Best things to do in Kerala

Kerala, a state on India’s tropical Malabar Coast, is known for its lush greenery, beautiful beaches, and backwaters. Here are some of the best things to do in Kerala:

  • Explore the backwaters: Kerala’s backwaters are a network of lagoons, canals, and rivers that are perfect for exploring by boat. Take a traditional houseboat cruise, or rent a smaller boat and explore the waterways at your own pace.

    Kerala backwaters
  • Visit Munnar: Munnar is a hill station in the Western Ghats mountains, known for its rolling hills, tea plantations, and stunning views. Go for hikes, visit a tea factory, or just relax and enjoy the cool mountain air.

    Munnar hill station
  • Relax on the beaches: Kerala has some of the most beautiful beaches in India. Kovalam is a popular beach resort with a variety of restaurants, shops, and activities. Varkala is a more laid-back beach with a clifftop promenade. Alappuzha is known for its beach and its backwaters.

    Alappuzha beach

  • Go on a wildlife safari: Kerala is home to a variety of wildlife, including elephants, tigers, and monkeys. Periyar National Park is a great place to go on a safari.

    Periyar National Park
  • Experience Kathakali: Kathakali is a traditional dance form of Kerala that tells stories through elaborate costumes and makeup. See a performance at a local theater or take a Kathakali class.

  • Visit a spice plantation: Kerala is known for its spices, such as cardamom, black pepper, and cinnamon. Visit a spice plantation to learn about how they are grown and processed.

  • Try the local cuisine: Kerala’s cuisine is a mix of Malabar and Hindu influences. Sample some of the local dishes, such as appam (rice pancakes), idiyappam (string hoppers), and sadya (a vegetarian feast).

  • Take a yoga class: Kerala is a great place to learn yoga or practice your existing yoga skills. There are many yoga studios and retreats in the state.

  • Shop for souvenirs: Kerala is a great place to shop for souvenirs, such as spices, textiles, and handicrafts.

  • Relax and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere: Kerala is a place to relax and unwind. Enjoy the slow pace of life, the friendly people, and the beautiful scenery.

Here are some additional things to do in Kerala:

  • Visit Alappuzha: Alappuzha, also known as Alleppey, is a town on the coast of Kerala. It is known for its backwaters, which are a network of lagoons, canals, and rivers. You can take a houseboat cruise through the backwaters, or rent a smaller boat and explore the waterways at your own pace.

    Alappuzha town
  • See the sunset at Kovalam: Kovalam is a beach resort town on the coast of Kerala. It is known for its beautiful beaches, and is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. The sunsets at Kovalam are also spectacular.

    Kovalam beach town
  • Go for a walk on Varkala Beach: Varkala Beach is a clifftop beach in Kerala. It is known for its black sand and its stunning views of the Arabian Sea. You can go for a walk on the beach, or relax and enjoy the view.

    Varkala Beach
  • Visit Bekal Fort: Bekal Fort is a 17th-century fort in Kerala. It is located on a hilltop overlooking the Arabian Sea, and is one of the largest forts in India. You can explore the fort, or take in the views of the surrounding area.

    Bekal Fort
  • Go birdwatching: Kerala is home to a variety of birds, including the Malabar hornbill, the great hornbill, and the Indian grey hornbill. You can go birdwatching in the Western Ghats mountains, or in the backwaters.

    Indian grey hornbill

Take a cooking class: Kerala’s cuisine is a mix of Malabar and Hindu influences. Learn how to make some of the local dishes, such as appam (rice pancakes), idiyappam (string hoppers), and sadya (a vegetarian feast).

sadya vegetarian feast

  • Visit a traditional village: Kerala is home to a number of traditional villages, where you can experience the local way of life. Visit a village to see how people live, work, and play.
traditional village in Kerala
  • Go for a spa treatment: Kerala is known for its Ayurvedic spas, which offer a variety of traditional treatments. Enjoy a relaxing massage, or try one of the many other Ayurvedic treatments.

  • Take a boat ride on the Periyar River: The Periyar River is a major river in Kerala. Take a boat ride on the river to see the wildlife, or to visit one of the many islands.

    Periyar River
  • Visit the Athirapally Waterfalls: The Athirapally Waterfalls are the largest waterfalls in Kerala. They are located in the Western Ghats mountains, and are a popular spot for swimming and picnicking.

    Athirapally Waterfalls
  • Go for a hike in Munnar: Munnar is a hill station in the Western Ghats mountains. It is known for its rolling hills, tea plantations, and stunning views. Go for a hike to enjoy the scenery.

  • Visit the Eravikulam National Park: Eravikulam National Park is a national park in Kerala. It is home to the Nilgiri tahr, a mountain goat that is found only in the Western Ghats mountains.

    Eravikulam National Park
  • See the sunrise at Munnar: The sunrise at Munnar is spectacular. You can watch the sun rise over the rolling hills and tea plantations from one of the many viewpoints.

Here are some more things to do in Kerala:

  1. Visit the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple: The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is located in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala. The temple is known for its intricate architecture and its vast treasure trove of gold and jewels.

    Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple
  2. Explore the Fort Kochi area: Fort Kochi is a historic area of Kochi, located on a peninsula jutting out into the Arabian Sea. It was once a Portuguese colony, and is now a popular tourist destination. The area is home to a number of heritage buildings, churches, and art galleries.

    Fort Kochi area
  3. Take a boat trip on the Vembanad Lake: Vembanad Lake is the largest lake in Kerala. It is a popular spot for boat trips, and is home to a variety of birdlife.

    Vembanad Lake
  4. Visit the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary: Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is a bird sanctuary located on the banks of Vembanad Lake. It is home to a variety of birds, including migratory birds from Siberia and Europe.

    Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
  5. Go for a walk in the Anamudi Shola National Park: Anamudi Shola National Park is a national park located in the Western Ghats mountains. It is home to a variety of plants and animals, including the Nilgiri tahr and the Indian elephant.

    Anamudi Shola National Park
  6. Visit the Kovalam Beach: Kovalam Beach is a popular beach resort town on the coast of Kerala. It is known for its beautiful beaches, and is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing.

    Kovalam Beach
  7. Go for a drive on the Kollam Beach Road: Kollam Beach Road is a scenic drive along the coast of Kerala. It is a popular spot for watching the sunset, and is home to a number of restaurants and shops.

    Kollam Beach Road
  8. Visit the Alappuzha Lighthouse: Alappuzha Lighthouse is a lighthouse located on the coast of Alappuzha. It is one of the oldest lighthouses in Kerala, and offers stunning views of the Arabian Sea.

    Alappuzha Lighthouse
  9. Go for a boat ride on the Ashtamudi Backwaters: Ashtamudi Backwaters is a network of lagoons, canals, and rivers in Kerala. It is a popular spot for boat trips, and is home to a variety of birdlife.

    Ashtamudi Backwaters
  10. Visit the Bekal Fort: Bekal Fort is a 17th-century fort located on a hilltop overlooking the Arabian Sea. It is one of the largest forts in India, and is a popular tourist destination.

    Bekal Fort

Here are some tips for planning your trip to Kerala

Best time to visit: Kerala has a tropical monsoon climate, with distinct wet and dry seasons. The best time to visit is during the dry season, which runs from October to March. However, Kerala is also a beautiful place to visit during the monsoon season, when the landscapes are lush and green.

Kerala during monsoon season

Getting there: Kerala has three international airports: Trivandrum International Airport (TVAL), Cochin International Airport (COK), and Calicut International Airport (CCJ). There are also several domestic airports in the state.

Transportation: Kerala has a good network of roads, railways, and waterways. You can easily get around the state by bus, train, or boat.

Accommodation: Kerala has a wide variety of accommodation options to suit all budgets, from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxury resorts.

budgetfriendly guesthouses in Kerala

Visas: Most foreign nationals need to obtain a visa to visit India. You can apply for an e-visa online before you travel.

Currency: The official currency of India is the Indian rupee (INR). You can exchange foreign currency at banks and currency exchange bureaus.

Language: The official language of Kerala is Malayalam. However, English is widely spoken in the state.

Culture: Kerala has a rich and vibrant culture. Be respectful of local customs and traditions.

Safety: Kerala is a relatively safe state. However, it is always a good idea to take precautions against petty theft.

Packing: Pack for hot and humid weather. Bring light clothing, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. You may also want to pack a raincoat or umbrella, especially if you are traveling during the monsoon season.

Health: Be sure to drink plenty of water and avoid eating unwashed fruits and vegetables. You may also want to consider getting vaccinated against hepatitis A and typhoid fever before you travel.

Communication: SIM cards for local mobile networks are readily available and affordable.

Respectful Travel: Be mindful of local customs and traditions, dress appropriately when visiting temples and other religious sites, and bargain respectfully when shopping.

Responsible Tourism: Choose eco-friendly accommodations and activities, support local businesses, and dispose of waste responsibly.

Emergency Numbers:

  • Police: 100
  • Ambulance: 108
  • Fire: 101

Why you should visit Kerala

You should visit Kerala because it is a beautiful and diverse state with something to offer everyone. Here are some of the reasons why you should visit Kerala:

  • The backwaters: Kerala is known for its serene backwaters, which are a network of lagoons, canals, and rivers. You can take a boat trip through the backwaters to see the lush greenery and wildlife, or simply relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

    Kerala backwaters
  • The beaches: Kerala has some of the most beautiful beaches in India. Kovalam is a popular beach resort town with a variety of restaurants, shops, and activities. Varkala is a more laid-back beach with a clifftop promenade. Alappuzha is known for its beach and its backwaters.

    Alappuzha beach
  • The hill stations: Kerala is home to several hill stations, which are located in the Western Ghats mountains. Munnar is a popular hill station known for its rolling hills, tea plantations, and stunning views. Wayanad is another popular hill station known for its waterfalls, forests, and wildlife.

    Wayanad hill station
  • The wildlife: Kerala is home to a variety of wildlife, including elephants, tigers, monkeys, and birds. You can go on a wildlife safari in one of the state’s many national parks or sanctuaries.

    Periyar National Park
  • The culture: Kerala has a rich and vibrant culture. You can visit temples, palaces, and museums to learn about the state’s history and traditions. You can also enjoy traditional dance performances, music festivals, and other cultural events.

    Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple
  • The food: Kerala is known for its delicious food. You can try traditional dishes such as appam (rice pancakes), idiyappam (string hoppers), and sadya (a vegetarian feast).

    sadya vegetarian feast
  • The people: The people of Kerala are known for their hospitality and friendliness. You will be sure to receive a warm welcome when you visit Kerala.

Kerala is a truly amazing place with something to offer everyone. I highly recommend that you visit Kerala and experience its beauty for yourself.

Must-see sights in Kerala

Here are some of the must-see sights in Kerala:

  • Alappuzha Backwaters: Alappuzha, also known as Alleppey, is a town on the coast of Kerala. It is known for its backwaters, which are a network of lagoons, canals, and rivers. You can take a houseboat cruise through the backwaters, or rent a smaller boat and explore the waterways at your own pace.

    Alappuzha Backwaters, Kerala
  • Munnar Hill Station: Munnar is a hill station in the Western Ghats mountains, known for its rolling hills, tea plantations, and stunning views. Go for hikes, visit a tea factory, or just relax and enjoy the cool mountain air.

    Munnar Hill Station, Kerala
  • Kovalam Beach: Kovalam is a beach resort town on the coast of Kerala. It is known for its beautiful beaches, and is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. The sunsets at Kovalam are also spectacular.

    Kovalam Beach, Kerala
  • Varkala Beach: Varkala Beach is a clifftop beach in Kerala. It is known for its black sand and its stunning views of the Arabian Sea. You can go for a walk on the beach, or relax and enjoy the view.

    Varkala Beach, Kerala
  • Bekal Fort: Bekal Fort is a 17th-century fort in Kerala. It is located on a hilltop overlooking the Arabian Sea, and is one of the largest forts in India. You can explore the fort, or take in the views of the surrounding area.

    Bekal Fort, Kerala
  • Periyar National Park: Periyar National Park is a national park in Kerala. It is home to a variety of wildlife, including elephants, tigers, and monkeys. You can go on a wildlife safari in the park.

    Periyar National Park, Kerala
  • Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary: Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is a bird sanctuary located on the banks of Vembanad Lake. It is home to a variety of birds, including migratory birds from Siberia and Europe.

    Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Kerala
  • Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple: The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is located in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala. The temple is known for its intricate architecture and its vast treasure trove of gold and jewels.

    Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Kerala
  • Fort Kochi: Fort Kochi is a historic area of Kochi, located on a peninsula jutting out into the Arabian Sea. It was once a Portuguese colony, and is now a popular tourist destination. The area is home to a number of heritage buildings, churches, and art galleries.

    Fort Kochi, Kerala
  • Vembanad Lake: Vembanad Lake is the largest lake in Kerala. It is a popular spot for boat trips, and is home to a variety of birdlife.

    Vembanad Lake, Kerala

These are just a few of the many must-see sights in Kerala. With its stunning scenery, rich culture, and warm hospitality, Kerala is a truly unforgettable destination.

Best time to visit Kerala

The best time to visit Kerala depends on your preferences for weather and activities. Here’s a breakdown of the different seasons and what they offer:

October to March (Winter Season): This is the peak tourist season in Kerala, as the weather is pleasant and sunny with minimal humidity. It’s an ideal time to explore the backwaters, hill stations, and beaches. However, expect higher prices and larger crowds during this period.

April to May (Summer Season): The summer months in Kerala can be quite hot and humid, especially in the coastal areas. However, the hill stations like Munnar and Wayanad provide a welcome respite from the heat. It’s also a good time to visit if you’re interested in Ayurvedic treatments, as the cooler temperatures are considered more conducive to these therapies.

June to September (Monsoon Season): The monsoon season brings heavy rainfall to Kerala, transforming the landscape into a lush and verdant paradise. While some outdoor activities may be limited, the backwaters are particularly beautiful during this time, as the waterfalls are in full flow. It’s also a less crowded and more affordable time to visit.

Here’s a summary of the best times to visit Kerala based on specific interests:

Backwaters: October to March or June to September

Hill Stations: October to March or April to May

Beaches: October to March

Ayurvedic Treatments: October to March or April to May

Wildlife Safari: October to March

Cultural Events: Throughout the year, but especially during festivals like Onam and Thrissur Pooram

Overall, the best time to visit Kerala is from October to March when the weather is pleasant and sunny, but you can also have a great experience during other seasons depending on your preferences.

Cost of a trip to Kerala

The cost of a trip to Kerala can vary depending on a number of factors, including the time of year you travel, the type of accommodations you prefer, and your travel itinerary. However, as a general guideline, you can expect to spend between INR 3,000 to INR 10,000 per day per person, excluding airfare.

Accommodation:

  • Budget guesthouses and homestays: INR 500-1000 per night

  • Mid-range hotels: INR 2,000-4,000 per night

  • Luxury hotels and resorts: INR 6,000+ per night

Transportation:

  • Local buses and trains: INR 100-200 per journey

  • Auto-rickshaws: INR 50-100 per journey

  • Taxis: INR 300-500 per journey

  • Private car rentals: INR 2,000-4,000 per day

Food:

  • Street food: INR 50-100 per meal

  • Budget restaurants: INR 200-500 per meal

  • Mid-range restaurants: INR 500-1,000 per meal

  • Fine dining restaurants: INR 1,000+ per meal

Activities:

  • Backwater cruises: INR 1,000-2,000 per person

  • Hill station sightseeing: INR 500-1,000 per person

  • Wildlife safaris: INR 2,000-3,000 per person

  • Ayurvedic treatments: INR 1,000-2,000 per session

  • Cultural performances: INR 200-500 per person

Other expenses:

  • Souvenirs: INR 100-500 per item

  • SIM card for local mobile network: INR 500-1,000

  • Tips: INR 50-100 per day

Here’s a sample itinerary for a 7-day trip to Kerala, along with estimated costs:

Day 1: Arrive in Kochi and check into your hotel (INR 2,000)

Day 2: Explore Fort Kochi, including the Santa Cruz Basilica and the Mattancherry Palace (INR 500)

Day 3: Take a backwater cruise from Alappuzha (INR 1,000)

Day 4: Visit the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary (INR 200)

Day 5: Drive to Munnar, stopping at the Attukal waterfall (INR 500)

Day 6: Hike in Munnar and visit a tea plantation (INR 500)

Day 7: Drive back to Kochi and depart for your home city (INR 1,000)

Total estimated cost: INR 7,200 (excluding airfare)

Remember, these are just estimates, and your actual expenses may vary.

Family Friendly

Kerala is a wonderful destination for families, offering a range of activities and attractions that appeal to all ages. From serene backwater cruises to exhilarating hill station hikes, Kerala provides something for everyone to enjoy. Here are some of the reasons why Kerala is an ideal family-friendly destination:

  1. Diverse Landscapes: Kerala’s diverse landscapes, including backwaters, beaches, hill stations, and forests, offer ample opportunities for outdoor exploration and family bonding. Kids will love splashing around in the backwaters, building sandcastles on the beaches, and trekking through the lush greenery of the hill stations.

  2. Cultural Immersion: Kerala’s rich cultural heritage is evident in its numerous temples, palaces, and traditional art forms. Families can visit these sites to learn about the state’s history and traditions, exposing children to the beauty of Indian culture.

  3. Wildlife Encounters: Kerala is home to a variety of wildlife, including elephants, tigers, monkeys, and birds. Families can embark on wildlife safaris to spot these animals in their natural habitat, providing an unforgettable educational experience for kids.

  4. Ayurvedic Wellness: Kerala is renowned for its Ayurvedic treatments, which promote holistic well-being. Families can indulge in rejuvenating spa treatments, introducing children to the benefits of natural wellness practices.

  5. Family-Friendly Accommodations: Kerala offers a wide range of family-friendly accommodations, from budget-friendly homestays to luxury resorts. Many hotels and resorts cater to families with children, providing amenities such as kids’ clubs, play areas, and babysitting services.

  6. Delicious Cuisine: Kerala’s cuisine is known for its flavorful dishes, using fresh local ingredients and spices. Families can enjoy trying a variety of traditional vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, introducing kids to the diverse flavors of Indian cuisine.

  7. Warm Hospitality: The people of Kerala are known for their warm hospitality and friendliness. Families will find themselves welcomed and embraced by the local communities, making their trip even more enjoyable.

  8. Safe Environment: Kerala is generally considered a safe destination for families. The crime rate is relatively low, and the locals are generally friendly and helpful to tourists.

  9. Affordable Travel: Kerala offers a range of affordable travel options, from budget-friendly transportation to reasonably priced accommodations and activities. Families can plan a memorable trip to Kerala without breaking the bank.

  10. Educational Experiences: Kerala provides numerous opportunities for kids to learn about the state’s history, culture, and natural environment. From visiting historical sites to participating in traditional activities, kids will gain valuable knowledge and create lasting memories.

Overall, Kerala is an excellent destination for families seeking a diverse, culturally enriching, and affordable vacation. With its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and family-friendly atmosphere, Kerala is sure to create unforgettable memories for families of all sizes.

Kerala is a beautiful and diverse state in India with something to offer everyone. From its lush backwaters to its stunning hill stations, Kerala is a place that will truly take your breath away. With its rich culture, warm hospitality, and delicious food, Kerala is a destination that you will never forget.

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