After climber over enough mountains, I'm now planning to take a dip & see some corals. Current plan involves a week in Lakshadweep in mid/early November - seems to be a good time to visit, the sunshine shouldn't be too hot and the weather mild. I am planning a single week trip with the weekends to take the slack of the trip. December is actually when the circuit gets really really expensive - which puts this in a nice bracket.
The current budget is about 15-17k INR (which should basically take care of November's paycheck). Current plan is to take a helicopter one-way from Lakshadweep and the other way on the boat - as far as possible on the budget. Current plans involve taking the MV Tipu Sultan which plies between Cochin and the islands (3,400 INR). The helicopter ride is a lot more expensive and costs (7,400 INR).
The only airport in Lakshadweep is on the Agatti island, which is a pretty awesome coral formation. Here's how it looks from Google Earth at maximum magnification - the straight dark strip is the airport. But as far as I can understand, there is only room for one hotel on the island - the Agatti Island Beach Resort which looks to be more than slightly on the expensive side.
After the point-to-point travel, there's a maximum 6,000 INR to do the sightseeing + stay in the islands. So that obviously rules out the expensive hotels (2000+) for more than a single night.
Totally I have 5 islands to hit: Agatti, Kadmat, Bangaram, Minicoy and Kavaratti. Three of them come up in the standard "Coral Reef" tour package and now I've got to find out how to visit the other two (one of them is uninhabited wilderness).
So far the trip plan is not totally set in stone - I'm still debating the possibility of taking a tour package instead of planning out my own trip. Either way, I want that helicopter trip over to Agatti, if not from Cochin, then from somewhere else.
So, if anybody's interested in pooling along with me, please let me know. A group of 4 will be ideal to get at least a few discounts along the way (heh, did I mention that people speak Malayalam in Lakshadweep ?).
And if someone had any advice, that'd be even more than welcome. Leave a comment here, I'll be watching.--
A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.
-- Lao Tzu