Kerala is a destination that appeals to all your senses. The heady aroma of spices, lush green beauty, the loud cheers at snake boat races and the lip-smacking local cuisine. There are many gorgeous places to visit in the state, especially on a Kerala road trip down the coast. Here’s a cheat sheet of our recommended things to do in Kerala. Come back and tell us your stories on the Community!
Play with elephants
If you want to see the mighty creatures in their natural habitat, head straight to the Periyar wildlife sanctuary or the wildlife reserves in Wayanad and Chinnar. These graceful creatures form an integral part of temple rituals. Hence you can see the elephants in all their glory at the famous Guruvayoor temple as well as other temples in the region. However, if you are interested in playing with the elephants, Kodanad Elephant Training Centre is where you should go. You would find this to be one of the most relaxing things to do in Kerala. Truly an unforgettable experience!
Lose yourself in a spice trail
The spice plantations in Munnar, Thekkady, Wayanad and many places along the road will leave you mesmerized. Each spice is grown in a separate section and has it’s own distinctive aroma. So it’s quite fascinating to walk through a spice plantation and try to guess the spices. The most common spices you find here are pepper, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, ginger, nutmeg and vanilla. If you love food, you would definitely have this in the list of things to do in Kerala. You can check out the spice capital of India package to plan your trip. Don’t forget to buy samples of all the spices as fragrant gifts for your loved ones.
Have a cup of tea, or coffee, in the garden
I am sure you have tea and coffee every day at home. But the experience of grabbing a morning cuppa in the middle of a coffee plantation or tea garden is unparalled. A great place to check out tea and coffee production up close is Kumily. You will invariably spot women plucking tea leaves and filling up the baskets tied behind them along the roads. This is especially common in Munnar and nearby areas. You must absolutely try living in one of the tea gardens in Munnar and brew your own tea. Sip on a piping hot cup of Masala chai and feel your worries float away. You can find more details here.
Cruise down the backwaters
You must have been wondering why we had not mentioned this so far. The backwaters of Lake Vembanad in Kumarakoram and in Allepey is a very famous tourist attraction. It is one of the topmost things to do in Kerala. Therefore is usually features on the itirnerary of every Kerala road trip. Just imagine life on a houseboat as it cruises through the canals lined with palm trees, overseeing quaint houses. Your houseboat experience could be as luxurious as you want it to be, with delectable meals and aromatherapy massages.
Relax with an authentic massage
An Ayurvedic massage features on everybody’s list of things to do in Kerala. Whether it is centuries-old techniques, the fragrant herbal oils or just the air in Kerala, you will come out rejuvenated. These massages are also therapeutic and attract many people who come here for treatment. Some of the popular Ayurvedic centres in Kerala are in Thiruananthapuram, Kovalam, Allapuzha and Kumarakom. However, if you are looking for just a relaxing experience, you would probably find many places offering it.
Discover your spiritual side
The Guruvayoor Temple is one of the largest Krishna temples and attracts millions of devotees each year. The temple city of Kotayam is an important pilgrimage centre. It is the gateway to places like Sabarimala, Vaikom, Ettumanoor, Bharananganam and Manarcaud. Thrissur, derived from Tri-Shiva-Peru meaning town of Lord Shiva, is home to the famous Vadakkunathan temple. A visit to temple towns is one of the essential things to do in Kerala for a lot of devotees. Often family road trips are planned around visits to these pilgrimage centres.
Immerse yourself into the culture and food
Like I said at the beginning, a Kerala road trip is an immersive experience for all your senses. A great way to observe the local cultureis a visit the Kumbalangi Integrated Tourism Village in Kochi. The model fishing village will give you a peek and even let you participate in the day to day life of a Kerala community. Fort Kochi is another place you must visit on your Kerala road trip. Influenced by the Dutch, Portuguese and British settlements and even Arab and Chinese traders, the town has a lot of eclectic vibes. The rich heritage and architecture of Fort Kochi is probably one of the more impressive you would ever see. The world-renowned Snake boat races during monsoons are a great time to feel the festive cheer of these towns.
For foodies, especially seafood lovers, the local cuisine is soul-satisfying. Karimeen pollichathu, fish moilee, Kerala prawn curry and the famous Calicut Biryani are just some of the seafood delicacies. Also try the Malabar Parotta-Beef curry, Appam-Stew and Puttu-Kadala Curry combos. If you are in Trivandrum, the visit to the floating restaurant in the Veli Tourist village would be a great experience.
Explore nature from the forests to the beaches
A Kerala road trip is a perfect holiday plan for nature lovers. You can catch the sunsets on the beaches of Varkala and Kovalam. Even better you can drive on the Muzhappilangad Beach, the only Asian beach to be featured in the BBC list. Take an exciting bike ride through the dense forest on the way to the Idukki Arach Dam via Pala (Kottayam-Pala-Thodupuzha-Kulamavu). Live on a houseboat or maybe a tree house, Erumadam as the locals call it! These tree houses are available near Wayanad, Munnar, Thekkady and in fact, right opposite the Athirapally waterfalls. Like the waterfalls in Karntaka, exploring waterfalls is one the most popular things to do in Kerala. Visit the Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls and rubber plantations around it, seven steps of the Thommankuthu waterfalls or the Nyayamakkad waterfalls in the Munnar tea gardens.