Amazing Experiences in Kerala

One of the Indian students, James Thomas at ERAU recommended the Travel Planners for me because I wanted to go on the famous houseboat in Alleppey and see Kerala in South India. I want to thank James Thomas for the wonderful recommendation. I had an amazing experience and so much fun with the Travel Planners Tour Company in Kerala, India! The cost of having a personal driver, clean hotels, and all sightseeing activities is well worth it. Thanks to Ashok Mahajan, the USA representative in California. He was able to put a 5-day package together for me during the busy Christmas season in December. This was my first time that I went on a private tour with a personal driver. I needed a change from taking hot crowded buses and tut tut drivers through India. I was pleasantly surprised with the friendliness and professionalism from my wonderful drivers, Nandu Radeesh Kumar and Pradeep. Nandu offered to teach me some local phrases in his native Indian language since I enjoy learning new languages as an English teacher for international students at an aviation university, ERAU in Daytona Beach, Florida. Both drivers had excellent English skills to answer all my questions and share interesting conversations during my trip. They took time to explain the history of each place and gave me suggestions for fun tours. After taking so many crowded and uncomfortable buses around India, I looked forward to relaxing and enjoying the private clean air-conditioned car through Kerala. All the hotels were wonderful for my budget. The Pattom Royal Hotel in Trivandrum was very clean and the staff was friendly. Everyone spoke English, the rooms were clean, and the staff was helpful. I began my journey in Trivandrum. Nandu, my driver suggested taking me on a small boat tour to the Golden Island since I already saw the beautiful Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple. We had a great time drinking fresh coconut juice, walking on the beach, and enjoying the sunny boat ride. I enjoyed a nice relaxing day tour at the beach and island for the first part of my trip in Trivandrum.

The Travel Planners help me change one itinerary at the last minute. I had already explored Kanyakumari, the southern tip of India, so I wanted to go to Varkala Beach, which was one hour north on the way to Alleppey for my houseboat tour. Mr. Dhanish was able to find a nice homestay in Varkala right away. Varkala is a popular beach destination along the high cliffs. My Indian friends call it Little Goa. I got a wonderful Ayurveda herbal massage there. My driver, Nandu was kind to invite me to his family to have Christmas Eve dinner since I had no one to spend the holiday with. His family cooked a delicious traditional Indian meal for me and made me feel at home. Nandu and his are part of my extended family and friends now.

Nandu was always reliable and ready to pick me up for the next part of my journey to Alleppey. We got there on time, but the houseboat was around two hours late. We were a bit worried at first, but the boat finally came. I know that they were busy due to the high season with thousands of tourists. Once I got on the boat, the cook made me a delicious lunch, dinner, and breakfast the next morning. The boat tour is a must see through the calm backwaters of Kerala. It was fun to meet other tourists on their boats when we docked for the evening. My next adventure continued to Thekkady in the beautiful hills and tea plantations. Nandu, my driver was worried about a possible strike and problems of missing the anticipated elephant rides, jeep rides, and a boat tour on the lake in Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. He called his friends at the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary to make sure that they could help me buy tickets for the early boat tour and elephant ride. Nandu helped me get tickets to see the amazing Kerala cultural dances, Kathakali theater, water fountain light show, and Kalari martial arts during my first evening. I had a chance to show my Chinese Wushu martial arts with the talented martial artists after their show ended. All the shows were extremely professional and the performers were amazingly talented. The next day, I went on the early morning boat tour in the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Although I did not see any tigers, I saw lots of birds and monkeys. I enjoyed an elephant ride after the boat tour. I got a chance to wash one large elephant. The elephant ended up giving me a shower from throwing water from his trunk. Elephant Hills was a nice family run hotel. The electrical power went off at night for a few hours and the staff helped us create an outdoor fire to stay warm. The power finally came on. Nandu was able to help me get a fun four-hour jeep ride through the vegetable and fruit farms, and the tea plantations in Thekkady. It was so much fun. We enjoyed eating fresh grapes at the grape farm and dipping our feet in the fresh waterfall on top of the mountain overlooking Thekkady and Tamil Nadu. We ended the fun-filled day with a nice aerial view of Thekkday at the highest peak.

I was sad when there was a sudden change of plans to change my driver for the last day to Cochin. Nandu had to drive a Swedish family for three more days in Thekkady, while Pradeep, my new driver drove me to Cochin. I will keep in touch with both drivers on Facebook. Pradeep was very friendly and he showed me around Cochin on my last day. We saw St.Francis Church, the oldest Church in India, 500 year old Portuguese houses, Cantilevered Chinese fishing nets, 16th century Synagogue, Jew Town and the Dutch Mattancherry Palace. Pradeep took me to a hotel that seemed hidden in Cochin. The Villa Romantica is a perfect little hotel for newlyweds and married couples. I wish I could find an Indian prince to enjoy the romantic hotel together. It was a five-star hotel with a nice pool, cable television, hot water, and very beautiful rooms. The staff were very friendly and attentive to my needs. I highly suggest staying there if you need to go to the airport. They were only ten minutes from the airport. I had to pay for a taxi to the airport even though my airport ride was supposed to be covered in my itinerary. Pradeep needed to take the train home to Trivandrum to see his family for New Years. I understood the need to see family since the drivers are away from home for long periods of time. Overall, I give a high recommendation to the Travel Planners for anyone who wants to see India. Everyone was very helpful, friendly, and professional. They put the tourist first on their agenda and they made my trip through Kerala, South India an unforgettable journey. Thank you for the amazing experiences, warm memories, and new friendships! I will miss my personal drivers! Good luck and keep up the great work!

Best Wishes and Happy New Year,

Kim Hardiman from Daytona Beach, Florida USA

Highly Rated Tour Operator in TripAdvisor
Recommended Ayurveda Resort in Kerala
Romantic Boutique Resort at Cochin


TC 79/47, New Gardens, Sangamam Nagar
Vallakadavu p.o., Trivandrum – 695008
Kerala, INDIA
Mob: +91 999 580 9006, 8111 864 888


Phone: 416-524-7661

Kariyad, Mecadu p.o.
Nedumbassery, Cochin
Mob: +91 72930 79008


Nicholas Building
River Front, Enfield EN1 3FG
Tel: +44 20 3322 4388

Play Video