India is an explosion of colour. The Golden Triangle glistens with culture, Rajasthan has pink and blue cities, and Kerala has lush green Ghat Mountains...
Things to do in Kerala
Kerala by kayak
With more and more houseboats taking over the backwaters of Kerala, you can delve deeper into the narrow canals, waterways, rivers and lakes by kayak. Stopping for traditional Kerala lunch in villages, such as Kuttanad, along the way, this is a delightful way to combine slow travel and slow food. These trips take you into the heart of rural Kerala, where duck rearers, toddy tappers and fishermen welcome peaceful paddlers, but also share their harvests with you at riverside bars, stalls and cafes along the way. Kayaking tours are led by local well trained guides who know these waters like no other, and who are tapping into tourists’ desire to discover Kerala’s biodiverse beauty through experiential travel. Combine this with a homestay in Alleppey and you have the perfect package of true community tourism.
Our Kerala Holidays
I find great pleasure in interacting with tourists and love spending time with them and helping them explore the amazing hill stations
– Zac Koshy, our supplier, Koshys Homestay
It’s stepping out of a comfort zone for some tourists but, for others it is stepping into a truly wonderful cultural one. Keralites are very welcoming and by spending some of your holiday in a homestay most of which are on small farms, you will not only meet some fab people, but eat some of the finest food on your travels. Folk music is part of Keralite tradition, so by bringing a song, recorder or harmonica on your travels, you’ll allow cultures to merge through music.
If you'd like to chat about Kerala or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Go get the Ghats
Few people associate Kerala with mountains, the Himalayas monopolising the western desire for elevated landscapes. Although they may not appeal to the serious explorers out there, the Western Ghats range is rapturous for most ramblers. And mountain bike riders. All in all, The Ghats are one of the best things to do in Kerala. Named as one of the world’s Biodiversity Hotspots, it’s a daily festival of flora and fauna here. And no snow either in winter. A good starting point is the town of Munnar, with the backdrop of Anamudi, Kerala's highest peak at 2,695m. Hike or bike through tea and coffee plantations, such as the world’s highest tea estate at Kolukumalai as well as to hillstations, which were built as summer retreats by the British colonial powers to cool down from the summer heat. Escape to tourist free hideaways on trails through high altitude grasslands and, in delightful contrast, montaine rainforest (known as sholas), such as the Silent Valley National Park with its ascent up to Meesapulimala peak. The other advantage of enjoying the elevated landscapes of Kerala is that the lowlands, with their cooling backwaters and then coastal treats, are all downhill and never too far away.
Be transported by Theyyam
The ritual of Theyyam, as an outsider, is not only an honour but also humbling to witness
A ritual form of worship undertaken by men in northern Kerala. Unlike the more well-known dance, Kathakali, this is not a performance, but a truly spiritual experience. A colourful ritual, with men besporting costume and makeup, it focuses on the worship of heroes and ancestral spirits. Although it was performed by men of the lower caste, this trance like ritual equalized everyone. It happens in festivals, or at more intimate local shrines. Best go with your tour operator in a small group.
More about Kerala
Discover the best time to visit Kerala, according to its three specific seasons, which range from cool and dry, to hot and humid, with a monsoon season, too.
This Kerala travel guide explores every side of this southern Indian state, from hiking in the Ghat Mountains, and canoeing through the backwaters, to discovering Kerala’s stonkingly delicious food, tea and spices.
Kerala’s map and highlights of places to see covers a glorious gamut of temples and trekking, backwaters and beaches, spices and cycling , tigers and tea plantations.
The food in Kerala is as big a highlight as its green hills, coast and wonderful wildlife, and its mellow flavours and nutritious ingredients have seduced many a hungry traveller.
Kerala’s converted rice barges are a great way to explore the backwaters, and the houseboats that Responsible Travel recommends offer an authentic experience.
In Kerala, visiting the spice and tea plantations that cloak the hills is a highlight of any holiday, while on the coast, the port town of Kochi still bustles with the spice trade.
Hiking through tea and spice plantations, up forested slopes to peaks with views over lakes and distant plains – walking holidays in Kerala are a treat.
Ayurveda is an ancient healthcare system that originated in southern India and still thrives in Kerala today.
Some families head to Kerala to soak up the winter sun, but there are many ways to see Kerala with kids that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Read lots of advice on travel to Kerala, on everything from visas and packing, to culture and food, from some of our expert travel companies and fellow travellers.
Overdevelopment and its trail of destruction are now the biggest issues when it comes to responsible tourism in Kerala.