I had no real thoughts of visiting India really. We were heading back to Kuala Lumpur to finalise our tooth implants and we had about a week to do something in between dentist visits.  It just so happened that Air Asia had some terrific flight deals and that is when I found myself checking out India.

It's difficult to describe a place like this in just a few words so I have put a bit of thought into it and this is how I feel about Kerala.

From the unusual fishing nets of Kochi to the magical backwaters of Kumarakom to the stunning mountains of Munnar to the golden sand beaches of Alleppey to the heart stopping waterfalls of Athirappilly.

In just a short time that we spent in Kerala, it certainly won our hearts and I fully agree with the title that Kerala has been given - "God's own Country".

So 4 hrs later, we were in Fort Kochi.



What better way to learn about India than choosing homestay accommodation.  Our flight arrived late at night and we didn't get to see much.  So imagine our surprise when we woke up and were greeted with this scene from our private verandah!

Plus Saj makes the best breakfast!!  I would recommend Saj homestay to anyone visiting here.

We found ourselves smack in the centre of Fort Kochi and within walking distance from most attractions.   This trip was to be a wonderful 7 day colourful journey that we will never forget! 
There were many highlights. This is just one.


I had heard about the unique culture dances of Kerala so when Saj suggested that he book us ticket, I excitedly accepted.  This was amazing!  I would definitely go again.



The first and major attraction is the Chinese fishing nets.  These are still in operation, nets pulled by bamboo poles using large weights.  They are pretty amazing to see in action.

Don't be too hasty to jump on if you don't have any cash on you as that is the first thing the locals ask you for once you are given a run down on how the fishing nets work.  Somehow I knew this would happen, so I hung back and just took photos from the sidewalk.

Fort Kochi however is more than the Chinese fishing nets on the shore.  Although they are interesting to see and especially at sunset.

We used our full senses here taking in the vibrant activity from honking horns to spice smells to bartering at the markets to warding off hawkers, feeling the steamy humidity and meeting some lovely locals.

But in amongst that we found a quiet backstreet area that was nice for photography addicts like hubby and me.



We alighted from our Tuk Tuk and were immediately set upon by the street hawkers.  Usually a polite 'no', look the other way and keep walking will keep them at bay.  But sometimes they are persistent as was this guy.
My tactics worked well but when I turned around I saw that hubby had stopped and was listening to the hawker's sales pitch.  Bad move Howie!  This wasn't looking good.

So Anas, our friendly Tuk Tuk driver and friends came to the rescue.
I was walking ahead sniggering at Hubby's demise.  Meanwhile hubby was trailing behind with hawker in tow and trying to fob him off haha.
Hubby had picked a couple of trinkets and was heavily bartering with the hawker.  Anas and mates placed themselves behind and were showing 2 and 3 fingers to indicate the price hubby should be paying lol.
Eventually we got a good price.   Hawker wasn't too impressed but we got the thumbs up and a smile from the boys and everyone was happy.  😂

It's nice to chat with locals that have a great sense of humour.  These guys certainly did.

Anas told us that his Tuk Tuk was a Ferrari - in direct competition with his mate that clearly owned a Bugatti, complete with 'stop' sign warning those behind not to touch his sports Tuk Tuk.

Anas was pretty good in the shopping department too.  He suggested that I buy this one.



What a memory!   Wasn't too much fun at the time though - trying to find a restaurant that will sell Special Tea.

We just so happened to be in Kerala at election time.  Tip - don't go at election time as you'll find it hard to buy beer.

This restaurant had the good stuff.  A group of French tourists from off the cruise ship came in and we watched as they were brought a few mugs of special tea.  Then something must have been said because all of a sudden a couple of beer glasses came out.

They must have had someone employed out the front to keep a watch out for the local authorities whilst this was going on I reckon.

Well at least hubby had his fill and was satisfied.  😁

Anas showed us the local Kochi beach which was deserted.   Well except for a couple of nuns dipping their feet in the ocean.

I think one of the best memories for me was being greeted by the kids near the quiet little canal in the back streets.

The look on the kid's face as he rode way with the change we gave him, stopping to turn around and give us a wave.   Priceless.



Anas took us around to a few more sights.  The Vasco Da Gama house being one of them.  This was Vasco Da Gama's home.  Now a homestay.



We stopped at the Dutch Palace and learnt 

all about the history here.  The drive to the 

Palace through Jew Town was interesting too.



For a bit of yesteryear culture, visit the Dhobi Wash House which is still in operation and give a small donation to keep this unique laundry going.



The Spice Shops in the main street are also great to visit.  We bought some spices and thank goodness got through with them at customs.




Whilst Fort Kochi was a hive of activity, Kumarakom was totally different.  I had seen photos of the backwaters and as both of us enjoy boating.  This looked like the perfect place to end our holiday.


Hubby and I differ a little in our choice of accommodation.  When hubby goes on holiday, he likes a little bit of luxury as he works hard.  I don't blame him for this analogy.  On the other hand, I don't mind where we stay.   I am more excited about exploring new places.

That said, it was time to throw in a nice resort and spa for that little luxury that we both deserve.  The Zuri Resort and spa was just perfect.

The staff here gave us a warm welcome.  The resort was nestled in picture perfect gardens with a large pool in the centre that fronted onto a nice big lake which lead out to the Vemband Lake off which the famous

backwaters run.

What a beautiful picture to welcome us to Kumarakom.


After settling in we went in search for a nice coldie.  Oh no!   What?   No beer?!!
As you already know, it was election time here in Kerala and we were about to learn that the 'no beer' rule was also extended to the resorts as well.
We had to wait until 5pm when bobby, the catering manager assured us that they would be given their new liquor licence.  So at 5pm on the dot, we were the first customers in the dining room.

Indian wine is nice, but expensive.  So after the first night, I stuck to the Kingfisher Beer which was nice to come back to after our day trips.  Thank goodness we only had to endure a few hours on the first day before beer o'clock.  🍻

Early morning here in Kumarakom is misty.  We probably should have booked our backwater cruise for early morning.  Now there's a tip for you.




We entered the huge Vemband Lake from our accommodation and headed slowly towards the entry to the backwaters nearby.
First sight was a couple of locals fishing and collecting shellfish.  We waved g'day and they waved back.

Upon entering the backwaters we passed a few Kelluvallam (houseboats) moored on the banks of the river.  They were soon replaced with busy local life as the canals became smaller.
We were greeted with locals fishing, bathing and clothes washing along the banks of the river.  We saw colourful houses and shops along with plenty of waves from the locals.

The river banks were lined with palm trees and rainforest.  We cruised through heavily dense rainforest with mist in the distance.  Then we entered the mist.  And all of a sudden it parted to reveal this.

The small canal opened up into a huge lake.  We had completed a full circle and were back in Vamband Lake.  This is one of my favourite photos.  Palm lined shore, rice fields in the distance, silent canoe and a lone duck.

Kumarakom is full of bird life.  There is a bird sanctuary close by.  Sadly we heard that this time of year is not too good for bird spotting, so we didn't go to the bird sanctuary.
Still, we did see some nice birds and even a few eagles.  It was a challenge to grab a good photo.



This was another highlight of our trip.   I had seen these houseboats whilst researching our trip and couldn't wait to see them for real!  When I saw my first one right here at the resort I was so excited! 
They are unique to Kerala and were once used for the rice trade.  Basically made from rope stuck together with cashew resin.  Pretty amazing hey.  Thus the name rice boats.
You can stay on them for 1 or more nights.  We opted to stay in the resort instead.  Plus you cannot tour the small backwater canals in a rice boat as they are too big.  If we ever come back to Kerala, we will stay on a Kelluvallam.




Hiring a driver for the day is relatively cheap and we wanted to get out into the countryside.

Munnar is about 3 1/2 hrs from Kumarakom.  This is a lovely trip that I would recommend.  We travelled through many little towns and the views are magnificent.
Along the way, we stopped at a small local house café for some tea and fried battered banana.



Rising some 1700 metres above sea level in the Munnar hills, Kundala Lake is a photographers dream! 
There was quite a crowd here.  They had stalls, horse riding and boating.



The beaches of Alleppey on the coast south of Kochi are nice.  Coconut palms right on the beach give them a lovely tropical feel.  Having seen the comparison between Alleppey and Kumarakom, I am glad that we chose to stay in Kumarakom and did a day trip here instead.



Was way better than the main beach in Alleppey - more scenic and less crowded.



My favourite photo taken by hubby

Our holiday was about to finish.  We had a late night flight out of Kochi.  So we hired a private air conditioned car and driver and quizzed him on what to do.  After discussing what we had already seen, he suggested Athirappilly waterfalls.  Why not?  Sounded good.
This trip was well worth it even though it rained a bit.  We couldn't do any hiking, so we based ourselves at a

nice little restaurant in the hills with a view to die for.  Between showers we were able to capture some nice photos.

Another favourite taken by hubby

I hope you enjoyed the read and maybe I have encouraged you to visit Kerala with its amazing backwaters, rice boats and unique fishing nets.
Just don't come here on election time.


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