Kerala is a small state at the southern most part of India, where one is spoilt for choices in everything – in terms diverse places to see, numerous unique things to do and unusual places to stay. Hence planning a trip here can be quite confusing and challenging.
To make this easy for all my fellow travellers, I am listing down various options and combinations (w.r.t to personal interests and comfort) that you can use to customise your own trip to Kerala. Please note that based on your comments, feedback and questions I will keep updating this post. Hence this post is called Kerala Solved… :)
If you are planning a trip to Kerala then first and foremost you need decide on the following -
- Number of days that you have for this holiday?
- What is it that you want to see - Temples, Hills, Backwaters, Islands, Cities, Beaches, National Parks.
- What are the major activities that you want to do – visit Temples, Spice Trails, City Tours, Nature Walks, Safaris, Ayurvedic treatments, Angling, Boat rides, Relaxing, Trekking, Rubber Plantations, Tea Plantations, Bird Sanctuaries, Water Sports etc.
- What is the kind of place you want to stay in - Luxurious, High-end, Mid – range hotels, Budget hotels, Home-stays, Eco-Stays, House boats, Floating Houses, Tree – houses, etc
Based on the above options, you can select your holiday combination from my recommendations below -
You need at least 2 -3 days in each location in Kerala (taking the travel time into account). So if you are going for a short 3 – 4 day break, then just stick to one city or a particular area.
There are following 5 major tourist regions / hubs that you can combine and see here -
- Calicut (Kozhikode) – Wayanad region – Good for a short break.
- To see – Hills, Spice Trails.
- Activities possible – Spice Trails, City Tours, Nature Walks, Caves, Waterfalls, Ayurvedic treatments, Relaxing, Trekking.
- Stay options – Eco-Stays, House boats, Tree – houses.
- Cochin – Thrissur - Guruvayoor
- To See- City, Temples.
- Activities possible – City Tour, Temples.
- Stay Options – Mid – range hotels, Budget hotels, Home-stays.
- Cochin – Munnar - Thekkady - Sabarimala
- To See – City, Temples, Hills, National Parks.
- Activities Possible – Temples, Spice Plantations, City Tours, Nature Walks, Safaris, Ayurvedic treatments, Relaxing, Hiking / Trekking, Rubber Plantations, Tea Plantations.
- Stay options – Luxurious, High-end, Mid – range hotels, Budget hotels, Home-stays, Clubs, Eco-Stays, Tree – houses.
- Cochin – Alleppey (Alappuzha)- Kumarakom
- To See- City, Temples, Backwaters, Beaches.
- Activities Possible – Temples, City Tours, Ayurvedic treatments, Angling, Boat rides, Relaxing, Bird Sanctuaries, etc.
- Stay options – Luxurious, High-end, Mid – range hotels, Budget hotels, Home-stays, House boats.
- Trivandrum – Kanyakumari, Kovalam, Poovar, Varkala, Ponmudi
- To See- Temples, Islands, City, Beaches, Hills.
- Activities Possible – Temples, City Tours, Ayurvedic treatments, Boat rides, Relaxing, Nature Walks, Water Sports etc.
- Stay options – Luxurious, High-end, Mid – range hotels, Budget hotels, Home-stays, Eco-Stays, Floating Houses.
I have visited regions/ hubs 3, 4 and 5 and will write detailed posts on each one of them on where to stay, things to do, my experiences, transportation and must see and eat things. I haven’t visited regions 1 and 2 but they are on my to do list for my next visit. …
In terms of stay, for the budget travellers, my recommendation is to try home-stays . These are accommodations provided by locals in their houses (home away from home) along with meals (you need to check with each home-stay but majority include all meals in their price). These are clean, safe, well-maintained and since you stay with a local family, you get a lot of insights into the local cuisine, lifestyle customs and to do / see things which are not necessarily tourit’y’. In some cases I even found properties that were like heritage hotels but at budget rates. You can check this link for options – Kerala Homestays.
Kerala Tourism has the most organised way to book these home-stays. On their website you can check the list of home-stays for each city classified by an individual rating i.e. diamond, gold and silver. This website also provides an introduction to these properties and the facilities provided. You can then either directly write to these places or call them to make a reservation.
Tips for booking Homestays -
- This option turns out to be extremely cost-effective as it normally includes all meals (but it doesn’t hurt to re-confirm this before booking). These meals are home cooked and you can also request for any special / specific requirements.
- You can check the pictures of these properties online / reviews on tripadvisor and then decide.
- If you visit slightly off-season or in groups, then you can also negotiate for some good discounts.
- Also, do not forget to specify that you are not a travel agent, the rates will differ for direct bookings.
So, what are you waiting for.. Take your pick, pack your bags and GET SET and GO.