As many of you know, I have spent the last 5 weeks in the lovely town of Kumily.
Nestled among gorgeous hills, this small town is the perfect getaway. Below are my recommendations on where to stay, what to eat, what to do, and what to avoid. None of this is sponsored or containing affiliate links, everything is my personal opinion. These are mostly in geographical order while walking down the main road. All prices given are in USD. All links are to previous blog posts or videos relevant to that particular point. Some pictures are taken by me, some are from Google or Trip Advisor.
Where to Stay
I personally stayed at Hornbill Homestays. There are two properties available – one a beautiful modern home which is rented by the room, and the second is on the top floor of his family’s home which includes a kitchen. Both of these have been featured on my YouTube channel, click the links for tours as well as price and booking links. The owner, Jamal, is a policeman and also his English is quite good so you’re sure to be in good hands. Additionally, it’s only about a ten minute walk to the city center / bus station. You can see the walk HERE. The $4 room is not available online, but feel free to shoot me an email at SamanthaJoGoes@gmail.com and I can give you his contact details.
Where to Eat (and where not to eat)
I went to many restaurants over the last month, but these are the memorable ones.
Ebony’s Cafe is super close to the house but terrible. The sign says there is Italian food so I got really excited one evening and went inside. Waited an hour for poorly cooked food that ended up costing like $4.. no.
Kuttanadu Restaurant is adjacent to the bus station and very cheap. They have french fries (called finger chips) and I’ve never been unsatisfied by their food. The gobi manchurian is 😍 Average meal is only like $2.
There is one shop that sells fruit on the street corner just beside Kuttanadu, Periyarkadu, they have the BEST juice and only like 50c. Mango, watermelon, pineapple, and more. I’ve had them all and loved every single one.
Central Hotel Anandha Bhavan is extremely accessible as it is directly across from the bus station. A little more pricey, the average meal is about $3 but still tasty. And they have ice cream available!
Hotel Arafa is a little down the road, but worth it. The people who work there are so nice and when I didn’t go for a week after my kidney stone fiasco, they remembered me and asked where I’d been and if I was ok. The food is great and they have a wonderful selection of teas. The average meal is about $2. If you see the old man with a mustache holding the ‘HOTEL’ sign on the road, tell him I said hi. We’re besties.
A little more down the road is a Gujarati restaurant. Do not go there. Holy hell it was like $7 for subpar food that I had to wipe down before eating because it was so oily. Avoid it.
It seems like I didn’t venture from one road, but this is the one where everything is. Imagine Veterans Parkway in Bloomington and how everything is mostly residential after leaving it. It’s basically like that.
Kripa Karuna is a small shop hidden off the main road. Turn left when you see the giant board. Ice cream cones for 40c. Eat them. Eat them all.
Tropical Chocolate Factory has the best chocolate that you’ll ever eat in your life and it only costs $10 for an entire KILOGRAM. Dead serious. And they have a huge variety. Go forth and eat it all, you won’t regret it.
There are about 4 vada stands down this road and they’re all pretty much the same quality. Just go to the one with more people around it because it’ll probably be fresher due to the demand.
What to Do
Across the street from the vada is a performance center. See a traditional kathakali dance (video HERE) or a martial arts performance. They’re both about $3 for an hour show and well worth it.
Now nearing the end of the road, you’ll see a bunch of parked Jeeps. These are all for guided tours. They will cost about $20-30 for just a few hours ride. Rickshaw drivers can take you to most of the same places (not all because some of the terrains are too bumpy for them to handle safely) for only about $5. There’s a huge line of rickshaw drivers near the bus station, ask them about a tour and they’ll show you a brochure that you can point at which place looks best. I went to a couple which you can look at here and here.
There are several massage places but I didn’t go to any or inquire about the rates. It is available though.
If you want to go to see a movie, take the bus to nearby Kattappana. It’s about an hour and costs 50c. Movie tickets at Santhosh Theater are about $1.50. It will be in Malayalam and there won’t be subtitles, but it’s a fun experience.
Elephant riding ($5) and safaris ($10-20) are also available.
I wrote an entire blog post about visiting a Spice Plantation. It was a lot of fun and even has a shop after you finish the tour for buying locally sourced and processed organic items. Buy the aloe vera shampoo ($3). It will change your life.
Most of the shops have the same range of items. You can easily find pure pashmina shawls, pashmina/silk blend shawls, boho style clothes, traditional style clothes in adult sizes (as well as really cute baby sizes omg), earrings, bangles, bags, marble chess boards, elephants, gods… I could go on for ages, but you get the idea.
I hope this gives you some ideas for your trip 😊 If you have any questions or need advice on anything, feel free to contact me anytime. I think this is definitely one of my favorite places in all of India – perfect if your ideal holiday is a quiet, beautiful village.