Tips and Advices

When to go

The best time to visit Kerala is between late December and February, when the skies are clear and humidity at its least debilitating. From March onwards, the heat and stickiness become increasingly uncomfortable in the pre monsoon build up. After a month of intense sunshine alleviated by short showers, the rains erupt in earnest in the first week of June, with a massive storm that sweep off the Arabian sea. This is considered the auspicious time to begin a course in Ayurvedic treatment, but a beach holiday is out as the sand often disappears under the high tides and crashing waves. The second annual monsoon – known as the retreating monsoon because its prevailing winds are in the northeast – lasts from October to December. Although lighter than its predecessor, it leaves the skies frequently overcast and is accompanies by high humidity level.

Getting Around

With private car ownership still very much the preserve of India’s moneyed classes, most Keralans get about on public transport, which means services are frequent and inexpensive. Whenever you’re travelling, you won’t have to wait long for a train, bus or ferry to appear – as often as not ,already crammed to bursting point with passengers. For shorter journeys, auto rickshaws and taxis are just as ubiquitous, while visitors with limited time may opt for car and driver to whisk them around,or even catch a flight from one end of the state to the other.

By Train

If you’re spending your holiday exclusively in Kerala and not aiming to venture further afield in South India, chances are you probably won’t travel very much by train. Given the hassles and delays that invariably attend most rain journeys in Kerala, it’s nearly always quicker to go by bus or taxi at least for short hops between towns and cities in Kerala. That said, time your journey well and start close to your train’s original point of departure and rail travel can be an enormously enjoyable way to experience Kerala. People from all walks of life use the railways, from crisp-shirted businessmen cocooned from the heat in air conditioned compartments, to the hoipolloi,crushed into unreserved carriages with their never ending procession of hawkers,beggars,buskers,hustlers and chai-coffee sellers.

The main line runs the length of Kerala, connecting the major towns and cities of the coastal strips before heading north towards Goa and Mumbai. In addition, a couple of branch lines peel eastwards across the mountain the mountains into neighboring Tamil Nadu,and there’s a quiet back line cutting through Alappuzha and the Kuttanad region.

By Bus

Although generally less comfortable than travelling by train, buses fill in the gaps in rail network, and can be quicker. They go almost everywhere, and more frequent than train. 

Services vary somewhat in price and standard. Painted in distinctive red and cream, those run by the government bus company, KSRTC, tend to be the most ramshackle of all.Invaribly Jam-packed, they cover both short and very long distances; in the latter case, express services are run which have limited stops. In more widely travelled areas there are usually additional private buses offering more leg room and generally travel faster – not necessarily a plus point when you consider the dilapidated state of the vehicles. 

Some clue as to comfort can be gained from the description given to the bus.”Ordinary” buses usually have minimally padded fixed upright seats.”Deluxe”,”Lixury” and even “Super Deluxe” are fairly interchangeable term and when applied to government buses may hardly differ from ‘Ordinary”.Usyually they refer to private services,though,and should then guarantee a softer, sometimes reclining, individual seat. You can check this out when booking, and it’s also worth asking if your bus has a video or music system. – If so, the deafening noise will prevent any chance of sleep. Always try to avoid the back seats – they accentuate bumpy roads, launching you into the air several times a minute. Try to sit in the middle of the bus for safety. 

Luggage travels in the hatch on private buses, sometimes at a small extra charge. You can usually squeeze it into an unobtrusive corner inside state run buses, although you may occasionally be requested to store it on the roof; check that it’s well secured and not liable to get squashed.

By Boat

Ferried are prominent feature of life in the backwater region of Kerala, where they form essential links between disparate villages and market towns.Cheap, regular and reliable, they’re also a great way for tourists to experience this unique part of the country. 

The other place you’re likely to use a ferry is in Kochi.Municipal ferries chug throughout the day and evening across the city’s busy harbor, connecting the main jetty in Ernakulum with various islands and promontories, including Fort Kochi. 

By Car

It’s much more usual for tourists in Kerala to be driven than it is for them to drive; car rental firms operate on the basis of supplying chauffeur driven vehicle. Arranged through tourist officers or local car rental firm, a chauffeur driven car will start from about 1,500 per day, usually including 150 km, with additional kilometers charged at the rate of Rs.8 – 9 km per day. On longer trips, the driver sleeps in the car, for which his firm may charge an additional Rs.200/-. It is better to hire the services from a Tour Operator in Kerala.

Food and Drink

One of the major highlights of any trip to Kerala is the food. For anyone used to the heavy, over spiced curries dished up in Indian restaurants abroad, the subtlety of South Indian cuisine will come as a revelation.Keralans, in particular, bring the same ingenuity and wealth of deep rotted traditions to food preparation that they’ve brought to bear on their sacred arts and festivals – with results that are no less sophisticated or surprising.

The fertile climate, soils, seas and inland waterways of Kerala have provided Keralalan cooks with an uncommon variety of ingredients, augmented over the centuries by many others imported by traders and colonizers – not least the chilli,which came to Kerala with the Portuguese. They have always been quick to adapt to new culinary trends, and the recent boom in tourism means a host of familiar dished are also on offer in the resorts, often given a local twist. 

By Western standard, eating out in Kerala is extremely cheap. Even in a smart five star restaurant, you’ll rarely notch up a bill of over Rs.1500 (US $ 25/-),while in a workdays local diner, a filling,delicious,freshly cooked feast comprising a dozen or more different dishes can be had for a mere Rs.100 or less. 

Where and when to eat

Finding somewhere decent to eat in Kerala is rarely a problem. In towns and cities, hygenenic South Indian style cafes and restaurants compete for custom on seemingly every street corner, open from dawn until late night. In the resorts, prices in places oriented towards foreigners tend to be much higher, and the quality of cooking much patchier, but you’ll be spoilt for choice, with everything from fresh local seafood to pizzas and pasta, German Bakery cakes and healthy green salads. 

Nearly every hotels or lodges in Kerala, no matter how small, has a restaurant attached to it. The smarter once tend to be where the local middle classes dine out, serve by teams of brisk waiter wearing black ties and waistcoats.

At lunch time, fancy versions of the standard thali meal, featuring North Indian dishes and extra sweets and nibbies, are offered alongside the standard multi cuisine menu. This is generally divided into for sections: North India, South India, Continetal and Chinese.

Alcohol

Outside tourist resorts such as Varkala and Kovalam, where drinking is a major part of the beach café scene, alcohol is an exclusively male pastime, enjoyed in the seclusion o of local toddy shops where men gather to get sizzled on cheap local hooch. 

Kerala’s licensing laws are particularly strict in the south. Prohibitive fees have to be paid by all except government agencies, such as the Kerala Tourist Development Corporation, who thus have a virtual monopoly on beer parlors throughout the state.However; alcohol is generally available in most mid and upscale hotels, while big towns and cities all have liquor or beverage shops. 

Beer is widely available, if rather expensive by local standards. Prices vary from Rs.100 to 150 for a bottle. Kingfisher is the leading brand, and the one containing the least glycerine, added as a preservative. 

Spirits usually take the form of Indian Made Foreign Liquor, made of different recipes from their Western counterparts, although foreign sprits, such as various brands of Scotch whisky, Smirnoff Vodka, Southern Comfort and Bacardi rum are increasingly gaining a foothold.

Easy on the Wallet

Who doesn’t dream of travelling without any worry and a light wallet? After all, vacating has become part of our lifestyle today, but many are still worried about the travel costs, while some others shed their good investments to have a blast.

But do have known that there are people who go a carefully planned vacation every year and then there are travelers who go around the world every other month? Contrary to your perception, travelling does not necessarily mean doling out wads of cash.So,what are they doing  differently ?Here are some well-researched tips from a budget traveler friend of mine who can help you travel more often on as meager a budget as Rs.555 or US $ 9/- per day. A little planning, travelling by bus or train instead of flying, avoiding guides and staying as paying guests could cut down on travel expenses. More…

HOW TO PLAN YOUR TOURS:

We are pioneer travel agents and tour operators in field of travel and tourism in Kerala handling tour packages, hotel reservations and travel itineraries for Ayurveda, Honeymoon Packages, Leisure Holidays,… We also offer most ideal tour itineraries and package tours to explore Kerala tourist destinations and finest hotels. Visit us at our site to chalk out your tour plan or write us… your choice of destination with travel period and budget for an exclusive and customized holiday to:
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Published on 18/02/2015

Green and gold are the defining colors of Kerala; green for the tropical lushness that bursts from every patch of ground in Kerala; gold for the prosperity that has for many thousands of years been a consequence of this abundance. You see the two in combination everywhere, in the borders of the white cotton mundu worn by Keralan men ,in the ceremonial umbrellas hoisted over temple deities as thy’r processed on elephant back during festivals, and in the makeup of the kathakali hero, framed by his trademark jewel- encrusted headdress…Experience our unique Kerala Tourism activities and Kerala Tour Packages...... COME AND ENJOY IT WITH HALO BACKWATERS.                         

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