Kerala is situated in India’s southern part and is one of India’s best tourist places for couples, families, and backpackers. People come from worldwide to experience the local delicacies, nature, tea plantations, and the amazing backwater.
The picturesque beauty of Kerala is beyond any imagination. The entire state has natural diversity. It has many quaint beaches, lushful forest, magnificent hill stations, and amazing wildlife to explore and experience.
I went to Kerala last year just before the winter start, and I had an amazing 10 days trip. My husband and I covered all the popular and offbeat places by renting out a car for 10 days.
We covered the hill station Munnar, beaches Kovalam and Varkala, the backwater Alleppy, Kumarakom, wildlife safari at Thekaddy, and touching the major cities Kochi, Thrissur, Kollam.
If you had traveled in India before and missed Kerala, I can assure you have missed an amazing place.
In this blog post, I will share some reasons that are enough to make you believe and visit Kerala. Also, other details like estimated trip cost and what are the best places that you can cover.
25 Reasons to visit Kerala
Backwaters in Kerala is one of the best eye-catching features of the Kerala trip. If you are visiting Kerala, you must not miss the 2-3 hours of splendid backwater trip. The Kerala backwaters are a network of lagoons, canals, and lakes connecting the Arabian Sea.
Traditionally, the backwaters are also used by the locals for fishing, watering sources in farming, and transport. We hired a local boat at Rs 800, around USD 10 at Alleppey, and enjoyed the backwater ride for 3 hours.
We went through small and narrow canals, passing the inland houses of local farmers and fishermen; the picturesque view filled my heart with peace.
Both Alleppey and Kumarakom are the two popular backwater spots in Kerala. We went to both places to explore nature. The houseboats are a pleasure to stay. You can book a night of stay in the houseboat, there you will get all kinds of comfort, food, and you can have a unique experience.
If you are on your honeymoon trip, houseboats are a romantic one. But if you are a backpacker or someone who wants to explore beyond, I would suggest hiring a canoe or small boat like we did.
The houseboats are restricted to certain spots as the boats are huge, and they can not fit the canals or narrower places, unlike a canoe or a boat.
Munnar in Kerala is a place of beauty of the green pastures of tea gardens. The moment you will enter the hillside of Munnar, you will find yourself surrounded by lushful green tea plantations.
India has several places that are well-known for tea plantations and production; Munnar is one of them. On your trip to Munnar, you can visit the tea museum, Kanan Devan Hills Plantation, where you can experience tea tasting, watch tea processing, and packaging.
If you want to touch the locals, you can talk and meet with the local tea pluckers, have a conversation with them, and ask everything about tea.
Premium Houseboat Stay
Yes, if you are newlywed and in Kerala on your honeymoon, you would want to have the most romantic and memorable trip. If you have a decent budget, a stay at a premium/luxury houseboat will be exciting.
A luxury houseboat is mainly a single bedroom boat with ample space, spacious living room, and fully air-conditioned. The houseboat will have a luxurious bathroom, chefs, and housekeeper at your service.
The best thing about a luxury houseboat is the entire houseboat will be yours, and you can have privacy and experience of a unique overnight stay.
Spice Plantation Tour
About 80% of spices get exported by India, and when it comes to spice production, Kerala is a huge international market for that. Kerala’s spice plantation is a huge tourist attraction. The spice market is also a major state revenue apart from tourism.
You will probably find a ton of spice stores and gardens in Kerala. Kerala is a hub where all spices grow, including peppers, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, Kesar, and other varieties of organic oil extract, plants that has medicinal benefits.
If you enter a spice garden, you hire an expert better as he/she will explain everything about the plants, spices, how it grows, under what climatic conditions, etc. It is interesting to know and realize how much we don’t know about plantations and organic farming.
Snake Boat Race
The traditional name of the boat race in Kerala is ‘vallam kali.’ It is a form of long canoe boat racing conducted during the Onam festival in spring. There are various types of decorated long canoe boats in the tournament; the event is mainly held in the Punnamada Lake near Alappuzha.
So, if you don’t want to miss watching the event, you have to plan your trip during the Onam festival.
Periyar Jeep Safari
Thekkady is the best place in Kerala for experiencing the adventurous jeep safari that goes through the Periyar national forest and lets you enjoy the Periyar forest’s wilderness.
For the jeep safari, you will have to pre-book the slot. If you are open to some exciting adventure, the jeep safari will take you off-road through the forest far away from civilization and let you see the wildlife.
You can get a glimpse of elephants, deer, and other animals. If you are lucky, you might get a glimpse of tiger too.
Periyar Boat Tour
We took the boat tour at Periyar. You can take either of the two, boat tour or jeep safari. I preferred the boat tour as it was a new thing for me. I had experienced a forest jeep safari at the doors forest in West Bengal.
We went early, around 6 am at the Periyar boating point, so it was not at all crowded. The boat was pretty much empty and since it was that early in the morning, there was fog covered the lake, and the climate was pleasant too.
The Periyar boat tour is worth the money. It will take you through the entire lake, and you will get glimpses of animals drinking water in groups. The picturesque and quaint scenic view is worth the time and money.
An elephant is another thing that you can enjoy on a trip to Kerala. You can spend an hour or two with the elephants in bathing or riding on their backs, caressing them, and playing with the baby elephants.
Though the charge per hour is a bit higher, it still feels nice. Not always, you can be in proximity to the elephants.
Treehouse Stay at Wayanad
Wayanad is located in the northeast of Kerala, and the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected forest region that is home to several species of animals and flora. Wayanad is popularly known in India for its utmost and pristine natural beauty.
The best time to visit Wayanad will be just before the winter starts. The climate and temperature remain pleasant, and the scenic hill station view elevates with fog and climate.
Instead of staying in a resort or hotel, you could opt for a treehouse stay. It is unique, different, eco-friendlier, and more exciting too.
Kerala is the second-largest producing state in India for coffee. If you visit Kerala, you could experience both the tea and coffee tasting and production process. So, for coffee lovers, one can get to taste a variety of flavors of coffee.
Do you love birds? If you have the patience and love for birds, you will indeed love bird watching. There are migratory birds that flock around in the lake near Kumarakom, and it is a great pleasure to watch them in silence.
Experience the rich Kerala traditional dance art form
It is one of the biggest reasons to visit Kerala at least once in your lifetime. India is a diverse country, and each state represents its art and has a rich cultural history.
The cultural and traditional dance art form of Kerala is something that one should watch and experience. I am talking about “Kathakali” – it is one of the oldest classical dance art forms of Kerala that is still widely popular worldwide.
Kathakali presents stories through costumes, eye expressions, and hand movements. It is highly attractive because of its use of colorful makeup, face masks, and decorated costumes.
I always wanted to watch Kathakali dance form, and I thoroughly enjoyed the 3 hours at the Kathakali Centre in Kochi. Nowhere in the entire country, this dance form is performed.
Kochi City Tour
Kochi is the major city in Kerala, and there are plenty of spots that you could visit. We didn’t stay at Kochi. We spent the whole day at Kochi on our last day of returning.
You could walk around the Kochi Fort, see the Chinese fishing nets; there are plenty of good eateries. We didn’t get much time to explore Kochi, but you shouldn’t miss what we have missed out.
Enjoy the sunset at Kovalam Beach
If you visit Kerala, you could enjoy the cool hill station, forest tour, and soaking at the beach. Kerala has mind-blowing beaches.
You can play or wander around the beach, bathing, or enjoy the view of the sunset. We booked our hotel stay located right in front of the beach, and I remember how much we enjoyed the sunset right from our balcony that had the view of both the beach and sunset.
Enjoy the local delicacies
When you are traveling, you should always taste the local delicacies. It would be best to try Kerala’s rich, tasty, and spicy cuisines. The dishes revolve more around coconut milk; a blend of spices and seafood must try.
Watch Kalaripayattu – the oldest martial art form
Kalaripayattu is one of the oldest and traditional Indian martial art forms that primarily originated in Kerala. It has a unique fighting style. The professionals show different fighting styles like swords, spears, fire. The professionals get to engage in one on one intense combat.
On our trip to Kerala, we watched Kalaripayattu in Thekkady.
Relax and get the ayurvedic spa treatment
There are several ashrams and ayurvedic spa treatment centers in Kerala that offer various relaxation therapies. I haven’t tried them, but I heard they are very effective and relaxing. Maybe I should try them if I visit Kerala the next time.
Hire a self-rented car and explore
Renting a car and self-driving is always a better way to explore a city or place, I believe. You won’t have any time restriction or limitations to go wherever you want whenever you want.
Do a photo walk or tour
If you are a photo enthusiast, you would love to take a photo tour. Kerala has an unlimited option for that.
Unlimited Waterfalls on the way
On your road trip in Kerala, you will get glimpses of magnificent waterfalls.
Do not forget to taste the famous banana chips/wafers
You will find banana snack stores at almost every corner of the street. Banana is found in Kerala in abundance, and you will find a lot of various types of snacks made from banana, and believe me, they are so delicious.
Boat ride in the Mattupetty Dam
Mattupetty Dam is located near Munnar in the Idukki district. The Dam is important for hydroelectricity. The Mattupetty lake is a popular tourist destination.
You can go boating and try jet ski in the lake. People often gather there for a picnic.
Experience the Local Fishing
Kerala is a coastal state, so you will get seafood in abundance. But the best experience of traveling is always when you interact with the locals. You will feel welcome in their place and get to know much more about the place.
On the beaches, if you go early morning, you will see fishermen fishing. If you want, you can try a hand with them or see how fishermen catches fishes from the sea.
Explore the hill station and its local market
When you reach Munnar, make sure to visit all the popular as well as offbeat places. You can hire a guide, and if you specifically tell them that you want to explore the offbeat places in Munnar, they will take you there.
Malappuram – the Bullock race
Out of all the things, the bullock race is an exciting sport to watch in Kerala’s Malappuram district. It’s a sport where trained bullocks are raced through the muddy fields and showcase their strength and tradition.
I think 25 reasons are enough to make you feel that why you should travel to Kerala. Its natural beauty, wildlife, the aura of the hill station, beach life, and its culture makes Kerala a special travel destination in India.