Advice for a 2 week trip to the South of India with my Mum

#1 Sep 14th, 2013, 17:59
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  • WatsonBabore is offline
#1
Good evening to you all!
I am in the midst of planning a trip to India in December with my mum. She has recently become quite the intrepid traveller and I am also intending to spend a month in Sri Lanka with my partner over Christmas... So I had 2 weeks to kill in early December and decided to return to the country that has not left my thoughts since I returned from a month long stay in the north in 2012. Mum, being my mum, panicked at the thought of a young woman travelling India by herself, so has decided to join me - pretty cute, right?

Anyway, to cut a long story short, we have 17 days and very VERY vaguely we have ruminated on:
Mumbai
Goa
Hampi
Mysore
Bangalore
Kerala
Tamil Nadu

We are both strong converts to Ayurveda so much of this short stay will be focused around this - Bangalore and Tamil Nadu (Vaidyagrama) have been recommended by our respective Ayurvedic doctors, but I am looking for some solid advice from those in the know...

Decisions on where to go in the north last year was quite easy - I knew where I wanted to go based on what I knew! But I don't seem to be as well versed in the south as I'd like.

We fly into Mumbai on the 2nd of December and will leave Kerala for Sri Lanka on the 18th or 19th... Everything else is undecided and open to suggestion...

Thank you and namaste xxx
#2 Sep 14th, 2013, 19:30
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  • DrRudi is offline
#2
Hello WatsonBabore,

Welcome to IndiaMike.

Firstly - that's too many destinations for 17 days. I'd pick 5, 6 tops. And if you were doing the Ayurvedic-resort-thing, then even fewer destinations. So, you might want to consider what you and your Mum really want to see / do / experience in 17 days.

If I can make some other observations:

Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu are entire states, so you need to identify the towns you have in mind (notwithstanding Vaidyagrama in TN).

If you live anywhere near a beach (and most Australians do) then I'd be hard-pressed to think why you would go to Goa.

I'd be hard-pressed to think why you would go to Bangalore, other than your ayurvedic recommendation.

To all intents and purposes, Hampi is difficult to get to, and get away from - by and large it's an overnight train journey both ways - so you need to factor that in.

As you probably know (since you've been before) the mode of transport is crucial to travel plans - and trains, buses, and cars are typically averaged at around 50 km/h - and you have some fair hikes listed. So, do you think you'll take domestic flights ? (They are a bargain compared to what we pay).

Do come back with more questions / ideas - but I think your trip will be shaped by how long you want to spend in Vaidyagrama or other ayurvedic centre. Presumably more than one night - and maybe a week? You're not there long enough to do a training course, but you need to stay long enough to derive some benefit, no?

Talk to a travel agent about getting an 'open jaw' ticket for your Mum, so she can fly into Mumbai, but out of somewhere down south - you can fly Silk Air (Singapore Airlines' low cost carrier) from Kochi or Coimbatore or Thiruvananthapuram to Singapore, and then Singapore Airlines to home - unless Mum lives in Darwin, in which case, Silk Air all the way. The open jaw ticket will be just a tiny bit more expensive than a return ticket to Mumbai, and will save a whole bunch of hassle returning there for a flight home.

Off the top of my head, you can fly to Colombo from Kochi, via Chennai, you could check other options so you can both go to the same airport.


Oh - if you want other ideas about ayurvedic stays:

http://www.kairali.com

http://www.somatheeram.in/

http://beachandlakeresort.com/english/

http://www.cghearth.com/kalari/index.htm

http://www.sarovaramkollam.com/index.html

http://www.idealayurvedicresort.com/

http://www.shinshivaresort.com/

http://ayurvedayogavilla.in/

Hope this helps.
#3 Sep 14th, 2013, 22:17
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  • aloke_m is offline
#3
Quote:
Originally Posted by WatsonBabore View Post
Anyway, to cut a long story short, we have 17 days and very VERY vaguely we have ruminated on:
Mumbai
Goa
Hampi
Mysore
Bangalore
Kerala
Tamil Nadu

We are both strong converts to Ayurveda so much of this short stay will be focused around this - Bangalore and Tamil Nadu (Vaidyagrama) have been recommended by our respective Ayurvedic doctors, but I am looking for some solid advice from those in the know...
I would agree with DrRudi that Goa can be skipped, especially considering that Kerala has some really beautiful beaches as well. My two pence itinerary would be:

Fly into Mumbai
Fly Mumbai - Bangalore (take an afternoon flight)
Take the train from Bangalore to Hampi the same night (Bangalore 2200, Hospet 0742)
Take the train from Hampi to Bangalore (Hospet 2045, Bangalore 0610)
Overnight train Bangalore - Coimbatore (for Vaidyagrama)
Visit Tamil Nadu

(What kind of places are you looking at in TN? Some interesting places - for different reasons - are Ooty, Yercaud, Thanjavur/Kumbakonam, Tranquebar, Madurai, Mahabalipuram etc, with Pondicherry just outside TN)

And then head to Kerala and fly out.

Again, as DrRudi says, you will have be more specific than just "TN" or "Kerala" to be able to draft a more definitive itinerary.
#4 Sep 28th, 2013, 14:39
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  • WatsonBabore is offline
#4
Thank you for your amazing advice, all!

We haver gone back to the drawing board and come back with this:

Fly into Chennai
Train to Pondicherry
Train or whatever to Thekkady
Appelly
Cochin
Fly to Bangalore
Train to Mysore
Back to Bangalore
Fly to Mumbai

I think realistically I need to let go of Mysore - and the only reason we would go to Bangalore would be to get to Mysore, but how does this sound?
#5 Sep 28th, 2013, 15:22
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  • vonkla is online now
#5
I don't think that a visit to Mysore is worth all the traveling.

My suggestion is after Pondicherry proceed from nearby Viilupuram station.

Take a train to Madurai directly or first to Thajavur and then to Madurai.

From Madurai by bus or car to Thekkady and later to Alleppey.

Next Kochi and fly back.
#6 Sep 28th, 2013, 15:26
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  • DrRudi is offline
#6
EDIT: Cross-posted with Vonkla.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WatsonBabore View Post Thank you for your amazing advice, all! We haver gone back to the drawing board and come back with this:
Sure - so are you only doing the Ayurvedic-thing in Bangalore now? Have your ruled out Vaidyagrama?

Quote:
Fly into Chennai
Train to Pondicherry
From a tourist perspective, don't stay longer in Chennai than necessary. The train is problematic - you either go really early (06:30) or arrive late (22:30). Better to take a car.

Quote:
Train or whatever to Thekkady
No train station at Thekkady. The nearest (I think) is Kottayam - about 75 kms away. And it would be a torturous journey, and you'd be changing trains more than once I think. The realistic option might be some combination of train and overnight bus - not one I'd be recommending.

Quote:
Appelly
Do you mean Alleppey? Yes, if you mean to take a houseboat cruise. There is no other incentive to go to Alleppey.
http://www.evergreen-kerala.com

Quote:
Cochin
If you mean Fort Cochin - that's a great place for a few days.

Quote:
I think realistically I need to let go of Mysore - and the only reason we would go to Bangalore would be to get to Mysore, but how does this sound?
Yep - I'd be struggling to think why you would do that. It isn't far, but you'd need a reason to invest the time staying there.


So, on your current list of destinations, I'd consider something like this:

Day 1 Arr Chennai,
Day 2 car to Pondicherry
Day 3-5 Pondy, car to Chennai, plane to Kochi, car to Fort Cochin

S23729 Jet Konnect 11:50 Chennai 13:20 Cochin

Day 5-7 Fort Cochin

Day 7-9 Car to Alleppey, board houseboat for 2 nights, then car to Thekaddy

Day 10-12 Thekaddy

Day 13 Car to Kochi, plane to Bangalore

6E406 IndiGo 15:30 Cochin 16:30 Bengaluru

Day 14-16 Bangalore

Day 17 - BLR to BOM and home.

If you want time in Mumbai, then you can shave a day here and there to achieve that; or drop Mumbai and your Mum can fly home from Bangalore.

Hope this helps.

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