Kerala, India 

I had heard many great things about Kerala. Countryside, beaches and great food were awaiting us. 

Our first stop was in Kalpetta. The very bumpy bus journey from Msyore took you through national parks and passed locals on the roadside going about their day to day business. The bus cost 136 rupees (approx £1.50) and took 4 hours. 

On arrival in Kalpetta the lack of tourists was immediately evident. There weren’t any western restaurants, no stalls selling tack and few people spoke English.  

We arranged a day trip for the next day, involving climbing Chembra Peak and visiting Soochipara Waterfall. 

Chembra Peak

To trek to Chembra Peak costed 500 rupees each. This includes entrance fee and guide fee. The walk up Chembra Peak started off very easy, giving false hope for the rest of the climb. The uphill started and it didn’t stop, and blazing sun to this and the result was three exhausted girls. It’s a fairly busy route with many locals asking for photos along the way. From the top you could see for miles over Kalpetta and the surrounding tea plantations. 

Soochipara Waterfall is pretty impressive. Many locals were swimming. As we are females we would have had to swim fully clothed and we didn’t really fancy spending the rest of our day in damp clothes. 

Soochipara Waterfall

From Kalpetta we took a bus to Calicut. This is one of the most impressive bus journeys I have ever been on. The buildings soon stopped and for miles all you could see were rolling green hills. The road is very windy with hairpin bends at every corner. This bus took 2 hours and cost 52 rupees. 

We were advised to go to Calicut by the staff in our Kalpetta hotel. This town is even less touristy than Kaleptta. We were looking forward to a couple of days relaxing on the beach and swimming in the ocean. Our hopes were soon dashed as driving through the town it was clear to see that nobody swam in the sea and everybody was fully clothed. That night we headed to the beach to watch the sunset. I have never seen so many people in such a small place! It was absolutely packed. And what space wasn’t being used by people, was filled up with rubbish. Bottles, bags, food wrappers, you name it. It was filthy and we couldn’t wait to get off. 

Crowded Calicut beach

We decided to leave Calicut as soon as possible so as to not waste any more time there. We took the morning train to Kochi, taking 5 hours and costing 75 rupees. Those trains are like moving saunas! 

Up in the rafters

We stayed in a great guesthouse called Green Woods Bethlehem, Fort Kochi. The owners are absolutely great and will help you with any plans or problems. 

The backwaters were often mentioned by other backpackers and we arranged to do a day tour. The scenery is nice, and the journey is relaxing, but you move along so slowly and I personally found it really quite boring. One hour would have been enough for me! 

Punting through the backwaters

Sheeba, the owner of the guesthouse, runs cooking demonstrations at night. I’ve never seen somebody prepare and cook so many different dishes in such a short space of time, she was very impressive and the food was great. 

Fort Kochi sunset
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