Kerala offers many adventure opportunities as well as relaxing vibes and breathtaking landscapes for travellers within a peaceful and charming environment.
The Kerala region quickly grew into becoming my favourite area to discover in the south of India.
Kerala offers a whole other side of India that I didn’t know existed, and I’m happy I took the time to explore this unique part of India.
An adventure awaits in Kerala for those wishing to seek it.
Last year I explored the north of India and travelled across Rajasthan by railway which was a whole other side of India.
Maybe you’re currently looking for something completely different on a second visit to India (just like I was)? Then Kerala in the south could just be the ticket for you.
I found Kerala to be less populated than the north which can become overwhelming rather quickly at times.
The food in Kerala is also completely different with fresh coconuts and locally sourced spices and seafood being placed at the top of the menu. All these items are not commonly found in the north.
Be sure not to miss out on the local favourite, banana chips, which I had the pleasure of enjoying a bag or two.
You will soon discover a tropical feel to the place as you explore the backwaters which are lined with palm trees and wildlife, waiting for you on every corner. It’s a magical experience which you have to try for yourself.
I’m happy to have spent the past two weeks discovering Kerala in collaboration with Kerala Tourism as part of the Kerala Blog Express 2019, and I hope you get to visit this unique region located in the south of India.
This is a useful travel guide to the Best places to visit in kerala, South India, which you can use to craft together your own trip. Enjoy the read!
Flying to Kerala is affordable and easy
The easiest way to reach Kerala, India is to fly into Cochin International Airport in Kochi. You will soon discover that many airlines fly to Kochi, such as British Airways, Air India, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways.
I flew to Kochi from London via a stopover in Doha with Qatar Airways to break up the flight and fit in a city break. I found the flight prices to be rather affordable in March/April and the weather sunny and perfect, away from the raining season of June.
Best to have a search on Skyscanner to find the best flight result for your journey.
Please note at this stage that UK passport holders must apply for an E-visa in advance before arriving in India.
Discover the capital of Kochi
Start off your trip to Kerala by spending a few days exploring the capital city of the Kerala region, Kochi.
The highlight from my visit to Kochi was going to see the Chinese fishing nets in use. It is a traditional and unique fishing technique which is still used in the Kochi area today.
Best to time your visit for evening so you can enjoy the fishing action as the sun heads down. Be sure to grab a boat back to your hotel to enjoy a sunset and the Chinese fishing nets from the waterways. What a wonderful experience.
Another recommendation is to explore the Jewish Street in Mattancherry which offers a unique insight into the Jewish quarter. Kerala is home to many religions, and this is why they call the region “God’s own country.” This also happens to be a great place to enjoy a spot of shopping.
Hotel recommendation: I stayed at the Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty, Kochi and it has to be the best hotel that I stayed at across the whole trip.
It was a perfect one night’s stay after a long flight and will set you in a good mood to explore Kochi.
Explore the backwaters of Alleppey
A trip to Kerala wouldn’t be complete without exploring the backwaters, and Alleppey is just the place to do it.
This river runs for thousands of miles and used to be a popular rice trading route until modern automobiles come along speeding up the operation.
Once the rice route was no longer needed along the waters and locals were left with over a thousand rice boats, the locals decided to transform the rice boats into accommodations for visitors to explore and enjoy the backwaters.
Now you can find many small companies offering this service.
You have two options, you can either do a day cruise around Alleppey or stay overnight on the boat and explore more of the waters.
This is a wonderful leisure experience and I opted to stay overnight, which includes lodging, crew and set meals all taken care of. I went with the local company called Rainbow Cruises.
Life goes on by the river and through the backwaters. Here you can see the local way of life in Kerala as locals use the commuter boats to get to and from work or school throughout the day. It’s a wonderfully relaxing journey through the palm trees and the calm waters, so just sit back, relax and enjoy the journey.
Be sure to checkout GetYourGuide to book your own Backwaters by Houseboat & Fort Kochi which departs from Cochin Port.
Adventure starts in Akkarakalam
Take your river cruise to Akkarakalam, and the adventure begins.
Through a local company called Kalypso Adventures, you can enjoy a spot of kayaking through the backwaters and then come cycling back through the palm trees. It’s a great way to explore the backwaters for the day by paddle and cycle.
Trekking at Suryanelli with Kalypso Camp
For those seeking adventure, be sure to check out and enjoy the Butterfly Forest Trek which is hosted by Kalypso Adventure.
Escape to nature and enjoy an overnight tent stay with an early morning trek and sunrise which overlooks a tea plantation. It’s a wonderful hike to experience the outdoors of Kerala.
Hotel recommendation: Kalypso Camp offers a unique tent village stay for those seeking alternative accommodation options and wanting to add a bit of adventure to the trip. Experience the night fire and BBQ, and sleep under the stars.
This is a great way to have a fun overnight experience in Kerala.
Thekkady cardamom and spice plantation
India is world famous for its exotic spices, and in Kerala, you can find a wide selection of fresh produce on offer.
Head to Thekkady cardamom and spice plantation to learn about all the different spices which are grown in India, such as the pepper which is exported around the world from this very spot.
This is a great spot to pick up fresh spices for affordable prices to take back home as gifts for loved ones.
Hotel recommendation: Thekkady Spice Village is a great spot to stay whilst visiting Thekkady cardamom and spice plantation.
Boating in Periyar Lake – safari in Periyar Tiger Reserve
Periyar Tiger Reserve is broken up into two areas, the north and the south. In the north, you can take a jeep safari into the reserve to see if you can spot any wildlife.
Normally you will spot some rare birds that are native to the area as well as other wildlife.
Tiger spotting is not so common during a day trip, but you can spend more time in the reserve to improve your chances if you’re after a tiger sighting.
In the south of Periyar Tiger Reserve, you will find Periyar Lake where you can take a boat safari trip out onto the water which is a wonderful spot for bird watching.
Munnar by Jeep & Tea Tour at Lockhart tea plantation
A personal highlight for me in Kerala was visiting the tea plantations. If you wish to do the same, then Munnar is the tea capital of Kerala.
Visit the Lockhart tea plantation and learn about the process of tea manufacturing. You can walk through the whole production, as the tea arrives from the tea fields to the factory where it is then processed for consumption.
I like to enjoy a cup of tea each day, and it was wonderful to learn how tea is produced from field to cup.
You can also take a jeep tour up to the tea fields which makes for a wonderful photo opportunity.
Perfect experience for the tea lover in your life. Don’t forget to buy some tea to take home and brew for yourself.
Hotel recommendation: KTDC Tea county is located within driving distance of the tea plantations and makes for a perfect base to discover Munnar.
Trek to Athirappilly waterfalls
Athirappilly waterfalls is a sight of outstanding natural beauty which should be experienced on a trip to Kerala.
Take a river walk along the stream to see Athirappilly waterfalls first hand and go for a refreshing dip to enjoy your visit.
A spectacular view can also be enjoyed from many viewpoints around the waterfall if you don’t fancy the hike and swim.
Hotel recommendation: Green Trees Athirappilly is a boutique hotel which offers a small selection of rooms but total peace and quiet with a relaxing pool to enjoy in the hot sun.
Muzhappilangad Beach – drive-in beach
Did you know that in Kerala they have the only drive-in beach in India?
Be sure to check this fun attraction out if you happen to have a rental car.
Muzhappilangad Beach is flat enough for cars to drive on, and even a large bus can manage the drive on this beach easily. Rather fun and wild to experience at the same time.
Something unique to experience in Kerala.
Get wild in Wayanad
Explore the Vythiri area and take a walk on the wild side through the jungles of Wayanad, where streams originate, wild life-breaths and birds sing.
For the hotel I would recommend CGH Earth Wayanad Wild resorts, which is an eco-resort located in the depths of the surrounding tropical rainforest.
This is an ideal setting to switch off and escape to nature. It’s possible to spot wild elephants roaming here.
Visit Jatayu Earth’s Center
New to Kerala is the Jatayu Earth’s Center which can be found in Kollam.
Here you can find a large statue of a bird. Grab the cable cart up to the top to see this attraction for yourself.
The large mythical bird statue is of a character Jatayu, which fell after its wings were clipped by Ravana in the epic Ramayana.
It’s the largest bird statue in the world and can be found on top of Jatayu Rock at the Jatayu Earth’s Center in Kerala.
Enjoy an overnight train journey in Kerala
A trip to India wouldn’t be complete without enjoying a ride on the popular local train network.
Kerala has a wonderful night train called the Maveli Express that travels along the coast.
Save on accommodation and sleep whilst you travel in one of the affordable sleeper cabins.
I would recommend going for the A/C option for a more comfortable journey. Enjoy your journey across Kerala using the Indian rail network.
Don’t forget to pick up some local food which is always on offer from local vendors at most of the stations. A fun experience to try in Kerala.
You can book your own train ticket online using 12GO asia:
Cruising in Valiyaparamba backwaters
Another area worth exploring the backwaters is cruising along the Valiyaparamba backwaters which is a great section to explore.
Here you could opt for the half day tour and enjoy lunch along the waters. From here you can also arrange a visit to Bekal Fort beach.
Relax in paradise at Kovalam beach area
Looking to end your trip with a beach escape? Look no further than Kovalam which offers a large selection of resorts and sandy beaches for you to explore. This is also a perfect spot to try some scuba diving if that is your thing.
I stayed at Turtle on the Beach Resort which offers a stunning view over the beach, a relaxing pool and a close walk to the lighthouse, making it a great place to stay during your time in Kovalam.
From here you have a number of options. You could either head back to Kochi and fly home or fly from the local airport Trivandrum International Airport which also has a few international flight options. It’s nice to end your trip to Kerala with some relaxing beach time before heading home.
Thank you for reading my travel guide to Kerala
Thank you for passing by and checking out my travel guide to exploring Kerala in the south of India.
I hope you found this blog post useful and you’re looking forward to discovering the region in the close future.
If you have any further questions about Kerala that you couldn’t find in this guide, please feel free to send me an email and I will be more than happy to help. Happy travels!