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Suggestions for southern India trip for Dec 2006

Suggestions for southern India trip for Dec 2006

Mar 25th, 2006, 01:39 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2003
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Suggestions for southern India trip for Dec 2006

We enjoyed our trip to India last December so much that we are thinking of going back to India this December. Our plan would be to focus on southern India this time (having spent two weeks in Rajasthan/Delhi last time). As we start to put together an itinerary, we would love suggestions on potential routes, must-sees, great hotels and any other thoughts. We are not beach people -- we tend to like to combine days exploring with R&R at nice hotels. Thanks in advance for any help!
WinterTravel is offline  
Mar 25th, 2006, 07:12 PM
  #2  
 
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Budget?
hobbes is offline  
Mar 25th, 2006, 07:27 PM
  #3  
 
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This place looks great to me.
http://www.philipkuttysfarm.com/html/Farm.htm
KimJapan is offline  
Mar 26th, 2006, 09:15 AM
  #4  
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We like to stay in top hotels (did Oberois in Rajasthan and the Imperial in Delhi last Dec), so our budget will be on the higher rather than lower end. Thanks for asking the prompt to clarify that!
WinterTravel is offline  
Mar 27th, 2006, 02:22 AM
  #5  
 
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Take a look at www.neemranahotels.cm. They have some great properties and you could visit any of the ones in Tamil Nadu ( I would reco a stop at Pnidcherry, it is qute interesting) or the one at Bangalore. A fabulos hotel chain in Kerala, also eco friendly is Casino group www.cghearth.com. Absolutely fabulos. Another place in Kerala I love is a tree house property, Green Magic Nature Resort - look at them on www.ecoclub.com. In Wayanaad take a look at PLantation Hideaway.
hobbes is offline  
Mar 28th, 2006, 12:12 AM
  #6  
 
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"South India" is a pretty big area, but some suggestions would be:

Varanasi for sure, really really interesting. Easy flight from Delhi, try for mid-day flights to avoid the fog problems which plague Delhi in winter. There is a night train from Delhi which might also work, and if you haven't done a railway trip yet in India, then you really should. IMO there is no better way to see Indian life than in a railway station and in and from the train. From Varanasi, you could fly on to Chennai or other southern points (or could fly into Varanasi from the south and train on to Delhi from there). (From your other posts, if you haven't learned by now, avoid Indian Airlines, try Jet Airways, Air Deccan, Sahara Air or Spice Jet.)

I agree on the Tamil Nadu/Ponicherry recco, and the whole east coast of India south of Chennai, also very interesting, pretty coastline, some French colonial bits left, nice weather that time of year. You could get a car and driver in Chennai and head south.

I would recco Goa and Kerala, super time of year there, Kerala may be better if you really are not a beach person as you can do the backwater boat thing; but both are very interesting, Goa has the Portuguese colonial feel and of course the wonderful Goan food. Kerala is more lush.

I have not been to the western Ghat area, but you might consider that, do some reading on the area. The scenery is spectacular from the pictures and I believe there is a lot of historical and culture interest as well. Or a place in a hill station in or near the Ghats like Ooty (Occtamund)

You might consider Hyderabad, I have been doing same business there and find it very interesting because of its great history and the Muslim influence which you don't find in most of the other parts of India you have seen so far. I find it more interesting than Bangalore. If you can get flights into and out easily (Singapore airlines flies non-stop from Singapore so not a bad way to get into India), I think 2-3 days here would be quite interesting and certainly off the tourist path; I have been in museums there where I was literally the only person in the place. They have some wonderful buildings, the courthouse (built by the British) is like something out of Arabian nights. Hyderabadi food is great (bryani was invented here).

You might consider Sri Lanka as well, can do a mix of beach/wild life jungle viewing/tea plantation. If you stick to the southern and eastern sides (Galle) you will avoid rain and weather is generally good. There seem to be some really interesting boutique-type hotels which are opening up there, see Conde Nast traveler and other magazines. There are also two Amans there which would be worth the trip.

I am not so sure that Bangalore is worth the trip, it is quite modern and not so much history there as it has become so built up only in recent years. And even more so than other places, it is hard to find hotel rooms there as so many business people are going. Do some reading on attractions there and consider. Assuming you have only two weeks, I think there are other places that would be better to visit. The climiate however is extremely pleasant and there are some good hotels and some very good restaurants.

Cicerone is offline  
Mar 28th, 2006, 06:17 AM
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Must sees in South India always include Kerala. Your best bet for a different experience in Kerala would be to stick with the cgh earth group of hotels.....great locations, great food and superb management. I think they would arrange a plan by which you can stay at their hotels. Places in Kerala worth a visit are Kochi [Cochin] and its myriad attractions, Munnar and Thekkady wildlife sanctuary [in the western Ghat mountain ranges], Trivandrum the capital city [and some nice palaces in the neighbourhood], Wayanad in the north of Kerala, and of course Kumarakom and its backwaters. Don't forget to visit the Eravikulam national park at Rajamalai if you're going to Munnar....the only place in the world where you can find the incredibly friendly, and near-extinct Nilgiri Tahrs [a kind of goat]...fantastic walks and great views. In December, remember to dress warmly in the high ranges such as Munnar and Thekkady. A good hotel to stay in Munnar is the RCI 5 star resort 'Club Mahindra'. Also don't forget to spend a 24 hour period on a houseboat, relaxing in the backwaters of Kerala. The hotel you stay with in Kumarakom can arrange this. Apart from the cgh flagship hotel of Coconut Lagoon,another great place to stay at Kumarakom would be the Kumarakom Lake Resort....ask for their poolside villas.
Goa's attractions are mainly its beaches, and so you might want to skip it. If you plan to go, the Taj Exotica and the Fort Aguada Beach Resort are great options, as is the Intercontinental at Goa.
While I do agree that Bangalore is getting very crowded with the IT boom, there still places to visit nearby, including the beautiful State Government buiding [an old converted palace], the palace and capital of the old ruler Tippu Sultan at nearby Srirangapatnam, and the Wodeyar dynasty palaces at Mysore. Also try to visit the ruins of the old Vijayanagara empire while in Karnataka.
Tamil Nadu has many beautiful temples. Must sees include the capital Chennai [Madras] and the nearby Mahabalipuram with its shore temple and other attractions [reclaimed from the ocean following some natural calamity a few decdes back]. A good place to stay would be the Taj Fisherman's Cove.
While I personally think that Munnar is a much better hill station than the old British favourites of Kodaikanal and Ootacamund, you might want to catch the Nilgiri Mountain railway [a world heritage railway] from Coimbatore to Ootacamund. The Taj Savoy is a good place to stay. The drive from Palani to Kodaikanal has beautiful views, although at times it can be scary.
Enjoy your stay in south India.
ayakkadan is offline  
Mar 28th, 2006, 06:22 AM
  #8  
 
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By the way, at Thekkady, a great place to stay is the old converted palace at the center of the resort.....lovely experience.....the palace is right in the middle of the sanctuary and has to be approached by boat. I forget the name of the property, but it is managed by the Kerala Tourism development Corporation. The facillities may not be as great as in a five star hotel, but its sure to be a different experience.
ayakkadan is offline  
Mar 28th, 2006, 08:29 AM
  #9  
 
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If you've got the time try a few days in the Lakshadweep Islands. About a 90 minute plane ride from Cochi.
Kenstee is offline  

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