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EXPLORING INDIA : From Kaziranga to the Himalayas to the desert of Jaisalmer to the backwaters of Allepey to the sun baked coral beaches of Lakshadweep....A first hand account of exploring this beautiful country.



Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lakshadweep-VII : The Epilogue

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Lakshadweep trip is history now. The 20 odd page travelogue should be the most comprehensive written on any trip to Lakshadweep. As an epilogue to the posts, I am providing necessary tips and expenditure estimates which will help one planning a trip.

Types of trips to Lakshadweep:
There are two types of trips to Lakshadweep. Type -I is offered by SPORTS (of Lakshadweep Tourism) and type -II is offered directly by two private resorts, one at Agatti (AIBER) and other at Bangaram. Both TYPES will provide the opportunity to spend a few days in one of those secluded sun baked islands. All of them are coral islands with beautiful lagoons. So it is immaterial where you go. But what kind of vacation you are looking at may decide which TYPE of trip you take. And of course the load you want to put on your purse.


SPORTS have a variety of packages catering to different category of tourists, like the one meant only for divers or water sport lovers. They also had a package in which you spend the day on the beaches and night on the ship. But my experience of traveling tourist class by ship advises one strongly against this trip. It will take all the fun out of your trip. Even Star Cruises (India) also have a day long trip from Mumbai to Kadamath Island. Enjoying a Star Cruise voyage is one thing and spending just a few hours in Lakshadweep is another. So go for a stay kind of trip. If you do not stay at least for a night in one of the islands, you will rue the fact that you had spent so much of money and yet miss something.

The cost:
My experience is limited to Agatti ISland Beach Resort only. The AIBER has around 20 cottages of different category. All the 4 groups in this trip however had chosen the lighter package of non AC cottages. The cost per night inclusive of meals was Rs.6,500/-. Thus I paid Rs.19,500/- for the 3N/4D packages. Upto 2 Child below 5 years is complementary. This rates are applicable upto 30 Nov, 2006 and also between 21 Jan, 07 to 15 May, 07. For the period 1st Dec, 06 to 20 Jan, 07 the rates will be Rs.9,000/-.

Standard AC cottages cost Rs.9,200/- upto Nov, 07 and between 21 Jan – 15 May, 07. They will be enhanced to Rs.11,750/- for the Dec, 06 – Jan, 07 period. There are Deluxe AC rooms as well which cost Rs.11000/- even for the Sept- Nov period. The resort at Bangaram islands is much more costly. You need to be filthy rich to go there. People say there is nothing special about Bangaram except the price. You can spend 2 extra nights at Agatti at the price you pay for a 3N package to Bangaram.

@Rs.6500/- even AIBER is pretty expensive by Indian standard. But I feel that every one can afford such a luxury once in a lifetime. It is worth spending the money, for these beautiful islands may not exist 10 years down the line. Further, going to places like Maldives or Mauritius would cost you much more. This entire trip for 3 of us from Delhi cost me roughly Rs.40,000/- that included one night stay at Cochin. Going to Maldives would have cost me 40000 per person. The cheapest all inclusive offer for Maldives I got from makemytrip.com was Rs.48000/- per person. Further, these islands are geographical extension of Maldives group. Travel restrictions by Govt. of India had kept these islands pristine and beautiful. Here nothing will come between you and the sun, sea and white beaches.

(You can obtain the latest rates of AIBER by sending an enquiry in their website. SPORTS rates are given in their site)

My trip cost:
Delhi – Cochin – Delhi (By II AC) : Rs.9000/-
In Train expense : Rs.1200
One Day / Night stay at Cochin : Rs.1200/-
Cochin to port : @Rs.100/- one way by auto
Cochin – Agatti – Cochin : @ Rs.2000/- one way per adult, @Rs.1250/- one way per child
Agatti Resort : @ Rs.6500/- per night per non AC cottage = Rs.19500/-
Amount spent at the resort : Rs.500/-

Additional expenses :
A 3N/4D package includes the following –
One time glass bottom boat ride to see corals and marine life underneath
One time fishing trip in the deep lagoon water
One time trip to 4 islands in the Bangaram group

You will not get more time than that in 3 days. Honestly speaking 2 ½ days. In addition to these there is a water sports center where you can try your hand in snorkeling and scuba diving. You need to pay in cash for them directly to the guy running the center. Snorkeling packages starts ranges between Rs.250 – 500/- per person for about 30-40 minutes trip. Diving is bit costlier. Introductory diving for novices cost Rs.1000/- per person for about 30 minutes trip. They provide all equipment for diving. For experts, there are various packages that may lighten up your purse upto Rs.5000/- or more. If you are a couple, double the estimate and carry that much cash as there are no banks or ATMs, neither cards in vogue. If you decide to go for diving buy a one time use under water camera at the resort shop that cost Rs.500/-.

If one wants mineral water then it can be bought at the resort. I felt that the desalinated water is good enough to drink. Bottles of 500ml soft drinks were kept in refrigerators in the rooms, but they are not free. However, they will tell you well in advance about these possible billable items. I later found out that each bottle of soft drinks (priced Rs.20/-) were billed @Rs.50/-.

The resort also had a small gift shop for you to buy memorabilia. I bought a T-Shirt with Lakshadweep print for Rs.150/-. It is quite reasonable for a resort outlet. Other things like chocolates, sewing gums, sun screen lotions and (also) condoms are available in the shop. The shop also had a STD booth. Only BSNL / MTNL mobile will work there. Thanks to my MTNL connection, I was the only fellow who had his mobile working there (also in the deep sea for many hours).

How to travel:
Your start point is Cochin (also called Kochi and Ernakulum). You can travel by flight or by ship from Cochin. The aerial distance between Cochin and Agatti is 459 Km. Agatti has the only airport in the Lakshadweep. The airport was just next door to the resort, hardly 100 meter away. Only smaller aircrafts like Dorniers ply to Agatti. I am told that the flight may get cancelled without notice leaving you high and dry.

So the best way to travel is by ship. This will also add novelty to your trip. The resort will arrange for your ship ticket on payment of advance. They will also send you ship schedule to help you plan. Your trip is dictated by ship schedule. The resort will charge a premium for ship ticket as you will be required to be transferred from the ship to the resort. The current charges is Rs.2000/- one way for adult and Rs.1250/- one way for a child upto 12 years.

Others:
1) Entry permit: One is required to obtain entry permit for visiting Lakshadweep. The AIBER office will arrange them for you.
2) Liquor is prohibited. But you will get toddy. Get them in the morning and let it ferment till evening. It will work as local beer.

More information on Lakshadweep:
This post features in Holiday IQ.com, a leading Indian travel portal. I have found the site quite useful and innovative. You may be interested in some other travel stories on Lakshadweep and also on many other Indian holiday destinations on Holiday IQ.com.

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posted by Rupankar Mahanta at 4:08 PM

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34 Comments:

At March 25, 2007 11:05 PM, Blogger Neha said...

Amazing journey, just wanted to check the time it takes from Kochi to Agatii.

 
At July 29, 2007 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Rupankar

In last couple of days, I was busy looking for some information on Lakshadweep (LD), and your Travelogue came as a respite for me.

(I am planning my trip to LD in last week of Nov'07 or 1st week of Dec'07 with my wife. We (two of us) just want to spend 3N/4D at LD preferably at Agatti Beach Resort and looking for options)

Though your travelogue has almost attended all issues/concerns of a traveller to the inlands, certain issues are still bothering us, as internet is full of conflicting information and your travelogue is silent on them. It would be of REALLY GREAT HELP, if you can guide us on the following issues:

1. Do you need to have a passport for Entry Permit to LD? (Some of the websites are citing this as one of the eligibiity criteria)
2. Can one plan this trip without help of travel agents?
3. Can we plan our trip to Cochin-Agatti-Cochin ourselves by booking Indian Airlines flights and ask AIBR to arrange for stay & entry permit?
4. Can we plan our outbound trip by Air and Return trip by Sea? What kind of booking will this require?
5. Can AIBR booking be done online? as I find their website of least use? (We are residents of Mumbai)

Thanks a TON in advance!
Your guidance will be of immense help for us

Warm Regards
Narendra K Singh

 
At July 29, 2007 10:48 AM, Blogger Rups said...

Dear Sri Singh,

Your concerns are quite normal. There is very little information about
visiting LD. In fact I also had some apprehensions before I went.
Pointwise reply to your queries are as under --

1) Entry Permit is required, not passport. LD is part of India. Entry
Permit is normally arranged by the resort once you confirm booking by
paying advance. You need to collect them and few other things from
their office at Cochin before you leave.

2) You can afford not to have a travel agent and thus save money. You
can contact the AIBER office at Cochin directly. Their website is
http://www.agattiislandresorts.com/index.html is having their phone
nos. of Cochin office. I contacted them directly, paid the advance
here at Delhi by ATM drop box of IDBI. Balance was paid on my arrival
at Cochin. Cochin office accepts credit cards.

3) Air ticket will have to be booked by you. But ship tickets will be
booked by them. They charge some premium for ship tickets. But then
you will have to depend on them for ship tickets. On asking AIBER
office, they will send you the ship schedule. Ship schedule is
normally available for next 3 months.

I hope this will be enough. But make sure you go there. Despite the
problems of traveling, you will have no regrets that you get to spend
3 days in a virtual paradise.

Regards.

Rupankar
==============

 
At August 15, 2007 5:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Rupankar,
Thanks a lot for very useful information on LD. Two years back, we had one to Andaman Nicobar Island, and found them to be very good. Now, we are planning to take a trip to LD in October / November. I was struggling to get info on this trip, and then could get the pointer to your page.

regards
ravi

 
At September 21, 2007 10:38 AM, Anonymous harshawardhan said...

hi,

the information given here is very useful. I am planning a trip to Lakshadweep in 2nd week of Nov 07 (in Diwali i.e. 9th-12th nov) from mumbai.i.e. it will be mumbai-lakshdwp-mumbai in four days only. we do not wish to take any std tour package as they all r for 4-6 days. Is it possible to arrange for such a trip. can i get any guidance on this? cost estimates? ur inputs would be of great help...

 
At September 21, 2007 11:31 AM, Blogger Rups said...

Decide the island where you will like to go. On such short schedule, you need to travel by air. Thus your choice would be limited to Agatti only, as it is the only island having airport. Bangaram may also be considered but it is very costly. Contact the resorts' office at Cochin and get the rates for Nov. AIBER office phone nos should be there somewhere in my posts or find it from their website.

 
At September 21, 2007 12:47 PM, Anonymous Sumit Mishra said...

Hi Mr. Rupankar,

I am planning for my honeymoon in Lakshadwwep in December'07 and came across your vivid description of your experience there. Very helpful and informative with beautiful pictures. can you pls tell me the booking and reservation procedure for the ships for Cochin-Agatti trip? How did you go about it? Thanks in advance.

Regards,
Sumit
"Be yourself" -- Why is that such an effort?!?!?

 
At September 21, 2007 12:48 PM, Blogger Rups said...

Ship ticket booking was done by the resort office. They will charge a
premium as they will include fare for transporting to resort by boat
from the ship. The ship anchors in deep sea from where you will be
picked up by the resort boat. If you contact them they will send you
the ship schedule for next 2 /3 months so that you can plan the trip.
This is available only for Agatti and Bangaram as resort in these
islands are run by private agencies. For other islands like Kadamath
or Kawarathi, you will have to contact SPORTS, the official agency
(may be govt.)

Have a nice time. You will never forget this trip. Some part of the
world is still unspoilt and stunningly beautiful. Lakshadweep is one
such place.

 
At September 21, 2007 12:49 PM, Anonymous Sumit Mishra said...

Hi Rupankar,

Thanks a lot for the information. Can you tell me how did you contact AIBER from delhi and how exactly did you make reservations? Were they friendly/co-operative over the phone/e-mail?
I have received the brochure information thru e-mail but I am having trouble reaching AIBER office in cochin on phone for further inquiry and reservations.

Regards,
Sumit

 
At September 21, 2007 12:49 PM, Blogger Rups said...

Check the AIBER website. the site have ph no of Cochin office. It
probably is in my blog posts as well. You can call them or email them.
They are very friendly. In fact Kerala is the most tourist friendly
state. No one tries to cheat you. Quite a change from north Indian
experience where one gets looted right from the point of getting out
of train.

Once they send you ship schedule, you confirm back your dates. I paid
an advance booking amount of 10K through IDBI drop box at Delhi. The
balance was paid by card at their office at Cochin on my arrival. In
any case you need to reach a day earlier than the ship departure date
at Cochin. AIBER office did my booking at Cochin, very close to their
office. The locality was good and rate as per the budget I indicated.

 
At November 26, 2007 2:15 AM, Anonymous param and ruddu said...

hi your article really helped a lot and we will be grateful if you could help us a bit more.

we are students and were wondering if some student discount is also offered .

further the cottages that you mentioned for 6500, can 3-4 ppl share it or is that not allowed .

also can we bring our own liquor (as in was there any customs checking or anything of that sort. if you know what i mean)

 
At November 26, 2007 11:48 AM, Blogger Rups said...

Dear param and ruddu,

Agatti is a luxury resort and my understanding is that it is beyond reach of student budgets. For the 3 N/4D package I paid about 30K for two including ship ticket fare and transportation from ship to the island. Bangaram is more prohibitively priced. The rates they quite is for double occupancy i.e. 2 persons per cottage.

On a student budget you can still enjoy Lakshadweep. There are some packages offered by Lakshadweep Torism thorough a body named SPORTS. On a relatively cheaper rate you can enjoy a package trip to Kadamat island. All these islands are coral island so it hardly matters where you go.

Liquor is not allowed except in Bangaram resort. It is 99% muslim population and follows muslim culture. Our baggage was checked before boarding the ship. As we had travelled in family, the check was cursory. But it will certainly be harder for students. Further, if you are caught taking liquor then you may be in real trouble.

 
At December 25, 2007 12:08 PM, Blogger dheerankur said...

hi, thx for the gr8 info buddy, my email id is dheerankur@gmail.com. i m planning to go to LD in the month of feb 2008. need to talk about that.

 
At December 26, 2007 6:53 PM, Blogger Rups said...

Hi Dheerankur,

You are most welcome to mail me in case you want additional info.

 
At January 31, 2008 2:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi rupankar,
der z a lot of information on aggati nd bangaram resorts.., bt i wud lyk to knw abt d stay in kavaratti.. actually i m plannin to go to kavaratti nly... d stay z short... i wil b spendin 1 day nd 2 nites ovr der...
so cud u plz provide sm informatn abt d hotels.., d cheapest deals available... nd sm places to visit...
thanx a ton..

 
At January 31, 2008 11:17 AM, Blogger Rups said...

Hi,
I would appreciate if you leave your email so that I can reply, if I can.
As far as I know, only Agatti and Bangaram has private hotel cum resort. Others have govt run tourist facilities. Lakshadweep is not an ordinary tourist place. Entry to lakshadweeep is resticted. You need to have confirmed accomodation beforehand to apply for permit to visit any of the island. For Kavaratti, you will have to go through SPORTS, an agency of Lakshadweep Tourism. There is a tourist facility at Kavaratti. Details of SPORTS should be in my blog posts.

 
At March 16, 2008 12:03 AM, Blogger nahiem said...

hi....i would like to know the contact number of kochi office 4 ship booking 2 lakshadweep n also if May 15th onwards would be a gud weather 4 the kids to enjoy various water sports........

 
At March 16, 2008 9:11 AM, Blogger Rups said...

On nahiem's comment:
May 15 should be off season. During rains, water sports is out of bound. Even a mild rain may make cause the sea rough. Booking ticket on your own is not possible. You need confirmed accomodation. So you either have to go thorugh SPORTS or two of the private resort operators -- at Agatti and Bangaram. In any case May will be terrible hot down south.

 
At June 07, 2008 2:59 PM, Blogger Arun said...

Hi Rups,

First of all thanks for putting up such a detailed and wonderfull blog on LD. I ma sure there are many keen to go visit our own beauties than Maldives/Thailand.

I too am deciding to visit either Andaman or LD somewhere by year end. Which is better place of the above you think for a couple from cost, beauty and isolation perspective.

Is a 3 day trip enough or we can extend to 5D. Is there a way one can take a ship ride to near by islands like we have tourist buses in city :)

 
At June 08, 2008 7:19 PM, Blogger Rups said...

Hi Arun,
If u r looking for seclusion then LD is the best. Between 3 and 5 days : weigh the factor that there is nothing but the resort only. No market etc to visit around. You can arrange trips to nearby islands. Thats all. But u will spend absolutely peaceful moments among unspoilt nature.

 
At September 07, 2008 1:56 AM, Blogger Syed said...

Hi Rupankar,
I am planning my honeymoon and your info has really tipped the scales in favour of LD. I wanted to know more about the ship experience. How is the accommodation, food, facilities, general ambiance, etc., on board.

Thanks in advance for your help,

Regards,
Mustafa

 
At October 21, 2008 8:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Rupankar,
Good blog. I have heard much about the Minicoy island. Do you have any information on that?
Is accomodation available there?
Madhavi

 
At October 21, 2008 9:02 PM, Blogger Sparsha said...

Thank you for the very informative post. Possibly will try to go there next year, your experience is definitely going to help me. http://ourtravelindia.blogspot.com

 
At November 08, 2008 3:15 PM, Anonymous tj said...

hi....
u said there were no atm's there....how much hard cash shld be taken?

 
At November 11, 2008 11:38 PM, Blogger dheerankur said...

Went there in feb for my honeymoon and I shd honestly say nothing can be better than Lakshyadeep. thx a lot for the info
dheerankur@gmail.com

 
At January 11, 2009 12:56 PM, Anonymous Akash said...

Hi Dheerankur,

I'm planning to take a honeymoon trip to LD islands, so would really appreciate your inputs for the same, like the cost of travel, stay etc... Also, if you could let me know your experiences in terms of stay and travel and any advice, it would be great... :-)
My ID is akash.chaddha@gmail.com.

 
At February 03, 2009 7:31 AM, Blogger Mohammed Shahid said...

Flight-ticket prices have increased manifold since Rupankar wrote this informative post. Indian Airlines no longer flies its 20-seat Dornier while Kingfisher's Bangalore-Cochin-Agatti ATR42 needs 6K at least in the latter leg. February may see Air India returning to service, if the Administrator's R-day-09 speech's to be believed.

 
At May 04, 2009 3:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Rupankar,
I've already stayed with my family at the maldives 4 years ago and I loved it.

This august I'm travelling alone to India and I'm hesitating to extend my trip either to Lakshadweep or Maldives again.

Basically I'd like to stay 4 or 6 days diving and enjoying the beach.

For august what place you think has better weather conditions?
Is Lakshadweep beaches as beautiful as the Maldives?

In Lakshadweep what island you think is the most beautiful to visit?

thanks for your help.

Javi

 
At May 12, 2009 10:01 PM, Blogger Rups said...

For Javi,

Maldives is spoilt by excessive sploitation by tourism. But Lakshadweep is still virgin.

August weather will be horrible. That time is not ideal for travelling anywhere in India, unless you are looking for so called Monsoon tourism. Look for somewhere else.

 
At July 14, 2009 8:06 PM, Blogger shrikumar said...

Hi friend,
Your insight into LD had been quite useful but would like to know if a group of 15 people incl family and kids will enjoy the experience some of them are used to drinking when on picnic which is a annual affair ie not the drinking but picnic and another query is whether we get cottages or big rooms to accomodate a group regards my email id is shrikumar.nair@yahoo.in awaiting ur valuable help & thanks

 
At December 23, 2010 4:25 PM, Blogger vishnu joshi said...

Hi

very useful blog about travel.
plz check best travel deals on toshalitravel.com

 
At October 09, 2011 5:16 PM, Anonymous Umakanth said...

Dear Mr.Rups,

To describe your Travelogue in a word its "Excellent". Each and every detail. Every traveller would appreciate such an unbiased account rather than the marketing oriented travel sites. Thank you very much!!!

 
At June 11, 2013 11:15 AM, Blogger Ajay Jain said...

I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!….. I’ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work

Lakhashadeep Holiday Packages

 
At August 14, 2014 2:42 PM, Blogger monika singh said...

Tour Packages In India Comment Thanks for sharing good information !

 

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