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Help needed: Kerala Kanyakumari in March on motorcycle - 11/15 days of touring

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  • Help needed: Kerala Kanyakumari in March on motorcycle - 11/15 days of touring

    After a long absence on the board, here I am once again, seeking advice on a roadtrip to Kerala. After last years' Leh planning which had to be canceled at the last moment because of unfortunate cloudburst and instability in Srinagar, we were kind of stuck in routine. Hence this hurriedly planned ride to Kerala. March it is going to be, because we had to plan leaves accordingly.

    I am leaving Pune on 13 March 2011, with my wife and bike. Will reach Ernaculam junction at dawn on 15 March. The return tickets are of two trains, one on 25 March, and next on 29 March. I booked two return tickets, because I was not sure how many days would this roadtrip require, and the tickets were running out fast.

    I want to cover following sights:
    Day 1 Cochin
    Day 2 Cochin - Munnar 150kms
    Day 3 Munnar
    Day 4 Munnar to Kodaikanal
    Day 5 Kodaikanal
    Day 6 Kodaikanal to Vandanmedu
    Day 7 Vandanmedu to Thekkady / Periyar
    Day 8 Periyar
    Day 9 Periyar - Kumarakom - Houseboat
    Day 10 Kumarakom - Kovalam
    Day 11 Kovalam - Ernaculam
    Day 12 Board train to Pune

    OR

    Day 11 Kovalam - Kanyakumari
    Day 12 Kanyakumari
    Day 13 Kanuakumari Trivendrum
    Day 14 ???
    Day 15 Reach Ernaculam
    Day 16 Board train to Pune

    So it will be either a 11 day or 15 day trip, with last day compulsarily ending in Ernaculam. The above itineraries are very rough, so feel free to rubbish/improve/change them. Request guidance of experienced travellers.

  • #2
    Query Approved

    Comment


    • #3
      Welcome Animeher, welcome to KL

      Day 1 Cochin - Ok
      Day 2 Cochin - Munnar 150kms - This is very much possible
      Day 3 Munnar - Ok
      Day 4 Munnar to Kodaikanal - One day? Very much possible
      Day 5 Kodaikanal - Ok
      Day 6 Kodaikanal to Vandanmedu - Isn't this place in Idukki KL? But why go till Kodai & then come back to KL again? :question:
      Day 7 Vandanmedu to Thekkady / Periyar - I just looked at the map & it seems Vandanmedu to Thekkady is just 20+ Kms isn't it? Tell me frankly, what's the attraction in Vandanmedu?
      Day 8 Periyar - Ok
      Day 9 Periyar - Kumarakom - Houseboat - Ok
      Day 10 Kumarakom - Kovalam - Ok
      Day 11 Kovalam - Ernaculam - Why? Why not Kovalam to Trivandrum & then board train from Ernakulam?

      If you don't mind, I'll club the one below to above plan as follows...

      Day 11 Kovalam - Kanyakumari - Ok
      Day 12 Kanyakumari - Ok
      Day 13 Kanuakumari Trivendrum - Ok & then take a train 16382 CAPE Mumbai Express. Otherwise...
      Day 11 Trivandrum
      Day 12 Trivandrum - Kanyakumari
      Day 13 Pack to Pune via 16382 CAPE Mumbai Express

      As you know very well, Kochi is in the mid of KL & TVM at the end. So try to plan you trip to start in the mid & travel to the end or viceversa

      PS - Give me sometime, I'll work out some plan to cover from Mid KL to end KL. Would that be fine?
      Skill is what keeps you on a Motorcycle
      Awareness + Skill is what keeps you out of harm's way
      ATGATT + Awareness + Skill means you might Live To Ride another day

      Comment


      • #4
        @animeher - drop us a note in the Cochin or Trivandrum thread when you are here.

        As about your plan - its a very relaxed one. You'll be able to cover the places in a lavish pace...

        Comment


        • #5
          See how this plan works to you, just a suggestion...
          Take the 16381 Mumbai Kanyakumari Jayanti Express, but get down at Thrissur instead of Kochi

          Day 1 - Relax + Thrissur & surrounding
          Day 2 - Guruvayoor Krishnan Temple + once again Thrissur & surrounding (Hardly an hours ride)
          Day 3 - Ride from Thrissur to Chalakudi (Athirapally water falls) & then to Kalady (Birth place of Sri Adi Shankara) & then reach Ernakulam by evening. (Ensure to reach Kalady before 12:00 noon or after 5:00 PM to get darshan in temple). Anyway, Kalady-Ernakulam is just 30-40 Kms, so riding after 6:00 or 7:00 PM are no issues besides the roads are good.
          Day 4 - Ernakulam & surrounding (may be you can meet xBhp members at Kochi)
          Day 5 - Ernakulam to Munnar. You might reach before noon if you start as early as 6 AM. Have breakfast at Ernakulam & then leave or else you can stop at Muvattupuzha (takes about an hour & half ride from EKM) & then proceed towards Munnar.
          Day 6 & 7 - Munnar & surrounding (Go also to Devikulam, nothing great, but enjoy a good scenic ride)
          Day 8 - Start from Munnar to Vagamon (not been to Vagamon, but heard its a fantastic place for nature & then proceed to Kumarakom to reach by evening. (Ride from Munnar to Kumarakoam - not sure on the route, but promise to get you before you start the trip)
          Day 9 & 10 - Kumarakom.
          Day 11 - Ride from Kumarakoam to Trivandrum. This is relaxing ride, but if you insist to make it slightly (slightly only) tighter, ride towards Varkala Krishna temple by taking a diversion at Kallambalam. There's also a beach near the temple. Then you ride back to Trivandrum (hardly a 90 minutes ride) (You'll enjoy the ride once you hit MC Road at Kottayam all way upto Trivandrum, ask Haroon on this)
          Day 12 - Trivandrum & surrounding (may be some meets with xBhp members. Lijok will help from there)
          Day 13 - Half day at Trivandrum & then proceed towards Kanyakumari for sunset.
          Day 14 - Kanyakumari & sunrise & then relax
          Day 15 - Take the 16382 CAPE Mumbai Express towards Pune

          Notes
          - If you cut short Day 2 & if you can finish it off on Day 1, then you can complete your trip in 2 weeks too
          - Pls let me know if you still want Kodaikanal also to be included in your relaxed trip & I'll try to cut short a few of them to include Kodai
          - Other must visit places that I can recall now are Thatekkad, Nelliyampathy, Kodaikanal, Alapuzha back waters

          This is approximately the area you would be covering in KL in the above plan


          PS - Sorry Lijo to have picked your name
          PPS - On the location J, never mind the police station , its only a reference, you may choose to visit Lord Krishna temple at Varkala or skip it. It only takes an hour drive or so en route to Trivandrum.
          Last edited by aargee; 01-29-2011, 01:56 AM.
          Skill is what keeps you on a Motorcycle
          Awareness + Skill is what keeps you out of harm's way
          ATGATT + Awareness + Skill means you might Live To Ride another day

          Comment


          • #6
            @aargee: Firstly, really appreciate your willingness to help. Even though I have been to Kerala twice, I still find it amusing and wonderful. That's why planned a ride there!

            Let me clear a few 'constraints' of the trip. The trip has to start/end at Pune station. I am not looking at Mumbai trains, because Mumbai parcel office is corrupted to the core. Pune's is atleast manageably corrupted! From Cochin or in fact Kerala, only a few trains originate there and end at Pune. Taking the bike out of a Mumbai bound train at Pune station can be bit tricky, and if something goes wrong then I will have to go to Mumbai and ride back. I am bit paranoid in that case, that the train has to have the same starting and ending points as I. Hence, the ride days will be fixed, either 11 or 15! I am not disrespecting your advise, only telling the reason behind my constraint.

            Second, no particular love towards Vandanmedu. I don't even know the place! I copied the itinerary part from a tourist agency and part from a biking agency who arranges biking trips for firungs. May be that's why these unfamiliar/unrequired names creep in. Pls do feel free to bash it.

            Regarding Kodaikanal, I really need to be kicked hard for forgetting geography and forgetting it is in TN. Again, I copied it from the original itineraries. But if it is possible, then we would definitely would like to see it. Or is it too much out of way and better covered in Banglore Mysore Ooty itinerary?

            Aargee, your suggested itinerary looks good, and doable as per the constraint even, as I can ride back from Kanyakumari to Ernaculam on day 15 and board the Pune train on day 16. Also, even though I may not be able to get down at Thrissur, I can still ride there from Ernaculam. It seems about 80 kms distance on a highway, so should be doable in 2-2.5 hours. I remember seeing Guryuayoor in its glory with all the diyaas lit in evening after standing in queue for some hours, and would definitely love to see it. Thanks for adding the Thrissur part, otherwise would have completely forgotten it.

            Can you help me trim the fat on the itinerary? I could go bit less on temples and bit more on scenery (because next time visit will be with family and hence be focussed on temples).

            @lijok: I will definitely do so. I don't mind bit tight itinerary too, just that I don't know much in Kerala. You can always suggest!

            BTW, a general question, I hope March is not the worst month on can choose to ride in Kerala, is it?
            Originally posted by aargee View Post
            See how this plan works to you, just a suggestion.......
            EDIT: Just saw the map, and man it is really helpful! I have found a map here, http://maps.newkerala.com/Kerala-Travel-Map.jpg but finding places on that map was too hard. The google map image definitely makes life easier. Thanks again!
            Last edited by animeher; 01-29-2011, 02:32 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              aargee has again proved that outsiders (sorry, no offence bro) know much more than you do about your own state . I'd vote his proposed itinerary over yours, animeher . It covers more, must see places in Kerala, without affecting your train timings.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by lijok View Post
                aargee has again proved that outsiders (sorry, no offence bro) know much more than you do about your own state .
                Lol!!! Who said I'm an outsider Lijo??? I've been travelling from Kozhikode to Trivandrum for over 30+ years now , besides EKM is the place where I was born!!!

                Originally posted by lijok View Post
                I'd vote his proposed itinerary over yours, animeher . It covers more, must see places in Kerala, without affecting your train timings.
                Thanks for the quick approval Lol!!!

                Originally posted by animeher View Post
                The trip has to start/end at Pune station.
                But... , I double checked that train 16381/16382 touches Pune & that's why I suggested it to you. Have you checked that it doesn't crosses Pune? Here is where I checked & do let me know if the table is wrong.

                Originally posted by animeher View Post
                I am bit paranoid in that case, that the train...reason behind my constraint.
                Oh!!! you mean for unloading the motorcycle? Oh!!! Well in that case, give me sometime to search for the right train. Also, if you know the direct train, pls let me know, I'll replan the route for you.

                Originally posted by animeher View Post
                But if it is possible, then we would definitely would like to see it. Or is it too much out of way and better covered in Banglore Mysore Ooty itinerary?
                No no, Kodai is about 90-100 Kms from Munnar & falls into the other part of mountain. Its kind of off season in Kodai in March (but if you ask ppl, they'd say its still a season). Let me replan & see how Kodai can be included. BTW, you need to tell me how many days will you stay in KL right from unloading the GS at arrival & loading the GS to departure.

                Originally posted by animeher View Post
                Aargee, your suggested itinerary looks good, and doable as per the constraint even
                Well, even if you have a puncture, you can still make up to your destination on the same day. You don't have any tiring long rides. Also remember, KL is not a place with good roads & I assume you're taking your better half also this time, so that's the reason I suggested this plan where you can actually get to spend time at visiting places rather so that you shouldn't complain to us about the spine later

                Originally posted by animeher View Post
                as I can ride back from Kanyakumari to Ernaculam on day 15 and board the Pune train on day 16.
                Lol!!! Don't go by Google maps, its really tiring by even a car. TVM to EKM is about 220 Kms via Alapuzha, but the roads are pathetic at Sherthalla & Alapuzha. And add about 80-90 Kms from Kanyakumari-TVM stretch totalling to around 330 Kms. And it would take about 7-8 hours including breaks.

                Originally posted by animeher View Post
                Also, even though I may not be able to get down at Thrissur, I can still ride there from Ernaculam.
                But... check the train that I mentioned, I'm sure it covers Thrissur. I did check the train schedule before suggesting you the plan. It does stops at Thrissur early morning. That's why I said Rest + surrounding on first day.

                Originally posted by animeher View Post
                Can you help me trim the fat on the itinerary? I could go bit less on temples and bit more on scenery (because next time visit will be with family and hence be focussed on temples).
                Sure. Go to Vagamon, you'll love the place; additionally pls clarify what FAT means here

                Originally posted by animeher View Post
                BTW, a general question, I hope March is not the worst month on can choose to ride in Kerala, is it?
                Just perfect as its the exam time. Anything after May would be damn bad due to monsoon.

                Originally posted by animeher View Post
                The google map image definitely makes life easier. Thanks again!
                I know , that's why I showed you what you'll cover.
                Last edited by aargee; 01-29-2011, 08:50 AM.
                Skill is what keeps you on a Motorcycle
                Awareness + Skill is what keeps you out of harm's way
                ATGATT + Awareness + Skill means you might Live To Ride another day

                Comment


                • #9
                  @lijok: Even I vote for Aargee's suggested itinerary, against mine

                  Originally posted by aargee View Post
                  But... , I double checked that train 16381/16382 touches Pune & that's why I suggested it to you. Have you checked that it doesn't crosses Pune? Here is where I checked & do let me know if the table is wrong.
                  @Aargee: I am coming by Ernaculam express, which arrives at Ernaculam at 5.00 in the morning. Unloading the bike takes atleast half hour, therefore it will be very hard, if not impossible, to get the bike and luggage out at Thrichur. Besides, this particular train stops only for about 3 mins on Thrichur, that too at 2 in the morning! Even If I take the other train that delivers me to ERM at 7, that too stops only for 5 mins at Thrichur. That's why the riding from ERM to Thrichur.

                  Originally posted by aargee View Post
                  Oh!!! you mean for unloading the motorcycle? Oh!!! Well in that case, give me sometime to search for the right train. Also, if you know the direct train, pls let me know, I'll replan the route for you.
                  I found there are only 2 trains originating in Pune and ending in Kerala, rest all pass through. The trains are 11097 ERNAKULAM Express (Leave Pune at 23.10 and arrive Cochin on third day at 4.20 in morning, and 12520 PUNE ERS Sup Exp, leaving Pune at 19.00 and reaching ERS at 19.00. I have booked tickets in the first one, because it saves one unnecessary night spent in hotel, and we can have the reaching day to rest as well as to roam around. Besides, I am planning to not to book any hotels before coming, but rather barging in. This is because in my Rajasthan trip, sometimes I felt not booking the hotels beforehand would give much more freedom to choose where to stay.

                  Originally posted by aargee View Post
                  Kodai is about 90-100 Kms from Munnar & falls into the other part of mountain. Its kind of off season in Kodai in March (but if you ask ppl, they'd say its still a season). Let me replan & see how Kodai can be included. BTW, you need to tell me how many days will you stay in KL right from unloading the GS at arrival & loading the GS to departure.
                  I will be getting down at ERS at 4am on 14 March. For returning, I have two choices of days, either 25 March or 29 March. The train is at 5 in morning, so on previous day before 5/6 pm, I have to be in ERM because I have to pack the bike as well. Thus, the days in KL will be
                  11 days with last day compulsorily in ERM
                  15 days with last day compulsorily in ERM

                  Firstly, by looking at tourist's itineraries, I thought 11 days would suffice, but now looking at Thrichur and Vegamon, I guess the 15 days are best utilised.

                  Originally posted by aargee View Post
                  KL is not a place with good roads & I assume you're taking your better half also this time, so that's the reason I suggested this plan where you can actually get to spend time at visiting places rather so that you shouldn't complain to us about the spine later
                  I am not a high speed tourer! Besides, we have had good fill of speedy riding in Rajasthan. This time I am looking for a relaxing ride through greens. Relaxed itinerary fits just fine.

                  Originally posted by aargee View Post
                  Lol!!! Don't go by Google maps, its really tiring by even a car. TVM to EKM is about 220 Kms via Alapuzha, but the roads are pathetic at Sherthalla & Alapuzha. And add about 80-90 Kms from Kanyakumari-TVM stretch totalling to around 330 Kms. And it would take about 7-8 hours including breaks.
                  Read about Alapuzha, and it seems nice. Can we plan to ride back to Alapuzha, spend a day there and then ride to ERM? This way the journey won't have to be tedious, and we can cover Alapuzha as well (thanks for adding one more name in my list of Kerala towns ) Also, I would love to see Kodai if it is possible in this trip.

                  Originally posted by aargee View Post
                  Sure. Go to Vagamon, you'll love the place; additionally pls clarify what FAT means here
                  Will definitely add Vagamon to the itinerary. Fat means, the ride can be at moderate pace even, and not necessariliy a very relaxed one. I wouldn't mind skipping a few places, given that the rest places there required amount of time.

                  Originally posted by aargee View Post
                  Just perfect as its the exam time. Anything after May would be damn bad due to monsoon.
                  Thank God. Barging in hotels for last moment reservations would be OK in this case, I hope.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Aargee mentioned almost everything which I would have suggested you. I understand your concern for train from Mumbai but this Cape Mumbai train stops almost everywhere which means the luggage van will be opened a number of times and the bike will probably be moved which means chance of mishandling. Keep this thing in your mind.

                    Couple of places will be hot in the month of March but then April it will get even worse. So March it is
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                    My photography page: Gourab Das Photography

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                    • #11
                      @Animeher - Ok, will plan something to your convenient on the train timing. But I couldn't find any other train than train number 16381 & that too it doesn't stop at Ernakulam, it stops at Tripunittura which is 17 Kms from Ernakulam. What's the train number you're looking at? Pls pass that to me.

                      OTOH, are you planning to come from Bangalore or Pune? Because, Ernakulam express seems to originate from Bangalore, Kannur, Trivandrum & Nagore only.

                      For the moment, I'll assume you're destination is EKM at 5:00 AM, in that case, you've 2 options...
                      1. Skip Thrissur & Guruvayoor, proceed from EKM & attach Kodaikanal
                      2. Still go to Thrissur & Guruvayoor, no changes in the above said places, but you can do a circular trip kind, like, EKM-Thrissur-Alapuzha-Kanyakumari-TVM-Varkala-Munnar-Vagamon-Angamaly-Athirapally (just a possibility only as I've not worked out detail)-Ernakulam.

                      So going by option 2, you can do a round trip as you desire. Just let me know what you want to choose, I'll work out in detail for you this evening or tonight.

                      @MG - Thanks Bhai
                      Skill is what keeps you on a Motorcycle
                      Awareness + Skill is what keeps you out of harm's way
                      ATGATT + Awareness + Skill means you might Live To Ride another day

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I will prefer option 2 in this case, even if it may mean skipping Kodai. A circular trip is definitely more preferred than travelling on same roads. Please do suggest on this line taking your time.

                        EDIT: The train numbers are: Pune to ERS: 11097
                        ERS to Pune: 12519

                        Which site are you using to find about trains? You can see the trains using this site: http://erail.in/
                        Last edited by animeher; 01-29-2011, 05:34 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          ^^^ Ok, Thanks Animeher, I'll work on route #2 & with the provided train numbers. I did check them & wonder why they didn't appear to me earlier

                          I used http://www.indianrail.gov.in. I think it sucks , I'll use erail.in going forward. Tks
                          Skill is what keeps you on a Motorcycle
                          Awareness + Skill is what keeps you out of harm's way
                          ATGATT + Awareness + Skill means you might Live To Ride another day

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I find that the only useful feature on indianrail.gov.in now a days is the list of available seats w.r.t. quotas. Otherwise, it is an antique now!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm drafting a new sketch, not sure if this is doable, but, I suggest these places to enjoy most of the scenic drives. Probably somebody can pitch in or provide their opinion I'm penning down the route over ambitiously

                              Day 1 - Ernakulam; Have BFast & leave towards Thrissur for Lunch. Post lunch visit surrounding places, have dinner & call it a day

                              Day 2 - Ride to Guruvayur early morning, have darshan, BFast & then come back to Thrissur for Lunch. Post lunch ride towards Alapuzha for dinner. En route, visit Vembanattu Kayal & Alapuzha backwaters. Stay at Alapuzha for the day

                              Day 3 - Have BFast at Alapuzha & ride towards Kanyakumari before evening for Sunset. You can spend some morning time after BFast at Alapuzha & then start towards Kollam around 10 or 11 AM so that you can have lunch at Kollam. Post lunch you've to ride hard to cover the rest of the distance to Kanyakumari. Stay at Kanyakumari.

                              Day 4 - Witness Sunrise, have BFast. Spend sometime upto 11 AM & then start towards Trivandrum for Lunch. Meet xBhpians & spend evening at Veli & Shangumugham beach.

                              Day 5 - Visit Pazhavangadi Ganapathy & Padmanabhasamy temple for sure, have Bfast & then leave to Varkala OR may be some local site seeing by skipping Varkala Krishnan temple. Anycase, have lunch at TVM & head towards Kumarakom for dinner. This might also require a little hard ride. Since I've not done this route, I leave some experts to comment on this point.

                              Day 6 - Kumarakom

                              Day 7 - Have BFast at Kumarakom & head towards Vagamon. Not sure, if you get Lunch at Vagamon & then head towards Thekkady. Kumarakom - Vagamon - Thekkady, though the distances are shorter, expect some bad roads. In any case, this is doable in a single day. Stay at Thekkady (I hope you need to book here in advance)

                              Day 8 - Thekkady site seeing

                              Day 9 - Have BFast at Thekkady & reach Munnar for lunch.

                              Day 10 - Munnar

                              Day 11 - Have BFast at Munnar & head towards Kalady for lunch. Note that the journey time could be anywhere 4-5 hours, so if you leave Munnar by 7 AM, you can reach Kalady (Sringeri village about 2 Kms from main road) by 12 PM for the temple darshan (again, no crowd here for sure). You need to head to Angamaly town (around 30-45 mts ride max) or if you don't mind some small good hotels, you can find in Kalady. Then ride towards Chalakudy post lunch which you can reach easily by evening. Have dinner & stay at Chalakudi.

                              Day 12 - Have BFast at Chalakudi & then leave to Athirapalli falls & then head to Nelliampathi. Here again, I'm not sure about accommodation & other restrictions, but for sure, if you don't ride in Nelliyampathy, you're missing something . You can probably ask Kochu, as I guess he's in Pune. Teaser of Nelliyampathy - http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/1...hy-kerala.html

                              Day 13* - Nelliyampathy

                              Day 14 - Have BFast at Nelliyampathy & then head to Ernakulam for lunch. Have a site seeing around EKM, have dinner & stay there

                              Day 15 - BFast, Lunch & Dinner at Ernakulam. This also helps you to prep for the next day morning journey to Pune

                              *Assuming Nelliyampathy has accomodation)

                              PS - I strongly suggest you take some experts opinion on this over ambitious plan

                              Edit - Here's the map for your convenience...
                              Last edited by aargee; 01-29-2011, 08:50 PM.
                              Skill is what keeps you on a Motorcycle
                              Awareness + Skill is what keeps you out of harm's way
                              ATGATT + Awareness + Skill means you might Live To Ride another day

                              Comment

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