Posts by "Khyati Vyas"

Udupi Unplugged: Temples, Serenity, Beaches and Surprises!

Hello Travel Souls!

It’s Khyati again, and I’m excited to share our recent adventure in Udupi. Get ready for a tale of unexpected twists, cozy discoveries and the peaceful charm of this hidden town.

Imagine this – we just finished a fast-paced journey from Gokarna and a work stint in chilly Rajasthan. Feeling a bit under the weather with a cold and cough, we faced a choice – to rest at home or to hit the road again. Guess what we chose? Yep, you got it – Udupi it was!

RAC Birth Train Journey ;)

Now, let me tell you, our journey kicked off with a quirky twist – our tickets were on RAC. Exhausted but undeterred, my partner-in-crime, Ishan, and I bravely boarded the train, ready to tackle the challenge of sleeping on a single berth. Trust me, it’s no easy feat! But hey, we’re all about budget-friendly travel, and that means embracing the unpredictability of RAC tickets. This time, two other friends joined us, occupying a different compartment on the train.

The next morning, we found ourselves in Mangalore, where we treated ourselves to some thick idlis. Around 11 AM, Udupi welcomed us not just as a temple city, as I thought, but as a place full of surprises.

Now, the fun part – we had no solid plans for a place to stay. Luckily, we stumbled upon the Big Pineapple Estate. Far away from the busy station, it was a peaceful spot surrounded by pineapple fields. Our host lived downstairs, and the homestay upstairs turned out to be just what we needed.

After a quick freshening up, our mission was to grab a scooter for getting around. Udupi surprised us with its organized and systematic setup. We got Yamaha Fascino scooters – new, well-kept and super easy to ride.

First stop was the temple area for a hearty South Indian thali. Full and happy with the food, we headed to the famous Krishna Mutt Temple. Small hiccup – the temple required us to wear clothes below the knee. Our shorts and dresses didn’t fit the bill, so we ended up buying dhotis nearby.

South Indian Thali Dhoti Shopping @Krishna Mutt Temple Krishna Mutt Temple

After a visit to the temple, we explored the hanging bridge and found it be closed and considered kayaking (but it was a bit too pricey for our budget). The real magic happened on Delta Point Beach road. On one side there was the vast sea and on the other, calm backwaters. We found a quiet, undiscovered beach with lots of starfish scattered in the sand. The sunset view was pure magic, making us stay until the sky turned dark.

Hanging Bridge and Kayaking Lake Star Fish @ Delta Point Beach Road

We wrapped up the day with packed pizzas and headed back to the homestay, hearts full of Udupi’s unforgettable beauty.

Day two kicked off a bit late as our travel buddies had to book tatkal train tickets. We started our day around noon, grabbing some idlis at a nearby hotel. Our first stop was the Hasta Shilpa Heritage Village Museum, a famous spot in Udupi. The entry fee was 300 bucks per person, but trust me, it was worth every penny. Now, I’m not usually a museum person, but this one got me hooked.

The museum was a journey through time, showcasing models of old-aged homes from the 12th to 18th centuries. There were 24 homes in total, each representing different communities and regions. The charm of the Keralite Brahmin homes, Christian homes, Rajasthani homes and more was truly captivating. I found myself lost in the simplicity and classiness of these old-world abodes.

Muslim Architecture House Model @ Heritage Museum

The museum was buzzing with life – old-aged watch shops, idli-making utensils shop, a tire shop and even a barber shop, giving the whole place a village-like atmosphere. Ishan and I couldn’t resist pretending and immersing ourselves in the roles of people who once lived in those charming houses. From cute study tables to traditional musical instruments, the museum was a treasure of aesthetic richness. A must-visit when in Udupi!

Watch shop @ Heritage Museum Barber Shop @ Heritage Museum

Post-museum, our plan was for a chill café hangout which didn’t pan out as expected as the cafe didn’t have a lot of local food options. Ishan and I, being traditionalists, crave a local vibe. So, we headed to our favorite tea shop, indulging in maggi and my go-to ginger, lemon, honey tea.

Fuelled up, we started on a two-wheeler journey to Padubidri Beach, the first Blue Flag Beach in Karnataka. The ride was long, but the destination was worth it. As we dipped into the sea, it felt like bathing in tranquility. Despite the crowd, the serene atmosphere held us captive until sunset. The beach closed at 6.50 and after a quick change of clothes, we decided to skip the junk food and opted to pack veg biryani for dinner.

Back at our homestay, we set up a table by the swimming pool. Amidst stargazing, we enjoyed a not-so-tasty dinner, played a lively game of Ludo, and hit the bed early. All in preparation for an early wake-up call the next day to explore the Jain Temple.

Third day kicked off bright and early as we embarked on a journey to Varanga Jain Temple, a bit far from our homestay. The route was nothing short of picturesque, treating our eyes to nature’s beauty.

Now, this temple was a gem. Nestled in the middle of a lake, reachable by a charming boat ride with space for about 10 people. The pond surrounding the temple was adorned with lots of lotuses, creating a beautiful ambiance. After soaking in the temple’s serenity, hunger struck, and we stumbled upon a small eatery run by local women near the temple. A heartwarming experience indeed.

Next on our list was the famous St. Mary’s Island near Malpe Beach. However, as we reached there, the scorching heat hit us, making the thought of a half-hour boat journey less appealing. After some thought, we decided to skip it and head back to the homestay for some chill time.

Our afternoon was spent by the pool, dipping our legs in the water and engaging in light-hearted conversations. With our train departure at 4 PM, we had one last cup of tea and a plate of maggie at our go-to tea spot before making our way to the railway station.

And just like that, Udupi adventure came to a close. A mix of temple tranquility, unexpected eatery gems and a spontaneous change of plans made for a memorable journey.

Until the next adventure, keep wandering and embracing the surprises!

Details of Homestay:
https://www.airbnb.co.in/rooms/50201822?source_impression_id=p3_1707136201_t4uuHNoZSmm5eC1k

Green Paradise – Wayanad

There comes an age when you realize you haven’t traveled with your parents much. With you growing old, you realize they are also growing old. So one fine day you decide to take them on a trip with you and see the world through their eyes. My mother came to visit me first time in Bangalore after my wedding and I wanted to make this trip memorable for her. All thanks to the long weekend which gave us a chance, all three of us decided (Ishan, Mumma, and Me) to go on a road trip together to Wayanad district of Kerala which has its own beauty secrets in the form of cascading waterfalls, pristine rivers, misty mountains, splendid forests, and widespread tea plantations. Trust me, it was a real fun trip. After this trip, I realized I have two pretty good entertaining travel partners, my mother and my husband except for the fact they both like to sleep a lot and very early in the evening :p

Day 1 – 12.08.2022

It was a Friday, we left for Mysore in the morning so that we can spend the whole day there and give ourselves a bit of relaxation. If we go straight it’s a 6 hours journey from Bangalore to Wayanad. Also, Mysore is our routine pit stop because it’s my Nani’s (Grand-Parents) home there. Most of the tourist places from Bangalore have a route where Mysore comes in between so we get a chance to meet our relatives there as well as refuel ourselves with the great food that we get at Nani’s place. 

A quick recommendation I would like to give here to all of you is to give a try to Mysore’s very famous Mylari Dosa at Hotel Original Vinayaka Mylari. The Benne Dosa is quite different here from the dosa that we eat usually in Bangalore and places nearby. It’s soft and smooth and melts in the mouth like butter.

Day 2 – 13.08.2022

The next day, we thought of starting early in the morning because we opted for the route via Gundlepet and Bandipur National Park. The animal species is visible essentially during the morning time there, thereafter the traffic starts on the road. But this time, the plan to start early flopped and we started at around 8 AM. 

If I were to define the three of us as co-passengers (Ishan, Mumma, and me), we were quite cordial. We talked a lot, we talked about various diverse topics and we sang a lot during the course of our journey. Where one minute there was some serious business idea being discussed, the next minute, Oo Antavava was being sung by us.

The Gundlepet and Bandipur National Park area is lush green. It is a dense forest where the road is covered from both sides with tall same-sized trees that looked like a canopy literally. 

At around 11 AM, we reached Sulthan Bathery. Sulthan Bathery is a mountainous region in the Wayanad region of Kerala. Our stay was in Manthanavady, another 42 KM ride from Sulthan Bathery. One thing to note over here is in Wayanad, every location is far distant from the other location. So plan your trip accordingly. If you are going there for a weekend trip you might not be able to cover whole Wayanad reason being the locations are distant such that you can cover at max 2 locations in a day if you wish to enjoy the trip.

Somewhere in the middle, we saw many cars parked and there was a breakfast place there. In Kerala, it is hard to find idli and dosa for breakfast, unlike in Karanataka where even in the smallest of villages one can find tasty idlis for the breakfast. We got to eat appam with moong daal there and must say the meal was new for the taste buds.

Appam

We reached Manthanavady at around 12 – 12.15 PM and started looking for our homestay. The homestay was good enough to provide three of us a shelter since it was a long weekend and there was no good place left for us to book even before 15 days of the weekend. The homestay had one single room, a living room, and a shed outside. It was a very sweet and special trip that brought the three of us to live together and talk about whatnot!

Homestay

We got ready and started for our first location. On this trip, the itinerary and the plan did not work out. We planned to go to Banasura Hill first which was 18.5 KM from our place which is 45 minutes approximately. As we reached there, the forest officer said it is only open from morning 8 AM-10 AM, and after a point, the car can not go upwards the hill. It was steep trekking after a point of almost 8-9 KM. The hill was looking very beautiful from where we saw it. Entirely covered in clouds and one could only imagine how beautiful the view must have been from the top. We thought of going there the next day early in the morning. My mother also was very excited to trek an 8 KM steep mountain but I was a little skeptical about whether it will be good for her to climb this much!?

Anyways, we started from there for the next destination that we planned, Banasura Sagar Dam which was 10 KM that is 30 minutes away from the first stop. It was around 3.30-4 PM and when we reached there we got to know the Dam is also closed. Again there was a disappointment. The disappointment was there because our three-day itinerary was planned to cover all these areas in three days and each place that we went to had gotten closed before 3 PM and our whole day got wasted.

Keeping our spirits high, we started for our final location Banasura Meenumuthy Waterfalls which is 13 KM away from the dam. Luckily, this place was open till 6 PM and we finally got a place to chill after a full day’s journey in the car. The waterfall is densely covered with trees. There are also present some cozy homestays near the waterfall with a location and view to die for. The waterfall was beautiful. My mother is obsessed with lakes, waterfalls, and rivers. She says she doesn’t like oceans. It has always been hard to keep her away from waterbodies whenever we go to a tourist place. She sees the water and instantly she wants to jump in it, no matter how is the water and how deep it is. Nowadays she has started to behave herself a bit by being a bit scared of water and enjoying it with safety. God, I thank that person who talked some sense into her! All in all, we had a good gala time at the waterfall.

Banasura Meenumuthy Waterfall

As we started from there, we were hungry. In Kerala, it is hard to find good vegetarian restaurants. Much harder than Thailand. I googled some veg restaurants and found one on the way to Manthanavady by the name Mandi Restaurant. Ishan wanted us to eat Kerala Parotha over there for the first time and it was so amazing and soft. Wow! We got good north Indian food over there. And by the time we started from Mandi Restaurant, it was already late evening. On the way to the homestay, we bought banana chips, regular chips, bread and butter as we were not sure what will we get to eat the next day morning. 

As we reached home, I was in a full mood to have fun. I was thinking we will play some music and do a bonfire. My two mates for the trip were thinking quite the opposite of what I was thinking as in their mind only one thing was running and that was SLEEP. I am usually always disappointed by my mother’s desire to sleep all the time but fate got me my husband who also likes to sleep. A LOT. Anyways, they both slept at 9 and I was wide awake till 4 AM. I have no idea what was not making me sleep! Was it the insects present in the homestay, was it the lizard above or was it the disappointment that why both my mates have slept so early?

Day 3 – 14.08.2022

The day started early as we were known to the fact that places are open in Wayanad for a short duration of time during the day. The plan was to go to Chembra peak first. Chembra peak is the highest peak of the Wayanad district and a picturesque location in a true sense. As a backup plan for eating breakfast, we were having bread and jam with us. Ishan was missing Idli and wanted to eat South Indian breakfast. On the way, he saw hotel Oshin. We thought we can try asking for veg breakfast there and as we entered the hotel, there was a buffet system breakfast arrangement and a wide variety of south Indian breakfast. That day was the day when I declared South Indian breakfast items such as idli, dosa and uttapam as comfort food. We paid 350 rupees for one person and had unlimited breakfast and it was good. 

After starting from the hotel, on the way to Chembra peak, we saw a huge tea garden. The tea garden was everywhere till your eyes could stretch. We went inside the tea garden and it felt amazing to be between fresh tea leaves and plants. The location was very picturesque. 

Tea Plantation

Started from there after having a good photo session. When we reached the place from where the Chembra peak mountain starts, some local people stopped us saying, the road is not there and only 4X4 vehicles can go and you have to buy a ticket for going up and sit in our car. As we were already having a Thar which is 4X4, we told them we’ll go on our own. The locals said, only a professional driver can drive who knows the basics of off-roading. Thankfully, Ishan knows very well the 4X4 driving and he is an expert in handling off-roading obstacles. He said I will manage and we started to climb the mountain. I made Mumma sit in front because the jerks are difficult to handle for passengers sitting backseats in Thar. She was very excited as unexpectedly she got to do off-roading. We thought the mountain track will not be so slashy and dangerous but it was all of these against our expectations. We were trying to avoid the off-roading thing with Mumma but she was so thrilled to experience this sport. The track was such that at a time only a single vehicle can move across the road, no two vehicles can bypass each other and it was hell dangerous but yes Ishan did it, Mumma loved it and I also thoroughly enjoyed the trail.

In between there was a stream of water and water was so pristine clear in that stream that I couldn’t stop me from lying down and tasting mountain water.

After moving a bit more ahead, we realized we are on the wrong track and we lost our way to Chembra Peak and now we are on our way to Glass Bridge 900 Kandi Wayanad. It is the only glass bridge in Southern India. We thought to explore the place as we were almost up there at the top. The ticket price for a single entry here is rupees 200. The bridge is in the sky and made up of glass and you get to walk on it one by one. The scenic beauty is par max beautiful there. 

Glass Bridge

There is a park over there at the top. We enjoyed a lot playing with love birds. Ishan and I also played a bit of cricket and I won all the games played between us :p Sorry but no sorry Ishan :p

Then after as we were coming down the hill, we saw another small water stream and I drank water that was directly coming down from the mountains. It was pristine clear and the experience of drinking that sweet and cold water of mountains was satisfying.

We got stuck in a huge traffic jam on the hill after getting down from the glass bridge mountain trail. We started for Soochipara waterfall and reached there in about 30 minutes. The time was past 4 PM then and the fall got closed when we reached there. This is the major setback we felt while traveling in Wayanad. Every place is so distant from one another that when you reach the second place for the day it’s time for it to close. 

We really wanted to spend this evening nicely because it was our last evening in Wayanad. We started searching for some good hotels and properties that give coffee tours within their premises but surprisingly none of the property owners agreed to the same as coffee tours in such hotels are only for the people residing within the hotel.

After a lot of searching, we got a place that the tea vendor at Sochipara falls suggested to us. The place was Love valley. As we reached love valley, we found a serene and peaceful property located in total solace called Aatreya. We thought to take a chance and ask inside if visitors are allowed to sit and enjoy the valley view inside. The owner was a very friendly person. He agreed and also asked us for tea and snacks. We sat in front of the valley and ordered banana pakoras there. It’s a famous Kerala snack.

Aatreya Resort

The people residing at the property were going for a tea plantation tour on the hill nearby. He asked us and we thought we should also go for it. My mother and my husband had a very intellectual discussion while climbing the hill over some common interest area topic. They feel I don’t get involved in discussions but they think wrong. I like to listen sometimes to the things I have zero idea about and I was doing the same there. Mumma was having some trouble climbing up because in due course of time she lost the practice of trekking. Still slowly at her own pace, she climbed up and the view from the top was amazing. Tea plantations were there everywhere. We also spotted some 5-6 small little waterfalls on the mountain in front. As it started getting dark, we all came down to the property and left at around 6.30.

While coming back again we stopped at Oshin hotel where we stopped in the morning to have dinner as it was the only known option available. We were tired this day. Very tired. So as soon as we reached our homestay we all slept and thankfully I also got some peaceful sleep.

Day 4 – 15.08.2022

The final day in Wayanad was Independence Day. The day started beautifully as there were school kids and teachers on the roads all dressed up for the event in their respective schools. The vibe there was all patriotic, everywhere there was flag hosting and in the car also we were playing all patriotic songs and were singing them with all josh like a full patriot. We were thinking of which place to cover since we were having time till 2 PM and then after the plan was to leave for Mysore. Trekking was not an option because we were done with trekking the day before. We just wanted to go to a calm place and Banasura Sagar Dam seemed the only option for that mood. 

Banasura Sagar Dam is the largest dam in India and the second largest in Asia. It has a great picturesque beauty view and its beauty enhances by the chain of mountains on the backdrop. The place is quite chill and calm.

Banasura Sagar Dam

We just reserved a bench for ourselves and were seated and talking for like 2-3 hours. There were several Savan Ke Jhule on the backside of the dam area. We went there and enjoyed them as well. You readers must be thinking do these people leave anything while traveling!? But yes this is the way we are. We like to explore any place to the maximum possible so that while coming back home there should be a feeling of accomplishment. The dam has a long road-like stretch where visitors come for walking purposes. We found a bench there and the wind there was so relaxing that all three of us involuntarily closed our eyes and took a nap meanwhile.

Bansura Sagar Dam

We started from there, had our final lunch at Mandi restaurant, packed our luggage, and left for Mysore. While coming back we opted for another route where comes Nagarhole Tiger Reserve was in between. The Tiger Reserve was so huge that the appreciation of the beauty of the forest did not make us realize it when did we reach Mysore. In the Tiger Reserve, due to the huge traffic load, one cannot spot a tiger during the daytime, that is for sure but you can surely spot deer and swamp dear (Barahsingha) on the way. While exiting the forest we also spotted elephants who were taking bath and enjoying their own world.

At around 6.30, we reached Mysore. Our beautiful and small trip got over. Wayanad totally contributes to justifying Kerala’s title, God’s Own Country.

This trip will always be very dear to me because lucky are those who get to go on a trip with their favorite humans and I am one of them, fortunately. Hope to go on such backpacking trips more often and explore Incredible India.

Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi!

Rameshwaram Temple

The trip that I am going to cover in this blog is a very special trip to my heart and will always be. All my trips are special to me but this one is more because, the location in itself is a one Dham amongst the 4 Dhams of India and secondly because, we also covered a place nearby which I wanted to go for a very very long time. All the times some thing or the other happened and the trip got canceled but this time I was super firm and the trip happened.

Okay okay let me dismiss the suspense and tell you all about the this special place which is Rameshwaram. I have been to Rameshwaram twice before this trip when I was a kid but don’t really remember anything about the place and about the temple. This time it was special because obviously I am a grown up now and I can better relate with God. Also, trips with Ishan are never boring. We reached the railway station like usual an hour before and the hunger started striking again though we had our dinner. There is a restaurant at Bangalore railway station platform number 1 near the staircase for the passengers. As we entered the restaurant she told us not to sit on a 4 seater table as we were only two. We found it a bit weird as the whole of the restaurant was empty. Then she denied that we don’t have coffee, we again managed with a coke and at last she did something which was extremely disrespectful, she asked us to leave because we were only having coke and not eating anything. I mean if the restaurant would have been full, then I would have agreed with her that she wanted to make space for people who wanted to eat something but to my surprise, the restaurant was empty and she still did this shameful act. She basically ruined the start. Her manager also didn’t say anything to her because he was thinking it’s a platform and image maintenance is not a thing to manage here because the same people don’t come again and again. But he lost us as a customer for life and that too a very patronage customer who keeps on traveling twice a month through the train.

Anyways, our train was at 9.15, we boarded the train and got moving. In the morning the time to reach Madurai was 7.30 but the train got so delayed that we reached Madurai at 11. It becomes frustrating when the train gets delayed because the trip is of only 2 days and your whole plan is minute to minute scheduled and if you get delayed on your time, the whole trip gets affected. 

Train Train

We got down in Madurai, outside the station was a south indian breakfast place where we had dosa. After this started for Madurai bus stand from where we had to take a bus for Rameshwaram. Madurai’s bus stand from railway station is 12 kms away and this came asa surprise because Madurai is not a very big city to have such a long distance between railway station and bus stand. 

We boarded an Auto rickshaw to reach the bus stand, the auto rickshaw person asked for 200 Rs. As we reached the bus stand, immediately we got the bus that charged us 190 bucks per person for Rameshwaram. We never knew that the distance between Rameshwaram and Madurai is 4 hours so this trip was turning out to be a total fun. The bus journey was new for us. It was a local bus but the weather was good. 

We reached Rameshwaram at around 2.45, our hotel was booked which was right in front of the main gate of the temple. The rooms of the hotel were okay and kind and I believe to give you all future Rameshwaram visitors to book in advance the Maheshwari dharamshala and many other dharamshala in Rameshwaram as these are way too hygienic. We missed on booking a good stay this time but got a perfect learning for the future. We did lunch and started to talk to people nearby the temple to get an understanding of what needs to be done, which gate to enter and all that basic information. I was feeling very low that day, I don’t know the exact reason why but luckily I got to a medical store nearby and I took general medicines as a preventive measure. 

Ishan was super excited this time, he wore perfect authentic south indian temple male attire of dhoti and dupatta and was looking just wow. So there are various unique things about this temple of Rameshwaram, firstly, one who is visiting for the first time will think that this temple is of Lord Ram which is clearly not the case, this temple is of Shiva and Lord Ram established this temple when he went on his search for Sita. Secondly, before doing darshan, an individual has to take bath in 22 kunds and at 1 sea shore which is also known as Agni Theertham. Relevance of taking bath in all these Kunds is it diminishes the sins of a person and grants him wellness and prosperity and also it ails the diseases. 

One before snan at Kund

We took a bath in the sea and started towards the temple. It was such an exciting feeling as we were to take bath in those 22 Kunds inside the temple. To take a bath, there is a ticket price of Rs. 25 per person. The kunds are numbered and as you reach one by one to the kunds, the priest of the temple will dig out one bucket of water from inside the kund (well) and will pour it on you. Each Kund has its own name and significance. The reason why there are 22 kunds in Rameshwaram temple is because there were a total 22 arrows in Lord Rama’s quier. 

After taking the experience of most divine feeling of taking bath in those wells, we headed for darshan and let me tell you, there are so many visitors in the temple, but somehow it doesn’t feel like, the management of people is so nice, no rush, each person can do the darshan for a long time unlike other famous temples of India where people are just rushed to do darshan quickly and get out of the temple quickly. 

After this we went to our room, got ready and started strolling around on the streets. Ishan was in search of Bhajiyas and Pakodas as always. We also booked one activa and the other day we had to start early for Dhanushkodi. We were quite not happy with the food around the temple mostly because of the hygiene and that is why we searched for a cafe nearby. Got one really good suggestion of a cafe whose name was The Cafe. It was 10 minutes drive from the temple place and as we were having our activa it was not more comfortable for us to roam around the town. On reaching the cafe we found that it was a cafe space for a sizable hotel and buffet was there but we did not want to spend money on having buffet dinner in Rameshwaram so we skipped the plan and came near to the temple, searched for a north indian hotel and had dinner there. 

The thing with temple places is there is nothing to do after 9 pm, you are done with the sight seeing, done with the dinner and people also sleep early because they have to get up early in the morning next day. We walked around the premises of temple number of times. The weather in Rameshwaram in the evenings is too good and windy. We kept on walking and one point came when our legs gave up and we went in our room and slept very early as next day was a big one.

Next day was a full on action packed day filled with excitement and loads of feelings. We got up at 3.45 in the morning (Because of me :p) to do the Mani darshan in the temple. Mani is the precious crystal in the form of holy shivling. Darshan of Mani can be done each morning from 4-6.30 AM.

As we were coming out of our hotel, we heard some music, some traditional music which was playing. We were expecting a few people to be standing outside the temple in a queue but as we went in front of the main gate we saw something beyond expectations. There was a huge queue of people standing outside the temple and I thought this was the first one to wake up to do Mani Darshan. My bad. At first we were scared to become a part of the line but in some time merged in the line for the darshan. It took us 2 hours to do the darshan and come out of the temple even after paying the price for early darshan. Now you can imagine how long the queue would have been.

After coming out, we quickly got ready for Dhanushkodi as we were having less time to complete the day’s itinerary. We started and as soon as we left the Rameshwaram town, there came a quiet road, as in, nothing was there on either side of the road, only greenery. Dhanushkodi is 17 km away from Rameshwaram. After some time a checkpost came on which said that the road opens at 6.30 AM and closes down at 5pm because the road and the way to Dhanushkodi was a bit risky for the evening time. 

On the way to Dhanushkodi

As we moved ahead on the road, both sides were big plants, the road was so smooth and these little things made the drive so amazing. As we moved further, on one side of the road there was still water and on the other side it was seaside mud and plants. The still water looked like backwaters till the moment I realized that it was not backwaters. Instead it was the Bay of Bengal, a sea so silent so calm like seriously there were no waves in it. After some time on both sides, the sea was visible. Interestingly, there are two different seas on two different sides of the road, the left side is the Bay of Bengal and Right side is the Indian Ocean. The nature of both the seas is also very different, the bay of bengal is silent and calm whereas the Indian Ocean is fierce and aggressive. It was an amazing view. I have never imagined such a landscape. And the fun part was driving a two wheeler between these two seas.

As we moved further, Dhanushkodi town came which is also known as ghost town because the town got destroyed because of a massive cyclone in 1964. There are remains and ruins of a church, railway station, water tank and also some fishermen live there. I am the most curious kid in the room when it comes to knowing about the history of a place. I stopped my two wheeler at every nook and corner and took a look at each and every destroyed building. 

Ruined Railway Station

After this we headed to the last land of India, 4 km ahead of Dhanushkodi which is also known as Arichal Munai where both Bay of Benagl and Indian Ocean merge. The road there has a circle shape at the end point. I was literally dancing out of excitement when I reached there. We parked our vehicle, there were few people there before we reached and it was a bit crowded. I saw a person having a telescope and charging Rs. 20 from each one interested to see Sri Lanka border and also Ram Setu rocks which were visible inside the sea. I literally missed this opportunity because we forgot to carry cash and at the last land network was not working and phonepe was also not working and as a result I couldn’t see Sri Lanka border which is said to be only 27 km away from Arichal Munai. 

Dhanushkodi

Still we managed to take good pictures at the Merging point of both the sea. We took pictures on the last land, on the last road, on the last water and everywhere last. It was a super fun and beautiful experience to be defined in words. I wanted to know more about where Ram Setu was built and everything but sadly there was no one to calm down my curiosity. 

On the last road of India

The wind there was very heavy just like Kanyakumari. Maybe because both are the last lands of India. We enjoyed every bit of this visit to Dhanushkodi. Dhanushkodi became the highlight of the whole trip. I was emotional when returning back because Dhanushkodi was truly a vision truly, the place had history, beauty, and geographical location was also worth visiting.

When we returned back from Dhanushkodi, we went to Pamban Bridge (India’s first sea bridge) and it is a place worth going. From Pamban we went back to the hotel, packed our bags and started again for Madurai as this time we knew it would take another 4 hours to reach Madurai and we had to catch the train at 8 pm.

As we boarded the first bus that we saw, after some time we realized that the bus was not non-stop and it would take longer to reach Madurai. Our heart beats were high all the time till we reached Madurai. Thankfully, we reached Madurai at 7.30, ate our dinner and waited for our train to come. Waiting at Madurai Junction for the train was a terrible experience as it was sweating a lot because of the super humid climate.

When the train arrived, one more struggle was there in front of us and both our tickets got confirmed but mine was in S1 and Ishan’s was in S13 and there was no chance to get together. We slept at 8.30 only because we were up from 3.30 in the morning and it was an eventful day.

Next day I got up super fresh, reached home and started the back to life routine and headed for the office 🙂

Land of Mahadev: Murudeshwar

Ishan and Me!

I used to visit a lot of temples with my father. Temple trips used to be my father’s favorite kind of trips. He was a true devotee of God. In some way or the other we all are but not to the extent my father was. Ishan and I visit temples but not that often. Ishan is a complete opposite, he is a believer of the fact that God is a belief system, we cannot depend on him to answer all our problems and challenges. He likes to go to temples, spend time there and know the history of the place but that’s all. I am lucky enough to feel the temple thing with two different men who are an integral part of my life. My father made me believe in God and my husband made me feel God around me.

Nowadays, we are on a sprint to visit temples of South India. So we planned to pre book train tickets for Murudeshwar, an ancient coastal shiva temple. Trains are the best way to commute when one has to travel in the south because mostly from Bangalore all the locations are overnight. We booked the train tickets 1 month back for Murudeshwar, that time we were on the waiting list and on the day of journey we went on a single seat in RAC. God, the trains in India are so packed I don’t know why!!!! 

Coincidentally, my mother and brother came to Bangalore for some work at the same time and they also became a part of our trip as my mother loves to go on trips with me and Ishan. As our tickets were already booked and were in RAC, we booked bus tickets for Mumma and Raghav. 

Journey started in the evening as we all boarded the metro. My mother and brother got down at Majestic as they had to catch their bus from there and we boarded our train from SBC Railway station. We got ourselves packed with idli at the station for dinner. 

Ishan and I are really comfortable with each other because we are similar kinds of travelers. But this night was tough. We both had to sleep on the side lower berth for the whole night and there was no chance of getting RAC cleared. I was scared, he was not scared because he can sleep anywhere even in a sitting position also he can sleep and people with this quality are born with a blessing. 

As the night progressed, Ishan slept and I was continuously moving here and there, not able to cope up with the limited space. I was terrified and then around 1.30 AM in the night, TC came and gave us another seat to sleep and he felt like Lord Shiva to me at that time. It felt like Lord Shiva has come himself and blessed us with space to sleep so that we can enjoy the coming day in Murudeshwar. 

The route to Murudeshwar is full of locations where one can come and spend a weekend. The train is super good to reach Sakleshpur, Udupi, Mulki and Karwar. 

Morning at 7, Murudeshwar came. As we got down the train we felt the vibrations of purity there on the railway station itself. It was such a rural style railway station and I really like such stations where the modernization has not finished the essence of the old school vibe which used to be there on the railway stations. 

Railway Station- Murdeshwar

We waited for Mumma and Raghav to come. The wait was short and as soon as they arrived we went to hotel Kamat for breakfast. Kamat is a well known name for south indian breakfast but something was wrong with Murudeshwar’s food as it was not good anywhere. Be it breakfast, lunch or dinner, it was all a compromise to fill up the stomach which is not the case at temple destinations. In the cities where renowned temples are there, food is always great because a lot of tourists come there from all over the country. 

After breakfast, we headed towards our homestay which was only 1 km from the breakfast place. One thing about Murudeshwar is it’s a town stretched on a short distance along the both sides of NH66. This time, keeping my mom and brother in mind we booked a 1 bhk homestay so that we all would be able to live together in the same house. The homestay was a cozy one with a beautiful feel because of the overall ambience. The hall was inclusive of kitchen and dining area, there was one bedroom and a modernized bathroom. Also it was beautiful because it was located in between farms and in front there were mountains visible. There was a homely vibe in the homestay and we all became so comfortable there that we did not wanted to leave and go out. Outside it was humid and hot and inside it was all air conditioned so it was hard for us to get ready and start the journey but we somehow started for the day. 

(The details for the homestay have been attached below in the blog)

After reaching the temple, we saw a huge queue of people. It was hot and crowded but as we entered the temple it became all peaceful. I don’t know what’s the reason but there is some refreshing sensation and coolness in all Shiva temples.  We did a nice darshan, ate a laddoo which was extremely delicious. Couldn’t click pictures as it was very very hot there to be able to pose. After darshan we went for lunch but the food was pathetic. I urge you all readers to keep some ready to cook food packets with you and book an Airbnb so that you will be able to cook for yourselves some food for your soul. 

After lunch my mom and Raghav gave up and went back to homestay as the sun was not tolerable to them and they are big time sleep enthusiasts so they wanted to sleep. Ishan and me are habitual to tolerate sun whatever be the weather so we thought of stretching a bit a click good pictures and shoot some videos for the sake of creating content in front of highlight of the location that is 123 ft. Shiva statue. The light was good at that time and we managed to click /shoot some good photos/ videos in front of the statue. 

Temple and me!!

After this, we ran towards our homestay to chill in the air conditioner for sometime to re-energize ourselves for the evening. As we reached our place, we saw our co-travelers sleeping very peacefully and the temperature inside the house was so chill that we also got tempted to sleep for a while. 

In the evening, we got ready and started for the temple again. One good thing here was our homestay manager used to arrange an auto rickshaw for us everytime we had to go somewhere and it was a good deal because we were staying in a silo area and on our own we couldn’t have been able to find an auto.

We reached the temple, did darshan one more time and attended the aarti, ate laddoo again and this time we ate 2-2 laddoo each because we thought what if tomorrow we could not come to temple and not be able to eat ladoo!!

Familyyyy

Evening time, the atmosphere of the temple was totally different, there was less crowd and we were able to click good pictures inside the temple because of this. There was spot lighting on the shiva statue which was changing every second minute and it looked great. After attending aarti, we went again up to the statue of the Shiva, sat there for a while, it was breezy and that is why it felt so peaceful and serene there.  There was a cafe near the statue which was surprisingly empty, so we went there. It was beach side from where the statue of shiva was clearly visible and that night was full moon so we were lucky enough to spot the moon over the head of Shiva statue. The view was exceptional and very beautiful to remember.

Mahadev!!

After this we went to our homestay and chit chatted for a while and then slept. 

Next morning, as we woke up, we went outside to sit in the verandah and enjoy the birds chirping, the morning breeze and the tea. The plan for the day was not fixed by then, I just had a few thighs on my checklist to complete and we sat along with the manager of homestay to finalize the itinerary for the day. 

I wanted to visit Netrani Island near Murudeshwar as it is very famous for scuba diving and is said to be famous for doing scuba in India but our homestay manager told us that it was closed because the Navy has taken up the island for some Navy related project. He gave us 4 places to visit for the day:

  1. Echo Beach
  2. Mangrove Forest walk
  3. Apsara Konda View Point
  4. Idagunji Temple

The manager arranged an auto rickshaw for us for the whole day and he agreed to take us to all these places for Rs. 1500. It was hard for us to seat 4 people in a 3 seater auto but we are very accommodating people and we managed. I sat on the lap of Ishan all the time 😛 

The first place we went was Echo Beach. From google we came to know that Echo Beach is one of the cleanest beaches of India, we were too excited to go there but as soon as we reached there Ishan saw a board of no swimming in the water board. Disappointment clearly was there on our faces as we went there all prepared wearing swimming costumes. On further investigation, we learnt that the beach is blue flagged, is environment friendly and falls under government control and because of monsoon high tides swimming was prohibited there.

Eco Beach

We felt very bad because we wanted to get inside the water. Since the beach was echo friendly, there was a park near the beach where we went and relaxed for a while, ate ice cream to cool ourselves down. After this, Ishan and I wanted to click some pictures for world ocean day and that is why we went near the beach, Raghav and Mumma chilled for the time till we clicked our pictures in a hut that was there in front of the beach. The beach was rough and aggressive but one thing that was commendable over there was the cleanliness. 

Second, we went to Mangrove Forest Walk. Me and Ishan were familiar with the mangrove forests but my mother and brother saw it for the first time. It was a forest where in between mangroves there was a walking trek. It was adventurous because without any support we had to walk on a thin bridge beside which there were mangrove plantations and beneath the bridge was water. We took a stroll over there, it was super amazing and a complete new experience. Last time in Kerala we went to Mangrove Island where we went inside the mangrove forest through a boat but this time we walked in between. 

After mangrove forest, next we went to ApsaraKonda ViewPoint which was a view point on a cliff and from where sea was visible but only thing is one has walk down 2 km through stairs to reach the seashore and in such a scorching sun we did not wanted to do that so we just went to the view point, it was a man made garden where benches were there and it was covered with lots of trees so it was a calm place to sit and enjoy the afternoon. There was a tap there in the garden and it looked so tempting to me that I went near it and without giving a thought, I just started washing my face thoroughly in that tap to absorb the coolness of that tap water. Once I did it, it was like a trend was set. After me approximately, 15 people came and washed their faces in that tap. It was like everyone wanted to do that but was hesitant to do it and once I did it, everyone felt like doing it. It was a magical feeling to wash face in that tap water because the sunlight was too strong and was absorbing all the energy from the body but once when we washed our faces in that chilled water, the heat became a lot more easy to tolerate. 

After the view point, next we went for lunch to a dhaba place which our rickshaw driver took us to. After lunch, he took us to a temple which was of lord shiva again and it was said to be powerful temple because in that temple, the face of Nandi has moved from front to sideways and it happened on its own and it is said that it happened because the shiva idol in the temple is quiet fierce and it is believed that the idol’s force did that. 

Nandi

After this temple we went to yet another ancient temple known as Idugunji temple of Ganpati. It’s a very famous temple and is known to be very ancient. 

After Idagunji temple, the plan was to go to Murudeshwar beach in the evening but we were running out of time and more than that the energy level was very low of everyone so we just went to the homestay, booked bus ticket for Mumma and Raghav and packed our bags. 

It was hard to leave the homestay as in my entire journey of two years being a traveler I have never stayed in a homestay as comfortable as the Murudeshwar one. It was warm, cozy, comfortable, modernized and beautiful. 

We had dinner at Kamat again and left the town. 

While going back home, I was feeling very bad because I wanted to stay there more and enjoy the time with my family but every good thing has to come to an end and with the same thought we left Murudeshwar with all the good memories for lifetime.

While going back also our tickets were in RAC and this time there did not come any TC in the form of Lord Shiva to protect us from sleeping on the same birth and hence with no option left we had to sleep on a single birth. Surprisingly, this time we adjusted with the situation and slept peacefully.

Homestay Details

S.No.CityCommentsHomestay URL
1MurudeshwarCoastal Pearl Homestay- 1 BHKhttps://www.coastalpearlhomestay.com/

Alleppey Beyond its Houseboats

Canoe Ride

Alleppey is a city known for its houseboats, its backwaters, and its rustic feeling. But it has a lot more to offer, the canoe rides, the best-in-class museum experiences, the luxurious hotel resorts, the culture, the lagoons, the greenery, the lakes and canals that are parallel to the Arabian sea. Although Alleppey was not on the list initially but when we were leaving Alleppey, there was a feeling of fulfillment. So here’s a story of an unplanned trip turning into a beautiful memory of two backpackers!

19.01. 2023

After coming down from Kolukkumalai, we collected our luggage and started our journey toward the second leg of the trip- ALLEPPEY. Alleppey is 193 km (5 hours 30 minutes) from Suryanelli, Munnar and Kochi comes in between the route. Though Kochi was never in the plan but it was coming in between the route and we thought of having lunch there. Kochi came 1 hour before Alleppey. We reached there at around 4 pm and searched for a cafe at Fort Kochi lane. Cafe Kashi came off as the most artistic and beautiful cafe and we went there for lunch. In Kochi, the Biennale art festival 2023 was going on at that time and Kashi Art Cafe showcases art galleries during the Biennale festival. After this, we also went to the location where the Biennale festival was going on but couldn’t find the exact location and as it was already late in the evening we thought of quickly having a look at the very famous Kochi Fishing Nets.

IMG_5176

We started from Kochi at around 6.30 pm and reached AllepPey by 7.30. Very Important to mention here that the weather changed 360 degrees for us. In the morning all we wanted was to immerse our heads inside the shawls and jackets and in the evening, it was steaming hot in Kochi and Alleppey. 

The plan to go to Alleppey was impromptu and so we decided to book an Airbnb on the go while we were traveling to Alleppey. We did not think much at that time and booked a very basic stay near Alleppey beach. It was very basic but truly worth the price as the owner was a very sweet person living downstairs and he managed the Airbnb property very systematically. He suggested us a cafe nearby to have dinner because it was late by then.

20.01.2023

The next day was not planned very perfectly but this is what is the true fun of a road trip. Your plan changes very frequently. We were not having a proper plan and we searched for places to visit in Alleppey and Kottayam topped the list. We went downstairs and the Airbnb owner asked us about our plan for the day. He told us that there is not much to do in Kottayam instead we should go to Kumarkom. And guess what he was right! Still, we went to Kottayam because we had plenty of time and we thought we should go there without thinking much. Kottayam is famous for its geographical location where paddy farming is done 2-4 feet below sea level. Other than this there was nothing much to see in Kottayam. As soon as we realized it we came back to Kumarakom which has very famous and India’s biggest lake, Vembanad lake. Yes! It’s the same lake where the snake boat race happens in August.

Vembanad lake

We decided not to struggle much and went to a lake-side property chain of Zuri. Have had coffee over there and went to the lake view side of the hotel from where Vembanad lake was visible. The lake looked so beautiful from this property. It’s a widespread lake just like a sea without waves. The cottages present in the hotel property are lake view and it is just the place for anybody who is planning to come to Alleppey for a luxurious trip. We sat near the lake for about an hour and spotted beautiful houseboats passing in front of us. After this, we had lunch in the restaurant and then went to the Artefacts shop present on the property. There were some amazing souvenirs, kathakali paintings and other stuff present for sale at the shop but were quite expensive. All in all, Zuri was a luxurious experience on a hard-core backpacking trip.

Next, we went to an Art Museum in Kumarakom. The Art Museum had a ticket of ₹ 80 per person. The first floor had an antique collection of wall clocks, spoons, serving spoons, paan daan, and many other things which reminded me of my grandmother who had many of those things kept preserved with her. The ground floor of the museum was a souvenir shop. Ishan liked a boat over there, a big boat but in my opinion, it did not look like a boat and more like a Nike logo. Where I was liking all the small miniature boats, Ishan was liking big boats. We came to the conclusion of not buying anything in a hurry.

Next, we went to the Coir museum where everything is made up of coir and the technique of peeling, breaking, making ropes of it, putting it in a machine, and making beautiful showcase items out of it is explained. There is also one shop in the museum where one can buy all such coir-made items.

After this, we went to Marari beach which was said to be the only beautiful beach in Alleppey. Watching the sunset was a daily routine for us by then and it continued that day as well. After watching the sunset we went to the Airbnb, took some rest, and decided to go to have dinner at the same cafe nearby that the Airbnb owner had suggested. After dinner, the plan was to go to Ishan’s friend’s home who lives in Alleppey but I slept before even thinking of going there. Yes, it was a hectic and tiring day because of the harsh sun.

21.01.2023

This day, we went Canoeing. Canoe is basically a narrow boat that can be moved through the water by using a small piece of wood. There were options for a boat tour through shikara boat, houseboat, and canoe boat in Alleppey. The reason why we chose the canoe was, it was way too cheaper than the other options, and secondly, canoe tours are famous for village tour reason being canoe is a small boat that can go to narrow streams of backwaters where shikara and other boats can’t go. We wanted to see the village life of people living beside the shores of the backwaters which is why we chose the canoe ride. It cost us around ₹1000 per person including breakfast and lunch in a village home. The price also included a ferry ride from Alleppey city to the village from where the Canoe starts. 

We started from our homestay at around 8 in the morning and reached the pier from where we had to catch the ferry. The ferry tour was of 45 minutes. Ferry is a common source of transport in Alleppey. It is mainly used by people who go to villages nearby for farming. On our way to the village, we saw beautiful houseboats. We thought of coming back to Alleppey sometime with a budget for a luxurious trip.

We reached the village at 9.30, there our tour guide took us to a tiny cute village home and the people living there served us breakfast. We had a couple of foreigners as co-travelers with us that day for a canoe ride. All of us had an amazing breakfast and started the journey.

As soon as we sat down in the canoe, Ishan slept and the reason behind this was the canoe was moving very slowly and the wind was also blowing very slowly which put my husband to sleep. I was so curious all the time that I did not left a chance to capture a single moment of the village life and of the people living there. One thing to note here is in Kerala, all the houses, in villages as well are made up of concrete cement, and well-painted. No house is left unconstructed or is not painted. This shows the prosperity of the state even in the villages. We were in a boat and both sides were surrounded by village houses. There was parked a boat in front of each and every house there. It looked like a car parked in front of houses in urban areas. The canoe passed through very narrow streams of water and it was incredible to see all that village life while sitting inside the boat. 

After half an hour our boat got stuck in between common water hyacinth plants growing in the backwater area of the village. Our boat captain tried to move the boat with the help of a rope for a very long time but gave up after he got to know that the water species are spread 4 km ahead. It was no sense to go ahead and hence we came backward. 

He took us to another direction of the village where we saw ducks swimming inside the water, people playing in the water, women washing clothes near the water, and many such beautiful rustic views. The boat tour got over at 2 pm. It lasted for 4 hours which was quite sufficient time to feel the village life. We came back to the tiny home where we had our breakfast, had lunch over there, and waited for our ferry to come and take us to the city. The ferry came at 3.30 pm and we reached home in 1 hour.

Evening time we kept relaxed and planned to go to Taj Hotel & Resort- Kumarakom for dinner which was an hour’s drive from Alleppey. Here’s a tip for backpackers, if you want to travel cheap but need a touch of luxury in your trip you can plan date nights to such resorts and have a coffee or lunch, or dinner date over there. If you order one vegetable and chapati you would not be charged more than ₹1500 for two people and this way you can take a feel of the beautiful resorts at such touristic locations.

Taj Kumarakom was beautiful. When we reached there, a beautiful lady was performing Mohiniattam, the folk dance of Kerala. She was totally a vision. We ordered our very favorite palak paneer and chapati at the dining restaurant for dinner. After dinner, we took a property tour, the Vembanad lake was not visible at night. After a while, as we were tired we went back home and slept.

The next morning was the checkout day from Alleppey. We packed our bags again and got ourselves moving again toward the mountains. In between, Ishan wanted to meet his classmate from college living in Alleppey. We went to his home and honestly, we were craving home-cooked food (especially dosa and idli) by then. Don’t know if Artificial Intelligence works in the human case also but he already asked his mom and wife to prepare breakfast for us and trust me the breakfast was so delicious. The way they served us and treated us was so welcoming. I really enjoyed visiting them. After chit-chatting with them for an hour we started for our next destination-Vagamon.

Munnar… The Kashmir of Kerala!

Face to face with Jaguar

Kerala was on our list for a long time. We wanted to complete Kerala in a go and for that, a long stretch of holidays was required. Kerala being a huge state requires almost half a month to finish off all the bucket list items. We decided January to be the month for going there after the chaos of the new year celebrations because we wanted our trip to be free from overpriced hotel rates and too much crowd. 

The preparations started almost 30 days before the trip where firstly the itinerary was finalized in such a way that trip consisted of diversity. It was planned in a way that the locations were a mixture of mountains, beaches and backwaters. Thereafter, hotels, Airbnb, and campsites were finalized. Here also we tried to keep a put of diversity in such a way that we stayed in hostels, camps, hotels and Airbnb. Then came the most tedious task of the trips all the time- shopping. We ordered online the clothes then tried them and exchanged them if any of them was not of perfect size. We also spend a whole day fixing up minor things in the Thar so that our road trip goes off smoothly. And lastly, we tried something new this time, we also purchased a cooking gas stove, butane Cannes, utensils to cook and groceries.

So welcome to this Blog which covers an adventurous road trip featuring Kerala.

13.01.2023: Bangalore – Erode – Munnar

We started from Bangalore at 8.30 pm thinking of hitting Erode (our stay location for the night) by 2 am. Like always exiting Bangalore and that too on a Friday evening is a task. But almost in an hour, we were able to exit Bangalore. We were extremely excited for this trip because what we were going to do was the first time in our lives. A 17 days road trip!!!

For me and Ishan, road trips are never boring because we keep on listening to songs, I keep on talking all the time, and he keeps on thinking of some future business ideas all the time. We took a coffee break at a roadside restaurant in Tamil Nadu and started again.

Erode came at around 2 am exactly as we predicted. The hotel was fine but there were mosquitos who did not let us sleep for a minute and after an hour of getting tortured by them, we thought of leaving early for Munnar.

We started at 4.30 in the morning for Munnar. Of course, it was tiring because we were sleep deprived. We stopped the car so many times to take a rest, and have tea just to gain that required energy to reach Munnar. Hats off to Ishan who was driving relentlessly in such a condition.

Welcome to Kerala!
Cheerful Ishan after driving the Thar for 16 hours 😉

By the time we reached Munnar, I was sick. I was having a bad headache, was dizzy and very low on energy.

Our stay was booked at Zostel, Munnar. We checked in there at 12 pm all tired and ready to sleep as soon as we saw the bed. We booked a 6-bed dorm there. This was our first time in any hostel and we booked it because firstly we wanted to keep the essence of the trip as a backpacking trip and secondly, we wanted diversity in our stay locations this time.

The thought behind booking the mixed dorm was there would be a mixed crowd of women and men within the dorm but this was clearly not the case in Zostel Munnar. In our dorm, there were all men. But overall the atmosphere of the hostel was good, it was aesthetically very good, well planned and most importantly the food that you get served in Zostel is very good.

14.01.2023

After sleeping for almost 3-4 hours we woke up at 4 in the evening, had Zostel’s very delicious and filling veg sandwich and went for a walk to nearby tea plantations. Zostel Munnar is located on a steep mountain, it’s so steep that walking on that mountain is very difficult.

We planned of keeping the first day a bit chill and relaxed as we had a very long trip ahead and there was no sense in exerting ourselves that day.

We came to the hostel and planned to make coffee on our gas stove first time. It felt so exciting to cook ourselves on the road trip. It’s some next-level fun. The coffee was great. After having coffee we went to have dinner on the first floor and there we started to plan for the next day’s itinerary.

While Ishan was planning the itinerary, I coincidently met a college friend and it was so much fun catching up with him there at Zostel after 7 years.

Zostel evenings are all about fun, dance and parties because people from various locations come there who are on their solo travel and for them, it’s a nice place to catch up with one another and make friends while traveling. 

15.01.2023

The next day morning we started from Zostel at 5 AM because we wanted to see the sunrise from Chokramundi Peak. The whole hostel was sleeping when we started. We followed the google map and it took us to some unknown place and there was no peak visible there.

Thankfully we saw two bikers coming from the top and they told us there is nothing at the top Chokramundi viewpoint is somewhere else and we were misguided. Google maps sometimes play around with you :p We took a U-turn and followed the bikers and reached the actual location.

There was a viewpoint on the road known as Lockhart Gap and the view was so beautiful from there that we couldn’t stop ourselves from sitting there for a while and making ourselves a cup of coffee. By then preparing coffee on roads became our newfound love.

Chokramundi Peak was 15 minutes or maybe half an hour trek from Lockhart Gap and we were so in love with the view that we canceled the plan of trekking and enjoyed at the Lockhart Gap view point only. The clouds looked like a blanket over the mountains from there and it was just wow.

Lockhart Gap View Point Gap Road

We also covered the Gap road (the most famous road of Munnar). It’s famous because it’s a very shiny, pretty, clean and well-maintained road. After this at a very short distance, there is Chinnakanal Waterfall, we went there but it was not like as shown in the pictures on google maybe because the season was not rainy and we went there during the complete off-season. 

After this we went to the Elephant viewpoint. The natural beauty of tea plantations was so beautiful there. The Elephant viewpoint is surrounded by tea plantations of the Tata group. When we reached there it was 8.50 am and the viewpoint opens at 9 am.

All of a sudden we sensed a rush in the air. The people behind us were running here and there and they were speaking something in Malayalam. We could not understand what was going on until Ishan asked a man and he replied RUN RUN!! There is an elephant coming to this side. We were confused about what to do. Should we be seated in the car? Should we get down and get inside the viewpoint park? Or should we take the car along with us inside the park because chances were high that if the elephant came there he could destroy everything including the car. I was so scared that I ran away inside the park without thinking of Ishan and the car. Ishan started searching for me and then he saw me standing far away in the park and laughed and till now he makes fun of my selfishness of running away without thinking about anything and anybody. All in all the elephant view was fun because we saw a raw elephant roaming around and swimming in the river from one shore to another.

Elephant View Point

Next, we went to a very famous off-roading spot nearby called Mullanthandu Kurishumala. We thought it to be an average off-roading spot but it was one hell of a difficult trail. We tried going up to the top but there was not a single jeep there nor a single tourist and therefore we decided of skipping the idea of going up alone because if by any chance we get stuck it would be difficult to get rescued and come back. My husband was so disappointed while coming back that he pinned the location on his phone and planned of coming there again with his offroading friends in Bangalore.

It was afternoon already and in Munnar what happens is during the day time it becomes too much hot and during evening time it’s cold there. It was too hot and we planned of coming back to the hostel.

On the way, we saw Ripple Waterfall. It was not on the list because it was not looking very great in the pictures but because it came in between we went there. The waterfall was not good again because of the off-season. We came to Zostel after this and went to the canteen for lunch.

In the evening went to a hidden waterfall. It’s promoted by Zostel only and they have also prepared a cue card for it which mentions the instructions while you go down to the waterfall. It was a bit suspense for us as we went down the hill the waterfall was not coming only. We went through cardamom plantations and then after a long wait, the waterfall sound was audible. There the offroading started and it was a good one, trust me! There was a house and a boy living in that village house showed us the waterfall. He also insisted we stay there in the camp but it was all alone there and too scary and hence we denied and went back up because it was already dark and the way up the hill was challenging.

Cue Card to Hidden Waterfall

16.01.2023

The next day we started a bit late. We started from the hostel and on the way, in between the forest area we saw the perfect place to cook ourselves oats. It was cold by then and making oats on the side of the road in a deep forest felt great adventure.

After having breakfast, we headed towards a small town/village called Manakulam. In Manakulam there is a waterfall called Kainagiri waterfall, the expectation level was low since it was a known fact by then that Kerala’s waterfalls are good only during rainy seasons. Still, we went there. The forest department officers were there. They charged us around ₹100 each. It was not too great but since we went early there, there was zero rush and we enjoyed the solitude over there. 

Kainagiri Falls

It was always a wish of mine to cut the tea leaves with the tool that those village ladies use. So next we went in search of a place where one of those tea plantation workers would give me that tool and I will learn how to cut the tea plants just for the experience. We went to a nearby plantation place and asked one lady but she said something in Malayalam and we managed to understand that she can’t give us the tool to us to cut the leaves. I was disappointed but the thought of “next time I will do it” kept me going.

Next, we searched for a place to cook maggie for ourselves. It was too hot by then and there was no shade that we could find. So we sat on a plane empty road in between the plantations and made ourselves some maggie and coffee and trust me it was super fun. Cooking in forests, between the plantations of tea was becoming our favorite activity to do.

Next, we went to Echo Point of Munnar. There was too much rush on the roads by then and the traffic was slow-moving. Here we got a realization that waking up early and covering places to visit in the morning is the best thing to do because it gets too crowdy during the day time in Munnar. The echo point was a lake where boating was done. Both of us were not interested in boating so we decide to sit and chill over there. After half an hour we got ourselves moving toward home and spent a relaxed evening at the Zostel.

17.01.2023 : Munnar – Suryanelli

The next morning was the day of checkout from Zostel. We did the packing and started the day. The next destination was one of a town in Munnar called Suryanelli (20 Km. from Munnar) where we planned to stay at Tentgram. Ishan was way too much missing idli and his wish got served in a hotel near Suryanelli where we stopped for breakfast. 

Breakfast with a view!

The expectation was not much with Tentgram because the name of the Hostel/Camp Site was not familiar. We were done with staying in a hostel and sleeping on bunk beds and therefore we asked Tentgram people if we can pitch our own tent at their property. They denied the request but suggested we stay in their tent. Since the place had good reviews, we agreed to the same and booked a tent. 

When we reached Tentgram and entered their premises, the energy was so positive at their place. Don’t know if was it the hospitality of their managers and caretakers or the overall ambiance, the place felt great. Ishan did the formalities of booking the tent and I was lost in the creativity of the place. The hostels, the library, the dining area everything was just too good. 

Ishan is very particular about the fuel management of the car and as he did not wanted to take any risk we went for refueling the diesel at an hour’s distance petrol pump.

When we returned, the lunch was ready. We had lunch and relaxed in the garden area of Tentgram. After this, we went to shoot a video in the lake nearby which was very beautiful. Since we got to know about Tentgram from a Vlog of an influencer, we also wanted to visit the village area and school nearby which was shown in the vlog but the Tentgram people told us that we cannot visit the village house at that time because of some reason and school was open and classes were going on and we cannot visit there as well. Likewise the wish of cutting the tea leaves, this wish also remained unfulfilled of mine.

In the evening time, we went to a hill to view the sunset. While returning the weather all of a sudden shifted and turned out to be very cold by then. We planned of cooking ourselves Dal-Rice for the first time on the trip. Ishan went to take permission of cooking from the manager because cooking for your own self is not allowed in Zostels. The manager not only agreed but showed us a small tea shop (Chai-Tapri) where we can cook which they were planning to open in near future.

The tea shop was very cute and the setting was perfect to cook some meals. He also lit up small lights there at the tea shop which gave a perfect feel. The atmosphere there at Tentgram during the evening was just so good and homely. When I was cooking and Ishan was helping me, all the staff people of the Tentgram came and visited us, they all were so curious about the stove, the gas container and also about dal rice. They also showed interest in eating dal rice which I could not fulfill that day but next time whenever I will visit Tentgram, Suryanelli I will surely make the staff people a good North Indian meal.

There was staying a group of ladies’ friends along with their children at the hostel. They lit up the bonfire and were dancing around it during the nighttime to Malayalam songs and it was so amazing to see them dance.

After having dinner we also went to the bonfire place and chit-chatted with other hostelites. The temperature there was going low and it was so cold there that we went inside our tent to sleep early. Believe me, during the night, the wind was blowing so furiously that I could hear the noise of the wind very clearly. I was shivering because of the cold all night and couldn’t sleep well because of it but truly it was an experience to sleep in a tent in that cold.

18.01.2023 : Suryanelli – Kolukkumalai

The next morning, I woke up early and went outside to sit in some sunshine. I woke up Ishan also because I did not wanted him to miss such a beautiful morning. The sunshine felt like a blessing from God that morning. We had breakfast and began to plan for the coming days of the trip.

Our plan for the coming four days was not very concrete and as we had seen so many sunsets and sunrise by then we were not too sure about going to Thekkady because it was again all about the viewpoints and we had already seen too many of them. The people staying at Tentgram suggested us to go to Allepey for 2 days and we thought about it for a bit of time and came to the conclusion that it is a good idea. This way some more diversity will also add up to our trip. And Allepey after Kolukkumalai became our new next destination.

At around 4 pm we left Tentgram for Kolukkumalai and leaving that place was so difficult. That was a little paradise between Munnar and Kolukkumalai. The people, the staff, the atmosphere, the hospitality and the welcoming nature of everyone present over there were amazing and the least I can say about Tentgram is when I was leaving that place my heart was full. 

Ishan was from starting had the wish to stay up at the top of the Kolukkumalai. At the top, there is only one campsite known as the Jaguar campsite. The challenge with these people is they do not pick up calls for booking purposes. Well! God knows the reason. Maybe they work on a pre-booking purpose. So we met a friend in Munnar Zostel and he told us about this campsite called Camp Tea Forest situated at 7000+ feet altitude but not exactly at the top of Kolukkumalai mountain. We thought of booking this camp just for having an experience of how it feels to stay at 7000+ altitude overnight and start the trek from there.

People who want to go to Kolukkumalai but don’t want to stay up can book the jeep tour from where they are staying as well. The jeep will pick them up from where they are staying at 3 am in the morning and by 6 am they will be at the top of the hill.

Kolukkumalai top camp stay

19.01.2023

In our case, we woke up at 4 am and after having tea, started the trek. It was an hour-long trek and we had a family of 6 cousins who were our fellow trekkers. It was pitch dark when we started and extremely cold. But the difficulty level in trekking helped us to forget about the cold totally. On a scale of 10, I would rate it to be 7 on the difficulty level. Well! I am not the right person to give the rating because I am completely a noob when it comes to trekking and honestly, I don’t like it much. With the help of the phone’s torchlight, we climbed up the hill.

The stars were visible at that time and the whole of the sky was filled with them and it was a view to remember. It was steep in some places but the willingness to see beauty at the top kept us going.

We reached the top by 6 am and sunrise was about to happen at 6.40 am. We all settled down and honestly, words can’t justify the beauty of that place. The sky was yellow and orange. The mountain in front had a peak that was sharp like a needle and clouds were below us spread over like a warm blanket protecting the mountains from the wind. And a few minutes later the wait got over and the sunrise happened and it was mesmerizing.

I would really recommend if anybody is going to Munnar this place is must go. Our trekking head was a bit in a hurry to go down and he made a rush to move quickly though we all wanted to spend time there.

Face to face with Jaguar

At the top, there is a Jaguar faced rock which is spectacular and I had my Instagram moment over there by getting inside the crowd and taking a picture quickly with the Jaguar. 

We got down and had an authentic Keralite breakfast which included, Pattu (rice ball) and chickpeas curry. It was so cold that washing hands was difficult there. But the hot breakfast served was amazing. After half an hour our jeep came to pick us up and take us down. One thing to note over here is at Kolukkumalai trek, an individual is not allowed to take his own vehicle/jeep. The reason behind this is it’s a complete off-roading trek and a normal vehicle meant for roads will not be able to go up.

The camp people did not allow Ishan to take his Thar as well hence we kept it in Suryanelli only in camp parking. Although while going up we realized that the difficulty level was moderate and we could have gone easily with our own vehicle.

Next time maybe when we will go there with our offroading friends we will make this happen.

Munnar, Suryanelli and Kolukkumalai are scenic destinations in Kerala. I visited in the winter months, but honestly, this place is amazing year-round with amazing weather. Honestly, this part of the trip is especially the closest to my heart. I hope you enjoyed reading the first part of the Kerala trip blog and if you did, please hit the like button, and leave a comment.

Here is a sneak peek of how we planned our Munnar trip.

6 Day Munnar Trip Itinerary

DateDayCityComments
13.01.20231TravelBangalore- Erode
14.01.20232Erode- MunnarLocal sightseeing of Tea Plantations
15.01.20233MunnarChokramundi Peak, Lockhart Gap, Gap Road, Chinnakal Waterfall, Elephant Viewpoint, Mullanthandu Kurishumala, Ripple Waterfall and Hidden Waterfall
16.01.20234ManakulamKainagiri Waterfall and Echo Point
17.01.20235SuryanelliTentgram
18.01.20236KolukkumalaiStay at tent at the top
19.01.20237KolukkumalaiSunrise Trek

Hotel Details

Sr. No.City/ TownCommentsHotel URL
1.MunnarBook mixed dorm only if interestred in staying with others otherwise rooms are good.http://bit.ly/40LQt3k
2.SuryanelliBook Tent https://bit.ly/3Y8Xklr
3.KolukkumalaiBook Tent at the tophttp://bit.ly/40ynfVp

Restaurants in Munnar where you can get good vegetarian food

Sr. No.LocationNameLink
1. MunnarZostel, Munnarhttp://bit.ly/40LQt3k

Items good to have for Munnar Trip

Sr. No.ItemQuantity/TravellerPrice URL
1.Water proof phone pouch1299https://amzn.to/3QV7suI
2.Power Bank11049https://amzn.to/3Aq2dfv
3.Quechua bag1199https://bit.ly/3Kr6LXn
4.Travel Sling Bag1599https://bit.ly/3AtmCQL
5.Rain Coat1599https://bit.ly/3pORRAL
6. Gas Stove and Butane13099https://bit.ly/3DOE9Fv

Must have Medicines for Munnar Trip

Sr. No. SymptomMedicineQuantity
1.FeverDolo1 strip
2.Allergy tabletAllegra1 strip
3.Mosquito BiteOdomos1 tube
4.AcidityEno/ Aciloc4-5 packets/ 1 strip

Itinerary Planning Checklist

Sr. No.Task
1.Finalize Road Route
2. Finalize Itinerary
3. Book Hotels/ Airbnb/ Campsite
4. Buy Clothes
5. Car Service
6.Fuel refill of car and air check for tyres

Few tips for Munnar Trip

Sr. No.ForCategoryTip
1. BothCarry 1-1 pair of sleepers and sport shoes with you.
2. BothBook your saloon for the services 1 day before the travel to make sure you look really good when you start.
3.BothFinish off hotel booking 30 days before the travel to get the best deals on hotels.
4. BothFinish packing at least 3 days before the travel.
5.BothFinish shopping at least 10 days before the travel, there might be some items ordered online that would need return and exchange, last moment orders will not be useful in case it misfits.
6. BothInstead of booking hotel in advance at a small town place (Erode), book hotel on the way where you see a proper hotel where you can rest atleast and safety is also taken care of.
7. BothCar servicing should be done atleast a week before the trip.

Thailand, You were beautiful!

The Grand palace- Bangkok

What comes to your mind when you think of a couple’s first-anniversary trip!? I am sure the things such as romantic getaways, candlelight dinners, date nights, parties, and stargazing must have come to your mind. But here the story is a bit different, romantic getaways were day-long island hopping tours, candlelight dinners were aloo parathas in front of the sea, and parties were daily sport/ water activities. All in all our first-anniversary trip to Thailand was adventurous and romantic in its own way. The trip gave us all sorts of adrenaline rush at times. Each and every moment of the trip is very close to our hearts.

So here’s our Thailand trip put up in words along with some itinerary ideas and details you can have a look at for your visit to this beautiful Country.

Day 1 – 1.07.2022

We started off the day with things to do in hand before leaving. Ishan took work from home so that he could concentrate on end-minute packing and tasks that were remaining. The flight was at around 11.20 at the night. The man of the house is quite punctual when it comes to catching flights and reaching airports on time. We left home at 5 PM and it started raining heavily in Bangalore. The weather was too good to give a kickstart to our trip. We reached the airport at around 6.30. The check-in for Airasia was not started back then. Completed check-in, security, and immigration and went to enjoy the lounge. Must say, Bangalore has the most premium lounge facility available. We had a great time and the hospitality was also commendable. Sat in flight and as the clock hit 12, we wished each other a happy anniversary and woke up in Bangkok.

Kempegowda International Airport- Bangalore

Day 2- 2.07.2022

It was 4.30 AM as per the Thailand clock, the next flight was at 9.50 AM and we had enough time to get things done at the airport. Firstly, we went for the Visa on Arrival (VOA) process. There was a huge crowd over there of tourists. Trust me, opting for an E-visa or for a normal visa in India is less painful. You tend to save some money when you opt for VOA but it’s not worth the pain you get at 4.30 in the morning, standing in a queue, waiting for your time to come to get things processed. We got the visa thing done by 6.30 AM. We went for immigration, bought a sim card, and then as we were starving we were looking for something vegetarian to eat (At least me :p). Ended up eating french fries as literally there was nothing vegetarian to eat at the airport.

Now the time was to catch the flight for Krabi. We were thrilled with the excitement that was there in our eyes. The challenge with Lion Airlines and Airasia is quite the same, that is, the less leg space. I suggest booking flights in advance and going for Thai Airways or Indigo just to make your journey more comfortable.

We landed in Krabi at around 11.30 AM. At the airport, while exiting, the plan was to book a Grab taxi but we saw one mouth-watering offer of a taxi dropping us at Phi Phi pier in just 90 Bhat. We thought the pier meant the center of Phi Phi island. We paid for it and sat in a huge Toyota pickup van. The van dropped us on a deck sort of an area. I searched for Phi Phi island and it was showing 38 more km ahead. We asked the van person if Phi Phi is still so distant from this place then why did he drop us on an unknown street!? He said no car or van or no other transport can take you to Phi Phi, only speed boats and ferries can. And pier means a deck from where you can board a ferry to the destination. We were perplexed in a new city where language is also a barrier about what to do next. Finally paid 450 Baht and booked ourselves a ferry ride to Phi Phi island.

Ferry and speedboats from Krabi are only there at two timings, that is at 10 AM and at 3 PM. It was around 1 PM, we were hungry like dead and it was another 2 hours for the ferry to start and another two hours for the ferry to reach Phi Phi island. The deck was an isolated place, with no hotels, nothing. I opened my bag full of munchies and that proved to be a life savior.

The ferry ride was amazing. Simply put we never sat inside a boat for 2 long hours and that too in the furious sea. It was every sort of worth it to have waited for that long just to see the amazing view. We were refreshed and excited again. By the time Phi Phi came we were quite acquainted with the blue waters.

Phi Phi is a secluded small little beautiful island where most of the people who came as a tourist were foreigners. In Phi Phi you can spot less vehicles, where the deck was ending, we saw a person standing there with our hotel name card in his hand. He took us to the hotel after keeping our luggage in a haath-gaadi. The route to the hotel he took was the Phi Phi market route. I was super amazed and excited to explore the market since it was looking all sorts of amazing.

We checked into the hotel and the view from the balcony was surreal. We only imagined peeking out of the balcony and having the Indian Ocean as the view but it actually happened in Phi Phi. Everywhere there was the sea. Sleeping, standing, laying in bed, from every corner of the room you can spot the beautiful sea.

We got ready in the evening and thought of exploring the night market there. There were two typical Indian restaurants in Phi phi- Himalayan and Papaya restaurants. Himalayan was pretty close to our place of stay and hence it became our daily go-to place for dinner, lunch, and breakfast. Since I and Ishan are not very variety conscious, we stick to one dish and order it daily. No confusion, PERIOD! Our go-to dish became- Malai Kofta, Chapati, and Aloo paratha. Literally, we ate only these menu items during our course of the journey in Thailand.

Explored the night market. It’s good to see the market only if you are not an impulsive buyer or a shopaholic. We went to an Australian Scuba Diving agency shop. It was very costly and we thought scuba could also be done in the coming days. Then we explored other tourist and activity agents and the snorkeling tour caught our attention. We paid 800 Baht per person for the snorkeling tour. It was a day-long tour till sunset including breakfast and lunch and fruits. Snorkeling tour is good to explore areas around Phi Phi from two points of view, one is you get to do a new activity completely and the other is those who don’t want to indulge in the activity or are non swimmers can cover at max places in a single day and have fun just by being inside the boat and getting inside the water with the help of a life jacket.

Day 3- 3.07.2022

The next day was dreamy. Ishan asked me to have aloo paratha for breakfast as he was skeptical if we will be getting any vegetarian food during the day and guess what he was right. The tour was full of foreign tourists, but trust me it was the company of those co-travelers that made the day tour as interesting as it can be and the most memorable one. We started from Phi Phi at around 10.30 AM and covered the following areas:

Bamboo Island: A beautiful Island, with white sand, huge trees, and crystal blue waters as long as eyes could stretch. Stayed there for about half an hour. I tried snorkeling and gave up instantly. Ishan was still hopeful like always that he would do it.

Banboo Island

Nui Bay: The color of the water was a bit green over here. It was not, in particular, an island, instead a nearby middle place to the shore where the water level was 4-5 feet and was the best place to do snorkeling and view the fishes inside the water.

Nui Bay

Monkey Island: So this place is where huge cliffs are there, the water is still a bit greenish and monkeys reside here on the cliffs. There is a small shore area that you can observe if you get down from the boat and pass between two huge cliffs. The view is just fabulous here. Monkeys like always are the limelight stealers. People give them fruits and things to eat which they collect by hanging from the cliffs.

Loh Samah Bay: Loh Samah Bay is one hell of a beautiful place. Huge cliffs are covered with green plants on them, green water. I am sure I can’t convince anyone about the beauty of this place just through words but maybe the video and the picture below of the place can!

Loh Samah Bay

Loh Samah Bay

Maya Bay: Maya Bay is a much talked about island because of the beauty of the place and also because it has been the location of shooting for Hollywood movies. The entry is restricted here, you only get to see the place from the boat.

Maya Bay

Viking Caves: These are named as caves because the cliffs look like cave-like structures. Entry is restricted in these caves. You can only do snorkeling.

Viking Caves

Sunset Beach: This was a point where at any point of time if you are inside the water easily you can be surrounded by 100-200 small cute fishes. Seems like they enjoy being around you. The day we went for the tour was hazy, no sunlight was there and hence no sun. We couldn’t spot the sunset but the tour still holds the first position in my times to remember list from the Thailand trip.

We went to the hotel. The whole day we were in the water and were tired. Rested a bit and again went for the night market and party place exploration. Ended up enjoying ourselves at Slinky Beach Bar, the fire show is quite famous there.

Slinky Bar-Phi-Phi

Day 4- 04.07.2022

This day was beautiful and adventurous in its own way. Woke up and phewww there was rain everywhere. It was raining to the extent the mountains outside were not visible, and the water was not visible. Sea had taken on another face and was fierce, not at all like the day before when we enjoyed and jumped inside it with no fear. It was something else. We thought of not wasting time because this was our last day in Phi Phi. Went to see Phi- Phi Viewpoint. It was a steep mountain that we climbed just to have a look at the island from the top. The cats there up at the mountain are sort of arrogant and get mad easily. So beware of cats there. The view was amazing from the top. The visibility was a bit low as it was all cloudy.

Phi-Phi Viewpoint

Got back and it started raining to the next level. We were praying to God that the trip to Ao Nang doesn’t get canceled because of the weather as we had to travel by ferry. The rain stopped by the time of checkout from the hotel and we boarded a huge ferry more like a ship.

The boat ride was amazing as always. The weather was amazing. It was raining. Slowly as we were coming close to Ao Nang, there was a clear transition in the color of the water from blue to green which I obviously was not liking because I am obsessed with blue waters.

The cliffs started looking different as we were approaching Ao Nang. The boat stopped at Railay beach for the passengers who booked a hotel there as it is very close to Ao Nang. We reached Ao Nang in another 5-10 minutes.

Way to Ao Nang

Ao Nang seemed civilized. Bus and car transportation was there, and roads were there. It was hard to bid goodbye to Phi Phi because of the experience we had there but Ao Anang was also welcoming that way. The hotel had a proper sea view, not like Phi Phi where you wake up and stand and there is the sea but it was a proper sea view from a little bit far away.

The market street/ walking street was very close to our hotel. We got ready and got ourselves moving on the streets of Ao Nang. The shopping street is mostly the same in both Ao nang and Phi Phi. Ao Nang is more commercialized that way. Here also we found an Indian restaurant called Noori. It’s a highly rated Indian restaurant and any Indian who is a vegetarian will surely know the name of this place. It was hardly 500 meters away from our hotel. We booked a rock climbing tour at Railay Beach for the very next day. Got a sense of Ao Nang as a place and slept.

Day 5- 05.07.2022

The next day, had breakfast at the hotel and waited for the pickup truck to pick us up and take us to the deck. The Pickup truck took us to a rock climbing accessory shop. They gave us the necessary accessories like shoes, a helmet, and a magnesium bag. We moved to the deck and from there along with our activity instructors reached Railay Beach. Railay Beach is famous for rock climbing because of the famous cliffs that it has. Instructors tied us to the harness thing and it was quite an anxiety-giving activity. We were accompanied by people from Hong Kong. The good thing with people from there is they are flexible and fun-loving and adventurous. There were mostly 3 levels of rock climbing, once when you are done with an easy level you get to do the other. Rock climbing is not as easy as it looks. It requires arm strength and full body strength to pull the body up. For that matter, getting down with the help of a harness is also not easy. It is one hell of a physically endurance-engaging activity.

I was scared to climb up as usual and hence chose the easiest of the rocks to climb and was successful the second time. Ishan obviously did well here as well and climbed 2.5 rocks and those too difficult ones. I tell you I call him BUSHMAN for a reason :p.

Rock Climbing-Ishan

Rock Climbing- Khyati

After that, we went to Phra Nang caves and Railay beachfront. The color of the water at this beach is dark green and the rocks here are pretty artistic as if someone has made them the way they are.

Railay Beach

After coming back from Railay Beach we went to Thai Spa. The Thai spa experience was a little bit weird because they engaged us in a lot of muscle stretching which was painful but yes at least foot and back massage was what we enjoyed.


We rested for 2 hours during the afternoon and in the evening like usual, we went out in the street to book the activity tour for the next day as well as to look out for some party scenes outside. Booked for The 4 island tour for the next day which cost us around 600-700 baht per person. One thing to keep in mind over here is the more you survey the activity vendors the better the price point you will get. After that, we went to a local street side very casual Bar/cafe named Yesterday. The simplicity of the Bar has nothing to do with the crowd it was attracting because of the vibe it was creating. The staff had a strange and special quality of engaging their customers. Only 3 ladies were running it. But their connection with the crowd was very personal. The singers were also very much engaging and the cherry on top was they were singing songs which were known. In all, we had a great time there.

Yesterday Cafe

Day 6- 06.07.2022

The next day started with breakfast at the hotel and then we started on the 4 island trip. This trip was simple in comparison to the other adventurous trips we did each day. For a change, all our co-passengers were Indian this time. The island that we covered in this tour were as follows:

Tup Island: Tup island had water of emerald color. The water was pristine clear here. As soon as we reached here everything was par max beautiful. The weather, the water, the scenery, everything. The good thing is we clicked all the pictures as soon as we got off the boat because in 5 minutes the island’s view was completely different. It started raining heavily and it was all windy. There was no shed there and as a result, we had to come and sit on the boat.

Tup Island

Tup Island

Chicken Island: The shape of this island looks like the upper face/ head portion of a chicken. It has no shore, you just have to get down in the water and the snorkeling scene is pretty good over here.

Poda island: This is like a long island spread across. Changing rooms, proper eating space, and washrooms are there. There is a tall rock in front of this island which is all covered with grass and that makes the view here very nice. The watercolor is beautiful over here. It’s neither blue nor green nor emerald but it’s beautiful cos it’s a mixture of three.

Poda Island

Railay Beach and Phra Nang caves: As a part of the tour we had to go to this island one more time but we chilled here this time as we were playing with water. Our co-passengers told us that we were enjoying the trip the most and to the fullest, which was true in every sense.

This day was tiring strangely. We were too tired to do anything so we just booked a scuba dive for the next day which cost us 2600 baht per person and got our food packed and chilled in our hotel room.

Day 7- 07.07.2022

The next day was the big day because it was the scuba dive day. Scuba I feel is the most thrilling and difficult activity for some people who are hydrophobic in some way. We did light breakfast and went to the activity vendor place, where we tried out outfits for the dive and other accessories like fins and masks. Waited for a while for other people to join us and finally started off. It was someplace not very near to the Ao nang beach. As we were approaching our destination where the dive was meant to happen, in the water there was visible balloons/ polythene like something and it was the jellyfish and it was present there in huge numbers. Seeing so many jellyfishes it became harder for me to jump inside the water. There were two teams on the boat. One team was of experts and one was of complete and sort of noobs. There were two instructors as well. The experts were so experts that they had already dived 40 times before. They geared themselves up, wore the costume, hung the oxygen cylinder and four of them jumped with their instructor and in a few minutes disappeared.

Scuba Ferry

Now our instructor started giving us the instruction for the dive. In our group, there were 3 people, Ishan, me, and one Gujrati fellow. Ishan was doing it for the second time and was looking pretty confident. I and the other guy were scared like anything. The instructions were simple to listen the instructor asked us to take care of 3 things Equalize our ears if any pressure builds up or water gets inside, clear our eye mask if any water gets inside and if any water gets inside the mouth press a button and get that water out fast. He told us if you take care of these things I will take care of the rest. Ishan jumped first, I jumped second and conquered my fear of jumping inside the water. Practiced those three things and then he took us till shore and things were looking easy till then. When he took us a little bit deeper, small pressure started building in my ears and I gave up. I regret that I was doing good and I gave up. But I was happy Ishan did it well and enjoyed watching coral leaves, fishes, Nemo fish, etc.

Scuba Dive

Then we went to the second place where people who opted for a second dive did scuba diving. I and Ishan just wore a life jacket and jumped in the water and chilled. It felt like a date in the sea truly.
As It was our last evening in Ao Nang, and there was no activity scheduled for the other day, we relaxed in the evening. Went to the street, enjoyed our favorite place “Yesterday” and slept.

Day 8- 08.07.2022

The next day, nothing, in particular, was planned so we went for breakfast, when we came back to the room, we found out that electricity was gone in all of Ao Nang and would not come back till 5 in the evening. The weather was extremely hot that day. We thought of going to Koh Lanta or James bond Island but couldn’t bring the drive within ourselves to go anywhere. So we decided to just chill in our hotel room balcony, near Ao Nang beach and time passed by and we left for Krabi Airport.

Breakfast

Breakfast with a view

It was a bit tough to leave Ao Nang because in 4 days we got attached to the place, we were enjoying our time like anything there but they say, all good things have to come to an end!

From Krabi, our flight was at 9 PM and we reached Bangkok by 11 PM. Bangkok has its own charm. From the flight itself, the city was looking beautiful and full of lights. It was shining. It felt weird also when we landed because we came back to land after 8 days of beach waves, small islands, and calm ocean. The city has huge skyscrapers which are really attractive.

We reached Ibis hotel which was located near Chao Phraya River. Our room had a river view there and we missed the sea vibes badly.

Ibis Hotel room view

Day 9- 09.07.2022

The next day we had a nice breakfast at the hotel itself and started to plan the itinerary for the day. Our first resort was The Grand palace. The Grand Palace cannot be described in words as it is so huge and the architecture is mesmerizing over there. There are shapes of the temples which are so tall that while looking upwards your neck will hurt badly. The place is quite worth the price it asks for, that is 1200 Baht per person.

The Grand Palace

The Grand Palace

After that we went to Siam Square, It’s a huge marketplace with malls interconnected. The malls here are a total luxury. Luxury as in it has a Rolex watch of 10 lakhs and Prada Bags range starting from 1,50,000 rupees. The crowd here was a vision. There were people floating from one mall to another. All in all, it was an experience to be there.

Siam Square

Next in the evening, we went to a skyscraper building restaurant named Above Eleven which was on the 32nd floor. The world seemed so nice from that place. It was all illuminated with bright lights. We had our dinner there and came back to the hotel.

Above Eleven

Day 10- 10.07.2022

The next day we just planned to be chilled as it was our last day of the trip and we had to catch a flight at night. We had breakfast, relaxed in the hotel room, checked out by 1 PM, and then went for lunch at a nearby Indian restaurant. Did window shopping for electronics in a nearby mall. I loved a mini video game-shaped speaker over there, the drone and other stuff at that showroom were quite funky and attractive. We thought of coming next time there with a properly planned budget for electronics.

Mini video game shaped speaker

Next, we went to the hotel, picked up our luggage, and started for Bangkok DMK Airport. At the airport did all the formalities of immigration, and security, and after that went to the lounge. The DMK lounge was far below the expectations as Bangalore’s International as well as the local lounge, both are really great. There was no veg food at the lounge, food was limited, and the lounge closed at 7.30. At around 8.30 our flight took off and we reached India by 11 as per IST.

If I were to explain this trip in short, It was an experience that can’t be put up in words. It was a compilation of luxury, adventure, nature, fun, sky, water, freshness, thrill, and relaxation. As I write this note I relived those moments. I got to know my life partner, my companion in a better way through this trip. I got to know my possibilities, me as a traveler, me as a non- homesick person. Today, when I close my eyes, I see blue waters, boats moving above the waves, the familiar breeze of the ocean, and everything good.

Lastly, I want to say- Thailand you were Beautiful!

Khyati Vyas

Here is a sneak peek of how we planned our Thailand trip.

9 Day Thailand Trip Itinerary

DateDayCityComments
2022-07-01 + 2022-07-021TravelBangalore to Phi Phi
2022-07-032Phi PhiIsland Tour
2022-07-043TravelPhi Phi to Ao Nang by Ship
2022-07-054Krabi – Ao NangRock Climbing
2022-07-065Krabi – Ao NangIsland Tour
2022-07-076Krabi – Ao NangScuba
2022-07-087TravelAo Nang to Krabi airport to Bangkok
2022-07-098BangkokBangkok Sightseeing
2022-07-109TravelBangkok to Bangalore

Hotel Details

Sr. No.CityCommentsHotel URL
1Phi PhiBook Superior sea front room without breakfasthttps://bit.ly/3KslO3c
2Ao NangBook Superior sea view room with breakfasthttps://bit.ly/3wBdsjW
3BangkokSuperior room with breakfasthttps://bit.ly/3ARJaMj

Indian Restaurants in Thailand

Sr. NoLocationNameLocation
1Phi PhiHimalayahttps://bit.ly/3q9CfIx
2Ao NangNooriehttps://bit.ly/3pOhfqo

Must have items for Thailand Trip

Sr. No.ItemQuantity / TravellerPrice (₹)URL
1Water proof Phone Pouch1299https://amzn.to/3QV7suI
2Power Bank11049https://amzn.to/3Aq2dfv
3Very small Quechua bags1199https://bit.ly/3Kr6LXn
4Travel Sling Bag1599https://bit.ly/3AtmCQL
5Rain Coat1599https://bit.ly/3pORRAL

Must have Medicines for Thailand Trip

Sr. No.Symptom / PreventionMedicineQuantity / Traveller
1FeverDolo, Crocin, Any paracetamol tablet1 strip
2HeadacheFenak plus1 strip
3HangoverHimalaya party smart capsules1-2 Strips
4Basic Allergy tabletAllegra1 strip
5Mosquito BitesOdomos1 Tube/Gel

Itinerary Planning Checklist

Sr. No.Task
1Finalise Itinerary
2Check Travel Guidelines
3Book Flight Tickets
4Book Hotels
5Buy Visa
6Switch On International Roaming
7Buy Clothes for Trip
8Download Travel Covid Certificate
9Buy Currency
10Buy Insurance
11Take Printouts of everything
12Checkin – for Flights

Few tips for Thailand Trip

Sr. No.ForCategoryTip
1GirlsMustVisiting any places of worship and temples in Thailand you will have to cover your shoulders and knees so bring a long skirt or pants and a scarf to cover your shoulders.
2BothDownload Grab Taxi App for local taxi service.
3BothMake sure you carry adequate amount of swim wears, half of your day will go in swim wear itself.
4BothMost airlines in India offers limited luggage and Thailand does not have super luxury of people picking up your luggage all time time, carry as less as possible.
5BothCarry 1-1 pair of sleepers and sport shoes at the minimum for sport activities.
6GirlsHeels might not be the best option to carry in Krabi as most part of the day you will be walking and it wont be super convenient.
7BothCredit Card usage in Thailand will add 3% additional charges, but currency exchange in India is more expensive than 3% extra charges. Try putting most of your spends on Credit Card / Debit Card, will help you save some quick bucks as well as points will be earned.
8BothMustCheckin 24 hours before your travel starts.
9BothBook your saloon for the services 1 day before the travel to make sure you look really good when you start.
10BothFinish off hotel booking 30 days before the travel to get the best deals on hotels.
11BothMustPay your hotel in full, for Visa purposes, you will need paid hotel tickets, otherwise the visa will not be granted.
12BothFinish packing at least 3 days before the travel.
13BothFinish shopping at least 10 days before the travel, there might be some items ordered online that would need return and exchange, last moment orders will not be useful in case it misfits.
14BothDon’t purchase things that looks attractive in Thailand but is of now use for you in India
15BothMustKeep all the documents handy in a google drive.
16BothMustSwitch on international transactions on your debit card and credit card for everyone who is travelling, this is for any emergency purpose.

Documents required for Visa

Sr. No.DocumentsSpecificationsPrintout Needed
1PassportKeep Original & Xerox (front and back side) bothYes
2Photo2 PhotographsYes
3Address ProofAadhar Card original and Xerox (front and back side) bothYes
4Flight TicketsDeparture & Arrival tickets are compulsoryYes
5Hotel TicketsTickets needs to be paid in advance and booked for all daysYes
6Bank Statement6 Months with ₹ 50,000 balance.Yes
Please check the latest guidelines when you are travelling. The requirements keep getting updated.

Estimated Spend details for 2 People in Thailand

Sr. No.HeadSpendsComments
1Flight Tickets49580Always plan the trip first and then book the tickets, we ended up paying more because of not planning till the last destination. But do book the tickets in advance.
2Hotel23471Pre Book as much as possible, and unless you are booking a 5 star property, stay in budget hotels / airbnb
3Activities24372Do as much as local activities as possible. Don’t prebook the activities, you can do research but book only after reaching there and make it a day ahead, some days you might feel not doing any activity.
4Forex Charges1047I Used Credit card at most places just to save cash.
5Food + Party16321Always try to eat local easily available food. Don’t over drink, it would result in wastage of a day.
6Massage1000Did not had a very good experience.
7Visa10780Always take visa before landing in the country, in Thailand we wasted 2 hours on VOA
8Insurance1128Buy this in case of emergency, you will have something to lean upon and get back to the country.
9Clothes Shopping (India)11435We bought clothes from India, most people suggest that shopping is cheap in Thailand, but there is only 10% difference on branded items and its not worth your time, each day would be costing you Rs. 20,000+, so you essentially save money when you shop for 2 lakhs or more.
10Petty Expenses1987Spend where you enjoy, don’t buy random stuff.
11Gadgets3821Carry only the ones which would be needed, don’t over load but also make sure you have bare minimum requirements fulfilled.
12Salon2421Book this in advance a day before your travel.
13Taxi + Local Travel7376Download Grab / local taxi of the country.
14Roaming + SIM4719Have a good roaming pack which allows unlimited incoming calls.
15Cash32787We took ₹ 40,000 cash equivalent in TBH, but not all was utilised to balance money was returned.
Total192245