We want to go to Wayanad this December so I am interested if you took this tour.
Yes, took it and recommend it with caveats. You are at the mercy of whatever vehicle they provide for a very long day trip from Cochin and however many people they want to fit into the vehicle. My wife and I were in a small Tata and were told there would only be 3 people total. There were actually 4 passengers and we were very uncomfortable. I wouldn't trust them again. But, you can just reserve the hotel and not the whole trip and then determine how long you want to stay there. Wayanad is beautiful and you can see a lot of wildlife. Food is good, 3 meals a day. Hotel is 10-12 people. Funky but friendly. Literally at the mouth of the reserve and far from town.
you wont need a tour package to do Wayanad. December is the best time of the year too. Base yourself in Kalpetta, the biggest small town in Wayanad, It has any number of good hotels and also resorts nearby. Taxis are plentiful but negotiate.
If you love to hike, then don't miss to clamber up Chembra peak. You'll love it.
If you mean "Dec 21st to Jan 10th", You could start looking out as early as possible [ May be Sep /Oct time frame ] and Accomodation prices will be at it's maximum , as we know !!
Not sure Which way you are planning to visit Kalpetta but from my experience I thought of adding few points which might be of some help to you !
If at all if you are trying out via Bangalore /Mysore end , you could hire a cab from mysore and you could do Nagarahole NP , Thirunelly temple [Much Nearer to Mananthavady than KAlpetta] followed by a stay at kalpetta and many of the tourist places in Wayanad are nearer to Kalpetta [ Like Soochipara Waterfalls , Chembara peak ,Pookoot Lake ,Lakkidi view point, Thamraserry ghat road view point [ Picture perfect view of Kozhikode district] ].
We stayed at PPS tourist home in Kalpetta [ It's a budget place ] for 500 rs / Night , Non-A/c Double bedded , with TV & Spacious ! We asked for Road facing room [It had a balcony]and hence it's a bit noisy in the early mornings and the Late evenings. Location wise it's very normal only !.. Okay for Budget / Backpackers!.. [We Stayed here on april 3rd ,2008]
FYI , Ooty is 100 kms from Kalpetta through a Very scenic road ! [ In case you are heading towards Tamilnadu]
Thirunelli Temple Photos I have posted in this link , Post No:9:-
i dont know about the tour operator you mention.... but pachederm palace is a goood one... Its quite reputed i suppose... More reputed than the property is the owner of it. He has won some award from the Govt of India recently for his contribution to this field. So if ur thinking of going to Wayand i would say there would be no better place to stay than pachyderm palace. Even tree top house accommodation is available there is suppose...
Travel manic... I have visited a good number of place in ma 30 yrs of age
pmvelu, Thanks for the extensive reply and we take your advise into account. Is reservation also necessary for the budget hotels as in which you stayed?
As for our trip, we arrive Dec 10th in Kochi for a three months trip. We stay in Kerala for about three weeks ending in Wayanad. From there we go to Mysore and further on in the direction of Hyderabad.
Normally for stay during the New Year period, Reservation is very much advisable for all type of hotels I think [ Just to Avoid the exoorrbitant rates & Unavailability just in case ] and our experience with Wayanad is as follows :
As I am from Mysore and nearer to Wayanad, without any fixed itenary , I took My family [ Age old mother, Wife, My Kid and My sister and her 2 kids] to wayanad [ It was a big trip including Kannur too for the period April 3 to April 6th 2008 ]... Without any reservations, we went to Kalpetta and First approached "Green Gates hotel" .. The rates looked costly [They quoted around 1400 rs + tax for night] and the location is normal only [ We reached Kalpetta around 4 .30 pm on a Thursday] The condition they put is , You need to vacate at 8 am maxmimum tomorrow as "All rooms" are booked well in advance for the week-end [ Friday/Saturday/ Sunday].. More than the price ,this condition was not suitable for us and we ended up in PPS Tourist Home [And here too ,the condition is we need to vacate @ 8 am but on Saturday morning and the hotel manager told , "It's advisable to book Rooms if you plan to visit Wayanad in week-ends as Wayanad is Frequented by IT people from Bangalore a lot "]
Due to this experiences [ On a Normal Off-season Week-end in April], I think it's better to reserve well in advance atleast in Kalpetta ...
Initially we drove around the town for some time , and My feel is even though Kalpetta has quite a lot of lodges, Except very few [ Which is in the mid-range [ I mean Rs.1000+ / Night]], quite a few looked shady [ Which quoted 400 + and just in the highway itself / Not Government approved] and other resorts are totally high-end [ 5000 + / Night ]....
After this experience, We got worried about the accomodation in Kannur but to our surprise, "Yatri Nivas"[ Kerala Tourism budget hotel] in Kannur had lot of Vacant rooms and we got a 6 Bedded room for Rs 600 / Night [ Including Taxes] !! [ That too on Saturday ]and this is Nice, Worthy and Value for Money !!..
Not Sure, how you are going to reach mysore from Wayanad .. If at all If it's by a Cab, you could do "Thirunelli Temple" and "Nagarahole NP" [ This is worth a Visit] on the way back !..
Thanks again for all the information about Wayanad.
We had our doubts which direction to take from Kochi and we have decided to visit northern Kerala. (Indeed, I have read your post about it). From Kochi we are planning to go to Thrissur-Kannur-Kasargode and then by train from Mangalore to Mysore.