Thank you to this forum so very much for all your help so far and I would be grateful for any comments or suggestions on this trip
Whilst the intinerary may seem somewhat rigid, it’s our intention to adapt it giving us more, or less days in areas, as we go along, depending how we feel. We are the sort of travellers who prefer to get a “taste” of countries, rather being able to “tick” it off.
We have shortlisted accommodation, but will most probably just turn up (apart from Cochin) and negotiate, as March isn’t peak season. Touts please don't waste your time pm-ing me with accommodation or tours suggestions/offers. I have read over 90 pages on this forum and IndiaMike (this is also posted there). So have a good idea. I've asked if I want help. So post here if you want to help
Day 1 - Arrive Cochin 03.50 am, struggle through customs and hope that our pre arranged home stay taxi is waiting! Hopefully room is available, grab some sleep and then venture out into the heat for some exploration , Sim card and ATM.
Days 2 & 3 – Exploring Cochin
Day 4 - Ferry , Bus or Train to Cherai Beach (Which is the better method, considering we will have our backpacks with us? We prefer the ferry, but how far from the jetty is it to the beach accommodation and can this be done by rickshaw)
Day 5 – Leave Cherai Beach and travel to Eranankulam Town Train Station (By rickshaw?)
Train to Ottappalum and overnight here
Day 6 – Pooram at Ottappalum keralatourism.org/event/festival/chinakkatho… We still do not have confirmation that the Pooram is actually taking place on March 10th. So this part of our travels are still up in the air.
Day 7 – Train from Ottappallum to Thalassery (Maybe a quick look around here?)
Then a rickshaw to a homestay on Kannur Beach (Most probably Ezhara Beach house)
Days 8 & 9 – Kannur exploring beach and surroundings. Theyyam hopefully
Day 10 – Rickshaw into Kannur town and then bus to Mananthavady, (Jeep to possibly Varnam homestay) (We are thinking that we may have to pre book this homestay, as there doesn’t seem to be much else around this area and also it will be Saturday, and I’ve read that Wayanad gets busy at weekends?) (Or does anyone have some recommendations for places in Kalpetta? Budget max 2,500 INR, after negotiation)
Days 11 & 12 – Exploring Wayanad, (Most probably have to book this through the homestay?? Or are there other options, for comparison prices. Bearing in mind we have no transport)
Day 13 – A big journey! I did ask about Wayanad to Munnar and it seems the best way is back via Cochin. But we don’t really want to retrace our route. So this is our plan
Bus from Mananthavady to Kalpetta (1 hour?) Bus from Kalpetta to Gudalur and then bus to Ooty (3 to 4 hours from Kalpetta?) Stay overnight in Ooty
Day 14 – Most probably bus from Ooty to Coimbatore. Toy train leaves too late in the afternoon.
Once in Coimbatore we will most probably have had enough of buses, so think we will take a taxi cab down to Munnar (Any idea of what this should cost for the return journey?) (If we take a cab, will he stop on route for pictures etc, or will he be like an F1 driver wanting to get back to Coimbatore as quickly as possible? The later I suspect) We thought that it would be cheaper to not hire a car and driver from here for the next part of the trip, due to the return cost from Periyar (see later)
Days 15, 16, 17 & 18 – Exploring the region - Hire a car and driver in Munnar and keep him for the trip to Periyar . (I read that most hire their car and driver from Cochin for their travels. But what would be the best option in Munnar? From our homestay, from a tour shop in town, or simply off the street, as we did in Sri Lanka?)
We think that this many days may be too many in Munnar (maybe not). We had intended to travel over to Madurai, but have found that the temples are covered over for restoration. So that’s why we have these days here. Madurai will wait for another trip.
Day 19- Slow drive to Periyar (Kumilly)
Days 20 & 21 – Explore Periyar and surroundings. Have read lots of info on the sanctuary. At the moment we are going to give the boat ride a miss (seems like it depends on the amount of noise your passengers create). Bamboo rafting maybe. But edging toward the 2 day overnight Tiger Trial, at the moment.
Day 22 – Say goodbye to the driver (Maybe, depends on cost and how much we have handled the buses!!) and catch the bus from Kumilly to Kottyam. (Then maybe take the ferry to Allepey? About 2 hours ) (Or bus, or richshaw, or taxi?)
Find a homestay – 1st choice Malayalam Lake Resort (Depends on whether we can manage without A/C – will have found this out in Kannur)
Days 23 & 24 – Explore the backwaters etc. Feed the mosquitos!! Decided against a houseboat as it seems great but too touristy and prefer to visit local areas from the homestay by canoe or Country boat
Day 25 – Take the tourist boat from Alleppey down to Kollam, for a relaxing day. Then take the train to Varkala. But will stay at Odayam and visit Varkala, as it sounds like Varkala is turning into the new Kovalam
Days 26, 27, & 28 – Explore and relax and pack ready for home
(Our flight leaves Trivandrum at 04.30 in the morning. Should we be able to catch a taxi from Varkala to the airport OK? – (any idea of cost?). Or would it be better to go to Trivandrum and stay there overnight (not our preffered option)?
Phew, that’s our holiday over already!! Time for the next one (Malaysia and Australia in October to January– now that’s a big trip)
Thanks so much for your patience reading this far – you are all great. I promise I will post a report once we get home