Kerala/India advice please

Sep 4th, 2006, 06:25 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 20
Kerala/India advice please

OK... we are booking a last(ish) minute trip to India (early october)... we will have 10 nights and are flying in and out of Mumbai. Need some advice:
1. flight into Mumbai arrives at midnight.. any good hotel (approx GBP100 range) that will collect us and is not far from city centre??? and, is 2 full days in Mumbai enough to safely safe you have 'seen' the city??
2. Want to spend rest of time in Kerala. Also intersted in Bangaram, also a trip on a houseboat through the backwaters sound interesting as does the beach in Kovalam. Keeping in mind that we have approx 7-8 days to see the best of Kerala... can anyone suggest a lists of 'musts and maybes' from the above info???
FYI - we are two 35 y.o. gay guys, used to off the beaten path travel and like to mix a bit of 'roughing it' with 'luxury'..
All tips greatly appreciated!!!
gjkgjk is offline  
Sep 4th, 2006, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 413
Hello there! Namaste.
First off, sounds like u are onto some good trip planning, Mumbai and Kerala, two of my favorite areas in India!

I love Mumbai! I wld say it is my favorite city in India. I suggest u stay downtown in either the Colaba or the Marine Drive area.

Some hotel suggestions in Colaba wld be the lovely Taj Palace, facing the Gateway of India and Arabian Sea. A bit more moderate priced but a very lovely property would be the Hotel Marine Plaza on Marine Drive which goes as a boutique Hotel. come to think of it, anoither good option on Marine Drive would bethe Intercontinental. Both of these properties face out to the SEA on Marine Drive promendade.

How much ime in Bombay, well yes, at least 2 or 3 nights would be good, depending on what u want to see and do.,..Great shopping, great resturants,freindly people and great nightlife too!!!

U can fly to Cochi from Bombay..Cochi is a great port city in many great places to stay like the Brunton Boatyard or Taj Malabar to name a few...

And yes, going to lakswadeep//Banagaram island always a great idea...U might consider the Bangaram island eco friendly resort.

However,u might just choose to stay at one of the beach areas in Kerala. I personally like Varkala, and there is also busier Kovalum! endless choices of where to stay at both.

And yes, by all means, a night on a houseboat floating thru the backwat3ers from Quilon to Allepy is a wonderful experince. Houseboats run the gamut from the basic to the Luxurious.

There are so many great places to visit in Kerala, so can easily fill up 7 days. Places to consider, defiantely Cochi, Varkala, Kumarakom,(bird sanctuary, MUnnar(tea plantations), Thekkady,(periyar wildlife sancturay) to name some choices.

And again, great places to stay throughout. I really like the Coconut Lagoon in Kumarakom!.

So, that is some information and ideas for U for starters.. plenty more. Feel free to drop me a line at [email protected] as i am a American woming living in the region and travel often to MUmbai and Kerala. Happy to help. Namaste.

Bonita is offline  
Sep 5th, 2006, 08:37 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 474
Bonita - We are hoping that gjkgjk won't mind us asking you for advice on the same post since we have a somewhat similar question for you. We have booked flights into/out of Mumbai in the December holiday period. We are a bit behind in planning the rest of our trip, however -- could use your advice.

We spent two weeks in Rajasthan (via Delhi) last December and had such a wonderful time that we decided to return to India this December, this time in other region. Given that this is a vacation for relaxation and exploration at the same time, we are seeking top luxury hotels (we stayed at Oberoi hotels, Taj hotels and the Imperial on our trip last year) and an itinerary that is interesting but not too break-neck. We are happy to fly from Mumbai southward/eastward and/or arrange for a car where driving makes more sense.

Thanks in advance for your advice (and thanks to gjkgjk for letting us camp on his post!)
WinterTravel is offline  
Sep 6th, 2006, 04:07 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 460
Agree with bonita about staying in the Colaba/Marine Drive area. Lots of hotels in this area and once you've made your reservations, you can ask the hotel to arrange a transfer from the airport. Mumbai is a very vibrant city. You should definitely have enough time in 2-3 days to get a feel for it. Like bonita said, lots of shopping and nightlife.

About Kerala - lots of beautiful places to see. Cochin is a nice city. Night on the houseboat in the backwaters - lovely experience. I've been to Munnar, tea plantations/hill station, also very nice.

You could also go to Lakshwadeep, I think there are flights from Cochin and also ferries to the islands. We had taken a cruise from Mumbai - Lakshwadeep. Very beautiful beaches, white sands, green/blue waters.
sharon1306 is offline  
Sep 6th, 2006, 12:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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HI WinterTravel! I see you are planning another winter India trip. Wonderful!

Well, if u survived and liked North India, u are going to Love South India! A completely differnt feel, vibe, energy! I would say a bit more easy~going. So yea, a good choice for relaxation and exploration!

In terms of your trip and where to go South, well, there are indeed endless choices! I will jot down some ideas...

First off, starting in Bombay is a great start! It is quite the wonderful city and from hear u can go anywhere.

I am very fond of Bombay, so colorful, vibrant and exciting, plus borders on the SEa so u get that good tropical feel too!.And the food is great, the people friendly and the shopping [email protected] Shhhh, i prefer Bombay to Delhi anyday...Don't tell my friends in Delhi...

many great places to stay in Bombay..For high budget u can go for either The Taj Palace or The Oberoi on Marine Drive. But as i said, i also like the Hotel Marine Drive too.

After Bombay, so many options. U can the states of Goa, kerala, and or Tamil Nadu. It so depends on how much you want to see and how much traveling u want to do.

A good way to travel in the South is plan down time with more intense travel time, such as some days at a beach or aruvedic resort and then some more heavy duty traveling ans sightseeing. This way u keep the balance..

Anyways, there are so many top hotels and resorts in the South, u may want to start with a stint in Goa, especially during Xmas when it is in full bloom.Many beautiufl places to stay i Goa.too many to list..Best resorts tend to be in the South.

From Goa, u can easily fly to Cochi, and great hotels in Cochi, like Brunton Boatyard or Taj Malabar..

DEfiantely suggest a luxury night on a houseboat, floating down the backwaters...

I would go to Kumakarom and u can stay at Coconut Lagoon, or in Thekady also lovely places to stay, many choices.

U might check out Varkala beach, or the tea plantations of Munnar, or periyar wildlife Sanctuary..Great places to stay at all destinations...

okay...another plan.

Depending on your time and how much traveling u want to do, many folks combine two weeks for the States Kerala and Tamil Nadu...Kerala would be more wildlife, beaches, backwaters and in Tamil, perhaps more a cultural foray into the Temples,history and culture of the South..

In Tamil u can visit perhaps Madurai, Trichy, Tanjore, Pondi, Mamahalipuram end in Chennai, and then fly back to Bombay..

In terms of traveling in the South. Well, I would suggest u combine some domestic flights with private car/driver, and even a train or two, all depeinding on how u plot and route your schdule.

Anyways, so many options, so this is just an idea, curry for thought. I would be happy to help u more with your planning, info/ideas..u can drop me a line at [email protected] Namaste

Take care..happy Travels..namaste..
Bonita is offline  
Sep 6th, 2006, 09:07 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 474
Bonita - Thanks a million for the advice! We probably should have stated up front that we are not "beach people" -- would that change your recommendation of where we should go? We have 13 days to spend in India in total (including Mumbai - do you suggest exploring Mumbai first, or waiting until the end of our trip before we fly out?).
WinterTravel is offline  
Sep 7th, 2006, 08:57 PM
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Posts: 413
Well Winter, if u are not beach people, we need to cut out the beaches!!!

So yea, maybe a two week trip which combines parts of kerala and parts of Tamil Nadu would be more for U and u can certainly do that in two weeks!

so yea, u can cut Goa and also bypass Varkala and Kovolum in Kerala as both beach locales..

I might go Cochi, a backwaters trip, Kumarakom, Thekkady, and as i said before, would be nice to combine a foray into Tamil nadu like Madurai, Tanjore, Trichy, Mamahalipuram, etc..

Depends how much u want to travel!

Combining kerala and Tamil in two weeks makes a great and fascianting trip as u combine culture, history and plenty of nature and wildlife too..Plus superb food in both States!!

The food in the South is so delicous!

About Bombay!!, i wld do it at the end of your trip! Why??, well, bombay is such a great shopping and exciitng city, so i wld probably end there after u travel the simple life and backroads and want a city and shoppping fix....Plus, U will be relaxed from your trip and excited to hit the cosmpolitan resturants and incredible shops of this great vibrant city..

Also, better to shop at the end of your trip so u do not need to lug your stuff around too. u can find everything in Bombay, so at the end of your trip u will aprobably also have a better feel of what u may want...

As a matter of fact, every year when i leave India, i love too pass thru Bombay, great place to say goodbye to India! Salam Bombay..

Okay, happy travels and feel free to drop me a email..Namaste,.
Bonita is offline  
Sep 12th, 2006, 08:41 AM
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hello Winter. R u still planning? Have not seen u on this post again? Hope all is well. Namaste!
Bonita is offline  
Sep 13th, 2006, 04:32 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 69
Any suggestions for more affordable hotels in Bombay than the Taj Palace? Loved the look of the hotels in previous posts but there isn't anything under $200/night. Yikes. That would leave me with no money left to shop!
Bethwhitwa is offline  
Sep 13th, 2006, 07:55 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 413
HI BETH! Well, u don't want to skim on shopping, that is for sure!

The Taj Palace is one of the most expensive properties, but yes, there are ample alternatives. However, taht said Bombay is quite a costly city for hotels.

I can give some suggestions, and also do a search and pull up a thread on Fodors that i addressed hotels in Mumbai. I will pull it up for u.

Less espensive alternatives would be Hotel Marine Drive, Fariyas, and the Gorden House..I personally am very fond of Hotel Marine Drive on Marine Drive, and Gordon House in Colaba is a real find too!

If u want to go way less, u can check out some of the small hotels in Colaba like AScott, Godwin, and Suba Palace, Shelly's to name a few..I just love the Colaba area of Bombay..,namaste and feel free to drop me a line. happy to help!
Bonita is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 08:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 2
I am going to Kerala the first week of March.

Could anyone suggest a hotel by the beach that has spa activities (pool, massage, skin treatments)?

Thanks very much!
alexparis is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 09:26 PM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 69
We recently stayed at The Ascot in Colaba. New, smart contemporary design-large rooms, walking distance to Taj and museum. 25 rooms. 4500 RS
Heath is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2007, 06:24 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 14
I'm glad to hear about the Ascot, as I have reservations there next month!
I, too, am returning to India, for the third time in two years. I am from the US. I have also spent much time in North India, and this time am coming to Mumbai and Kerala for the first time. I have a question about the caves. Are Ajanta and Ellora caves really worth taking 2-3 days to go see? I only have about 8 days between Mumbai and Kerala. Are the caves worth taking 2-3 of these days? How do the Elephanta Caves, much nearer Mumbai, compare with the Ajanta/Ellora caves?

We're really torn, because I'd love to see those caves but I'm debating whether it is worth it. Also, are there no evening flights from Mumbai to Cochi??? All I can find are morning or early afternoon flights.

Thank you!
namastefromUSA is offline  

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