Kerala is a small Indian state on the Malabar coast. It’s almost hard to believe this narrow strip overlooking the Arabian Sea could be so diverse, and full of surprises. Exotic white beaches on one hand and jungle-like landscapes on the other make it a green paradise of India. Its most notable trademark is without any doubt the breathtaking nature. Lush green boasts in all possible shades, making a tropical feel blend with the tranquil serenity perfectly. Kerala is mystical yet irresistibly glorious. It’s magical and surprisingly different from the rest of the country.
Prepare to be wet though. It rains a lot in this area, but then again, this is exactly what makes its vegetation so rich and diverse. As a tourist or curious adventurist, you can discover mysterious backwaters, lay under the palm trees, explore around fields and plantations or historic sites, marvel at wildlife, and enjoy everything this safe South Indian state has to offer.
What to see and do in Kerala
Enjoy the nature
And some of its many wonders you can find in Kerala. For a close up meeting with India’s incredibly diverse and rich wildlife head over to Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, then let the mesmerizing beauty of Thonikadavu and Athirappilly Falls steal your heart. Climb to a Vagamon hill station and finish your nature exploring by taking a trip to Kerala Backwaters, and enjoy scenic views from the mandatory cruise on a houseboat.
Try the village life
Rural life is different from country to country, and then from area to area. However, to experience how village life feels and looks like in Kerala, spend some time in one of them or take a tour. This will give you a one of a kind insight into the everyday life of the villagers. Learn all about what they do, interact with locals – you can even stay with them for a few days! The experience is simple but really, maybe a bit rough sometimes, but always memorable.
Tea, coffee, and bananas
The state of Kerala is renowned for its tea. If you can’t make it through the day without your cup of tea, then a trip to one of the plantation is a must. Same goes to all the coffee and banana lovers. See for yourself how your favorite beverage or fruit is made, and enjoy the usually free samples in the end.
Row your boat and other traditions
Snake boat race is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Kerala. You can witness this exciting racing show from July to September, and have fun watching how teams unitedly and vigorously paddle around hoping to win. Another jaw-dropping attraction in Kerala is the mystical and captivating ritual dance, Theyyam. Performances take place in front of the village shrines, and it’s best to check online for dates.
History and Portuguese legacy
If you want to travel back in time and relive the old days, you should start in Fort Kochi. This city is bursting with history, and you can see its signs everywhere. From the charming colonial houses to religious sites, the city is a blast from the past.
You can choose from a wide variety of accommodations in Kerala, ranging from simple homestays to luxurious high-end resorts. A cost of homestay can be anywhere between 10-70 USD. Hotels and hostels cost around 15 USD. You will get a basic room for that price. If you’d like to enjoy a more comfortable stay, you’ll need to pay around 30-40 per night for a room. Lots of hotels also include pick-ups and drops in their offer.
Food and drinks
Eating in Kerala isn’t expensive. A simple meal doesn’t cost more than a dollar while two can indulge in a three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant for no more than 10 USD. If you fancy a fast food meal, you’ll need around 4 USD per meal. Water’s not safe to drink. Buy bottled water instead (it costs less than 50 cents). Soft drinks and caffeinated beverages are cheap as well. So is alcohol. A pint of the domestic beer costs roughly 1.50 USD. The food in Kerala is quite different from the rest of India, it is even spicier!
You can choose from all types of transportation in Kerala. Your best and safest bet to travel around the state are the trains. No matter how tempting it sounds to rent a car and be able to explore at your own liking and pace, bear in mind that roads are not in the best condition. Add to this heavy traffic, loose road regulations, and you’ll soon see why it’s better to hop on a train, a bus or travel by taxi. Buses are ideal for those working on a tighter budget. If you don’t have to worry about how much you spend, a helicopter ride or using another air-taxi service is a great option to enjoy spectacular bird views of Kerala’s magnificent landscape.