Petra | Jordan. A rose-red city half as old as time
San Vicente | Palawan. Counting solitary strides.
Taj Mahal | India. A teardrop on the cheek of time
Catanduanes Island. Postcard-pretty slideshow.
Keep Kalm (at Kalanggaman Island | Leyte).
Nikko | Japan. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil in this UNESCO heritage town.
Counting temples in Bagan | Myanmar.
Chasing UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka.
Where to Stay? | Luxury, Backpacking & Glamping
Inaul Festival | Maguindanao. In homage of a weaving tradition
Rishikesh | India. a morning walk inside the Beatle's Ashram
Cairo | Egypt. a surreal moment at the great pyramids of giza

Embracing Nature at Vythiri Resort | Kerala, India

 

It took a labor strike of some sort to give us a rare downtime during the Kerala Blog Express 2. During our 2-week exploration of the state of Kerala, we traveled from one city to another after a day or two. After ten days, we kind of felt a little travel fatigued—despite enjoying every second of it—and would welcome any pause from our itinerary. Good thing, it happened in a place where we’re billeted in a resort tucked within the lush forest of Vythiri Resort in the town of Wayanad.



Instead of the supposed to be an overnight stay, we ended up staying for three nights thus giving us one whole day of sheer relaxation. It was an opportunity that I took advantage to explore the resort’s property and ventured outside on a bicycle for some bird-watching experience.


Night Party in the Forest


The resort hosted a party for us during our first night over a bonfire, a feast of Southern Indian cuisine and a dazzling show of cultural dances. It was the first time we were offered alcoholic drinks during our trip as people in Kerala are not much fond of drinking.



The next couple of days was spent on relaxing at the resort’s various charming spots. Despite the cozy-ness of my spacious villa, I took time to walk around the resort as everything seems to be an extension of the great outdoors of Vythiri’s tropical forest teeming with bounteous nature.


I also befriended a few of the staff namely the gregarious Janesh who is probably the most popular staff in the resort. Standing not over 4 feet tall, Janesh is someone who can instantly become your friend because of his jovial personality. Another manager named Sathya would always greet me with the Tagalog word of greeting “Kamusta” every time he would see me. He told me he learned it from Filipinos he worked with when he spent the early part of his career in the Middle East.


Bird-Spotting


One of Vythiri Resort’s nature expert staff named Bijesh accompanied me on a biking tour outside the property. Along the way, we pedaled past stretches of tea, coffee and spice plantation before we stopped to observe the bird noises emanating from the towering trees.



Each time, Bijesh would go on a deep concentration mode as if tracing the source of the sounds with his mind. Surveying the treetops, he would silently motion me to look at a certain direction. “Look at the tip of the tree, you see that yellow one” he would tell me.



After taking me a while getting used to spotting small birds atop branches of trees—as if my eyes suddenly adjusting to noticing even the tiniest of movements—I started seeing an array of birds of different species. Bijesh would one by one tell me “That one is a Scarlet Minivet, that one is a Flameback” and so on.



All in all, he recited the various types of birds we saw and as I wrote it on my notepad one by one: full black drongo, gray malabar hornbill, yellow brown bullbull, plain flower picker, gray wagtail, chestnut headed bee-eater, malabar whistling thrush, white throated kingfisher, malabar parakeet (rare), oriental magpie robin, hill maina, crimson backed sunbird (smallest bird of kerala), cattle egret, white cheeked barbet. Apart from birds, we also saw a small group of Black monkeys (nilgiri langur) to go along with a giant squirrel.



According to him we got lucky spotting the two rare bird species of gray malabar hornbill and the malabar parakeet as bird watchers often spend days just to spot these two species. My only regret was not having a telephoto lens to capture the birds we saw on photographs.


A Jungle Escape


Billed as "an exquisite jungle getaway', Vythiri Resort lives up to it at every aspect of its character. Located right in the smack of an enormous canopy of lush tropical rainforest, the whole property appears like a hidden habitat of all living beings; humans, birds, reptiles, blossoming plants, amphibians and countless creatures alike.



During the morning the surrounding is enveloped by a thick fog and this is when I would time my walk from my villa to the breakfast place trudging slowly over a hanging bridge that stretches across a streaming river.



The types of rooms are aplenty as well. Aside from the villa-type where I stayed, they also have a bunch of spacious tree houses and a grand 2-story Honeymoon Villa highlighted by a glass floor that see through a private pool on the ground floor.



As the strike ended and business came back to normal in Wayanad, we set out to continue the last phase of Kerala Blog Express 2. As we set to depart the resort, I thanked the travel Gods for giving me an opportunity to recharge in such magical place teeming with wonderful living things of the forest.