Have spent the last 3 weeks (there or there abouts, I completely lose track of time at the moment to be honest..) in Kerala (South West tip of India). Probably one of the best places I've been to so far.
Had a week in kovalam & Venkala (both beech type places) though not as nice beeches as Goa, still great places (though Kovalam was a bit touristy) before spending some time in the backwaters and then headed to my favourite place so far Kumily. Kumily's a little town up in the western ghats and was so picturesque. Stay in one of the best hotel rooms since arriving in India. The balcony was bigger than some of the rooms i have stayed in (and was cheap!) the views of the green fields and mountains from here was amazing. The temperature here was perfect for me as hot during the day (but with a nice mountain breeze) and cool in the evenings. Only downside to this place was the tiger national park i visited. Did not get to see any wildlife bar some wild boar. It's supposed to have tigers & elephants (though I do not believe they have any tigers!)
The people seem a lot better and friendlier down south, hardly any hassles that you get in other places! Some of the places in Kerala I've been to, i don't think they get many tourists so they just want to stop and have a chat. For some reason at the national park, a few of the India tourists were a bit amazed by me (not sure why, maybe the same way people wanted to photograph the elehant man!!) and I had my picture taken with about 10 different people and families!!!
One of the big highlights of Kerala was having a Royal Enfield Bullet motor bike for the day. If your not fimilar with this bike, it's a classic British bike (first models built in the early 1930's) and is now only built in India. Was something I really wanted to do, though could not justify the cost for the hire. Luckily an India guy offered to loan me his brand new bike for the day! So obvioulsy I took him up on the offer!!!
Finally gave in halfway through Kerala and booked in a semi-decent hotel, this was prompted following a night of being bitten my mozzies/ants/bedbugs in the grotty room I had, where I also got attacked by a BAT!!! Scared the s**t out of me! So after this I booked in to a decent room for a dectn nights kip! Is amazing how quickly you forget about luxuries like cleanliness, hot water, AC, windows etc. It blew a chunk of my budget, but for one night was worth it.
I'm currently in Kolkata (North East) been here for a few days. Though tonight head on the train up into Darjeeling, which I am really looking forward to visiting :-) Is going to be a bit chilly up in the mountains, though is a welcome break to the heat of the rest of India!
So I've pretty much traversed the length of India twice now, down the west coast and back up the east. God knows how many miles I've covered (sadly I will work it out when I have some more time), but I'm sure it's a lot! Most of it has been on trains and buses, though I did grab a flight up to Kolkata (as was a 40 odd hour train journey else!)
Have meet some weird and wonderful people on the travels!
Still not sure what my long term plans are, I imagine I'll spend a while up in Darjeeling and then head into Nepal. After India & Nepal I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. Thailand is still on the cards, though could do with a bit of a more normal civilisation after India!!
Hope everyone's good back home :-)