On the southwest coast of India lies the state of Kerala. This state looks nothing like the other chaotic, busy and often dirty states in the country. Laid-back Kerala must have a lot of beautiful nature. This makes it a wonderful place to relax after the hustle and bustle of the rest of the country. Thanks to this nice atmosphere, the special activities and beautiful nature, Kerala belongs to our favorite states of India.
The backwaters at Alleppey are definitely the highlight of Kerala. This is a network of about 900 kilometres of ‘roads’ on the water. The backwaters are used for transport and fishing. This still happens, but tourism is now also a major source of income for the local inhabitants.
As a tourist you can sail over the backwaters on a houseboat (the local houseboat). This boat trip usually takes a minimum of 2 days and 1 night. A longer boat trip where you see more of the backwaters is also an option. Renting a houseboat is on the pricey side, especially if you compare it with the bargain prices in the rest of the country. Still, as far as we are concerned, it is definitely a must do. The price includes a captain and a personal chef, who prepares delicious food for you. Along the way you will see the beautiful nature, friendly locals and come to rest.
A trip through the backwaters is the most popular activity in the state, but that is certainly not the only thing Kerala has to offer. The state is known for its beautiful nature. This can be seen during a visit to the Periyar National Park; the most popular wildlife park in South India. The park has unique flora and fauna, including tigers and elephants. Another park, the Eravikulam National Park, is a tourist attraction because of Neelakurinji. These special flowers only bloom once every twelve years. There are also many coffee plantations in Kerala.
These are often also equipped with accommodations, where you can do fun activities, such as trekking. If you prefer tea instead of coffee, then Munnar is the place for you. This place not only gives you an enchanting view over the tea plantations, but you can also see how they grow it in the Kannan Devan Plantation Museum. Finally, in Kerala you can also do a tour through one of the spice plantations, often booked at your accommodation. India is known for its tasty herbs and spices, about which you can learn a lot. You’ll find the gardens in Munnar, Thekkady or Wayanad, for example.
Besides beautiful nature, Kerala also offers temples in special architectural styles. Take for example the unique Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple or the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple (both found in Thiruvananthapuram), the Padmanabhapuram Palace in Tamil Nadu or the Sabarimala Sastha Temple in Pathanamthitta.
Kochi (formerly Cochin) has been an important trading post for centuries due to its favourable location and large port. The consequences of this are well reflected in the architecture in the port city. The Chinese fishing nets, old synagogues and Dutch buildings are nice to take a look at. It is also nice that Kochi doesn’t feel as busy as the other big Indian cities. This relaxed atmosphere and the lively streets make Kochi a popular city.
You will find more peace and beautiful nature in Munnar. We called it before: the tea plantations here are unique and you will find the huge plantations on the mountains around this town. These green fields are particularly beautiful to see. You can see them by means of a tour to a number of highlights, or you can just go out on your own. Munnar itself is not very special, but the surroundings make it worth a visit.
Thiruvananthapuram – with Trivandrum as a somewhat easier alternative name – is the capital of Kerala. Many travelers start their journey through Kerala here, but quickly move on to nicer destinations. Nearby are the two relaxing seaside resorts of Varkala and Kovalam. These are two nice destinations, where you can chill out on the beach. Varkala is popular among backpackers. Kovalam has three beautiful beaches in a bay. For a nice view over the town and the surrounding area, go to the top of the lighthouse on LightHouse Beach.
Gambling in Kerala
Another fun activity to engage in might be to try to place a wager and win a few extra travel-bucks. Kerala is one of the states in India where the lottery is legal, just like gambling. There are many casinos where locals as well as tourists can gamble. These can be found mainly around the larger cities. Of course you also have websites where you can compare the best Indian gambling sites in order to find the one that suits you best. The best is to have a look at India’s ultimate online gambling site to discover a large choice of safe and exciting bookmakers.
Transportation in Kerala
Within the state you can easily travel by bus or train to other destinations in the state. The bus is especially popular. There is a good bus network, with affordable rides and different classes of buses. Especially if you want to go to smaller destinations like Munnar, the bus is the best option. The train is also a good option. Travelling by train is generally faster and more comfortable. Not all cities are available, but gravel destinations like Trivandrum and Kochi are easy to reach by train.
Spending the night in Kerala
When you travel to Kerala, you have to take into account that you will lose more money. According to many, the area is the most expensive in India. So you pay more for your accommodation, but you will get nice rooms in return. Cheap accommodations are rare. If you are looking for a place to stay around the coast or in the backwaters and mountain villages, you often pay three tens for a simple room in a hostel. Still, the beautiful area is definitely worth it. So don’t let the higher prices stop you.