If you’re any thing like me, then the chances are you’ve spent most of 2020 dreaming of the destinations you want to go to when we can travel again.
It seems there’s nothing quite as effective as inducing wanderlust as being locked down in your house!
Yes after having my 2020 travel hopes of a massive overland journey dashed, it’s safe to say, I’m firmly looking ahead to next year and my new bucket list!
And what’s at the top of that list I hear you cry?
Well, having never been to India before (I know shock, horror, gasp) there’s no question this epic travel giant is up there and the first place I want to head?… It has to be the incredible state of Kerala, not least because of all the amazing things to do there.
Read on the discover the best of them…
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Quite simply, if the tagline for any destination is “God’s Own Country”, you know it’s going to be good!
But it’s not just the saying that sold me on this amazing part of India, it’s also the travel reports, many of them from close friends, who have visited this state and, quite simply, fallen in love with it.
From long, sandy beaches to lush hillside tea farms, Kerala seems to sum up everything that’s best about India – delicious food, lush landscapes, colours everywhere and incredible, friendly people.
As a traveller who is drawn to destinations where different identities coexist, the harmonious and diverse nature of Kerala’s cultural melting pot certainly appeals.
The fact Kerala is seen as one of the most progressive places in India, with a strong record when it comes to womens’ rights, is particularly important to me as a solo female traveller.
Having not visited India before, the fact that Kerala’s more laidback and tolerant culture makes it a great soft landing point, also bumps it up my bucket list.
After all, who doesn’t want to be eased into a culture and country as super-charged as India, by a region that prides itself on being chilled!
I’ve also heard that the people of Kerala are extremely friendly and welcoming to guests.
Homestays are a great way to interact with local people and learn more about the real lives of the communities here.
However even within train carriages, on the street and in markets, you’re likely to find yourself sharing food and stories with Keralites eager to know where you are from and how much you are enjoying their homeland.
As someone who is big on smiling, I can’t wait to experience the warmth of the people here, which I’ve heard is about as happy and smiley as it gets!
Where is Kerala?
Located in the southwest of India, Kerala borders the Arabian Sea and is a lush, green state where beautiful beaches meet with verdant tropical rainforests that edge against cooler mountain hillsides in a display of jaw-dropping scenery
The best way to experience the wonderful nature of this state, I’ve heard, is by train, where the stunning views from the window combined with the local cultural experience you get inside the carriage, beautifully demonstrate the best sides of Kerala – its people and its nature.
Things to Do in Kerala
But perhaps the main reason I want to visit this Indian state is because of the number of great things to do in Kerala.
Here’s my top picks…
Backing up its reputation as laid-back and easy-going, food in Kerala is often not as spicy as elsewhere in the country, but it’s still absolutely delicious and should be enjoyed to the max!
Among the usual array of delicious curries and chai, I heard the lentil vada were to die for!
#2 Sail the Backwaters
The Kerala backwaters are famous for their amazing setting, traditional villages and incredible wildlife.
Many people choose to explore them via a houseboat, but I’ve heard that taking a day trip with a local villager in their wooden canoe is by far the better option.
Not only is it a less crowded and more authentic experience, but these paddle-operated vessels, as opposed to the motor-operated houseboats, won’t scare the wildlife off either.
They also allow you to explore the small waterways that the larger houseboats can’t get down.
Head to the town of Alleppey to search out this amazing experience.
#3 Hit up a Hill Station
For the ultimate chilled Kerala experience however, it’s all about getting away from the steamy coast and up to the cooler climates and more laidback setting of the inland hills.
Here lush tea plantations meet impressive lookout spots backed by wonderful waterfalls.
Enjoy a peaceful homestay around Munnar as well as a spot of tea and an epic view.
Sounds ideal to me!
#4 Stay with a Kerala Family
And talking of homestays, definitely one of the top things to do in Kerala is to enjoy some nights with a local family as part of a homestay.
Not only does this support sustainable and grassroots tourism, but it’s an amazing way to soak in the Kerala culture and warm hospitality.
Ideal for budget travellers in particular!
#5 Enjoy the Beach
No question that you shouldn’t miss the glorious coast of Kerala when you visit, and spending some time at the popular tourism spot of Varkala is an absolute must-do.
Bliss out with yoga and meditation classes, or just kick back with a delicious coffee and healthy salad on the golden sand.
Allowing at least 5 nights for this spot is what I’ve been told – but then again, many travellers end up staying for 5 months!
#6 Cycle Round Fort Kochi
And finally, last on this list of the best things to do in Kerala, is to soak in the history.
The old town of Kochi is the best place to do this, where spending a couple of nights gives you ample opportunity to explore the historic centre of this town either via 2 feet or 2 wheels.
If you time your visit well, you can also see the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.
This international exhibition is the largest contemporary art festival in Asia and should not be missed!
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So there you have it, the reason this Indian state is top of my bucket list, as well as the top things to do in Kerala.
Have you been here?
Got any top tips to share?
Please drop them into the comments box below, as I’d love to hear them…
This post was sponsored by Kerala Tourism but, as always, all views are my own.