South India: Our 22-day Journey Through Kerala

South India: Our 22-day Journey Through Kerala

A 22-day journey through South India, during which we covered a total of 4,804 kilometers, took 1600 photos, and visited 8 different destinations. Every day we tried to document our journey, the fun and sometimes maybe the less fun moments of our journey through South India. From fantastic food, parties in GOA, pooping in the jungle to the most beautiful rice fields we have ever seen. Read our travel report about South India quickly.

  • Started on March 7, 2023
  • 4,804 kilometers
  • 22 days
  • approximately 1600 photos taken
  • 8 destinations visited

Brussels

United Arab Emirates • March 7, 2023 • 33°
From the cold Wijchen we travel by train to Brussels. For the first time we fly via Belgium and this has everything to do with the dirt cheap tickets to India. The plan was actually to fly directly to Nepal, but that was so expensive that we started looking at other options. So we decided to add South India to our itinerary. Since we had to fly extremely early, we decided to book an overnight stay at Brussels airport to start our journey fresh and fruity (or well, sort of) the next morning.

KErala india
Kerala india

Mumbai

India • March 8, 2023 • 32°
Dirty and busy, that was actually the expectation of Mumbai and when we arrived in the middle of the night in our steaming moldy den (incl. limbo dancing poles) and were greeted by about 10 rats at the door, we were not really enthusiastic. But the next morning the sun was shining, the garbage had been picked up and we were warmly received by the kind people of Mumbai. After a day of walking through the streets, some beers and curries later, we were secretly quite enthusiastic. Mumbai is actually quite nice and yes, clean. But it certainly also has a very different side. For example, on the way back we drove past one of the largest slums in the world. Too bizarre. There are slums here with 1 million people built between skyscrapers and garbage dumps. The contrast between rich and poor is really terrible and almost incomprehensible.

The next day we already say goodbye to the 22 million people living here in Mumbai to fly to Kochi so that our journey in the south can really begin.

Mumbai
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reis zuid india
Mumbaizuid india
reis zuid india
Mumbaizuid india

Fort Kochi

March 11, 2023 • 36°
From Mumbai we fly in 2 hours to Kochi, which is located in the south of India. We decide to book 4 nights so we can recover from the traveling and also complete quite a bit of work. Because unfortunately, that also needs to happen.

Fort Kochi is fantastic. It has the perfect balance of modern and authentic. We stuff ourselves full with Indian dishes, feast our eyes, visit the famous Chinese fishing nets, and end the days with a beer.

On the last day we decide to quickly capture the Chinese fishing nets with the drone. Somewhere secretly on a deserted piece in the back of a busy market. When the drone is spotted by a local, complete chaos breaks out. He really wants to “play” as he calls it with the drone, almost pulls the drone out of my hands and then decides to walk into the market and starts shouting DRONEEEEE!!!! So there goes our secretly drone party ;p

fort kochi
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reis zuid india
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reis zuid india
reis zuid india

Marari Beach

India • March 13, 2023 • 35°
Tuesday I have a lot of meetings scheduled, so we decide to find a nice spot right on Marari Beach. It’s clearly low season because the beach is really deserted except for a few stray dogs. Which we don’t mind at all. We start and end the day with a dip in the water. Work is done, the homestay is lovely, and we can certainly keep this lifestyle going for a while longer.

reis zuid india
reis zuid india
reis zuid india
reis zuid india

The Backwaters

March 15, 2023, 34°
From the beach, we take a tuk-tuk to The Backwaters of Kerala. We arrive in a tiny village where we are more the attraction of the day than the backwaters themselves. The village is quite intense, but the people are again incredibly friendly and the surroundings are absolutely stunning.

Our homestay is right on Lake Vembanad and the view is breathtaking. The room? Not so much! It is probably the filthiest room we’ve had so far, with massive mold stains, something that looks like rat droppings, and a flying cockroach. But hey, that’s what a sleeping bag liner is for.

The Backwaters of Kerala consist of countless rivers, a total of 900 km of waterways. You can choose to spend the night on a houseboat. Very cool! But after some reading, it turns out that you might see less because the boat is too big.

So we opt for a small day trip of 3 hours and on a warm day like today, it’s truly fantastic. The surroundings are beautiful. We only see a small part of the area because we’re a bit further away from it (tip: find accommodation near Alleppey) but this is already absolutely a must-see.

When we get back, we drink a beer that is delivered by tuk-tuk (the Uber Eats of India). While enjoying the sunset, the weather changes drastically within a second. A terrible storm breaks out. Glasses fly off the table, trash cans lead their own lives, and we are like two idiots securing the items.

It starts to rain and thunder heavily, and the owner advises us that we really need to stay indoors. So we dutifully do so. Leroy sits comfortably with a beer and I am busy packing the backpacks. Because if there’s one thing we’re good at, it’s unconsciously seeking natural disasters. So I don’t trust this at all. Soon the power also goes out. There we sit, Desi and Dundieje, in the dark with our tuk-tuk beer in our moldy shack right by the water 🤣

But the storm subsides after a while and the next morning we wake up in the most serene environment.

the backwaters
backwaters kerala
backwaters kerala
backwaters kerala
backwaters kerala
the backwaters

Thekkaddy

March 17, 2023, 29°
After the most dreadful journey into the mountains, we arrive in Thekkady. Our homestay, on the other hand, is absolutely fantastic! A super spacious, clean room with a balcony for 19 euros.

We are in Thekkady to spot wildlife in Periyar National Park. The town of Thekkady is quite intense. There are almost no tourists so we are a walking attraction and thanks to Leroy and his 2 meters, we stand out everywhere. So we’re not to be missed.

We book an 8-hour jungle trek and on the recommendation of EVERYONE, we opt for the bamboo rafting full-day trekking. We decide not to go crazy with food the night before, as both of us have been having a bit of a hard time with all the Indian food lately. So we pick a place with excellent reviews and go for a simple meal. STUPID! Because both of us get a case of Delhi Belly that evening.

So we take a load of medication and go for it. The trek feels like a torture camp. We are almost running through the park, which is really not manageable with 35 degrees and numerous open plains. Luckily, we can relax a bit during the rafting. NOT! It’s hard work to get to the other side. Elephants, tigers, even bears. They’re there, but even they think: “I’m not doing anything in this heat today”. The park is absolutely stunning, but we literally feel so unwell that even that can be stolen after 4 hours.

After 9 hours of complaining, sweating, barely eating, having to go to the bathroom in the jungle once, and toughing it out, we return to our homestay, completely famished and exhausted. There’s really only one thing for it: BEER!

the backwaters
backwaters kerala
backwaters kerala
the backwaters

Munnar

From the jungle to the tea fields, there’s absolutely no shortage of nature in South India. We book a morning hike through the tea fields of Munnar, and this is undoubtedly one of the coolest things we’ve done so far. The hike is pretty challenging and warm. This is not only felt but certainly visible. Note to self, don’t wear linen shorts in the jungle. It looks like I’ve peed my pants 😜

We hike our hearts out and go from one surprise to the next. It’s stunning here. We taste fresh cardamom, berries, and other types of fruit. We also grab a tea at a local shop and after more than 4 hours, we’ve nearly taken 20,000 steps again, and fortunately, my sweaty backside is hardly visible anymore.

We end the day at the most dismal bar ever. More like an underground dark hole without windows where they illegally sell alcohol. But the beers don’t taste any less good for it. Once again a great day, where South India keeps surprising us.

munnar travel
munnar
munnar
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munnarzuid india
munnar

Goa – Palolem Beach

21 March 2023 • 33°
Made it to GOA 😍

We arrive at Palolem Beach through palm trees via a small sandy path. Wow, it’s wonderful here. There’s a fantastic hippie vibe, it’s incredibly peaceful, and there’s an exciting blend of hip and authentic. Palolem is teeming with small shops, local eateries, and hip hotspots. From yoga on the beach to eating smoothie bowls among the palm trees. I love it. We quickly decide upon arrival that we’re just going to stay here a bit longer.

We work a few hours each day, preferably on the beach, and then dive into the water to play in the waves like little kids. This is the life. Work, sun, and beers.

For the first two nights, we stayed at a homestay where they just have two pugs. Truly, my HEART ❤️ When we had to let go of our little chubby one last month, I dreamed multiple times that I would burst into tears when I would see a pug. But my heart almost exploded with joy. All just as grumpy, cuddly, and stubborn.

It would have been more logical for me to cry upon seeing a pug instead of in the middle of a busy terrace 🤣 because that does still happen sometimes.

Because everything is fully booked, we decide to splurge once for a beach house by the sea, and it’s fantastic. We almost spend the whole day at the same hip joint and fully enjoy the beach.

goa travel
Goa
goa
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goa india
goa

Houdoe Zuid India

Terwijl onze reis door Zuid-India ten einde komt, kijken we terug op een avontuur dat gevuld was met onvergetelijke momenten. Van de pittoreske theevelden van Munar, de fascinerende backwaters van Kerala, tot de adembenemende stranden van Marari; elk ogenblik was een nieuw hoofdstuk in ons verhaal.
Het is meer dan alleen de plekken die we bezochten, het zijn de ervaringen die we deelden, de mensen die we ontmoetten en de cultuur die we inademden. We hebben de intense chaos van de markten ervaren, de serene stilte van de natuurparken en de levendige energie van de lokale bevolking.
22 dagen, 4804 kilometers, 1600 foto’s en 8 ongelofelijke bestemmingen. Zuid India je was te gek!

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