Look no more. I got you…
Kerala is called God’s own Country and true to its name, this place is paradise.
Here are 3 reasons why you should visit Kerala:
- Keralites are the nicest, most incredibly warm and generous people.
- The food is to die for. They use coconut in most dishes and God knows I LOVE me some coconut.
- And finally, the richness and beauty of the landmarks… I die.
Kerala is in my Top 3 best travel destinations that I have been to in 2016!
Side note: I dropped and broke my digital camera in Kochi so all the pictures below were taken with my phone. I don’t even want to talk about it…
First things first, where to start?
Some people fly in through Trivandrum but we landed in Cochin. Our flight got in around 3 AM and after a few minutes of panic, we found our driver. I would recommend booking a pick up from the hotel just because flights tend to arrive in the wee hours of the morning in India and it is simply more convenient to have someone waiting especially after you have been flying for a long time.
It took us about 30 mins to get through security. We used the online visa application system and unlike the rest of the people on the flight, we were sent into a small side room to have our visa stamped.
We then drove for about an hour to Fort Kochi where we checked into our guesthouse. We had to pay for the extra night since we were checking in so early but that meant we could have a quick shower and get some well needed rest. We woke up at about 9 AM and went down for breakfast. We then got a rickshaw to take us around Fort Kochi for some sightseeing (for Rs100/hour). The rickshaw driver took us to the Seagull restaurant for lunch. There was a mix of locals and foreigners eating there. The food was actually pretty good.
We ended up going around with the rickshaw for 4 hours but there was also some serious saree shopping involved. We had some issues getting cash from the ATM since there was a big cash flow problem in India at that time but the guest house was very accommodating and we paid by bank transfer.
The next day, the guest house found us a private driver to take us to Munnar (for about Rs 3500). We were anxious to go check out the gorgeous tea plantations and escape the super hot Kochi weather. It took us about 5 hours to get to Munnar and as soon as we reached the city, we were greeted by beautiful tea plantations and hoards of local tourists.
3 nights in Munnar
We stayed at the amazing Spice Tree Hotel. Honestly, we stumbled on this place by accident and we loved it so much that we extended our stay for an extra night. This place was magical and there are so many awesome things to do and see.
And the food… Ugh, so so good!
The hotel boasts of many complimentary activities throughout the day for their guests. There is a morning yoga sessions followed by a cardamom plantation walk, a cooking class at noon (you get to enjoy what you cook as a complimentary lunch) , local tea tasting around 4ish PM and one more evening walk.
We did their complimentary cooking class with Chef Murugan who was a total sweetheart. He taught us how to cook the typical Kerala fish curry and Aviyal.
Not sure how I have been cooking for so long without adding spice tempering like this.
Blurry pict – – but I made this food!!!
We did the morning walks and visited a cardamom plantation and we saw not only cardamom trees but coffee, pepper, tapioca, turmeric, coconut, rice and so much more.
We also opted for an extra (paid) activity and went on a 4.30 AM morning off-road safari into the private tea fields to watch the sunrise on top of the Kolukkumalai tea estate on the 2nd highest peak in South India. The hotel warned us that the ride would be bumpy but that was an understatement. We thought that we broke a few of our ribs and back with the terrible dirt paths but despite the back ache, this was so worth it.
Our driver was so excited to show us the tiger.
We then visited the Kolukkumalai private tea fields.
And their tea factory where I proceeded to have lots of fun.
We came back and enjoyed a lovely spa at the Spice Tree Hotel to get over our emotions. We spent 3 wonderful nights at the hotel and we would have stayed longer if we didn’t have so few days in Kerala. If ever you are in Munnar and you are looking for a place to stay, Spice Tree is the place to go. I would advise booking your stay through booking.com just because we got a slightly better deal on Booking (11 000 INR instead of 15 000 INR/night).
On to the next…
From there, we went on to the backwaters near Allepey or more precisely to Chenamkary. And on our way there, we stumbled on an elephant on the streets. So crazy!
We took a tiny boat to our guest house – The Green Palm Homes – on one of the numerous sand islands on the backwaters.
From there, we looked at the boats passing us by and enjoying the peace and beauty of the island.
Our stay at Green Palm Homes was EPIC!
More on our stay in the next post. Until then, keep dreaming!