Kerala has so much to offer every time I visit. Like every single time! There are so many beautiful, untouched and unexplored places to visit near Trivandrum. Some of them are the Ponmudi Hills, Neyyar Dam, Poovar, Varkala and the list just goes on and on. The experience you carry back once you wrap your vacation in Kerala is a lot like going back to school after your long holiday.
Yes, you never want it to end.
Trivandrum or Thiruvananthapuram is the capital of Kerala and this plush city has offered me a different ambience every time I have been there. My first experience was cool, but this time around, it was cooler. One of my friend’s wedding was in this city and because it was on a Monday, the preceding weekend was all about the exploring the city!
We, a group of four decided to step foot in places we have never been to near Trivandrum and this was the initial plan.
Places near Trivandrum: Ponmudi Hills, Kovalam Beach.
Mode of Travel: Train to Trivandrum, Hired Car for a day to Ponmudi and back.
Train from Chennai to Trivandrum: Obviously there are a lot of trains and buses between these two places, but the best travel partner would be taking the Super AC Express (22207) from Chennai to Trivandrum. Travel time is about 13 odd hours, you get flooded with food and a bottle of water. Costs around Rs.3100 for two.
From there we checked in to Uday Suites to freshen up and spent some time in Shankamugam Beach and Veli beach in the morning before we headed to our next destination.
After a lot of thinking between Poovar backwaters and Ponmudi Hills, we chose the hills to enjoy the drop in temperature and de-stress ourselves. We had booked River County Resort online a few days before the trip as the KTDC property (which was the only resort that kept popping up in Google) was full. The drive from Trivandrum to the resort which is in Kallar was about 4 hours and once we reached the place, we knew we made a mistake of planning to stay here only for a day.
Evening at about 5, we left to the hills which took us about 1 hour. Brace yourself for 21 hairpin bends to reach this place. The check point closes at 7 pm and you will not be allowed to enter Ponmudi post that.
We were greeted with the best of views – the surrounding landscape and weather made us feel like we have reached Paradise.
It was drizzling and foggy which made our journey exciting -Yahhooooheewhaaw!
Walk to the view point to get smitten by this part of Gods own country. I was overjoyed (nothing unusual :P) and took in deep… deep breathes. We spent about an hour or so before returning back to our base.
This was one of the best weekend getaways I have had in a long time now and the resort made the experience a better one.
Next morning, we were to visit a Dam but we over slept and the laziness made us have our brunch at 11 and left to Trivandrum. We reached the city at around 4, checked into a serviced apartment that our friend had booked for the wedding gang. We dropped our bags and headed to Kovalam Beach.
We rented a Fasttrack Call taxi to go around Kovalam and back. The first place we stopped at was the Lighthouse.
Go all the way up to witness some stunning views of the sea on three sides and tall coconut trees on the other. After some major selfies and trying our hands at getting the best shots of ourselves with this beautiful background, we left to have some fun at the beach.
Apart from soaking ourselves in the sun, taking a boat ride and walking along the shops and sand, there was this small vendor we bumped into.If you are into petty shopping like I am and have awesome negotiators like these guys in the pic, buy these small artifacts from him – he makes them pretty well 🙂
After some coconut water sipping and getting tanned in the sunset, we headed back to our rooms to get ready for the evening function.
Next day morning began with the darshan at Padmanabhan Swamy Temple, followed by the wedding and a yummy feast. By now the time was about 1230 hrs and our flights back to Chennai was at 2000 hrs. So we decided to hire a taxi to explore Neyyar Dam.
There was no water flowing through the dam (as you can see), however, this place was green and luscious and offered spectacular views. Boating and wildlife tour is available.
Now this guy who drove us around Trivandrum was one of a kind and I’m sure deep down he is a wander lust as well. He made us reach Poovar in under an hour’s time and gave another hour to enjoy the backwaters before starting to the airport.
We decided to take the boat and explore the backwaters. This is an hour to hour and a half ride through the mangroves and backwaters, the beautiful Poovar Golden Beach, a quick catch up with the locals, the floating resorts and one of the best sunsets.
We rushed back to the airport mostly thinking that we would miss the flight but thanks to the driver, we smoothly checked in and returned back home with bright and glowing faces. We had booked in Air India Express, the flight was horrible but at Rs. 2000 approximately, it was cheap. We also had a confusion about the terminal, if it was domestic or international, so please call Air India and check where it is taking off from to escape from last minute hassles.
So between 1200-1900 hrs, we got to visit these two gems. It’s definitely a rush, so unless you really don’t have the time to spend, you can finish these two in a day.
Isn’t this how a trip is supposed to be – a wedding, hills, beach, backwaters and best of pals? 😉