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A trip to South India - what do you think?

A trip to South India - what do you think?

Sep 28th, 2008, 12:23 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 5
A trip to South India - what do you think?

I'm planning a holiday to south india in april 2009 and would really like some advice on where to stay and what to do.

these are my plans at the moment...

day 1. land in bangalore and stay at chevron hotel (recommended to me by someone who lives in bangalore).

day 2. spend the day in bangalore, recovering from the flights and jet lag. in the evening, take the overnight train to hospet.

day 3. arrive in hospet and go straight to hampi. possibly stay at the shanthi guest house on the other side of the river. spend the afternoon in hampi.

day 4. stay in hampi and spend the day exploring.

day 5. spend the day in hampi and then catch the overnight train to bangalore that night.

day 6. arrive in bangalore and catch a bus / hire a driver to go to mysore. spend the afternoon exploring mysore. possibly stay at the ginger hotel.

day 7. make a day trip from mysore to halebid, belur or sravanabelagola. spend the night back in mysore.

day 8. move on to wayanad, staying at the wayanad jungle camp. hopefully take a car here, otherwise bus to mananthavadi.

day 9. visit tholpetty wildlife reserve.

day 10. spend the day either in the wildlife reserve or around there, relaxing.

day 11. move on to kochi, hopefully by car or otherwise by train to kannur and then train to ernakulam. stay at the old harbour hotel.

day 12. spend the day in kochi.

day 13. spend the day in kochi. spend the night on a boat travelling through the backwaters to alleppey.

day 14. return to kochi by bus / train. spend one last night at malabar house hotel.

day 15. fly home from kochi.

i don't know anyone who has taken this holiday before and this will be the most adventurous (and expensive!) holiday i've ever taken so i'd really appreciate any comments from anyone to make sure i get as much of it as right as possible.

thank you very much!
becksldrt is offline  
Sep 28th, 2008, 01:42 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,727
My time in Southern India was focused in the far south in Tamil Nadu state, so I'm afraid I can't help much, but I do want to say that I found the South to be beautiful! I was in the area from Nagercoil down to Kanyakumari; the trip report is here: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...7&tid=35147706

I didn't do wildlife viewing as I was in the wrong season for it. Are you familiar with the www.indiamike.com site? It's excellent for specific inquiries.

Happy travels!
Amy is online now  
Sep 28th, 2008, 06:10 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,222
Any special reason you're not taking the train from Bangalore to Mysore? There's a two hour Shatabdi express provided you don't travel on a Tuesday, or you could get up early and be in Mysore by 10:00. (Schedules at www.indianrail.gov.in/inet_metro_trns.html . I stayed at the Green Hotel - www.greenhotelindia.com - in Mysore, and figure you could easily fill another day there. I also stayed in the Malabar House Hotel in Kochi - really nice place!
thursdaysd is offline  
Sep 28th, 2008, 07:31 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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I think you are rushing around a little too much, esp as I assume you are on your own. If I have counted correctly, you are visiting 7 places in 14 days, that is a lot even for a place like Europe which is small and has great transport. India is different, and if this were my trip I would go to fewer places but spend more time in them to really see and experience them. Going from the overnight train to Bangalore, then the 3-4 hour journey down to Mysore may be much more tiring than you think, and you have only planned a half day in Mysore at that point. IMO there is more to see and do in Mysore, and you may not have the energy to do that in half a day after an overnight train and then the journey down from Bangalore. (And that is your second night train in almost as many days.) I also would spend 2 nights on a houseboat, just because I find it more relaxing and you can get to more remote places, but I can maybe see if you are by yourself that one night may be enough. With regard to the wildlife preserve, I have not been to any in the south, but my experience in other places is that the more rides you can take, the more wildlife you can see. You may only be permitted 2 rides a day into the reserve, therefore again, if you can spend more time there and get in more rides, you will have a better chance of seeing more and varied wildlife.

Also, April is pre-monsoon and it will be very hot in most places (other than Bangalore) so this may slow you down even more. Itís a pretty ambitious schedule, but I would keep it flexible in case you come to the conclusion that you canít or donít want to complete the entire thing.
Cicerone is offline  
Sep 29th, 2008, 08:46 AM
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thank you very much for your feedback, everyone. it's great to see the forums are as useful as ever!

i should have told you a bit more about me. i'll be taking the trip with my husband, so i won't be travelling alone, but we're both pretty new to this kind of travelling. i'll be going to india from england, can't really take more than 2 weeks because of work (very sadly) and want to try and see as much as possible because we have been saving for this trip and won't be able to take another one like it for a few years, when we're worried there might be children getting in the way...!

so i guess we're packing things in, but that's why. we're also stuck with april because we have to wait until the new holiday year comes round at work. so many restrictions!

your comments have been really useful though - it's good to hear about that speedy train to mysore and about the hotels - and also to be prepared to be tired...!

when travelling around by train, did you find you had to book every train well in advance or could you just walk on to the short distance (2 hours, say bangalore - mysore)? i'm worried about booking for trains and then delays meaning i miss connections.

thank you very much everyone!
becksldrt is offline  
Sep 29th, 2008, 09:15 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,222
I booked my trains ahead - I used an Indrail pass from www.indiarail.co.uk. I mostly traveled 2AC, with some 1AC and one 3AC - no sleeper class. Whether the trains were full varied. I did change a few tickets, and unless you are in one of the big cities with a foreigner's ticket office it can be a real pain (better to pay an agency to do it). I certainly wouldn't wait until the day to buy tickets to Mysore, but you could maybe do it when you arrive in India. However, I believe you can now buy tickets through the Indian Railways website - see if seat61.com/India.htm or www.indiamike.com has any info on that.
thursdaysd is offline  
Sep 29th, 2008, 02:11 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,121
Hi becks: I've been puzzling over your itinerary. Without knowing anything about you - maybe you are 22 with a backpack, maybe you're 85 with a walking frame - who knows?

But if I were you, first I'd look here.

Then I'd just re-arrange your mind: go into free-flow for a minute -

day 1. Arrive GOA

day 2. spend the day in GOA recovering from the flights and jet lag. in the evening, take the overnight train to hospet.

day 3. arrive in hospet and go straight to hampi. possibly stay at the shanthi guest house on the other side of the river. spend the afternoon in hampi.

day 4. stay in hampi and spend the day exploring.

day 5. spend the day in hampi and then catch the overnight train to bangalore that night.

O.K. - there's the first idea. No backtracking in and out of Bangalore.
If it were me I'd lose a day out of Hampi. It's not really that thrilling. But if you want to chill out in the chill-um sense then Hampi's the place.

Otherwise hit Bang. and go straight to Hassan - not Mysore. Overnight Hassan
Try see all three places if you can; halebid, belur and sravanabelagola.

Then go Mysore.

Again no backtrack.

And, as a general comment - way too many trains and too much shlep. But maybe you're 22 with a backpack in which case just join the club and have fun. Me? First trip to India? Man, I'd be making it a bit easier - that's if you still want to have a husband when you get home.

Think car and driver wherever possible. I'd have that Bang. to Hassan to Mysore to Wayanad at least.. otherwise you're at the mercy of the train schedules. You'll need a car anyway to see halebid, belur and sravanabelagola

Thursday, bless her cotton-pickin' sox, if very gung-ho for everybody to try trains. Me - I'm not so gung ho on that.

Remember, it's not just about getting from A- B, it's how long that takes plus stress plus hassle plus getting in and out of stations, grasping porters, rip-offs and more stresssssss.

India ain't easy. But it's worth it.
Second half itinerary. I haven't looked at.
dogster is offline  
Sep 29th, 2008, 02:23 PM
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: ) I'm 27. I would put myself in between a back packer and an 85 year old - I am excited about a bit of adventure but don't want to rough it too much...! I didn't realise I could get a train from Goa to Hospet, I'll definitely look into that, and I do want to take cars as often as possible, I just didn't realise I'd be able to take them so far. I'll certainly scratch out a few of those trains, then.
Thank you very much for your help!
becksldrt is offline  
Sep 30th, 2008, 08:35 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,222
Well, trains, especially in 2AC, are a great way to meet locals - people in 1AC seem to be more business and government types, in 2AC you're likely to get families. Equally important, trains are much, much safer than the roads! I think you should go for a mix - but make sure you're off the roads at night.

If you travel light, no need to worry about porters, and if you're in an AC or sleeper class your seat assignment will be posted somewhere in the station, and on the outside of your carriage.
thursdaysd is offline  
Oct 14th, 2008, 01:52 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 16
Bangalore Hotel business is crash by 30% { except during aeroshow days } You may stay at Taj /Leela /Royal Orchid /Park etc at same price ..

Hospet - stay should be at Malligi toursit home ,not so expensive but the best.Train reaches 6 Am so incase need Room upon arrival book it from previous night.

Why a day trip to Belu /Helebid as miss too much time to & fro .Spend the night at Hoysala Village Resort at Hassan and from there you can drive down to Waynad .
The best stay at Waynad is at Orange country resort { But expensive}.

Drive to Cochin would be comfortable if you break the journey at Calicut .

Must spend a night at Alleppy -Raheem residency .

Cochin must stay at Fort area

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