RTW TRIP TRIVANDRUM, INDIA DAY 110 TO 115: THE IMAGINATION FOR ‘LIFE OF PI’ STARTED HERE

We were going to head to Madurai for a few days over Christmas, but Booking.com and Agoda.com had zero hotels available online.  We thought a good workaround would be to head to Trivandrum, and then just show up at Madurai and look for accommodation on foot.  We found out Madurai was a big pilgrimage site, and realized we didn’t want to compete with mass crowds, so we forfeited our already paid train tickets to Madurai, and just parked it in Trivandrum for a couple days.

Waiting for the train and riding in a rickshaw.

Waiting for the train and riding in a rickshaw.

Train passengers

Train passengers

After amazing Varkala, Trivandrum was a real bore.  It just felt like another big city, with not a lot of options for good, cheap food.

We stayed in an interesting car parts neighborhood on the other side of the train station, called Galaxy Inn.  Our room was fine, but definitely stuffy.  If anyone chooses to stay here, you may want to upgrade to an AC room.  Other than that, the room was decent, with cable TV, and close to the train station. There were a lot of locals staying here, and for some reason, it seemed like they were all up at the crack of dawn making a lot of noise in the echoing halls.  If you stay at Galaxy Inn, take a walk around the neighborhood.  There were some great fruit and veg vendors close by!

Galaxy Inn-It was not out of this world.

Galaxy Inn-It was not out of this world.

The only place we trusted for food that seemed to be within our budget was Ariyas Nivas Restaurant. It has two floors, the second floor being air conditioned with delicious food that was a bit higher in price than we were used to.  It was frequented my middle class Indians.  Their rocket dosas were huge and tasty, and their thalis were pretty darn tasty as well.

A huge rocket dosa and the ever filling thali.

A huge rocket dosa and the ever filling thali.

If you are into architecture, Trivandrum’s branch of Indian Coffee House is dizzying and somewhat Tim Burton-esque.  It is on the main road and was a bit too stuffy for us to have coffee here.

If you are needing some western toiletries, there is a small mall in the same building as the KFC that carries a lot of familiar brands. We stocked up on all our needs here.

The only activity we did here was visit the Trivandrum Zoo.  An interesting fact: The book Life of Pi was actually written with this zoo in mind.  You will have to fight your way to get a ticket, but once you do, you can walk around the charming little zoo with all the locals.  I thought the best part was the deer feeding and seeing the baby hippos with their parents.  Be warned though, seeing the lions and tigers in their small compartments was a little depressing.

Deer feeding

Deer feeding

Do not spit at the zoo.

Do not spit at the zoo.

Costs for Day 110:
Trattoria Restaurant: pineapple pizza, naan, aloo ghobi, Coke, ice coffee 400
I am Malala Book 100
Rickshaw to station 100
Train to Trivandrum 210
Water 20
Train ticket from Trivandrum to Madurai 270 (not used)
Hotel Galaxy Inn 1015
Ariya Nivaas Restaurant rocket dosa, water, parota, Chana masala 245
Water 30
Bananas 40
cloth and toilet paper 65

Total cost for Day 110: 2495 rupees / 2 = $19.64 per person

Costs for Day 111:
KFC 522
Hotel Galaxy Inn 1015
Toiletries (shampoo, Dove bar, Tide bar, deodorant, toothbrush, cookies) 460
Rickshaw to zoo 30
Toilet 2
Water 20
Rickshaw from zoo to Galaxy Inn 60
Trivandrum Zoo 92
Ariyas Nivas Restaurant: aloo masala, rice, veg noodle, water, AC room 330
Chips, water, bananas 90

Total costs for Day 111: 2621 rupees / 2 = $20.63 per person

Costs for Day 112:
Ariyas Nivas Restaurant: veg thali and water 220
Rickshaw back to Galaxy Inn from lunch 30
Train from Trivandrum to Varkala 90
Rickshaw from Varkala train station to Heavenly Breeze Guesthouse 70
Heavenly Breeze Guesthouse 1320
Trattoria Restaurant: 2 beer, ice coffee, veg pakora 490
Trattoria Restaurant: 2 beer, carbonara, steak 770
Beer at Heavenly Breeze 150

Total cost for Day 112: 3140 rupees / 2 = $24.71 per person

Costs for Day 113:
Amantha Restaurant: coffee, veg thali, masala dosa, water 220
My Place Restaurant: 2 beer, veg pakora 440
Abba Restaurant: steak sizzler, 2 Cokes, chicken pomodoro pasta 540
Toilet paper and cookies 80
Heavenly Breeze Guesthouse 1320

Total cost for Day 113: 2600 rupees / 2 = $20.47 per person

Costs for Day 114:
Heavenly Breeze Guesthouse 1320
Amantha Restaurant: veg thali, orange juice, coffee, masala dosa 245
My Place Restaurant: 2 beer, veg pakora 400
Trattoria Restaurant: jumbo prawns with salad and chips, steak, beer, lime soda, free papadam 920

Total cost for Day 114: 2885 rupees / 2 =$22.71 per person

Costs for Day 115:
Amantha Restaurant: veg thali, masala dosa, coffee, oj 265
Rickshaw from Heavenly Breeze to Varkala train station 100
2 buses to Trivandrum 88
Ariyas Nivas Restaurant: Parota, veg noodle 180
Snacks of cookies, chips, water 200
Bus from Trivandrum to Bangalore 2800
Toilet 9
beer at Heavenly Breeze 150

Total cost for Day 115: 3792 rupees / 2 = $29.85 per person

What I learned: If you are going to Trivandrum Zoo, keep in mind you can’t bring any bags in so you will need to check them at the door.  They also do not allow any bottles, as I believe they are afraid people will throw them at the animals (not joking).

Only in India will you see a random elephant walking through traffic!

Only in India will you see a random elephant walking through traffic!

Actual dates of travel: Dec. 22-27, 2014

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