Feed up of Googling ….. ? Confused with so many Tour Itinerary ,places & so many offers from online/off line travel agents….. ?
No worry when Smile Holidays is here to share MILES & SMILES together.Here we are take a small imitative to to help out to plan your tour itinerary with best Kerala Tourist destination that you can travel according to your No.of days ,Budget,Interest & type of tour you need.After reading this post,we are very much sure that you would be in a position to finalize your tour itinerary.
COCHIN – Land of History
Kochi (earlier know as Cochin) is also known as the Gateway to Kerala and is regarded as one of the most popular cities of the state. Surrounded by the Western Ghats in the East and the Arabian Sea in the west, Kochi is one of the top three tourist destination as per the World Travels and Tourism Council. Several dynasties like Arabs, Chinese, British, Dutch and the Portuguese have ruled the city and it still stands with its head held height, pacing itself with beats of modernity and innovations. In the present scenario, Kochi is regarded as the industrial and commercial capital of Kerala.
Most of the time, this is the place where you land in Kerala. If you have enough days in Kerala, a full day visit of Cochin is worth doing. Cochin has lot of sightseeing places such as Dutch palace, Jew Synagogue,Jew Street,Chinese fishing nets, St.Francis Church,Marine drive,Lulu mall,etc.
If you are short of time, I suggest you to move directly to your first destination from Cochin. This can be Munnar which is 4 to 5 hours drive from Cochin, Thekkady which is 5 hrs drive, Alleppey 2 hrs, Guruvayoor 2 hrs and Athirapilly-Vazhachal 2 hrs drive. If you want Kovalam as your first destination, it is better to arrive at Trivandrum instead of having a hectic travel of 6 to 7 hours on the same day of arrival.
For every travel you need to consider halting time in between for sightseeing, food etc. If your first destination is Alleppey Houseboat, make sure you reach Cochin at least by 9AM so that you can check in to Houseboat at 12Noon. If your arrival is after 10AM at Cochin, then don’t plan Alleppey Houseboat cruise on the same day, as check in to houseboat is at 12Noon and check out is at 9AM next day. If you are reaching Cochin after 3PM, then don’t plan any travel on that day. In this case, best option is to stay in a hotel near to airport or railway station depending how you come to Cochin. Most hotels near the airport offer free pick up from the airport, thus helping you save money on a vehicle for that day. Do inform your travel agent about your mode of arrival, so they can book the hotel accordingly. Cochin airport is almost 20km from Cochin city/railway station.
If you are planning to stay at Cochin on arrival day, normally check in time of all hotels is 12 Noon and if you are reaching early morning, do inform this in advance to your travel agent. In this case you can request for early check in. Most of the hotels allow this subject to room availability and do note that breakfast will not be complimentary for this day.
If you are planning to travel to other destinations on the same day, I suggest you to start directly to that destination, instead of having a half day sightseeing of Cochin and then traveling to next destination. If you are arriving at Cochin by train or bus or after a long flight travel, try to refresh yourself before driving from Cochin to your next destination. This helps you to enjoy the trip right from beginning and you can do all your sightseeing on the way. Coordinating your first destination in accordance with your arrival time is very important.
MUNNAR – Land of Tea Gardens
Munnar situated 5,600 feet above the sea level is a magnificent hill station located on the Western Ghats in the Idukki district of the Kerala . This place is known as a home to an array of mountains. Munnar Travel Guide dilates the beautiful lush green hill station that is bounded by south India’s highest tea gardens. Munnar tourism is blessed with lofty mountain ranges with hazy peaks, extensive tea estates and tranquil climate offers a calm and peaceful environment to the tourists. Munnar is also known for the wild orchids locally called Neelakurinji that usually blooms once in 12 years (2018) & Niligri Thar seen in Eravikulam National Park. Symmetric layers of tea estates, mountain mist, waterfalls and wildlife sanctuaries and many other tourist places in Munnar make this hill station stunning.
If you are traveling to Munnar, you should try to stay there at least for 2 nights. For your onward journey, travel time listed from Cochin is 4 to 5hrs, but in practical you will reach Munnar in about 7 to 8 hrs only. There are lots of sightseeing spots in between. You can e
njoy waterfalls and rolling hillside with tea gardens on the way. During this travel enjoy as much as you can on the day and don’t be in a rush to reach Munnar. You can even visit spice plantations on the way. After enjoying the scenery, you will be reaching Munnar by evening only.
If you feel like, you can spend some time in the market. If your hotel is away from Munnar town, try to have food and finish all activities in town and move to hotel. Coming back from hotel to town in night is not a good idea as there can be fog in the road and driving is not safe.
Second day should be dedicated for sightseeing in and around Munnar. If you want to cover almost all places, try to start sightseeing by 8.30. Or you
can choose places to visit according to your interest and mood. Purchase spices, tea etc. while you go for shopping. Do visit Eravikulam National Park to see the endangered mountain goat of South India, the Nilgiri Tahr.
Selecting the resort/hotel is most important while you are in Munnar. Every hotel in Munnar is not in town, you will find hotels within a radius of approximately 30km from Munnar.Most of the good resorts are away from city. . If you are a person who wishes to stay in city, do make sure the hotel you select is in city itself. If you want to be away from all traffic and love to have a relaxed mood select a resort/hotel accordingly. While approaching any tour operator, if you have a specific choice, make sure you communicate this clearly.
It is always better to do a Google search on the hotel selected. Nobody can tell you whether you will like a hotel or not. As this is very subjective and depends upon your interests and background. Personally I like to stay away from city when I am on holiday and used to prefer hotels outside the city. But for business trips, I prefer city hotels.
A normal package can be prepared with 2 night stay at Munnar. If you wish to stay at Munnar for 3 nights, you will get a lot of time to relax. A pack
age with one night in Munnar is not that advisable. I have seen many times people taking package with one night at Munnar and one night at Alleppey when they have only 3 days to spend. This is not a good idea as they will not be able to cover neither Munnar nor Alleppey.
From Munnar, you can travel to next destinations like Thekkady, Alleppey, or Cochin. Moving to Kovalam directly from Munnar is not a good idea as travelling time would be minimum 10 hrs. If you are moving to Cochin to catch return flight/train do make sure you have minimum 6 hrs in between, as you may even stop for food during this travel. So do your time planning accordingly.
THEKKADY – Land of Spice Gardens
The lush green surrounding, the picturesque and serene lakes here will take your breath away and make your holiday here memorable. Nestled in the Idukki district of Gods own country, Thekkady .Kerala is one of those impressive places people love to visit again and again. This verdant region offers various attractions which give you a splendid insight into the flora and fauna of this region. It is mainly a wild life destination and it is quite close to the border town of Kumily sandwiched between Kerala and Tamil Nadu. This is the perfect place for those who love to watch wildlife in a non invasive manner; this is also a paradise for bird watching. Boating on Periyar Lake you can witness a herd of elephants and other big mammals like bison and deer in their natural habitat. Another important attraction here is the spice plantations of Kumily, which happens to be the world’s largest cardamom auction centre.
To watch wild life closely, you need to go for boating through the Periyar River. Wild animals, forest areas of Periyar sanctuary and Mullapperiyar dam from long view can only be seen during this boating. Vehicles are not allowed inside the sanctuary for sightseeing.Boating in Thekkady has fixed timings and the guest need to be personally in the queue to get tickets. You need to give your personal details as well as show ID card while taking this ticket. Depending on season, the rush for boating varies. In peak seasons, there might be heavy rush, so try to be in queue at least 3 to 4 hrs before the departure time.
Thekkady has lot of activities/shows running in the evening. If interested, you can watch Kalarippayattu (martial arts of Kerala), Kathakali, Magic show, musical fountain, tribal dance etc. You can also go for Ayurveda massage, Elephant ride, Elephant bath, Elephant shower, Spice plantation tour etc. You can plan for boating through Periyar River as well above activities if you have one night stay at Thekkady. Unless you are interested in adventurous activities, don’t stay for more than 2 nights there. If you are opting for two night’s stay, you can relax on the second day enjoying the wilderness of Thekkady..
If you are an adventurous person, this is the place for you. Plan for 2 or 3 nights at Thekkady and you get to do all sorts of adventure activities here. You can go for Gavi tour which includes full day Jeep safari, trekking etc., bamboo rafting, eco-tourism, nature walk, night patrolling etc. Go through the details for these activities and fix the number of days you want to stay at Thekkady.
From Thekkady you can move to Alleppey, Munnar, Cochin, Madurai (Tamil Nadu), Kodaikkanal (Tamil Nadu). Again Kovalam is not a good idea as there will be lot of traveling.
ALLEPPEY – Land of Backwaters
Blessed with a wide number of waterways, lagoons, lakes and canals Alleppey is an aquatic paradise within the folds of Gods own country and is aptly called “Venice of the East”. While sailing on houseboats in Alleppey, you can witness the charm of this immaculate backwater town with its plentiful coconut palm lined canals and small hamlets. A long time ago, Alleppey was one of the busiest centres of trade and commerce and was among the more important ports along the Malabar Coast. In search of profits and black gold (pepper), traders came here from different parts of the world. For honeymooners it the ideal place to spend a wonderfully romantic time. The worldwide famous Annual Nehru Trophy Snack Boat Race is conducted in Alleppey in the month of August (2nd Saturday).
Houseboat cruise can be of two types; you can either opt for a overnight Night with cruise or can take morning cruise for 5 to 6 hrs.
If you are opting for morning cruise, you have to check-in at 11 AM and check-out will be at 4- 5 PM depending on the cruise provider you opt. In this case, you will be greeted with welcome drink (lime juice or tender coconut) and will serve lunch prepared in boat and evening snacks. Boat will cruise through the inland canals, backwaters and lakes. And you can also watch the long stretch of paddy fields at Alleppey (Kuttanad). This cruise, I am sure, will be one of the most memorable experiences of your lifetime.
Boat will halt during lunch timings and food is prepared in the boat itself. The boat will have a Captain (driver), Cook and sometimes a helper too depending on the size of boat. These boats are engine driven.
For overnight stay houseboat cruise (21hrs), you need to check-in to your houseboat at 12 Noon and check-out will be at 9 AM next day. The boat will take you for a cruise at 12 Noon and will be going around till lunch time. The boat will halt for lunch and after lunch it cruises till 5.30 to 6PM and then anchors till next day morning. You will be cruising again next day for at least an hour before check out.
For this kind of cruise, you will be getting welcome drink, lunch, evening snacks, tea, dinner and breakfast for the next day morning. Food is prepared in the boat itself and all boats will have their fixed menu. They take your food preference before you reach Alleppey and raw materials will be stored in boat before it leaves the shore.
If you are a non-vegetarian, you will be getting rice, vegetable (2types), fish fry, curd, pickles, pappad, Sambar for lunch and chicken, chappathy, rice, vegetable curry, dal for dinner. If you are a vegetarian, the menu is similar with some changes. It will be Payasam instead of fish fry for lunch and one more variety of veg curry instead of chicken for dinner. For breakfast, it will be idly-sambar, omelet and bread butter jam.
It’s always advisable to inform them in advance if you have any specific preference as once you start the journey getting raw materials is not easy. If you have children with you and want more milk or such food, don’t forget to inform that in advance. During the cruise, you can purchase prawns, extra fish on your own (if you feel like). The crew will cook and serve that for you.
If you are opting for A/C Houseboat, unless specifically mentioned A/C operates from 9 PM to 6 AM only. If you require full time A/C or need extra hours, then inform the houseboat operator in advance. You will be charged extra unless your package is with full time A/C houseboat. If you want extra A/C time, they need to carry extra fuel with them and unless you tell in advance, this will be difficult.
While on board, do close the windows and doors of your room in the evening. As it is in water and flies may enter in the evening. Houseboats are normally parked in a safe place where the owner of houseboat has easy access or is near to his house. Houseboats are of different categories and rooms may not be as big as your hotel room.
The biggest disadvantage of houseboat is that if there is some issue with A/C or TV in the night, it may not be able to get it repaired till next day. To get an electrician late night to that halting place may not be possible. But such things happen very rarely.
Depending on your interest, either go for 21 hrs cruise or take a morning cruise and then stay in a resort at Alleppey or Kumarakom.
KUMARAKOM – Land of Backwater Resorts
Unlike Alleppey, Kumarakom is also famous for Houseboats and Backwater Resorts. Both Alleppey & Kumarakom are merely of Just 30 Km distance. Kumarakom is more famous for its luxury resorts spread all over. With wide varieties of options for resort,after a houseboat cruise in Alleppey you can choose to have a complete day of relaxation in any of the Kumarakom Resorts.
If you have enough days, I always suggest taking one night stay in a resort after your Houseboat cruise. In most cases, you will be reaching Alleppey or Kumarakom after 3 night stay at Munnar, Thekkady or any other places and a resort stay here will definitely relax you.
You can either move back to Cochin to catch your flight back or can travel ahead to Kovalam after this relaxing stay.
While selecting a resort at Kumarakom or Alleppey, make sure you do enough research. Make sure the resort is as per your liking because there are few things to do at when you are in a Kumarakom/Alleppey resort. You can visit Alleppey beach in the evening and can relax. Some backwater resorts do provide additional facilities like pedal boating, swimming pool and Ayurvedic spa. And there are resorts providing countryside boating, fishing and cooking class. This resort can be either at Alleppey, Kumarakom and I know some good backwater resorts on the way to Cochin also.
Once you are done with Alleppey and Kumarakom , you have several options. It depends upon your travel plan. You can either move towards Cochin and return back home on the same evening or stay at Cochin and travel to Guruvayoor or Athirapilly-Vazhachal on the next day. Or you can move to south from Alleppey to visit Kovalam, Trivandrum, Varkala and Kanyakumari. You also have the option of going to Thekkady or Munnar from here if you started the tour from Trivandrum. Alleppey lies almost midway between Trivandrum from Cochin.
KOVALAM/TRIVANDRUM – Land of Beaches & Temples
Come and fall in love with the beauty of Thiruvananthapuram (Capital City of kerala). Bounded by the Arabian Sea in the Southern side of the state of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, well known as Trivandrum is one of the charms of the state and the country. It’s highly enriched with enchanting beaches, enthralling temples, antique monuments & stunning palaces.This capital city is also known as the city of thousand headed ‘Anantha’ (the sacred serpent on which Lord Vishnu reclines).
At Trivandrum, you can visit the famous Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, Museums, art gallery, Zoo etc. If you have plans to visit the temple, make sure you have the required dress to get inside. Pants or jeans are not allowed for both ladies and gents. The temple can be visited between 5 to 11 in the morning or 3 to 6 in the evening. Visit other places as per your interest and time availability.
While at Trivandrum, it’s advisable to stay at Kovalam which is famous for its beach. If you are really in a tight schedule, one night stay is sufficient but we recommend two night stay to fully enjoy this place. When you have two nights at Kovalam, you can visit Trivandrum one day and next day you can visit Kovalam beaches. Select resort as per your interest at Kovalam.
There are some luxury resorts at Poovar also. Poovar is a place just 14km from Kovalam and is famous for its estuary, where backwater and sea meet! To fully unwind you can extend your stay for one more night, either at Kovalam or at Poovar.
If Kovalam is your last destination, try to book return ticket from Trivandrum which helps you to spend enough time at this place and to avoid long journey of 6 to 7 hrs to Cochin. If your return ticket is from Cochin, try to leave Kovalam at least 8 hrs in advance to be on the safer side. And if the return ticket is for morning flight/train from Cochin, make sure you stay at Cochin instead of rushing from Kovalam on the last day.
From Kovalam, you can do day-visit to Kanyakumari. You can spend one night at Kanyakumari, if you have time. Kanyakumari is 90km from Trivandrum and is almost 3.5 hrs drive. There is Kerala-Tamil Nadu check post in between.
KANYAKUMARI- Southern Tip of India
Though Kanyakumari is not in Kerala, if you are travelling up to Trivandrum it is recommended to visit this place. Try to have one night stay at Kanyakumari so that you can see the sunset as well as the sunrise. Make sure you reach Kanyakumari before 5 PM to see the sunset. If you are on a tight schedule, a day trip to Kanyakumari from Trivandrum is also recommended.