Thursday 6 April 2017

So if you've been keeping up to date with me on social media, you may have seen I've been off having the trip of a lifetime with 29 other bloggers in Kerala, India. This was actually my first time in India (and in Asia) and I didn't think I'd be ticking it off my bucket list so soon. A couple months back I went to see Lion at the cinema and was moved so much by it that my urge to go visit this beautiful country grew, and it seemed luck was on my side when I was chosen to be a part of the Kerala Blog Express Season 4. Admittedly, before entering this contest I didn't know much about Kerala and could not point it out to you on a map, but after spending two weeks travelling from the backwaters in Alappuzha to up in the mountains in Munnar, I felt like this was a place more people should be aware of and have at the top of their travel bucket list. There are lots of kerala tourism packages available to suit all your needs. 

1. Everywhere you go you're greeted with a warm smile. The kindness of strangers in Kerala is incredible, from north to south everyone flashed us a smile, took an interest on where we were from and loved a selfie or two! We got the chance to visit a local school and the kids were so happy to interact with us and their smiles were infectious. I met these two lovely girls when visiting one of the local villages in Kasaragod, when one of the bloggers handed out some chocolates to the children, they came over and broke off some of the chocolate to share with me. It's these small acts of kindness that the world needs more and Kerala has no shortage of wonderful people. 

2. You can go from being in the backwaters, to up in the mountains in a matter of hours. In the time we spent in Kerala, we travelled all the way from Cochin to Trivandrum in the space of 15 days. In that time we got to cruise the backwaters in Bekal and Alappuzha, go trekking in Munnar and hang out on the beachside in Trivandrum - and all this in 30 degrees! Funnily enough the only day I got sunburnt was up in the mountains during our 4 hour trek, silly me for wearing factor 8 and thinking my pale white skin was going to turn into a glimmering tan. Back to the point, no matter where you go in Kerala, there will be great scenery perfect for a postcard, or your Instagram followers. 

View whilst driving up through the mountains in Munnar

3. You'll never go hungry. If you're a food lover like myself, then you'll come back 5 pounds heavier. I started off the trip with tears in my eyes at almost every meal because I cannot handle spice and stick to mango and lime at nando's, however by the end of the trip my tolerance had slightly built up and I could finally enjoy the array of curries and spice blends in all the dishes. I was happily surprised to see butter chicken in a lot of the places we visited as it's my favourite, and the pineapple dish we had (I can't remember the name of this) soon became one of my favourites as I am an avid pineapple lover. For an authentic experience, make sure to have your meal served from a banana leaf, it felt surprisingly liberating eating with my hands, although my leaf did not look quite as neat as everyone else's, but more an art painting. 

Traditional Lunch served at Pranavam Homestay

4. It's 'Gods Own Country' and different from the rest of India. I can't speak from experience, but from what I've seen on TV, movies and heard from other travellers, it seems like you're in a completely different country. The streets aren't packed, there are so many tranquil spots where you can just escape reality, there is a tremendous amount of greenery and if you're a nature lover then this is the place for you. Although I definitely wouldn't recommend driving yourself whilst visiting India, I feel like everyone who has a license there is also qualified for a role in Fast and the Furious. 

5. There's something for everyone. Whether you're an adventure seeker, beach bum, nature lover or looking for cultural programmes, Kerala has it all. You can get the chance to trek mountains, learn more about spices and village activities, visit coffee plantations, watch traditional dances such as the Kathakali and simply get lost discovering everything the state has to offer. I'll be providing you with more posts on what to experience in Kerala in the next coming weeks, so stay tuned!

Chinese fishing nets in Kochi

Are you convinced yet? If not, stay tuned the next couple of weeks for more things to do in Kerala, where to stay, and my top tips for travelling to this region. 

♡ GS ♡


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