How to Plan a Kerala Trip

Nestled in the southwestern corner of India, Kerala is a state that boasts an incredible diversity of landscapes, cultures, and experiences. From the sun-k beaches along the Arabian Sea to the mist-cl Western Ghats, from the tranquil back to the bustling cities Kerala offers something for every kind of traveler. It’s no wonder that this enchanting destination is often referred to as “God’s Own Country.”

Planning a trip to Kerala can be an adventure in itself, given the wealth of options available. To help you navigate through this process, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide covering everything you need to know about how to plan a Kerala trip. Whether you’re a first-timer or someone looking to experience Kerala anew, this detailed guide will ensure you make the most of your visit.

Understanding Kerala’s Geography and Climate

A Land of Diverse Landscapes

Kerala stretches along the southwestern coast of India, bordered by Tamil Nadu to the southeast, Karnataka to the north, and the Arabian Sea on the west. It is divided into 14 districts, each offering unique experiences and attractions. The state can be roughly divided into three geographical regions:

  • The Western Ghats: These mountain ranges are home to lush forests, wildlife sanctuaries, and hill stations like Munnar and Wayanad.
  • The Coastal Plain: This region includes the renowned backwaters, beaches, and coastal cities like Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, and Alappuzha.
  • The Inland Plains: This area is rich in cultural heritage, agricultural lands, and traditional villages.

When to Visit Kerala

Kerala enjoys a tropical climate, which can be divided into three main seasons:

1. Winter (October to March):

This is the most popular tourist season, characterized by pleasant weather with temperatures ranging between 20°C to 30°C. It’s an ideal time for outdoor activities, beach visits, and exploring the backwaters and hill stations.

2. Summer (April to June):

Summer in Kerala can get quite hot and humid, with temperatures soaring up to 35°C. However, it’s a great time to visit the hill stations where the climate remains cooler.

3. Monsoon (July to September):

Kerala receives heavy rainfall during the monsoon season. The landscape turns lush and green, making it a magical time to visit if you enjoy the rain. It’s also the perfect period for Ayurvedic treatments as the moist climate enhances the therapies.

“Kerala is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit largely depends on the kind of experiences you are seeking.”

Crafting Your Itinerary: Key Destinations to Consider

Exploring the Backwaters

Alappuzha (Alleppey)

Often referred to as the “Venice of the East,” Alappuzha is famous for its houseboat cruises through the idyllic backwaters. A houseboat cruise offers a unique opportunity to witness the daily life of local communities living along the water’s edge, paddy fields, and coconut groves.


Located near Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom is another gem of the Kerala backwaters. The bird sanctuary here is a haven for bird watchers, and the tranquil waters make for a perfect getaway.

“Don’t miss a houseboat stay—they come equipped with modern amenities and offer a serene experience amidst nature.”

Discovering Hill Stations


If you enjoy rolling green hills and tea plantations, Munnar is a must-visit. Situated at about 1,600 meters above sea level, it offers breathtaking sights of tea gardens, spice plantations, and scenic waterfalls like Attukal and Lakkam.


Wayanad is known for its dense forests, wildlife, and historical caves. Edakkal Caves are a notable attraction here, featuring ancient petroglyphs. The region is also perfect for trekking and nature walks.

Coastal Getaways and Beaches


This beach town near the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram is famous for its crescent-shaped beaches like Lighthouse Beach, Hawa Beach, and Samudra Beach. Kovalam is ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying water sports.


A relatively quieter alternative to Kovalam, Varkala is known for its cliff-side beaches. The Varkala Beach, or Papanasam Beach, is another popular spot, known for its natural springs and dramatic cliffs.

Immersing in Culture and Heritage

Kochi (Cochin)

Known as the “Queen of the Arabian Sea,” Kochi is a bustling port city with a rich blend of cultures. Key attractions include Fort Kochi with its colonial architecture, Chinese fishing nets, and the Mattancherry Palace.

Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum)

The capital city is a cultural hub, home to landmarks such as the Padmanabhaswamy Temple and the Kuthiramalika Palace. The city is also close to the Kovalam beach resort area.

Experiencing Wildlife

Kerala has several wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, the most notable being:

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

Located in Thekkady, this sanctuary is famous for its elephant and tiger population. A boat ride on Periyar Lake provides a chance to spot wildlife in their natural habitat.

Silent Valley National Park

A pristine park in the Nilgiri Hills, it is known for its unique ecosystem and rich biodiversity. Trekking and guided tours are popular activities.

Practical Tips for Planning Your Kerala Trip

Booking Accommodations

Kerala offers a variety of accommodations catering to all budgets, from luxury resorts and boutique hotels to budget guesthouses and homestays. Here are some tips for finding the right place to stay:

  • Book in advance: Especially during the peak season, it’s a good idea to book your accommodations well in advance.
  • Opt for Homestays: If you’d like to experience local culture and hospitality, consider staying at a homestay.
  • Research Reviews: Websites like TripAdvisor and provide user reviews that can help you gauge the quality of accommodations.

Getting Around Kerala

Kerala has a well-connected transportation network, making it relatively easy to travel from one place to another.

  • Local Buses and Trains: Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses and Indian Railways offer extensive services across the state. Trains are particularly convenient and affordable for longer distances.
  • Taxis and Auto-Rickshaws: For more localized travel within cities or towns, taxis and auto-rickshaws are readily available.
  • Houseboats and Ferries: The extensive network of backwaters makes houseboats and ferries a unique mode of transportation.

“Consider renting a car if you’re planning to visit multiple destinations. It gives you the flexibility to explore at your own pace.”

What to Pack

When packing for your Kerala trip, here are some essentials you should consider:

  • Lightweight Clothing: Given the tropical climate, light and breathable fabrics are recommended.
  • Comfortable Footwear: You’ll likely do a lot of walking, so comfortable shoes are a must.
  • Rain Gear: If you’re visiting during the monsoon season, pack a raincoat or an umbrella.
  • Sunscreen and Insect Repellent: To protect yourself from the sun and insects, especially if you’re spending time outdoors.
  • Travel Adapters and Chargers: Make sure to pack adapters and chargers for your electronic devices.

Health and Safety Considerations

Kerala is generally a safe destination, but keeping some health and safety tips in mind can ensure a hassle-free trip.

  • Stay Hydrated: The tropical climate can be dehydrating, so drink plenty of water.
  • Food Hygiene: Stick to bottled or filtered water and enjoy food from reputable establishments to avoid any stomach issues.
  • Travel Insurance: Consider buying travel insurance to cover any unexpected medical expenses or trip cancellations.
  • Local Emergency Numbers: Keep a list of local emergency numbers, including healthcare facilities and police, just in case.

Indulging in Kerala’s Culinary Delights

Kerala’s cuisine is a gastronomic delight that reflects its rich cultural heritage and abundant natural resources. Some must-try dishes include:

  • Sadya: A traditional vegetarian feast served on a banana leaf, typically during festivals. It consists of multiple dishes, including rice, sambar, avial, and payasam (a type of dessert).
  • Seafood: Given its extensive coastline, Kerala is renowned for its seafood dishes like karimeen (pearl spot fish) pollichathu, prawn curry, and fish molee.
  • Appam with Stew: A rice pancake served with a coconut milk-based vegetable or meat stew.
  • Puttu and Kadala Curry: Steamed rice cakes served with chickpea curry.
  • Malabar Parotta: A flaky, layered bread, often served with meat curries.

“Don’t forget to try the famous Kerala chai (tea) and snacks like banana chips and spicy tapioca fries!”

Making the Most of Your Kerala Experience

Engaging in Local Festivals

Kerala is known for its vibrant festivals, which offer a glimpse into the state’s cultural richness. If your trip coincides with one, make sure to participate or attend.

  • Onam: The harvest festival celebrated with grand feasts, traditional games, and cultural performances.
  • Thrissur Pooram: A temple festival known for its spectacular fireworks, colorful processions, and decorated elephants.
  • Vishu: The Malayali New Year marked by rituals, feasts, and fireworks.

Experiencing Ayurveda and Wellness

Kerala is the heartland of Ayurveda, an ancient Indian system of medicine that promotes holistic well-being. Consider indulging in some Ayurvedic treatments such as massages, detoxification programs, and stress-relief therapies at certified centers.

“Ayurvedic treatments can offer a rejuvenating retreat within your travel itinerary.”

Shopping for Souvenirs

When in Kerala, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to shop for unique souvenirs. Some popular items include:

  • Spices: Kerala’s spices are world-famous, especially black pepper, cardamom, and cloves.
  • Tea and Coffee: Munnar’s tea and Wayanad’s coffee make excellent gifts.
  • Handicrafts: Look for intricately crafted items like coir products, handloom textiles, and bamboo handicrafts.
  • Jewelry: Traditional Kerala jewelry, especially gold ornaments, can be a valuable keepsake.

Conclusion: Embrace the Spirit of Kerala

Kerala is a land of endless beauty and diverse experiences waiting to be explored. Planning your Kerala trip can seem overwhelming given the multitude of choices, but it’s also part of the adventure. Whether you’re sailing through the serene backwaters, strolling along sandy beaches, trekking in lush hills, or indulging in mouthwatering cuisine, every moment in Kerala is bound to be memorable.

So, ready your bags, plan wisely, and prepare to immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of God’s Own Country. Your Kerala adventure awaits!

“Travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape you. Explore, dream, and discover the myriad charms of Kerala.”

Troper Tours