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Old 11th November 2010, 13:09   #1
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Default Three Friends & A Trip to ISLANDS

This is my first travelogue; bear with me in case I make mistakes, Iam not great at writing stuff.

It all started this Sept; good friend of mine gave a call from Australia to let us know his travel plans to India. Itís been almost 2 years we met, so plan was to make the meet a memorable one.

His travel schedule was from 15th Oct till 15th Nov, and glad that he was flexible in planning for a meet. Wow, cool then it should be the first week of Nov, decided the time and made few calls to all the buddies to see if they could join. Destination was yet to be decided.

6 of us planned for the meet.

Planning

Date:

No much worries here, every one where keen on first week of Nov as itís a short working week. Date finalized, it would be 30th Oct till 1st of Nov as Diwali had to be celebrated at home with families.

Destination:

Following where proposed, as most of them were inclined towards sea and clubbed with water sports if possible

Within India
  • Pondicherry
  • Goa
  • Lakshadweep

Outside India
  • Mauritius

Out of India was ruled out right away.

Destination finalized to be Lakshadweep as most of us didnít visit the place.

With Families or alone:

Then a big dilemma, whether to plan this with families or without!!! I know there would be many questions on this. Primary reason being, guy from Australia is coming alone due to some urgent works, since he is not with family we thought the best would be alone as we can spend some quality time with him. So finally thought was to plan alone.

Next tough thing was to get approval from home ministry, before I could ask my better half; her brother had an occasion which required her presence in Hyd so approval was like a cake walk for me.

Not all could get approvals.

Booking and rest

Initial plan was for 6 of us, 3 of them dropped. Hmm it was bit disappointing, we decided then to stick to some location near Bangalore. But three of us (roomies when bachelors) decided to stick to Lakshadweep.

One friend had good contacts in Lakshadweep due to his business; he was the one who planned all. We were just intimated the details. He had been to Lakshadweep in the past; he proposed that Bangaram Island should be on the list. Unfortunately there were not ships traveling during our dates. He then planned to get permits so that we can go on our own speed boat (hired though).

Passport Size Photos, few scanned copies, address and contact details were sent. Got permits, and speed boat was confirmed. But it would only be us on the boat; this didnít inspire me much. As it was my first long journey in open sea I was bit worried in a small boat. Calls made and could convince him to plan by ship rather than boat. I was more inclined to fly, but then no new experience.

Ship it is, tickets were booked in first class Cabins, and following was the schedule

30th Oct Ė 11:00 AM Ship from Cochin
31st Oct - Minicoy Island Visit
1st Nov - Kadmat Island Visit
2nd Nov Ė Back in Cochin by 12:00 PM

Stay would be on the ship itself, we need to visit the islands trough out the day and return to ship in the evening.

Tickets for the trip to be collected in Cochin

Meeting Point:

Common point was Cochin where the journey to Lakshadweep starts.

Reaching Cochin:

I need to start from Bangalore, one from Hyderabad and another from Mangalore.

Early flights on 30th to Cochin from Hyd were neck to neck, so it was too risky hence planned to reach Cochin a day before.

BLR Ė COCHIN flight ticket booked for 29th Oct
HYD Ė COCHIN flight ticket booked for 29th Oct
MANG Ė COCHIN train ticket booked for 29th Oct
COCHIN - HYD Return flight tickets booked for 2nd Nov

Hurdle was to get additional leave on 29th for me, as I would be off for the entire first week of Nov (2 till 4th I took off). But, no issues got a green signal, wowooooooo

To be Continued...
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Old 11th November 2010, 13:17   #2
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This seems to be a start of a fantastic travelogue. Keep it rolling and do post loads of pictures.

Lakshadweep is a destination that I am longing to go for a long long time. Hope to make it there soon.

Cheers,
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Old 11th November 2010, 13:28   #3
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Wow, this was my next destination in my list. Will look forward for more informations and pics.
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Old 11th November 2010, 13:55   #4
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The Narration was as if i was seeing it.. Good stuff.
Awaiting pics ..

Last edited by MohsinRoadster : 11th November 2010 at 14:03.
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Old 11th November 2010, 13:56   #5
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Interesting start there rahgu and who says you aint good at writing.I am sure it should have been a one helluva experience traveling by sea.Did any of you guys have any form seasickness ? I did travel once and had to endure endless puking for a day.
Also never knew Cochin had cruises operating to Lakshadweep.
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Old 11th November 2010, 14:13   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raghu230506 View Post
approval from home ministry
Not all could get approvals.
To be Continued...
Approvals of this kind (the 'stag' hangout kinds) are hard to get, especially to destinations like Goa - for obvious reasons
Great start there Raghu - Where are the teaser/starter pics? This is one of the least covered destinations, atleast on TBHP. Waiting eagerly for the pics to come up.
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Old 11th November 2010, 14:32   #7
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A very good start Raghu. Would you mind posting more details like cost and all. This indeed is a very romantic and beautiful place. This is on my list from long time and I have reserved this visit for my honeymoon.
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Old 11th November 2010, 14:39   #8
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Default Day 1: Leaving to Cochin

Thanks for inspiring words guys.

Did a quick search, found Dwaraka Hotel to be good and near to the port area. Made a quick call and got the rooms reserved for the night stay. Costs 1500 + Taxes.

Flight to Cochin leaves at 2:30 PM, boarded BIA bus from HSR BDA at 11:30 AM. Reached BIAL by 1:00 PM.

Checking and security was breeze as not much crowd present. Did some shopping in duty free shops for friends kids. Announcement pulled my attention flight was on time, confirmed the same to the rest, friend reached Hyd Airport to board his flight at 3:30 PM, everything was on track and as planned

Next was to proceed for boarding

INDIGO - LET"S GO!!!!!!

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Flight reached Cochin Airport by 3:30PM, baggage collected and called friend just to hear whether he had boarded. Heard his flight is delayed by 1hr, Cochin airport is far from city, so had no choice than to wait for him at the terminal.

WAITING AT COCHIN ARRIVAL TERMINAL

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His flight reached as delayed 1hr later, took pre-paid taxi costed 530 INR to reach hotel. Checked in, got cleaned and took a walk on busy Cochin M.G Road. It was very hot even at night, we were sweating like hell.

HOTEL ROOM IN DWARAKA M.G.ROAD Cochin

Three Friends & A Trip to ISLANDS-dsc_2452.jpg

FROM HOTEL ROOM

Three Friends & A Trip to ISLANDS-dsc_2456.jpg

Finished dinner in PIZZA HUT and spent some time chatting and hit the bed, as we have a long journey ahead of us.

TEASERS:

View of MINICOY
Three Friends & A Trip to ISLANDS-minicoy.jpg

View of KADMAT
Three Friends & A Trip to ISLANDS-kadmat.jpg
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Old 11th November 2010, 14:44   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjstyles69 View Post
Interesting start there rahgu and who says you aint good at writing.I am sure it should have been a one helluva experience traveling by sea.Did any of you guys have any form seasickness ? I did travel once and had to endure endless puking for a day.
Also never knew Cochin had cruises operating to Lakshadweep.
Luckily no, this was one of my concern but it took me for a surprise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ExtremeTorque View Post
Approvals of this kind (the 'stag' hangout kinds) are hard to get, especially to destinations like Goa - for obvious reasons
Great start there Raghu - Where are the teaser/starter pics? This is one of the least covered destinations, atleast on TBHP. Waiting eagerly for the pics to come up.
Thanks ET, I totally agree. posted few, wanted to post them in the order.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rnidumolu View Post
A very good start Raghu. Would you mind posting more details like cost and all. This indeed is a very romantic and beautiful place. This is on my list from long time and I have reserved this visit for my honeymoon.
I would wait for Day2....
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Old 11th November 2010, 15:08   #10
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Good going Raghu and who said that you were bad at writing travelogues? Cant wait for further updates

BTW excellent snaps of the beach. The color of the sea combined with the white sand looks beautiful.
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Old 11th November 2010, 15:25   #11
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The beach of Kadmat looks amazing in picture, pls upload some more of them.
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Old 11th November 2010, 15:39   #12
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Nice teasers and interesting start Raghu. The pictures of the beach look awesome. What was the total budget per head (from Cochin)?
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Old 11th November 2010, 19:23   #13
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Default Day 2: Journey towards islands

Alarms ring at 8:00 AM, finished morning chores and headed towards port at 10:00 AM after a heavy and healthy breakfast in the hotel.

Entry to islands is restricted and one needs to get permits in case he wishes to go alone or else can go through the Lakshadweep Tourism, SPORTS for more details refer to

Society for Promotion of Nature Tourism and Sports - Lakshadweep Tourism

First thing for us was to collect the tickets, so we where at Lakshadweep Administration office in Cochin. Since travel is as tourists, SPORTS gave a cap, T-Shirt, Tag to wear through out journey with names and package opted (was not mandatory to wear though) and some baggage stickers to differentiate it from passengers.

Different packages offered are mentioned in the following link

Society for Promotion of Nature Tourism and Sports - Lakshadweep Tourism

We took Samudram package (4 days), trip cost was 16416 INR/Person. This includes
  • Stay in First class cabin
  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner off ship and on ship (Veg and Non-Veg options available)
  • Water sports (Snorkeling, Kayaking, boat rides, )
  • Scuba Diving to be paid additional in case one is interested. This would only be the activity for which it's charged.

Tourists can opt in 2nd class too, Iam not sure about the price part. Would check and let you guys know from my friend if one is interested.

Entire procedure took some 15mins, and then the gentlemen gave us a shock while handing the tickets.

Return to Cochin would be on 3rd Nov instead of 2nd Nov, which was a blow to us. Reason, Ship (Arabian Sea) which was supposed to pick students from Kalpeni to Chetlat had an issue with its RADAR and hence they diverted our ship. Horrible thing is we would not be allowed to get down on those islands as there would not be much of time gap to drop and pick passengers, so guys literally we would be sailing through out the day.

All other tourists had a reserve day so they all were fine with the delay.

But for us other plans now need to be squeezed, tickets from Cochin to HYD needs to be re-scheduled. This incurred some re-booking charges; we expected some delays and hence booked an evening flight to HYD, never thought a delay of a day.

So, its better you have a reserve day in case you plan.

Next is to report at Passenger Center, just few blocks away from Administrative office. Tickets are checked, baggage would be scanned here. Tourists need to paste the baggage stickers and have to mention the cabin/room/bunk number; baggage would be transferred by the authorities to the door step. For regular passengers, baggage would be dropped near the ship and one needs to carry on his own.

We were then asked to board a bus to reach the Jetti, it was then we had the first glimpse of the Ship we would be sailing in for next 5 days. It’s named KAVARATTI

We boarded the ship at 11:30 AM; Tourists were guided through the ship till their cabins. Ship had 5 decks, a swimming pool which was empty, recreation room with TV and only Hindi channel that comes is Zee Cinema. They played movies (DVD) every night, if interested one can watch it. It also has two shops where you get some snacks, cool drinks, playing cards and nice lemon tea.

Tourists had to report in recreation room, for a small briefing on the tour/food schedules.

Cafeteria are available in first class and second class, you can have tea and other snacks anywhere, but for breakfast/lunch/dinner tourists are supposed to use the first class one as it’s served as part of the package. Breakfast till 7:30 AM, Lunch till 2:00 PM, Dinner till 8:30 PM. They would announce once the food is ready.

By the time we came to our deck, luggage was already in the room.

Contd...

Last edited by raghu230506 : 11th November 2010 at 19:26.
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Old 11th November 2010, 19:41   #14
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Default Day 2: Contd...

Guys bad on me Iam observing some spots on few snaps caused due to dust on SLR lenses. I guess photos need a touch up using PS3 .

Till then bear with the quality

Lakshadweep administration office in Cochin Port

Three Friends & A Trip to ISLANDS-administration.jpg

Few other offices near by in the port Area
Three Friends & A Trip to ISLANDS-office.jpg
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Passengers Report Center
Three Friends & A Trip to ISLANDS-passenger.jpg

Our ride for next 5 days
Three Friends & A Trip to ISLANDS-ride.jpg
Attached Thumbnails
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Three Friends & A Trip to ISLANDS-recreation.jpg  

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Old 11th November 2010, 22:20   #15
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That would have been an amazing ride! After @deky here is one more!
Cant wait to hear more.
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