When you’re travelling, it’s impossible that you’re going to love every place you visit. While India is a country renowned for being a frustrating place to travel in, I’ve had nothing but good experiences. On both my trips, I’ve found it hard to pick fault in any of the destinations that I’ve spent time in. However, on my most recent trip, there was one place that I just couldn’t bring myself to love, as much as I wanted to. That place was Wayanad.
Wayanad is a small district in the North of Kerala. When I spoke to friends who had been to India they told me that I had to pass through there, since I was travelling South. I searched the internet and everyone seemed to have the same opinion. Wayanad is one of the most beautiful places in the whole of Kerala and if you’re entering the state via Karnataka, you must go!
Famous for its national parks, waterfalls and mountains, Wayanad looked like an area I would instantly fall in love with. After seeing pictures online, I could understand why my friends loved it so much. I thought I’d be let in on an amazing secret; an incredible part of an incredible state, a place that not many people take the time to see.
In the end, reality and expectation did not intertwine and here I am regretfully writing a post that I has never forecasted. There are a few reasons why Wayanad and I didn’t click and I should point out that this is mainly due to the fact that Wayanad was not the right fit for me at that time. Like I mentioned, so loads of people go to Wayanad and love it and I can understand why. However, I couldn’t force myself to have the warm fuzzies for Wayanad, and these are a few reasons why.
Wayanad is not Budget Friendly for Solo Travellers
I almost wrote that Wayanad is expensive, but I decided not to. Why? Well, on a global standard, Wayanad really isn’t expensive at all. However, if you’re travelling through India on a backpacker’s budget, you’re definitely going to feel a bit of a sting. Especially when you’ve already seen how far your rupees can stretch in India.
It was for this reason that I decided not to do a nature tour in Wayanad. When I arrived at my hostel, I half expected to meet other people who would accompany me and split the cost. However, I was surprised to discover that I was the only traveller staying there. Because of this, I would either have needed to pay for the whole car by myself or magically find other travellers to share it with. Not exactly the ideal scenario staying in Wayanad on a budget.
Because I was missing out on wildlife, I decided to do something that I love and that Wayanad is renowned for; hiking. I set off for Chembra Peak, one of the highest mountains in the area. However, my usual go to “no-spend” activity ended up costing the equivalent of a whole day’s budget.
It turned out that I needed to pay for a guide to go up the mountain. And, since I was on my own, I had no one to share the costs with. Of course, this wasn’t a huge amount of money since India is a really cheap country to travel in but, at the time, it definitely felt like a pretty sour consolation prize.
Because I had skipped out on doing a safari, I spent most of my other days in Wayanad doing the other things that there are to do. Which were…. pretty much nothing!
It’s Difficult to Meet Other Travellers
When I was heading to Wayanad, I knew that it would be difficult to meet other travellers off the grid. But I didn’t anticipate just quite how difficult it would be. I stayed at one of the few hostels in Wayanad that I could find on Hostelworld… only to get there and discover that it wasn’t really a hostel but accommodation for the people who volunteered around the area. I was the only person staying in my 10-bed dorm and the electricity went out several times a day. Not only could I not entertain myself with WiFi, I couldn’t even read my book or talk to anyone. For an extroverted person like me, this almost drove me insane.
If you’re the sort of person who enjoys the tranquility of being off the grid with just yourself for company, I’m sure you’d love Wayanad. If you own a head torch and a paperback book, you definitely won’t find yourself getting bored. I had just spent time in Mysore, a city that I loved, and had stayed in a great hostel where I met loads of people. Wayanad was just too much of a contrast for me.
How to Enjoy Wayanad
Really, if you feel like Wayanad is somewhere that you really want to visit, I’d say that your best bet would be doing a tour or staying in more upmarket accommodation. Wayanad is beautiful in its own right. But, for solo travellers on a budget, it’s really not the ideal destination.
People often have a romanticised notion about going off the beaten path. However, in my experience, rather than finding fragments of my soul in my lonely room, I found myself slowly reaching insanity. As a solo traveller travelling on a budget, there are much more suitable destinations around Kerala. Although I didn’t visit myself, I heard lots of good things about Munnar and Periyar so I’d urge you to consider your options. India is India, and even if you are in a “touristy place”, chances are (with the exception of Goa) that it’s not going to be too spoiled and Westernised.
Although I didn’t visit myself, I heard lots of good things about Munnar and Periyar so I’d urge you to consider your options. India is India, and even if you are in a “touristy place”, chances are that it’s not going to be too spoiled and Westernised.
Wayanad would be an awesome place to visit with a partner, a group of friends, or if you had a bit more disposable income. However, for solo budget travellers, the expectation you have in your head could be a bit far-fetched.
Have you ever been to a destination that you just couldn’t fall in love with? Leave me a comment and let me know!