It isn’t without reason that Kerala, India, is known as God’s Own Country. This green state in southwest India has beautiful beaches and stunning landscapes. But foremost, it’s the people that make your Kerala trip so special. The people have created a different kind of life than the rest of the country. A life that revolves around nature. In Kerala, every human act is a way of connecting with nature.
You will probably travel to Kerala because you’ve seen the most beautiful landscape pictures, and you will fall in love with the state because of its people. People that are hospitable, loving, and kind. People that live in the present and make you appreciate moments while they last.
While traveling, it’s important to feel at home, and in Kerala we certainly do. Yes, you certainly need to get used to those spicy curries (who doesn’t?) but it’s a region in India you MUST explore. There’s so much to do and discover in Kerala. We will give you our best tips for your Kerala trip in this short Kerala travel guide.
This article is written in partnership with Kerala Tourism.
Where is Kerala?
Kerala is a state on India’s coast. It’s located in the southwest of the country. The biggest city in Kerala is Kochi (Cochin) and the capital city is Trivandrum. Kochi is the main transport hub of the state and has an international airport. If you want to fly directly from abroad to Kerala, then you have to fly to Kochi.
Kerala Tourist Map
When you arrive in Kerala you will notice how different this state is compared to the rest of the country, especially to North India. You may feel like you have arrived in a totally different country. One with very chill vibes and its own cuisine (we absolutely love South Indian food). And it’s also a progressive state, in terms of gender equality, social welfare, and quality of life.
Kochi, also known as Cochin, is the commercial capital of Kerala. It is made of many small islands and is a great hub to explore the rest of Kerala from. But it’s also a pretty city to explore! The city still has influences of the Dutch, British and Portuguese colonists, which you see in the architecture.
The best places to visit in Kochi are the old port, Fort Kochi Beach, the Paradesi Synagogue, and the St. Francis Church. Head to Kochi port and Fort Kochi Beach during sunset to see traditional. Cantilevered Chinese fishing nets. It’s a beautiful sight!
Head to the Munnar Hills
When you travel to Kerala, you can’t miss the Munnar Hills. The Munnar Hills are among the best places to visit in Kerala. Especially if you are a tea lover like us. You can spend days explore this mountainous region. Hiking Phantom mountain for example and discovering the Munnar tea estate. The tea museum is a must-visit. Try different flavors of tea and bring some home!
The scenery at the Munnar Hills is beautiful green and there’s a blooming floral life. From Kochi, it’s about a 3.5 hours ride to get here. And as it’s 1500 meters (0.93 miles) above sea level you will notice the refreshingly cooler air right away. It’s a sometimes much needed temperature change from the humidity and heat in many parts of India.
Kerala has almost 600 kilometers (373 miles) of coastline. So it’s guaranteed you will stumble upon a few of them. And the beaches are beautiful. You have to add them to your Kerala itinerary! Dip in the Arabian Sea, relax on the beach or catch a wave.
Kovalam Beach is a perfect beach to go to for sunset. And Kovalam is also a great place to go surfing. Other beaches to explore in Kerala are Varakala Beach (perfect to relax), Bekal Beach (for its history and luxury), Marari Beach and Kannur (off the beaten track).
And while laying on the beach or catching the waves, don’t be surprised to see a local coming to you for a short chat. They are always interested in hearing about you! It’s the people that make Kerala so special.
Cruise on an Alleppey Houseboat
Cruising the Alleppey, also known as Alappuzha, backwaters is a must! People call it the “Venice of the East’ and we can see why. The colorful canal villages and interconnected waterways of rivers, canals, and lakes make for a beautiful sight. You simply hop on a Kerala boathouse, and enjoy the ride!
There are many houseboat locations and tours you can book. We recommend going on an Alleppey houseboat tour for a few days so you can really enjoy drifting along the waters.
The food in Kerala is so tasty! It’s unique, delicious, and different from other parts of India. If you are traveling in India for a longer time, you might have gotten used to the spiciness of the food (or well, can you ever get used to it?!). Be prepared, as the food in Kerala can get spicy too.
Kerala used to be an important colonial trading point. Therefore, the cuisine has influences from other places in the world, making the cuisine so unique. The cuisine includes many sweet and savory dishes. Plus very important for us, a wide variety of vegetarian dishes. Tip: if your stomach is upset easily, try to eat vegetarian as much as possible.
We can imagine if you only travel to Kerala for its food.
Traditional dishes you must try: erissery, idiyappam, parippu curry, kichadi, appam, ishtu (stew), puttu with kadala curry, nadan kozhi varuthathu. In short: try it all (especially lots of curries).
Human By Nature – Kerala Tourism
Like we said before, it’s the people that make Kerala so special. People with beautiful smiles full of kindness, who are wearing colorful traditional clothes, and making travelers feel at home. Kerala Tourism created a campaign called ‘Human By Nature’, as on ode to the people of Kerala and their real stories. If you aren’t sold yet to go to Kerala, make sure to watch the video. Get inspired for your Kerala trip and get to know the beautiful people of this state in India.
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