Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Planning a trip to Kerala?

Most people in ONGC forego the chance to explore exotic places they get once every four year by encashing their LFA – OTHT. LFA is the LTC equivalent for us. Many are compelled to do this because they have more dependents on record (cash cows) than they actually have whom they cannot tow along for a holiday, and some because they do not have time or want to explore places. I had always utilized my LFA-OTHT and I had used the one for this block for a wonderful vacation in Kerala in Feb, 2004. Kerala is indeed a place chosen by God to be beautiful. Nature’s beauty is in resplendent form all around. Visit Kerala for a vacation you will savor for your life. I spent six unforgettable days amidst the breathtaking backwaters made greener by coconut forests in Allepy, the hills with tea gardens blanketing them in Munnar, the placid waters of lake Periyar and the tranquilled resort on the bank of Vambanad lake in Kumarakkom.
Package tours: Think again before you decide

Package tours promise you a complete tour without any headache. So, no headache oflooking for hotel, transport, etc. (and so no planning and adventure). But mind you they will leave a hole in your pocket. Most of the packages are ex-Cochin and costs 40K plus. The route followed is Cochin -- Munnar -- Allepey (for backwater houseboat ride) -- Cochin. Kerala being a far off land with apprehensions of language and tourist influx, I almost fall for a package trip. But the cardinal principle is that Package tours are meant for foreign tourist or foreign land, not for Indians in India. The cheapest package I found on the net was offered by for Rs.27,000/- for 3 persons with only one meal plus breakfast. So, after gathering all information I need from the net, I set out on my own, landed on my own, traveled on my own, and booked hotels on spot. I went to all these places plus Kumarakkom and still my cost for this 6 day trip of 3 persons was just 18,000/- including meal. The bulk of expense was for houseboat @ Rs.5000/- for one night and the hired car @ Rs.1000/- per day for 4 days. Not taking a package tour also provides flexibility to your itinerary. I could slip in 24 memorable hours break at a Kumarakkom resort on the bank of Vambanad lake. Remember, most packages do not include Kumarakkom in their itinerary.
What you cannot avoid while traveling In Kerala is having your own hired vehicle. Language is the biggest barrier for communication. Your driver will double up as your guide. So, try getting a driver who at least understands Hindi. After landing in Cochin, I did my own sightseeing for a day. Thereafter I hired a car through a local tour operator named Matha Taxis form th Fort Cochi area. I had also booked a houseboat at Allepy through this tour operator. I paid 5000 rupees for a double bedroom houseboat. On the net, I found that charges for single bedroom house boat was upwards of 5000. So, I got a good bargain for houseboat as well. Do you still want to have a package tour?
(Next I will be writing individually on these locations in Kerala)


Anonymous said...

Excellent....I had gone through all your articles..A nice travellouge. It will be useful to others. Good job.

Anonymous said...

Great job man.we can save more with own planning other then kill our pocket