Zelie Dale-Harris review 10 Feb 2023
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
All wonderful, staying in a treehouse in Tranquil lodge, Wayunad was a definite highlight. Also the safaris that we did in Kabini. Old Harbour in Kochi was very well placed, comfotable with very nice staff and a lovely garden restaurant and good swimming pool. Makunudu island in the Maldives was wonderful. Very peaceful, beautiful rooms, good snorkelling from the beach and very pleasant staff. Also very few biting bugs which is a big plus!
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
When in Evolve back, maybe do two boat safaris and one jeep as apposed to the other way round, we saw a tiger in the jeep but other guests saw them from the boat and itís a much more peaceful way to look at your surroundings. Also unless you are a huge eater maybe do half board. Evolve Back is very large and slightly impersonal compared to the small very personal places we stayed at the rest of the time. Also at Makunudu do not do all inclusive for alcohol unless you are a big drinker. We had three nights on the houseboat but two nights would be enough, especially, like us, the last night it spent back at the companies base which is definitely not peaceful.
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
The hotels certainly employ a lot of people in the restaurants, gardens and room cleaning so thatís got to be a positive so long as they get paid decently.
There was a lot of food wastage especially at Evolve Back and the Maldives. Except for the house boat and the Maldives they were plastic free water using filtered.
I imagine that the wild life reservation in Kabini is supported by tourism so thatís a plus. From the outside it seems that that Makunudu was the place that used a great deal of outside resources, diesel generators, masses of plastic bottles, juice cartons etc.
PhillipKuttys Farm is a banana and coconut farm and they have a few house cows. A great deal of a what we ate (and the food was wonderful) was produced there, coconut oil, coconut cream and milk. Milk, butter, ghee and Yogurt as well as home grown vegetables and local fish.
The houseboat must be a negative on local environment. So much diesel to run the boats and where does all the sewage go? There didnít appear to be a way of removing it from holding tanks at their base?
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
Pretty fantastic, it ran very smoothly with all our travel arrangements made for us, our drivers were all delighted and knowledgeable and took good care of us. All the hotels were great but the houseboat was dirty and generally tired. The heets were stained and threadbare. The food was good.
Read the operator's response here:
Hi Zelie & Andrew,
Thank you for your valuable feedback, and we are so glad you enjoyed your trip to India and the Maldives - it was a pleasure to have you travel with us. Just to respond to a couple of environmental points you had raised: Evolve Back hotels monitor their food waste daily and in Kabini the average daily food waste per person is between 300 to 350 grams. Part of this waste is processed in their biogas plant and converted into gas for cooking, and food waste that cannot be processed in the plant is sent to a local piggery for consumption by the pigs. Houseboats on the Kerala backwaters are not static like those in Kashmir and are propelled by diesel engines - they are allowed to operate after regular checks for leakage & pollution by the Pollution Control authority. The government & tourism department jointly trying to implement solar powered engines. Toilets in the houseboats are bio toilets and the waste collected is
removed in the collection center in Alleppey, so as not to add to water pollution.
Thanks again for your feedback and hope to catch up with you again in the future.
With best wishes,