Kerala may appear as a tiny Indian state but it's a vast terrain from the tourism point of view. It is one of the pioneering states of the tourism industry in India. This southern Indian state has a unique combination of vibrant culture, beautiful terrains, and cuisine one of its kind. Keralite people are humble and cooperative and they are not new to hospitality. Additionally, from the shopping perspective, Kerala has a lot to offer, right from spices to clothes and seafood to exotic products like premium tea, herbal products, antiques & handicraft Items. Tranquil beaches to alluring hill stations and soothing backwaters, Kerala has it all to be called a world-class tourist destination. On top of that, you may confront many lifetime experiences while touring Kerala such as Ayurveda body massage at backwater resorts, cruising through the backwaters of Alleppey and Kumarkom, Elephant Safari & Jeep Safari at Munnar and Thekkady and just relaxing at world-class beaches of Kovalam. Kerala deserves to be on the top of your travel bucket list. Some insights shared below will certainly help you in planning your Kerala trip in the future.
While planning a trip to Kerala, you must understand the map for easy execution of your ideas. Otherwise, you may get disappointed by the last-minute surprises. The western & southern boundary of Kerala is protected by the Arabian sea and the Laccadive sea together. This coastline is also called as Malabar coast. Whereas, the eastern region hosts some of the most scenic highlands towering 500-2700 meters gifted by Indian western ghats. Total 44 rivers flow in Kerala. The combination of natural lagoons, manmade canals, lakes, and rivers, together form the world-famous Kerala backwaters in the central region of the state. Kerala shares land borders with the Indian state of Karnataka in the north and the Indian state of Tamil Nadu in the east. It also shares a close vicinity with the union territory of Lakshadweep Islands on its western side separated by the Laccadive sea.
As mentioned earlier, Kerala is not a new tourist destination. The Keralites are well aware of the benefits of tourism and the opportunities generated from it. As a result, they are very humble and cooperative towards tourists. You will hardly face any behavioral issues with your driver, local guides, and hotel staff during your stay in Kerala. Most of them understand English and almost all of them speak basic English which is enough to understand. The only unpleasant thing is, if you get spotted as a tourist, you may end up buying local products and activities at inflated rates and feel cheated later. But this does not apply only to a particular destination. This happens even in Paris and Rome. The only solution to this trouble is to negotiate a lot at all places. While booking activities, always check the rates printed by the concerned authorities.
The unique combination of the long coastline in the west and western ghats in the east makes Kerala a wet and maritime tropical climatic region. Coastal locations remain hot and humid whereas highlands like Munnar & Thekkady enjoy cooler temperatures and heavy rainfall throughout the year.
Surprisingly Kerala experiences two monsoon seasons, the first one between June to August and the second one between October to November. During the first monsoon, the state experiences heavy rainfall. The month of September is very hot and humid as it comes just after the monsoon season. The Second monsoon provides comparatively lesser rainfall. The local weather starts becoming pleasant and welcoming from October first or second week. The best time to visit Kerala is in winters which start from early December and last till February end. The summer season starts from early March and lasts till early June. During this season, the weather conditions remain hot and humid. During summer, the local temperature during the daytime may go up to 40 degrees celsius. Unless you are planning for a budget trip, you should avoid traveling to Kerala from March to September.
Kerala has its own rich food culture. Vegetarian food includes more proportion of rice and coconut which is healthy. Most of the Keralites prefer locally manufactured coconut oil for cooking which brings a unique taste to the delicacies. Kerala has a rich seafood culture as well. Ginger tea & Coffee are easily available everywhere. Tasting the local food remains the main agenda for many tourists traveling to Kerala. Unlike most of the other Indian states, serving beef is allowed in Kerala. So if you are a person who doesn't prefer eating food in a restaurant serving beef, always check the menu before ordering any food from the local restaurants. Overall, you do not face food-related issues when you are in Kerala. Just that, you may get frustrated by the extensive usage of coconut & rice in almost every dish. Nowadays, north Indian food (with some south Indian touch) is easily available at all mainstream tourist destinations. Pure vegetarian & Vegan restaurants are also easily available everywhere.
All category stay options are easily available throughout all the destinations in Kerala. Consider following suggestions before you book and pay for your accommodations.
While booking Munnar property, check its distance from old Munnar town. It should not be more than 15 Kms. Otherwise, you will end up wasting a lot of time in traveling itself on the local sightseeing day.
Don't save too much while booking a houseboat stay. Otherwise, you will face a lot of disappointment at the time of check-in. Houseboats are wooden constructions. They need heavy maintenance. Book houseboats through a verified source.
Don't expect houseboats to match hotel room interior standards. But the cruising experience you get by staying on the houseboats is a once in the lifetime moment.
While choosing your stay in Kovalam, Poovar, and Varkala, check their locations and distance from the beach first. Don't get influenced by catchy names like beach view, oceanview, Seaview, etc.
From affordable homestays to 5-star resorts, everything is available at all travel destinations in Kerala. Depending on your budget, you can choose one.
From the tourism point of view, we can divide Kerala into 3 parts. northern, central, and southern.
Northern Kerala hosts some of the most beautiful places like Banasura Sagar Dam, the largest earthen dam in India and the second largest in Asia near Waynad, Blue Flag certified (Awarded by Foundation for Environment Education in Denmark) Kappad beach near Calicut, The largest and the best-preserved fort in Kerala, Bekal Fort, Drive-in Beach near Kannur, Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary & Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and many more iconic tourist places. If you want to visit north Kerala in detail, you should plan for 6-7 days. You should plan at least 3 days in Waynad during your visit. You can club north Kerala with coastal Karnataka, Coorg, & Mysore. You can also plan your itinerary for north Kerala with Ooty in Tamil Nadu. You can also add Mahe, Pondicherry to your travel bucket list while planning a north Kerala tour. It is the smallest district in India and it is part of the Union Territory of
Pondicherry. Surrounded by Kannur district of north Kerala and sea coast to the west. It was a French colony until Pondicherry got its independence and merged in the Indian republic.
Central Kerala is a region surrounding Ernakulam and Idukki & Alappuzha districts. When you casually google Kerala tour packages or Kerala tour plans, most of the search results will include central Kerala tour itineraries. World-famous hill stations like Munnar and Thekkady, Celebrated backwaters of Alleppey & Kumarkom, Scenic Marari beach, Cherai beach, Dutch palace of Cochin, The famous Guruvayur temple, and glorious Athirappilly falls in Thrissur, all these scenic places compose Central Kerala. Munnar is famous for tea and spice plantations and dams. Thekkady is famous for the Periyar wildlife sanctuary. Alleppey and Kumarakom are also called Venice of the east because of the unique backwater experience. You can feel the world-class soothing experience of body massage in backwater resorts at Alleppey and Kumarakom. Guruvayur Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Millions of worshippers of Lord Krishna and Lord Vishnu pay visits to this temple every year. Athirapally waterfall is the largest waterfall in Kerala at 80 feet in height. It is surrounded by dense forest. To plan a central Kerala trip, you must have at least 5 to 7 days in hand. You should keep 3 days for Munnar. You should not miss taking one night stay on the houseboat at Alleppey. Thekaddy is not worth only 1 night or one day. It is a paradise for eco-tourism and jungle tourism lovers. If you want to add Thekaddy, you should add it for at least 3 days. Then only, you will be able to explore the beauty of the location. You can club the central Kerala tour with Kodaikanal and/or Ooty of Tamil Nadu or southern Kerala.
Southern Kerala is mostly famous for the world-class beaches like Varkala, Poovar, Kovalam. Varkala is the only location in Kerala where you will find cliffs adjacent to the Arabian Sea. At Poovar beach, you can witness a wonderful view of the formation of the backwaters. You can do backwater boating here and stay back in the best resorts in the area. Kovalam beach is a famous location known by all and almost everyone visiting south Kerala visits Kovalam beaches for sure. All these beaches come under the Trivandrum a.k.a Thiruvananthapuram which is also the capital of the state. To the slight north of Trivandrum, there are many scenic places to visit in the Kollam district as well including palm-shaped waterbody: Ashtamudi Lake, Jatayu Earth Center. If you desperately want to experience backwater cruising in a houseboat but don't want to add conventional backwater sites like Aleppey or Kumarkom in the itinerary, then you should go for Ashtamudi. There are a few celebrity five-star resorts near Kollam beach to stay. Jatayu Earth Center hosts the largest functional bird sculpture in the world with 200 feet long,150 feet wide, and 70 feet height. This park also has a museum, adventure sports, and a camping facility.
Southern Kerala also hosts Sabarimala temple dedicated to Lord Ayyapan situated in the dense forest of Periyar Tiger Reserve. It is visited by 40 to 50 million devotees every year.
One more must-visit place is Padmanabhaswa Swamy (Vishnu) Temple in Trivandrum city. Its main deity Lord Vishnu is found in the Anantha Shayana posture (reclined posture of eternal yoga) on Adishesha or king of all serpents. It is one of the richest temples in the world. You should keep 4 to 5 days while planning your trip to Southern Kerala. You can also club central Kerala &/or Kanyakumari & Rameshwaram of Tamil Nadu with a southern Kerala tour plan.
You can easily enter Kerala by Air, Road, or Railways.
By air: Kerala has a total of 4 international airports well connected with other airports within India and outside India.
Trivandrum International Airport
Cochin International Airport
Calicut International Airport
Kannur International Airport
You can also fly to Bangalore airport, Mangalore airport, or Madurai airport and enter Kerala by road.
By train: Ernakulam Junction and Trivandrum Junction are the two most important junctions in Kerala. In addition to that, Kozhikode, Alappuzha, and Kollam railway stations are also on the same railway route. You can disembark as per your travel itinerary.
By road: You can enter Kerala from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu without any hassle. There are many overnight buses connecting Cochin and Trivandrum with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Kerala has something to offer for every age group.
For younger ones, diverse wildlife and adventure activities like boating and jungle safari.
Kerala is a real paradise for honeymooners, a variety of resorts and landscapes make their travel a lifetime memory.
Senior citizens get flattered by visiting various sightseeing places and religious places mentioned above.
Also, there are no health-related restrictions while traveling to Kerala.
Light, loose, cotton, or linen clothes, Swimming costumes, Comfortable footwear for beachside stay
Woolens, scarf/muffler, caps, jackets for stays at hill stations
Traditional wears (Saree for women & the Lungi, locally known as Kaili or Kalli Mundu for men) for Temples visit
Medicines(Prescribed by doctors) like Avomin to avoid vomiting during traveling in the hilly areas
Other necessary travel essentials like power bank, adapter, etc.
Necessary ID proofs
Being a coastal state, Kerala is always under the constant threat of cyclonic storms and heavy landfalls after that. Check the weather conditions before your departure to Kerala
Strikes by the local worker unions and political parties are routine in Kerala. This may impact the local sightseeing schedule. Check if there are any such strike announcements before you start your tour and adjust your itinerary accordingly.
Almost all temples in south India have pre-decided darshan timings. Check those timings while planning your itinerary. Padmanabha Swamy temple remains closed in the afternoon.
Dress-code (Saree for women & the Lungi, locally known as Kaili or Kalli Mundu for men) is compulsory while entering Hindu temples in Kerala. Carry appropriate clothing with you in advance.
Most of the tourist attractions remain closed once a week. For instance, all the places in Cochin and Trivandrum remain closed on Monday. Cross-check before you finalize your itinerary.
Also, carefully check COVID-19 related guidelines announced by the state administration.
Spices, Banana Chips, and Cashew Nuts
High-quality tea and coffee
Shell Showpieces, Kathakali Masks, Jewelry, Nettipattam
Kasavu Mundu and Dresses
These suggestions are based on 200+ tours conducted by our team. Hopefully, this article will surely help you.
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