Periyar Tiger Reserve

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Travel for me is all about discovery and escape. It is a journey both outward and inward that is marked not by milestones but by memories. And this was exactly the reason why I wanted to gift my parents a ‘family trip to Kerala’ on their 25th Anniversary rather than a ‘materialistic possession’ for we all know, things fade away but memories, well, they last forever.

Since we had limited number of days for a holiday, Kerala was the best and perfect option for us. Taking a break into the lush greenery of this paradise was something that we always wanted and it coming true now.

TravelTriangle was found while searching for packages for a family trip to Kerala and since their agents gave me the best response and quotes, I chose them as our holiday planner.

Here are the details of our family trip to Kerala

  • Duration: 5D/4N
  • No. of people: 6 adults
  • Package cost: 73,800/-
  • Itinerary: Cochin – Munnar (2days) – Thekkady (1day) – Alleppy (Houseboat stay) – Cochin
  • Inclusion: Airport / Railway station pick up and drop, A/C 7 seater vehicle with driver for all 5 days, Hotel stay for 3 nights ( 3 A/C rooms with double bed, Meal: Breakfast only), 3 bedroom A/C private houseboat (All meals: welcome drink, lunch, snacks, dinner and breakfast ).
  • Exclusion: Flight/ train tickets, Any other meals than breakfast in Hotel stays, Any fares or ticket costs at National parks and other places, Any personal expenses, Any other expense which is not included in above inclusions list.

Day 1: Cochin to Munnar

Date: 23rd November
Flight: Pune to Cochin [2.35 AM to 4.30 AM]
Hotel Stay: Jannah Residency, Adimali (Munnar)
Places Visited: Cherai beach, Cheeyappara and Valara waterfalls, Deepa spice world, Elephant ride at Chillithodu.

Cherai beach cochin
family trip to cherai beach

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We reached Cochin on 23rd Nov at 4.45 am in the morning. Even it was too early, to our surprise, Driver was already ready with the car at the Airport. Since, we reached so early and had so much spare time, we decided to change our itinerary little bit and visit Cherai beach early morning and then head towards Munnar.
Within 1.5 hrs, we reached at Cherai beach and enjoyed the Sunrise time at the beach. The beach was less crowded, clean and had little structure with stone around the cost like “Marine drive”. We could see some little boats of fisherman. We clicked some pictures and started our journey to Munnar.

Cheeyappara Waterfalls kerala
Chillithodu Elephant ride in kerala

Cochin to Munnar route is scenic. We could feel change in atmosphere as we go to high altitude from sea level. The moisture in air disappeared slowly and air became little cold. On the route we visited Cheeyappara waterfalls and get view of Valara waterfalls too. It was little crowded due to peak season. We stopped in a small village called Chillithodu for an elephant ride and enjoyed little streams of water flowing through the jungle there. We visited Deepa spice world and took a tour of garden of medicinal plants and spices. We visited some Tea plantations on the way and clicked pictures.

tea plantation rajamalai kerala

We reached at our Hotel around 4.00 PM. We spent the remaining day chilling as we were little tired due to an early morning flight. We had local south Indian dishes for dinner. Big thumbs up for Kerali Parotta!

Day 2: Munnar sightseeing

Date: 24th November
Hotel Stay: Jannah Residency, Adimali (Munnar)
Places Visited: Rajamalai (Eravikulam National Park), Kanan Devan Tea plantations and Tea Museum, Rose garden, Mattupetty Dam, Top station.

Rajmalai in munnar
Rajmali park

In the morning we had our breakfast at hotel and head towards Munnar around 9AM. We reached Rajamalai around 10AM and were shocked after seeing long queue of tourists for the tickets. They have government buses to transport people from the entry point to National Park and Museum. We had to wait for around 2 hours for our turn. You can see whole mountains with vibrant green tea plantations on the both sides of road. The route is so beautiful that you can’t take your eyes off it. You get an Amazing view of valley with different shades of green and water streams. We were able to spot few Nilgiri Tahr animals.

Rajmalai in munnar
Tea Plantation 2 Munnar
Rose Garden group trip in munnar

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We tried different cakes and muffins there with spices flavour and they were surprisingly delicious.
We visited Kanan Devan Tea plantations and Tea Museum. They showed a documentary on Tea plantation history and explained about manufacturing of tea. We tried different flavours of tea at very cheap rate there and all were really tasty. Tea is Bae!

Rose Garden in Munnar
Rose Garden group trip in munnar

We visited Rose garden on our way to Mattupetty Dam. They have much different kind of flowers and Bonsais there and any nature lover would love to visit it. We spent some time at Mattupetty Dam and visited Top station. It is on the border of Kerala and Tamilnadu and has great view of valley full of jungles and Tea plantations. The frequent fog covering mountain tops made the view more beautiful.

Day 3: Munnar to Thekkady and Thekkady sightseeing

Date: 25th November
Hotel Stay: Chrissie’s Café, Thekkady
Places Visited: Periyar Tiger Reserve Jungle Safari, Kadathanadan Kalari centre, Navarasa Kathakali Centre

Trip to Periyar in Thekkady

We started our journey to Thekkady around 8 AM after having breakfast. On the route from Munnar to Thekkady, Tea plantations gradually got replaced by cardamom plantations but that makes the route even more beautiful. All the zigzag roads through the green mountains, Nilgiri and Coconut trees on the side of the roads, Cardamom and coffee plantation, cold and fresh breezes really made atmosphere cheerful.

Periyar reserve kerala
Periyar tiger reserve

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As we reached Thekkady, we booked a jungle safari of around 4 hrs in Periyar Tiger reserve. The jungle safari was so much fun and adventures. We had an open gypsy vehicle with driver cum guide for jungle safari. Narrow and zigzag jungle roads, high speed open gypsy, green and dense forest around gave real adventure feeling. We were able to spot one Bison the one of the mountains. We stopped at many places and enjoyed the nature in jungle.
At the evening we attended Kadathanadan Kalari, a traditional martial arts show which was thrilling. We have attended Navarasa Kathakali, a traditional Kerala dance show but it wasn’t much interesting as dance form involves only facial expression moves and we couldn’t understand the story much.

Periyar reserve in Thekkady
Jungle Safari in Thekkady

We summed up the day with exploring markets and did some shopping. We had great time at Chrissie’s hotel as it has great jungle view, amazing and creative interior.

Day 4: Thekkady to Alleppy and Alleppy Houseboat stay

Date: 26th November
Houseboat Stay: Boat Noharks’s Seagull Pappalil by Butterfly Houseboats.
Places Visited: Exploring Alleppy backwaters.

houseboat in alleppey
houseboat sunset alleppey

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We woke up with the sound of chirping of the birds. We had small warning walk through coffee plantations which were just opposite to the hotel. We had continental breakfast and started our journey towards Alleppy.
We checked in to the Houseboat around 12.30PM and our amazing journey in backwaters started. We were little tired due to all the traveling in last 3-4 days but chilling on the deck of the houseboat while watching backwater views refreshed us instantly. We had welcome drink and lunch at houseboat only. We spent whole afternoon chitchatting on the deck of the boat while watching all little islands in the backwater, Rice farms and coconut trees on those islands, cute little homes and markets on those islands, lotus floating on the water, Ducks and other birds freely swimming through the water. Even waving at strangers in other houseboats seemed to be fun! Many tourists were listening to music and dancing on their decks but we didn’t get time to do that as we couldn’t stop our chitchatting only.

Houseboat in alleppey
market scene in alleppey

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The crew on the boat got us Kerala special Bhajji with Tea for snacks. As we wanted to try sea food they took our boat to one of the market on the islands and we bought some fresh seafood from the market. We tried cooking in Kerala style in their kitchen with the cook available on the boat and it was fun!
The sunset view from the boat was amazing. After playing hide and seek with coconut trees, the sun disappeared into the water slowly.
We really enjoyed the overall experience on the houseboat. The houseboat was clean and well maintained and staff was also good.

Day 5: Alleppey to Cochin

Date: 27th November
Train: Eravikulam to Pune [2.40 PM]

After having breakfast on houseboat, we checked out. Driver was already ready with the car and we headed towards Ernakulum station. Even with the short period of time, the car driver became good friend of my family as He was very kind and friendly. We bid goodbye to him and to the amazing “God’s own country” and started our return journey with lots of great memories!

High Points of the trip

  • Rajamalai (Eravikulam national park) visit in Munnar
  • Kanan Devan Tea Plantation in Munnar
  • Top station view
  • Jungle safari in Thekkady
  • Kadathnadan Kalari show at Thekkady
  • Chrissie’s hotel stay at Thekkady [Jungle view and creative interior amused me]
  • Whole houseboat experience
  • People in Kerala: I really appreciate this because even if there was language problem [Many of the Keralite we met didn’t understand Hindi or English much], they tried their best to communicate fluently with us. All people I have met in this journey were really friendly, kind and sweet talkers.
  • Culture: Kerala has their own very rich culture and they take pride in it. (It was surprising for us to know that even young people wear “Lungi” there.)
  • Food: All the authentic food we tried there was delicious. Seafood and Tea, Coffee are must to try.
  • Diversity: Even in the short amount of time, we were able to experience beaches, high mountains, dense jungles, Road trip, Houseboat ride through river backwaters and what not! Why wouldn’t God want to live there?

Low Points

  • Little difficulty in communication with local folks [They try their best though]
  • Hotel stay at Munnar was almost 30 km away from the main city which resulting to reaching late at Rajmalai and waiting in the queue for 2 hours. [This happened due to high bookings of hotels in peak season]
  • We didn’t get much time for shopping.
  • We were in Cochin but didn’t get chance to explore Cochin due to our schedule and it wasn’t in our plan also because we had limited holidays. I wish we could have one more day and could have explored more beaches.

Your tip for future travelers

  • Do visit Kerala once in a lifetime. It’s worth visiting and get lost in the beauty of God’s own country.
  • Do try local food.
  • Do check hotel locations before booking as there are many hotels and resorts in Munnar which are far away from main Munnar village but has great valley views.
  • Do check houseboat reviews as some of the boats might be old and not well maintained or clean. Try to book private houseboat only.
  • Shopping advise :
    Buy tea and coffee from tea museum or government outlets. [ cheaper and best quality]
    Buy spices from stores at the small town on the route to Munnar or Thekkady instead of buying them from big stores in Cochin. Oils might have extracted from spices before selling it.
  • Make sure that you don’t spoil nature by throwing plastic things or making noises in National parks.

Enjoy a perfect Kerala holiday like they did. Book your Kerala tour package

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