished to visit and the attractions around each place. Trip advisor was also a great tool in knowing about local travel, where to shop and eat and stuff like that!
Kerala Vacation Research – Kerala Tourism
The Kerala Tourism official site is a mine house of information. I started reading this site after it was mentioned on a few tripadvisor forums and wished I had come here first. This site is very well maintained with lots of information, links to sub domains and details about each destination. It also includes tools like a tour planner and a forum where one can directly contact accredited service providers.
Kerala Vacation Research – Iternerary
Once I had the short listed places, hubby and I opened a map and sat down to discuss the places. I had the most popular places in Kerala as well as the stuff I wanted to do in that list.
Kerala Vacation Research – Munnar & Wayanad
Munnar is the most popular destination in Kerala since every package had it. A hill station down south where it actually gets cold has got to be a local favourite too! Lace it with tea plantations and you have a winner. Right? Wrong! Well, you see hubby loves hill stations while I would go to one only if forced to. Our last big vacation had been to Sikkim so none of us were keen on doing hills this time. Specially some place as crowded as Munnar. We decided to skip this one.
Wayanad is relatively lesser known but said to be more beautiful. My neighbor at work is from Kerala and he had recommended this place highly. However, Wayanad is toward north of Kochi while the rest of the places we were looking at were to the south. So, Wayanad was struck off the list too.
At this point, I must mention that skipping hill stations meant we did not have to carry any warm clothing so our packing was much easier!
Kerala Vacation Research – Thekkady
Thekkady is known for the Periyar National Park that has river sanctuary and elephant reserve. I was quite keen on Thekkady given the variety of things it offered. A wild live experience, a huge lake, elephant rides and even a spice plantation visit. Enter hubby and he says he does not want to live in the jungle for 3 days. He cited logical reasons like mosquitos and the fact that while he and I may enjoy it, it will be tiring for our daughter and dad. Add the fact that Kochi to Thekkady was 155 km and it would have taken a good 5-6 hours to cover that distance and we would have to cover almost the same distance to be back on the coast, and Thekkady too was struck off our list!
Now, are you wondering what did we really do? We were striking the most popular places off our list. Did we actually go to Kerala or not???
Well, we did. You have seen my vacation outfits post now. Haven’t you?
I am writing this as a series about my Kerala vacation. We took that trip in Feb 2015. My four year old daughter and 60 year old father in law accompanied us so this was an out and out family trip. Through these series of posts, I will share the experience of planning and booking for the trip and also details of how the trip was. I hope you will join me as I recount the journey yet again