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To all those just back

Wales, UK
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28 posts
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To all those just back

Hi all

I know there were quite a few first-timers off to Kerala for Xmas & New Year, including Minnie9, Bet1540 & BrenLiz to name a few.

I would be really interested in what you thought, and how it compared to Goa. Hope some of you read this, look forward to hearing from you soon.

A belated Happy New Year!

Jayne

Mirfield, England
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494 posts
43 reviews
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1. Re: To all those just back

Hi Jaynelb, we had a fantastic time and will go again. We thought we would be comparing it to Goa all the time but we didnt it was just a different place. I kept a diary so hope to put a detailed review on when I have caught up with myself.

Wales, UK
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28 posts
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2. Re: To all those just back

Hi BrenLiz

Glad to hear you had a great time. I look forward to hearing all about it!

Jayne

England
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117 posts
33 reviews
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3. Re: To all those just back

Hi there.

I was in Kerala over Christmas and New Year and have also been to Goa a few times.

I originally compared it to Goa, as expected, but like the previous posts, it has no comparison.

You will have an amazing time. I really didn't want to come back.

If you want me to answer any specifics, let me know and i'll try and help. I was travelling alone for almost four weeks and had no hassle whatsoever, I felt totally at home.

Have fun!

Sydney
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872 posts
25 reviews
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4. Re: To all those just back

Hi MsYDW

You certainly seem to have had a great time. I am hoping that I also will enjoy that area when I go next November.

One thing I asked on the other posting, but perhaps you will not notice it, was whether you were isolated staying in the home stay that you did. Or, did you move up and down the coast and stay at various places such as Palmy Residence in Alleppey and then at Mickeys Cottage in Kumily. I would REALLY appreciate some advice as I am just in the throes of planning my trip now.

I really also want to go inland to Periyar and to the tea plantations.

What I do not know is whether I should just bunk down in Cochi for a large time and then go out to each of these places from there. OR whether I travel around to each of these places with all my luggage, stopping overnight in new places. How did you plan this? I have basically about a week in Kerala and want to see Munnar, Ooty, Periyar and Cochi and the backwaters day trip. I suppose basically I am not sure of the distances and access to transport.

How I arrange the above will depend where I fly out of to return to Sydney. I will either wind my way up to Bangalore or wherever to fly out, or either wind my way down.

I would so appreciate your help.

Best wishes from Sydney.

England
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117 posts
33 reviews
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5. Re: To all those just back

Morning!

Originally I had the same idea, to arrive and book accommodation in one place and just travel out, leaving my luggage in one place. But after some thought, alot of reading and some useful advice from forum members (here and other) I decided against it.

You will never be isolated and you will never be alone. People are genuinely friendly and helpful, both travellers and local. You will always find someone who can speak English to some degree and you can always make yourself understood.

Transport is easy and very cheap. You can book train tickets online at irctc.net for the times and dates of your travel and print e-tickets. If you need help or advice, just let me know. Buses are frequent and again, very cheap. It's an experience in itself that must not be missed. Taking the early morning bus from Kottayam to Kumily through the Western Ghats was breathtakingly beautiful, travelling through tea and rubber plantations. Honestly, I appreciate your fears and concerns because I had them, but it was SO EASY! You can cover short distances by taxi or auto rickshaw.

I didn't take a houseboat tour because I travelled alone and the cost was outside of my budget. However, I did manage a four hour backwater canoe tour, just me for about 150Rs an hour. I caught the local ferry from Alleppey to Kottayam for 12Rs but there is a tourist ferry for 300Rs and details are available in Alleppey town from KSRTC (I think). Lonely Planet and Rough Guide are brilliant for info.

As you've decided your stops, just decide your route and then look into the train times etc on the above web page. LP and RG will tell you where you can catch buses to and from.

Don't be worried at all. One last word of advice, take very little with you. Not only can you buy absolutely everything there, even with my pack weighing a mere 12kg, it felt like a tonne!

If you want any more info, let me know.

Another good website to peruse is theindiatree.com.

Have fun and love from the UK!

Sydney
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872 posts
25 reviews
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6. Re: To all those just back

Hi MsYDW

Thanks for the encouragement. I am a little fearful because every one of my friends here is astounded when I tell them where I am going and that I am going by myself. Also, and this is where it is difficult, I do not as yet have a really good map and it is so hard to determine the route that I SHOULD take. This is the main cause of my angst.

Also, I think perhaps I am a deal older than you. Still that in itself is an advantage in one way.

I hope to obtain more information from the India Tourist Bureau here. Unfortunately they are so slow in sending things out - only weekly mailings, can you believe.

I notice you mention a "pack" - I really only have a suitcase. Would this be unsuitable. The fact that I can pull it along makes it easier than lugging it on my back. But...

Also when you said that you "caught the early morning bus from Kottayam to Kumily through the Western Ghats" - I am afraid I have no idea what the Western Ghats are. Mountains? Also, this was a local bus, wasn't it, not some sort of tour bus? This was okay you found? I do like local buses as you get to meet the local people of the area, but my only concern is safety - mechanical safety!

Thanks once again.

Best wishes from Sydney.

Vikki

England
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117 posts
33 reviews
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7. Re: To all those just back

Hi Vikki

I met alot of single women travellers, many of them in their sixties, who received the same comments from their friends. Even people I know expressed concern and worry - but it is totally unfounded. Don't let age restrict you in anyway. I'm 37 and hope i'm still the same when i'm 67! Sometimes fear is the greatest motivator but really, I wouldn't tell you it was safe if it wasn't. The Keralans are so friendly and welcoming and the hospitality makes you feel welcome from the moment you arrive.

The web is the best source of information ever available and you can access as much as you need. I think I spent a good solid few hours researching before I finally bit the bullet and booked a flight. I read alot during the first couple of months after that and by the time I flew, I had forgotten most of it but I knew I would be ok. Even in the worst possible scenario, accommodation and transport are so cheap that you can get and stay anywhere without financial trauma.

I took a backpack because I was more comfortable carrying it but a case will be fine i'm sure. It was just easier to throw it in overhead compartments on buses or under a seat on a ferry.

Yes, the Western Ghats are the mountain range and I took the local bus. There are seats specifically labelled for ladies and you can sit in those, just ask where they are located when you get on. People will look at you because you have a different complexion and different clothes. There is nothing malicious in it. They are all happy to say good morning and smile - and to be quite honest, it was a pleasure when I compare it to the people where I live in the UK! The buses do travel at great speeds along the highway but I didn't see any accidents or injuries. Again, you always have the option of a taxi and they are reasonably priced.

Feel free to ask any questions you like. I have so much more of the country to explore and so much more to learn myself - but even if I can help in any way, I will.

Wales, UK
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28 posts
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8. Re: To all those just back

Hi MsYDW

Sounds like you had a reall good trip, are you going to do a report on your travels, would be very interesting?

What was New Year at Lighthouse like, I read that it was some party?

Thanks

Jayne

England
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117 posts
33 reviews
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9. Re: To all those just back

Hi Jayne

Yes I will probably write something up when I get a moment.

I did have a wonderful time, I could have stayed and carried on travelling around the whole of India.

Preston
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82 posts
1 review
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10. Re: To all those just back

Hi Jaynelb, We had the best ever Xmas & New Year in Kerala. We have had 5 Xmas and New Year in Goa, after 18 times there, no comparrision, different but better, so much so we have booked to go back ,next Xmas and New Year already, cannot afford to miss the BEST Xmas and New Year, unbelievable. much better than Goa and that was good. Dont miss go for it.

Bet 1540