What is Kerala like?
Often one wonders, especially, when planning to visit here for the first time. Sandwiched between the South Western coast of India, along the Arabian Sea, and the Western Ghats, it is famous, the world over, for its Backwaters, palm-lined gold and silver sandy beaches, sprawling tea estates, Wildlife Sanctuaries, National Parks, a rich cultural heritage, and amazing hill stations, all these rolled up into one, make for a heady mixture for a memorable, kaleidoscopic, and a picturesque vacation, that needs to be on your or to that matter every one must-visit destination list.
When planning out for a trip to this amazing destination also known as “God’s Own Country”, for the first time, it is best left to your travel advisor to arrange for the most exotic and pleasurable trip for you. Such a plan out would include the entire gamut of activities and sightseeing for you, during your visit. It will also include all your travel, accommodation-related issues, which for you as an individual, are more likely to tense you up and kill the joy of the trip.
It is also important to note that the best time to plan a visit to Kerala is during the winter period, October to March. Here let us not confuse ourselves with the term winters, as the winter down south is generally very pleasant unlike the northern region where they tend to be freezing cold.
A specific mention of this season is made because the summers are hot and humid and uncomfortable, followed by some real heavy monsoons from June to September, thus the period from October to March is considered to be ideal for a trip to this destination.
Drawn up, below, is a 5-day itinerary that includes the best of the places to visit and experience in Kerala during your visit.
As mentioned above you could trust your travel advisor to make arrangements for your travel across Kerala or alternatively you could ask your accommodation to provide for a local travel service provider to take you around at reasonable rates.
Suggested Read: Marari Beach
The 5-Day Kerala Tour
The Kochi (Cochin) International Airport, the largest one in Kerala and is very well connected to all the major Indian cities and international destinations as well, is where you are more than likely to land at the very first instant, and the Kochi Railway junction, if traveling by train.
Day – 1
You could take a cab from the airport/railhead directly to Fort Kochi, a seaside town, with most of the places of interest like the Chinese fishing nets, churches, and palaces, spice markets, a few temples, and Mattancherry lying within a comfortable distance of each other.
If you happen to reach towards the evening then it is suggested that you plan a leisurely trip to the sea beach and revel in its beauty and the freshness, take a small walk along the coast, which is sure to freshen you up for the upcoming tour.
Known for its old-world colonial charm Fort Kochi is essentially a seaside town in the south-western part of Main Kochi. It is frequented by tourists to get a glimpse of the remnants of the Portuguese and the Dutch culture and colonialism. Accommodation is also available at Fort Kochi which you can avail of, once there.
Fort Kochi is a very compact area, in mainland Kochi, is complete with shops selling you handicrafts, souvenirs, eateries, etc. typical to Kerala. From your place of residence, you can avail of local transport for a tour around the nearby places of tourist interest. This is likely to cost you around Rs 1200 to 1500/- per head for a four to five hours tour.
To start with you could stroll along the beach, here, enjoying and relishing the beauty of the place and the adjoining Mahatma Gandhi Beach, and visit the ruins of Fort Emmanuel.
Suggested Read: Best Must To Visit Places
Chinese Fishing nets
A little further down the Mahatma Gandhi beach, you will get to see the famous Chinese fishing nets, typical to Kochi, lined up along the coast. These traditional fishing nets were introduced to the locals by the Chinese explorers who had visited here over 500 t0 600 years ago. Their typically cantilever design makes it possible for 3 – 4 people to operate these huge nets.
St Francis Church
One of the oldest European Churches in India, the St Francis Church a few minutes away from the Chinese Fishing nets near River Road, is known for its magnificent and faded façade housing a small bell tower
Santa Cruz Basilica
Roughly 5 minutes’ walk from the Church, on Bastian Street, is the Santa Cruz Basilica. This Basilica is a picture-perfect structure straight out of a fairytale book. Its main attractions are the murals, frescos and the ceiling paintings on the inside, towering white spires with very fine detailing, a must-visit places in Kerala.
Having visited the above you can move on to visit the Jew Town, a historic Jewish area in Mattancherry, roughly 3 Kms southeast of Fort Kochi. You can spend time strolling around while practicing your bargaining skills at the handicraft and antique shops of the area. While here make it a point to visit the Pardesi Synagogue, the oldest surviving Synagogue dating back to 1568.
This visit is likely to keep you busy sightseeing for a larger part of the day. Moreover, it becomes hot towards the afternoon so it is best advised to laze around at an eating point of your choice, at Fort Kochi and laze around for some time.
Towards the evening it is suggested that you visit the Kochi Marine Drive. You are treated to an amazing view of the Kerala backwaters from the Marine Drive; moreover, it is also one of the most popular hangout spots in Kochi. Bordering the sea the roughly 3 Kms long walkway is an ideal place to spend some quality leisurely time with your family or your loved one, or alone, with the gentle sea breeze brushing through your hair, a very rejuvenating and relaxing experience.
Suggested Read: Athirappilly Best Destination
This amazing walkway extends from the Jankar Jetty, to the Ernakulam Boat Jetty, connecting some of the important landmarks along its route like the Rainbow Bridge, China Net Bridge, House Boat Bridge and the GCDA shopping complex. In short if you seek to explore and understand what Kochi is all about then Marine Drive is the place you must visit.
Time permitting you could squeeze in a 2 hour Sunset Cruise on the Arabian Sea. This cruise starts from the Marine drive during the sunset and takes you around the Cochin Shipyard, Bolgatty Island, and Wellingdon Island, Mattancherry, Fort Kochi and the Chinese nets.
Although there is plenty more to see and experience in Kochi, which could take up to three days to go through completely the time criteria needs to be taken care of. Thus let’s get going to our next destination for day 2 & 3.
Suggested Read: Best Beaches in Goa
Days 2 and 3: Traditional Kerala Houseboat experience
Check out from your place of residence, while doing so ask them to arrange for transport to Alleppey it would be roughly around Rs 3600/- for 60 Km drive. Alternatively you can also venture out and self negotiate with some of the transporters, as available locally, for a cost as low as Rs 1500 to 2000/- for this one and half to two hour ride.
Similarly you could ask them for fixing up a houseboat for a period of two days, as that is the period that you will need to get the best experience of enjoying your stay on a traditional Kerala Houseboat.
Alternately you could walk around the docks and negotiate a good deal for a two day round trip on a houseboat. Moreover, by doing so, you have the option of negotiating on the inclusions that you would prefer to have, menu wise, on your two day trip.
Although these houseboats do not serve liquor on board but they are not averse to you carrying your own if you wish to and would gladly chill your wine or beer for you.
Built in a traditional style, complete with a thatched roof, are suitably designed to cater to from couples to group tours, on their respective Kerala tour packages, while ranging from economy to luxury class types. They are provided for with all the amenities that you will need for a two day, or more, on board stay, during the cruise through the backwaters of Kerala.
These world famous backwaters of Kerala constitute of interconnected lagoons, rivers, canals, and lakes forming a network of about 900 kilometers, bordered by lush green rice fields and small hamlets along their route.
The best way to enjoy the world famous tranquil and peaceful backwaters of Kerala is to get onto a houseboat and just cruise around the length of these waterways. These houseboats periodically dock along their route for lunch and dinner respectively and overnight stays. You can avail some of the best and fresh traditional vegetarian and non-vegetarian, Kerala cuisine, during these stops.
Your houseboat will starts with an introductory drink at 12 noon, a check in time as prevalent in the hotel industry. Before boarding a houseboat for a two day cruise it is important that you stock up yourself with your music, books and entertainment sources well in advance. The reason for this is the fact that these houseboats lack the facility of ant form of a WiFi connection.
Once all on board these houseboats set out their routine and dock at an exotic location for a sumptuous lunch that features multiple dishes ranging from vegetarian to non- dishes with sea food, sauces, rice, and bread. After a short break the boat furthers its journey down the waterways and docks at another location before sundown for the overnight stay, as these boats are not permitted to cruise post sundown.
You could enjoy a lovely leisurely walk along the rice fields after the boat docks for the evening and settle down for the night after a good dinner.
Suggested Read: Mount Abu
Day – 3
The Houseboat starts its journey further down the backwaters after a breakfast. The boat sails through some mesmerizing landscapes of lush green fields and small villages that are situated along the waterways, a view that you can relish sitting on the deck of your boat. You could also indulge in reading while cruising along as there will be nothing to disturb you as this is bound to be an ideal far from the madding crowd trip ever.
The lunch and the dinner routine having been completed these boats return to their docks the next morning before 9 am, as they need to prepare for the next load of tourists. Once back on land you can treat yourself to some sumptuous breakfast and continue your journey onwards for the days 4 & 5.
Days 4 & 5
For the day 4 & 5 you have the choice to opt for a beach outing or a typical Kerala interior hill station. As per our statistics people generally opt for spending some time on a hill station.
So in this case what better place to choose than the Munnar hill station, a place frequented and preferred by most of the tourists visiting Kerala.
Suggested Read: Baga Beach(North Goa)
At Munnar you are surrounded by lush green landscape whichever way you look. Sprawling tea estates and rubber plantations account for this surreal experience of being among the best nature can provide. More over it makes for a perfect getaway for avid hikers.
Munnar is roughly 130 Kms, a 4 hour drive from Alleppey, also if you are culminating your Kerala trip at Munnar you will need to drive back about 140 Kms to Kochi to catch your flight or entrain.
If you leave early from Alleppey you can reach Munnar by the noon and then after lunch you could plan out a walk around the sprawling tea estates and the rubber plantations savoring the fresh air while foraying into the adjoining tea factory to see how the green tea leaves get converted into the tea we get in the market.
Suggested Read: Things to Know for First Time Visitor-Goa
Day – 5
The other surrounding places that you can spend time visiting in and around Munnar are:
As the name suggests this place is an ideal location, about 3 Kms from Munnar, amidst tea estates with a mountainous background, for a memorable photo shoot. Moreover the all round scenery at this point is mesmerizing to say the least.
Here too as the name suggests you can experience the reverberation of your voice when you call out sufficiently loud. Needless to say, that this point, roughly 12 to 15 Kms from Munnar, too is a scenic beauty.
Eravikulam National Park
For those of you who may be curious about seeing wildlife in its natural habitat, then this National Park is the ideal place to be at when visiting Munnar. The USP at this park is the rare but friendly Nilgiri Thar that you can spot. This park is roughly around 8 Kms north of Munnar.
Suggested Read: Best Budget Trip Destinations
Depending on your time frame you could go on a Munnar hike wandering through the lush green tea estates to the Top Station view Point, from where you can get a mesmerizing our all panoramic view of the awesome Western Ghats mountain range.
There are plenty of places for you to rent out for the night, moreover the entire place being a spread of tea estates and rubber plantations there is no need to go in for any centrally located place to spend the night you could shack up anywhere depending on your budgetary provisions.
Although extensions to your itinerary can be worked out depending on your willingness to include a visit to ant one of the various beaches Kerala is characterized with, detailed above is an extensive 5 day tour itinerary for a Kerala tour for beginners.
So what are we waiting for plan out let us know your desired family or honeymoon Kerala tour package and leave the rest to us, we will ensure that you get the best of this visit.