|An old rice-boat converted into a floating boutique hotel.|
Here’s the link to the first in my trio of New Zealand Herald articles about my Intrepid Travel / Flight Centre adventure to the south of India late last year. I’ve told friends and family, as well as my Newstalk ZB listeners, a lot about the state of Kerala where this story is set, normally focusing on the beaches and backwaters that have made her famous.
But what I’ve probably underplayed are some of the other aspects that give Kerala so much appeal. Things like the fair treatment of women that set it apart from much of India. Explained in the attached article, there’s also the literacy rate of 94% and the fact Kerala is known throughout the subcontinent as a fertile training ground for some of India’s brightest minds, particularly in the field of medicine.
This first Herald article also explains the link between Kerala and New Zealand: both places have promoted themselves as being “God’s own country,” and when you see the greens of Kerala – whether it’s the backwaters or high in the jungle-covered hills – you understand why. Also read how it was an Indian taxi driver here in Auckland who persuaded me to visit a corner of India I hadn’t previously heard of.
Stay reading for a further Kerala adventure to the historic city of Fort Kochi as well as to the highlands of Periyar National Park where we did our best to spot elephants and tigers. There’ll also be an article about the remarkable boulder and temple-dotted landscape of Hampi that was for many of us our favourite stop of the Intrepid tour.
A huge thanks once again to Flight Centre and Student Flights who got me there and organised my itinerary. And thanks of course to Intrepid who I’ve collaborated with many times over the years. I did a 16 day “South India Unplugged” tour and if you contact flightcentre.co.nz you can investigate how you might be able to do it yourself. You can also see more on Intrepid’s website intrepidtravel.com.
Flight Centre and Intrepid have a 16-day South India Unplugged Intrepid Tour from $1280pp, twin share. Departs Trivandrum and takes in the sights of Varkala, Kerala, Kochi, Periyar National Park, Madurai, Mysore and Hampi before finishing in Goa. At this price sales are valid until July 14 and are for tours departing October 2 and October 9, though additional departure dates and prices are also available. Airfares are additional – contact Flight Centre for more information.