Old Nov 28, 16, 5:41 pm
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Thunderroad
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Question Advice for traveling through Kerala, India

My wife and I plan to spend from eight to ten days in Keraka in the second half of February. We certainly want to get to an upland/hill country area. In addition, we also want to get to get to a beach destination and/or a lagoon/backwaters destination. Please bear with me if some of my questions are pretty basic.

1. Am I correct in assuming that Kochi is the best airport to fly into (from Mumbai, which is where we'll start our India trip) for visiting a hill country destination like Munnar or Thekkady? If not, which airport/city is better?

2. Am I also correct in assuming that if we do get to Munnar or Thekkady, then going on to Kovalam from there will make for a very long travel day, and that we'd be better off going to a beach closer to Kochi? Or for that matter, if we go to Kovalam, we should find an upcountry destination other than Munnar or Thekkady (and what would that be)?

3. In terms of beaches, we like places where we can take long walks and eat outside of the hotel. Which beaches best suit the bill, regardless of whether they are closer to Kochi or Trivandrum?

4. Any particular hotel suggestions near any of those beaches? Our preferred budget is US $100-150/night, but we might go as high as $200.

5. What is the best way to arrange a car/driver to take us between the two or three destinations we'd go to? Set it up with the hotel to where we will be going? (I know that we can go through a tour company to arrange all this, but would rather focus on finding the hotels we'd most like to go to and then arrange the transportation, unless folks advice otherwise.)

6. About what should we expect to pay for a car/driver to get us between (just to use as an example), Kochi and Munnar?

7. If anyone cares to suggest a combination of destinations and hotels for an upland/backwater/beach combination trip, we'd welcome it. For what it's worth, we're both early 60s and active, like to walk, prefer quiet hotels, and like scenery, views and experiencing the culture through daily interactions even more than sight-seeing (though we're certainly not averse to that).

Thanks for any help in addressing any of these questions.
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