Known commonly as "God's Own Country", Kerala has many geographical and historial sites which have attracted visitors since ancient times and is a world apart from the North of India. Kerala has so much to offer: the ancient port of Fort Cochin with its bustling town; a backwater cruise by houseboat; spectacular beaches; fourteen wildlife sanctuaries; two tiger reserves; six national parks and the lush tea estates across Munnar. Life in Kerala is laidback and the people are friendly and welcoming. An interesting fact is that whilst India's literacy rate is at 74.04% - Kerala has achieved a literacy rate of 93.91%, the hightest among the Indian States.
When To Go
Overall, the best time to visit Kerala is during September to March, when the weather is pleasant for visiting the hill stations, tea plantations, beaches and backwaters.
How Many Days
Minimum 5 nights. If you want to enjoy all of the main attractions a seven nights stay is sufficient.
How To Get There
Fly to Cochin International Airport located on Willingdon Island.
Things To Do
Spend a day in Cochin. You can explore Fort Cochin by foot in an hour or so. The row of Chinese fishing nets at the harbour is probably the biggest draw for visitors. Visit Mattancherry where you can find an array of antiques, spices and carpet shops or visit the Mattancherry Palace and Kerala Folklore Museum. You will be able to see many small wooden temples, the Pardesi Synagogue, Santa Cru Basilica and Maritime Museum.
Move onwards to Munnar. Spend at least 2 days in Munnar. Enjoy the lush hill stations of Kerala and explore the various plantations, wildlife, flora and fauna, and tea estates that sprawl across Munnar. Enjoy an Indian Kathakali show and Indian Martial Arts – Kalari. Visit Erivakulum National Park. Filled with a number of Endangered Species, it’s a must visit place! In the evening see the Echo Point and Thommankthu Waterfalls.
If you enjoy fauna and flora and wildlife viewing, Thekaddy is basically the Wild Corridor of South with lush greenery all around. It is a few hours drive from Munnar and worth going. Take a guided jungle trek through Periyar National Park to spot elephants, wild boar, monkeys and (if you're lucky) tigers - the best time to spot these illusive creatures is in the dry season when they come down to the vast lake to drink.
The next destination is Kumarakom – known for its backwaters. Kumarakom Bird Sancturay dwell in the chirpiness of thousands of birds and glee at the different types of nests they have made. This place which is filled with lagoons, paddy fields and coconut trees also resounds the beauty of its backwaters. After visiting the bird sanctuary, take a backwater ride along the river Vembanad in one of the houseboats. Kerala's network of lakes and canals are best explored by boat. Tour operators and hotels can arrange day trips for you, or you can take a longer trip on a houseboat.
Alleppey is just 45 minutes drive from Kumarakom. Houseboats are an enduring experience here. These man- made living houses on the river have everything to make you get a unique experience. Enjoy the scenic beauty of the river – side, coconut palms, Chinese Fishing Nets, children playing, all while you sit in the boat. If you wish you can also enjoy Kayaking through narrow backwater canals and Ayurvedic messages. Night stay and dinner in the houseboat is a great experience not to be missed.
Kovalam which is the next destination is famous for its beach. See the rich heritage of South Indian palaces in Kowdiar Palace. As Kerala is a coastal state, some of the most popular tourist destinations in Kerala are beaches like Kovalam, Varkala, Chowara, Chavakkad, Nattika, Cherai, Kizhunna, Poovar and the list goes on and on. Kovalam most certainly tops the list.
Kanyakumari is just 1 and ½ drive from Kovalam. Kanyakumari is the land of Swami Vivekananda. Visit the Vivekananda rock Memorial. Situated in the midst of the sea, it is one of the most beautiful architectural sites. See padmanabhapuram Palace! - One of the best examples of Kerala Architecture it exhibits wooden and granite statues, coins, weapons and glass chandeliers. Thanumalayan temple - Sthanumalayan Kovil is an ancient temple and architectural wonder with its singing pillars. The temple is dedicated to Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara represented in the form Trimurthy. End your exploration with a visit to the miraculous confluence of the three seas; Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal.
Trivandrum Kerala's capital, is a dynamic place and a placid introduction to city life down South. Experience the pure and enchanting beauty of some of the most adored temples of Trivandrum and an array of Victorian museums in remarkable neo-Keralan buildings such as Padmanabha Swamy Temple, Napier Museum, Sri Chitra Art Gallery and more.
Where To Stay
Kochi - Taj Malabar Resort & Spa Cochin
Mannar - Chandys Windy Woods; Fragrant Nature Munnar
Kovalam - The Leela Kovalam
Kumarakom - Kumarakom Lake Resort
Kanyakumari - Anantya Resort
Where To Eat
If you want to venture out to restaurants outside the hotel or resort, here are few that stand out.
Villa maya in Trivandrum - best fine dining in Kerala. Good for lunch or dinner. Upscale global cuisine presented in an elegant, restored 18th-century home with a garden patio.
Indian Coffee House in Trivandrum- A spirally red brick tower, in the central station road of Trivandrum attracts flocks from all corners of the town. It’s the oldest and the biggest chain of restaurant in all of Kerala. A refreshing cup of filter coffee with a side of dosa or idli is just the way to begin the day in Trivandrum!
Kashi Art Café Kochi is a must visit in Cochin. The artsy setting of the place has turned it into an attraction in itself. The food here is also terrific, especially the breakfast and coffee
The Grand Pavilion is one of the oldest and most popular eatery in Cochin. If you can get past the crowd and find yourself a table in here, you are in for an authentic Keralan gourmet delight.
At Fort Cochin, Kayes Biriyani kada - Handed over through generations, they make the biriyani in old traditional way.
TRILOGI in Cochin is an authentic Kerala specialty restaurant open only for dinner serving traditional specialties of Cochin,Travancore and Malabar.