The travel to Trivandrumturned out to be an adventure.

We first decided to travel by a local train and went to the train station.

Being A Maverick on the way

Once arrived at the train station we learned that the next local train was 4 hours later so we decided to catch the bus and returned to the bus stop.

At the bus stand, we discovered the KSRTC buses to Trivandrum were all jam-packed with only a few air-conditioned private buses available and to our surprise these too were jam-packed.

We finally decided we couldn’t go by bus with two kids, a handful of baggage and uncomfortable hot weather.

Funnily enough, we decided to make a U-turn to the train station one more time.

Finally, we caught the local train and luckily the general compartment of the train had lots of empty seats to choose from and we had a comfortable trip.

Places to visit and its rules

In Trivandrum, there were two main attractions: The Kovalam beach (17 km from the city) and the Padmanabhaswamy temple.

The temple only allows the people from Hinduism faith and has a strict rule for visitors to dress up traditionally (Men and boys in Mund (Lungi in North) and no clothes on upper body and saree for women).

We decided to visit the temple the next morning as early as possible in order to beat the crowd.

We thought we were the smart people but, we were surprised to see the hordes of people in the temple (probably everyone had the same strategy….hahaha.).

It took 4 hours in a queue to avail Darshan.

My husband outside the temple in Thiruvanthapuram

The Padmanabhaswamy temple is one of the richest temples in India with worth 10 billion dollars.

The temple had a beautiful architecture with wide corridors all around and amazingly crafted pillars.

After the darshan, we changed our clothes to the beach clothes (luckily our hotel was nearby), had some lunch and took a bus to the Kovalam beach.

The Kovalam beach was a beautiful beach where kids played with waves while I enjoyed looking at a beautiful sunset and taking photos.


Cover Alluring Alleppey In A Day

Alleppey is another city on the Laccadive Sea in the state of Kerala and the visit to Alleppey for backwater (a network of tranquil canals and lagoon)houseboat cruise experience was the most awaited one as we had heard heaps about it.

Initially, we had planned for a two days stay, however, later we shortened it to a day after the advice by friends and locals.

As per their advice, one day was sufficient for this experience as the houseboat travelled in close vicinity of the shore and the scenery did not change significantly.

Lessons to be learned

Unfortunately, it was a peak season in Alleppey ( 24-25 December) and we hadn’t booked any houseboat in advance ( based on the review provided on travel websites that one should not just rely on photos on websites but inspect the interiors personally as the pictures can be deceptive and this approach also provided the opportunity to bargain).

How we actually managed

In our case, we ended up paying a bit higher price (9000 rupees for one night) but definitely got to see few houseboats and choose the one we liked.

What was my experience?

On a side note, there is a budget-friendly option available too where a medium-sized boat (like shikhara in Srinagar’s Dal lake takes people around for few hours). The experience on houseboat cruise was worth every penny.

The cooks on the boat cooked local cuisines on our demand and we had the whole houseboat with two air-conditioned room all for us.

Kids had fun running around the two decks and watching their favourite movie while we enjoyed some us time on the top deck sipping toddy(local beer).

We also got to see an amazing sunset.


Experience Mesmerizing Munnar in 2 Days

this turned out to be our most favourite destination. We travelled in Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus from Cochin to Munnar and would admit it was not as comfortable journey.

Opening the door to nature and its strength, magic and wonder

It took almost 5 hours of climbing up in humid and hot weather however once we reached the height, the weather pleasantly changed for a comfortable 23-24 degree centigrade.

A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature.

Our hotel was remotely situated in a valley and took another 45 minutes of the ride in an auto-rickshaw to arrive. Most of the hotels and resorts in Munnar are located interiorly in the valley and the inwards roads to the hotel were in appalling condition (we were told this was due to 2018 Kerala floods).

The distance of 4 km from the Munnar central town to the hotel felt so far and shook our internal organs like a blender, however, once we reached the hotel, the view was amazing and which made us forget all the discomfort we had in past few hours.

The hotel was right in the middle of tea gardens which looked idyllic. Once again we were lucky that we had included breakfast in our hotel package or else it would have been a big hassle to go back to the town early in the morning.

The next morning, we hired a jeep (unlike Goa, self-driven vehicles were not available in Munnar) and the driver already had a tour plan in a handout where we were provided with an option to choose the places of our interests.

The kids were super excited to travel in a jeep and even for us it was a thrilling experience. We chose to see a waterfall, a botanical garden, a couple of dams(kids had fun doing paddle boating), elephant feeding, tea factory and a visit to a tea garden.

We were pleasantly surprised to find an added attraction when our driver pointed out to the wild elephant herds on the hills. The herd looked chilled out and people enjoyed watching them from a distance.

I cannot forget how coconut water had become our favourite drink from Goa itself and we continued to enjoy it throughout our journey which also served the purpose of keeping us well hydrated in humid weather.

The tea gardens in Munnar were spread around to as far as our eyes could see and the greenery from it was so calming on the nerves. We visited one of the gardens which were on the top of mountains and had clouds floating in it which created a beautiful, mystic environment.

While we enjoyed taking lots of photos, kids were running around and even tried smelling the crushed leaf and taste it but to their surprise, it was nowhere near to the tea smell we are used to (later we learned in the tea factory that the tea flavour and smell only comes after processing and fermentation).

Surprisingly, we had covered most of the tourist attraction in one day. We decided to spend the next day as a quiet day in our hotel among the tea gardens however then we changed our mind and decided to do some local shopping and visit a spice garden.

We started with local shopping and bought some banana chips, spices and tea from the local market which are not only the speciality of Munnar but whole Kerala state.

The tour to the spice garden was an informative one. It not only provided us with knowledge of our daily spices but also an appreciation of how learned our ancestors were to have known the medicinal property of these plants thousands of years ago.

On day 3 we took another KSRTC bus to return to Cochin. We were sad to be leaving Munnar but excited for the next destination.