As a land blessed with abundant rains and lush greeneries, the south-western state of Kerala is so much more than just houseboats and backwater, tea plantations and ayurvedic massages. Kerala caters to off-beat travelers with, its rich history which can be explored in Fort Kochi, the spiritual Theyyam performance, fascinating jungle experience in Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, and many more of such experiences. People from Goa usually visit Kerala for such adventures experiences and Kerala never disappoints. From a taste of culture to experimental holidays, Kerala has something or the other for all kinds of tourists.
Kerala welcomes tourists all year round in three distinct seasons. Winter in the months from September to March, which is also called the Peak Season as Kerala witnesses an outburst of tourists in this season. Summer in the months of April and May, this is also called Off Season as the crowd in this season is relatively less and hence the hotel prices also go down in this season. Monsoon season in the months from June to August, this is also called Ayurvedic season as monsoon months are suitable for various Ayurvedic treatments and people in monsoon season specially visit Kerala for this purpose.
What you wish to do in Kerala often becomes a deciding factor for which month is best to visit Kerala. If traveling from Goa, Summer might be the best time to visit. The summer in Kerala is not as scorching as in Goa and intermittent rainfall brings down the temperature every now and then.
2. How to travel to Kerala from Goa
Both Goa and Kerala lie on the western coast of India and is about 671.5km away by road. People can travel between the two places either by train or plane or can even cover the distance in their own vehicle or hire a taxi.
Road– You can take NH66 which takes you through Karwar, Kumta, Udupi, Mangalore in Karnataka before entering Kerala through Kasaragod. The journey takes approximately 15-16h.
Train– Most of the people traveling between Goa and Kerala choose to travel via train. There are a number of trains that run between Madgaon Junction to Ernakulam Junction. The fastest being Mumbai LTT-Ernakulam AC Duronto Express(12223) which has 13h 35m travel time. The train runs on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Flight– There are no non-stop flights between Goa and Kerala. The best option would be to travel to Bangalore or Mumbai and after that travel to Kerala.
3. Things to do in Kerala-
In Kerala, there is an array of activities one can indulge in. Here are a couple of things you shouldn’t miss while enjoying your vacation in Kerala.
Backwater cruising in a houseboat– Kerala’s serene backwater is worth exploring. Swaying palm trees, vibrant village life at the shores, and the beautiful ambiance will fill your heart with joy. Alleppey is popular for this activity, you can hire a houseboat in which you can relax and admire the lush green landscape as you are served freshly prepared meals. You can also explore Kerala’s backwater in Kollam, Kumarakom, Kuttanad, and Kasaragod.
Village Tour– The true essence of Kerala can be experienced in its villages and Kumbalangi Integrated Tourism Village in Kochi provides you with an opportunity to do just that. This model fishery and tourism village is about 14 km from Ernakulam Junction and is surrounded by beautiful backwater, Chinese fishing nets, and rich aquatic life. The place allows to engage with the locals and they can also stay by booking accommodations with the homestay operators in the area.
Shikara Ride– If houseboats are proving to be a bit expensive then you can take a tour of the backwater in a Shikara. You can sit in the double-decker boat that costs far less than houseboats and sail through the peaceful backwater trails while admiring the palm-fringed backwater trails and an array of birds. If you are a nature lover then this activity should necessarily be in your things to do list.
Spice Tour– When vacationing in Kerala don’t forget to visit the spice plantations in Munnar, Thekkady, and Wayanad. You can see how the famous Kerala spices like the black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, and the exotic vanilla are grown and might even get to taste them.
Visit a coffee plantation– Besides spices, Kerala is also famous for its coffee beans. A visit to the coffee plantation is a must. If you are a coffee lover then you should definitely visit the coffee plantation in Wayanad and see the entire coffee making process.
Visit Fort Kochi– In this small fishing village which was the European Township, you can feel and breathe history. You can watch the Chinese fishing nets in action mostly in the monsoon season when the water level is a little high. The best view of the Chinese fishing nets is from Vasco da Gama square. You can see the influence of Dutch architecture in the Mattancherry Palace. Kochi had a large ‘Paradesi’ Jewish population, and this heritage can still be seen in Jew Town. A narrow street between Mattancherry Palace and the Paradesi Synagogue. Another must do in Fort Kochi is the sunset cruise. It’s a great way to see the Chinese Fishing Nets from the water and you can also explore the Kochi backwaters. There are a lot of things to do and see in Fort Kochi from browsing the market place to visiting the famous St. Francis Church built on the burial site of Vasco da Gama.
Kathakali Performance– The vibrant state dance of Kerala is another thing which you shouldn’t miss while on your vacation. You can stop by the Kerala Kathakali Center near Santa Cruz Basilica in Fort Kochi and see the Kathakali dance form demonstrated in traditional style with its real essence.
Watch Theyyam– Theyyam is a spiritual dance staged in various temples of North Kerala usually in front of the village shrine. Watch this exceptional dance form in the districts of Kannur and Kasargod or in Kerala Museum at Kochi. Do look up the dates of the events on the Theyyam calendar online before you visit so that you are able to enjoy the performances.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary– Thekkady which is about 16km from Kochi is endowed with diverse forest cover, fauna, mammals and aquatic life. While riding through the Periyar Jungle you can have a glimpse of Idukki village, Mullaperiyar Dam and lush green vegetable farms.
4. Festivals to look forward to
Cultural fiesta in Kerala continue for the whole year, here is a list of festivals you can choose to attend.
Cochin Carnival (December-1st January)
Kumarakom Boat Race (September-October)
Aranmula Boat Race and Attachamayam( August-September)