My last post was about my first two days of stay in God’s Own Hidden Gem of an Island – Munroe Island. As I mentioned in that post that I would share my third and final morning experience in the island (yes with pictures of that morning that I haven’t shared or posted anywhere except my insta stories) I decided to do that but with a little comprehensive guide on what to do in this island if you’re planning to head to this group of 8 small islands.
Still wondering if it’s worth staying in the island? I say, do away with that confusion and just go stay there. It won’t disappoint you I promise. So, instead of just going about my final morning tale from the island, I decided to pin down a list of things I would recommend anyone travelling to this hidden gem.
HOW TO REACH THE ISLAND?
There are daily passenger local trains from Kollam, Allepey, Varkala to this island. Train timings from Varkala : 3.57 Pm and 6 Pm daily I was told but the train came only by 4.30 pm.
WHY THIS ISLAND?
If you do not have the budget or the time for a backwater experience in a houseboat in Alleppey, Munroe Island is your answer to a quiet and peaceful stay away from the noise and crowd.
Following are the things I feel one must do while considering a trip to this island.
1. Take a ride in the backwaters the traditional way.
– No surprises and rewards on guessing the one thing that tops my list of “To do things” in this island. Why take the more expensive motor boat ride in the lake when you can feel the serenity of the inland backwaters and the vicinity of the Asthamudi lake in a traditional canoe??
Don’t you love taking a ride in traditional canoes? It’s the one thing that always excites me, whether back home in Manipur in our very own Loktak Lake or elsewhere wherever possible! And while I’m at it, I highly recommend you to do both the sunset lake tour and a morning backwater ride in the canoe.
Wondering how it felt like as we maneuvered our way carefully in the canoe? Heavenly! With the evening sunset casting a spell on me, deep conversations and laughter, I have no words to express the feeling.
2. Rent a bicycle and go off on an exploring spree.
– What do you remember when you’re back from a trip? Trace your memories back and you’d almost always remember things you have done differently and out of the ordinary. I’d always recommend cycling through places wherever you can, even when you can take a more convenient means of transport.
Here’s why? You get to feel everything all at once – the atmosphere and vibe of the place, with a local touch because you get to interact with people while doing that. You see things slowly and clearly as opposed to taking a faster means of transport. This is what I did on my final morning in the island. The cycle was provided by the hotel I stayed at (I think they do this in most hotels and homestays)
The island is small so you could cover almost everywhere accessible on a bicycle. Although I did not see every part of the island, my three and half hours of cycle ride in the island that morning was oh so worth it. Another beautiful reason is just down on the list. Who knows you could make some cool discovery like I did? Would have loved to do that whole day! But I had to leave by the afternoon train that day sadly.
Some advice – Take along some sunscreen according to the weather because it was getting really sunny that morning.
In all my travels, some of the best memories etched in me are from bicycle rides I’ve taken in all those places, topping the list of course would be the ride in Andaman, Havelock Island through scenic lush green forests and beaches. Also the pleasant cycle ride in Thatekkad. So rent a bicycle and make memories!!
3. Travel like a local. Meet people (and play with animals-loved the goats in the island) – wonderful people make the best memories!
One of the reasons I love travelling – meeting people and beautiful people I say! And as long as I’m alive and have a sound memory, these beautiful people I meet along the way are forever going to stay in my memory. Once you get to the island, talk to the locals or a guide if you have hired one. Though there’s no need for one here, the canoe tour rides and people taking you on the canoe ride will pretty much do that for you. Know more about the island daily activities and how people go about their daily lives there. It’s always interesting to know more about the places you travel to.
For me, Amal, the hotel Owner at Lake and River Resort Munroe Island (sadly didn’t take any picture with him) who dropped me to the bus stand at Kollam (for a bus ride back to chennai) saving me from taking a local passenger train ride to Kollam and hence, the painful wait for the train and the very friendly Sushil from Orissa (left in the picture above) who narrated me travel tales on his tryst with cool foreign tourists who stayed there in the resort making my conversations and stay there more engaging and interesting, top the list of kind-hearted souls I met there. Not to forget the family who took me for the evening canoe ride – Sannidhi , Sangeeth Sanjeev and their lovely mom and Sanjeev.
I even visited their place in my final morning to bid goodbye to them. Check out the pictures I took with them.
4. Food!!! Indulge yourself in some really good local cuisine.
– Yes Food! Another one of the very important reasons I love travelling to different places. You may or may not like it but what’s the point of having the same food you eat everyday again and again in a place where you’ll find different flavors to satisfy your tastebuds? And Kerala food isn’t going to disappoint you anyway. I loved how I was asked what I’d like to have for each and every meal on my stay in the resort. From the pure vegetarian meal that I had on my first day at the resort (picture right above), to the fish curry I had the next night to the Dosa breakfast (left in the picture above) they prepared on the final morning, specially on my request since I love Dosas, I loved everything I had there.
I was treated like a PRINCESS! ALL Smiles. Happy feeding those rats in the tummy!
5. Stay in the island for the best experience! Book a homestay or a cool hotel resort
– While this could very well be a day’s trip from Varkala or elsewhere, if you’re still confused whether to stay in the island, I say you must for the best experiences. Nothing can beat the feeling of staying in an unknown place and waking up to a pleasant morning with the excitement and the enthusiasm of finding out what lies beyond your comfort area. I would recommend staying at Lake and River Resort, the place I stayed at, for it’s value for money, the people are super cool, the place is affordable, the rooms are huge and kept very neat and tidy and there’s a whole range of things you can do there. Food could have more variety but no complains I loved everything I had there.
For bookings here’s the link:
Lake and River Resort Munroe Island – I assure you I’ve had one of my most pleasant stays in 2016 here. The people are really nice. Who knows you might even extend your stay if you have more time in hand. Pictures of the spacious room below. They even have a separate small room you could use for keeping your luggage or for changing. Had that all to myself for two nights 🙂
6. Go on a treasure hunt.
Sounds fun eh? This is for people like me. Had that friend or girlfriend or boyfriend who would always insist on making your way early to a place or waking up early for a bicycle ride in the woods or taking an early morning ride or stroll to the beach? Please listen to them. Sleep always holds you back, doesn’t it? But you sleep everyday! The best times you would have are those when you would have sacrificed sleep by making an effort to wake up very early to witness a sunrise or a ride to a place you know aren’t gonna be flocked with people at that time of the day. Nobody remembers the nights they got plenty of sleep. So say they all!
I’m glad I went on that cycling tour in that island that morning. How cool is discovering an abandoned treasure on your way? I told the boy who accompanied me for cycling that morning (the boat man’s son) that I wanted to go to that site when I saw an abandoned place full of traditional wooden boats plying in the water from a bridge. He said there is no way to go there but I’m not one to leave behind such things. So I found out a way to go there and oh boy! It was such a pleasant sight! Those hundreds of boats that have been caught for sand mining activities and were no longer in use were plying in the water. With prayer chants at the backdrop, this sure made my morning.
Still wondering if it’s worth going to this island? I hope not!
When the gentle evening winds caress your face, when playful conversations in the boat hover around your head till late in the evening when you’re on your bed and when you feel grateful and ever so thankful for having met wonderful people and having had the opportunity to see such places with your naked eye, that’s when you know it’s all worth it.
Know about cooler things to do in the island?? Let me know?