I traveled by bus from Trivandrum to Alleppey during October 2008.
For as little as Rs300 you can travel with an AC bus, which is very comfortable.
It is best to book a day or two in advance.
The trip to Alleppey took about 3 and a half hours.
I booked through SRM/Yahtra/Golden in Trivandrum.
The Trivandrum Central station was built by the Maharajah of Travancore and inaugurated on 4 November 1931. No bricks were used for the construction of this station building; it was built completely with rock masonry. It's well located in the city centre and I came here the short distance from Varkala before heading on to Kanyakumari. It was handy for me when arriving as it was near to the hotel I stayed at (see my hotel tips) and is also just across the road from the central bus station.
Auto-rickshaws are a popular, easy and inexpensive way of getting around. I did find the drivers in Trivandrum to be pleasant and more honest than in many other places I've been to in India.
A short trip in Trivandrum should hardly ever be more than Rs50. A trip to Kovalam and back, should cost about Rs300, depending on how long the driver has to wait for you. I had a great driver who took me to Kovalam, Vizhinjam and stopped several times along the road for me wanting to take pictures. We trip took about 3 hours or more, he wanted Rs400, but I thought Rs500 would be a better fare.
I recently (Oct 2008) made use of Jet Airways to fly from Mumbai to Trivandrum. Unfortunately our flight was delayed. But, it was the only Jet Air flight which was delayed, many flights left on time as we waited for our flight.
The food was good, but there is no inflight entertainment.
I booked on-line from South Africa, and had no problems in this regard.
I find this option a much easier and cheaper alternative than to try and find a taxi outside the airport. The pre-paid taxis can be booked at a counter in the arrivals hall.
A trip from the airport to my hotel in the central parrt of Trivadrum was only Rs206. You can choose if you want an AC taxi or without AC
I have made use of this service in Mumbai and Chennai.
One of my favourite memories of my trip to Kerala was catching my first glimpse of the coconut groves surrounding the coastline as we descended into Trivandrum.
Another happy memory was the realisation that my case had come straight through and I was the first one to arrive in the coach park..Hoorah!!
However, the actual flight would have been far better, if I hadn't had to endure the cramped conditions! I'm only a shorty (5 ft 3" or 1.58m), but not ideal!
I couldn't believe that it was only a single aisle plane.
Ok, I'm not a Diva, used to 1st class travel etc, but I've had much shorter charter flights in more comfort.
Besides the limited space, the in flight entertainment was a bit repetitive too.
Talking to fellow travellers during my stay, the flight was the main gripe!
Although some found the departure procedure an endurance test (queueing / repetetive form filling etc), I welcomed it, as a delay towards the gruelling return flight- at least on my return, I had Margaret and Joy (who I'd met during my tour) to chat to
I travelled from/ to Gatwick (with a short stop-off (45 mins) in Bahrain) with Manos travel.
Bahrain airport has a reputation as a good Duty Free shopping place. There are goods galore and the chance to win Cars etc in the prize draw.
It was quite surreal to come across a 20ft Santa and a Nativity scene, with Christmas songs coming through the tannoy, in the early hours of the morning, after having just come through security with serious faced, armed male and female security staff!
For the nicotine deprived, hurry along to the 1 smoking spot- a small cubicle with bench seating around the inner perimeter, and a few ash trays. - follow the signs (or smell) to find it! - This was 2003, so not sure if Bahrain airport has gone smoke free yet!
Thanks all of you who contributed for my question, now I have made the trip and want to share the experience.
I have made the trip to Ooty on 11th Feb 2008. I bought ticket on Indian airline, so the flight arrived in Trivandrum at noon. After I reach Trivandrum,
I went to "No: 1 Air, Bus" and bought ticket for two seats (push back seat), each ticket cost IND 300 Rs for One-Way they had Bus at 21 & 22 hrs to Coimbatore. I took the bus on the someday and reach Coimbatore at 07 or 08 hrs.
When they stopped the bus at the last stop, from there I took bus going to Ooty which cost IND 60 Rs per person, the seats were push back seats. I reach Ooty within 02-03 hrs.
Unfortunately the airport in Thiruvananthapuram has almost nothing for travelers to do while waiting for a flight. The gates are no more than a big waiting room full of chairs. There's a small snack bar, but nothing else inside the gate area. The bathrooms are disgusting and look like they are never cleaned. There is a decent restaurant outside the gate area, which is really the only positive thing I can think of about the entire airport. There is also a small duty free shop, but it didn't offer much. Bring a good book or something else to read while you wait. Otherwise you'll be very bored.
Qatar Airways has no business claiming to be a five-star airline. After I arrived in India, I received an email stating that the airline had cancelled my reservations for my return flights. Customer service in India was simply horrible. It was the worst service I have ever received from not just any airline, but from any kind of business anywhere in the world. It almost seemed as if their ultimate goal was to make this entire affair as difficult as possible for me. They simply informed me that there was not sufficient time for my transfer in Doha and left it at that, as if they just expected me to stay in India for the rest of my life. Never at any point did they do anything helpful at all. Rather than looking for solutions, they simply threw up more and more roadblocks. They could have found alternate routes, booked me for an overnight stay somewhere between flights, or any of a number of other solutions. Instead, they said I had to fly out of a different city than the ticket I bought. One city was 6 hours away by bus, while the other was 16 hours away. And they said I had to get myself there.
Finally I gave up and emailed my wife in the US to have her try her luck with the New York office. They got me on a return flight, but back in India the insisted that I sign an indemnity form releasing the airline of all liability for costs I would incur because of the change in itinerary. They treated me like a criminal, not a customer. When I finally did get to Doha, the employees there were equally unhelpful. I told them the least they could do is give me a complimentary upgrade to business class, but they balked at every turn and acted like they owed me nothing. Finally one employee at check-in counter went out of her way to get me an upgrade, but she actually disobeyed her supervisor in doing so.
I will never, under any circumstances, fly Qatar Airways again. And I highly recommend that other travelers avoid them at all costs. It is the most unprofessional business I have ever dealt with in my life.
Well within the heart of the city is the Trivandrum Central Railway Station. The Indian Railways connects the city with most of the major cities across the country. Opposite to the city railway station is the city transport bus-stand which connects trivandrum to all the towns in Kerala and also to adjoining states of Tamilnadu and Karnataka.
Trivandrum has an international airport which connects to various international destinations. Mostly catering to the Middle East. This airport is six kilometeres away from the heart of the city. There is also a domestic airport which connects trivandrum by air to various cities across India. The major airlines which operate out of the airport are
Domestic : Indian, Sahara, Jet Airways, Kingfisher, Deccan and Paramount
International : Air India, Emirates, Gulf Air, Saudi Airlines, Qatar Airlines etc.
Trivandrum Airport is in the process of being extended with a new Terminal being built. Check- in is fairly straight forward. With the security checks in place, make sure you are given a luggage tag from the check-in desk for anything you are carrying on board (eg handbag) they will be stamped going through security to the departure gate.
The departure area is fairly small with only very limited refeshments (ie liptons tea!) no restaurant facilities - not good if you have a delay! Toilet facilities could be much improved with no toilet paper available when I visited! The seats on one side of the departure area are very comfortable. There is a mobile phone charging point.
There is only one boarding gate (Number 1) where you will be bussed out to the aircraft.
Roll on the new terminal opening!
I am currently staying in this place. Auto Rickshaws are the backbone of the transportation network. They are available in plenty but it is important to keep in mind that in the night the service is poor. These autos normally run by the meter, but you would still find some of them refusing to do do. The minimum charge for the meter is Rs.10 and it increases as the number of KM travelled increases. Most of the drivers are friendly and love chatting and many of them can manage to speak hindi or english apart from the local language malayalam. They can be a good guide to the city and provide you with a lot of information.
I have these ideas from time to time, and make desicions based on romantic notions rather than practicality. I desperately wanted to include an overnight train journey during our trip to India. Don't ask me why, I just thought it sounded fun and a great way of experiencing Indian life.
There are many classes on the Indian Railways, including air conditioned first class. I did not want this class, as I had heard it has frosted windows so you are unable to look out. I didn't want six berths to a compartment either, so we plumped for the second class non-air-conditioned compartment. It was clean and comfortable.
The journey took 20 hours, and for quite some part was very boring. We slept during the night, but that still left another 12 hours or so of just "sitting there".
There are western style and hole-in-the-ground style toilets at each end of every compartment. They started off reasonably clean but towards the end of the journey they became rather unsavoury. Alcohol is forbidden. Lunch is served by train waitresses and snacks are available from station hawkers.
I am really glad we took the train as it was a great experience!
Not sure under which heading to place this tip, so it ended up here.
We'd prebooked from the UK, through our agents in India, a four berth compartment for four people. Initially, when we got on the train, the conductor told us we did not have any berths at all, just a bench seat for the four of us. Whe we showed him our ticked, he went away and came back again. Another official appeared, looked at our ticked and went away again. The first man came back, looked at our ticked again and went away again. So it went on for about four hours. By 9pm, they had found us four berths, albeit in four seperate compartments.
The train was obviously overbooked, and I shared my compartment with five other adults and a dog which was sick every 15 minutes throughout the night. My mum shared with three adults and two children.
In the end it was just one of those quintessentially Indian experiences!