How to see the best of Kerala in 15 days? I am sharing with you my Kerala itinerary from South to North including all the best tourist places and events you don’t want to miss. On the program, beaches, wonderful teagarden landscape in Munnar, fun in Kannur and Wayanad, etc
Best time to visit Kerala
Back in March, I visited the South of India, Kerala, aka God’s own country. March is still a good period to visit Kerala. It was quite warm around 30 degrees but still bearable. The best time to visit Kerala is between October and April. You will want to avoid the Indian summer as it will be way too hot.
Starting your Kerala itinerary in Trivandrum
Trivandrum is the southern most city of Kerala. It has an international airport so you might want to start your itinerary from there or from Kochi. The most famous thing to do in Trivandrum is to go see the Trivandrum Padmanabhaswamy Temple aka the richest temple in the world. Unfortunately you can’t enter this temple if you are not from Hindu religion ( you can enter the temple after submitting the declaration that you are a follower of Hindu religion for example, give a certificate from organizations like Ramakrishna Mission or Hare Rama Hare Krishna).
Next to the temple you can visit the Kuthira Malika Palace which is an example of traditional Kerala architecture. The inside of the building is a museum showcasing many valuable objects and relics owned by the royal family.
Enjoy the most beautiful beaches of Kerala between Trivandrum and Kochi
With around 600km coastline, one of the top tourist attractions in Kerala are definitely to enjoy the beaches made of long stretches of golden sand and many coconut trees. Actually I think I haven’t seen as many coconut trees in my life as in Kerala!!
Close to Trivandrum you will find two very popular beaches : Varkala and Kovalam that are perfect for anyone looking for a lively beach. We went to Kovalam beach for sunset. It was very pretty and interesting to watch the locals having fun in the big waves. It is perfect if you want to stay a few hours at the beach. If you would like to enjoy the beach a bit longer, let’s say for a few days or so, I would recommend Marari beach a bit more north. It is perfect for anyone who wants to relax as it is super quiet and also very clean. We had lunch at Marari beach resort, a very nice but quite pricey hotel if you are looking for a place to stay.
Marari beach is situated close to Alappuzha (Alleppey) from where you can hop on a houseboat to cruise the famous Kerala Backwaters.
Last picture credit : Kerala Tourism / Jinson Abraham
Cruise the backwaters on a typical Kerala house boat
The most famous tourist places in Kerala are probably the backwaters. The backwaters are a network of canals, rivers and lakes. A landscape so special that the National Geographic Traveler awarded Kerala as one of the “50 destinations of a lifetime”. To visit the backwaters aka the Venice of the East, you can go on a cruise starting in Alappuzha. Prices for one day and one night are around 250dollars per boat and are negociable.
Live the life of a local in Kumarakom
Village Life Kumarakom
Depending on the house boat you book, you can end your journey in Kumarakom. In Kumarakom, Responsible Tourism Kerala has a project called Village Life Kumarakom that allows you to experience rural life as a local and simultaneously support the local economy. During a day tour you will learn how to climb cocunut tree, how to make your own shampoo made out of local flowers, how the toddy aka palm wine is made, how to wear a sari or some weaving techniques, etc… All fun activities profiting to the villagers. A good thing is, for every group taking part in the experience, a new family gets to demonstrate skills so that as many as possible can benefit from the initiative. This project was felicitated by the “Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India for the best Responsible Tourism initiative in Kerala”.
You can book a tour on the Responsible Tourism kerala website and look for similar tours in other part of Kerala like Kovalam, Bekal, Wayanad, and Thekkady.
Explore tea plantations of Munnar and visit a tea museum
Munnar is a destination of kerala worth spending a few days as there are many things to do around.
One of the reason why Munnar is famous around the world is tea. Indeed, it is the highest tea-growing region in the world therefore a highlight of your trip should be to see some of the tea plantations. We went on a tour with Route 49, that took us through the tea plantation with a jeep. You can book a tour beforehand with Route 49 or another provider but if you decide to go to Munnar spontaneously, you will always find someone to organize your sightseeing. Also we went to see the tea plantations by jeep but the best way to discover the surroundings is to do a trek. Unfortunately there was a trek ban while in Munnar so that we could not go by feet, but you might want to look into this option.
During our tour, we stopped in the tea fields where we could see the tea pickers at work, and then to the Lockhart factory that produces 20 million kilograms of tea every year. At the factory we could see how the tea leaves are processed from A to Z.
Also if you have more time, don’t miss the Eravikulam National Park that is another popular destination in Kerala among tourist where you can see the Nilgiri tahr and other wildlife.
2 last pictures credit : Kerala Tourism / Jinson Abraham
City stop Kochi
Things to do in Kochi
Go around with the Kochi Metro
Kochi has got a metro since 2017, so it is a fun thing to try it out. When in a city I like to take public transportation so that it forces me to find my way around the city. It is also a good way to travel like locals even though I am not sure how many locals take the subway in Kochi yet as the network does not cover all the city yet.
Sightseeing in Kochi
You can find all the Kochi sightseeing spot on the internet so here is just a list on what to see :
Saint Francis church
Chinese Fishing Nets
Go shopping for souvenirs on Broadway and Jew Street
When in Kochi you might want to go for some shopping. You will be able to find anything you want from spices, antiques, handicrafts and more commercial items on Broadway street and Jew Street. Jew Street as the name says in a street where the jews of Kochi once settled in the 15th century, beside shopping you will find some very cute coffee shops in the area like Café Crafters and Café Ginger
Picture credit to Jinson Abraham
See the Pooram in Thrissur and a Theyyam in Kannur
Pooram of Thrissur
A pooram is an annual Hindu festival held after the summer harvest around March until May. While in Kerala we saw the Chathakudam pooram close to Thrissur. With the decorated elephants and traditional drumming, it was a one in a lifetime experience.
The most famous Pooram is in Thrissur so don’t miss it if you are in the area.
Before any negative comment regarding the elephants at the Pooram : I know many people are concerned about the wellbeing of the elephants, I totally get it so maybe you will want to choose a Pooram where no elephants are involved, for my part I also respect the tradition and decided to go have a look and I enjoyed the experience. Everyone can decide for themselves.
Pictures credit to Jinson Abraham
Sri Muthappan’s Theyyam
A Theyyam is a popular ritual form of worship from North Kerala. We went to see a Theyyam at the Muthappan temple near Kannur. Sri Muthappan’s Theyyams are performed year-round and daily so definitely have a stop there if you are in the area. People come from everywhere to Sri Muthappan and tell him their worries. He acts like a fortune teller and tells what to do/ what is going to happen in your life. Whatever your castes, religions and nationalities, everyone can talk to Sri Muthappan. I have heard that his words are proven to be true so don’t miss the oppurtunity!
Adventure in Kerala – Wayanad and Kannur
If you are looking for adventure. You will find it in the North of Kerala and more exactly in Wayanad and Kannur. While you can already go for a trek in Munnar, you will find even more fun activities to do more North.
Muzhappilangad drive in beach in Kannur
While it is not possible to drive on most beaches and there are good reasons for that, it is possible in Kannur on Muzhappilangad beach. On this beach all motor vehicles are allowed and many I drove a quad for the first time and it was a lot of fun. Also a good introduction to driving in India! If driving is not your thing other adventure sports like paragliding, parasailing and water sports are available.
Picture credit : Kerala Tourism / Shan Samad
Kayak around Dharmadam Island
Dharmadan Island is special for it’s mangrove surroundings which means it has a special ecosystem. What a better way to discover it via kayaking!
Picture Credit : Kerala Tourism / Shan Samad
Bamboo rafting in Wayanad
I love rafting so I got very excited when I heard that we were going bamboo rafting. While rafting is done of rough waters, bamboo rafting is done on the quiet waters of the Vythiri river. Actually it is suitable for people of all ages as the water is very shallow and you don’t need to do any efforts. You can sit on the bamboo raft for one hour and enjoy your surroundings while the driver direction the raft with a long pole. You can also ask the driver to take over. We all did and it was quite fun.
Picture credit : Kerala Tourism / Shan Samad
Rappelling in Wayanad
Because if it hills, Wayanad is very famous for it’s landscape. You can go on a trek there but what is also fun to do is mountain biking or rappelling as we did with Muddyboots. Thrills guaranteed!