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Old 15th January 2009, 20:14   #1
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Smile Lakshadweep anyone?

Hello all,

Thinking of driving down to Cochin and sailing to lakshadweep with a group of friends. Have any of you guys done this recently? SPORTS site seems to be giving tons of options and am completely at sea as to how to go about choosing the best one.

Any pointers would be hugely helpful.

Thanks!
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Old 15th January 2009, 22:35   #2
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Hello all,

Thinking of driving down to Cochin and sailing to lakshadweep with a group of friends. Have any of you guys done this recently? SPORTS site seems to be giving tons of options and am completely at sea as to how to go about choosing the best one.

Any pointers would be hugely helpful.

Thanks!
When you say sailing..do you mean wind powered or diesel powered? If it is the latter, then there are weekly services I think. Could you provide the link which you got the info from?
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Old 15th January 2009, 22:46   #3
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I meant the normal ship cruises. The sites are:

Society for Promotion of Nature Tourism and Sports - Lakshadweep Tourism
Lakshadweep Official Web Site, Union Territory of India, beautiful islands, a Coral Paradise, Eco friendly Tourism

I realized there are only about 6 ships operating? I found the tariff and the ship schedules in the second site and the package tours in the first one.

Is it advisable to skip the package tours and do our own planning and explore the islands on a more relaxed pace? Are there actual hotels on the islands which might be on the cheaper side that we can book before going or after reaching there?
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Old 16th January 2009, 11:21   #4
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I meant the normal ship cruises. The sites are:

Society for Promotion of Nature Tourism and Sports - Lakshadweep Tourism
Lakshadweep Official Web Site, Union Territory of India, beautiful islands, a Coral Paradise, Eco friendly Tourism

I realized there are only about 6 ships operating? I found the tariff and the ship schedules in the second site and the package tours in the first one.

Is it advisable to skip the package tours and do our own planning and explore the islands on a more relaxed pace? Are there actual hotels on the islands which might be on the cheaper side that we can book before going or after reaching there?
For you to have your own schedule, you need to take permission to visit Lakshadweep from the Secretary to the Administrator, Lakshadweep Office at Willingdon Island. You are required to opt for normal passenger ship services which run on fixed schedules (i.e not as part of SPORTS). SPORTS schedules generally are visits to various islands arriving in the morning and disembarking. You need to get back on ship for stay at sunset for onward journey. Some packages involve staying at Bangaram or Kadmat (which has facilities for snorkelling etc ). You will be picked up by ship after 2-3 days on return schedule. Islands are spread out at distances requiring on an average 4-8 hours of sailing with Minicoy being farthest longitudionally. If you are part of SPORTS package food is not an issue but else you may have to depend on limited facilities. Dont expect milk or vegetable supplies on the islands. Its a paradise for Tuna eaters.

Btw I had been forced to spend 4 1/2 years of my prime life, from 1988, at the Headquarter island of Kavaratti in my capacty as a Govt. officer responsible for introducing I.T facilities there !! Being a pucca vegeterian imagine my plight !!

Last edited by emkay456 : 16th January 2009 at 11:22.
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Old 16th January 2009, 11:35   #5
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Is it advisable to skip the package tours and do our own planning and explore the islands on a more relaxed pace? Are there actual hotels on the islands which might be on the cheaper side that we can book before going or after reaching there?
Considering limited facilities in Lakshadweep, IMO you are better off taking a package. BTW, in case you enjoy an occasional drink, please be advised that alcohol is strictly prohibited on all Lakshdweep islands except Bangaram.


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Btw I had been forced to spend 4 1/2 years of my prime life, from 1988, at the Headquarter island of Kavaratti in my capacty as a Govt. officer responsible for introducing I.T facilities there !! Being a pucca vegeterian imagine my plight !!
Have you become a pucca fish eater now (sorry, couldn't resist) ?
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Old 16th January 2009, 13:48   #6
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Thanks a lot emkay and hondadude. I think we will take the package tours by SPORTS only then.

Society for Promotion of Nature Tourism and Sports - Lakshadweep Tourism

But since it will be quite a few people, we need to choose the lowest possible package that is affordable by everyone. That amount came to about 10k. The only package that seems to fit is the CORAL REEF PACKAGE in that page for two islands, but nights are spent on board the ship. :( How comfortable is that?

Also, the tourist class costs 7.5k and the first class 11k. What is the difference between the two? Is it worth spending the 3.5k more? This would probably be the most sensitive decision I take cause if this goes wrong, they will just kill me.

Any other expenses we need to factor in? I suppose all the water sports and food are inclusive of the package charges other than the tax? How much is the tax usually?

Thanks again!
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Old 16th January 2009, 15:25   #7
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Have you become a pucca fish eater now (sorry, couldn't resist) ?
No my determination to stay vegeterian carried me through the ordeal with days waiting in serpentine queues for 4 packets of 1/2 litre milk packets whenever a ship comes once in a week !!


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Also, the tourist class costs 7.5k and the first class 11k. What is the difference between the two? Is it worth spending the 3.5k more? This would probably be the most sensitive decision I take cause if this goes wrong, they will just kill me.

Any other expenses we need to factor in? I suppose all the water sports and food are inclusive of the package charges other than the tax? How much is the tax usually?
If my memory serves me right there are 3 classes of tourist passengers of SPORTS. Basic one fit for backpackers is the deck chair class where you go sitting or sleeping on the front deck floor. Tourist class as mentioned by you would be the cabin class in the lower deck (mostly below water level) which are 4 berth cabins. First class will be on the upper deck with 2 berths in a cabin. The anomaly is that in the event of rough sea with ship pitching and yawing the upper decks get affected more so first class suffer more. But having said that the weather during this time is good and sea very calm generally.
Yes they serve buffet lunch on the islands while breakfast/dinner will be taken care on board ship in the dining hall. You may only need items specifically required for young children if any. Tax should be be about 12 % I suppose which is nomal VAT to charged.
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Old 16th January 2009, 23:22   #8
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Btw I had been forced to spend 4 1/2 years of my prime life, from 1988, at the Headquarter island of Kavaratti
Funny - thats around the time I used to visit my cousins in Kavaratti every vacation. Used to be incredibly boring to spend 3 weeks in one island, especially since I wasnt a swimmer.

We used to travel on cabin class on Bharat Seema but spend the nights mostly on the deck with various groups of travellers. Good fun!
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Old 17th January 2009, 11:27   #9
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If my memory serves me right there are 3 classes of tourist passengers of SPORTS. Basic one fit for backpackers is the deck chair class where you go sitting or sleeping on the front deck floor. Tourist class as mentioned by you would be the cabin class in the lower deck (mostly below water level) which are 4 berth cabins. First class will be on the upper deck with 2 berths in a cabin.
Thanks a lot! I was searching for some travelogues yesterday and found this.
Lakshadweep trip report - India Travel Forum | IndiaMike.com

It was posted in 2006 so it might not be up to date, but it says that the 'tourist' class is only chairs or recliners? We are planning to take the exact same package as that traveler (coral reef from SPORTS). You have mentioned there are 4-berth cabins. Am a bit confused.

Think I will call one of the tourist agents mentioned on their site today or on Monday. I would just like to get this one clarified before. If it is berth, I think we will save a healthy 2.5k from our budget too. :-)

Thanks!
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Old 17th January 2009, 15:41   #10
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I was hoping that you would be using one of the newer ships. MV Tipu Sultan was purchased by SCI for Lakshadweep around 1991. Its original name is MV Santorini and was plying in the English Channel. So as mentioned in the blog referred by you, it is well past its prime life. Other than visual inference of the ship also you can make out by increased number of cockraoches on the ship.
As regards the tourist class and first class, I stand corrected. First class is 2 berth cabins on the upper deck and tourist class is chair class in the A/c hall in the front of the ship. 4 berth cabins at lower deck is only for non-tourist passengers.
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Old 17th January 2009, 15:51   #11
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I was hoping that you would be using one of the newer ships. MV Tipu Sultan was purchased by SCI for Lakshadweep around 1991. Its original name is MV Santorini and was plying in the English Channel. So as mentioned in the blog referred by you, it is well past its prime life. Other than visual inference of the ship also you can make out by increased number of cockraoches on the ship.
As regards the tourist class and first class, I stand corrected. First class is 2 berth cabins on the upper deck and tourist class is chair class in the A/c hall in the front of the ship. 4 berth cabins at lower deck is only for non-tourist passengers.
Thanks. :-) Since people want to go to more than one island at least, I have only two options to choose from - Coral Reef Package with M.V.Tippu Sultan for 11k+tax first class for 2 islands/4 days or Lakshadweep Samudram with M.V Kavaratti for 15k+tax diamond class [btw., why are gold class rates not mentioned on the site? are they also only for non-tourists?]

Tourist class seemed to fit the bill perfectly, but since it is a chair it is throwing the entire equation off balance. Are those chairs reclining at least? Do they look comfortable enough to spend four whole nights on?

Thanks again!
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Old 18th January 2009, 16:14   #12
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Just did Hyderabad - Cochin by bike and went to Lakshadweep. Great trip, full report here:

The Chain Gang • View topic - My quest for land's edge

Tip: Driving in Kerala was a let down. Crowds, crowds and more crowds and NH 17 is a joke. Take the Satyamangalam route and spend road more time in Tamil Nadu rather than Kerala.
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Old 18th January 2009, 18:41   #13
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Just did Hyderabad - Cochin by bike and went to Lakshadweep. Great trip, full report here.
Thanks, enjoyed reading it. What else did you do in Cochin other than the backwaters cruise?
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Tip: Driving in Kerala was a let down. Crowds, crowds and more crowds and NH 17 is a joke. Take the Satyamangalam route and spend road more time in Tamil Nadu rather than Kerala.
Thanks, yeah, that's the plan.
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