Kerala and its umpteen attractions have always made travelling a delightful experience. There are also several intriguing things to do in Kerala that entice tourists from all over the world. From boating to paragliding, cruising and beach hopping, Kerala caters for the needs of every traveller.

Its unique culture and breathtaking landscapes offer an escape from the fast-paced modern world. Kerala has become one of the popular destinations for ultimate relaxation, similar to other international destinations like Bali and Tahiti. Kerala welcomed 1.88 Cr domestic tourists in 2022.

Whether attending a dance performance, cruising through the backwaters on a houseboat or indulging in tea-tasting sessions, the state is blessed with many things that keep you engaged and entertained throughout the trip.

Are you still not sure when to visit Kerala? You must be astonished that you can visit this “God’s own country” anytime, but consider the weather before planning a Kerala trip. Though the state experiences a hot and humid climate, two monsoon sessions bring plenty of rainfall.

Where to stay in Kerala

Our recommendations,

  • Spice Jungle Resort (Munnar) ($46 per night**)
  • Clouds Valley Leisure Hotel (Munnar) ($51 per night**)
  • Fragrant Nature Backwater Resort & Ayurveda Spa (Kovalam) ($72 per night**)
  • Quadiriya Palace (Thekkady) ($24 per night**)
  • Periyar Nest Resorts (Periyar) ($54 per night**)

Get 15% off on your stays with “BNG15”. [T & C apply]

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Top things to do in Kerala

We have curated a list of must-do things in Kerala to make your upcoming vacation more intriguing and blissful.

1. Explore Alleppey Backwaters and Stay at the Houseboats

There is no better way to start your vacation with Alleppey Backwaters. Often known as “Venice of the East”, Alleppey is the utmost destination for nature enthusiasts, offering serene backwaters and soul-soothing greenery.

Houseboat cruises are the highlight of the Alleppey Backwaters experience. These traditional Kettuvallam-style houseboats offer a unique way to travel through the interconnected waterways, passing by lush green paddy fields, coconut groves, quaint villages, and local life. You can choose from various houseboats with modern amenities, from basic to luxurious.

 Backwaters Houseboats

The onboard staff will prepare traditional Kerala cuisine for you, including fresh seafood, coconut-based curries, and local specialities.

Many houseboat itineraries include stops at local villages along the backwaters. This allows you to interact with the villagers, observe their daily routines, and learn about their traditional way of life. You can also visit nearby attractions like Ambalapuzha Temple and St. Mary’s Forane Church.

Time: 1-2 days

Cost: The price starts from $61

What are the places to stay in Alleppey?

Our recommendations,

  • Srikrishna Houseboats ($91 per night)
  • Indiavacationz Houseboats ($108 per night)
  • Cosy Houseboats ($121 per night)

Get 15% off on your stays with “BNG15”. [T & C apply]

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2. Discover the Roots of Kerala with the Kumarakom Village Tour

Nowadays, people live in urban areas to make their lives more comfortable and hassle-free. But this habit is disconnecting them from their rural roots. A village tour is one of the top things to do in Kerala to get glimpses of rural life.

Thus, people, especially foreigners, prefer village tourism in Kerala.

Kerala with the Kumarakom Village Tour

Kumarakom is a serene village renowned for its backwaters, traditional lifestyle, and lush landscapes. During the village tour, you can converse with villagers, witness their craftsmanship, and participate in traditional activities like coir-making, fishing, and toddy-tapping.

A major highlight of the tour is savoring authentic Kerala cuisine. The village tour might include visiting a local home to enjoy a traditional meal served on banana leaves. The coconut, spices, and fresh seafood flavours will tantalize your taste buds.

3. A jungle safari at Periyar National Park

Periyar National Park is one of the popular attractions in Kerala that you can’t escape on your trip. Exploring a jungle safari at Periyar National Park is one of the famous things to do in Kerala, especially for nature and wildlife aficionados.

Periyar is home to a rich array of animals, including elephants, tigers, Indian gaurs, sambar deer, wild boars, and more. Spotting these majestic creatures in their natural habitat is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Kerala jungle safari at Periyar National Park

One of the unique features of Periyar National Park is the boat safari on Periyar Lake. Drifting on the tranquil waters surrounded by the verdant forests is an exceptional experience.

The boat safari lets you observe wildlife that frequents the lake’s edge, making for memorable sightings.

Pro tip: Maintain a safe distance from animals and avoid sudden movements or loud noises that might disturb them.

4. Birdwatching at Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, or the Vembanad Bird Sanctuary, is an incredible sanctuary on the banks of the Vembanad Lake.

This bird sanctuary is home to many native as well as migratory birds. It is highly applauded by bird watchers and nature lovers. You can reach there either by a houseboat or a motor boat.

Kerala Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

Pro tip: You can encounter the Indian Pond Heron, Little Egret, and Great Egret as they wade in the water for food.

Timing: 6 am to 6 pm

Entry Fee: 50 cents for Indians and $1.2 for foreign nationals.

5. Pamper Your Body with an Authentic Ayurvedic Massage

Kerala is synonymous with Ayurveda, and the state has been swarmed by travellers for this art of healing. Though it originated in India, this ancient healing art is practised with great joy in Kerala. So, taking an Ayurveda massage is one of the must-do things in Kerala.

Kerala’s serene atmosphere and Ayurvedic expertise create the perfect setting for a blissful and therapeutic experience.

The state receives 6 lakh foreign tourists every year, and 35 % seek Ayurveda treatments.

The soothing touch of the therapist’s hands, aromatic oils, and calming ambience induce deep relaxation. Ayurvedic massages alleviate stress, anxiety, and fatigue, giving you a renewed sense of tranquillity.

Price: The massages start from $24 per session.

What is Kerala Ayurvedic massage called?

Abhyangam is an intensely relaxing and invigorating full-body massage where the expert uses Ayurvedic and aromatic oils to loosen various body muscles.

6. Greet Elephants on a Safari at Thekkady

After an intriguing jungle safari at Periyar National Park, the elephant safari at Thekkady is one of the top things to do in Kerala.

Elephants hold a special place in Kerala’s culture and history. Thekkady elephant safari provides a rare opportunity to get up close to these gentle giants in their natural habitat.

Greet Elephants on a Safari at Thekkady

During your safari trip, you can bathe, click photos and ride the elephants. So, be ready to snap shots of these incredible creatures against the backdrop of the forest.

Timing: 6 am to 5 pm

Price: $5 for 30 minutes

7. Visit the Jatayu Earth Centre at Kollam

Visiting Jatayu Earth Centre in Kollam explores both the mythical past and the modern present. Opened on 25th November 2017, this theme park, named after the mythical eagle Jatayu from the Indian epic Ramayana, offers adventure, nature, and cultural exploration.

The park embraces visitors with plenty of adventure activities, including paintball, laser tag, archery, bouldering, rock climbing, air rifle shooting, etc. But the park’s prime attraction is a colossal sculpture of Jatayu, the mythical bird that played a pivotal role in the Ramayana.

Timing: 10 am to 5.30 pm

Price: $5.50 per person

8. Marvel at Athirapally Falls

Known as the “Niagara of India,” Athirapally Falls is a breathtaking cascade that embodies nature’s raw power and awe-inspiring elegance.

Athirapally Falls is a sight to behold, with water tumbling down a steep rock face, creating a spectacular waterfall that spans nearly 80 feet in height. It is also called Bahubali Waterfall and is one of the most-visiting things to do in Kerala.

The monsoon season (June to September) is the best time to witness Athirapally Falls in full glory. During this time, the water flow is at its peak, creating a breathtaking spectacle as the falls roar with power.

Timing: 8 am to 6 pm

Price: 15 cents per person

9. Tea Plantations in Munnar

While planning your Kerala itinerary, don’t miss the opportunity to explore tea gardens in Munnar. It is one of the famous things to do in Kerala that will help you to know more about the intricate process of tea cultivation.

One of the best times to visit these tea gardens is during the early morning hours when the mist still blankets the hills. The cool and crisp air, combined with the fragrance of tea leaves, creates an enchanting ambience.

Tea Plantations in Munnar

Many tea estates also offer guided tours where you can learn about the tea-making process, from plucking the leaves to the final packaging.

Munnar also offers various other attractions, such as the Eravikulam National Park, Anamudi Peak, and the Mattupetty Dam, making it a well-rounded destination for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.

10. Witness the Exciting Snake Boat Race at Alleppey

The Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race takes place on the picturesque Punnamada Lake in Alleppey, also known as Alappuzha.

The event is typically held on the second Saturday of August and draws huge crowds worldwide. The race is named after India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who visited the region in 1952 and was presented with a beautifully decorated snake boat.

The snake boat race is a fierce competition involving several traditional long and sleek boats, each accommodating many rowers. These boats are known as “snake boats” due to their elongated shape (100-120 feet long) and the raised bow resembling the hood of a snake. The teams of rowers, often dressed in colorful traditional attire, paddle in unison to the rhythm of classic songs and chants.

Apart from the race itself, the Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race is a cultural extravaganza. The event is accompanied by various traditional performances, folk dances, music, and local cuisine.

11. Enjoy Delicious Local Cuisine

Your Kerala trip won’t be completed without tasting its delicious cuisine. Kerala is renowned for its rich culinary heritage, which features an array of dishes that celebrate the region’s abundant spices, coconut, and fresh ingredients.

What makes Keralite cuisine so popular and unique? The answer is its homegrown spices.

Tasting its popular dishes like Idiyappam with Curry, Erissery, Ela Sadya, Puttu and Kadala Curry, Appam with Ishtu, Kerala Style Prawn Curry, Nadan Kozhi Varuthathu, Karimeen Pollichathu, Thalassery Biryani is certainly one of the top things to do in Kerala.

12. Stay in a Treehouse at Wayanad

To make your trip memorable and unique, one of the best things to do in Kerala is to stay in a treehouse at Wayanad.

Staying in a treehouse is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of the Western Ghats and indulge in the magic of the treetop world. During your stay, you can also enjoy other activities like rock climbing, rappelling, nature walks, etc.

13. Parasaillng and Paragliding in Varkala

Are you seeking an adrenaline rush and breathtaking views? Then, don’t miss the opportunity to participate in Varkala’s parasailing and paragliding activities.

This coastal area offers a stunning backdrop of cliffs, beaches, and the Arabian Sea, making it an ideal destination for these exhilarating aerial adventures.

Experience the thrill of flying as you are harnessed to a parachute-like canopy attached to a motorboat. As the boat speeds up, you will ascend into the sky, gliding through the air while enjoying panoramic views of the coastline.

Paragliding allows you to soar like a bird, utilizing a lightweight, non-motorized glider.

Pro tip: Before participating in these activities, it’s advisable to check the weather conditions and choose a reputable operator focusing on safety.

Price: The starting price is from $12.

14. Watch a Performance at Kathakali Centre in Kochi

Kathakali is a renowned classical dance-drama that originated in Kerala and is known for its elaborate makeup, intricate costumes, expressive gestures, and vibrant storytelling.

The Kathakali Centre in Kochi offers a unique opportunity to witness this art form up close and appreciate its rich cultural significance.

The extravagant costumes and elusive dance movements depict a meaningful Hindu mythological story. All artists are trained exquisitely, including hours of eye exercises to make their performances intriguing, real, and magical.

15. Fort Kochi

Exploring Fort Kochi on your Kerala tour is like stepping into a living history book, where every corner unveils stories of the past and the cultural history that makes this place so captivating.

From colonial remnants to vibrant local life, Fort Kochi is a destination that invites you to experience its unique charm.

While strolling in various streets of Fort Kochi, you will encounter picturesque landscape dotted with colonial-era buildings. The fusion of Portuguese, Dutch, and British architectural influences is evident in structures like St. Francis Church, Santa Cruz Basilica, and various heritage homes.

Pro tip: Fort Kochi offers a range of cafes, restaurants, and street food stalls where you can taste Kerala’s flavorful cuisine.

The iconic Chinese fishing nets that line the coast are fun to watch.

16. Bamboo Rafting in Thekkady

One of the unique and fun-loving things to do in Kerala is enjoying a thrilling bamboo rafting in Thekkady.

Bamboo rafts are constructed using locally sourced bamboo, making this exploration mode environmentally friendly and sustainable. The rafts are guided by trained professionals who ensure that the experience has minimal impact on the ecosystem.

This adventure activity is offered and supervised by the Forest Department at Thekkady, where visitors are taken to the catchment area of the national park.

17. Beach Hopping in Varkala

Beach hopping in Varkala explores Kerala’s coastal splendor, offering diverse beach experiences that cater to every traveller’s preferences.

From relaxation to adventure, Varkala’s beaches promise an unforgettable journey along the sun-kissed coastline.

Begin your beach hopping journey at Papanasam Beach, famous for its mythological significance and therapeutic waters. Then, you can visit other popular beaches like Black Beach, Varkala Beach, Kappil Beach and Varkala Cliff Beach.

18. Catch a Theyyam Ritual in Action in Kannur

Witnessing a Theyyam ritual in action is a rare privilege that offers a glimpse into the mystical and deeply spiritual world of Kerala’s cultural heritage.

Theyyam is deeply rooted in the spiritual beliefs of the region. It involves invoking deities and spirits through intricate rituals, allowing the performer to embody divine beings and communicate with the divine realm.

One of the most striking aspects of Theyyam is the elaborate costumes and makeup worn by the performers. During a Theyyam performance, the artist engages in intricate dance movements and gestures believed to channel the deity’s spirit.

Conclusion

Kerala is an enchanting realm where ancient traditions harmoniously coexist with modern pursuits. From tranquil moments by the backwaters to vibrant celebrations of art and culture, Kerala offers a diverse and immersive journey that captures every traveller’s heart, mind, and soul.

Get the best vacation deals online for Kerala with Bookit N Go. The company offers 15% discounts on hotels with “BNG15”.

FAQs

Is five days enough in Kerala?

Kerala has so many attractions that you need a minimum of one month to explore the state. But in five days, you can visit its prime attractions like Kerala backwaters, Kochi, Munnar, etc.

What can I bring back from Kerala?

Kerala is famous for coir and coconut products.

Kerala is known as the “Spice Garden of India,” so bringing back aromatic spices like cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg is a flavorful and authentic choice.

The hilly regions of Munnar and Wayanad produce some of India’s finest teas and coffees. Purchase packets of high-quality tea leaves or freshly roasted coffee beans to enjoy a piece of Kerala at home.

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