Don’t Be Put Off Taking A Holiday To India

Taj Mahal, IndiaIndia has certainly had its fair share of publicity recently. The Mumbai terror attacks that took place on 26 November 2008 obviously stick out in everyone’s mind and of course, there is the publicity relating to the hit movie Slumdog Millionaire. The movie highlighted the terrible slum conditions that over 1 million people in Mumbai live in. These are the parts of India that you don’t see in the travel brochures !

However, India is recovering from the Mumbai attacks and the damaged hotels are well on their way to being fully repaired. In the aftermath of the attacks there is no doubt that tourism was affected but confidence in the country as a tourist destination is virtually back to where it was before the Mumbai attacks and having been to India I can understand why.India is a huge diverse country. In fact India is a whole continent in one country and it has a booming economy which is rapidly transforming the country and new hotels are springing up in the main tourist areas including top quality five star hotels like the Leela., which has ambitious plans for a $500 million expansion plan.

Security has increased as well recently. There are metal detectors and bag scanners at major hotels and cars and passengers are searched on arrival. Always make sure that your passport is uptodate and has at least six months unexpired time left on it. In addition, a Visa is required to visit India, including the popular holiday resorts of Goa and Kerala.

Our advice is don’t be put off taking a holiday to India. It is a cultural feast for the eyes and is great value for money. If you want to read more about holidays to Kerala read my previous blog entry about this fantastic region here.

Call Global Holidays on 0845 2994450 for amazing prices on holidays to Goa, Kerala and the rest of India

Kerala holiday – An Amazing Holiday Destination

Kerala is located in the south west tip of India. It is south of the other popular Indian holiday destination of Goa. For a Kerala holiday you fly into Trivandrum. Flights from the UK to Kerala operate once a week on a Friday and from London Gatwick.The Indian state of Kerala has the highest literacy rate in the whole of India. I was lucky enough to spend 2 weeks in Kerala in November.

The people are poor and some live in very poor conditions but there is no doubting that the people are friendly and very welcoming. The cost of living is very low by Western standards. A two course meal with drinks in a restaurant for 2 people costs about £6. Kerala is a large state and because the roads are very busy getting anywhere fast is very difficult.

Allow about 4 hours to travel 100 miles ! I stayed at the Leela Kempinsky in Kovalam, which is a fantastic hotel but there are plenty to choose from.leela-kovalam-poolThis is a photograph of the infinity swimming pool at the Leela Kempinski in Kovalam. It is a 5 star hotel built on a peninsula between two beaches. One of the beaches is a private beach which is for hotel guests only.

A good way to get around is by rickshaw or tuc tucs. I took this picture, below, of several outside the Leela. They charge about £1 per mile and will wait for you for several hours whilst you go shopping or have a meal if you want them to, and for no extra charge.

Every afternoon, after school, the local school children went down to the beach. One thing I noticed is that the kids are very well dressed in immaculate school uniforms. Their mothers must have cursed though, as they all seemed to kerala-tuc-tucswade into the sea in their uniforms !kerala-school-kidsWhilst in Kerala we visited an elephant sanctuary. You can have a ride on one if you want. I didn’t bother as they looked a bit uncomfortable to say the least.

It’s not unusual to see an elephant being walked along a road in Kerala.kerala-elephantsWe went on an overnight cruise on a houseboat on the Kerala backwaters. We had three crew members looking after just the two of us.

Whilst cruising past houses on the waters edge we saw many Indian women washing clothes, bathing and washing their hair. I even saw several people brushing their teeth using the river water.

I guess it can’t do them any harm or they wouldn’t do it.This is a picture I took of a typical Kerala houseboat. We stayed overnight on one of these. If you go to Kerala you must go on a backwater cruise. They operate from several places but the main place is Cochin.Kerala is a wonderful holiday destination. Goa holidays are very kerala-river-peoplekerala-house-boat

popular with British travellers particularly north Goa, however Kerala offers something different and is similar to south Goa. The advantage that Kerala has is the backwaters. The Kerala backwaters is a huge area of rivers, lakes and canals. We can highly recommend a backwaters cruise. You can hire a houseboat for a one night overnight backwater cruise.

The great thing is that you have the boat to yourself and you get to be looked after by three crew members !