While you are visiting Kerala for holidays, you need to know the opportunities you get to experience the culture of Kerala by keeping in mind these things to do in Kerala. ‘A Paradise on Earth’ there is no other words to explain about Kerala, this green Southern belle of India has got plenty of activities to do from head to toe of the State. The people of Kerala are keen to keep the modern culture go hand in hand with the traditional culture of Kerala having thousands of years of legacy bound to the state. Explore the different locales of Kerala and get hands on experience with everything the state has to offer.
What To Do in Kerala
1. House Boating
Ah! The Backwaters of Kerala is heaven on Earth; experience the magic of God’s Own Country by taking a cruise on a Kerala houseboat. Indulge in the authentic cuisine of Kerala, watching the rains in the middle of lake and experience the most amazing boat ride in your life.
Houseboat cruises in Vembanad Lake is the best take a ride Kumarakom and just induce the goodness of the beautiful scenic lake in your hearts and dwell in the nature.The rice wine and local foods of Alappuzha are well known for its authentic taste, it is a must do while you visit this beauty. House boating cannot be missed while you visit Kerala as it is the icon of Kerala Tourism, this is why house boating is number one in the things to do in Kerala.
2. Watch the traditional art forms of Kerala
Kerala is a small state in the south-eastern part of India and the place is blessed with many traditional art forms like Kathakali, Ottamthullal, Mohiniyattam, Kalaripayattu, Theyyam, Padayani and many more. Every single one depicts the rich Indian culture and the depth of the Malayalam language literature. You will be blown away by the beautiful and colourful costumes, the presentation or nadanam of these acts.
The age-old system of medicine, Ayurveda focus in the holistic health of an individual cleansing the mind and body. The different stress relieving and rejuvenating packages can renew the body by eliminating all the toxins of bad lifestyle. An herbal oil massage will relax body and mind invoking a glow in your skin and eyes. The feeling after an herbal oil massage is out of this world feeling like you’re reborn with nature.
There are different massages for head, face and body with herbal oils followed with medicated steam bath. The Ayurvedic centres usually have all the facilities as well as Yoga and meditation centres, some even have recreational activities. Ayurveda is one of the top things to do in Kerala for the holistic experience one gets by indulging in the age old treatment of Keralites.
4. Try the spicy Kerala cuisine
Dive in to the exotic cuisine of Kerala, if you feel to have something sweet with a kick, try the Toddy shops for palm wines. We recommend having paalappam and your favourite non-veg curry for breakfast and Karimeen fry with spicy curries with rice for lunch. The place is blessed with the tastiest and spiciest dishes and you’ll never forget the taste of it. Tapioca with fish curry is a must try delicacy you will be wonderstruck with the spiciness of the curries in Kerala. Do not miss having hand on experience to try the best cuisines the state offers, Kerala cuisine is one of the best things to do in Kerala.
5. Wear traditional Kerala outfits
The Kerala handloom is world famous for its blend of white and gold clothing, the golden silk known as ‘kasavu’, is handcrafted by people in a traditional looming apparatus. The traditional dress of woman are Kerala sarees which will have white body with golden silk border, the men wears the same clothing around the waist as a mundu or dhothi with cotton or silk shirts. Wearing this attire will make you ideal for the green picturesque background and a heart of malayalee fashion.
6. Try learning Malayalam words
The mother tongue of Kerala is Malayalam, a very old language with rich traditional, cultural and literary culture linked to it. Learning Malayalam is a difficult task, but try learning a few Malayalam common words like ‘namaskaram’ which in Hindi means Namaste a common greeting in India. The language will be a tongue twister for anyone for its variations of pronunciation is difficult to understand but don’t give up try a few words for your memories here in Kerala.
7. Celebrate Onam Festival
It is the National festival of Kerala, the people in Kerala irrespective of religions celebrate this harvest festival, and many activities are linked to the festival like snake boat race, making pookalam or flower arrangement on floor, onathallu which means a traditional game of fighting regarding Onam, onakkali which means onam games and much more. Learn the history behind Onam, about the King Mahabali who ruled Kerala and was sent to the lower world ‘Pathalam’ from where he comes to visit his people once a year during the festival of Onam. You cannot miss Onam if you are making a list of things to do in Kerala, since it is the time when Kerala gets ready for celebration all around the state.
8. Enjoy eating the Onam Sadya (feast)
The special feast for Onam is Sadya which is a vegetarian meal course constituting of different dishes in sweet, sour, spicy and tangy dishes. The Sadya serves all the different taste buds of your tongue and basically almost 21 dishes are served in clean banana leaf which has to be eaten using your hands in a certain course by course to complete the Sadya.
9. Elephant Safari
Many sanctuaries for Asian elephants are there in Kerala, here you can enjoy a ride on the elephant feeling like a King. This is a major thing to experience only in Kerala.
The Thrissur Pooram is a festival usually during April-May month in Thrissur district, here on Thrissur pooram there will be the traditional band played using traditional instruments, the Elanjithara Melam is a music weaved by more than 250 instruments making the atmosphere energetic and utmost exciting. The Thrissur pooram has the famous Elephant Pageant where more than 50 elephants are adorned in beautiful fashion in ornaments like ‘Nettipattam’ (gold plated caparisons) and necklaces which is a beautiful and rare sight in any other part of the World.
Another event for Thrissur Pooram is Kudamattom (exchange of glittering umbrellas ) this will blow your minds away when it’s done atop of the elephants. Finally the ‘vedikkettu’ or Fireworks of Thrissur pooram is the last event of Thrissur Pooram it is a sumptuous feast for everyone who likes the energy of a carnival. Poorams and Temple Festivals are Kerala’s iconic symbols Thrissur Pooram being known as the King of all Poorams witnessing Thrissur pooram is a major activity among the things to do in Kerala.
11. Tree house Stay
We have always dreamed of living in the air, atop at tree house like the ancient men and tribes used to. This can be experienced here in Kerala, where anything related to Nature is possible. Wayanad is the major spot which offers many tree house stay for including nights, this experience will out of the world andoneto check off from your bucket list.
The forests of Kerala are blessed with a range of different flora and fauna; experience it up close by taking a hike trip through the forests. Watching the birds, animals and different species of plants upclose in their natural habitat is one not to miss.
13. Buy spices of Kerala
Kerala can be said as the spice capital of the world, a range of exotic spices are available in Kerala. The cuisine itself stands out for the spiciness, grab some for yourself for your kitchen and try them in your dishes to give it a Kerala twist.
14. Visit the famous Temples of Kerala
Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Trivandrum, Vadakkumnatha Temple in Thrissur, Guruvayoor Temple in Guruvayoor, Parassinkkadavu Temple are some of the major Temples in Kerala. Each one of them has a rich and prolong history in influencing the culture of Kerala, the architecture and rituals will be a special experience for everyone who visits.
15. Take an Auto Rickshaw drive
The Auto Rickshaws are popular in India, Kerala has black and gold painted auto rickshaws that will be a different experience to travel through the roads enjoying the fresh air of Kerala. Kerala has lots of rickshaws and it would not be hard to find one for travel just jump in and choose a place to go and enjoy the fresh air of Kerala, now you know why this is one of the best things to do in Kerala.
16. Take a Train Journey across Kerala
A journey in a train along the length and breadth of Kerala will give you a major idea about the picturesque beauty of Kerala.
17. Visit plantation towns
The plantation towns like Munnar, Marayoor, Peermedu are major hill stations of Kerala, they are ideal for a Kerala holiday.
18. Enjoy Monsoons of Kerala
Monsoons in Kerala are not just rain; we can experience the golden blazing sun in between the rains balancing out the damp, cold weather. These sunny interludes transcend the monsoons to an exquisite sight of shimmering raindrops against the green palm leaves a rather rare sight at other parts of India.
Kerala has two rainy seasons, Edavapathy and Thulavarsham. The Southwest monsoon Edavapathy arrives in the month of June at the middle of Malayalam month Edavam gaining its name.
The mid October witnesses the Northeast Monsoon in the month of Thulam gaining the name Thulavarsham or ‘The Rains in Thulam’. This is an ideal time for Ayurveda and to enjoy the Onam Festival. Monsoons bring added beauty to Kerala being the best season for visiting many places like the waterfalls which will be blooming in the monsoons, visiting Kerala for monsoons is one not to miss for the things to do in Kerala.
19. Visit the Athirapally Waterfalls in Kerala
Kerala, the small evergreen state in India is blessed with dense forest area that are nurtured with small, medium and large water streams that will eventually merged to form luscious waterfalls. These sceneries are really beautiful enough to make us sit and enjoy for hours, just by looking at their beauty. Athirapally Falls is the largest among many waterfalls in Kerala which is known as the Niagara of Kerala, it has a star quality from all the famous movies made in this ecstatic beauty. Situated in the Chalakudy River which is extended about 145 kilometres from Western Ghats, in Thrissur district at a height of 80feet.
There are few other smaller waterfalls near Athirapally, Vazhachal falls located about 3kms from here and Charpa falls located between the Vazhachal forests. Athirapally is an evergreen dynamic celebrity starring in major motion pictures, giving you a romantic celebrity touch along your visit. Athirapally is the main location for film shooting as well. Here, the flowing water down through the Sholayar ranges eventually joins with the Chalakkudy Lake.
20. Visit Alleppey Beach
The Alleppey or Alappuzha Beach is a popular beach in Kerala, the pier which extends to sea from here is 137 years old. Recreation facilities are there in Vijaya Beach park and Sea view park which offers boating facilities with a swimming pool. An old light house in the beach adds to the age-old relations of this beach to the maritime history of Kerala and this beach.
21. Take a Trip to Bekal Town
An extravagant place for enjoying the beauty of Kerala; known for the famous Bekal fort this place is packed with many other forts, beaches and hills. Take a journey to this historic destination with your loved ones, the fort is popular from the song from Bombay movie.
22. Bird Watching
There are about 500 species of birds in the great wealth of greenery of Kerala, bird lovers can enjoy hours spending to spot a variety of birds in sanctuaries like Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Chinnar Wildlife sanctuary, Periyar Wildlife sanctuary, Thattekad Bird Sanctuary and Pakshipathalam.
23. Visit Meenmutty Waterfalls
This is one of the wonderful waterfalls which is located in Wayanad district. In order to catch the scenic beauty of this waterfall, one could get an extra joy of a 2 kilometres trekking too.
24. Visit Chinnakanal
Chinnakanal is near Munnar town and has a waterfall popularly known as Power House Waterfalls which descends from a steep rock 2000 m above sea level. The scenic beauty of Western Ghats ranges can be enjoyed from here.
25. Visit Eravikulam National Park
The Eravikulam National Park is located 13kms away from Munnar which is home to the Nilgiri Tahr, an endangered species of mountain goat and the Neelakurinji. Around one-third of Nilgiri Tahrs of the world is found in this region, the Neelakurinji blossoms only once in 12years, the next bloom will be in 2018. The park is home to 120 species of birds and around 100 species of butterflies. The highest mountain peak of South India, Anamudi is also situated here in Eravikulam National Park.
26. Enjoy Cheeyappara Waterfalls
One of the most beautiful waterfalls in Kerala, which is located on the Cochin-Madurai highway. The major activities of the tourists who are visiting this waterfall are trekking and picnicking. The speedy flow of water and its smooth sprays at regular intervals will make your mind calm and will definitely rejuvenate your inner mind.
27. Visit Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
The Chinnar forest sanctuary is situated 60km from Munnar has thousands of species of flowering plants. Also it is an exotic home to many birds, butterflies, mammals and moths. It is home to 52 species of reptiles including the Indian Star Tortoise. Exotic snake species, 15 species of amphibians and 14 species of fishes are the famous inhabitants of this place. Thoovanam Waterfalls in the sanctuary is a beautiful sight and there is also a watchtower to view the sanctuary which shares boundary with the neighbouring state, Tamil Nadu.
28. Watch the Wildlife of Periyar Tiger Reserve
Periyar Sanctuary is situated 110km from Munnar, the oldest wildlife sanctuary in Kerala having the largest protected area. The boat ride along the lake watching the sanctuary greenery is the most attractive part, the Tigers are very hard to spot in this large mass of forest. Elephant herds, deer herds, exotic birds and many more can be spotted on grasslands and on river banks. The Tiger trail in Periyar reserve is world famous; you can catch glances of the majestic tigers strolling in the woods. Kerala is known for its greenery and how can you miss this thing to do in Kerala if you do not catch at least one glimpse of the elephants strolling along the banks of luscious rivers of Kerala.
29. See the Thusharagiri Waterfalls
This waterfall is located at a distance of 50 kilometres from Calicut city. The word meaning of Thusharagiri is “snowy peak” or “snow capped mountains”. Looking at these waterfalls will make us feel like water or snow is spraying down from the Western Ghats. By trekking a 5 kilometres up the hill will give you an opportunity to see the origin of this waterfall.
30. Visit Pambadum Shola National Park
The smallest National park in Kerala, located 35km from Munnar; Elephant, Gaur, Leopard, Wild Boar, Sambar Deer and Common Langur can be spotted here, 14 species of birds, 9 species of mammals and 93 species of moths are found in Shola. The butterflies in the park are about an extraordinary 100 different species.
31. Bullock Races of Malappuram
The rustic dirty mud race of bullocks is extremely fun and energetic, participate in the race by keeping your bets on the bull you like and cheer for its victory among hundreds of people. This is perfect for understanding the culture of farmers in North Kerala; do not miss this race which is held once a year.
32. A Trip to the Historic Plantation Valley Peerumedu
Peerumedu meaning Peer’s valley is named after a sage Peer Muhammed who lived here. It is a plantation town, where coffee, tea, cardamom, rubber and eucalyptus are grown in abundance. The royal heritage of Peerumedu comes from being host to many Maharajas of Travancore and even to the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The Ammachikottaram which was the summer residence of Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bhai is a landmark in Peermedu, the Government guest house of Peermedu was the place which played host to many rulers of India.
33. The Phantom Rock in Wayanad
What is spookier than a rock in shape of a skull, Phantom Rock in Wayanad will bring you chills at the very first sight. It is locally called as Cheengery Mala, apart from being a spooky the place is perfect for photography offering scenic views and the marvellous natural skull sculpture of rock.
34. Visit the Archeological Site Edakkal Caves of Wayanad
The Edakkal Caves are located in the Ambukuthi Hills, considered as one of the earliest centres of human habitation. The caves have ancient scripts, pictorial wall inscriptions of animals and human figures. Edakkal caves are a prime spot to know more about the ancestors who lived thousands of years ago. Ancient stone scripts, pictorial wall inscriptions of animals and humans with special headdresses, the swastika symbol, symbols of trees, knives, bows, wheels, human figures and many more are found inside the cave.
35. River Rafting in Kuruva Island (Kuruvadweep)
Kuruva Island lies in the tributaries of River Kabani, the island is blessed with a variety of avian, butterflies and orchids making it very unique. It is located in Wayanad district, exploring river in a ‘Changadam’ which is bamboo wooden raft usedto cross the river is a major thing to do in Kuruva Island.
36. Take a Visit Through the Dams in Kerala
Kerala has almost 30 dams and dam reservoirs built in 40 rivers along the mountains, the Banasura Sagar Dam, Mattupetty Dam, Mullaperiyar Dam, Peechi Dam, Thanneermukkam Bund, Bhuthathankettu Dam, Idukki Dam, Idamalayar Dam and Neyyar Dam are the major ones which should not be missed during Kerala holdiays
37. Enjoy the Coconuts of Kerala
From tender coconut to different coconut products, Kerala which is known for its coconut trees have a variety of coconutty things to offer. Drink the natural tender coconut water and savour the tender coconut straight out o the shells. Buy pure coconut oil which is said to be the best for body and use it in your recipes for a different taste.
38. Buy Artefacts of Kerala
When you are here in Kerala, bring back a piece of Kerala be it a colourful Kathakali face sculpture or small artefacts made from coconut tree materials. Buy a small model of the famous snake boats or a replica of the ‘Nettipattam’ used to decorate elephants. This is a popular thing to do in Kerala because they give us memories of this beautiful state left in our mind while visiting here.
39. Take a Stroll Through the Streets of Fort Kochi
Fort Kochi is the perfect location which rememorizes the Dutch culture that existed in this region for hundreds of. The place has many historical places to get a look at to understand the diverse culture in Kerala. The major attractions are Indo-Portuguese museum, Cochin Thirumala Devaswom Temple, St. Francis Church, Santa Cruz Basilica, Bishop’s House, Fort Emmanuel, Southern Naval Command Maritime Museum and Jain Temple. All these places are in walking distance from each other, take a ferry ride from Marine drive to Fort Kochi and stroll through the small streets visiting these places nearby.
40. An Evening at Fort Kochi Beach
Enjoy an evening at the Fort Kochi Beach by watching the sunset and walk through the beach side in the fresh sea breeze. The Chinese Fishing Nets and Boilers from the colonial times give this beach a touch of heritage and history. The people here are very friendly and most of them can talk French, English and Malayalam fluently. Drink a cup of hot coffee or tea and buy some fresh fish from the beach side before going back.
41. Visit Mattancherry Palace in Kochi
The Mattancherry Palace was built in 1557 and renovated by the Dutch in 1663, the place depicts the colonial culture prevailed in Kerala during the time of colonial invasion. There are ancient murals and several artifacts displaying the royal era.
42. Take a Stroll Through the Jew Streets of Mattancherry
The Jew Street of Mattancherry is the absolute depiction of the colonial architecture and is home to a few Jewish families since the 14th century. The streets were famous among Arab and European traders for spices and many other products from Kerala. Even now there are many shops selling different spices and products in the little colonial shops of almost 700years old.
43. Visit the Pardesi Synagogue in Mattancherry
The Pardesi Synagogue is the only active synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations. Located in the Mattancherry town near the Jew Street, it is a marvellous sight of colonial architecture and cultural collaboration. The Jew Cemetery which is also 700 years old is situated near to the Jew Street in its colonial glory. The synagogue is open to visitors on non active hours.
44. Visit Palaruvi
The famous waterfall also known as “the stream of milk” is located in Kollam district. Palaruvi is the 40th highest waterfall in India, every year especially in the monsoon season thousands of tourists are visiting this place to enjoy the falls roaring in the rain. The peculiarity of this waterfall is its misty white colour, thus it got the name Palaruvi or the stream of milk.
45. Take a Cruise in Ashtamudi Lake
Ashtamudi is a gateway to the backwaters of Kerala; the name is derived from the major 8 channels or branches of the river. Famously known for the houseboat rides, this southern beauty will captivate you by the calm and fresh ambience. Take the 8km ride from Kollam to Alappuzha in this lake for honeymoon; you will be rejuvenated by this ecstatic fresh water lake and serene beauty.
46. Visit the Beach Town Kovalam
Located in the capital city of Trivandrum, Indian Ocean has blessed this place with long extended beaches separated by rocky hills, the perfect place to watch the ocean indulged in Ayurvedic massages. Watch the stunning sight of the ocean atop from the candy coloured light house, take long sunbathes and a swim in ocean. There are sports like surfing and speed boating in sea, Kovalam offers a rich Ayurveda treatment centres for rejuvenating your mind and body.
47. Visit Napier Museum
The Napier Museum is located in the capital city Trivandrum; it has a palace and beautiful large park around the palace where you can spend an amazing evening. To visit the palace which has been turned to a museum, visit during the day hours.
48. Enjoy the Trivandrum ZOO
In the premises of Napier Museum, the largest Zoo in Kerala is situated here. Stroll through the nature friendly zoo for watching hundreds of animals, birds and reptiles up close.
49. A Trip to Ponmudi Hills
The major hill station in the South Kerala, Ponmudi is perfect for a road trip from Trivandrum just about 60kms from the city. The hairpin curves and long drive through the forests is best for a misty ride and the hill top showcase an amazing view of the south of Western Ghats hills. This is a place to not miss while visiting Kerala.
50. Visit Varkala Papanasa Hills and Beach
The Papanasa hills of Varkala are the only place where cliffs are found adjacent to ocean in Kerala. Varkala is situated in the outskirts of Trivandrum District, the place has many resorts and relaxation centres alongside the beach claiming many amenities which will be perfect for enjoying the sandy beaches and hills.
There may be a lot more to experience in Kerala, which can only be experienced if you pay a visit to this southern belle. For your next trip contact us here at GreenHope Tourism for a lot more information and package deals for the perfect Kerala Holidays.
Now you know what all to not miss doing in Kerala, keep these top 50 things to do in Kerala as a checklist for your next trip to this Paradise. Know what all you want to do that excites you and contact us at Green Hope Tourism to know an extensive range of Kerala tour packages and Kerala honeymoon packages. Kerala will not leave you empty hearted if you get to do these things to do in Kerala, after your visit to this Paradise with us here at Green Hope Tourism.