Kerala Trip with my Toddler: Full South India Extravaganza

This trip was a holy affair that we planned last year on our child’s first birthday. Since that was her first, it had to be special. Instead of planning a hush hush party and inviting 500+ guests at peak summer eve, I wanted to earn some family moments together. So it was about me, hubby, parents and our little daughter. We both belong to Uttarakhand so we had eliminated the idea to go to the hills ( Mussorie-Naninital and even Shimla). August is the time in India when you have to really think where exactly you can plan a relaxing trip with a year old child. Options like Andaman, Goa, Lakshwadeep becomes out of your mind due to monsoons and same happens with the hilly regions like North East, Manali and Nepal too.. Also when we searched about different locations online, I had to really think about travelling with a toddler and not a grown up child.  There are certain limitations when you are travelling with an infant who has to be carried mostly in arms so we ditched Rajasthan too. You really can’t take Strollers everywhere,  so at last we finalised Kerala as her first birthday destination and with four days left for our scheduled departure , we included Rameswaram and Kanyakumari as well in our itinerary owing to religious sentiments of the Parents. In-toto that was an unforgetful journey of 9 nights that we finalized:

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Arni and Mommy at Athirapally Waterfalls ( many famous movies like Bahuballi, Guru, Dil Se, Ravan,etc has been shot here)
  • 5th Aug-> Delhi to Cochin Flight, Overnight stay in resort at Athirapally
  • 6th Aug-> Visit to Athirapally Waterfalls, Enroute Munnar visit to Spice garden, birthday night of our little daughter ; Overnight stay at Munnar
  • 7th Aug-> Visit to Tea Gardens, Echo Pint, Elephant Ride, Mattupetty Dam, Ayurvedic Massage for the family, Overnight stay at Munnar
  • 8th Aug-> Visit to Lockhart Tea Factory,  Watched traditional performances of Kathakali and Kalarippayattu , visit to Cheeyappara Waterfalls, overnight stay at Munnar.
  • 9th Aug-> Munnar to Madurai, Reached Madurai by evening and visited the famours Meenakshi Temple, overnight stay
  • 10th Aug-> Check out and drove towards Rameswaram, Afternoon visit to the famous temple of Rameswaram, Went to Dhanushkodi in the evening and took the bus ride to visit the ghost town of Dhanushkodi, overnight stay at Rameswaram
  • 11th Aug-> Rameswaram to Kanyakumari, evening visit to Swami Vivekananda Rock and Kanyakumari Temple, overnight stay at resort
  • 12th Aug-> Check out and drove towards Kovalam. Took backwaters boat ride, visited the Golden beach and reached resort by evening. Sunset at Koavalm beach, overnight stay
  • 13th Aug-> Morning checkout, drove towards Thiruvananthapuram and visited the famous Padmanabhaswamy temple. Reached railway station around 11:30 AM to catch train for Cochin. Reached Cochin by 9 PM, overnight stay
  • 14th Aug> 12:00 PM flight back to Delhi with beautiful memories
Due to our last minute changes, we couldn’t got our return flights ( non-refundable) from Thiruvananthapuram or we could have saved our travelling time and avoided all the way coming back to cochin. So it’s always advisable to book to cochin and return by Thiruvananthapuram or vice-versa. Also we missed to visit famous Kumarkoram and Alleppy but with a small child we didn’t had much interest to stay overnight in a houseboat so even a 3-4 boat ride in Kovalam was good enough for us. Even we just crossed Thekkady and didn’t had a glance but this place is famours for it’s wildlife sanctuary and during monsoon we thought to avoid it completely ( or might have turned messy for us).
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Koavalm Beach..had lots of fun ..watched the beautifu sunset..though sea waves were wavy and we couldn’t go deep ,still that was thrill with our little angel
Important Points if you are travelling with Small Child:
  • A lot of crowd comes to Kerala during monsoon season from the Middle East so book your resort well in advance. Kerala is on during all the months of the year, there is nothing like off-season there so just crack the best deal and go for it.
  • We included Rameswaram and Kanyakumari but many people just limit their itinerary to Kerala itself, there is so much to explore there.
  • It is advisable to book a cab ( Innova if big family) from the airport or railway station itself for a comfortable journey with a small child.
  • Food might turn a big issue for your child ( especially north indians) and most of the restaurants on highway and cities serve authentic Kerala cuisine and regular food like we eat might not taste good. So be ready to taste a different flavor and have something available for the little baby ( I know how cranky toddlers are with their food preferences). Don’t expect her to readily accept an entirely new flavor.
  • Always ensure your resort has round the clock customer service
  • Don’t forgot to carry umbrella, mosquito repellants
  • Carry an extra sheet and thin warm blanket or shawl for the baby
  • Carry extra bottles,formula milk, 2-3 spare bowl, spoons
  • Buy some packed foods like cornflakes, oats, biscuits, muffins juices, milk shakes, chocolates, and other healthy snacks. Don’t rely to buy from the destination only as not always things are available.
  • Be flexible in your approach.

 

Distance Check:
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As our trip began, we were hopeful that our youngest traveller will upkeep our strength.. and she didn’t disappointed us rather:)
  • Delhi to Cochin->  Approx 3 hours with usually a halt in Mumbai or Chennai or similar city
  • Cochin to Athirapally-> 1.5 hour cab ride, approx 60 km
  • Athirapally to Munnar-> 4 hours cab ride, approx 140 Km
  • Munnar to Madurai-> 5-6 hours via Thekaddy, approx 200 Km
  • Madurai to Rameswaram-> 4 hours , approx 170 km
  • Rameswaram to Kanyakumari-> 5 hours, approx 320 km ( this route was beautiful though and to my surprise turned out to be less exhausting)
  • Kanyakumari to Kovalam-> 3-4 hours, 90 km
  • Kovalam to Thiruvananthapuram-> 45 minutes, 18 km
  • Thiruvananthapuram to Cochin-> 6 hours by train, 200 km

Where to Stay:

  • Athirapally-> Bethania Resort, Athirapally, INR 4000 for a Double AC room. The one and only fair option in Athirapally is Rainforest Boutique resort (http://www.rainforest.in/). But a one night stay will easily cost you 20K per room and that was an extremely costly affair. So somehow we managed to stay at an average resort like Behthani with a small stream flowing nearby. Meal options were limited so be prepared in advance. Click on the link for more
  • Munnar-> It’s a beautiful place with awesome resort options. Due to our change in plans, we had to book 2 different resorts and both are situated approx 12-15 kms away from Munnar town, well mostly resorts are situated far away. While Leaf Munnar was near via Cochin (Chithirapuram), Club Mountain Munnar is located enroute Kumily highway (Chinnakanal). Both are awesome to stay and have plenty of options right from good customer service, hygienically prepared food, clean and comfortable rooms, high-chair in cafeteria, swimming pool, play area for children and much more. It costed us 12,000 for a night stay in Leaf Munnar ( 2 rooms ) and 10K per day for double room ( 4 adults) villa in Club Munnar.Mountain Club Munnar Chinnakanal_Idukki_District_Kerala.html,The Leaf MunnarChithirapuram_Munnar_Idukki_District_Kerala.html
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    A beautiful birthday cake and gift for my doll.. At the Leaf Munnar

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  • Madurai-> Astoria hotel is a decent place to stay at Madurai. Has clean and nice rooms with closer vicinity to the Meenakshi Temple. This is situated on highway so we didn’t had to go deeper in the town. Their cafeteria served us fresh foo d but there is no highchair so either feed your baby on your lap or in the room itself. One night stay costed us approx 8K for 2 rooms, Hotel Link
  • Rameswaram: It’s a religious and far-off situated places so expect a less luxurious stay. Daiwik resort is quite old yet we had a decent stay there. Staff was warm in reception and food was average. Again, no highchair availability. One night stay costed us 8-9K for 2 rooms. Click on Link

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    Dhanushkodi..the last tip.. During night you can easily see Srilankan’s lights
  • Kanyakumari: We stayed in Hotel Sea View for 1 night, we could watch Swami Rock Memorial right from our room and the ferry spot was near to our location. Again an average stay I would say but with a cost of 8K for 2 rooms a night, it met our expectations. Staff was decent enough to clean our room after my baby had vomitted:Click on link for more
  • Kovalam:  We had a wondeful one night stay at hotel KTDC Samudra. It’s situated just next to Samudra beack and location is awesome. Every room has a beautiful view towards the sea and a nice garden built up. Lots of open spaces and you can relax down to enjoy a beautiful eve. Opt for alacarte meal rather buffet and don’t expect a high chair. Costed us 10K for 1 night and  2 rooms.Click on the link for more
  • Cochin: We stayed at Dianna Heights for 1 night stay situated near to the Cochin airport. They provide free cab shuttle to the airport and has decent rooms. But they have strict rules about decent attire of guests especially women ( sounded weird to me though!) Costed 7-8K for 2 rooms, 1 night. Click on the link for more
Not to Miss Attractions:
  • Athirapally Waterfalls: You will have to walk down to a kilometer or so to have a closer glance at the waterfalls, Beware: Stairs remain wet most of the time and are broken too but the efforts are worth it!
  • Munnar: Every corner of this hilly town is picturesque and pleasure to witness. With a small child focus on a comfortable stay. Visit the waterfalls ( there are plenty), get pics clicked at the tea gardens ( endless), take a hault to enjoy hot tea, corns or pakodaras. Don’t forget to enjoy famous Elephant Ride and you can buy plenty of fresh herbs and spices. And yes the famous kathakali and kalaripayattu performances are something you must surely go for. Click on below link for more details
  • Ayurvedic Spa: This is heavily famous in entire Kerala but I would suggest you to have it in Munnar as the weather there is very congenial for such therapies. Instead of getting it from the resort, go for the government or other authorised centers, they will give you good services and in better rates. Click on the link if you wish to know from where we had availed the services.

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My Hubby with a Kalaripayattu warrior.. They were superb in their act..must watch
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Parents posed with the artists after the show.. The show was Brilliant:)

If you have further questions, you can message me.. Though I’m an amateur blogger but I did lot of research for this trip and I would love to help you out:)

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