We visited Kumarakom last week for a 2-day trip and I thought I will share my experiences about visiting the place. Our overall experience was a mellifluous one and served as a perfect weekend getaway from our usual chores. It was an enchanting & soulful experience.
Our stay was at the Backwater Ripples Resort. Our train was scheduled to arrive at Kottayam station at 4:00 am in the morning. Hence we had asked for a pickup to the hotel and we were charged 1100 for a Toyota Etios. True to their tagline “A retreat in nature’s lap” I would rate it high on Location, Ambience, Amenities, Food as well as their well-mannered staff. It is worth the mid-tier pricing and serves well for families & friends. I can vouch for a comfortable and satisfying stay here. The package in addition to complimentary breakfast includes the complimentary boat ride as well as snacks provided in evening (Hot Vadas + Tea). we had done our booking through makemytrip and we got some good offers.
Day 1 – Itinerary:
We did not have a planned itinerary as such. We only asked Google Bhai on what places can be visited and got the top places to visit from trip advisor:
The interaction with the reception staff helped us get further insights and we planned to take a half day tour of the Backwaters in a house boat and they also helped with us initiating contact with the owner of the house boat.
Half day House boat tour on the backwaters:
We were picked from our hotel and dropped at the Boat Jetty in front of our boat. The pickup and drop are part of the package and it was INR 7000 for two persons inclusive of Lunch & Tea. We took a tour around and were very happy with the amenities provided. The Staff (2 drivers + 1 helper) were very friendly as well. We were offered Frooti on entry.
The overall experience was very blissful and we got to thoroughly enjoy the backwaters, lifestyle of natives as well as the rich tapestry of birds that was decorating the backwaters. For a good part of the journey we were passing by the bird sanctuary and the birds were seen in good numbers. As a shutterbug I was very busy clicking their pictures and some of them were natural posers as well. We get to witness in depth about various regions of Kumarakom inclusive of almost all the resorts + MRF’s training center. We were lucky to witness a boating race organized by the Zuri resort.
Both the driver chetta’s were very friendly and I got into conversation with him about how the overall houseboat industry is in Kumarakom, impact of floods etc. He shared lot of additional insights and it is good to strike a good chord with the drivers since they are the natural guides knowing a lot of information about the place, even more than Google bhai himself. Both the lunch and Tea were very delicious. The Bluetooth speaker made our day memorable and we listened to songs as our boat slowly glided on the backwaters of Vembanad. We waved at lot of other boats as well and it was over all a very soothing, relaxing & memorable experience.
Backwaters of Kumarakom:
We headed back to our hotel to rest and went for cycling in the late evening.
Day 2 – Itinerary:
We started the day by cycling for 30 min exploring the hotel and the nearby area. It was a very good experience.
We asked the reception to arrange for an auto to be dropped at the bird sanctuary. While the staff were keen of selling the boat ride to us, we were not that much interested because of the previous day’s boat trip.
We decided to walk the 3 km area and though we reached around 10:30 AM the Sun was its fiery best. The meagre sightings of birds did not help either. Our major sightings for the day included a Monitor Lizard as well as lot of college going lover birds.
Some how we motivated ourselves and finally reached Watch tower 2. Upon going to the top we managed to watch quite a few birds but we were extremely disappointed. It was not even 10% of the birds we managed to see on the backwaters house boat trip on our previous day. If you are planning to visit here better plan the season and more importantly the time. 7 AM in the morning is an ideal time as they open as early as 6:30 AM.
We treated ourselves to tasty tender coconut water and as suggested by our Auto driver visited a spices shop on the way and managed to get a good bargain in terms of spices, Tea powder, Eucalyptus oil and native kathakali masks etc.
Overall we were very satisfied with the overall trip. During checkout we met a few US nationals and they seemed extremely satisfied as well. We spent the last few hours on the light house / bird watch tower area and the breeze along with the shining sea was a perfect farewell from Kumarakom for us. We were a bit exhausted yet we returned back rich with lot of evergreen memories. We will definitely want to visit this place back again.