Little did we know that a mere Rs 4 Ferry ride with us perched on a scooter to an unexplored island will give us the most memorable day of our life! When we thought of Kerala, all that came to mind was the lush green backwaters in Alleppey or the myriad colours of dusk in the background of the Chinese fishing nets or the ultra-touristy streets of Fort Kochi! Now, there definitely HAS to be more than this, something more off the beaten track and rustic. And here we were; so close to all that touristy mayhem, yet so far. Getting lost in an island…exploring our little bliss of paradise!
On a crisp bright morning, we stepped out of our quaint homestay from where we hired a scooter for just Rs.400 to head to Vypin Island located just outside the city of Kochi. The difference being, we entered the island via ferry. What a beautiful and exciting feeling it was, being transported with people and vehicles on a slow-moving ferry to an island that is far far away from the touristy sights and sounds of Kochi. Ah! Now, this is our kind of bliss. The moment we entered Vypin Island, we felt we were in a different era, with colorful sloping roofed and low rise houses and lungi/saree clad locals. We ditched the main road, in search of uncharted lands and what we found took our breath away!
Small tiny by lanes, hidden from the main road took us to small villages and colourful houses, facing lush green rice paddies and backwaters. So many of these backwaters cultivated fish and prawn farming. The most known of them all is the Matsyafed Aqua farm where you can find Prawns, Karimeen (Pearl spot), Mullets, Tilapia, Crab & Green Shell Mussels. Matsyafed, which follows eco-tourism is also a good location to go for a half day trip. Here, you can pay a minimum amount and enjoy your time out in this heavenly area while learning more about fish and prawn farming with afternoon meals included.
After a short break at Matsyafed farm, off we went ahead. We didn’t know where these little roads were taking us, all we knew is that we had entered a piece of heaven. There was something unique about these backwaters, very different from the touristy Alleppey where all one sees is houseboats and flock of hotels and services meant for tourists alone. Here in Vypin Island, on the other hand; we were surrounded by landscapes that were untouched by the commercial nature of tourism. Where time stood still, watching the locals do their daily chores.
As we approached the other end of the internal bylanes crossing a series of backwaters and paddy fields, we were greeted by long stretches of golden sand beaches dotted with palm trees. It didn’t take long for us to leave our scooter behind and jump into the frothy blue waters of the Arabian. Out of the many beaches on Vypin Island, Cherai Beach is particularly famous with the locals and a few travellers looking to get away from the mayhem like us. But the beach that took our heart away was Kuzhupilly beach, a white sandy beach located a few kilometres before Cherai. Within close proximity to the paddy fields and backwaters, this is a beach you must not miss!
After spending half a day exploring these heavenly sights and almost getting lost in Vypin Island, our stomachs were rumbling for a tasty, yummilicious seafood treat. We had made sure in our minds, that we will ditch hotel food and try something more rustic and local. It seemed like God answered our prayers when we were invited into a fisherman’s house that doubled up into an eating joint at noon for hungry travellers like us! Nothing could be better than having freshly caught fish and prawns, made by the fisherman himself! Ah, the bliss of travelling on roads less travelled!
Who knew, that exploring the length and width of this 27kms long island of Vypin will uncover layers from Kerala’s beautiful lands like never before. How many of you have lost yourselves whilst visiting offbeat & untouched areas like these?