Tips & Lessons for Kerala Trip

Kerala Tour & Transport Plan:

On the same day you land in Kochi you can proceed to Munnar approx 130 Km from Kochi about 4 hours drive (see my post on transportation plan) . Two days for Munnar is enough to see all attractions. Then next morning start for Thekkady (Periyar Lake) which is about 110 Km from Munnar , takes about 4 hours to reach. I would suggest starting from Munnar no later than  7 AM – 8 AM. After lunch in Thekkady you can visit Periyar Lake or take an Elephant Ride.  Next day early morning start for Alleppy ( As per my information Alleppy houseboat  experience is better than Kumarakom). Alleppy is  approx 190 Km five hours drive from Thekaddy.
Generally, houseboat check in time is 12 noon. Try to be at the house boat on time. Once on board the houseboat lunch will be server around 1:30 pm. Next morning check out from houseboat (see my post on recommended houseboat) at 9:30 AM and proceed to the Kochi. I would recommend not staying in Kochi as there are not many places to see. You can reach Kochi in an hour 60 Km from Alleppy . Visit couple of attractions ( See my post on Kochi Attractions) then proceed for the air port or the railway station. I would prefer to have the flight in the evening so that everyone can enjoy the whole day in Kochi (a.k.a Cochin).

Best Season for Kerala Trip:

Best season is to go to Kerala is between the periods of October to May as the temperature of Kerala during this period remains quite moderate. However, in off-season you can also plan i.e.  In the first or second week of June as most of the hotel offers up to 50% discount.
You will be lucky if you get to see little rain.

Rain during your house boat cruise is an amazing experience. Our car driver was saying, there are lots of people from Arab countries come to Kerala just to see the rain and greenery.

What to Shop in Kerala  :

  • Everywhere you will find handy craft shop in Kerala. However, there are places,   good handy craft items with reasonable price  near Kochi Cherai beach (on the way to the Chinese Fishing Net). If you are planning to buy a replica of houseboat model then purchase it from Munnar. I have not seen anywhere like the house boat in Munnar. It was an exact replica of a real houseboat. In other areas you will get a low quality houseboat and not so good looking one. Also check out the Snake Boat  model.
  • Another good handy craft stuff I had seen is small sculptures made from real coconut. See those and you will find it really innovative.
  • You will also get Kashmiri handicraft shop. But I prefer to not to buy those from Kerala. I believe most of the cities have a Kashmiri Emporium where we will get all those collections.
  • I would recommend not seeing Spice Garden in Munnar. There are good and exclusive collections of spices are avaliable on the way to Thekkady from Munnar or in Thekkady. Typically the entry fees would be between Rs. 75 – 150.
  • There are many spices shop selling all variety of spices. Cardamom and Pepper are very good in quality also cheaper there. You will get a spice called Star Anise used in biriyani preparation.
  • Be careful if you are buying Poppy Seeds (Posto). It will be cheaper but it’s not posto. Try this … take those so called poppy seed packet and watch carefully and you can easily make the deference that it’s a other seed like posto but not original poppy seed.  Poppy seed is like the shape of a bean. But those seeds will be round shape.
  • Also try some Home Made Chocolates which is really good.
  • Take a tour to the Tea museum Rs. 75 / person. After the tour you can buy tea from the Tea Museum. I found the quality of the tea  is decently good.

Eating Tips in Kerala:

There is good eating out places. But I’m not going to cover the restaurants in this post.

  • Our resort food was not good at all and expensive. (I had a chicken roast which was like a chicken curry.. never had such recipes). Next day we had nice food in another restaurant in the evening before coming back to our resort.
  • While in Houseboat you can ask the houseboat operator to stop over in a village where you can buy fresh live fish if you are a non vegetarian off course.

Massage in Kerala:

I always knew Kerala Massage is world class and very famous.  Let me be very frank here.  I did not find it so great compare to the brand image. I had been to a massage center chain called Mantra. However, when I entered for massage I saw a small room with no ventilation and congested. When we entered he was directly started applying cream on the face without cleaning my face. The massage guy was using a paper hand napkin to clean my face after the massage. My entire face was burning after the massage. I hoped for at least a clean towel to be used for cleaning the face. They used Aleovera and some other oil. But there were no aroma in any of the cream they applied when I came back from the massage I did not feel refreshed and rejuvenated, you know what I mean.  There was no back support for head massage. It was just a stool with no back and arm support. My entire back was paining after the massage. I would rate it 1 Star out of 5.
Probably we were in bad hands. I would recommend checking the facility before going for the massage.

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