India

Alappuzha (Allepey), Kerala: Overnight Kettuvallam (Houseboat) Cruise [SP]

Posted on May 7, 2014

Spending a night or several days cruising the backwaters is one of the best experiences in Kerala When it comes to backwaters tourism, all roads lead to Alappuzha – also known by its colonial name of Allepey – a district consisting of a large network of inland canals, earning it the nickname “Venice of the East”. For centuries, these waterways were the lifeline of the trading outpost, with kettuvallams transporting rice and spices between settlements, until roads became a moreRead More

Kottayam, Kerala: Shikara (Canoe) Cruise in Kumarakom Backwaters

Posted on May 6, 2014

Cruising down Kavanar River in Kumarakom. Photo by Pinay SoloBackpacker After our lunch cruise of Ashtamudi Lake in Kollam, the Kerala Blog Express team was excited to explore more of the state’s scenic backwaters! Our bus then took us to Kumarakom, a village in the district of Kottayam that’s known for its backwater tourism.  Riding a shikara (traditional canoe) provides a more intimate experience of Kerala’s backwaters Compared to cruising in a kettuvallam (traditional houseboat), one can have a moreRead More

Kollam (Quilon), Kerala: Ashtamudi Lake Cruise & Kollam Beach

Posted on April 4, 2014

Kollam or Quilon was a trading outpost since the time of the Phoenicians and Romans After the architectural marvels of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), the Kerala Blog Express moved up to the district of Kollam, formerly Quilon – an ancient seaport since the time of the Phoenicians and Romans – where we were introduced to the topographical and tourism highlight of the state – the backwaters of Kerala. Stretching parallel to the Arabian Sea for more than 900 km, the Kerala backwaters isRead More

Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), Kerala: Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Napier Museum & Padmanabhapuram Palace

Posted on April 1, 2014

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), Kerala is the world’s richest temple! The Kerala Blog Express by Kerala Tourism kickstarted the two-week bloggers’ tour across “God’s Own Country” in the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram (pronounced tiru-ananta-puram) – still also known by its colonial name of Trivandrum. Besides its golden beaches, historical landmarks are the main draw of Trivandrum.Our tour of the city began at the principal place of worship where the city takes its name, Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. Thiruvananthapuram meansRead More

Train Travel in India: A Quintessential Backpacker Experience

Posted on June 6, 2011

Passengers alighting at Mughal Sarai Train Station Railway travel is very affordable and practical in India. Taking overnight trains is a great way to save on accommodation costs, and maximize your itinerary. And it’s also the perfect way to meet locals and immerse yourself in everyday local life. Overall, train travel is a quintessentially Indian experience every backpacker cannot afford to miss out on. One can book train tickets at (a) train stations (b) travel agents or, most conveniently (c)Read More

Colors of Kolkata

Posted on May 27, 2011

Hand-pulled tana rickshaw at Kumartuli “DISTRESSED? DEPRESSED? SUICIDAL?” a helpline ad at Rabindra Sadan metro station called out to me as I was helplessly swept out by a deluge of commuters onto the steamy streets of central Kolkata. It was well over 35 degrees, and the humidity instantly turned my sweat to soup. None of my senses were spared from the urban onslaught. In a maddening Morse code of blowing horns, the intersection coughed up a dizzying parade of cheddar-hued,Read More