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All reviews neema and prasad vypeen island her husband a short ferry ride cooking lesson great grandfather beautiful house sao gabriel fort cochin fabulous cook cooking class lovely family home away from home local culture welcoming hosts ensuite bathroom wonderful hospitality
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Reviewed 11 June 2012

It is hard to improve on the superlative comments already reported about Neema and her family and the incredible Homestay experience they provide. It is simply the best place any traveller could hope to find.
Not only is their beautiful, spotless 'bungalow' perfectly situated to take in all the wonderful attractions on Fort Cochin and Ernaculam, but the warmth and welcoming manner in which they embrace their guests is not to be matched anywhere. From cooking the finest Indian meals to organizing a detailed tour plan (including drivers, accommodations, train tickets, etc.), everything is done happily and with the utmost efficiency.
Aside from the comfortable, spacious room we had, Neema and her husband, Prasad were always ready to give excellent suggestions, wise advice and a wealth of knowledge, which enhanced the enjoyment of our trip immensely. Above all, however, it was the interactions with our cultured, hospitable hosts (their lovely 12-yr. old daughter, Olivia, and Neema's parents, as well) that won our hearts and had us extend our stay from 3 to 6 nights.
I cannot encourage others enough to avail themselves of this little oasis in Kerala. It is cheap at double the price!

Stayed: May 2012, travelled with friends
2  Thank Bernice R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 June 2012

What an exceptional homestay experience! From our very first email contact with Neema, we had the guidance of a knowledgeable, caring travel consultant who did everything possible to make our time in Kerala outstanding in every way. Since we were first-time visitors to this part of India, her detailed advice about itinerary and travel arrangements were invaluable.
Even more important, the way Neema, Prasad and their family embraced us as family members was a great gift. They were generous in sharing their considerable knowledge about all things Keralan and about the history of Jews in Kerala, a topic of interest to us. We enjoyed our conversations with them, and feel we made life-long friends.
Their home is a delight; immaculate, full of interesting antiques, a beautiful environment. Our room was private, and our beds were supremely comfortable.
Neema created amazingly delicious breakfasts for us, and plied us with multiple helpings of her outstanding home cooked food. Her dinners were like a culinary tour of Keralan cooking, and totally memorable. We just wished we could have eaten more!
We felt included in their family lives and especially enjoyed Olivia's dancing, which was exceptionally self-assured and competent. We also loved viewing their family photos albums and hearing about their years seafaring while Prasad was a Sea Captain.
Neema arranged a Jewish Heritage Tour for us that we particularly enjoyed, and both she and Prasad gave us tips on where to go and what to do in Fort Cochin, Mattancherry and Ernakulam. Accessing the ferry system from their home was simple and easy, and we felt lucky to be able to return to the order and cleanliness of their sanctuary after a busy day of sightseeing.
Neema oriented us to everything necessary to make our onward journey easy. She booked a car and driver to take us to Munnar, secured accommodations for us in Munnar, Kumarakom, and Trivandrum, did on line booking for the train to Trivandrum, and gave us detailed instructions that anticipated our every need.
I cannot praise highly enough every aspect of this homestay experience! The food, the accommodation, the company, the travel advice, all of the highest order!
The cost was very reasonable for the superb value received; in fact, a bargain. If you are lucky enough to get a booking here, do it! You will have no regrets, and many wonderful memories.

Room Tip: Both rooms are lovely. We had the larger of the two, with ensuite bathroom.
  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank Margaret A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 May 2012

We just came back from Kerala and really enjoyed "The Bungalow" homestay in Vypeen (very close by Fort-Kochi and much more quiet)... The house is typical and very charming, the family is just wonderful and the food they prepared for us was amazing... The bedrooms are nicely decorated in the style of the house and it was very pleasant staying there!
we really felt at ours and shared some very nice and true moments with all the family... I think it's very important to feel comfortable when you arrive in a place you don't know and according to me, "The Bungalow" is the best one if you like to share the way of life and the culture of the place you are visiting... We found everything we needed there...peace, rest, happiness and truth...and friends of course... we just loved it !
Hope everyone will feel the same than us...

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank sowjanya_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 May 2012

Nothing is too much trouble for Neema and her family. We had a very comfortable night's stay here, with an amazing dinner and breakfast (and plenty of it!) As other reviews say, this homestay is only a short ferry ride across to old Fort Cochin. Neema had a good iterinary of suggested things to do and see in Cochin, and she will also help with bookings elsewhere in Kerela. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank ebeb2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 April 2012

Based on prior tripadvisor reviews, and on trip-planning email exchanges with Neema, we had high expectations of our stay the Bungalow; our experience exceeded all of our expectations.

Neema and Prasad are very engaging and congenial hosts. Prasad spent more than 20 years sailing freighters around the world. After they married, Neema sailed with him for more than 10 years. Several years ago, when their daughter, Olivia, was ready to start school, they returned to Kochi, where Prasad now is a harbor pilot. And we consider ourselves very fortunate, indeed, that Neema started the homestay as a hobby.

The Bungalow has been in Neema’s family for several generations. It is a beautiful and well-maintained 3-story home. Neema and Prasad gave us a tour of the house one evening, and we very much enjoyed hearing about its history. Our room, a suite with connected bathroom, was perfect.

The Bungalow’s location in a residential neighborhood on Vypeen Island across from Fort Kochi was also a plus. There appear to be no hotels and no other home stays on Vypeen. It is a short walk from the Bungalow to the Vypeen ferry dock, where there are also a number of small shops selling snacks, fruit, water, etc. It is a short and enjoyable ride (2 rupees) across the mouth of the harbor to Fort Kochi. Also, there is a small Hindu temple down the road from the Bungalow, and several small Christian shrines between the Bungalow and the ferry dock. It seems Vypeen has a long and interesting history, and I wish we had found the extra time to explore it.

My wife’s cooking lesson with Neema was outstanding, and so was the food – at every meal. We had planned to splurge on a fine dinner in Fort Kochi one evening. However, after eating Neema’s cooking, we decided that we were unlikely to find a better south Indian meal, and so did not even try. We are also grateful that Neema was so generous in sharing her recipes.

Moreover, from the outset, Neema was very helpful in planning our trip. She responded promptly and thoroughly to each of my emails. And she also helped make our travel arrangements elsewhere in Kerala, including booking a houseboat for one night and a driver for four days. The houseboat was excellent. And, the next day, Neema telephoned just to make sure all was well. The driver and car she arranged were also first-rate. Everything Neema arranged was flawless.

We are glad that we now have friends in Kerala, and only wish we had stayed more than three nights.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank SAAMSeattle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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