Kerala Backpacking Tips
Kerala – God’s own Country, a state on the Malabar Coast in southern India is probably one of the most popular Indian tourist destinations. It has been popular among tourists - couples, families & backpackers alike for the longest time - perhaps because geographically it is the complete travel package - It has everything from serene beaches to scenic hills, from tea & spice plantations to dense forests & calm backwaters. Apart from scenic beauty, it is popular for Ayurvedic treatments, classical dances - Kathakali & Mohiniattam, Kalaripayattu & of course, it’s delicious cuisine.
It is one of those Indian states which have a rich history, be it food, the traditions, the people, its festivals, and lots more. And that makes Kerala one of the most popular Tourist Places not only in India but in the entire world.
So, if Kerala is on your bucket list for the next holiday, you are at the right place. From the list of ‘the must visit’ to the most happening places in Kerala, this guide also talks about the famous food outlets, the best time for a visit, what to buy in Kerala, the works!
Munnar – Enjoy Tea Gardens and Greenery
The rolling hills of Munnar house some of the largest tea plantations in South India. Take some time off from Kerala’s more famous beaches and visit the tea museum, 1.5 kilometres out of town, or simply relax with a freshly-brewed cup on a serene tea estate. A perfect honeymoon destination in Kerala, Munnar boasts of an astonishing terrain and breathtaking landscapes. Once the summer capital of the Britishers, Munnar is now famous for the tea gardens and the tea museum. It is also one of the most popular honeymoon destinations and one of the places to visit in Kerala for 3 days. Munnar is one of the best places to visit in Kerala in October & November
Eravikulam National Park:
• It’s Kerala’s first national park. This park is famous for the native Nilgiri tahr or the Ibex — a goat-like endangered species. The park closes from Feb till March end every year, during the breeding season of the Tahrs.
• To visit the deeper parts of the park, one is required to scale on foot. Hence, the place is not suitable for the elderly or those traveling with kids.
• The main attractions here are the dam and the lake. The place is also known as “Cattle Village” which came from the famous Indo-Swiss farm project.
• A place surrounded by tea, coffee, and cardamom plantations, it is best suited for adventure seekers and nature lovers.
Kanan Devan Tea Museum:
• Tata Tea established this tea museum here in 2005. Various stages of tea processing can be witnessed here including the making of black tea.
• A demonstration room for tea tasting is the main attraction here.
• It is one of the highest mountain peaks situated in the Western Ghat ranges of Idukki district.
• Do note, tourists aren’t allowed to trek to Anamudi anymore, to conserve the delicate biodiversity of the region!
• Another place worth visiting is Kolukkumalai, which is considered to be the highest tea estate in the world! You will need a 4×4 ride, which can be booked from the hotel you are staying at. It is recommended to opt for an overnight stay at the estate for the sheer experience of being amidst the clouds!
Kochi – Blend of Modern City and Heritage Flavor from British, Arabian, Portugese & Chinese
Kochi - Queen of Arabian Sea , the largest city in Kerala, has historically been an important port city right from the 14th century - colonised by the Portuguese, Dutch & British at different times in history, the city still preserves an intriguing mix of architecture from its varying colonial past. Ernakulam is the city’s cosmopolitan part where as Fort Kochi is the tourist hub.
• Located in a water-bound region of mainland Kochi, Fort Kochi reflects the culture of all those who have occupied it through the centuries.
• Some of the must-visit spots are Fort Immanuel, Dutch Cemetery, David Hall, Vasco House, etc.
• Don’t miss the St. Francis Church – built in 1503, it is a mute witness to the colonial struggle India has experienced!
• Around 34 km from Kochi, Cherai beach is one of the best beaches for a swim and for enjoying a pleasant sunset!
• It has a long coastline that stretches for almost 15 km.
• It is a Portuguese Palace, popularly known as Dutch Palace.
• It has some incredibly detailed murals depicting scenes from epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata, along with the fine works of Sanskrit poet Kalidasa.
• Mattancherry is known for spice markets, we visited a local spice store called ‘All spices market’ & were in awe of the variety of spices,oils,teas & coffees & felt like a kid in a candy store!
• This is heaven for antique lovers.
• Don’t miss visiting the Paradesi synagogue and stopping at Sarah’s Hand Embroidery shop. The shop is owned by Sarah Cohen, India’s oldest surviving Jew!
Doesn’t admiring wildlife whilst cruising along the length of a lake sound like a treat? Well then… you are going to love Thekkady which is one of the tourist places to visit in kerala for 2 days!
This is where you can do your Indian Safari at Periyar National Park. You can trek, camp, and get into nature. Home to the Periyar Tiger Reserve, Thekkady offers you the quintessential lap of nature to explore and enjoy! If you are looking for adventure, this is the place you definitely shouldn’t miss!
Periyar National Park:
• Spread over 357 sq.kms of land, Periyar National Park is well-known as a tiger and elephant reserve.
• One of the attractions in the reserve is sighting wildlife aboard a boat on the Periyar lake!
• Gavi is secret Kerala’s been hiding for a while now! It is an eco-tourism site known for its untainted natural beauty, and a birdwatcher’s paradise (more than 260 species).
• You can take a safari, go for a boat ride, or visit the local plantation. One of the highlights is the Sabarimala viewpoint that offers an amazing view of the well-known pilgrimage center amidst the lush vegetation!
• Almost a thousand years old, this ancient temple hidden in the dense forest of Periyar.
• The temple is not opened throughout the year, hence you can only visit here during theChitrapur Nami festival which falls in the months of April/May.
• To make this trip to Mangaladevi, you’ll need to seek prior permission from the wildlife warden of Thekkady.
• It is a beautiful hill station which was once home to the Sufi Saint Peer Mohammed.
• Peermedu offers a versatile landscape of waterfalls and plantations and is ideal for trekking, cycling, and horse riding.
Kumarakom– Little backwater hamlet with exotic scenery famous for houseboats
Looking for a picture perfect destination to lie back and enjoy some peace and quiet? Nothing better than dreamy Kumarakom! Situated near the Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom is a cozy spot with exotic scenery and rare flora & fauna.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary:
• It is one of the most popular bird sanctuaries in the country spread across 14 hectares.
• Home to a variety of migratory birds like waterfowl, Cuckoo, Owl, Water Duck, Siberian Cranes, Parrots, Teal, Larks, Flycatchers, and Wood Beatles.
• An ideal picnic spot where the water roars falling down the mountains from the height of 100 ft.
• St. Mary’s church is located at the top of the waterfalls.
• The longest lake in India, Vembanad stands out with prominent backwaters offering boating and fishing options.
• Onam brings new life to the place with its stunning snake boat races.
• This place is on Natgeo’s list of world destinations. Natgeo claims that this place is best visited at dusk!
• You can only visit here by boats.
Bay Island Driftwood Museum:
• It’s a collection of unique superior quality driftwood sculptures with very high artistic value.
• Many of the pieces closely resemble birds, reptiles, animals, amphibians and fishes.
The hub of Kerala’s backwaters and The Venice Of The East – that’s Alappuzha for you!
Home to the famous backwaters of Kerala, Alappuzha or Alleppey, as it’s more commonly called, was originally a small fishing village that has now become one of India’s most popular tourist destinations. Precariously balanced on an intricate network of inland canals and backwaters, life at Alleppey is languid, best experienced on a houseboat, or by taking a quiet stroll on Alleppey Beach. If thrilling boat races or staying in a charming houseboat gets you all excited, you’ve got to visit this little heaven in Kerala.
Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple:
• The temple is said to be built during the 15th-17th centuries.
• It is famous for the ‘Ambalapuzha Palpayasam’, a sweet porridge prepared using rice, milk, and sugar.
International Coir Museum:
• This museum showcases the traditional development processes of coir spinning and the development of the coir industry.
• It has a huge network of freshwater rivers, meandering lakes & lagoons.
• The Nehru Trophy Boat Price event takes place here, in August every year.
• The Alappuzha Lighthouse is also a popular tourist attraction.
St. Mary’s Forane Church:
• It is one of the oldest churches, established around 427 AD.
Kovalam- Beach town with a grove of coconut trees
The most famous of Kerala’s beach destinations, Kovalam might be a tad touristy—families in for the weekend from Kochi, tiny kids making a dash for the water with ice cream in hand, beach-umbrella wallahs accosting you at every turn—but it still hasn’t lost its charm. You could go up to the lighthouse on the headland or see the sunset at one of the beachfront restaurants.
• It’s the most popular crescent-shaped beach of Kovalam offering a wide range of food outlets dotted around the shoreline and many beach sports to treat your adventurous soul.
• The 30 m tall lighthouse erected on the Kurumkal hill right along the beach is a major attraction here.
• Also named as Gravity dam, it is located on the Neyyar river surrounded by forests.
• The renowned Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram for yoga & meditation practices is situated here.
• This place also offers wildlife safari and boating on all days except on Mondays.
• Situated opposite the Lighthouse shoreline, this beach looks extremely gorgeous around dawn & dusk.
• You can go sunbathing or enjoy a thrilling Catamaran ride!
• The water current is strong hence it is not advised to swim here.
Vizhinjam Marine Research Museum
• Officially known as Sagarika marine research aquarium, the place houses rare aquatic species like Squirrelfish, Clownfish, Moon Wrasse, Lionfish, Giant turtles, etc.
• You got this extreme passion towards the sea, the place is a must visit and super informative.
• Besides this, it is also famous for the image pearl technique, which uses shell cement to create pearls in particular shapes.
Wayanad is home to the Banasura Sagar Dam, the largest earth dam in India, and the second largest in Asia!
Part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, Wayanad offers a lush landscape dotted with rice paddies, betel nut trees, bamboo, eucalyptus, and rubber trees! A great place to spot wildlife, tree house stay in Jungle ,seeing especially wild elephants, Wayanad is one location you can visit throughout the year. There are indigenous tribal people living here, it’s high altitude in the Western Ghats, and is the least population region of Kerala. It borders Tamil Nadu & Karnataka
• Edakkal has exquisite rock & wall carvings belonging to the Neolithic and Mesolithic ages.
• You will need to trek for about an hour to reach the caves. You can visit them anytime between 9.30 am and 4.30 pm.
Banasura Sagar Dam:
• Built with the aim of aiding the Kakkayam Hydroelectric project, the dam makes for a great picnic spot!
• The trek offering spectacular vistas and the speedboat ride are not to be missed!
• One of the highest locations in Wayanad, it is often called the ‘Gateway of Wayanad’.
• While it is famous for the variety of birds and animals one can spot here, Lakkidi has some spooky tales to offer too – namely, the chain tree!
(We won’t give it away! After all, there should be an element of surprise when you visit the place!)
Sentinel Rock Falls:
• Also known as Soochipara falls, they are truly a treat for the eyes!
• You need to trek downwards for around 30 minutes to reach the pool.
Explore the ‘Amazing Kerala ‘ - Very few destinations in India are blessed with beautiful natural scenery, a unique culture, and unmatched experiences , tour packages from Little Mango Tours and Travels. Ideal for a family vacation, an escape with friends, and a honeymoon expedition, our bouquet of tour packages for Kerala are all about having a wonderful experience while navigating through the verdant environs.