Our last destination, terminating the Southern part of our Funky India journey was the southern part of the beautiful state of Kerala, home to some of the country’s most beautiful beaches and most sought after resorts such as the Abad Harmonia Ayurveda Beach Resort in Kochupally where we stayed. The following is an overview of the two days spent in Kovalam one of the region’s most sought after holiday destinations and one night in the heart of the city of Trivandrum, known as the economic and transport hub of the state.
- South Kerala day 1: train journey, Trivandrum Central, Kovalam and Kochupally
- South Kerala day 2: Vizhinjam, Kovalam Beach and Kochupally coast
- South Kerala day 3: Trivandrum, Indian Coffee House and Mahatma Gandhi Road
- About the Abad Harmonia Ayurveda Beach Resort
- About Trivandrum Keys Hotel
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South Kerala day 1
We woke up at 7 with the buzz of the alarm clock and less than an hour later we were on the ferry boat back to Ernakulam, leaving behind the quiet and peaceful fort Kochi. Back in the city we slowly walked back to the Railway junction passing by unusually many closed shop (perhaps because it was Sunday). With some extra time on our hands, we stopped at the busy Mughal restaurant, a few meters south of the station, where we had some freshly prepared sweet coffee, a couple of samosas and onion bahas, while observing the locals enjoying their morning breakfast, many of whom took the long pancake like cheese or vegetable dosa. Half ten we were at the station and about an hour later we were on the train, direction Trivandrum, the capital city of the state of Kerala.
About half way through the train journey, at one of the short stops, I decided to pop outside to get a bottle of water and some snacks. There was a food stop right next to our wagon, but it was extremely busy and chaotic, and you had to push yourself through, as queuing was definitely optional. Once I managed to squeeze myself in and got what I wanted, the train was already moving. With no time to get to my respective wagon, I jumped into the following one, only later realizing that there is no passage to my respective section. I therefore spent a good part of the trip next to the open doors enjoying views of lush forests and numerous backwaters. At the following station I managed to get back to my seat, where we had a nice cup of comforting chai before arriving to Trivandrum Central.
At the station we quickly jumped into a local red bus which was coincidentally leaving as soon as we got in. Although quite empty when we entered, it soon got very crowded on our way to Kovalam. At destination we jumped into another much comfortable AC bus to travel the couple of kilometres distance to the Kovalam Beach. Only then did we realise that our resort was located some 12 kilometres south of where we were (internet maps, especially in India not being always 100% accurate). After some negotiations with the local rickshaw driver we manage to get a fairly good price to our hotel, which was indeed a bit of a struggle to reach by bus or by foot. Our resort ended up to be a pretty remote place inside a small village known as Kochupally within a dense palm tree filled forest next to the coast. The longer then planned journey was well worth it as when we finally arrived at the Abad Harmonia Ayurveda Beach Resort, it was the perfect tropical oasis surrounded by large coconut trees. We received a magnificent room with a large balcony facing the huge swimming pool and the huts. As we barely eaten all day, we first had a delicious snack from the hotel restaurant and spent the rest of the afternoon chilling in the pool and enjoying the sunshine.
In the evening, when the sun went down, we went for a walk towards the end of the coast, in total darkness, as neither the road nor any of the houses were lighted. We went looking for a nice place to dine, but we soon had to go back to the hotel restaurant as the only thing opened in the area was a beautifully illuminated chapel and a small local shop at the end of the road. Back at the hotel we had a lovely mushroom and cottage cheese curry with some fried rice, before spending the last hours on the balcony contemplating the surroundings.
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South Kerala day 2
Our second day in Kovalam was another beautiful, hot and sunny day. After a complete buffet breakfast we left our resort and went for a walk around the village before taking the local bus towards the main road. We then took another very crowded bus towards Kovalam, but mistakenly got off a couple of stops before, in a town called Vizhinjam, and completed the last part of the journey by rickshaw. When we finally reached the destination, we were very impressed by Kovalam Beach, by far one of the nicest within the southern part of Kerala. It offers beautiful turquoise waters, white sands and is surrounded by cliffs and hills with large palm trees reaching the sky. It comes to no surprise that the idyllic coast is home to some of the region’s most sought after resorts including the Leela Kempinski Kovalam Beach and the Vivanta by Taj Kovalam.
We spent a good part of the day, just chilling on the beach, swimming, sunbathing and walking along the coast. At around mid afternoon we decided to head back, stopping for a lovely vegetarian platter at a local restaurant. We came back to our resort village by rickshaw, where we explored the Kochupally coast packed with various fishing boats. We then spent the rest of the afternoon next to the pool, before ordering some Indian chicken wraps to our room. We went to bed quite early, exhausted by all the beach sport of the day.
South Kerala day 3
The third day in South Kerala was our last day completing the first part of our Funky India journey (from Mumbai to Kerala passing by Goa). Indeed the next day we were flying to the north of India from the Trivandrum airport. We woke up late that day, had a nice Indian breakfast, did some work from the room’s balcony, and just before noon we checked out from the hotel. We walked to the main road of Kochupally, where we jumped on board a local bus and before we knew it we were in the heart of the action, next to the Trivandrum Railway Station.
From the station we walked north to reach the uniquely designed modern Trivandrum Keys Hotel. It is the perfect business hotel, equipped with an office centre, a gym, a restaurant and even an entertainment section. With a high speed internet connection and a very comfortable table chair setup we decided to spent a good portion of the afternoon in the room, catching up on some web tasks and observing the street action from our 6th floor window.
Mid afternoon we left the hotel and went for a nice snack at the Indian Coffee House next to the station, with its unique spiral floors architecture and simple and cheap Keralan specialties. We spent the last part of the day, doing some shopping on the commercial Mahatma Gandhi Road, before having a nice dinner at the hotel restaurant. Early the following morning we jumped into a rickshaw to get to the domestic airport, before boarding our plane to the Indian capital Delhi, leaving the remarkable state of Kerala behind us.
About Abad Harmonia Ayurveda Beach Resort
The Abad Harmonia Ayurveda Beach Resort is a beautiful resort located in Kochuppally some 12 kilometres south of Kovalam (as opposed to being in the heart of Kovalam beach as shown on some internet maps). It is the perfect oasis surrounded by the lush vegetation, ideal to get away from the crowds. The hotel main feature is the enormous pool located at the heart of the resort and surrounded by very tall palm trees and charming huts. The room we were given was very impressive, fully equipped with all the needed amenities, including a very large bed and a modern bathroom. The resort offers 2 restaurants, one for snacks during the day and the other for the morning and evening buffets. The only downside of the resort is that it is quite isolated and is away from the region’s best beaches, but easily accessible by rickshaw or taxi. It offers enormous value when it comes to quality price and I would strongly recommend it as long as you are not looking to be in the heart of the action.
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About Trivandrum Keys Hotel
The Keys Hotel is by far one of the best hotels in the city of Trivandrum. It is centrally located only a short walk from the railway station and a short rickshaw ride from the international airport. It is situated within a unique and beautifully shaped building, with a contemporary and classy interior design. The rooms are quite small, but are fully equipped with LCD TV, an office desk and a very comfortable chair, and both a cable and wifi internet connections. Not to mention the complementary bottle of water, coffee and tea, always nice to have while catching up on some work. Moreover our room offered great views of the city from the hotel huge windows. I would definitely recommend the Keys as it was by far one of the best hotel experiences in India.
Book a room at the Trivandrum Keys Hotel, best prices guaranteed.