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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
When you make reservations on a train, they put your name in a list that is placed by the entrance of your coach. It's advisable to get to the station in advance, and check if your name is in the list of your wagon, Sometimes it sin't, and you can better fix this in the station than once on route!
Moving around in India by train is easy and cheap. Due to the British legacy, they have a fantastic railway net. Trains are not always modern and clean, but for sure is a real indian experience.
If you are gonna spend a night on the train, reserve a 1st class bed, is not so expensive and is the only way to have some sleep.
But if you are gonna take a short trip (1 or 2 hours), take once one of the cheapest tickets, and travel in the plain coaches where most indians travel, is an unforgettable experience!!
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!
We flew from London Heathrow to Trivandrum via Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. We chose Gulf Air, as they were the most reasonable airline operating that route.
We were pleasantly surprised with the service, especially when we were upgraded to Business Class!
In the picture you can see my parents enjoying the additonal comfort of the upgrade!
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!
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!
For moving around within the city, take an auto. They are everywhere and in Trivandrum, they have meters to show how much you have to pay. Currently, the autos have starting fare of either Rs. 6 or 7. Don't bargain for extra Rs. 1 or 2 tip, the petrol price goes up and the meter rarely changes its starting fare.
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.