Points of Interest: What to See and Places to Visit in Kerala
Kerala, India or also known as “God’s Own Country” is located in South of India and is known for its food, culture, and beautiful backwaters and I must say that I had the honor to visit the country for two weeks with the help of Kerala Blog Express who invited 30 bloggers from around the world to check out some of the places to visit in Kerala for a trip of a lifetime. And friends, trip of a lifetime we had alright.
Albeit all the fun shindigs and shenanigans, we did not only came to see Kerala but also had the chance to know its people and learn as much as we can about their culture and traditions and as for me, the best part will always be the food. Food is a big part of my life since I’ve been working as a chef for a good seven years now and to visit the place where they cultivate the mother spices, I was like a child in candy lang waiting for the sugar rush. Although I seriously got tired of eating too much flavor at one point I can’t even smell spices anymore (Finland, what have you done to me?).
Anyways, as you all known socializing is not for everyone and to be on a bus with 29 other strangers was a challenge on its own which turned out to be the best challenge in the world! We all came from different walks of life and have different cultural and traditional backgrounds and the only thing that connects us all is what we do here on the internet yet we all surprisingly got along so well we all still talk to each other!
That said, two weeks in Kerala was not enough as we saw most of these places listed here briefly and hoped we stayed longer in some places and short in others. Nevertheless, Kerala is indeed gifted with so many things yet to be explored.
How to get to Kerala from around the world:
Coming from Finland, flights to Kerala from Helsinki was long and tiring as I had two stopovers (one in Germany and another in Abu Dhabi for both journey) and it took me roughly about 11-12 hours to travel half-way across the globe which is not so bad plus I’m used to long-haul flights, anyways. Regardless, my flight cost me only 600EUR or 700USD which was reimbursed by Kerala Tourism but other bloggers spent less or more. You can check my trick on how to find cheap flights everywhere with simple instructions, click here.
On the other hand, if you’re traveling from other corners in the world, most layovers to India is in Abu Dhabi or Dubai so if you’re planning to visit Kerala, try to look for flights to U.A.E as flights from Abu Dhabi (or Dubai) to Kerala is always cheap – that, or fly to New Delhi or Mumbai and take a domestic flight to Kerala. Depending on where you are coming from, there are flights from certain countries that offer direct flights to main cities such as New Delhi and Mumbai and domestic flights cost between 20-60 USD so that’s another way for you to get to Kerala cheaply.
Also, if you’re coming from Asian countries, flights from Singapore to Kerala, Kuala Lumpur, and Jakarta, for instance, are relatively cheap. Singapore Airlines fly to different parts of India often so you won’t have a hard time getting your way to Kerala from other Asian countries!
You can find cheap flights using Momondo or Skyscanner and I’m sure you’ll find a great deal. Kerala is beautiful and I can’t recommend it enough!
Do you need insurance when you visit Kerala or India?
I’m not your mother to tell you how to live your life but I highly suggest purchasing travel insurance just in case. If you don’t know, travel insurance isn’t just all about the accidents and medical coverage but also for missed or canceled flights, lost of personal belongings, and depending on what insurance you buy, there could be more coverage than what I mentioned.
I was insured when I traveled to Kerala and I got it from my bank (because I didn’t know they offer it till early this year) but otherwise, I used to buy my travel insurance from World Nomads. That said, nothing really happened to me and I didn’t have to use my travel insurance but for my own sanity and safety, I’m glad I have it. Otherwise, there were instances from my previous travels when I wished I had it then because I’m often lucky to either lose luggage, miss a flight, had canceled flights, I had it all my friend. I just wished I had the travel insurance then and got my money reimbursed – ah, the cons of being young and stupid.
Otherwise, there were instances from my previous travels when I wished I had it then because I’m often the lucky one to lose luggage, miss a flight, had canceled flights and had a horrible food-related sickness… I had it all my friend. I just wished I had the travel insurance then and got my money reimbursed – ah, the cons of being young and stupid. If you want more information about travel insurance, click here to read about why you should get one. Listen to your mother.
Do you need vaccines prior to visiting Kerala or India?
Glad you asked because yes, you do! This is applicable to all travelers who are planning to visit India and you must take these vaccines in your country of residence and prior to your travels. That said, I didn’t take the shots when I went to India and that’s because I’ve had them a few years ago when I went to visit the Philippines.
According to CDC, most travelers should have their routine vaccine shots anyways if you plan to travel abroad and usually, these vaccines are the following: MMR (measles), Tetanus shots, Chickenpox vaccine, Polio vaccine, and Flu Vaccine (never had this last one and never will).
Since India is a third-world country, you would also need Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Cholera, and Hepatitis B shots. You can carry Malaria pills with you and check this map to see which part of India have the highest risk of Malaria epidemic. Kerala have low to no risk so I didn’t take the shot nor brought any Malaria pills with me (but you should!).
That said, I personally think that routine vaccination is the most important of all and if you’re an avid traveler, you should get them. But then again, this is my personal opinion and you must check with your local doctor for advice on this!
Kerala Facts to Know Before Visiting:
- Kerala is home to two famous classical dance forms – Kathakali and Mohiniyattam.
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations recognizes this southern Indian state as a ‘Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Site’.
- National Geographic gave Kerala the title of ‘One of Ten Paradises of the World’ because of the state’s charismatic natural beauty and rich culture.
- Kerala has earned itself the moniker of ‘Home of Ayurveda’.
- Kerala was first place in the world where a communist government was democratically elected. This happened back in 1957.
The list of facts can go on and on. However, since that is not the prime objective of the article, switching to a list of beautiful Kerala destinations or Kerala tourist attractions is a meaningful move.
USEFUL TRAVEL TIPS FOR EVERY TRAVELER (BUDGET OR NOT!)
- Find great cheap deals from Skyscanner to anywhere in the world, read our detailed guide on how to find cheap flights if you want to know more.
- Book your first AirBnB and invite your friends to get up to 26USD in credit you can use to book your next stay!
- Find great hostel deals from Booking.com, some bunk beds cost less than 10USD per night. Also, if you stay longer than a week, there are always chances that they give you a "weekly" discount.
- If you want to get some money back off your bookings, you can use this Booking.com discount code and for every 50USD worth of hotel bookings, you will get 10% of your money back!
- Lastly, sometimes you can't see everything in so short time during your visit and one of the best things to do when you're traveling is to join tours! GetYourGuide is a tour website where I find cheap tours in almost every city I've been and it can help you save money by getting to know the city you're visiting well enough that you don't get lost (and spend money on taxi's to get back to your hostel!).
Table of Contents
- 0.1 How to get to Kerala from around the world:
- 0.2 Do you need insurance when you visit Kerala or India?
- 0.3 Do you need vaccines prior to visiting Kerala or India?
- 0.4 Kerala Facts to Know Before Visiting:
- 0.5 Related posts and further reads
- 1 Points of Interest: What to See and Places to Visit in Kerala
- 2 Need help to plan your trip? Start with these useful tips!
- 3 Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Points of Interest: What to See and Places to Visit in Kerala
Shedding off the hustle and bustle of typical city life, Kumarakom presents the charm of solitude with its sleepy hamlet design. Perfect for lovebirds, Kumarakom also serves as a stress buster for anyone who wants to run away from the cacophony to rediscover and rejuvenate his or her soul.
This little village offers exotic scenery where the green kisses the blue and some exotic birds spread their wings to take the clear skies. From sightseeing to fishing to houseboat rides, Kumarakom is a perfect example of Kerala countryside where one can treat oneself with some authentic Keralian cuisines and enjoy the enigmatic beauty of lakes, waterways, and canals filled with paddy fields, coconut groves, and lilies.
Undoubtedly, Kumarakom is one of the best places to visit in Kerala and one of those Kerala points of interest for many.
A paradise for sea lovers, the Varkala Beach is simply put – Enchanting. One of the famous tourist places in Kerala and best attractions of the location is the sudden burst of cliffs that stand tall only a stone’s throw away from the foamy water kissing the golden sand.
What makes the beach truly unique is that just 10 kilometers away from the main beach, there is another beach known as Papanasam Beach. It literally translates into ‘the Beach to Destroy Sins’. Yes, the Papanasam Beach has religious significance. A natural spring at the beach is known to have healing properties and thought to clean the souls from sins for those who take a dip in it.
The main Varkala Beach is of no less religion importance. Overlooking the sea, the 2,000-year old Janardhanaswamy Temple and the nearby Sivagiri Mutt that was founded by Sri Narayana Guru (1856-1928) are of special religious significance. There is no second opinion on the very fact that Varkala Beach is one of the best places to visit in Kerala.
Periyar National Park
Periyar National Park in Kerala is a natural reserve and one of the popular tourist places in Kerala built to protect wildlife from poachers and give the animals peace to live in their natural habitat.
Also known as Thekkady, you’ll find yourself surrounded by one of the most stunning views of mother nature and may have the opportunity to take a glimpse of some animals who hang around by the lake such as the elephants, which population is around 800 as of today (just in the national park) and some otters playing by the lake.
With the help of its passionate and dedicated staff members, Periyar National Park remains a sanctuary for a lot of wildlife who lives harmoniously in this beautiful area.
Kerala travel cannot be imagined without a visit to Thiruvananthapuram. The literal meaning of the word Thiruvananthapuram is – ‘City of Lord Anantha’. This is the capital city of Kerala and one of its major attractions is the famous Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
What makes the temple so attractive? For those who count happiness with worldly riches, Padmanabhaswamy Temple is no less than a wonder. It is crowned as India’s and world’s richest temple. One of the popular tourist places in Kerala.
It is, in fact, richer than Vatican City. With a total asset of USD 22 billion collected from a single vault (there are more vaults to be opened), Padmanabhaswamy Temple has become even more enigmatic than it was before. No, the temple isn’t the only attraction of Thiruvananthapuram. While on one hand, it is known for culture, it is also the land of technology.
Boasting the third largest Technopark of Asia and first IT park of India, Thiruvananthapuram has a lot to offer. Napier Museum, Kuthuramalika Palace Museum, Veli Tourist Village are just a few of many attractions of the city.
In order to make one’s travel to Kerala truly memorable, a visit to this city is a must!
One of the most popular Kerala destinations Alappuzha covering virtually 50% of the state, the Alleppey Backwaters are a labyrinth of brackish lagoons forming waterways extending 900 kilometers.
The Alleppey Backwaters lie parallel to the coast of Arabian Sea. Alleppey remains one of the best places to see in Kerala, thanks to is azure blue waters and the fairytale-esque houseboats that sail peacefully across the water-web of Alleppey.
The question that a tourist can ask before heading to the watery labyrinth is, ‘just how beautiful is Alleppey?’ Well, how about this? Alleppey or Alappuzha is called ‘Venice of the East’ due to its beautiful canals lined with coconut trees and paddy fields.
From September to May – Kerala’s points of interest Alleppey is a paradise hand-knitted by Nature, so make sure to check it out around that time of the year!
Just when one starts thinking that water is becoming a bit mundane, Kerala doesn’t fail to surprise with its exotic hill station that goes by the name ‘Munnar’.
Blanketed with lush green tea plantations, the hills of Munnar give an incredible view of misty valleys and low-flying clouds. With a laid-back environment, Munnar, to this day, remains drowsy with the colonial era hangover. Silent little bungalows, tea factories and cut out roads snaking uphill through the green blanket – everything is too majestic to be described with words.
Lovely waterfalls and challenging hiking routes just add to the excitement. It is virtually impossible to compile a list of Kerala destinations without listing Munnar, one of the top Kerala points of interest.
If it is possible to attach a particular name to heaven, Wayanad fits the bill. So exotic is the natural beauty of this area that people call it a place where Nature and Heaven sings a duet. A green paradise and home to 50 different tribes, Wayanad is also the land of exotic animals and birds. Serene, exotic and land of tribal heritage, this piece of heaven is one of the best places in Kerala that a tourist should never miss.
Also, one can find Tusharagiri Waterfalls, Sentinel Rockfalls, Edakkal Caves, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and more around the area. For those who prefer natural beauty, summer is the best time to be at Wayanad. For adrenaline junkies, monsoons make Wayanad a perfect trekking destination. Travel to Kerala simply remains incomplete without visiting Wayanad.
Located in central Kerala, Kochi or Cochin is often the starting point for most tourists when they visit Kerala as it is the easiest point of entry in the country.
Apart from being the main spice trading port between the land of spices and the rest of the world, you’ll also find a mix of British, Portuguese, and Dutch influences around the area especially the old part of the city where Fort Kochi is located. You’ll also see the famous Chinese fishing nets is the Kerala points of interest around this area as it is on the coast of the Arabian Sea.
Although famously known as Kochi amongst tourist, Kochi is actually part of a larger city called Ernakulam which is also famously dubbed as the “Queen of Arabian Sea” as it has one of the finest harbors in the world. Tainted with modernity mixed with the old, you’ll find buildings along with old architecture as the city is a booming metropolis city making it the hub for a lot of businesses and companies.
For history buffs, the Kasargod district holds a surprise in a place called Bekal. The majestic Bekal Fort is the testimony of human conflict. From the medieval era all the way down to the British rule in India, the walls of the fort ooze with historical sagas.
Resembling a gigantic keyhole, the Bekal Fort is currently maintained by Archaeological Survey of India. A watchtower overlooking the enchanting Arabian Sea, the surrounding greenery of lush grass swaying with the ocean breeze and the cloudlets gliding by the sky – create a surreal atmosphere with eerie silence piercing the gushing winds.
Adding to the drama are the neatly stored cannon bullets that scream of bloody conflicts that once reddened the fort walls and the wet sands of the beach. Bekal Fort is more like a puzzle piece that makes Kerala tourism complete.
No, not possible! Describing Vagamon using words is like asking someone to bring down a star on earth. It is simply impossible to capture the true beauty of Vagamon in simple words. The juxtaposed tea plantations, valleys, dales and gardens, and meadows with lawns so perfectly maintained that they appear to be alien crafted, Vagamon is true paradise and one of the beautiful places in Kerala.
To be very honest, when one asks the question – ‘what to see in Kerala’ – missing out Vagamon is akin to a criminal offense. The fresh air, the lush greenery, and silent ambiance culminate into an extraordinary rhythm of Mother Nature that has the power of healing any aching heart or withered soul.
A bit offbeat, Vagamon is one of the finest hill stations that India as a whole has to offer. For those who are compiling a Kerala travel guide, the Vagamon hill station is too bright to be excluded.
Athirappally and Vazhachal Waterfalls
The splendor and magnificence of waterfalls are breathtaking. They are beautiful and scary at the same time. Kerala tourism will not deny anyone of this wonder of Nature. The state’s most famous waterfalls – the Athirappally and Vazhachal – can be found on Chalakudy River and must visit places to see in Kerala.
The river flows down from upper reaches of the famous Western Ghats. At 80 feet tall, the Athirappilly Waterfalls is Kerala’s largest. The Vazhachal Waterfalls is only a short drive away from Athirappally. Encircling the Vazhachal waterfall is a dense forest that is home to some of the most endangered fauna and flora species that are endemic to Kerala.
Located at Sholayar Forest Ranges’ edge, the two waterfalls are located in a place which the only home to 4 highly endangered Hornbill species. Sightseeing in Kerala remains as incomplete as it can be without a visit to these magnificent waterfalls.
Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary
Kerala is a paradise for bird lovers. The Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary is just the place that bird lovers cannot afford to miss. Spread over an island cluster, the sanctuary is quite a scenic area. It is surrounded by hillocks right where the Arabian Sea welcomes the Kadalundi River with open arms.
The sanctuary is a virgin land and home to over 100 different species of native birds, who share the place with 60 different migratory bird species that show up between November and April. Some of the most famous migratory bird species that can be seen here include turnstones, greenshanks, redshanks, sandplovers, sandpipers, terns, and seagulls.
For those who want to see the river mouth opening into the Arabian sea, standing atop a 200 meter ASL hillock will fulfill the wish. This is one of those Kerala points of interest where visiting without a camera will be a fool’s errand.
Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Home to more than a hundred fauna species, the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary is a pleasant surprise for the animal lovers. Asian elephant, Slender Loris, Leopards, Tigers, Travancore Tortoise, King Cobra are just a few of the names that can be quickly recalled from memory.
A separate lion safari park and a crocodile breeding center makes the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary one of the best Kerala tourist attractions. Well, the sanctuary has more to offer than just wild animals. Part of the sanctuary is the Neyyar Dam, which has a breathtaking picturesque setting.
It is irresistible for picnic lovers and the bluest of the blue lakes formed by the dam standing atop Neyyar River is perhaps the best attraction and one of must-visit Kerala destinations of all.
Whether one accepts it or not, Kerala travel is absolutely meaningless without visiting the world famous Kovalam beach. One deciding to travel to Kerala should invariably put Kovalam Beach on the itinerary. One of the popular tourist places in Kerala. Three crescent beaches adjacent to one another have been attracting global tourists since 1930s.
The beautiful calm waters can be attributed to the massive rocky promontory. When it comes to offerings, Kovalam Beach has absolutely no scarcity.
From Ayurvedic massages. to sunbathing and swimming, from catamaran cruising to a multitude of shopping zones, the beach has almost everything to offer to the beach-goers. The unusually fast tropical sun blesses people with faint coppery tan within minutes, making sunbathing the most sought-after activity.
It is not really possible to list all the places to visit in Kerala. Each of the 14 districts of Kerala has some of the other treasure to offer. Kerala alone dictates a month-long tour if every hidden gem is to be discovered. But, if time and budget pose serious constraints, those listed here will give the real taste of Kerala’s diversity.
Need help to plan your trip? Start with these useful tips!
- Best Carry On Backpack: Top Weekender Backpack Reviews
- Best Luggage: Top Suitcase Reviews
- Backpacking Minimalist: How to Travel with Less (Minimalist Travel)
- Minimalist packing list for women
- Minimalist packing list for men
- Backpack vs Luggage: Which One to Use for Long Term Travel
Important travel tips and tricks:
- Before Flight Travel Checklist: Make Sure You Have Everything You Need!
- How to Find Cheap Flights Everywhere (Using Skyscanner)
- Why You Should Get a Travel Insurance for Your Next Adventure
- Hotel, Hostel, Airbnb, or Guesthouse: Which One to Choose for Accommodation?
- Top Travel Tips to Use When You Get to Your Destination
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