Other than a particularly challenging Sudoku on the flight over, our journey to India went very smoothly, we had chosen to fly into Kochi, Kerala which is in the south of India. We were first to the immigration desk and stamped into India. From speaking to a number of travellers in SE Asia we decided to pick up a couple of sim cards at the airport so that we would have internet and local calls, as India is less set up for backpackers than SE Asia this was a must.
As it was quite late, the buses to town had stopped running so we hired a taxi to our hotel, unfortunately Google maps lied so we spent a stressful 10 minutes walking up and down the wrong street looking until I managed to spot its sign in the distance. Our hotel was lovely, recently refurbished and clean, we went on a quick adventure to find a cash machine and a travel office to arrange a bus for the morning; this was a pain on both counts. Several cash machines later with some cash in hand and no bus we called it a night and easily passed out.
The next morning after reluctantly waking to our alarms we went to sample the hotel breakfast, it was good but we were a bit too early to try everything.
As our hunt for a bus was going nowhere we decided to book an Uber to a town called Alleppey or Alappuzha as it is interchangeably known. The ride was bumpy and allowed us to get the first glimpse of Kerala in the day. A very different vibe to where we had spent our last 6 months, but the crazy driving was consistent.
When we arrived in Alappuzha it was time to find a boat. We had read that you can turn up and hire a private house boat for one day and night, it would take you on a luxurious tour of the backwaters, high up on our bucket list. We took a look at a few boats and finally found ourselves committing to one. Deposit paid we went on a hunt to find a cash machine, this was again a painful exercise as the nearest working one was 2km away, I was wearing skinny jeans and it was approaching the hottest part of the day; this combination of factors meant I was walking too slowly for Andy so I turned back and he went on alone. After purchasing an array of local fizzy drinks to enjoy on our trip we finally boarded our vessel and departed on our way.
Relaxing is understating how chill this boat was. We had the whole boat to ourselves and two staff looking after us, we pretty much spent the next day lying on the sundeck watching the world go by, locals washing both themselves and their laundry in the rivers, with the recently flooded rice fields and other boats passing by. We occasionally interrupted our busy schedule for food, all of the meals were really tasty and there was more food than we could finish.
When the biggest struggle you have is a decision between napping or watching the view, you know you’re in a good place.
After a great nights sleep avoiding the hundreds of mosquitoes we were sad that it was all nearly over. Back on land we found a taxi and were on our way back to Kochi. It was a perfect start to India and gave us some time to plan the rest of our time in India.